The Insider

By Jason Sherman
January 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

We'll have a story soon on the budget and program news made during the confirmation hearing this morning for William Lynn, Michele Fournoy, Robert Hale and Jeh Johnson. Meantime, the session wrapped up without any issues surfacing that would appear to threaten any of the nominations. Sen. Levin, the committee chairman, wrapped up the meeting with a pledge to move to a vote as soon as possible.

By Jason Sherman
January 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has begun its hearing to consider William Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense; Robert Hale to be Pentagon comptroller; Michèle Flournoy to be under secretary of defense for policy; and Jeh Charles Johnson to be the Pentagon's general counsel.

While introductions are being made, we're perusing the written responses to advance policy questions from the committee.

A big question for the incoming Obama Pentagon team -- which during the presidential campaign was highly critical of the practice of funding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with supplemental appropriations -- is how they will handle war costs.

Robert Hale, nominee for the comptroller job, in his prepared responses says:

If confirmed, I would hope to work with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to try to move away from supplementals. The feasibility of moving away from supplementals depends on the budget year.
* For FY 2009, DoD needs a supplemental, because the base budget has been enacted.
* For FY 2010, with limited time available for submission of a base budget request, and with continuing uncertainty about changing war requirements, the President may decide he will need to have a supplemental.
* In later budgets, we should be better able to minimize dependence on supplementals.
* Regardless of the year, we should avoid including predictable costs in supplemental requests.

Can supps be fully integrated into base budgets, the committee asks?

* Full elimination of supplementals would require substantial reduction in the uncertainties associated with wartime operations. However, the negative aspects of supplementals can be minimized by ensuring DoD scrutiny of supplemental requests similar to that afforded the base budget (a policy endorsed by the President-elect) and by providing Congress with early information regarding supplemental requests.
The committee notes that in "recent years the department has had to prepare a base budget and two separate supplemental funding requests each year.
Do you believe the Comptroller organization has the personnel and other resources needed to adequately manage this increased workload?"
* I am concerned about the adequacy of resources in the Comptroller organization to manage the increased workload associated with wartime operations.
• If confirmed, I will carefully review the staffing and organization and recommend any changes that I believe are required.

By Dan Dupont
January 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The El Paso Times has discovered the Joint Operating Environment -- that's JOE& for short. In a story that's getting some attention, the paper cites JOE in asserting that Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse."

"In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."

We of course had news on the JOE last year -- and the document itself.

JFCOM Study Examines Potential Military Challenges Over Next 25 Years, Dec. 3, 2008 -- Over the next 25 years, the world is likely to see a global military buildup, increased tensions surrounding the demand for natural resources and a further need for the United States to create partnerships with other countries, according to a U.S. Joint Forces Command study.

DOCUMENT: JFCOM's 'Joint Operating Environment'
The Nov. 25, 2008, report from U.S. Joint Forces Command, subtitled "Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force" and nicknamed the "JOE," examines likely scenarios the U.S. military might confront over the next 25 years.

By Sebastian Sprenger
January 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Participants of this year's Munich Conference on Security Policy could soon get a chance to mingle with some of President-elect Obama's new -- and old -- national security big-wigs.

For one, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already confirmed he'll be there, according to an announcement made this week by conference host Wolfgang Ischinger, a former ambassador of Germany to the United States.

The three-day conference is scheduled to begin on Feb. 6.

Other confirmed participants include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former presidential hopeful U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), according to Ischinger's announcement.

NATO Secretary General Jaap the Hoop Scheffer is also expected to attend, as is former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissenger, who will deliver a speech on nuclear weapons, according to the announcement.

Obama's designated national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, and/or Hillary Clinton, nominated to be Secretary of State, also are rumored to consider attending, we're told.

By Marcus Weisgerber
January 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Air Force awarded C-17 Globemaster III-builder Boeing a $1.1 billion aircraft support contract yesterday, according to a service announcement. The award comes amid uncertainty about the future of C-17 production line.

Whether to by more C-17s -- not to mention Lockheed Martin-built F-22A fighters and new tankers -- is one of the major procurement decisions President-elect Barack Obama will face upon taking office next week.

Tens of thousands of jobs are associated with C-17 production, which in these economic times likely will factor in the decision.

In the meantime, the future on international C-17 production got a bit brighter yesterday when British Defence Secretary John Hutton told Parliament that delays to the Airbus A400M cargo hauler program have prompted London to consider purchasing more Globemaster IIIs.

“We cannot accept a three- or four-year delay in the delivery of those aircraft,” Hutton said. “That would impose an unnecessary, unacceptable strain on our air assets. We, along with all our partner nations, will have to consider very carefully what the right response to the problem is.”

Reuters has this report about Hutton's comments.

By Jason Simpson
January 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz recently announced that Brig. Gen. Clyde Moore, a career test pilot, will be the next deputy director of the Joint Strike Fighter program office. And, if trends continue, Moore will take over top slot in two years.

Moore will take the job this spring, when Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David Heinz takes over the head position, currently held by Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Davis. As a multiservice outfit, the JSF office gets a new leader every two years -- either an Air Force general officer or a Navy or Marine Corps officer. Typically, the deputy ascends to the director's slot after two years.

Moore is the director of special programs at the Pentagon's weapons-buying shop. In the late 1990s, he was an F-22A test pilot and the director of the Raptor's combine test force and the chief of the jet's test and evaluation division.

He, like Davis, also has had a career as an experimental test pilot for the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Viper and the T-38 Talon. Though they operated out of different bases, many of Moore's assignments came just after Davis moved to a different post.

Once reassigned, Davis will become the commander of the Air Force's Air Armament Center and the program executive office for weapons at Air Force Materiel Command, Eglin Air Force Base, FL.

By John Liang
January 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House held a "facilitated exercise" today for incoming Obama administration officials and senior staffers.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel late last week described the exercise as follows:

. . . And then next week, our work with the president-elect's transition team continues on Tuesday, January 13th, when we host a series of orientations and briefings, culminating with a facilitated exercise for senior, current and incoming officials. We are mindful that this is the first transition since September 11th and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Homeland Security Council, Office of Director of National Intelligence, and the National Counterterrorism Center, and U.S. Northern Command.

So in keeping with the president's commitment to ensure a complete and smooth transition to the next administration, we have invited incoming senior members of President-elect Obama's team to attend 90-minute orientations and briefings, followed by a three hour exercise intended to familiarize the incoming administration with domestic and international instant management procedures used by the current administration. And the format of these sessions is intended to provide an opportunity for senior members of the incoming administration to discuss instant management practices and challenges with their outgoing peers.

The White House today released a statement listing the participants:

Cabinet Level

General Jim Jones (Ret), National Security Adviser-designate
Admiral Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence-designate
Governor Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security-designate
Tim Geithner, Secretary of Treasurer-designate
Lisa Jackson, Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency-designate
Senator Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior-designate
General Eric Shinseki (Ret), Secretary of Veterans Affairs-designate
Governor Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture-designate

Senior Staff

Rahm Emanuel, incoming White House Chief of Staff
John Brennan, Homeland Security Adviser- and Deputy National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism-designate
Rand Beers, Counselor to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
David Axelrod, incoming White House Senior Advisor
Jim Messina, incoming White House Deputy Chief of Staff
Robert Gibbs, incoming White House Press Secretary

Officials from Vice President-elect Joe Biden's office and senior executive branch staffers from the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Health and Human Services, Justice, and State departments also participated, according to the statement.

By Jason Sherman
January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President-elect Barack Obama's Defense Department transition team has largely completed its work and left the Pentagon, according to a DOD official.

The transition team -- headed by John White, former deputy defense secretary, and Michele Flournoy, who Obama is nominating to be the under secretary for policy -- has prepared a report for the incoming administration that surveys the current state of affairs in the military bureaucracy and includes options for charting a new course for the Defense Department, according to a source who has seen the document.

By Marcus Weisgerber
January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Air Force today officially stood up the command that will oversee all of the service’s nuclear bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile activities.

The provisional Global Strike Command (AFGSC) will be led by Brig. Gen. James Kowalski -- a combat bomber pilot extensive time in the B-52 and B-1B -- and will call Bolling Air Force Base in Washington its temporary home. Air Combat Command and Air Force Space Command will house supporting detachments.

The command is slated to reach initial operational capability in September. The provisional shop will “lead preparation activities for the establishment of a major command (MAJCOM) that will consolidate nuclear operations under a single organization,” according to a service statement.

This includes assisting in identifying a final location, and identifying manpower and resource requirements that will transfer to the newly established AFGSC.

The provisional command will also work closely with Headquarters Air Force Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Office (A10), Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Force Materiel Command and U.S. Strategic Command as it refines the roles and responsibilities of this MAJCOM.

The Air Force will inactivate the provisional command upon the stand-up of the MAJCOM.

Headquarters Air Force and MAJCOMs provided temporary personnel to fill a core HQ element of 55 personnel who are subject matter experts capable of developing the functional requirements for AFGSC.

The service announced it would stand up a major command to oversee its nuclear enterprise last fall in response to several high-profile gaffes involving the services’s handling of nuclear weapons and components.

By Christopher J. Castelli
January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Lindsey Graham arrived in Iraq this morning, according to a statement released by Biden's Senate office.

The duo started the day in Basra, where they met with head of the Iraqi Army in Basra. They also met with several community leaders, as well as members of the Basra provincial reconstruction team. The duo then flew to Baghdad, where they were briefed by Gen. Raymond Odierno, the head of Multi-National Force-Iraq, and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker.

Biden and Graham then held meetings with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Madi and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Barham Salih.

The duo wrapped up the day by having dinner with U.S. troops and several members of the Delaware National Guard’s 261st Signal Brigade, including Biden’s son, Capt. Beau Biden. After dinner, the delegation visited the Iraq headquarters of the 261st Brigade.

By Dan Dupont
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The slate of nominees for top Pentagon jobs announced by the Obama team yesterday -- including Bill Lynn for deputy defense secretary -- will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee next Thursday, Jan. 15, the panel just announced.

The confirmation hearing also will involve Michèle Flourney, picked for under secretary of defense for policy; Robert Hale, the choice for comptroller; and Jeh Charles Johnson, for general counsel.

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. in room SD-106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

By John Liang
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President-elect Obama today reiterated his support for nominating Leon Panetta as head of the CIA, despite doubts in the blogosphere and among pundits. At the press conference where he officially announced Panetta as his choice (as well as retired Adm. Dennis Blair to become director of national intelligence), Obama said:

Let me be clear: in Leon Panetta, the Agency will have a director who has my complete trust and substantial clout. He will be a strong manager and a strong advocate for the CIA. He knows how to focus resources where they are needed, and he has a proven track record of building consensus and working on a bipartisan basis with Congress. I am confident that he will strengthen the CIA’s capability to protect the American people as it continues to adapt to our reformed intelligence community.

In addition to Blair and Panetta, the president-elect also announced other intel community appointments:

I will also rely on the talent and expertise of several distinguished public servants with substantial intelligence experience. The current DNI, Mike McConnell, will continue to offer his counsel through my Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The National Counter-Terrorism Center -- the hub of our efforts to prevent attacks and root out terrorist networks -- will continue to benefit from the leadership of Michael Leiter. And I'm pleased to announce that John Brennan -- a close advisor, CIA veteran and former leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center -- will be my Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism, serving with the rank of Assistant to the President. John has the experience, vision and integrity to advance America's security.

The demands on the intelligence community are huge and growing. To have a successful and sustainable national security strategy, I have made it clear that we will need to deploy and balance all elements of American power -- our military, diplomacy, homeland security, economic might and moral suasion. Good intelligence work is necessary to support each of these endeavors.

Right now, there are men and women working around the world to bear this burden. We may never know their names, but we will always honor their sacrifice. The task for the team that I have assembled is to guide, support, and integrate their efforts so that we protect our security and safeguard the values that all of us have pledged to uphold. Thank you.

By John Liang
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Government Accountability Office today released its denial of a protest by Raytheon contesting sole-source contracts to Lockheed Martin for Aegis modernization work on Navy surface combatants.

As Inside the Navy reported last month:

In its protest filed Sept. 22, Raytheon argued that the Navy should have technical data in order to conduct competitive procurements, as would be provided for under law, and in the spirit of the push for open architectures advocated by the service and Congress.

“These technical data arguments . . . reflect an apparent unwillingness to press, with any vigor, for data rights that would facilitate competitive procurements, or even to consider alternative approaches merely because they may be more challenging or unconventional,” Raytheon’s protest stated. “While contractors other than ((Lockheed)) may not be as historically entrenched with the technology, that is insufficient basis to preclude all other contractors from taking a crack at competing to work with those systems.”

But GAO did not concur with Raytheon's objections, as the Dec. 22 decision released today states:

Sole-source awards of follow-on contracts for the continued development of a sophisticated weapon system are unobjectionable where the agency reasonably determined that award to any other source would be likely to cause unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency’s requirements.

The Navy asserted it was justified in awarding a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin for Aegis modernization work to save time and money, ITN reported last month:

The service contended that Raytheon failed to “respond adequately” about how it would meet requirements, according to the Navy's 71-page response to the protest obtained this fall by Inside the Navy.

The service stands by its decision to award a sole-source contract “based upon the Navy’s determination that award to another source would result in unacceptable delay and substantial duplication of cost,” the response stated.

By Sebastian Sprenger
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Military officials traditionally like to keep things vague when they discuss exercises. An announcement today by U.S. Joint Forces Command -- about a mission rehearsal exercise aimed at readying a new joint task force headquarters for operations in the Horn of Africa -- is no exception.

According to the announcement, the task force members, about to move into one of the world's most volatile regions, are going to tackle issues like this:

"The problem sets may include a non-evacuation operation that may occur in a developing context like the Horn of Africa, a scenario that would require forces to retrieve U.S. and third-party nationals out of a particular situation or a humanitarian assistance disaster relief problem set such as flooding in the Horn of Africa."


By John Liang
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Boeing just released its fourth-quarter and full-year aircraft deliveries for 2008. On the military side, the company delivered 26 aircraft and helicopters during the past quarter, including one Apache attack helicopter, four Chinook transport helicopters, four C-17 Globemaster cargo airplanes, three F-15 fighters, 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and two T-45TS trainers.

Boeing's total military aircraft deliveries for last year included three Apaches, 12 Chinooks, 16 C-17s, 14 F-15s, 45 F/A-18E/F and EA-18Gs, seven T-45TS trainers and two 767 tanker aircraft.