Focus On Vehicle Sustainment Challenges TACOM
One concept became abundantly clear during last month’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington: There is little appetite for expensive and uncertain new-start programs among Army leadership. Even with large budget cuts, Army sustainment dollars and contracts will hardly stop flowing to industry in coming years, and that makes Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command’s (TACOM) mission more critical to the future of the service.
U.S. Military Intel Spending Dips $2.5 Billion
The U.S. military’s intelligence spending fell $2.5 billion in 2012, continuing its decline as operations in Iraq finished and operations in Afghanistan wind down.
Military Bases Vulnerable To Extreme Weather
Military installations across the globe are vulnerable to “extreme weather, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and other effects of climate change,” according to a report out today by the American Security Project. “In order to prepare for these changes and to secure our military investments worldwide, the U.S. must invest in low-cost adaptation options, which are effective and multidimensional,” the report says.
U.S. Army Initiates New Round Of Humvee Modernization
The U.S. Army kicked off the next chapter in its attempt to modernize its Humvee fleet when the service issued a request for proposals Oct. 29 to find out what survivability and crew protection enhancements the industry has to offer.
Australia Moves On U.S. Defense Trade
The Australian Parliament has passed legislation implementing the Australia-U.S. Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty. The treaty, which will improve the structure for two-way trade between Australia and the U.S. in defense goods, services and technology, was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 2010.
DARPA Robotics Challenge Has Begun
Over the next two years, teams will compete to develop and put to the test hardware and software designed to enable robots to assist humans in emergency response when a disaster strikes.
Expect Less Contractor Support After Withdrawal From Afghanistan
The number of support and operations contractors working with the military will likely shrink as U.S. combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, according to the Army’s chief of staff. This is not great news for military contractors that pin their very existence to supporting the Army in Afghanistan. When pressed at a Q&A at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Gen. Raymond Odierno said that contractors are currently doing jobs he’d like to see handled by the Army itself. “What I’m saying now is: It’s overbalanced. It’s overbalanced toward contractors and civilians, and I’m trying to rebalance it again.”
Some companies won’t be able to sustain their business models when there’s less of a need for troop support in Afghanistan, said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council. “There are always emerging areas where the contractor community as a private sector is ahead of the military — cybersecurity, for example,” he said. “Though the nature of the contract support might change, I don’t think it will ever get to zero.”
U.S. Army Unveils AMPV Requirements
The U.S. Army released a draft request for proposals for its Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program in anticipation of a final request for proposal scheduled to hit the streets during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. The partial document states that the service wants prospective bidders to submit a proposal that looks out across 10 years of development and production.
DOD Issues Request For New Mobility Applications
Service members could be downloading applications for government BlackBerrys, iPhones, Androids and other “mobility devices” by the beginning of next year, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler, the deputy chief information officer for the department. The goal is to have the military app store set up by early 2013 — the request for procurement closes out at the end of the year.
Army Defends Strategy For New Ground Combat Vehicle
The Army is defending its planned Ground Combat Vehicle after the Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that if the Army buys a new armored vehicle equipped with all the protection and other features it says it wants, the result could weigh twice as much as its current personnel carrier and about the same as its main battle tank. In addition, the CBO pointed out that a major feature of one of the Army’s two candidate vehicles — the hybrid electric drive system that BAE Systems says would help power a new generation of onboard systems — has never been deployed on a tactical troop-carrier.
Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told POLITICO that the service knows what it’s doing and defended the overall need for a new heavy battlefield troop transport. “The Army is very confident in the Ground Combat Vehicle acquisition strategy,” he said. ”It has been approved at multiple levels. There is analysis of alternatives and nondevelopment vehicle assessments built into the strategy in order to prepare for future milestone decisions. And, we’re always conducting reviews to ensure that program remains affordable.”
The House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces subcommittee has questioned the need to develop and purchase a new GCV, so it commissioned CBO to study the program; its second report is expected in a few months.
Pentagon Moves To Refine Acquisitions Process
The DOD continues to do all it can to enhance the defense acquisition process, improving the Pentagon’s buying power and maximizing value for taxpayers’ money. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, shared his latest efforts during the 31st Annual Government Contract Management Conference November 5th.
DOD: Help Us Hold Down Costs
Regardless of the outcome in the lame-duck session of Congress as Obama begins to negotiate with Republicans about sequestration, the Pentagon has a whole other set of politically difficult hurdles waiting just around the bend.