How long should a program manager stick around on one program? Inside the Pentagon takes a look:
As a variety of acquisition reform efforts begin to take shape in Congress and the Pentagon, one aspect of the issue likely to occupy time in the spotlight is the debate over program manager tenure and whether longer PM terms lead to successful programs.
While industry advocates and defense analysts have often criticized the Defense Department for not keeping talented PMs in their jobs for longer periods, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief acquisition executive, released a report in June that found no correlation between longer PM tenures and well-executed programs.
"Qualitatively, it has been asserted that having a stable person as PM should lead to better program performance," the report states. "There has been much discussion and some policymaking on the length of time that individuals are PMs. Despite vocal concerns about PM tenures being too short and policies that set a minimum tenure, analysis to date has not shown a correlation between PM tenure and program performance."
Pentagon PMs typically stay on the job for four years or less, while their deputies serve three years, though Kendall issued guidance last November that extended the tenure agreements of "key leadership positions." "We do not yet know why PM tenure does not correlate more strongly with program outcomes," according to Kendall's June report.
Probing a key prompt global strike area:
The Defense Department plans next week to conduct a second test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon -- a leading candidate for the Conventional Prompt Global Strike concept -- with a 3,500-mile shot from Alaska to the Marshall Islands that could build a case for integrating the Army-developed capability on submarines.
The Army's Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command is planning the launch -- dubbed Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Flight Test 2 Hypersonic Technology Test (AHW FT2 HTT) -- for sometime between Aug. 24 and Aug. 29. The goal is to improve on a November 2011 test of the same prototype system; during that test, the weapon traveled 2,400 miles and was deemed a success.
On Aug. 12, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, a state-owned entity that runs the Kodiak Launch Complex, announced the planned rocket launch in a public safety announcement.
"This test, as with past flight tests, is designed to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test-range performance for long-range atmospheric flight," Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said in an Aug. 20 statement to InsideDefense.com. "This data will be used by the Department of Defense to anchor ground testing, modeling, and simulation of hypersonic flight vehicle performance and is applicable to a range of possible Conventional Prompt Global Strike concepts."
Two cybersecurity stories today:
The outing of Chinese cyber espionage operations last year and the media firestorm that followed led hackers in the East Asia and the Pacific region to briefly curb attempts to steal sensitive U.S. technology so they could incorporate new methods of penetrating the networks of cleared defense contractors, according to a new Pentagon study.
As part of its strategy to acquire the next-generation of host-based cybersecurity tools and capabilities, the Pentagon will continue to stress the importance of interoperability, a senior defense official told lawmakers in a recent report.
Both come with reports:
The 2014 report from DSS, "Targeting U.S. Technologies: A Trend Analysis of Cleared Industry Reporting," provides a "statistical and trend analysis that covers the most prolific foreign collectors targeting the cleared contractor community."
On June 30, 2014, the Pentagon submitted a report to Congress that "addresses the activities of the Department of Defense to acquire the next-generation host-based cybersecurity tools and capabilities."
Another front-pager from Inside the Pentagon:
As part of its ongoing effort to integrate unmanned drones into the national airspace, the Pentagon is conducting a second round of field tests with an eye toward developing operating procedures for unmanned aircraft systems, according to a recent report Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall sent to lawmakers.
In his July 3 report, Kendall said this second series of tests will consist of a modeling and simulation event, human-in-the-loop simulation and three live flight events. DOD hopes for this second test series to take place during fiscal year 2014, which ends on Sept. 30. Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said the tests have already started and will be conducted throughout the rest of the calendar year.
"DOD is working closely with the [Federal Aviation Administration] to ensure the procedures being developed for DOD UAS are compatible with existing Air Traffic Management practices and are sufficiently documented to be able to inform civil standards," Kendall wrote in the "Report to Congress on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collaboration, Demonstration and Data Sharing."
Document: DOD Report On UAS Collaboration
More news of note:
A pro-business growth group of Democrats is engaging in outreach with the defense industry to develop specific legislative recommendations that may include using commercially available products rather than custom ones and encouraging more strategic acquisitions, according to a congressional staffer.
The Pentagon has notified Congress that it intends to transfer millions to the Global Security Contingency Fund to help Ukraine in light of its conflict with Russia, as well as activities to counter Boko Haram in Africa, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers in two recent letters.
Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition executive, recently indicated the Defense Department may re-examine its push to acquire more intellectual property and technical data packages for weapons systems in light of continued criticism from the defense industry.