InsideDefense.com's Jason Sherman gives the Pentagon's unobligated funds accounts a close look:
The Defense Department ended fiscal year 2014 with a total of $105.7 billion in unobligated funds from prior years, according to new Pentagon figures. The final total is 26 percent more than the White House Office of Management and Budget forecast in March.
The Pentagon, OMB and the Treasury Department compiled the figure as part of an annual, end-of-fiscal-year spending analysis in late October, the "FY 2014 4th Quarter Unobligated Balances in Unexpired Accounts for Executive Branch Agencies Reported on SF 133s." In March, OMB forecast that DOD would carry forward $83.4 billion in unobligated prior-year funds.
The Pentagon's unobligated balances shifted from being an esoteric part of the Defense Department's financial management to taking a more central role in managing resources following enactment of the 2011 Budget Control Act which requires unobligated balances to be cut in the event discretionary spending is sequestered.
The Army is looking at a new light vehicle type:
The Army will explore a light vehicle type that would work in close concert with infantry formations, while also changing key assumptions for a new heavy-vehicle program, a top official said.
At issue is the kind of platform that can provide what service officials have been calling "mobile protected firepower." The vehicle class would be employed with select Stryker and infantry brigade combat teams, Army Capabilities Integration Center Director Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said in a Dec. 16 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Whether the term "mobile protected firepower" will actually translate into its own program is still to be determined, McMaster told reporters following his speech. He suggested, though, that efforts already underway, including the Army's quest for a light reconnaissance vehicle and an ultra-light reconnaissance vehicle, are connected to it.
News on defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton:
After changing its own organization and culture, Booz Allen Hamilton now plans to offer what it calls "innovation as a service" to the Defense Department.
In April 2013, the contractor created a strategic innovation group, headed by Karen Dahut and tasked with finding new ideas, technologies and ways to use its expertise.
But before it could start, Dahut told InsideDefense.com in a Dec. 12 interview, the company needed to improve its own culture.
The Army wants to cool its engines:
The Army is asking industry to help solve one of the "top challenges" in ground combat vehicles: cooling their engines.
A key problem, according to a Dec. 15 request for information, is that the placement of armor in current vehicle designs leaves little room for adequate cooling systems in the engine compartment. As a result, the engine power of vehicles "typically" is underutilized, particularly in hot climates.
Surprised by the proliferation of improvised explosive devices in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Army has raced over the past decade to increase the amount of traditional metal armor on combat vehicles.
The Army's remaining C-23 Sherpa aircraft may have new homes soon, Inside the Army reports this week:
Eight of the Army's remaining C-23 Sherpa transport aircraft likely will be given to the Philippines, Estonia and Djibouti as excess defense articles, according to an Army spokeswoman.
Army Security Assistance Command spokeswoman Kim Gillespie told Inside the Army the Philippines has requested four Sherpas -- two for its army and two for its coast guard -- while Estonia and Djbouti requested two aircraft each. None of the deals have been finalized, Gillespie said in a Dec. 8 email.
Unlike in cases of foreign military sales, countries that take excess defense articles need only pay for transportation of the goods.
Congress has cut funding for the JLENS program:
House and Senate appropriators have agreed to cut $10.8 million from the Army's budget request for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, testing military claims that not fully funding the request would undermine the system's upcoming trial run.
The omnibus appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2015 funds the program at $43.2 million, citing "excess funds" as the reason for not fully granting the Army's $54 million request. The full House approved the legislation on Dec. 11. The Senate had yet to vote on it at press time (Dec. 12).
The missile-warning system, also known as JLENS, is set to begin a three-year operational test next year at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. One system consists of two tethered, 250-foot-long aerostats, which together are called an "orbit." The test involves integrating a JLENS orbit into the National Capitol Region-Integrated Air Defense System.
-- John Liang