Monday, November 24, 2014

The INSIDER - November 19, 2014

Posted on November 19, 2014
Money Worries

The Pentagon's top military officer lays out budget woes:

Dempsey Makes Case For Bigger FY-16 Budget Request Than Previously Planned

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey wants Congress to know the Defense Department will require more base budget funding in fiscal year 2016 than the $535 billion it has planned, especially since that amount is already $35 billion above the spending caps mandated by sequestration.

Dempsey also predicted the current campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant would last between three and four years.

"We need additional topline for the emerging and new requirements," he said Wednesday at a Defense One conference in Washington.

Army Sizing

Just posted this morning:

Odierno Rejects Army Reorganization As Solution To End-Strength Cuts

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the service will need more troops than a sequestration budget would allow, and that reorganizing the Army would not help to alleviate personnel shortfalls.

Speaking Nov. 19 at an industry conference in Washington, Odierno argued that a number between 440,000 to 450,000 soldiers likely would be insufficient to meet the demands of a world "growing more complex." Odierno, whose term will conclude next year, made similar arguments last month, when he first said that he views potential budget-driven reductions below an end strength of 490,000 as problematic.

The chief today was responding to arguments by some critics, including retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, who believe that a formidable fighting force can be created with as few as 420,000 soldiers. Macgregor has proposed eliminating several layers of the service's command-and-control bureaucracy, and deploying smaller and more distributed formations.

LXR News

Also posted this morning:

Navy Drafting Requirements Document For LX(R); Approval Anticipated In July

Norfolk, VA -- The Navy is currently drafting the requirements document for a new fleet of amphibious vessels to replace its aging dock landing ships and anticipates approval of that document by July, according to a service official.

The service began preliminary design work on the LX(R) last week, Capt. Erik Ross, branch head for amphibious warfare (N953), told reporters after a Nov. 19 presentation at a conference sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association in Norfolk, VA.

Senior Navy leadership last month decided to move forward with a design based off the LPD-17 San Antonio-class hull form as the preferred alternative for the LX(R) fleet, Inside the Navy reported Oct. 17. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, outgoing Commandant Gen. James Amos and Sean Stackley, the Navy's top acquisition official, all signed an Oct. 14 memorandum laying out the decision.

Industry Ideas

Business Execs have some ideas for the Pentagon:

Defense Executives Urge DOD To Take More Commercial Approach

The defense industry is reshaping itself for tighter budgets -- but it could benefit from additional Pentagon support, two defense executives said Wednesday.

"We've leaned out tremendously, I think, across the industry," said Ellen Lord, chief executive of Textron Systems, at the Defense One Summit in Washington.

Textron, she added, has sought to become more efficient and has invested in markets beyond the U.S. military, including international sales. "It is natural to branch out, and I think it makes us stronger as an industry," Lord said.

Wasteful Spending

More trouble in the Afghanistan reconstruction area:

SIGAR To Investigate DOD Business Task Force For Mismanagement In Afghanistan

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko is planning to launch an "in-depth" investigation into a Defense Department business task force he says squandered $800 million.

Sopko, who said the U.S. effort to develop Afghanistan's economy has been an "abysmal failure," asserts that the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) has accomplished nothing despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars to attract global private sector firms to the struggling nation.

"They've spent approximately $700, $800 million, and as far as we can see, they've accomplished nothing," he said, adding that "we're doing a really in-depth review of the TFBSO.

Better Messaging

The Navy needs to sing a better song to Congress:

VCNO: Navy Must Better Explain Impacts Of Sequester To Congress

Norfolk, VA -- The Navy must do a better job of explaining the impact of future sequestration cuts on national security to Capitol Hill, the vice chief of naval operations said Tuesday.

"I was quite surprised. A few months ago I was having a dinner with some [Hill] staffers and I was just asking them, are we clearly telling our story of what we think will happen if we sequester?" Adm. Michelle Howard said during a Nov. 18 presentation at a conference sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association in Norfolk, VA.

While the staffers for members on the military committees said the Navy has done a good job of explaining the impact of further sequester cuts, Howard said staffers for other members did not fully understand the implications of sequestration to national defense.

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