Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The INSIDER - September 10, 2014

Posted on InsideDefense.com: September 10, 2014
More Money.

Just posted:

Document: House Appropriators' FY-15 Continuing Resolution

On Sept. 9, 2014, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced a short-term continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and continue funding through Dec. 11, 2014.

More budget news from yesterday:

Pentagon Ponders Budget Options For Obama's New ISIS Strategy

The Pentagon is trying to determine what path it will take to resource President Obama's new strategy to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which he expects to detail in a speech Wednesday.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department was still evaluating whether it would need Congress to increase funding.

"We believe that we can meet all our requirements right now with FY-14 [overseas contingency operations funding]," he said. "The secretary has often said that we're going to continue to evaluate needs for future [overseas contingency operations] funding as these operations evolve."

Reprogramming.

A big reprogramming request dropped this week. While we can't share the actual doc yet, here's our initial coverage:

Pentagon Wants $404M In OCO Reprogramming For 21 Apache Helos

The Pentagon has asked Congress to move $404 million in overseas contingency operations money to pay for 21 additional AH-64E Apache attack helicopters set to replace OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, according to new Defense Department documents.

The DOD reprogramming request -- signed by Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord on Sept. 8 and obtained by Insidedefense.com -- states that the 21 Apaches will replace 21 Kiowas "as the Apache now assumes the Armed Scout role previously filled by the Kiowa Warrior." The additional aircraft also "will help the Army reach its acquisition objective earlier, contribute to manned-unmanned teaming, and reduce overall unit costs by increasing production efficiencies," according to the document.

The request indicates a move forward with the Army's planned aviation restructure initiative, which seeks to retire all of the service's Kiowas and use AH-64 Apaches and Shadow unmanned aircraft for armed reconnaissance. Under the initiative, the service would also move all of the Army National Guard's Apaches into the active component and the Guard would receive 111 L-model Black Hawks in return. The Guard, along with its advocates in Congress, has strongly opposed losing its Apaches, arguing that the reserves must mirror the active component in capability.

Pentagon Wants To Use Wartime Dollars For F-35 Program

The Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget are asking Congress for permission to use wartime funding to replace six AV-8B Harriers lost in Afghanistan with new F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, according to a congressional source and a reprogramming request obtained by InsideDefense.com.

The reprogramming request, signed Sept. 8 by Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord, includes $852 million for six F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variants to replace the AV-8B Harriers that were destroyed during a terrorist attack in September 2012 at Forward Operating Base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The production line for the McDonnell-Douglas-built AV-8B is closed. The F-35B is the replacement aircraft.

A congressional source said the reprogramming request indicates the Obama administration has given up on limiting wartime funding -- contained in the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations account -- to actual combat-related costs and sees the account as a sequester relief valve.

The Unmanned.

Looks like the MQ-1 Predator won't be retired anytime soon:

Contingency Operations Could Push Back Air Force's Predator Phaseout Plan

The Air Force's original unmanned hunter-killer aircraft, the MQ-1 Predator, will probably remain in service until around fiscal year 2019 because the service does not have the capacity to pull aircrews away from their current combat duties for retraining on the newer MQ-9 Reaper system.

The time line for the MQ-1 phaseout was brought forward in the service's fiscal year 2015 budget submission from the current program of record of FY-19 to between FY-17 and FY-18.

According to Col. Brandon Baker, the Air Force's director of remotely piloted aircraft capabilities, the time line has become "a moving target" because of the enduring requirement for remotely piloted aircraft, especially in light of recent operations in Iraq and elsewhere. He believes the retirement will probably occur by FY-19 based on the current operational need.

Afghan Trucks.

News on a recent GAO comptroller general decision:

Secret U.S. Risk Rating Bars Vendor From Huge Afghan Trucking Deal

Classified warnings about an Afghan trucking company used previously by several Western organizations led to the vendor's disqualification from a new U.S. logistics contract potentially worth billions of dollars, documents show.

The case is described in a redacted Government Accountability Office decision following a complaint by Aria Target Logistics Services of Kabul, Afghanistan, against U.S. Transportation Command. The company had unsuccessfully protested losing out on the contract, arguing it should have been told what information U.S. officials have against it.

On the company's website, Aria Target Logistics Services lists among its past clients the Defense Department, NATO and the International Security Assistance Force, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Program, and American contractors Fluor and Dyncorp.

Fixing Fighters.

The Air Force is on the verge of fixing some broken F-16s:

Air Force To Start Installing F-16 Fix This Week

The Air Force this week will begin the process of repairing two of the 83 F-16D aircraft grounded in late July as a result of cracks discovered in the frame surrounding the jet's cockpit.

The fix is still in the developmental phase, according to Air Force Materiel Command spokeswoman Susan Murphy. The first two aircraft to move through the repair process are located at Hill Air Force Base, UT; those repairs will likely begin on or around Sept. 11.

"Once that is complete, Depot Field Teams (DFTs) will deploy to the field to perform a validation/verification of the repair," she told Inside the Air Force in a Sept. 9 email.

Odds & Ends.

Some recent documents:

Document: GAO Report On Sole-Source Contracts

The Sept. 9, 2014, Government Accountability Office report assesses the Defense Department's "implementation of justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts."

Document: GAO Report On General, Flag Officer Requirements

The Sept. 9, 2014, Government Accountability Office report finds the Defense Department "needs to update general and flag officer requirements and improve availability of associated costs."

Document: DOD IG Report On Military Sealift Command

The Sept. 9, 2014, Defense Department inspector general's report assesses "whether the Military Sealift Command (MSC) effectively managed the quantities of spare parts in inventory and procured the spare parts at fair and reasonable prices for the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ships in the Sealift Program."

-- John Liang

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