Friday, November 28, 2014

The INSIDER - November 21, 2014

Posted on InsideDefense.com: November 21, 2014
Tough Talk

Just posted this afternoon:

Pentagon Price Czar Vows Continued 'Zealousness' In Face Of Industry Criticism

Despite concerns from industry that Pentagon acquisition officials are being too aggressive in their negotiations, the Defense Department's pricing director said he makes no apologies for seeking good deals and has no plans to change tactics.

In a Nov. 20 interview with Inside the Pentagon, DOD Pricing Director Shay Assad said he will continue to be a demanding -- but fair -- customer.

"In the pursuit of the Better Buying Power initiatives, perhaps some folks have been a little bit too zealous in their desire to try to get a good deal, but frankly, I'm not sure we want to place a bridle on that zealousness," Assad said. "We want our people to be enthusiastic about Better Buying Power and believe in it, and we want them to be diligent and have strong resolve with regard to getting a good deal for the taxpayers. So there's a balance there."

Air Force ISR

Inside the Air Force's top story is about the service's ISR operations:

Langley AFB ISR Wing Evolving To Support Operation Inherent Resolve

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VA -- To meet the growing demand for intelligence data related to operations in Iraq and Syria, the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing here has been improving its ability to fuze data from multiple sources -- to include data from in-theater aircraft.

The 480th is the lead wing for the Air Force's Distributed Common Ground System, and is the primary operations center for processing ISR data from assets in U.S. Central Command, which includes those supporting current operations in Iraq and Syria. Its analysts are tasked with processing data from various sources, condensing them, and repackaging them in response to combatant commander needs.

Because the U.S. military's involvement in Operation Inherent Resolve has been concentrated on providing airpower support through airstrikes and humanitarian aid drops -- with no ground-based intelligence beyond what is provided by allies in the region -- combatant commanders have become increasingly dependent on airborne ISR data to make decisions, including where and when to strike.

Looking At Space

The Air Force is looking at its space assets:

Air Force Posture Review Stresses Need For Diverse Space Portfolio

A strategic posture review of the Air Force's space portfolio, which is in final coordination, validates the service's pursuit of a more diverse future architecture, according to the service's top military acquisition official.

Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told reporters this week that the service is completing a strategic posture review that takes a broad look at the service's space portfolio and identifies capability gaps and needs.

"I can't go into the details of what came out of that as it's finally getting closed up," Pawlikowski said during a Nov. 19 media roundtable. "But what I can tell you are some broad things that came out of that. One was the need to look at architectures that have a broad or diversity of things in them."

Hill Battle

Pentagon officials prepare to wrestle with Congress:

Pentagon Leaders Steel Themselves For Capitol Hill Conflicts

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work hopes to visit Capitol Hill within the next two weeks to discuss a way forward on some of the Defense Department's most serious budgetary challenges, particularly the fact that Congress is poised to deny the Pentagon's plan to find savings by reforming military compensation, cutting aging weapon systems and closing excess military bases and facilities amid the onset of sequestration.

Work, who spoke Wednesday at the Defense One Summit in Washington, said the defense authorization bill now being crafted by the House and Senate contains enough "no's" to put the Pentagon into a $70 billion hole over the next five years due to political unwillingness to give DOD the authority it needs to find efficiencies.

"It's just unreasonable for Congress to assume that that can possibly be the right way to govern," he said. "I hope to be able to get over to the Hill some time in the next two weeks. I want to try and find out how can we work closer with Congress to work our way through this. It's really difficult for us to approach a problem if we start with $70 billion in no's."

Industry Eyes Civil Sector

Contractors are looking for other opportunities:

Defense Contractors Look Beyond U.S. Military

Facing declining Pentagon spending, defense contractors from Exelis to Engility are increasingly reducing their U.S. military work and moving into federal civilian, commercial and international sales to make up for it.

Engility touted last month that its purchase of contractor TASC would lower its Pentagon work to 48 percent of its sales, down significantly from the 75 percent of sales it represented in 2012.

After being sold to a private-equity firm this month, CRGT boasted that Pentagon work used to provide virtually all of its sales but now makes up only about 40 percent. Exelis said this month that sales to the Pentagon and intelligence agencies represent about 60 percent of its business -- but it's made significant investments to bolster its growing international and commercial sales.

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