Posted this morning:
Defense contractor CACI International has added about 1,400 employees this year as it ramps up background investigation work following the Office of Personnel Management's decision to end a contract with U.S. Investigations Services.
Background investigation work, which helps the government determine who should receive security clearances, came under scrutiny following the attack by a contractor at the Navy Yard and contractor Edward Snowden's release of secret documents. Much of the debate centered around the companies managing the investigations.
But the issue came to a head in September, when USIS said in a statement that OPM was "declining to exercise its remaining options" on the company's background investigation services contracts.
Congress wants more info from DARPA:
Expressing concern that the Pentagon's ambitious research projects waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, lawmakers are calling for the Defense Department's advanced research arm to submit a report detailing how it transitions its advanced technology development projects.
In the fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending bill released by Congress this week, lawmakers require the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to submit a report with the FY-16 budget request laying out the transition status of each of the projects and programs funded with advanced technology development dollars. Although these programs must be well-funded, well-planned and "focused on providing specific technologies that are warfighter-relevant," DARPA has struggled in this regard, lawmakers wrote in the explanatory section of the FY-15 omnibus appropriations bill.
"It is concerning that these transitions have not been managed accordingly at DARPA, particularly as it relates to space programs, which in some instances have been terminated following years of development and an investment of several hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars due to lack of warfighter requirements or lack of a business case," the bill's explanatory section reads. "It is not apparent why warfighter requirements and the business case were not considered prior to beginning these projects."
The Reserve Forces Policy Board has a new task ahead of it, according to Inside the Army's top story this week:
A Pentagon advisory panel is set to review the assumptions guiding force-structure decisions by the services, with a focus on how the reserve component is used by military leaders.
The Reserve Forces Policy Board will examine policies governing the use of the National Guard and reserves after board members expressed support for such a study at the committee's latest meeting on Dec. 9 at the Pentagon. Board Chairman Arnold Punaro tasked panel member and retired Vice Adm. John Cotton, a former chief of the Navy Reserve, with laying the framework for the review.
Much of the board's discussion centered on the so-called "mobilization-to-dwell ratio" of the reserve component. In a memo to service leaders in 2007, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates limited the activation of Guard and Reserve units to once every six years, with one year mobilized followed by five years at home station. Gates told the services to base their force structures on that one-to-five ratio. Gates wrote that the active component, meanwhile, should have a one-to-two ratio.
The Pentagon wants industry to supply "just-in-time" training capabilities:
Defense officials are looking for new ways to prepare a shrinking pool of U.S. military forces for sudden, unexpected crises.
In demand from industry are "just-in-time" training capabilities for helping a smaller number of available forces get ready for very targeted missions, Frank DiGiovanni, the acting assistant secretary of defense for readiness, said at an industry conference in Orlando, FL, earlier this month. The term "just-in-time" is often used in business-speak to describe strategies for quickly replenishing stocks without storage or other overhead costs.
Defense officials have complained that rapidly rising personnel costs make it difficult to control military spending. The Army is slated to shrink from a wartime high of almost 570,000 troops to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015. Additional spending cuts in the coming years could reduce the ranks to 450,000 or even 420,000.
Don't expect the Army to sell any TH-67 training helicopters anytime soon:
The fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending bill debated by Congress last week prohibits the sale of divested TH-67 training helicopters until a report assesses any impacts on the U.S. rotary-wing industrial base.
The Army is retiring all of its TH-67s and OH-58 Kiowa Warriors in a planned aviation restructure initiative, replacing the training helicopters with 200 LUH-72 Lakotas, and the Kiowas with AH-64 Apaches and Shadow unmanned aircraft for armed reconnaissance. While the OH-58s are military-grade and not available for transfer for anything other than military uses, the TH-67s are Federal Aviation Administration-certified aircraft requiring no demilitarization.
"With respect to the retirement of TH-67 and OH-58 series aircraft, there is concern about the impact of the divestment of rotary airframes on the industrial base," lawmakers wrote in a Dec. 11 joint explanatory statement on the omnibus bill. "Therefore, the agreement directs the secretary of defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 120 days after the enactment of this act on the aircraft being retired as part of ARI."
Poland won't be getting any THAAD units by the end of this year:
A House Republican-backed provision to install a U.S. missile defense system in Poland before the new year was dropped in the final defense authorization agreement due to a lack of deployable units, a congressional source said.
Conferees decided to remove language from the House's version of the fiscal year 2015 defense policy bill requiring the United States to send either a short-range or terminal missile defense system to Poland by Dec. 31. A congressional source said the "scarcity" of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense units led to that provision being dropped in conference. The authorization bill has been passed by the House and was still being considered by the Senate at press time (Dec. 12). [Editor's Note: The full Senate passed the conference bill late on Dec. 12.]
The Pentagon has no stated requirement for such a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The White House came out in opposition of the House language in May, arguing in a statement of administration policy that putting a system in Poland "would limit the ability of the United States to meet its worldwide operational missile defense requirements."
Some GPS news:
The Air Force anticipates the total cost of Raytheon's next-generation Global Positioning System operational control segment development contract will surpass $1.7 billion, about $100 million above the cost negotiated when the program was restructured this summer.
The Air Force renegotiated the GPS OCX contract earlier this year, pushing its delivery date to May 2018, according to a Space and Missile Systems Center spokesman.
To date, the service has authorized an overrun of $698 million for GPS OCX, bringing the current contract value to $1.6 billion -- much higher than its target cost of $920 million.
Congress wants DOD to speed up its transition to cloud computing:
The fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending bill includes language to expedite the Defense Department's transition to cloud computing, despite an inspector general's report earlier this month stating that the Pentagon may not fully realize the benefits of cloud computing.
The bill, which as of Dec. 12 had yet to pass the Senate, would give DOD the ability to purchase cloud services as they are consumed.
"The expedited transition to cloud computing offers significant savings to federal agencies," the bill states.
-- John Liang