Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Policy
Tracking acquisition and strategic policy issues
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The April 25, 2013, Congressional Research Service report -- originally obtained by Secrecy News -- discusses potential issues for lawmakers regarding the Defense Department's use of multiyear procurement and block buy contracting.

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On March 12, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on the intelligence community's worldwide threat assessment. Also includes the opening statement of committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

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The Dec. 14, 2012, Government Accountability Office report finds that the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act is helping Defense Department "acquisition programs reduce risk, but implementation challenges remain."

Inside the Army - 10/15/2012
The Army has made progress filling a shortage of acquisition professionals, but service officials are still seeking specialists to close out contracts, according to Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal.
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In an Oct. 11, 2012, memo marked "for official use only," Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall approves the two-channel Manpack radio made by General Dynamics C4 Systems for low-rate initial production after validating that previously identified flaws have been fixed.

DefenseAlert - 10/12/2012

The Defense Department has approved the two-channel Manpack radio made by General Dynamics C4 Systems for low-rate initial production after validating that previously identified flaws have been fixed, according to an internal Pentagon memo signed by the DOD's acquisition chief.

DefenseAlert - 10/12/2012

The Pentagon's advanced research arm needs to shift its resources to the future and away from technologies needed for ongoing wars, the agency's new director said today.

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In an Oct. 5, 2012, memo, Michael Gilmore -- the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation -- wrote that he has recently "observed" practices that do not comport with the conduct of independent assessments.

Inside the Pentagon - 10/11/2012
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency is reducing the foreign military sales administrative surcharge that other countries pay when buying U.S. weapons.
DefenseAlert - 10/10/2012

Aiming to bolster the independence of the testing process and improve verdicts of how reliable a system will be in combat, the Pentagon's top weapons tester wants to reduce the influence of non-testers during the operational evaluation of new programs.

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In an Oct. 3, 2012, letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) asked for 30 days' advance notice of any payments to contractors as reimbursement for costs related to WARN Act compliance.

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The Oct. 4, 2012, Defense Department inspector general's report finds that "improvement [is] needed with [the] DOD Single-Bid Program to increase effective competition for contracts."

Inside the Air Force - 10/05/2012
The Air Force last week issued a broad agency announcement, soliciting white papers for a program designed to draw quick, innovative solutions to various service needs from mostly small businesses.
Inside the Pentagon - 10/04/2012
In a bid to boost program planning, Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall is directing officials to enter all unclassified milestone documents into a new searchable document repository within a week of their formal approval.
Inside the Pentagon - 10/04/2012
Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall will support defense components' proposals to reduce acquisition workforce levels if officials present proper justification in advance, he writes in a recent memo.
Inside the Pentagon - 10/04/2012
The Air Force's general ledger program lacks the "critical functional capabilities" to generate accurate and reliable financial management information, which could hurt the service's ability to meet audit-readiness deadlines, the Pentagon's inspector general's office writes in a new report.
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In a Sept. 11, 2012, memo, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall writes that he will support defense components' proposals to reduce acquisition workforce levels if officials present proper justification in advance.

DefenseAlert - 10/03/2012

The Defense Department's growing military capacity, investments in new warfighting capabilities and other measures show that the Pentagon will uphold its increased security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said today.

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In a Sept. 28, 2012, memo, the White House Office of Management and Budget issues "guidance on allowable contracting costs associated with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act."

DefenseAlert - 09/28/2012

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey's new vision for the U.S. military of 2020 carries with it significant risks, including the possibility that new communications capabilities deemed essential might be vulnerable to enemy action or too costly or complex to build in the first place.

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In a Sept. 25, 2012, memo, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall calls for all documents related to major defense acquisition programs to be uploaded to a searchable database.

DefenseAlert - 09/26/2012

The Defense Department should investigate the feasibility of price indexes tailored to different types of equipment, a move that could lead to more accurate program cost estimates, according to a Pentagon-commissioned study.

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The May 2012 Insitute for Defense Analyses report finds that current Pentagon guidance for future weapon system costs utilizes an index that presumes "prices for DOD procurement items will move in accordance with prices in the economy as a whole," something IDA calls "a questionable assumption."

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The Sept. 26, 2012, Defense Department instruction memo establishes DOD policy that the Pentagon "will maintain a DOD Directives Program for the development, coordination, approval, publication, and review of DOD issuances."

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The Sept. 26, 2012, Defense Department instruction memo "implements requirements to use national and international standards to uniquely identify commercial enterprises, other federal government agencies, and foreign governments that deliver materiel items to the DOD under contracts or other agreements."

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The Sept. 11, 2012, instruction memo outlines the Defense Department's policies for setting up, operating and maintaining "DOD Internet services on unclassified networks to collect, disseminate, store, and otherwise process unclassified DOD information," as well as the "use of Internet-based capabilities (IbC) to collect, disseminate, store, and otherwise process unclassified DOD information."

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The August 2012 report "includes several cross-sector, multi-tier issues that were identified particularly at the sub-tiers, in addition to traditional sector-specific industrial base analysis."

Inside the Army - 09/24/2012
To avoid redundancy and excess, the Army Sustainment Command is establishing basic ordering agreements with contractors under a program that would streamline logistics support services contracts, according to a service spokesman.
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The August 2012 Army document "incorporates air and missile defense (AMD) and electronic attack (EA) in the Army fires warfighting function."

Inside the Pentagon - 09/20/2012
The Pentagon is striving to sharpen its defense-business forecasts to overcome costly obstacles in pricing negotiations with industry.
Inside the Pentagon - 09/20/2012
International sales will not be enough to boost defense firms dealing with stagnant or declining U.S. sales, but sales to the commercial sector may help bridge the gap, according to a National Defense University professor.
Inside the Pentagon - 09/20/2012
Data from the ongoing sector-by-sector, tier-by-tier assessment of the defense industrial base will be incorporated into acquisition strategies but will not be publicly released, according to Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan.
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In a Sept. 14, 2012, memo to the services and defense agencies, Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad calls for improved forecasts to enable the Defense Contract Management Agency to negotiate more agreements and recommendations for forward pricing rates.

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In a Sept. 10, 2012, memo, Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall and Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale lay out a new joint approach to address longstanding problems in the way the department manages unobligated funding.

DefenseAlert - 09/19/2012

The Pentagon, in conjunction with the State and Commerce departments, must continue to seek a better export-control system despite inaction from members of Congress, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said today.

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The Sept. 17, 2012, instruction memo lays out Defense Department "policy and assigns responsibilities for intelligence collection management."

DefenseAlert - 09/17/2012

The next Joint Strike Fighter program executive officer today delivered a blunt assessment of the major changes needed to the way the F-35 is managed -- primary among them a reset of the relationship between manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the program office, which he termed "the worst I've ever seen."

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On Sept. 14, 2012, the House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee held a hearing on Defense Department auditability challenges. Includes the opening statement of subcommittee Chairman Robert Wittman (R-VA) as well as the prepared testimony of DOD Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, Navy Comptroller Gladys Commons, Army Comptroller Mary Sally Matiella and Air Force Comptroller Marilyn Thomas.

DefenseAlert - 09/14/2012

The Pentagon is preparing to establish a new high-level body with the power to approve or deny expenditures for defense business systems, a move required by law that will create what is slated to be called the Defense Business Council, according to a draft charter of the proposed entity.

DefenseAlert - 09/14/2012

The Pentagon is about halfway toward its goal of achieving audit-ready statements of its budgetary resources by 2014, Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale told lawmakers today.

Inside the Pentagon - 09/13/2012
The Defense Department's system for tracking contracts for services is still under development, but it represents an improvement over the previous method, according to a report issued by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall.
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On Aug. 27, 2012, the Defense Department submitted a report to lawmakers stating that DOD's system for tracking contracts for services is still under development, but represents an improvement over the previous method.

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On Sept. 12, 2012, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on "Operational Contract Support: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future." Includes the opening statement of committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) as well . . .

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On Aug. 23, 2012, the Defense Logistics Agency held an industry day on strategic materials. Includes briefing slides on the Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Program, reverse auctions, small business partnering and wide area workflow.

DefenseAlert - 09/12/2012

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is convening top brass from around the world for a high-level, one-day meeting with Pentagon leaders on Thursday to discuss a range of issues, including strategic and budget matters, according to Defense Department officials.

DefenseAlert - 09/05/2012

The next few months will be "very challenging" for the Defense Department as it works to develop its fiscal year 2014 long-term investment blueprint amid uncertainty about its FY-13 budget submission to Congress, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said today.

DefenseAlert - 09/04/2012

The deputy defense secretary has reestablished the Strategic Choices Group to help guide key decisions about the military's fiscal year 2014 spending plan, forming -- for the second year in a row -- a high-level body to debate issues affecting weapons programs, force structure and policy initiatives needed to implement the Obama administration's Strategic Defense Guidance.

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In an Aug. 20, 2012, memo, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reestablishes the Strategic Choices Group to help guide key decisions about the military's fiscal year 2014 spending plan, forming -- for the second year in a row -- a high-level body to debate issues affecting weapons programs, force structure and policy initiatives needed to implement the Obama administration's Strategic Defense Guidance.

Inside the Air Force - 08/31/2012
ST. LOUIS -- Industry leaders who provide wide-ranging sustainment and support services to the Defense Department are facing an unusual challenge caused in part by budget pressure, namely that DOD's plans to insource some maintenance and modification work to its depots in the coming years could limit the amount of work available to contractors, according to senior Boeing officials.
Inside the Pentagon - 08/30/2012
Building on the previous establishment of a high-level Pentagon team to "resolve" requests from operational forces for urgently needed capabilities, the Defense Department has formally established the Warfighter Senior Integration Group, according to an Aug. 24 memo.