The INSIDER - August 7, 2012
Inside the Army takes a closer look at the MRAP claims that got some attention last week, obtaining the actual paper and getting the Army's feedback as well:
Economists Claim MRAPs Did Not Lower Casualties, Aren't Worth The Cost
One of the most unshakable Pentagon acquisition narratives to emerge from the past decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan holds that Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles saved lives and were well worth the government's $40 billion investment.
The vehicles were introduced into the Iraq war in 2006 to better protect soldiers from improvised explosive devices and have proliferated ever since with the blessing of the Defense Department. But a controversial academic paper surfaced last week challenging the DOD's touted MRAP efforts, claiming the government was making safety claims based on "faulty information." The paper, which was obtained by Inside the Army, was swiftly dismissed by the military as uninformed.
Due to the classified nature of the MRAP program, an objective analysis of whether the vehicles really save lives in theater is difficult to come by. But economists Chris Rohlfs, an assistant professor at Syracuse University, and Ryan Sullivan, an assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, obtained DOD security clearance so they could examine the issue.
Much more in the full story.
And more on trucks and other ground vehicles:
Senate Appropriators Want More Extensive Army MECV Demonstration
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week voiced its support for a partial revival of the Army's terminated Medium Expanded Capacity Vehicle, urging the service to conduct a more elaborate competition than currently planned.
Senate Appropriators Worried About Army TWV Strategy And Reductions
The Senate Appropriations Committee wants the Army to be more forthcoming about its future tactical wheeled vehicle strategy, voicing apprehension last week about ongoing efforts to reduce the fleet.
Senate Panel: Army Too Reliant On Ground Combat Vehicle Spending
Senate appropriators are worried that the Army's combat vehicle modernization strategy relies too heavily on spending to develop the Ground Combat Vehicle and underfunds future efforts to upgrade platforms already in the inventory.
Inside the Navy's top story this week:
Navy: NGEN Delays Caused $2.1-Billion Boost In NMCI Price Ceiling
With the Next Generation Enterprise Network program falling behind schedule, the service announced Aug. 1 it intends to increase the contract ceiling for the legacy Navy-Marine Corps Intranet from $3.4 billion to $5.5 billion, which the Navy blamed on NGEN delays.
The Navy estimates that, based on current requirements, the service will exceed the ceiling for the NMCI continuity-of-service contract (CoSC) in September, according to an Aug. 1 notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities.
"There has been no increase -- not a single penny -- to basic Continuity of Service Contract (CoSC) costs that would prompt this raised ceiling," Bill Toti, NMCI operator Hewlett-Packard's vice president and account executive for Navy and Marine Corps accounts, told Inside the Navy on Aug. 2. Steven Davis, a spokesman for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, said in an Aug. 3 email that the contract modification "is needed due to a delay in the release of the [NGEN] request for proposal," and the program is on schedule to award the NGEN contract in the first quarter of calendar year 2013, with transition set to begin shortly thereafter.
And speaking of network issues:
WIN-T Reprogramming Shrinks As Senate Appropriators Cut FY-13 Funding
A Pentagon request to reprogram $334 million away from the Army's fiscal year 2012 budget for the Warfighter Information Network Tactical program will be trimmed to only $54 million by lawmakers leery of defense job losses, according to officials.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) strongly opposed the reprogramming request -- which would have cut the FY-12 budget for WIN-T in half -- because contractor General Dynamics C4 Systems had claimed the loss of funding could result in layoffs at a facility in Taunton, MA (Inside the Army, July 2). Brown is in a tight race for re-election with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren at a time when the economy and jobs have emerged as the most important issue for voters.
Ironically, news of the reprogramming change came last week shortly before Senate appropriators recommended that FY-13 WIN-T funds be reduced from the Army's $892 million request to $546 million amid concerns that such spending could create too many new jobs, which could not be sustained in future budgets.
The future of electronic warfare, examined:
For Army's Electronic Warriors, Greater Foes Than Afghanistan's Await
While the Army's electronic-warfare specialists have managed to gain the upper hand in countering remote-controlled bombs buried by insurgents in Afghanistan, those experiences may count little in predicting how the ground service would fare in future conflicts covered under the Air-Sea Battle doctrine, according to experts and officials.
The electromagnetic spectrum is one of the domains in which the U.S. military is able to operate at will against poorly equipped insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, despite a large investment in hardware, it took years to make the technology for jamming remote-controlled detonators useful enough that enemy fighters turned instead to mechanical triggers for their explosives.
Army Col. Jim Ekvall, chief of the service's electronic warfare division, said commanders in Afghanistan have reported a "marked decrease" in radio-frequency IEDs, although insurgents still sometimes "get lucky" with them. . . .
However, in the Pentagon's new Asia strategy, in which China is the proverbial elephant in the room, that may not be so easy. "When you have millions of dollars and a world of technology ahead of you, such as we might have in the Pacific Rim, I can't begin to tell you the advances they made in the last 10 years," Ekvall said. "I suspect they are probably fairly [commensurate] with the advances that we made in the last 10 years."
More Army news:
Senators Warn Against Hasty Patriot-Upgrade Spending, No-Bid Contracts
Senate appropriators last week urged the Army to put the brakes on plans to modernize the aging Patriot system, arguing the lack of an approved strategy and the prospect of no-bid contracts -- Raytheon makes the system -- has the markings of an acquisition effort doomed to fail.
"The committee is concerned that the program lacks clearly identified requirements, a competitive acquisition strategy and a full understanding of costs," Senate Appropriations Committee members wrote in a report on their fiscal year 2013 defense-spending bill, approved by the panel on Aug. 2. "These are factors that frequently lead to acquisition failures."
JLENS To Be Addressed By JROC In Late August; Details 'Classified'
A Joint Requirements Oversight Council review of the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor system has been moved from Aug. 3 to Aug. 23, though details on the purpose of the meeting remain sketchy.
Army Budget Justification Tactic Draws Senate Appropriators' Ire
The Army's use of "directed requirements" to justify programs in the fiscal year 2013 defense budget is causing headaches for members of the Senate Appropriations Committee who last week argued that the maneuvers do nothing to fix the service's acquisition problems, according to a panel report.
Senate Appropriators Add $70 Million To Complete EMD For Axed Spy Plane
Senate Appropriations Committee members last week moved to honor an Army request for increasing the fiscal year 2013 budget of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, recommending an additional $70.6 million for the program, according to a report on the panel's FY-13 defense spending bill.
On the Water.
Back to Inside the Navy's front page:
Navy Rankles Industry With Award Of P-8 Study Contracts To Boeing Team
The Navy's decision to award engineering study contracts for Increment 3 of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft to four contractors who already work on the plane has chafed some in industry who believe the program's pledge to open up competition for work on the aircraft hasn't come to fruition, according to industry sources.
Naval Air Systems Command put out a broad agency announcement on Federal Business Opportunities Dec. 19 for an engineering study on the P-8A Increment 3 reference architecture, inviting industry to submit proposals so NAVAIR can obtain "industry's innovative and insightful recommendations for an architecture approach, including changes to the government-defined P-8A Increment 3 reference architecture and the identification of projected cost, schedule and technical performance and risks associated with its development and implementation into the P-8A."
However, despite fielding proposals from 12 companies, NAVAIR recently selected four companies that already work on the P-8A: Boeing, the prime contractor; Lockheed Martin, which builds the acoustics suite; Raytheon, which builds the radar; and Rockwell Collins, which performs work on the autopilot and flight management system, according to the sources, who said the decision made them question whether it was a good use of time for those outside of Boeing's team to submit proposals in the first place.
Senate Appropriations Committee Knocks Navy Shipbuilding Plan
The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the Navy's shipbuilding plans over the future years defense plan as short-sighted in its mark of the fiscal year 2013 defense appropriations bill, approved Aug. 3, and the committee made significant changes to the DDG-51 destroyer and Virginia-class attack submarine programs in particular.
The committee added $778 million in advance procurement funding for a second Virginia-class submarine in FY-14, added $1 billion for another DDG-51 in the FY-13 budget, added $263 million in advance procurement for another LPD-17, boosted spending on the service life extension program for the Landing Craft, Air Cushion fleet by $37.9 million and cut $43.8 million from the carrier replacement program, mostly due to "excessive cost growth" in the carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79).
MCWL Developing Recommendations For Sustainment Capability Gaps
FT. PICKETT, VA -- The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is seeking solutions for sustainment-related capability gaps when supporting tactical units from a sea base, and tested unmanned options in a recent limited objective experiment, an official told reporters here last week.
During Limited Objective Experiment 2.2 held July 23 to Aug. 7, a Marine Corps company participated in a manned convoy and integrated convoy configuration during the exercise, Vince Goulding, MCWL experiment division director, said during a July 30 media briefing.
The manned convoy includes eight vehicles and 32 personnel. The integrated convoy includes eight vehicles and 26 personnel, according to Goulding's presentation slides.
MCWL Briefing Slides On 'Experimentation and Future Capability Development'
The July 30, 2012, briefing slides outline the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's work on sustainment-related capability gaps.
More documents of note:
Senate Appropriators' FY-13 Defense Spending Report
On Aug. 2, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the report accompanying the fiscal year 2013 military spending bill.
Quadrennial Roles And Missions Review
On July 20, 2012, the Pentagon submitted its quadrennial roles and missions review.
CRS Report On Chinese Naval Modernization
The July 31, 2012, Congressional Research Service report outlines potential oversight issues for Congress regarding China's naval modernization efforts.
Defense Legal Policy Board Roster And Initial Tasking
On Aug. 3, 2012, the Pentagon released the roster for the Defense Legal Policy Board and the board's initial tasking on military justice in combat zones.
-- Dan Dupont
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