The INSIDER - September 6, 2012
Editor's Note: Updated September 7 at 10:48 a.m.
Up in the Air.
DOD Completes Study On Future Of Space-Based Infrared Technology
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, CO -- The Defense Department has finished conducting a study involving a number of different organizations that looked into how to best provide overhead persistent infrared capabilities in future years. At the same time, the Air Force is working through integration testing that should lead to the service's first Space-Based Infrared System satellite being declared operational in the coming months.
As Legacy Constellation Thrives, Pressure Eases On GPS III's First Launch
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, CO -- Two Air Force officials involved in defining the path forward for the Global Positioning System III program told Inside the Air Force this week that the service is confident its first GPS III satellite will be available for launch in 2015 as scheduled, but they said the overall GPS launch schedule is extremely flexible because of the quality and availability of capable earlier-block GPS satellites that are yet to be put into orbit.
Lockheed And Boeing Major Bidders On GPS OCS Sustainment Contract
Representatives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin both confirmed they submitted bids in time for last week's Aug. 27 deadline on a sustainment contract for the Air Force's Global Positioning System satellite constellation's ground segment.
Air Force: JASSM-ER Successfully Completes Operational Testing
The Air Force's extended range variant of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile has successfully completed operational testing within the past few days, according to a service spokesman.
And one more for the road:
Pentagon Reports Schedule Delay In Raytheon's JPALS Program
The Defense Department has advised Congress of a six-month schedule slip to Raytheon's Joint Precision Approach and Landing System program due to a delay in the planned integration of the new capability on the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).
Finally, a few documents you might be interested in:
CRS Report On FY-13 Defense Bills
The Sept. 5, 2012, Congressional Research Service report -- originally obtained by Secrecy News -- outlines the issues surrounding the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization and appropriations bills.
Air Force Letter On F117 Engine Sustainment Strategy
In a Sept. 5, 2012, letter to industry posted on Federal Business Opportunities, the Air Force outlines its strategy for competing future maintenance and overhaul work for its F117 aircraft engines.
DISA's GIG Convergence Master Plan
On Aug. 28, 2012, the Defense Information Systems Agency released its Global Information Grid Convergence Master Plan. The GCMP describes DISA's technical strategy for providing services to the warfighter.
Inside the Pentagon takes a look at the prospect of further Army and Marine Corps personnel reductions:
Deeper Cuts Anticipated For Marine Corps And Army Force Structure
The Marine Corps and Army are likely to shrink their force structures in the coming years more than senior military leaders have publicly acknowledged, according to analysts and active and former service officials.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos last week defended plans to cut his service's force from 202,000 to 182,100 troops by 2016, noting the prospect of more defense-spending cuts has not prompted the service to draft plans for an even smaller force. Asked whether the service could further reduce its force structure by a few thousand Marines if additional budget cuts left no alternative, Amos said it could be done, but he added there are no plans to take that approach and said there appears to be no appetite in Congress and the Defense Department for shrinking the Marine Corps below 182,100. . . .
A former Marine Corps official said Amos' statements amount to posturing, adding that the service's force structure is likely to decline to roughly 170,000 by FY-20. The Army has begun reducing its active-duty end strength from 560,000 to 490,000 by FY-17, but it, too, would likely shrink further outside the FY-12 to FY-17 future years defense plan, the source said. "They are all pitching the FYDP 12-17 but that's not the full story," the source added.
Ashton Carter sets up a senior panel to help wade through this year's budget challenges:
Carter Forms 'Strategic Choices Group' For Series Of FY-14 Budget Reviews
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.
On Aug. 20, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter directed the formation of a group that will include representatives of the military services, the Joint Staff, the under secretaries of defense and the office of the director of cost assessment and program evaluation.
"I am convening a Strategic Choices Group to guide continued rebalancing toward the new strategy," Carter wrote in a one-page memo. "We had tremendous success last year in leading first with a strategic review that then formed the basis for our programmatic decisions. We will replicate that strategic and inclusive process once again this year."
Carter Memo On The Strategic Choices Group
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.
And there will be challenges:
Kendall: DOD Faces 'Very Challenging' FY-14 Budget Process
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 Wednesday.
More from Kendall:
Kendall: Rescinding Milestone Decision Authority Was Key For EELV Recertification
Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said today he would have had a "difficult" time providing Nunn-McCurdy recertification to the Air Force's Evolved Expanded Launch Vehicle program had he not also decided to take over milestone decision authority for the effort.
It's been quite a week for JLTV. In case you missed it -- all first reported by InsideDefense.com -- here's our coverage so far:
BAE Systems Passes On JLTV Protest; Hardwire Was 'Mystery' Seventh Bidder
BAE Systems has decided to forgo filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office over the Army's recent Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract decision, according to a company spokeswoman.
Navistar Withdraws JLTV Protest
Navistar Defense plans to withdraw its Government Accountability Office protest of the Army's recent Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract decision, according to a company spokeswoman.
CRS Report On The JLTV Program
The Aug. 27, 2012, Congressional Research Service report -- originally obtained by Secrecy News -- outlines issues for lawmakers regarding the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program
The FYI on the SSBN(X) program:
Classified Navy Assessment Of SSBN(X) Endorses Program Of Record
A recent classified assessment of design options for a new class of multibillion-dollar nuclear ballistic missile submarines endorses the current plan to build 12 subs, each with 16 missile tubes, according to Navy officials.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert last month said he felt "good" about the affordability of, and the plan for developing, the new submarine class. In a brief Aug. 10 interview, he told Inside the Pentagon that the Navy still plans to acquire a dozen new subs for the program -- one of four options examined in a recent congressionally mandated report. . . .
Navy spokeswoman Lt. Courtney Hillson confirmed this week that the classified report to Congress endorses the plan of record: "Our assessment is the program of record, 12 SSBNs with 16 missile tubes each, provides the best balance of performance, flexibility, and cost meeting commander's requirements while supporting the nation's strategic deterrence mission goals and objectives."
Speaking of the Navy:
Navy Approves Initial Production Of Northrop's G/ATOR Radars
The Navy's acquisition executive has granted a special waiver permitting Northrop Grumman to commence low-rate production of the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar -- the G/ATOR, a $3.3 billion effort to replace five legacy radar systems and the latest addition to the Pentagon's roster of big-ticket weapon programs.
On July 25, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley issued a justification and approval -- a legal finding, and a previously unreported development -- to modify an existing sole-source contract with Northrop Grumman and incorporate an option to allow the Marine Corps to procure eight low-rate production systems, according to Capt. Cate Mueller, Stackley's spokeswoman.
The new provision allows production of six more systems than permitted under a contract option the Marine Corps allowed to expire, according to Mueller.
Following up on a story from a few weeks ago, Inside the Pentagon gets DOD to talk about its dealings with Pakistan:
Joint Staff Defends Role Of U.S. Generals In Relations With Pakistan
A spokesman for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey is defending the key role American generals play in U.S. relations with Pakistan amid calls for greater emphasis on diplomatic ties.
A draft report by the State Department's International Security Advisory Board argues that civilian-to-civilian contacts should be the principal and most visible conduit for U.S.-Pakistan relations. For the United States, in most cases, that means the State Department and embassy team, but at times it might include the president, the vice president and the White House's national security adviser, the panel writes. The highly visible role played by Dempsey and the U.S. Central Command chief should "sharply decrease" as American forces exit Afghanistan, the report states.
But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Dempsey and the general's spokesman, Col. David Lapan, have touted the importance of military ties in bilateral relations with Pakistan. "I think it's safe to say our mil-to-mil relationship with Pakistan will continue after the transition to Afghan lead for security in 2014, and the CJCS and CENTCOM commander, among others, will remain engaged with our Pakistani counterparts," Lapan told Inside the Pentagon this week.
The back story:
Smaller Role Urged For DOD's Top Brass In U.S.-Pakistan Relations
The Defense Department's top brass should play a much smaller role in U.S. relations with Pakistan as American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, according to a draft report prepared for the State Department.
Draft ISAB Report On 'Pakistan And U.S. Security Strategy'
The draft May 24, 2012, International Security Advisory Board report "looks at the U.S.-Pakistan relationship with respect to four potential future outcomes -- three negative and one positive."
-- Dan Dupont
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