December 10 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

U.S. Senators Demand Explanation for ECSS Failure

Aaron Mehta, Defense News. The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to know what happened to a billion dollar Air Force program that was supposed to revolutionize parts and equipment management for the service. Instead it’s being called one of the biggest acquisition failures in recent memory after a review found that the billion dollars already spent would need another billion dollars and a delivery all the way back in 2020 before it would be fielded, leading to its termination. Now the service has lost a key part of its effort to face a full audit in 2017 without anything to show for the effort expended to this point. Both Senators Carl Levin and John McCain are demanding answers so we expect some uncomfortable hearings for the Air Force next month. This whole thing goes to the willingness of military officials to cut programs instead of putting good money after bad in an increasingly tight budget environment.

U.S. Senate Approves $650B Defense Bill

John T. Bennett, Defense News. The Senate unanimously passed the fiscal 2013 defense budget with a $525.3 billion baseline budget and $88.5 billion for the ongoing conflicts even as major cuts could kick in January 2.  The bill, which will go to a conference committee with the House of Representatives now, largely saves most major Pentagon weapons programs but leaves some restrictions on the ongoing Ford-class aircraft carriers and the Littoral Combat Ships. Overall there are few surprises but the uncertainty still carries on with the fiscal cliff issues still in play. The Congressional leadership has expressed hope that they can complete the defense budget bill by the time they plan to leave town on December 24.

DARPA Expanding Insight Program for Real-time Analysis of ISR Data

Defense Systems Staff. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is moving into the next phase of its Insight program designed to develop an analytical framework for global, integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The goal of the program is to develop systems that can automate analysis to track the massive amounts of real-time data being developed by sensors and systems around the world. The program is ambitious in its goals to address the ongoing problem of analyzing the reams of date being produced by the many collection systems of the U.S. intelligence organizations. The agency issued a Broad Agency Announcement for the $80 million program with proposals due by January 24 of next year. An industry day will be held in Chantilly, Va. December 18.

Lockheed Said Close to Pentagon Backing for 29 F-35 Jets

Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg. Word in DC is that F-35 maker Lockheed Martin is close to finally winning Pentagon approval to build all 29 fighters slated for the coming fiscal year 2014 budget after several years of setbacks, delays and probations on the program. This comes on the heels of an announcement last week from the Department of Defense that they had reached an ‘agreement in principle’ on a contract valued at almost $4 billion for 32 jets in the fifth production batch using money already appropriated for the program. The word coming out so soon after that announcement points to an effort by the Pentagon to show some stability on the largest weapons program in U.S. history and a fairly big vote of confidence in the plane’s progress.

Pentagon Publicly Discusses Planning for “Fiscal Cliff” – But Cuts Are Coming Anyway

John Grady, ScoutComms Special Correspondent. ScoutComms team member John Grady had the opportunity to talk about the recently announced Pentagon planning for the “fiscal cliff” with retired Marine general and chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board Arnold Punaro. The Pentagon announced finally this week that they had begun planning for the threat of sequestration as it becomes more apparent by the day that Congress and the President probably won’t avert the mandatory cuts in time. It’s becoming clear that the cuts won’t be a blanket percentage across the department. Some programs will see little if any impact at all where others might find themselves facing 20% or more lost from their budget. Good analysis to check out.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences:  No major defense tradeshows or conferences this week that we are aware of.

Congress: The full Congress is in session this week.


Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Weds, 12 Dec) Full committee hearing on the nominations of Keith Kelly to be assistant secretary for veterans’ employment and training at the Labor Department; and William Greenberg to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Witnesses: Nominees to testify Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

Think tanks and other news events: 

Institute for Veterans and Military Families: Empowering the Next Greatest Generation: Considering the Promise of The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, Washington, DC (8:00 AM, Tues 11 Dec) Description: A candid discussion around the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, more commonly referred to as the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Cited as one of the most generous benefits to veterans since the end of World War II, the panel will explore the bill’s implementation and its impact on veteran education. The panel will serve to inform and shape the national discussion around this important issue and help develop recommendations and plans of action for policy makers, government officials, higher education, and private industry. RSVP online. Participants: Mike Haynie, Executive Director, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University, Special Guest, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Meg Mitcham, Director, Veterans Progams, American Council on Education, Maureen Casey Managing Director, Military and Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase, Curtis Coy Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Michael Dakduk Executive Director, Student Veterans of America, Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett (Ret.) Deputy Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University, James Wright President Emeritus, Dartmouth College Location: National Press Club, 13th floor Ballroom, 529 14th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20045

VetAdvisor: Lessons From the Field: Augmenting Your EAP with Veteran-Centric Care Online (2:00 PM, Tues 11 Dec) Description: Military veteran employees are a unique community with unique needs. How can your EAP best serve this community? Vice President of VetAdvisor® Services Jennifer Roseman will share lessons learned and best practices for augmenting your current employee assistance program with veteran-specific services. RSVP online. Participants: Jennifer Roseman, Vice President of VetAdvisor® Services

United States Institute for Peace: Elections, Reconciliation, and the Final Two Years of Afghanistan’s Transition: Perspectives from the International Community Washington, DC (1:00 PM, Tues 11 Dec) Description: As the clock winds down on the final two years of Afghanistan’s security transition, where does the accompanying political transition stand? The main elements of the political transition are the 2014 presidential elections and the attempt to forge a political reconciliation with the Taliban. These issues are interrelated. Some say that there can be no effective elections unless a reconciliation process can first ensure adequate security conditions. Others say that reconciliation is impossible until there is a newly elected government in Kabul. The panel will look at both processes of the political transition. RSVP online. Participants: Steve Coll, President, New America Foundation, Jim DeHart, Director, Office for Afghanistan, Department of State, Thomas Lynch, National Defense University, Clare Lockhart, Founder, Institute for State Effectiveness, Thomas Ruttig, Founder and Senior Analyst, Afghanistan Analysts Network, Francesc Vendrell, former Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Afghanistan, Scott Worden, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, USAID Location: USIP, 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037

Asia Society: The United States and South Asia After Afghanistan, Washington, DC (3:30 PM, Tues 11 Dec) Description: U.S. interests in South Asia are evolving. An intense focus on counterterrorism and Afghanistan since 9/11 is giving way to a broader range of interests. Washington takes India’s global status seriously and is working closely with New Delhi on a range of regional and global issues. China’s rise, often neglected as a factor in South Asia policy, is encouraging a more strategic U.S. approach to Asia policy as a whole. As a result, a significant opportunity now exists to rethink U.S. South Asia strategy. RSVP online. Participants: Alexander Evans, Bernard Schwartz Fellow at Asia Society, a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Husain Haqqani, Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, Karl F. Inderfurth, Senior Advisor and Wadhwani Chair of U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Cameron Munter, Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s School of Law Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room A/B/C, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.


This entry was posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 7:53 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation