January 28 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Senators to Probe Air Force’s $1 Billion Failed Software

Tony Capaccio (@ACapaccio), Bloomberg. The Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating the failure of a $1 billion software project by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) for the Air Force that was canceled in November. The program was reorganized three times in three years and a new review found that to fix the program would cost yet another $1.1 billion on top of that already spent and still bring it in past the deadline needed. To their credit the Air Force is taking a percentage of the blame for shifting requirements, failed acquisition processes and other management issues and not just leaving CSC out to take the blame for the massive program failure, but it’s likely that any investigation will leave few without dings in their armor. In the end, the most frustrating part for many Senators is that after all that effort, time and money the service is no closer to meeting a goal of 2017 for a full audit of the Department of Defense.

General Dynamics Blames $2 Billion Loss on Defense Cuts

Jim Tankersley and Marjorie Censer (@jtankersley and @CommonCenser), Washington Post. Massive federal contractor and defense giant General Dynamics reported a $2 billion loss last Wednesday thanks to cuts in the defense budget as the Washington D.C. area begins to feel the effects of budget uncertainty. DC has been tracking largely ahead of the rest of the nation through the great recession but with the defense budget in free fall it seems likely the birds will be coming home to roost in the nation’s capital region. Particularly troubling is that GD announced it’s devaluing its information technology business by $2 billion on falling government demand in a sector that was thought to be relatively immune to cuts. Expect more to come.

Newly Cleared, Gen. Allen to Command NATO

David Cloud, Los Angeles Times. The Department of Defense Inspector General has cleared Marine Gen. John Allen of any wrongdoing in the investigation of extended email conversations he had with Tampa Bay socialite Jill Kelley as part of the Petraeus-Broadwell scandal. With that finally over, the White House plans to resubmit his nomination as commander of U.S. European Command which has been on hold since November when the FBI turned over suspicious emails to DoD. The hype over the incident was pretty ridiculous as reports of some 30,000 emails leaked only later to be clarified as 30,000 pages and then some mere 6 or 7 questionable exchanges. Allen is currently the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford is slated to take over in coming weeks.

Pentagon to Boost Cybersecurity Force

Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae), Washington Post. Even in a week where massive cuts are being announced throughout the Department of Defense word came that U.S. Cyber Command has been approved for a massive multi-year expansion in recognition of the growing threat to U.S. computer systems from foreign adversaries. U.S. officials are saying that in support of Cyber Command moving from a largely defensive force to more of a warfighting unit it will grow from its current 900 personnel to upwards of 4,900 military, civilian and likely contractor members. The growth will support the creation of three types of missions including “national mission forces” protecting critical civilian and infrastructure computer systems; “combat mission forces” executing overseas digital offensive operations; and “cyber protection forces” to harden DoD’s own networks. This is further proof of what many are saying that while the defense industry faces a tough time, cyber and intelligence operations are set to expand in the new strategic environment we face.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences: 

NDIA’s 24th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC (Mon-Wed, 28-30 Jan) As budget cuts take their toll on conferences and the future of the force, special operations forces will take on a larger share of the combat burden. SO/LIC will look at how these forces will work on the ground in low-intensity conflicts (LIC) and how they will be employed to build partner and allied-nation capacity. General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Admiral William McRaven, Commander of USSOCOM, will be on hand.

Congress: The House is not in session this week.


Senate Armed Services Committee (9:30 AM, Thu 31 Jan) Nomination hearing on Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Witnesses: Honorable Chuck Hagel, former Senator from Nebraska Location: G50 Dirksen

Think tanks and other news events: 

Brookings Institution: The Evolution of Joint Special Operations Command and the Pursuit of al Qaeda in Iraq: A Conversation with General Stanley A. McChrystal, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Mon 28 Jan) Description: A discussion with General Stanley A. McChrystal (ret.) that will focus on the story of how Joint Special Operations Command, working with many other agencies and nations, built itself into a powerful network capable of studying, tracking, hunting, and finally killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The event is full but will be webcast online and Tweeted with #FPMcChrystal. Participants: General Stanley A. McChrystal (ret.), Senior Fellow, Yale University, Co-founder, The McChrystal Group Location: Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

American Enterprise Institute: Watching ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ with the CIA: Separating fact from fiction, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Tues 29 Jan) Description: A panel of CIA veterans will answer questions like, “Just how accurate is Bigelow’s depiction of enhanced interrogation techniques? Did intelligence from detainees really play a critical role in leading investigators to bin Laden’s doorstep in Abbotabad? Has President Obama’s decision to curtail the interrogation program placed America’s national security at risk?” RSVP online. Participants: General Michael Hayden (ret.), Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John A. Rizzo, Former Chief Legal Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, Jose Rodriguez, Former Director of the National Clandestine Service Location: 1150 17th Street, NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20036

Hudson Institute: Bleeding Talent: How the US Military Mismanages Great Leaders and Why It’s Time for a Revolution, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Thu 31 Jan) Description: From the Hudson Institute: “Great leadership is a hallmark of the U.S. military, but today the Pentagon is bleeding talent—externally as top officers quit the ranks in frustration, and internally as those who serve are stuck in a risk-averse bureaucracy that inefficiently matches people with jobs. An exclusive survey of West Point graduates reveals an Army that rewards conformity but ignores merit, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” RSVP online. Participants: General Jack Keane (ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and Chairman of the Board for the Institute for the Study of War, Lt. General David Barno (ret.), former head of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, Colonel Martha McSally (ret.), first American woman to fly in combat, first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron Location: 1015 15th Street, N.W. 6th Floor Washington, DC 20005

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: 2013 Women in Combat Symposium, Washington, DC (9:00 AM, Fri 1 Feb) Description: This symposium will examine the wisdom and impact of combat exclusion policies – past and present. Participants will scrutinize the pros and cons of the current restrictions on women’s service in the US military, and they will evaluate the experiences of US allies who impose no restrictions on female soldiers. RSVP online. Participants: Taking part are soldiers, veterans, academics, and others including Kayla Williams, Author, Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the US Army, Sergeant Julia Bringloe, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Afghanistan 2011, Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute, Dr. Laura Miller, RAND, “Extent of Restrictions on the Service of Active-Component Military Women,” Colonel Todd S. Desgrosseilliers, USMC, Commanding Officer, The Basic School, received a Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with combat distinction, and two Purple Heart Medals Location: 1111 19th St NW, 12th Floor, 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, January 28, 2013 9:22 am

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