March 12 Defense Industry Weekly Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

U.S. Defense Companies Should Remain Strong if No Sequestration

Marcus Weisgerber, Defense News. Defense department and Congressional leaders told an investors conference last week that those companies and programs that have survived the current budget cuts are more than likely to survive the next five years, barring the dreaded sequestration when all bets are off. Dr. Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash) both echoed the sentiment that they don’t believe sequestration will occur and that the market should be settling for the defense industry.

Pentagon Contends with Surplus of Trucks

Marjorie Censer, Capital Business, Washington Post. The military rushed to buy tens of thousands of Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to protect troops in combat, but with the war in Iraq over and Afghanistan winding down the services are stuck with thousands of vehicles with no mission. To make matters more challenging, the Administration has called for a lean, fast and highly deployable military of the future. Not one of those words describes the MRAP fleet. Reluctant to shed purchased equipment, many of the vehicles will go into contingency overseas reserves while older models are shed from the books. This is not really a surprising result, for many were asking what will we do with four or five different types of vehicles when the war they were built for is over?

DOD Mismanages Disabled Vets Contracts: Report

Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg. Echoing a similar report last year at VA, the DoD’s Inspector General has found the department is inadequately insuring that companies that claim to be veteran owned actually are, and that controls are in place to check compliance with the set- aside programs that award contracts to these businesses. The VA report led to new, and somewhat draconian, rules to qualify as a veteran owned certified business where DoD does not mention plans to go to more extensive checks of business credentials beyond reminding contracting officials to ensure compliance with the programs guidance and to make sure that contracts are being properly entered into the database to track them. These data entry problems are giving DoD greater credit for contracting with veteran-owned businesses than they actually are, and falsely classifying non-vet businesses.

Mining Social Media for Intelligence

Sharon Weinberger, Aviation Week. Journalist @WeinbergerSA looks at how a number of government agencies and defense firms are attempting to mine publicly available open source information on social networks to paint an intelligence picture and to even predict future events.  At this point no one is known to have created an algorithm that can reach that level of predictability, but a number of attempts are helping to narrow the focus of intelligence agencies by delving into the many social streams and finding the key factors needed to work towards one mission. It’s a brave new world.

New Ads Pitch the Marine Corps Kinder, Gentler Side

Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press. The U.S. Marine Corps is rolling out a new recruiting campaign based on research showing that many young people today are interested in helping people and making a difference in the world. The research conducted by ad agency JWT with ScoutComms partner firm, SocialSphere of Cambridge, Mass., found that a remarkable 70% of 17-24-year-olds felt that helping others was key to being good citizens while only 31% felt serving in the military was key. Merging the two issues, the new ads aim to show that you can serve in the Marines while helping others through delivering aid and rescuing those in need. It’s a smart use of precise research and targeted messaging to attract today’s potential recruits.

Vets’ Jobless Rate Takes Big Drop in February

Rick Maze, Army Times. The monthly jobs report came out on Friday and young veteran unemployment dropped almost 2% from 9.1% in January to a below-the-national-average of 7.6% in February. However skeptics are wondering whether it’s just a statistical anomaly due to the small number of veterans surveyed for the monthly scan. Suspicions are especially acute when the young female veteran rate dropped from 17.3% all the way down to 7.3% in one month. The numbers have set off some interesting debates with veterans advocates saying that it’s a blip and the problem persists while others, including us, ask why should we call the low unemployment number a statistical inaccuracy while we are so eager to hang our hats and major efforts on the higher number that was just as statistically flawed? The truth lies somewhere between the extremes, but where exactly is open for debate.

The week ahead

Themes: The Senate will generate some discussion this week with lines being drawn in the sand on budget, program cuts as well as the proposed raising of Tricare fees for military retirees. The shootings in Afghanistan will almost certainly dominate discussions though.


Satellite 2012 (Mon-Thurs, 12-15 March) Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

SATELLITE 2012 provides attendees with exclusive access to satellite professionals who work in the military, broadcast, telecommunications, first response, enterprise and commercial markets. The Conference and Exhibition features more than 11,000 attendees from 75 countries, the latest products and newest innovations from more than 350 companies and 300 experts, leaders and executives speaking at the event as well as an exhibition of the latest technology and innovations in this sector.

6th Annual NavExFor 2012 (Tues-Weds, 13-14 March) Virginia Beach Convention Center, VA

NAVEXFOR 2012 will provide a forum for exploring the future challenges facing the Navy and Marine Corps operating in the expeditionary arena, and where opportunities for innovators in logistics, training, communications, and mission performance will be found. Individual speakers and panel discussions will highlight the importance of capitalizing tomorrow’s constraint to find “shared solutions to shared challenges.”

Congress: Only the Senate is in session this week.


Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Mon, 12 March) Water and Power Subcommittee field hearing on “U.S. Navy Energy and Water Policies.” Witnesses: Retired Sen. John Warner, R-Va., former secretary of the Navy and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Thomas Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Thomas Hicks; Navy Vice Adm. Philip Cullom, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics; Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James Kessler, commander of the Installations Command; Navy Rear Adm. Townsend Alexander, commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic; and Marine Corps Col. Robert Charette, director of the Expeditionary Energy Office, testify Location: U.S. Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, VA

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (9:30 AM, Tues, 13 March) Full committee hearing on U.S. South Command and U.S. Northern Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of the U.S. Southern Command; and Army Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command and commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, testify Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Appropriations Committee – Hearing (3:00 AM, Tues, 13 March) Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the military construction budget for the Defense Department and Department of the Navy. Witnesses: Defense Undersecretary, Comptroller and CFO Robert Hale; Deputy Defense Undersecretary for Installations and Environment Dorothy Robyn; Principal Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Peter Lavoy; Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment; Maj. Gen. James Kessler, commander of the Marine Corps Installations Command and assistant deputy commandant for installations and logistics (facilities); and Navy Rear Adm. David Boone, director of the Shore Readiness Division and deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, testify Location: 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Veterans Affairs Committees – Hearing (10:00 AM, Weds, 14 March) Full committee hearing on “Ending Homelessness Among Veterans: VA’s Progress on its 5 Year Plan.” Witnesses: TBD Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Appropriations Committee – Hearing (10:30 AM, Weds, 14 March) Defense Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Department of the Air Force. Witnesses: Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley; and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz testifies Location: 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Weds, 14 March) Personnel Subcommittee hearing on Active, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. (Part One) Witnesses: Acting Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney; Defense Undersecretary/Comptroller Robert Hale; Acting Assistant Defense Secretary for Reserve Affairs David McGinnis; and Assistant Defense Secretary for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson, director of TRICARE Management Activity, testify Location: 232-A Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (9:30 AM, Thurs, 15 March) Full committee hearing on the Department of the Navy in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Secretary of the Navy Raymond Mabus Jr.; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert; and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos testify Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Appropriations Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thurs, 15 March) Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Veterans Affairs Department. Witnesses: VA Secretary Eric Shinseki; VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel; VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey; VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro; Assistant VA Secretary for Information and Technology Roger Baker; and W. Todd Grams, executive in charge for the Office of Management and CFO, testify Location: 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building

House of Representatives: Constituent work week House not in session

Think tanks and other news events:

Center for Strategic and International Studies: The CSIS-Schieffer Series Dialogues on Redefining the Front Lines: Anthony Shadid and Foreign Reporting in the 21st Century

Washington D.C. (5:30 PM, Tues, 13 March) Description: The next in the ongoing Schieffer dialogue series focuses on the changes in foreign reporting in light of the death of Anthony Shadid in Syria.  RSVP required. Participants: Bob Shieffer, Moderator, Jon B. Alterman, CSIS, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, Robert F. Worth, New York Times Magazine

Location:  CSIS, 1800 K Street NW, B1 Conference Center, Washington, DC 20006

Brookings Institution: Present Meets Future: Evolving Defense Paradigms Washington D.C. (9:30 AM, Thurs, 15 March) Description: the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings will host its third annual Military and Federal Fellow Research Symposium, featuring the independent research produced by the fellows from each military service and federal agencies, who have spent the last year serving at think tanks and universities across the nation. Organized by the fellows themselves, the symposium provides a platform for building greater awareness of the cutting-edge work that America’s military and governmental leaders are producing on key policy issues. Participants: Military and Federal Fellows from across the country as well as Lieutenant General Christopher Miller, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, U.S. Air Force, will deliver opening remarks. Major General FHR Howes OBE, head of British Defense Staff (USA) and Defense Attaché, will deliver a lunchtime keynote address on leadership. Location: Falk Auditorium, The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC

Fred Wellman with General Petraeus in Iraq

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, March 12, 2012 9:59 am

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