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Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman
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.

Petraeus Retires, With a Warning

Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times. Much is being made about General Petraeus warning about budget cuts in his speech at his retirement ceremony. While it makes good headlines, the overwhelming majority of his words centered on the many that mentored him, soldiered with him and supported him through his 37 years in uniform. In a brief paragraph he expressed worry that one of the key lessons we have learned in the last ten years is you don’t always “get to fight the wars for which we’re most prepared or most inclined.” And for many of us in the crowd it was as much an urging not to give up on counter-insurgency doctrine and training, vs. budget fears.

VA Takes Aim at Jobs, Transition Help

Steve Brooks, American Legion Website. Speaking at the American Legion’s Annual Convention Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki laid out the priorities for the department including attacking the high unemployment rate for recent veterans, improving access to healthcare for all veterans, eliminating veteran homelessness and reducing the huge backlog of undecided benefits claims.  Good snapshot of where the VA is today and their priorities.

U.S. Chamber Campaigns to Employ Vets

Craig Roberts, American Legion Website. U.S. Chamber of Commerce VP of Veterans’ Employment Programs Kevin Schmiegel spoke at the Legion’s convention on Wednesday. He laid out a robust set of initiatives by the Chamber to address veteran employment by partnering with major corporations, encouraging thousands of small business members to hire veterans locally, and creating a web based system of mentorship and training to aid veterans in their job search. Schmiegel is a retired Marine and is gaining a reputation in D.C. of being out front in the veterans’ cause.

Veterans Discover Allure of Jobs in Western Wilderness

Felicity Barringer, New York Times. Veterans are finding hard work in a pilot program run by the California Conservation Corps. It’s reminiscent of the 1930’s building efforts in our national park system. In Sequoia National Park they are in small teams clearing trails and improving roads for visitors, while getting a taste of their former lives in service.

Study Finds Extensive Waste in War Contracting

Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal. In a scathing final report the Commission on Wartime Contracting found that almost one in every four U.S. dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan have been wasted or misspent. More losses are likely as we hand over control of the facilities we have built to the host nations. They estimate losses as anywhere from $31 billion to over $60 billion.

Bloomberg Government Insider: The Next Battle

Various authors, Business Week. Bloomberg Business Week did an “all in” focusing on the issues surrounding the coming defense budget cuts and challenges for the industry and DoD.  Instead of trying to pick which stories were best, we thought we would link to them all for your perusal as it’s a pretty good comprehensive look at a lot of the issues including healthcare costs, fuzzy budget math, opportunities for small business, the revolving door for senior officers going to industry and an interview with the Pentagon comptroller.  It’s worth a long look at this whole list with a bunch of great angles on the situation.

Army May Cut 10 Brigade Combat Teams

Michael Hoffman, Army Times. Reports are saying that the Army is considering cutting ten of its active duty brigade combat teams to meet the cuts being dictated in the current budget deliberations.  Interesting about this is that the Army went through a massive transformation after OIF 1 in 2004 that created these essentially stand-alone BCT’s around the world.  That effort involved spending billions on infrastructure like barracks, motor pools and new housing for families so where these cuts will fall will be the real question with potential for wasting as much as it saves.

JLTV Shedding Dollars; Humvee Draft RFP Due

Paul McCleary, Aviation Week. Already faced with cuts of $50 million to its $172 million budget in 2010, the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is said to be facing even more cuts through procurement date moves and other adjustments. At the same time they are talking about a reduced timeline for development as well, so the program could go a few ways. Concurrently the Army is expecting to announce the long awaited Humvee “recap” program request for proposals in the coming weeks. The Army is looking to cap that cost at $180,000 per vehicle for the 50,000 Army and 3,400 Marine Humvees that have seen years of continuous combat use and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military Logistics: The $37 Billion (Non) Competition

Sharon Weinberger, Wired.com Danger Room. Sharon takes a look at the massive logistics support contracts known as Logistics Civil Augmentation Programs, or LogCap, which are umbrella contracts covering the broad array of troop support programs in theater, from food distribution to managing their living trailers. Mostly awarded in a sole source bid to KBR under LOGCAP III, the newest version LOGCAP IV isn’t viewed as much more of a competitive program either.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 02, 2011 4:26 pm

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