Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Kathleen Smith
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.

Home-Buying Regrets: Two Military Families’ Sagas

Tamara Keith, NPR. Two families illustrate the crushing problem of the housing crash on the military community as frequent moves mean families are either losing their homes that they can’t sell, or living apart. We’ve heard countless stories of military career decisions being driven by the inability to sell a home bought during the housing boom that is now underwater.  Unfortunately a DoD program to help sell homes of military members – a program that assisted 10,000 families to the tune of $1 billion — is unlikely to be renewed, leaving service members to fend for themselves again.

Defense-industry Career Track Looking Less Certain

Marjorie Censer, Washington Post. Time was that a nice safe job after leaving the military was in the big defense manufacturers and service providers. But the current fiscal tightening has made that career track less secure. With massive layoffs at several firms and clear messages that large cuts in services contracts are still to come, many employees are seeking other work and the industry worries about its ability to attract young talent to ensure a strong manufacturing base for the nation’s future. Things are extremely uncertain.

Defense Department Won’t Decide Which Contractors Get Paid if U.S. Defaults

John Bennett, The Hill. It seems that no one really knows what will happen if the U.S. defaults next week, and questions abound as to who will get paid and when. DoD officials stated this week that the Treasury Department will decide what order contracts are paid and at this point they have no idea precisely what that order and prioritization will be. The number of issues associated with this lack of information is pretty staggering ranging from feeding of soldiers downrange to basic security contracts on installations.

General Dempsey Warns Against Deep Defense Cuts

David Alexander and Phil Stewart, Reuters. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs nominee Army General Martin Dempsey surprised the “experts” who predicted he wouldn’t be a guy who rocks the boat. He came out of the gate at his confirmation hearing with a bang by telling the Senators that cutting $800 billion from the budget would be “extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.”  General Dempsey went on to contradict a regular refrain from current Chairman Admiral Mullen that the national debt is the number one threat to national security, stating that there are a lot of “clear and present threats to our security.”

DOD Wants Tougher Rules on Single-bid Competitions

Matthew Weigelt, Federal Computer Week. In yet another contracting rule change proposed this week, DoD acquisition officials want the department to have tougher restrictions on single bid competitions than required by Federal Acquisition Regulations. Under this newest proposal for businesses to wrestle with, DoD contracting officers would have to re-compete any solicitations if the window was less than a month and only one offer was made. If the competition was a 30 day and only one bid came in, then contracting officers would determine the fair price through their own cost analysis and negotiations with the bidder, and not necessarily what the bidder offered. On one hand this would increase fairness by circumventing some sneaky contract competitions that we have seen as short as six days that always seem to be won by an incumbent firm. On the other hand this could also make life very difficult for small businesses who work on thin margins and who will now have to wait even longer for a contract award to occur. And after winning an open competition, they will still have to negotiate their price with contracting officers that often seem to have no idea what real business costs are.

Avoiding acronyms, contractors get creative in name changes

Marjorie Censer, Washington Post. The wave of spin-offs and changes are also creating a new trend away from traditional acronym heavy defense industry naming conventions. ITT’s Defense spin-off will become ITT Excelis. Not mentioned in this story, L-3 Communications announced this week a spin-off of their government services unit to become Engelity. This wave will probably continue for months to come.

National Guard Members Keep an Eye on Day Jobs

Brenna Angel, Kentucky National Public Radio. Members of the National Guard from Kentucky, Oregon, Utah and Virginia ship out today for deployment to Iraq to support the drawdown of forces in that country. NPR takes a look at the unique nature of a deployment for NG soldiers and the challenges they face. Disclosure: My son-in-law is deploying with this package from Virginia.

DHS Contract Spending and the Supporting Industrial Base

CSIS took a comprehensive look at the Department of Homeland Security’s contracting efforts from 2004 to 2010. It takes an in-depth look at the contracting trends for products, services, and research and development (R&D) in DHS as a whole and in six of its key components: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Office of the Secretary (OSEC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Federal Agencies Need Policies and Procedures for Managing and Protecting Information

GAO found that most federal agencies haven’t addressed the risks to information protection and privacy that the embrace of social media has meant to their data. They recommend closer looks at policies and procedures to ensure that breaches don’t occur.

Defense Department Cyber Efforts: DoD Faces Challenges In Its Cyber Activities

GAO found that though DoD is making inroads in its efforts in cyber security, overall the effort is spread across multiple agencies and offices that do little coordination with each other leaving gaping holes and vulnerabilities in the department’s efforts.


This entry was posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 1:09 pm

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