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Inside the Pentagon – 09/28/2006
Posted: Sep. 28, 2006
LOCKHEED PUSHES BACK AGAINST PROPOSED JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER DELAY: As lawmakers
headed into negotiations on the fiscal year 2007 defense spending bill, defense giant Lockheed Martin peddled a compromise procurement plan for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on Capitol Hill, Inside the Air Force reports. If adopted, Lockheed’s plan would have nixed a Senate-led effort to delay initial production of the fighter by one year, according to the company’s top program official.
The plan would have called upon Congress to fully fund production of four conventional takeoff-and- landing (CTOL) JSF variants in FY-07, which would make up the first stage of the program’s low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase.
The second part of the plan, as proposed, would have given the Pentagon long-lead funding in FY-08 to begin work on six Air Force-specific CTOL and six Marine Corps short takeoff-and vertical landing variants, Lockheed Executive Vice President and JSF Program Manager Tom Burbage told reporters at a Sept. 20 roundtable.
In the end, conferees working on the legislation agreed to fund two JSF aircraft in FY-07, while providing advance procurement money for 12 more in the following fiscal year. The House passed the agreement on Sept. 26.
HAGEE SAYS TALKS WITH NAVY FOCUSED ON IMPLEMENTING OPERATIONS CONCEPT: Last
month’s behind-closed-doors Navy-Marine Corps warfighting talks focused mainly on how the department would implement ideas discussed in the new Naval Operations Concept, according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee.
Hagee said the biggest takeaway from the talks, held in Norfolk, VA, is that the two services are “really locked at the hip.” He spoke to Inside the Navy following an appearance at a Sept. 21 Marine Corps Association dinner in Arlington, VA.
The new concept, which he and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen signed on Sept. 1, calls for “more widely distributed forces to provide increased forward presence, security cooperation with an expanding set of international partners, pre-emption of non-traditional threats, and global response to crises in regions around the world where access might be difficult,” according to a copy of the document.
“We are absolutely committed to instituting that — to implementing that,” Hagee said. “And so we talked about the global fleet stations. We talked about expeditionary warfare.”
AFTER FINALIZING C2BMC DEAL WITH ARMY, MDA WILL TURN TO AIR FORCE, NAVY: Once the
Missile Defense Agency and the Army nail down an approach for developing a joint, interoperable way of providing an integrated picture of missile defense assets to combatant commanders, the agency will turn to the Air Force and Navy to see if similar partnerships are possible, according to Air Force Brig. Gen.
Robert Dehnert, MDA’s program director for command and control battle management communications systems.
MDA — charged with developing a layered missile defense system to protect the United States and its allies — and the Army will use some of the same systems, like Patriot and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense. However, each entity is developing separate tools under their own C2BMC constructs. (The Army calls theirs the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.)
Since getting the go-ahead from Army acquisition czar Claude Bolton and MDA chief Air Force Lt. Gen. Trey Obering this summer to “explore” a cooperative acquisition of a C2BMC architecture, the two components are close to reaching some key agreement, Dehnert toldInside the Army Sept. 22.
Dehnert is working with Army Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space Brig. Gen. Mike Cannon to “map out our fiscal year 2007 plan and focus on three areas that we think are ripe for immediate cooperation — the human-machine interface, the process for how we network our sensors and the planner.”
OVERSIGHT COUNCIL FASHIONS CRITERIA FOR ‘PROMPT GLOBAL STRIKE’ STUDY: A six-point study plan fashioned by the Air Force Requirements Operations Concepts Council (AFROC) establishes the preliminary criteria that service officials will use as the basis of an analysis of alternatives for the Pentagon’s next-generation “prompt global strike” effort.
Air Force Space Command officials have begun categorizing the numerous platform submissions defense-sector companies have submitted to the program into a half-dozen capability areas identified by the council’s plan, which was approved in June, Col. Paul Gydesen, chief of AFSPC’s deterrence and strike division, tells Inside the Air Force.
The six areas in which service officials will categorize proposed prompt global strike platforms are: sea- based; those that would be launched from the continental United States; forward-based; air-based; heavy-lift; and a “catchall bin” for options that do not fit within those areas, he said.
“They provided course corrections and directions and that was what resulted in the final approval of the study plan,” he added. To date, AFSPC has received 15 proposals in response to a January prompt global strike request for information.
COMPTROLLER NOMINEE SAYS ARMY POM COULD BE SUBMITTED BY NOVEMBER: President Bush’s pick to be the Army’s next comptroller told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that if the service and the White House can reach an agreement on shortfalls in the Army’s future budgets by early October, the service can submit a six-year spending plan to the Office of the Secretary of Defense by November, reports Inside the Army.
Nelson Ford, currently the Army’s deputy comptroller, described the situation in answers to questions posed by the committee prior to his Sept. 19 nomination hearing.
“My understanding is that the difference between the current fiscal guidance and the resources necessary to accomplish the Army’s mission as delineated by the Quadrennial Defense Review is significant, and that the Army’s current operational and readiness requirements are greater than both the current fiscal guidance and DOD-directed mission,” he said.
The Army did not submit its fiscal year 2008 program objective memorandum — a six-year spending plan — in mid-August as required because service leaders believed there was too large of a gap between the amount of money available and the Army’s requirements over that time period.
MARINE CORPS DEPLOYING MORE DUST ABATEMENT EQUIPMENT TO IRAQ: The Marine Corps is equipping its forces in Iraq with more hardware to distribute dust palliatives, which help reduce the hazards of landing helicopters in desert environments, reports Inside the Navy.
The palliatives are dispersed by 900-gallon trailer-mounted hydroseeders, 1,200-gallon skid mounted hydroseeders and 2,500-gallon scraper-mounted water distributors. The hydroseeders are made by Finn Corp. of Fairfield, OH, and the water distributors are manufactured by Caterpillar.
There are eight of each type of hydroseeder in Iraq. Additional hardware will be fielded to all garrison units there by the end of the year, Mike Farley, team leader for material and construction equipment for Marine Corps Systems Command, told ITN last week. The water distributors should be fielded by March 2007, he added.
Since January 2004, four dust abatement technologies have been used in theater: EnviroKleen, Soiltac, Surtac and Envirotac II.
AIR FORCE ANTICIPATES TRAINING FLYING HOUR CUTS FROM FUEL ‘CRISIS’: Air Combat
Command expects flight training hours to be cut by 10 percent annually over the next six years to help offset a “crisis” spurred by rising fuel costs, command officials tellInside the Air Force.
“We fully anticipate that we will get 10 percent less flying hours than we feel we really need,” Col. Eric Best, chief of the flight operations division of Air Combat Command, said in a Sept. 20 telephone interview. “We have built our flying hour program based on our requirements. We feel we’re going to get 10 percent less than we’ve asked for . . . so somehow we’re going to have to make up the difference.”
Rising fuel costs are cited by officials as one of the primary reasons for the expected cut in training flight hours. In the first two quarters of fiscal year 2006, the Air Force spent $2.6 billion on fuel, according to Lt. Col. Anne Gorney, who works in the Air Force secretary’s office of financial management, cost and economics.
At the beginning of this fiscal year the service paid $2.12 per gallon for jet fuel, also know as JP-8; as of Sept. 14, the service was paying $2.53 per gallon. Those prices do not include state, local or federal excise tax, for which government agencies are exempt.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS DEFEND DECISION NOT TO FIELD TROPHY APS: House
lawmakers called Defense Department officials to Capitol Hill last week to defend their decision not to field the Israeli Active Protection System, which can protect soldiers inside ground vehicles from rocket- propelled grenades, Inside the Army reports. DOD instead opted to field such a system in 2011 under the Army’s Future Combat System program.
During a Sept. 21 House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing, Robert Buhrkuhl, the director of the DOD’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army’s deputy for acquisition and systems management, told lawmakers that several factors were considered in the decision not to field the Trophy APS system under the Full-Spectrum Effects Weapon Systems initiative (nicknamed Project Sheriff). The main reason was the technology’s readiness, they said.
Sorenson told lawmakers the testing community estimated that completing integration and testing would mean the system would not reach the field until 2008. Even then, Sorenson added, there would be some integration hurdles.
Additionally, the Trophy system would not be as efficient as the one proposed under FCS because it would not have 360-degree coverage or an auto-loader and the vehicle would be susceptible to being hit after the Trophy system destroyed the first RPG, Sorenson said.
COAST GUARD SEEKS FUNDING FOR COMMUNICATIONS GEAR, LOGISTICS: Though not as
tangible or attention-grabbing as new cutters or aircraft, the Coast Guard’s communications gear and logistics capabilities are essential to its ongoing operations, and the service needs Congress to fully fund these key areas, according to Rear Adm. Gary Blore, program executive officer for the Deepwater program.
Such funding is necessary to ensure new ships and aircraft are well maintained and can communicate with each other, he said Sept. 19 in an interview with Inside the Navy.
“Deepwater is all about a net-centric approach,” Blore said. “When the Deepwater system is fully deployed you have [fewer] assets than you have today. The difference is they can all talk to each other, they can all stream video to each other, the intelligence is the same.”
Nonetheless, Blore admits it is difficult to convince lawmakers to fully fund command, control, communications, computers, surveillance and intelligence capabilities and logistics equipment in each year’s homeland security appropriations budget. “It’s easier to talk about the assets You can talk about the patrol boat and you can get people excited about it,” he said.
ARMY GUARD COMBAT VET CALLS FOR MOBILIZATION, TRAINING IMPROVEMENTS: A Louisiana
Army National Guard commander testifying last week before a high-profile commission on reserve component readiness described the process to get his unit ready for deployment to Iraq in October 2004 as “inefficient, wasteful of time and energy and oftentimes pure torture,” Inside the Army reports.
Despite problems, the unit was ultimately “a trained, competent, confident force with some equipment issues, ready to execute full-spectrum operations,” Lt. Col. Thomas Plunkett, who runs the outfit’s 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry, told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves at a Sept. 21 hearing in San Diego.
But, he added, “if my unit is to truly become an operational and not a strategic reserve, we have to improve and shorten the mobilization.”
The commission heard testimony on two days last week about the ability of National Guard and reserve forces to meet security needs at home and abroad. Witnesses included those responsible for preparing National Guard and reserve personnel, those in a position to assess such training, and those who have commanded troops in combat. The hearing came on the heels of a Sept. 13 report by Democratic lawmakers Reps. John Murtha (PA) and David Obey (WI) that says Army readiness rates have declined to levels not seen since the end of the Vietnam War.
LAWMAKERS AGREE TO PARTIALLY FUND UNMANNED COMBAT AIR VEHICLE: House and Senate
appropriators agreed last week to provide $100 million — an amount well below President Bush’s request — for the Navy’s unmanned combat air vehicle research and development project in fiscal year 2007, Inside the Navy reports. By cutting $139 million, Congress will force changes in the project, according to the program manager.
On Sept. 21, conferees reached an agreement on the FY-07 defense spending bill.
Originally, House appropriators recommended cutting $50 million from the president’s FY-07 request, while their Senate counterparts proposed eliminating all $239 million sought for the project. This month, however, the Pentagon appealed to House and Senate conferees to support the House proposal. In the end, $100 million was earmarked for the program.
Formerly known as the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System, or J-UCAS, the project previously was a Navy-Air Force effort with variants from Boeing and Northrop Grumman under development. But the Defense Department’s FY-07 request cut funds for J-UCAS from both services, and included $239 million for unmanned combat air vehicle advanced component and prototype development — a new line item — in the Navy research and development budget.