Sep 30, 2008 17:56 UTC
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Last week, DID’s “Sharpen Yourself” series discussed the Agile Software Development trend. This week’s installment discusses the issue of team member performance. The context involves a team member who will not perform within the team’s new Agile development approach – but the issue surfaces in many contexts within the workplace.
One manager in the UK offers some thoughts from his own experience. Our own experience disagrees somewhat, in that there is more than one way, and team pressure can be an effective approach when used properly. We’re also reminded of a friend’s experience, which prompted him to write “My Ft. Bragg MBA.” On the other hand, Kelly Waters’ provides a useful sequence and toolset that should form the core of a good manager’s response.
“I’ve managed software development teams for many years (in the UK) and am currently responsible for a web development group of about 90 people. I think I’ve experienced every HR/management procedure in the book and keep promising to write a book about some of the more extreme examples (that are entertaining stories in hindsight but certainly weren’t at the time!).
…In my experience there’s only one way to deal with someone behaving badly in an Agile Development team (in fact in any team):”
Sep 30, 2008 16:18 UTC
Recent years have seen cyber-security rise as a defense industry and national security issue. The frequency of cracking attempts against security-related systems from Chinese sources has grown to the point where it is being acknowledged in the Pentagon’s annual “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China” publications. Estonia found itself the subject of politically motivated cyberattacks from Russia in May 2007. In 2008, cyber-assaults on Georgia operated in tandem with a buildup of Russian troops within Georgian territory, prior to the recent invasion.
Governments respond slowly, but responses are now beginning to get underway. Federal Computing Weekly, “Unlocking the national cybersecurity initiative”
“The cybersecurity initiative launched by the Bush administration earlier this year remains largely cloaked in secrecy, but it’s already clear that it could have a major and far-reaching effect on government IT operations in the future.
Everything from mandated security measures and standard desktop configurations across government to a recast Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) could influence the way agencies buy and manage their IT.
Overseeing all of this will be a central office run by the Homeland Security Department, the first time that the government’s efforts in cybersecurity will run through a single office tasked with coordinating the work of separate federal cybersecurity organizations…”
Sep 29, 2008 17:48 UTC
RE HMMWV, changes
(click to view full,
new parts in yellow)
AM General LLC in South Bend, IN received a $735 million firm-fixed-price contract for 4,853 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). Work will be performed in Mishawaka, MI with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/09. One bid was solicited and one bid was received by US Army TACOM in Warren, MI (DAAE07-01-C-S001). Note that these are just contracts for the basic vehicle; items like CROWS weapon mounts, Blue Force Tracker electronics, radios, et. al. are contracted separately and installed.
This tranche follows a flurry of orders in April and May 2008. See: “$650.1M for 4,526 Hummers,” “Another 3,216 Hummers for $522.4M,” and “$187.5M for Another 1,470 Hummers.”
The US military has begun fielding “Reliability Enhanced” M1151, M1152 and M1165 model HMMWVs. There have been some changes made, based on the harsh environment of South West Asia, increased payload demands, and some feedback from the field.
Sep 29, 2008 16:07 UTC
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Over at C4ISR Journal, “Europe’s declaration of independence” covers a EUR 2.3 billion (about $3.6 billion) Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) satellite constellation. EADS-Astrium will build the satellites, which fit into the growing trend toward “civil” satellites whose fine resolution and advanced sensors give them dual-use potential. Euroconsult in Paris predicts that the next 10 years will see almost 200 Earth observation satellites placed in orbit, some of which will have dual-use capability.
The EU is not alone in believing that environmental changes could become a significant driver of interstate conflict in a crowded world, and responses to natural disasters often require quick imagery in order to assess and plan a response. In addition to that kind of environmental monitoring, GMES will also serve as an independent check on other countries’ satellite data concerning weapons of mass destruction, genocide, et. al. This is not a formal requirement, but several European defense ministers have already expressed interest.
The GMES project was recently renamed Kopernikus, and given the tag line “observing our planet for a safer world.” By 2011, Sentinel-1 is expected to be a cloud-piercing radar satellite delivering 5 meter data blocks of imagery. By 2012, the Sentinel-2 mapping satellite would be added, with a number of sensors to measure environmental trends in key areas. Sentinel-3 will add a radar altimeter. See also: GMES official site | European Union Satellite Centre GMES page | ESA’s GMES page.
Sep 25, 2008 17:38 UTC
As oil prices remain high, and natural gas has become a critical fuel for Europe, Russia’s strategy for geopolitical action and leverage has revolved around energy. After the disastrous collapse of communist Russia’s illusion economy, high energy prices are lifting the Russian economy – and with it, available funds for Putin to spend on military modernization.
Russia’s military has declined from 4 million men to 1.1 million, and the vast majority of its equipment consists of holdovers from the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, weapons procurement was almost completely halted; indeed, there were frequent reports of Russian soldiers in uniform, begging in the streets. Times have changed, and Russia’s military is set to change and modernize. The invasion of Georgia shows a Russia that is once again prepared to use military power beyond its borders. Budgets are rising, and will rise further.
The question is whether Russia’s industry and political system can keep up…
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Sep 25, 2008 14:36 UTC
Rear Adm. Jawad &
Recent requests for over $10 billion in military equipment are beginning to thrust Iraq into the industry spotlight for reasons having to do with its government’s own priorities, and not simply as a stage for other nations’ military efforts. Even so, many of the country’s procurement efforts are still managed by outsiders with Iraqi participation, once Iraqis make their equipment decisions. It’s al part of diligent efforts to grow a cadre of new Iraqi Ministry of Defence officials, with the experience and training needed to run an accountable organization within a democratic state. The British Ministry of Defence offers a snapshot of efforts underway, and the challenges involved. Some excerpts:
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Sep 24, 2008 17:38 UTC
The US aerospace industry forms the core of America’s native military-industrial capacity, and is a potent contributor to American trade balances and economic competitiveness. At the moment, however, the US aerospace industry has thousands of vacancies; and AIA’s statistics show almost 60% of its workforce at age 45 or older in 2007. Other surveys report that between 13%-27% of that workforce will be qualified for retirement by the end of 2008, and several AIA member firms report that within 10 years, fully half of their current workforce will be retirement-eligible.
The news does not improve on the intake end. Overall, just 5% of bachelor’s degrees in the USA are engineering related, compared to 20% in Asia. American institutions award about 70,000 B.Eng degrees per year, including many engineering fields not related to aerospace. That figure rises to about 1/3 of bachelor’s degrees if science degrees are included, but many asian countries are well over 50% if those disciplines are aggregated. Worse, more than 50% of the engineering Ph.Ds awarded in the USA go to foreign nationals, many of whom are not eligible for US security clearances.
That may have something to do with the fact that U.S. 4th-graders score well against international competition in math and science, but fall to the bottom by 12th grade. The US Department of Education also reports an disquieting proportion of U.S. middle school students (grades 7-9, a critical inflection point) taught by educators who had no major or certification in mathematics (68.5%) or science (57.2%).
These trends alarm the American Aerospace Industries Association. Its recent “Launch into Aerospace” initiative offers both an analysis of the current situation and its implications for future competitiveness, and a commitment from AIA member companies to an agenda and a set of corporate actions designed to strengthen America’s future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) dependent workforce. A companion web site has been set up to help people take the required steps toward aerospace careers. As a next step, AIA is developing a second workforce report that will take a closer look at the issue and offer more details regarding industry commitments and social policy recommendations. AIA release | AIA Sept 2008 report [PDF] | LaunchIntoAerospace.org
Sep 24, 2008 11:01 UTC
NLOS-C CTD, Yuma
The USA’s $160+ billion Future Combat Systems faced a mild restructuring in February 2007, and in July 2007, work began on Phase 1 spinouts to the active force. In order to speed replacement of the M109 mobile howitzers, some members of Congress had been pushing to speed up fielding of the M1203 NLOS-C 155mm mobile howitzer as a replacement for the USA’s aging M109s, even if this meant breaking Future Combat Systems’ unitary acquisition model by making NLOS-C a separate program. That didn’t happen, thanks in part to FCS critic Senator McCain’s [R-AZ] interesting intervention, but the message was clear.
Unfortunately, even NLOS-C will break the C-130’s 20-ton cargo weight limit by a considerable margin (estimate: 27 tons, which works well in an Airbus A400M but not the C-130J Hercules). As such, FCS’ armored vehicle core is unlikely to ever deliver its most important touted benefit: deployability. On the other hand, NLOS-C does offer new and fully modern mobile howitzers, an aim that has clear Congressional support. As such, the FCS program is making the NLOS-C the lead example for FCS’ tracked Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) family.
This will be DID’s Spotlight article covering the NLOS-C sub-program, from its core platform and fit within Future Combat Systems, to its program and contracts, to additional research materials. The program was canceled in 2009, but elements of its technologies will survive elsewhere…
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Sep 23, 2008 15:48 UTC
KBP’s AT-14 Kornet-E
Defense News reports that Turkey’s recent competition for 80 advanced anti-tank missile launchers and up to 800 missiles has a surprising winner. After reportedly evaluating bids from South Africa’s Denel (Ingwe), Israel’s Rafael (Spike), Raytheon (TOW family), and Russia, the winner is… Russia’s AT-14/9M133 ‘Kornet E’, who walks away with a $70 million contract. The contract is expected to be signed in late August, with deliveries taking place in 2009.
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Sep 22, 2008 17:29 UTC
In the Pentagon’s April 2007 Selected Acquisition Report, the US Army’s $4 billion “Infantry-21” program – Land Warrior – lists as terminated. Which is true; Federal Computing Weekly has more. Noah Shachtman at WIRED’s Danger Room added that the soldiers weren’t that crazy about it, anyway:
“But as Alpha kicks in doors, rounds up terror suspects and peals off automatic fire in deafening six-shot bursts, not one of the soldiers bothers to check his radio or look into the eyepiece to find his buddies on the electronic maps. “It’s just a bunch of stuff we don’t use, taking the place of useful stuff like guns,” says Sgt. James Young, who leads a team of four M-240 machine-gunners perched on a balcony during this training exercise at Fort Lewis, Wash. “It makes you a slower, heavier target.”
Land Warrior was deployed to Iraq anyway in a slimmed down version, with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team’s 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division based in Fort Lewis, WA. Now, it appears that the program is set to return, in modified form…
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