US Defense Acquisition Undersecretary Frank Kendall previewed [CSIS] this morning the 3rd version of the Better Buying Power set of regulations and guidelines. Kendall wants to maintain American technical superiority in combination with the cost consciousness concerns prominent in BBP so far. That’s a lot to ask, and Kendall knows the main bottlenecks are proper incentive design as well as the quality of his sprawling staff. The final document will be ready in January. Interim release | Presentation [PDFs] | Video further below (jump 18 minutes in).
Because he’s aware that “people are policy”, Frank Kendall also recently wrote about ethics and professionalism [PDF] in acquisition. His article makes a blunt assessment of how the services carefully select what they share when they interact with the Pentagon, creating significant information asymmetry issues:
“I think I’m a realist, and I know that when a Military Department asks me for a decision when it has already decided what that decision should be. As the Defense Acquisition Executive, I’m not being asked by the Service to figure out the right decision; I’m being asked to ratify the one the Service believes it has already effectively made.”
Scotland voted against independence in the referendum, with a rather decisive 55-45% vote backed by a high turnout. Think this is over? Only for now – ask a Canadian. But if the pro-independence side wants to beat the pro-union side next time, they’ll have to find a way to appeal to more women. Meanwhile, Russia cries foul over the vote. Yes, really.
The US Senate joined the House in approving a bill [AP] supporting the arming and training of Syrian rebels fighting ISIS.
The US Defense Department has a plan for strikes against ISIS in Syria ready for Presidential approval. National Journal.
France launched [Presidency PDF, in French] its first strikes against ISIS in Iraq – or Daech, as the French have decided to name the organization [Le Figaro, in French] – with Rafale jets destroying a logistics depot.
According to Israel’s Channel 2 (via Times of Israel), the Israeli Foreign Ministry blocked a UAV export deal to Ukraine for fear that Russia would retaliate by further arming Syria and Iran.
Asia / Pacific
Naval War College professor and “Red Star Over the Pacific” author James Holmes suggests that buying/ license-building a squadron of Soryu Class AIP boats for the USN, and forward-basing them in Japan and Australia as an adjunct to the Virginia Class, might solve a lot of strategic and budgetary problems. With Australia also considering the Soryus, it’s a very interesting idea. Especially since DOT&E reports on the A-RCI system cast doubt on the nuke fleet’s superiority against modern conventional subs.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute takes a look at (video) the missions Australia will execute in Iraq.