Rapid Fire 2012-02-13: Mobile Hotspots
- [Update] The US DOD released its FY13 budget request.
- Budget killer? With TRICARE costs spiraling, pharmacists and lawmakers are calling attention to the fact that the proposed merger of the USA’s only 2 national “pharmacy benefit managers” would not be good for TRICARE costs. If the merger is allowed by the FTC, it will be one more reason to push TRICARE recipients toward mail-order for drugs.
- In the UK’s House of Commons’ Major Projects Report 2011:
We welcome the Department’s better performance in controlling project-level cost increases, but remain concerned that total costs of the top 15 projects continue to rise for other reasons each year. Projects approved since 2002 have shown significantly lower overall cost growth than those approved before this date and since 2008 there has been no overall cost increase from project-specific technical issues. However, in 2010-11 the forecast costs to complete the 15 largest defence projects still increased by £466 million overall [DID: about $735M], and the Department continues to struggle to live within its means.
A note on variables that a Department cannot control: macro-economic factors such as exchange rate changes accounted for 38% of the 2010-2011 increase. Meanwhile the National Audit Office (NAO) reviewed the way the Ministry of Defence is handling reductions in the size of its workforce.
- Katrina McFarland [PDF] was nominated as US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, a role she has been holding in an acting capacity since October 2011. McFarland has been heading the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) since December 2010 after having been the Director for Acquisition of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for more than 4 years. Earlier in her career Mrs. McFarland worked in procurement for the Canadian Department of National Defense for a couple of years. Update: DID got confirmation by DoD’s Public Affairs that Katrina McFarland will continue with her dual duties. Determinations re: who will head DAU will be made after the confirmation process is completed.
- The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is now headed by Dale A. Ormond, a civilian who was deputy to the commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and previously held two Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army positions.
- The needs for in-theater bandwidth has been expanding dramatically with data and video feeds from UAVs. To address them, DARPA wants to develop tactical networks of mobile hotspots. This will require new antennas, amplifiers and other components. The presolicitation shows they would like to achieve 1Gb/s links between Shadow UAVs and ground vehicles. There’s $11.8M of funding for the 1st phase of the project followed by $27.M for the next two phases [PDF]. Among others, researchers from UC Davis and the University of Missouri plan to attend tomorrow’s Proposer’s Day conference.
- Some manufacturers and analysts think Vietnam is opening to the idea of expanding its armament procurement from Russia to western countries.
- The International Assessment and Strategy Center on China’s tactical fighter exports [PDF] and growing influence in Latin America:
“As part of its campaign to build global strategic influence China is offering increasingly sophisticated weapons exports that it uses to reinforce important political and economic relationships. China is no longer a last resort supplier of cheap but obsolete weapons for isolated regimes; it can now offer a full range of weapons that are increasingly competitive with Western systems in capability and very competitive in terms of price.”
- The Institute for the Study of War put together the Afghanistan Order of Battle [PDF] as of Jan. 2012.
- Last week the US Air Force suspended Booz Allen Hamilton’s San Antonio office from future federal contracts and has proposed its debarment. FederalNewsRadio | USAF PDF memo.
- Britain’s Prince Harry, who has served in Afghanistan as a Forward Air Controller, is headed back: as an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter pilot.