Afghan Security Forces Not Growing Into Institutions Able to Support Oversight
Afghanistan Drawdown Update
- Winter slows down combat in Afghanistan, and ISAF Commander General Dunford sounds rather optimistic about how the 2013 fighting season unfolded, but he recognizes that “[m]uch work remains to be done in developing the institutions, systems, and processes necessary to sustain a modern, professional army and police force.”
- US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] issued a statement calling for a “total review of all intelligence programs” and firmly opposing collection by the NSA of intelligence on the leaders of US allies.
- The British House of Commons will debate intelligence oversight on Thursday. Earlier this week Prime Minister David Cameron accused newspapers airing leaks of having a “lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view” and made the implicit threat of a media crackdown, were they to continue to lack “social responsibility.”
Cuts Coming at EADS
- EADS CEO Tom Enders told the Süddeutsche Zeitung [in German] that “hard cuts” to costs and jobs will come as the group rebrands into Airbus in the first half of next year. The decrease in orders from the German government “cannot and will not remain without consequences.” A fleshed out plan will be announced in December.
The Impact of Dependencies on Availability
- As the US military is relying more and more on networked systems, pieces of the puzzle that require functionality from other elements to operate are becoming more prevalent. Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories are working on how to model [PDF] the operational availability (Ao) of such systems of systems. There’s only so much you can calculate with equations, which is where simulation comes into play. Ao is a mandatory key performance parameter in all major DoD programs.
Equipment and Cost Drivers
- A look at the dynamics behind naval modernization in South America.
- Inconvenient truth: the cost ratio for rockets and short-range missiles vs. defensive systems isn’t great for the defender, even with clever “engage or not” algorithms like Iron Dome’s. Technion aerospace professor and former missile designer Dr. Nathan Faber explains why a sustained barrage could be a problem for Israel. See also his paper [PDF in Hebrew].
- US Army Acquisition Undersecretary Heidi Shyu last week described the Program Manager (PM) job as the “flea on the tail of the dog”, a position which she found shockingly powerless after 3 decades spent in the private sector. To echo this view, a PM quoted during today’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on acquisition reform:
“I have responsibility for everything and authority for nothing.”
- (Unnamed) Senior naval officers in Britain are concerned that delayed construction means that the forthcoming Type 26 frigates could be obsolete by the time they’re fielded in any numbers.