* Arnold Punaro, a retired USMC Maj. General and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)’s new chairman, made a list of vacant senior civilian positions at the Department of Defense, and it’s a pretty long one. Either these roles are needed, and you have to wonder why the Administration has in many cases not even nominated replacements. Or they’re not essential, and DoD should officially terminate these deputy and assistant secretary jobs.
BRAC Needed, Just not the 2005 Kind
* So argues US Defense Acquisition Undersecretary Frank Kendall. We hear there’s a Deputy Secretary slot opening up…
Worrying Too Much About Sustaining the Industrial Base?
* James Hasik astutely notes at the Atlantic Council that the US industry may be losing its technological edge in land systems, but it was able to jolt into action when MRAPs were needed; incremental improvement of existing programs work; and if there are superior platforms out there, they’re manufactured by friendly countries anyway.
QinetiQ: What to Do with US Business?
* QinetiQ’s interim results [PDF] half into its 2013 fiscal year admit an “overall mixed performance” with better financial metrics but a challenging outlook in US services. They should have completed a “strategic review” of their US business by early next year. The Financial Times thinks a divestiture is likely.
* After the usual “leaked” pictures on blogs and forums, Chinese state-run media reported the 1st test flight of the Sharp Sword UCAV, following taxiing tests earlier this year. There’s a video on the ground, and in-flight pictures, but we haven’t seen in-flight video yet.
* Finmeccanica met with India’s MoD over the AW101 VVIP helicopter controversy, with 2 results. 1) They stuck to their guns and appointed an arbitrator, per their contract. 2) They’re going to send a written legal response to MoD “exceptions” by Nov 25/13. Company statement.
* The US Navy suspended and reassigned Capt. David Haas based on allegations in the Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GMDA) investigation. He is reportedly less directly involved than other officers already named in this case.
* GMDA is not only facing allegations of having bribed officials and dumped pollutants in the sea, they have also been sued by a supplier for having failed to pay for fuel. GMDA had for its part filed a lawsuit to challenge a Navy award – informed by past performance ratings – to competing firm Multinational Logistic Services but GMDA lost [PDF] in June their appeal from a ruling by the United States Court of Federal Claims. In the past 4 years GMDA also filed 4 GAO protests, and an award to them was once protested by a competitor, but in all 5 cases the GAO denied the protests.
* GMDA CEO Leonard Francis, fondly called “Big Leonard” by his lawyer, will be able to wait until his trial out of jail, but it’s going to cost him.
French MINDEF Wants to Correct Late Payer Reputation
* The French Ministry of Defense is courting [in French] small businesses and urging them to bid against their RFPs, claiming that improvements to the Chorus accounting software deployed across ministries are helping speed up payments. Some small business owners continue to object vehemently [in French], claiming that 10,000 jobs have been lost to tardy payments. Last month Les Echos reported [in French] that the DGA procurement agency was facing severe cashflow difficulties.
US-Germany Relationships, Post Snowden
* A call to broaden the German-U.S. dialogue about snooping:
“Both Merkel and her prospective Social-Democratic coalition partners are pragmatic, down-to-earth decision-makers. They are unlikely to let hard feelings get in the way of their countries’ strong shared interests. But nonetheless, the situation weighs more heavily among German policymakers and citizens than Americans may realize. Germans tend to be more emotional about bilateral relations with the United States than Americans are.”
South American Defense Cooperation
* Brazil and Argentina will work together to develop their cyber warfare capabilities. Brazil is also pitching KC-390 transport aircraft and Guarani armored vehicles to its southern neighbor. Official statements in Portuguese | Spanish [PDF]. Throughout the year the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)’s defense council has been pushing for [in Spanish] the creation of a joint defense school.
Typhoon Haiyan relief
* The UK sent its helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious to the Philippines, from the coast of Somalia via Singapore, with 500 tons of aid supplies. Royal Navy video below: