DID’s Google Drive – we OD on DOD OCD so you don’t have to
We at Defense Industry Daily maintain a Google Drive repository filled with more than 2,000 painstakingly selected, renamed and labeled PDF/Word/PPT/XLS files focused on major defense programs and budgets. We started opening it to a few readers in February 2013 and are now ready for another round of beta testing. Google’s recent changes make this even more attractive. Read below what this entails and how this works.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT to defend the principle of a sustained industrial base. EB announced earlier this month that it will lay off 52 people next January.
The FY12 defense authorization bill is still hung in the US Senate because of detainee policy. The White House threatened a veto if they don’t get language they like. The Senate approved a related bill introduced by Jack Reed (D-RI) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) reducing the Air Force’s strategic airlift aircraft inventory minimum from 316 to 301 aircraft.
While the Pentagon updated is cyberspace policy report [PDF] to Congress a few days ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is trying to append cybercrime language to the aforementioned authorization bill, just in case it was not stalled enough already. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to debate more comprehensive cybersecurity legislation in early 2012. A couple such bills have been in the work for several years. Even the SEC has an opinion.
It looks like the 3% contractor tax withholding law is going to stay dead after it was repealed unanimously in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Acquisition lingo clarification: though “program of record” is widely used to describe programs that passed milestone B and will get funded, it is not an actual official DFARS term.
Deakin University’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research in Australia is showing their new motion simulator with an eye of flight simulation thanks to its ability to rotate continuously and simultaneously around 2 axes, as per the video below:
By Evan H. Lesser, Co-founder and Managing Director, ClearanceJobs.com
With some economists predicting as much as half a decade until U.S. unemployment lowers to the historical norm of 5%, this will not be an equitable jobs recovery and in certain industries – some jobs are likely gone for good. Unlike the sectors hit hard by the recession, the U.S. defense, homeland security, and intelligence industry has been largely untouched by the economic slowdown. Bolstered by the largest line items in the Federal budget, the business of protecting the U.S. and our foreign interests is characterized by its tight labor pool. In particular, workers with active Federal security clearance remain in high demand. With more open jobs than qualified candidates to fill them, security-cleared professionals in the defense and intelligence industry remain in an enviable career position. Simply put, a security clearance opens more than just doors to classified information – it opens doors to a secure career.
However, just because a worker has received a security clearance does not mean they have the ability to maintain it. Periodic reinvestigations of clearance holders are designed to ensure cleared professionals remain suitable for access to classified information. If the results of a cleared worker’s reinvestigation are unfavorable, their security clearance can be revoked, leaving the worker without a job and a valuable career asset…
Guest Article by Mark R. Hamel and Charles J. Wolfe
Tofukuji Reiun-in Gaun-no-niwa
Kaizen events often represent the initial rapid deployment vehicle for lean transformations. Effective events drive step-function improvement, momentum and organizational learning and engagement. But while many people gravitate to the technical side of kaizen events (hey, check out this cool kanban system!), it’s as much, if not more, about embedding lean principles and capabilities within the culture.
Only then can improvements become sustainable. Only then can the organization move from purely event driven kaizen to the much more powerful combination of (occasional) events and true daily kaizen – the frequent, small, process focused improvements conducted by engaged and enabled employees in their everyday work. This is what separates the lean pretenders from the lean practitioners.
In Washington, knowing “who” is usually more important than knowing “what.” Roll Call magazine offers a valuable feature for industry and government personnel alike, as it covers “Defense: 10 Staffers to Know“:
“The world of defense encompasses a range of related issues, from procurement to personnel to weapons systems – and their respective price tags. This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee marks up its 2010 defense authorization act; last week, the House Armed Services Committee marked up its 2010 legislation. Here are 10 Hill staffers who play important roles in establishing the nation’s defense policy and priorities.”
The feature offers short descriptions of the staffers’ backgrounds, and some entries also note particular foci. Contrary to public perceptions, these staffers aren’t young 20 or 30 somethings; they’re generally people with decades of experience in the field.
The commercial world is moving toward Agile Programming models, in part as a solution to its perennial problems with late and over-budget releases. For various reasons, that could prove to be a difficult transition in the defense industry.
Power Point presentations. They’re ubiquitously common, and often criticized for dumbing down discussion within industry and the military. There’s some truth to that assertion, in part because most people have never been trained to design and present that information properly. DID’s “Preparing More Powerful Presentations” offers useful examples, teachings, and tips that can help our readers sharpen an important career skill.
The defense industry is a very technical industry, however, which creates some unique requirements for good presentations. Penn State discusses technical writing and presentations’ requirements, and teaches an associated set of techniques called “the assertion-evidence structure.” It begins by changing each slide’s title to an assertion rather than a heading, and follows by changing the design and structure of the slides themselves. It meshes well with the many of the recommendations in “Preparing More Powerful Presentations”; together, these approaches can make a big difference to your presentation’s impact with its audience.
Bernard M. “Barney” Oliver was HP’s director of research for 3 decades, from 1952 to 1981. His list of patents, engineering achievements, and science awards was bogglingly large, and included many of the most prestigious awards in these fields. He was also a stickler for the proper use of English; and for clear communication that could move people by answering the “why?” questions, even as it informed them by answering the “what and how?”. That talent was one of many things that set him apart from his peers.
His most lasting achievement is related to that talent. The 1971 Project Cyclops report [PDF format, 14.5 MB | Print version] laid out the basis for theories of intelligent life in the universe, and was instrumental in the creation of NASA’s famous SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project.
Time may tell us how many of SETI’s premises turn out to be true. Until those verdicts are rendered, Dr. Oliver’s work is offered as a fascinating read – and a gold standard for excellent written communication in the aerospace, engineering, and technical policy fields.
If you work in the defense industry, communication is part of your job. It’s necessary within project teams. It’s often the difference between success and failure, when you need to explain your job or your project to upper management. Its importance grows again when you need to explain your project or your work to friends, family, or the public at large. Testimony before a Congressional committee would certainly underscore the need for clear communication, in a very pointed fashion. Then again, most people don’t have their perceptions of the industry shaped by Congressional committees. It’s shaped by reports they read, which are based on industry web sites, releases, and interviews. It’s also shaped by people they know. People like you.
A funny and deeply instructive recent interview with the head of the Pentagon’s Business Transformation Agency drives this point home with crystal clarity. It’s an unusual example, in that the same person responsible for a classic example of impenetrable bureaucrateux, promptly rights his own ship and proceeds to give a clear answer when prodded to do so.
This makes it an outstanding educational example for industry members who wish to become more persuasive, and have more impact:
“In the mid to late fifties, a fighter pilot could earn himself a quick forty bucks and perhaps a nice steak dinner in Vegas – not to mention everlasting renown, which is to fighter pilots what oxygen is to us lesser beings – by meeting over the Green Spot at thirty thousand feet and taking position just 500 feet behind an arrogant and unpleasant man with precisely zero air-to-air victories to his credit. From that perfect kill position, you would yell “Fight’s on!” and if that sitting duck in front of you was not on your tail with you in his gunsight in forty seconds flat then you would win the money, the dinner and best of all, the fame… To be challenged in such a manner is an irresistible red flag to men like this, and certainly no less of one because the challenger was a rude, loud, irreverent braggart who had never been victorious in actual air-to-air combat. And yet that forty dollars went uncollected, uncollected for many years against scores of the best fighter pilots in the world.