The basic concept of NETFIRES is to develop a family of artillery-like precision attack missiles based upon a vertical launcher design. Yet the idea goes far beyond that simple description. The NETFIRES CLU box launcher is intended to be be fully autonomous, meaning it can be dropped off anywhere and operate on its own without a support vehicle. The launch unit includes power generation and control systems as well as a total of 15 missiles, each with a warhead similar in size and capability to a 155mm artillery shell.
The system is also known as XM501 Non Line-Of-Sight, Launch System, or NLOS-LS. At one time, it was one of Future Combat systems’ most promising programs, slated for early fielding to the Army and even for integration with US naval forces. It has been canceled in both areas, and its absence threatens to leave a serious hole in both the Army’s and Navy’s modernization plans.
L-3 MPRI, Inc. in Alexandria, VA recently received a $156.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to embed former law-enforcement professionals into corps, division, brigade, regimental and battalion headquarters. Their mission will involve helping battlefield commanders penetrate and suppress criminal networks involved in IED land mine production, distribution, and use throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and other overseas operations. The contract will run to Dec 10/11, and 1 bid was solicited with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W91CRB-08-D-0049).
What do you do with 469 attack helicopters, once you’ve decided to phase them out of service? That was the question facing America, after the Army decided to retire its AH-1P/S/F Cobra attack helicopter fleet in 1999, and the National Guard followed suit in 2001. In 2000, Redstone Arsenal’s Scout-Attack Helicopter Program manager kicked off a Cobra retirement program at Fort Drum, NY. The helicopters wound up at Fort Drum’s Foreign Military Sales shop, near Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. Instead of focusing on dismantling them, the program looked for ways to give them a new lease on life.
A number of countries still fly AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, so some were gutted for parts, then used as military training targets. The US Marine Corps, for instance, still flies a different set of AH-1 models. They bought $75 million worth of those parts. Most of the Cobras, however, ended up going through a 5,500 man-hour, $1 million refurbishment, before being sold to military customers overseas, or to American federal and state forestery departments. Instead of costing money, the AH-1 fleet’s retirement has turned out to be a profitable process for the Army. Still, as the saying goes, even if the world does owe you a living, the collection process is hard work…
US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) has been extremely busy since Sept 11/01, a situation which creates corresponding demands on their support infrastructure. SOCOM is famous for having a practical, results-oriented, “get it done now” approach to contracting, and there are a number of umbrella contracts designed to provide them with outsourced support and maintenance services of all kinds. One of the these contracts is SOFSA CLS (Special Operations Forces Support Activity, Contractor Logistics Support); contrary to some media reports that it exemplifies a trend toward contracted services, it has been running for over 20 years now.
On March 3/09, the Pentagon announced that Lockheed Martin would be replacing L-3 Communications Integrated Systems as the designated contractor for SOFSA CLS, which has 3 primary components: (1) aircraft, vehicle and equipment maintenance, (2) critical infrastructure support, and (3) business process transformation. L-3 protested that award, received a sizeable interim award, and got the Lockheed win canceled, pending a re-compete. Then, a May 2010 scandal changed everything…
The term “cloud computing” has been floating around the commercial IT sector for a number of years. It describes how large-scale computer infrastructure can tap the power of the Internet to perform complex tasks. Cloud computing allows organizations to save money and increase flexibility by using shared IT resources, such as applications, storage devices, and servers.
The DoD wants to tap into those benefits. In May 5/09 testimony [pdf] before a US House panel, Pentagon cybersecurity official Robert Lentz offered the following prediction about the benefits of cloud computing for DoD:
“A cloud is…an ideal place from which to make capabilities available to the whole enterprise. While, in the DoD, we have encountered challenges moving towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA), in the private sector, companies like Google and Salesforce are basing their business models on an insatiable public hunger for software and applications as a service. Emulating their delivery mechanisms within our own private cloud may be key to how we realize the true potential of net-centricity.”
This article examines the development of cloud computing and how DoD is tapping into that technology for its computer networks, as well as the challenges faced by DoD in its effort:
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.
Most main battle tanks have derivative Armored Engineering Vehicle variants. They sacrifice the main gun in order to provide powerful support for combat engineering tasks under fire, while keeping up with a mechanized brigade in any terrain. The Leopard 2, for instance, has its AEV-3 Kodiak, which has recently been developed and sold to Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
The US Army’s Grizzly variant of America’s M1 Abrams tank was specifically designed to breach complex obstacles including mines, berms, wire, rubble, and tank-ditches, in order to keep a mechanized force moving through prepared opposition. Unfortunately, the Grizzly assault breacher was canceled in 2001, as part of a larger restructuring of the US Army’s program portfolio. The US Marines still believed they had a need for the Grizzly’s capability, however, given their core mission of forcible entry from the sea. Marine Corps Systems Command granted Milestone B approval for their similar “Assault Breacher Vehicles” in July 2003, and these AEVs were expected to achieve full operational capability in FY 2007. It took a while, but the machines have now performed their first major combat mission…
The US Air Force has exercised a second option year on a $90 million 5-year contract (FA8224-07-D-0001) for Mainstream GS in Bethesda, MD, to provide continuous process improvement (CPI) services. CPI is intended to improve the efficiency of how the USAF works as an organization.
A main portion of Mainstream’s work involves support for the Air Force Smart Operations 21 (AFSO21) program, which is based on both Lean and Six Sigma business process improvement tools.
In an interview, Mainstream President Alan Horowitz told DID that his company is supplying the USAF a number of CPI services, include Lean and Six Sigma consulting, training, facilitation, and planning…
Alion Science and Technology in McLean, VA received a $97 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide the Chief of Navy Information Office (CHINFO) with media relations, community outreach, visual information systems, information technology support, Web site portal management, and business case analysis development and assessment, as well as management and public relations for Fleet Week.