Latest updates[?]: The US Air Force has started phasing out one of its oldest and most reliable assets, the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. This move comes as the Air Force’s 55th RQS (Rescue Squadron) has just returned from a successful deployment, during which the Pave Hawk fleet played a crucial role in a variety of missions, including personnel recovery, casualty evacuation and on-call support to joint and coalition forces. The 55th RQS, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, is now preparing to fully integrate the new HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter into its fleet. This newer helicopter model is expected to bring increased aircraft availability and newer technologies to the table, which will be leveraged by 55th RQS aircrews to continue the vital mission of combat search and rescue operations.
In 2006 the US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract worth north of $10 billion for 141 HH-47 combat search-and-rescue helicopters, but by mid-2009 the CSAR-X program was cancelled during its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase by the Pentagon. At the time Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote that this program had “a troubled acquisition history and raises the fundamental question of whether this important mission can only be accomplished by yet another single-service solution.”
That cancellation may have been warranted, but the underlying operational constraints are increasing as years go by, with a tentative replacement for aging helicopters that keeps slipping. In 2012, the Air Force got the green light to take another crack at it. The competition narrowed to a single bidder, and after wobbly budgetary announcements, the program was greenlighted. By the end of 2014 it was officially designated as HH-60W.
Medical expenses are a large and growing portion of the Pentagon’s budget, and continuing care is part of that issue. There are also side programs, like the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). It’s a form of worldwide group coverage for eligible personnel retired from the uniformed services, un-remarried surviving spouses, eligible dependents, former members of the armed forces who are Medal of Honor recipients, and their eligible dependents. Enrolees pay the premium costs themselves, but the totals add up for the winning firm.
The USA’s Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) program has been a long road for BAE Systems. In the wake of the US Army’s belated realization that mine protection was critical for vehicles in theater, BAE’s designs, long-standing experience in the field, and production capacity had made them an early favorite. Early results were a deeply humbling experience for the firm, but a combination of acquisitions, persistence, and product development combined to recover 2nd place status by the time MRAP orders ceased.
This in-depth, updated DID feature shines a spotlight on BAE Systems’ family of MRAP offerings, order record, and associated contracts. That includes its RG-33 family, the derivative MRRMV recovery vehicle, and the FMTV-based Caiman family, but not the RG-31s offered in partnership with General Dynamics. The MRAP program appears to have reached its vehicle limit, but upgrades and maintenance contracts are still a significant source of business.
In Sight, which covers organized crime in the Americas, offers additional context to help make sense of the recent Super Tucano (“Drakos”) loss in Colombia, and explains what’s at stake if FARC’s claim of a shoot-down is correct.
The recent series of intelligence leaks from the Obama administration has created bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill, and is sparking a wider backlash among Special Operations veterans. SpecialOperationsSpeaks.com is an organizing platform with a petition, and a demand for investigation and prosecutions as appropriate. Meanwhile, the House in now moving ahead with a probe of its own, to mirror the Senate’s.
The US Navy said it would start releasing emergency funds today to start compensating the households whose property was destroyed in an F/A-18 crash on Friday in Virginia Beach. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt: “about as close as you can get to a miracle.” Video at the bottom of this entry.
A RAF Chinook had to make an emergency landing in Arizona on Saturday but nobody was injured either.
The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote a glowing profile of Susie Alderson, an engineer now at the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) who promoted the production of MRAPs to protect troops from roadside IEDs.
Latest updates: Humana for the South, UnitedHealth for the West. TL: over $40 billion.
In July 2009, the US Department of Defense’s TRICARE Management Activity (TMA), which provides health care coverage to 9.4 million active duty military family members, military retirees and their eligible family members, issued a number of regional management contract. Under the regional TRICARE MCS services contracts, the companies provide the US military with management of healthcare provider networks and referrals, medical management, enrollment, claims processing, customer service and access to data, among other requirements. The companies will serve as intermediaries between the U.S. military personnel and the U.S. military’s medical care system, similar to the role of a healthcare insurance provider in the private sector.
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.
In February 2012, the USAF has issued a 6-year, multiple-award contract worth up to $985 million, to support the USAF Medical Service. Winners will have the chance to bid on delivery orders under the mixed indefinite-delivery/ indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. Services will include management and professional support services, engineering and technical services, and studies, analyses and evaluations over the 6-year period, to Feb 1/18.
Air Force Medical Services includes all 5 USAF medical corps (Biomedical sciences, Dental, Medical, Medical service, Nurse) and enlisted medical technicians, and is led by a Surgeon General. They’re likely to find themselves rather busy over the next few years. In addition to this services contract, a separate multiple-vendor program is getting ready to devote up to $900 million over the next 5 years, for the AFMS Healthcare Facilities Modernization Program. The USAF’s 773th ESS/PKJ manages the services contract, and eligible bidders for task orders include:
Military meds are big business. In March 2010 the US DLA’s Defense Supply Center Philadelphia awarded a pair of 5-year contracts worth up to $807.1 million to Cardinal Health in Dublin, OH, for drug distribution to US military medical facilities.
For these contracts, the European region encompasses all US military medical treatment facilities (MTFs) located on the Continent of Europe, including Turkey plus the surrounding seas and oceans as well as Oman and Bahrain. The Pacific region encompasses all MTFs located in the Pacific including Guam, Diego Garcia and the surrounding seas and oceans. Another 5-year contract with wider reach involves deliveries to American ships.
Medical supplies are a requirement for any military, and are used by many other government agencies as well. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (now Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support) in Philadelphia, PA manages a series of firm-fixed-price contracts for distribution of medical and surgical supplies to the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies, Coast Guard, and other non-DoD organizations in the federal government.
Unsurprisingly, the contract totals run to billions of dollars. This Spotlight article covers a series of contracts and option periods, stretching from 2005 – 2012.