Canada will be deploying more forces to Afghanistan soon, as part of its ongoing commitments to the NATO ISAF force. In February 2006, the Canadian Forces will increase its presence by deploying approximately 2,000 personnel to the volatile and dangerous region of Kandahar, which was once the seat of the Taliban/ al-Qaeda government. Before deploying, its Department of National Defence (DND) is purchasing C$ 234 million (USD $200 million) worth of equipment, including IED-resistant patrol vehicles, ATVs, modern artillery & GPS-guided munitions, UAVs, support equipment, and technologically advanced surveillance, security and communications systems.
Yet the most significant item may be the one that isn’t on this list, and the ordering/ delivery times raise questions as well. The DND orders for Operation ARCHER include:
Hungary had approached Iraq earlier this year about donating the T-72 tanks; another country offered to donate 500 BMPs through NATO, but Iraq accepted only 100 of them. The remaining 64 BMPs are expected in the coming months.
Further growth is also planned for Iraq’s lone armored division, whose story thus far has been little short of inspirational.
When one compares the recent US “National Intelligence Strategy” with, say, the Defense Logistics Agency’s FY 2006 Transformation Roadmap, the intelligence document suffers greatly by comparison. With that said, some of the subsidiary strategy papers are beginning to show promising potential. GovExec.com hosted a breakfast that included Ronald Sanders, chief human capital officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He noted that within the next several years, movement across some of the 15 agencies in the intelligence community will probably become a requirement for employees looking to become senior executives.
Finally, note that the 15 agencies in the intelligence community include the: Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and National Security Agency; plus offices in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and in the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasury, and Justice.
The realism of modern video games is allowing commanders to use these simulations in new ways, and incorporate new levels of subtlety. The British have grabbed on to the concept, and their experience is illustrative – but they are not alone by any means.
On Tuesday, DID covered the creation of the Pentagon’s new Business Transformation Agency, which aims to move dozens of its most extensive business modernization programs under a single roof. Now Army Major Gen. Carlos “Butch” Pair has been selected to serve as business systems acquisition executive, managing all projects that extend across the military services. Meanwhile, Defense Deputy Undersecretary for Business Transformation Paul Brinkley and Defense Deputy Undersecretary for Financial Management Thomas Modly will continue to lead the BTA overall until a director is appointed.
GovExec.com reports on this latest move, and also notes that the US Defense Department has budgeted $4.2 billion in FY 2006 for business transformation efforts. $777.7 million of those funds are slated to go to departmentwide projects. The FY 2007 budget numbers are projected at $4.19 billion overall, with $739.5 million allocated for departmentwide efforts.
It’s a hot issue. Generals retire from military service, often after building up a great deal of relevant domain expertise, leadership skills, occasionally fame – and a wide array of inside contacts. Companies hire them to be executives, or sit on their boards. At what point does this practice become a “revolving door” leading to corruption, as opposed to real expertise that enhances companies’ abilities to deliver?
The Project on Government Oversight published their take on that very phenomenon last June, in their report “The Politics of Contracting.” As an update, they point to a recent item on the Washington Post’s “Early Warning” blog detailing “where are they nows” for quite a few recently-retired American generals.
Advances in the USA’s littoral warfare capabilities include mine hunting lasers, UUVs, and Littoral Combat Ships. As the US Navy’s program executive officer for Littoral and Mine Warfare, Rear Admiral William E. Landay III oversees many of these developments. Landay is also responsible for finding ways to detect and destroy the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have killed or maimed hundreds of Marines and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; DID has covered those, too: ICE, JIN, Warlocks, iRobots, and more.
The nonpartisan Project On Government Oversight received unexpectedly positive reviews when it spoke to soldiers who served in Strykers and appreciated the vehicles’ capabilities and stealth. Russian analyst Vasiliy Fofanov, who wasn’t generally inclined to give American equipment in Iraq high marks, likewise gave a positive review of the vehicle.
Now a conference call from Mosul has added more specifics to the soldiers’ review, and so has a recent article in National Defense Magazine.