On Sept 5/07, The Australia-United States Treaty on Defense Trade Cooperation was signed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W. Bush. The USA and Canada have had a special agreement for several decades, designed to remove many defense export restrictions on US-Canadian industrial cooperation. In June 2007, Britain and the USA also agreed to a treaty framework.
The new agreements with Britain and Australia were not fully defined when signed, however, and full implementation is a long and complicated process. This article explains the issues with the current system, the intent of the treaty, and the steps involved on the way to finally implementing it in May 2013.
Though the primes are staying clear of commenting on the Pentagon’s acquisition workforce, smaller IT firms are complaining about mistakes and lack of visibility that they attribute to the lack of experience of an increasing part of contracting officers. Recent hires will need to ramp up their skills fast as many older employers will retire soon.
The US Army is mounting its defense to counter claims that it has not-invented-here syndrome in the DCGS-A vs. Palantir kerfuffle: “There are multiple requests for capabilities in theater and many are ghost written by commercial vendors.”
Besides using sophisticated software to detect buried IEDs, the US Army is also considering training… rats. They would reach where dogs can’t.
The Royal United Services Institute think tank comments [PDF] on the British MoD’s plans to manage military procurement via a Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO):
The International Crisis Group (ICG) nonprofit released a report [PDF] which concludes that conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea are at a deadlock. China’s actions are shaped by its own internal dynamics [PDF] and its neighbors are not passively watching:
The US Navy has published its request for information to get a replacement for FA-18E/F and EA-18G Growlers “in the 2030 timeframe”, following a mention of the tentative aircraft in the latest 30-year aviation funding plan. This is a Pre-Material Development Decision (MDD) market survey, i.e. still very far from an RFP. Once interested contractors have expressed their interest by April 26, they will receive – provided proper levels of clearance – a classified Government Furnished Information (GFI) package that is meant to allow them to submit their response by June 29, 2012.
India is increasing its defense budget for 2012-13 by 17% to Rs 1,93,407 crore (about $38.5B). The Business Standard opines that the nominal double-digit growth is misleading.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest report [PDF] on international arms imports and exports. India remains the #1 importer at 10% of global imports.
DARPA wants to develop new year-round monitoring capabilities in the Arctic, above and below the ice, for example to measure under-ice acoustic propagation. Their Proposer’s Day on the topic is scheduled for March 30, with $4M in funds to follow that they will spend in awards of about $250K-$500K.
In February 2012 the Inspector General (IG) at the US Department of Defense released a report [PDF] finding that DOD had awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program funds to potentially ineligible contractors. The IG also found $1.3B worth of additional contracts that were inaccurately coded in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) federal procurement database. This reflects two sets of issues that have plagued federal and defense contracting for years.
The US Air Force is setting aside its Afghanistan Light Air Support contract to Sierra Nevada before the litigation initiated by Hawker Beechcraft even completes its course: “Since the acquisition is still in litigation, I can only say that the Air Force Senior Acquisition Executive, David Van Buren, is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.” Obviously Hawker Beechcraft supports that decision while Embraer is scratching their head, while Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz is fuming. In the end it’s one more contentious foreign procurement from the USAF. But the big bucks for trade dispute lawyers are in the Boeing vs. Airbus row. “You are subsidized. No, YOU are subsidized.”
The US federal government puts together its budget by way of a protracted, ongoing process. As the largest recipient of discretionary federal funds, the Department of Defense adds its own layer of complexity unknown to other smaller departments. This article explains how the process unfolds with its major milestones, players, and how they interact.
The Pentagon is considering updating Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to incorporate a “proposal adequacy checklist” for proposals in response to solicitations that require submission of certified cost or pricing data. Comments should be sent to DoD in writing before January 31, 2012, to be considered in the formation of the final rule.
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: