Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp. in Redondo Beach, CA received a $25.2 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification. The firm will use the funds to rebaseline the Space Surveillance and Tracking System (STSS, formerly SBIRS-Low) program for FY 2005 through FY 2008 due to funding reductions, and take the necessary measures to keep the project on schedule. To be more specific…
The Coast Guard has been asserting that its deepwater legacy assets are “failing at an unsustainable rate.” In 2002, the Coast Guard began a multi-year acquisition program to replace or modernize its deepwater assets that is currently estimated to cost $19 to $25 billion. More recently, it began studying options for replacing or modernizing the assets more rapidly in an effort to avoid some of the costs that might be involved in keeping aging assets running for longer periods.
Budgetary battles, funding shortfalls, and a dearth of adequate information from Congress’ point of view are all recapped in GAO report #GAO-05-757, which also looks at the Coast Guard’s overall handling of the program, program risks, and recommendations for improvement.
Satellites are an increasingly-important element of America’s Network-Centric Warfare approach, and the task of planning for America’s technology needs 40 years into the future is daunting. Cost and delays have hampered America’s satellite programs before, and now a detailed, program-by-program analysis of the state of seven different programs finds different kinds of problems and delays. Indeed, the GAO’s latest inquiry into the status and short-falls of the U.S. government’s military space programs notes that there is no single agency, company or simple villain to blame for the problems.
In testimony to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Committee on Armed Services July 12, 2005, the GAO’s Director of Acquisitions and Management Robert E. Levin noted the status of several key satellite programs, and made a number of recommendations:
Chief Acquisition Officer Greg Rothwell of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently noted that the biggest challenge for chief acquisition officers governmentwide is either rebuilding or growing their workforce. His own department is no exception.
DHS itself has 115 Tier 1 programs that cost more than $100 million each, but only 18 of those programs have certified project managers. DHS’ Office of the CIO is the procurement office’s biggest customer, he said. DHS’ fiscal 2006 budget, $13 billion is procured and $6 billion of that is IT spending. DHS is working to hire and attract a new workforce to replace a large percentage of DHS procurement employees who have been downsized or who are retiring over the next five years. Rothwell now has permission to increase the size of his office to 127 people in fiscal 2006 and 220 in fiscal 2007, he said. Building an IT acquisition center to centralize buying decisions is the second goal (of five). Further details can be found in Federal Computing Weekly (July 25/05) – Rothwell: DHS needs more acquisition staff
The DD (X) National Team, led by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Raytheon Company, in partnership with General Dynamics, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, has successfully completed the initial critical design review for the overall system design for the DD (X) multi-mission destroyer. The engineering development models are elements of the Navy’s risk-reduction strategy for the Flight 1 ship design. This milestone event demonstrated that the program is ready for the Flag-level review in September, and that the DD (X) Flight 1 system design is complete, stable and mature enough to enter detail design. Nevertheless, major program issues remain.
The DD (X) program’s roughest waters are likely to be political. The DD (X) National Team has successfully completed nearly a dozen incremental design review milestones. Nevertheless, recent Congressional testimony from the CBO and GAO indicates that cost estimates have risen from $1 billion to $3.2 billion average per ship, ship life cycle costs are likely to be about double that of the DDG 51 Arleigh Burk Class ($4 Billion vs. $2.1 billion), further cost increases are possible, and technical project risks remain. Congressional scrutiny and interference, proposed funding cost caps per ship, a shrinking force request (from 32 originally to 10, which affects per-ship cost) and consideration of reactivating battleships as alternative ground support options are also part of the controversy surrounding the program.
Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute in Pittsburgh, PA received a $411.1 million cost reimbursement contract to provide for software research and development pertinent to national defense. Beginning in the summer of 2004, the U.S. government conducted an extensive review of the SEI, culminating in the recommendation by government reviewers to renew the SEI contract until 2010.
Small business qualifier The Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute (AGI) in New Haven, CT is being awarded a $6.3 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-03-D-0066) to provide additional Theory Of Constraints (TOC) design and deployment, training, and certification support for Naval Aviation Enterprise training.
United Defense Industries, Inc. (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments) has received a $12.8 Million contract modification from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command to upgrade 56 AAVP7 Assault Amphibious Vehicles (a.k.a. Amtracs or “hogs”) to the AAVP7 RAM/RS configuration. The AAVP7A1 Amtrac currently provides armored transport for up to 18 combat-loaded Marines from ship to shore, and through all types of terrain. Many Amtracs were driven all the way to Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The AAVP7 RAM/RS adds a more powerful 525hp turbocharged diesel engine and power train and a M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle suspension, providing superior mobility, durability and maintainability. The ground clearance will return to 16 inches and the horsepower to ton ratio will change from 13 to 1 back to 17 to 1. AAV RAM/RS also plans for the rebuild of all AAV systems and components in order to ensure acceptable Fleet Marine Force (FMF) readiness ratings for the remaining life of the AAVs through the year 2013. Introduction of the Bradley components and the rebuild to standard effort is also expected to reduce maintenance costs, with projected savings are in the range of $400-500 million (FY95 dollars).
Technological development for the U.S. Navy’s advanced DD (X) destroyer is still lagging despite progress in a number of areas, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report issued June 14, 2005. GAO cited issues of technology maturity in certain areas, including volume search radar, and expressed concern that delayed testing may not offer important answers before key decisions are made. The full report can be found here in PDF format.
The DD (X) destroyer program is currently is approaching two key decision points.