The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) has responded to a Public Accounts Committee report that was highly critical of MoD’s performance and execution under Britain’s “Smart Acquisition” guidelines. The 20 largest projects currently in development are a total of GBP 5.9 billion over the originally approved targets, claims the report, and months behind schedule.
The MoD responded, of course, citing numerous improvements over the past year. It also released a new procurement handbook that offers the broad thrust of their future procurement practices.
The Public Accounts Committee recommendations included:
Citing members of the Israeli defense ministry, the Israeli newspaper Yedidot Aharonot reports that pressure from Washington has now forced Israel to freeze a $100 million contract with Venezuela to upgrade its U.S.-manufactured F-16 fighter jets. The Fuerza Aaerea Venezolana (FAV) had originally purchased the F-16A/B aircraft in 1982. Israel replaces most of the original American equipment inside its F-16s with Israeli-designed electronics and other modules, making companies like Israel Aircraft Industries a viable second source project lead and integrator for F-16 maintenance and upgrade deals.
The recent back and forth between the USA and Israel over defense-related exports came to a head over China’s purchase of Israel’s indigenously-developed Harpy anti-radar UAV and subsequent request for maintenance. By suspending Israel’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, Washington was recently able to pressure Israel into essentially granting the USA veto rights on all Israeli defense exports.
At the time, concern was expressed in some Israeli defense circles that this power would be used for protectionist purposes. Is that the case here?
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.
General Dynamic European Land Combat Systems subsidiary General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas has signed an 8-year, EUR 181 million (US $216.2 million) contract to supply the Spanish Army with a total of 72 155mm/52 APU SBT howitzers, upgrade another 12 systems, provide another 82 towing vehicles and radio sets, and add logistical support.
The US Congress passed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994, ensuring that National Guard and Reserve members’ civilian careers were protected when they are called for military duty. Now, an Oct 20, 2005 Government Accountability Office report notes that less than 20% of the Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve have entered their employer information in the DOD database, and that information sharing between federal agencies responsible for notification and enforcement is almost nonexistent.
This is not an uncommon situation in many military, business, and government organizations. As a result, however: “GAO analysis of 52 complaints that had been closed and reopened two or more times found that recorded processing times averaged 103 days but the actual elapsed times that service members waited to have their complaints fully addressed averaged 619 days…” Read the rest of the Federal Computer Week article, or for a special DID feature read the full GAO report directly.
Kollsman Inc. in Merrimack, NH a $14 million firm-fixed-price delivery order under previously awarded contract N00383-01-D-012G for repair of the telescopic sight unit on the US Marine Corps’ AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters. Work will be performed in Merrimack, NH, and is expected to be complete by December 2006. This contract award was based on limited competition since there are only two sources approved for the repair of this item. The naval inventory control point is the contracting activity (Order 5041).
The first AH-1W prototype flight took place Nov. 16, 1983 at Bell Plant Six, located at the Arlington, Texas municipal airport. After gaining approval for production, Bell followed the prototype with 195 AH-1Ws. The last AH-1W helicopter was delivered in July 1998. It will be replaced by the upgraded, four-bladed AH-1Z Viper.