On Sept. 22, 2006, a ceremony marked the launch of U.S. Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island Arsenal, IL, under US Army Materiel Command. It will be commanded by Maj. Gen. Jerome Johnson, who said at the ceremony that “Our mission is clear-cut and crucial: improve Soldier support at the tactical level… rapid research solutions, quicker acquisition and faster delivery to the battlefield… sustaining, maintaining and accounting for materiel, freeing Soldiers to fight with better equipment to protect them and be more lethal to our enemies.”
That patience has apparently run out. Minister of National Defense Lee Jye has now said that Taiwan’s $4+ billion plan to buy 66 F-16 C/D jet fighters from the USA has been suspended by President George W. Bush. His report to the Legislative Yuan’s National Defense Committee indicated that the U.S. stance is strongly influenced by the long-stalled arms purchase package’s failure to clear the legislature.
Recent reports place Taiwan’s fighter fleet at about 146 F-16 A/Bs, 56 Mirage 2000v5s and 128 F-CK “Ching Kuo” fighters in its current fleet, as well as more than 60 aged F-5E Tiger IIs. Local media reports claim that even if Taiwan is permitted to buy the new F-16s, they will not be delivered until 2011. By that time, Taiwan’s self-developed F-CK fighters will have been in service for nearly 20 years, and their current fleet of Mirage 2000v5 and F-16 A/B fighters procured via 1992 contracts will have been in service for almost as long.
In November 2005, “$355.2M for MITRE from the US Air Force” covered exactly what the title implied. This year, the Headquarters Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA issued a $312 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for systems engineering and integration support in FY 2007. Support level is estimated at 926 direct staff years for the Air Force ceiling programs (929 in FY 2006) and 131 direct staff years for the Air Force non-ceiling program (131 in FY 2006). As it did last year, the effort also supports foreign military sales with Britain, France, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. At this time, $8.3 million has been obligated, and work will be complete in October 2007. The Headquarters Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA issued the contract (FA8721-07-C-0001).
MITRE was formed in 1958 as a not-for-profit corporation under the leadership of C.W. Halligan, and has a long-standing cross-fertilization with MIT. It manages three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs): one for the Department of Defense (known as the DOD Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence FFRDC), one for the Federal Aviation Administration (the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development), and one for the Internal Revenue Service (the Center for Enterprise Modernization). MITRE also has its own independent research and development program that explores new technologies and new uses of technologies to solve its sponsors’ problems in the near-term and in the future.
Oct 3/06: L-3 Communications subsidiary MPRI Inc. in Alexandria, VA received a $15 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for law enforcement personnel embedded with units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C. (13%), and Iraq or Afghanistan (87%), and the contract will end on Sept. 30, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug. 31, 2006 by the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W91CRB-06-C-0040).
FLIR Systems Inc in North Billerica, MA won an $11.8 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, for delivery of between 4-250 hand-held Long Range Infrared Imaging Systems. The Sept 29th DefenseLINK release notes that the Long Range Infrared Imaging System “is used during special operations missions for target acquisition in a maritime environment with high temperatures and high humidity. The system provides the end user the capability to detect and identify targets from long range, in a lightweight man-portable package.”
Work will be performed in North Billerica, MA and is expected to be complete by December 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $560,163 will expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, with 4 proposals received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane IN (N00164-06-D-8597).