As a military becomes more professional, and the level of skill required to be a soldier rises, the issue of retention becomes extremely important to a military’s force structure and effectiveness. In the midst of a war, retaining soldiers who have experienced the lessons of combat becomes even more critical. Hence the significant bonuses offered to US soldiers who re-enlist. The US Army has done extremely well on the re-enlistment front, but the financial commitment involved is substantial – and so are the stakes. Could the Army do better?
As an operations manager for Procter and Gamble, Jack Stultz was responsible for recruitment, training, and retention. Now that the veteran of operations in Iraq, Panama, and Afghanistan is on a 4-year leave of absence as US Army Reserve Chief, Lt. Gen. Stultz is bringing some new thinking from his corporate job to the issue of troop retention. Stultz notes the importance of more predictability and reasonable deployment expectations per rotation, but he also adds concepts like taking a life-cycle approach. “At Proctor and Gamble, when you talked to an employee you were trying to retain, you looked at where they were in their life. And the same thing really does apply when you think about retaining a soldier.” His efforts could lead to better-tailored retention packages and changes to the way the Army Reserve operates on several fronts, from health-care benefits (currently a major future expense issue), to a different structure for retention bonuses, to changes in the retirement system. The DefenseLINK article “Army Reserve Chief Applies Business Lessons to Military Force” offers more details.
Seaport-Enhanced (Seaport-e) is a $5.3 billion multiple-award umbrella contract that lets the US Navy use an integrated approach to contracting for support services. Most requests involve engineering, financial, and program management support. Receiving an award makes a firm eligible to big on jobs under a pre-set contract vehicle, and the SeaPort-e portal provides a standardized means of soliciting bids and awarding task orders.
Singapore’s Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean recently officiated at a parade to inaugurate the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Command. UAV Command has been constituted as an integrated entity, with personnel from the Army, Navy & Air Force as well as from the Joint Staff. The new command will provide tactical support for operations, and they are also tasked with developing the armed forces’ capabilities and skills in unmanned systems operations.
DID has a FOCUS Article covering the strike and special operations SSGN “Tactical Trident” submarines. Four ultra-stealthy Ohio-class SSBNs are having their ballistic missiles removed and replaced with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles – as well as accomodation for 66-102 special forces troops, SEAL delivery vehicle (SDV) “mini-subs,” and a mission control center. In future, they may also carry UUV robotic vehicles, even as the soldiers on board launch UAVs.
These modifications provide the USA with an impressive and impressively flexible set of conventional firepower, in a survivable and virtually undetectable platform that can remain on station for very long periods.
Our DID Focus article for the SSGN program discusses the origins of these conversions, the key players, the timeline, and some of the technologies involved. DID also offers comprehensive coverage of the announced contracts and key milestones to date under this $1.4 billion refurbishment and conversion program, and even includes a section with a number of ancillary contracts and programs. Recent additions include sea trial information, more detailed dates, and additional pictures of the subs during and after conversion. Read “SSGN “Tactical Trident” Subs: Special Forces and Super Strike.”
Small business qualifier Compass Systems, Inc. in Lexington Park, MD received a $12.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research and development for various command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting programs, sensors, mission and targeting systems, communication suites, and small aircraft vehicle systems. These efforts are in support of the Roll-On Roll-Off Sensor System for the Contingency Airborne Response program.
Adara Networks, Inc. in Scotts Valley, CA received a $7.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for designing and testing an integrated service platform to solve problems of network latency, scalability and integration complexity for the Naval Health Research Center. Which leads one to ask the question on everybody’s mind: do they make house calls?
They probably do, but only for people with very complex in-house networks. Their NPX(TM) technology coordinates all sites, servers, and content in the network using a GOLD (Generic Object Locator by Distance) approach. The system builds tables that contain the best location for objects on the network, then maintains and updates the tables. This provide a single platform for additional network services and objects, and offers global load balancing, fail-over capability, and dynamic content management/ object re-location. Low-overhead encryption is also part of NPX’s services. See technology page for relevant Flash movies.
This contract for the Naval Health Research Center also covers evaluation and project support. Work will be performed in San Jose, CA (85%); Charleston, SC (10%); San Diego, CA (2%); Dahlgren, VA (1%); Patuxent River (1%); and Quantico, VA (1%), and is expected to be complete by May 2008. This contract was awarded competitively through Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 1 offer received by the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in San Diego, CA (N00244-07-C-0027).