What sort of a presence have you built online? If a recruiter had the perfect opportunity for you, and typed in all of the keywords in a search on LinkedIn, would your profile show up in the results? If a potential customer searched for terms related to your specialties or services on LinkedIn, would you get noticed near the top of the list of results?
Inside The LinkedIn Personal Trainer, I present a program that teaches readers how to use LinkedIn to find, get found, and network your way to success. That middle component – Get Found – is significant!
The USA’s Congressional Government Accountability Office has delivered its 6th annual assessment of 72 selected weapon programs on land, sea, and air. America’s Department of Defense (DOD) has roughly doubled its planned investment in new systems from $790 billion to $1.6 trillion in 2007, and total acquisition costs for major defense programs in the fiscal year 2007 portfolio have increased 26% from first estimates, compared with 6% in 2000.
While the report acknowledged progress, it added that: “DOD’s acquisition outcomes appear increasingly suboptimal, a condition that needs to be corrected given the pressures faced by the department from other military and major nondiscretionary government demands.”
On Dec 19/07, the US Defense Department announced that they expected to reach their goal of 1,500 blast-resistant MRAP vehicles delivered into theater, reaching 1,525 by year’s end. Most initial deliveries were handled by C-17, C-5, and even leased Russian AN-124 aircraft, but the far greater capacity of sealift began to tip the balance as manufacturing capacity and deliveries ramped up.
The ancillary equipment installers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command center at Charleston, SC had been a bottleneck in the process for a while, but improvements in their workflow have eased that situation.
Exactly how much progress has been made on all fronts can be measured by the fact that as of April 9/08, over 5,200 MRAP vehicles have been delivered to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. Deliveries by sea began outsripping deliveries by air in March 2008. By the end of June 2008 all future MRAP vehicles being shipped by sea. Sealift’s huge increase in capacity comes at the expense of speed, but the number of vehicles already available in theater has reduced the urgency of adding the 3-8 vehicles that an expensive airlifter trip can carry. This will free up the USA’s overworked air transport fleet for other uses.
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. of Herndon, VA received a modified contract for $28 million, in exchange for “survivability and vulnerability technical research and development analysis for U.S. Coast Guard ship, aviation, and Command and Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.” At this time $7.7 million has been committed. Offutt AFB, NB issued the contract (SP0700-03-D-1380, Delivery Order: 0250).
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore MD has given John C. Gremberg Co., Inc in Rockville, MD a $27.1 million firm-fixed price contract to build a new three level steel and concrete steam sterilization plan that will have the capacity to decontaminate 126,000 gallons per-day of liquid bio-waste. Work will be performed at Fort Detrick, MD and is expected to be complete by April 30/11 (W912DR-08-C-0016).
With American elections approaching, questions are being asked in the industry about the potential implications for American defense policy. In January 2007, “The Impact of Recent Political Changes on the Defense Sector” transcribed Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank, during the Raymond James Washington Technology & Services Summit. It offered some interesting thoughts on the contractor/ military political gap, and added:
“The bottom line on the Democratic defense agenda is that it doesn’t reflect much support for new technology outlays, but it also doesn’t herald an era of rapidly declining defense budgets. What’s likely to change is the composition of defense spending rather than the scale.”
Fast forward to February 2008, where Thompson is speaking to US Army Leaders at the RAND Arroyo Center. “The Role Of Party Politics In Shaping Defense Priorities” offers an impartial presentation of how the two major parties evolved, how they think about national security, their inclinations and allocation preferences with respect to the defense budget, and what a victory by either side probably means. Unusually, it is a fair presentation that puts forward each party’s broad view reasonably faithfully. Which matters, because:
“…we need to understand how party politics shapes defense policy — not because we like it, but because it is a fundamental reality of life in a democracy. Did you know that a recent study of weapons outlays found 91% of all the variation in spending over the last four decades was traceable directly or indirectly to which party controlled the Senate and the White House? Like me, you probably thought that threats were the main driver of weapons spending, but the data show otherwise.
Read both speeches, consider your own experiences, and decide what you think. Thompson also changes his tune slightly, however, when he says that:
“… if the Democratic Party wins control of the White House and Congress in November, it will take a huge demand stimulus from the likes of Osama bin Laden to prevent a leveling off and then decline in defense spending in subsequent years.”
With presentations a fact of corporate and military life, “Preparing More Powerful Presentations” offers tips that can help presenters improve, and links to additional resources. One way to ensure better presentations is to use shorter presentations, with advance hand-out or held back Appendices that offer key details and information.
In order to really make shorter presentations work, however, one must think about them in a different way. Silicon Valley has its own semi-standard 12-slide pitch format for entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t always translate directly into corporate presentations. Enter Bill Jensen, whose best-selling book “Simplicity” speaks to the internally-generated, productivity-sapping “fog of business,” and discusses ways to think and act differently in order to create more clarity. Jensen’s site, SimplerWork.com, also includes a number of resources – one of which is “The Ultimate 10 Page Presentation” [PDF, 350k]. Tips include:
“People will tolerate your logic for no more than a couple minutes. (Usually less!) After that, they start forming their own conclusions – whether or not you’ve gotten to your point…”
US aeromedical evacuation has changed. Forward-based units or helicopters are still the primary link from the battlefield during the “golden hour” that follows major trauma. Once a patient has been stabilized, however, more advanced care at more advanced facilities may be needed. For several decades, the USA had a fleet of dedicated aircraft, the last being its DC-9 derived C-9A “Florence Nightningale” fleet. In its place is a new approach devised by USAF Lt. Gen. Paul K. Carlton Jr., the Air Force surgeon general until 2002. The idea is that every USAF Air Mobility Command aircraft can become an aeromedical aircraft, as newly arrived aircraft on the tarmac are loaded with about 800 pounds of gear and supplies per patient and diverted to hospitals like Landstuhl in Germany. Instead of waiting for days to stabilize a patient, outbound flights are sometimes coordinated while a patient is still in surgery. The result? Lower average cargo volume and weight statistics for US transport aircraft missions, and a 90% survival rate for troops injured in current operations. In Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the rate was about 75%.
On to the next step in quality improvement, which could have significant implications for civilian disasters as well. USAF aircraft without organic litter systems rely on the patient support pallet (PSP), whose weight and bulk make it heavily reliant on cargo handling equipment for loading and unloading. This assumes the PSP is even present with the evacuation crew, of course; if not, additional stops will be required to pick up the equipment. In an age of rising fuel prices, those side-trips get very expensive, and time is always of the essence.
Enter the Air Mobility Battlelab. They were established in 2001, and will deactivate in September 2008 as part of a USAF cost-savings initiative. Before they go, however, they’re developing an idea that might solve these problems…
Anything that is used, wears out. With civil infrastructure projects in high demand in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, America’s military construction equipment is seeing a lot of wear. Combat engineering is a critical competency for counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations in particular, especially if good tactical principles are being followed with forward-based units embedded among the civilian population, key checkpoints set up and fortified, et. al.
Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, IL recently received a $20 million firm-fixed price contract for a service life extension program (SLEP) for selected Caterpillar construction equipment. Work will be performed at Caterpillar dealers stateside and overseas, and is expected to be complete by Dec 8/09. One bid was solicited on Dec 8/08 by US Army TACOM in Warren, MI (DAAE07-01-D-T030).
A similar contract was issued to Caterpillar Defense and Federal Products in February 2007, within this same contract vehicle. It was described as a delivery order amount of $22.5 million as part of a $143.2 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee SLEP contract initiated on Aug 7/2000.
Small business qualifier Sound & Sea Technology, Inc. in Lynnwood, WA received $5.9 million under a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N62473-06-D-3005) to exercise option year 4 for engineering and technical services in support of the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center (NFESC), Ocean Facilities Department in Port Hueneme, CA. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $28.5 million. Work will be performed at various installations under NFESC’s area of responsibility worldwide, and is expected to be complete in April 2009. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Specialty Center Contracts Core in Port Hueneme, CA issued the contract.
Work to be performed provides for ocean engineering services. This category includes project planning and execution of sub-sea cable projects including shore landings, seafloor engineering, ocean work platform support, underwater construction tool development, offshore structure and buoy projects, marine power systems, heavy load handling engineering, and harbor and waterside security projects.