If you work in the defense industry, communication is part of your job. It’s necessary within project teams. It’s often the difference between success and failure, when you need to explain your job or your project to upper management. Its importance grows again when you need to explain your project or your work to friends, family, or the public at large. Testimony before a Congressional committee would certainly underscore the need for clear communication, in a very pointed fashion. Then again, most people don’t have their perceptions of the industry shaped by Congressional committees. It’s shaped by reports they read, which are based on industry web sites, releases, and interviews. It’s also shaped by people they know. People like you.
A funny and deeply instructive recent interview with the head of the Pentagon’s Business Transformation Agency drives this point home with crystal clarity. It’s an unusual example, in that the same person responsible for a classic example of impenetrable bureaucrateux, promptly rights his own ship and proceeds to give a clear answer when prodded to do so.
This makes it an outstanding educational example for industry members who wish to become more persuasive, and have more impact:
TRAX International Corp. in La Vegas, NV received a $222.4 million cost plus award fee contract for test and evaluation services in support of military weapons and equipment test and evaluation at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ and Cold Region Test Center at Bolio Lake, Alaska. Bids were solicited via the Internet, and 5 bids were received. Mission & Installation contracting Command at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ manages the contract (W9124R-09-C-0003), which will last until Feb 28/13.
See also TRAX release, which places the contract’s total potential value at $477 million over its entire term.
On Nov 18/08, the Government of Canada awarded a USD$ 156 million contract to Lockheed Martin for 10 structural life extension wing kits. Each kit includes all-new outer wings, center wing lower surface assemblies, horizontal stabilizers, wing and horizontal stabilizer leading edges, and various items for the Canadian Forces’ CP-140 Aurora (P-3 Orion) maritime patrol aircraft. These items will be used by Canada’s Aurora Structural Life Extension Program as needed, and are designed to give the Canadian Forces an additional 15,000 flight-hours of service life per plane. Aging aircraft can develop unpredictable faults, but if this effort is successful, it could extend the planes’ in-service time by 15 years or more.
Australia’s Department of Defence has entered into a long-term agreement with Chemring Australia Pty Ltd to manufacture “pyrotechnics and air-expendable stores such as flares and chaff, deployed from military aircraft” at its facility in Lara, Victoria, Australia. The agreement is valued at A$160 million (currently about $105 million) over 10 years, and during that period Chemring will invest approximately A$ 18 million in its plant and equipment n Australia.
In announcing the contract signing, Australia’s Greg Combet, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement Greg Combet and the DoD release maintained that this agreement will smooth prices, position Chemring Australia to sell these products to region, and “demonstrate the capacity to manufacture these items for the JSF project and… compete for work on the global fleet.”