- Accenture Research adds to a long list of reminders: Shortage of skilled workers could pose serious business challenge for North American aerospace and defense industry.
US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) has been extremely busy since Sept 11/01, a situation which creates corresponding demands on their support infrastructure. SOCOM is famous for having a practical, results-oriented, “get it done now” approach to contracting, and there are a number of umbrella contracts designed to provide them with outsourced support and maintenance services of all kinds. One of the these contracts is SOFSA CLS (Special Operations Forces Support Activity, Contractor Logistics Support); contrary to some media reports that it exemplifies a trend toward contracted services, it has been running for over 20 years now.
On March 3/09, the Pentagon announced that Lockheed Martin would be replacing L-3 Communications Integrated Systems as the designated contractor for SOFSA CLS, which has 3 primary components: (1) aircraft, vehicle and equipment maintenance, (2) critical infrastructure support, and (3) business process transformation. L-3 protested that award, received a sizeable interim award, and got the Lockheed win canceled, pending a re-compete. Then, a May 2010 scandal changed everything…
BAE recently announced that Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) had awarded a 12th successive annual contract to produce Nulka (Abor. “be quick”) hovering decoy rockets for the Australian, American, and Canadian navies. The A$ 40 million (about $35 million) “Option 20” deal extends production to 2013.
The SEA 1937 Nulka project was conceived as an Australian/American joint effort, and began with a Memorandum of Understanding in 1986. The Mk.53 Nulka system was designed to supplement “hard kill” systems like missiles and Phalanx guns, and standard chaff/flare decoy systems, with a slightly different approach. The Nulka rocket is launched from the ship, then flies a controllable semi-hover pattern in the air for a while, emitting confusing I/J-band (8-20 GHz) signals designed to decoy incoming anti-ship missiles away from the ship – and toward the Nulka. This gives ships an option against passive decoy rejection and active angular deflection measures in modern missiles, while overcoming chaff’s issues with wind, slow reaction time, and doppler discrimination ECCM(Electronic Counter Counter-Measures).
To date, BAE says that over 940 of their Mk.234/ Mk.250 Nulka rockets have been produced and deployed on more than 130 surface ships, earning more than A$ 800 million over the program’s lifetime. BAE Systems is the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin makes the electronic warfare payload, and Aerojet makes the rocket motor.
The US Army in the 21st century is an army on the computer and the network. Whether in a Kabul command post, on a Kandahar patrol, or at a Pentagon desk, the Army relies on desktop and laptop computers to stay connected and access intelligence.
Army laptops and desktops are made by the same companies that supply computers in the commercial marketplace: HP, Dell, Apple, Samsung, and others. To get the best deal on COTS computers, in 2005 the Army instituted the consolidated buy (CB) program, which enables Army customers to get laptops, desktops, and other computer equipment at bulk prices, even if they only purchase one at a time. The program is intended to save the Army money and ensure that computers purchased comply with Army IT technical and security standards. The Army estimates that its CB program has saved it millions of dollars on purchases of computer equipment since 2005.
This article examines the Army’s CB program for buying laptop and desktop computers, printers, and peripherals, and the contracts awarded to implement the program.