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Congressionally-Constrainted Pentagon Castigates Contractors

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* The Pentagon is increasingly enforcing an Earned Value Management clause in defense acquisition legislation (DFARS 252.242-7005) to withhold payments from prime contractors whose internal business systems are found inadequate. * Todd Harrison and Mark Gunzinger from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) argue that the US Congress should stop interfering, both fiscally and strategically, with the Department of Defense, and allow more flexibility in DoD’s decision making. DID’s Newsletter Hiccups * Our apologies to email subscribers whose Outlook got locked because of our last two newsletters. We’re not sure why this started happening since this is a long-standing Outlook bug, but we believe we removed conditions that can lead to such freezes. Let us know if you’re still have problems at [email protected]. Joint Strike Sophism * Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman recently – and unsurprisingly – dismantled Loren Thompson’s cost comparison of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet vs. the carrier-based F-35C Lightning II. Most of these discussions revolve around discrepancies in inflationary accounting and materiel baselines. Get Then-Year dollars wrong, compare aircraft at different stages of their industrial lifecycles, or muddle what parts are included in a cost assessment, and you can end up with almost meaningless comparisons. This […]

* The Pentagon is increasingly enforcing an Earned Value Management clause in defense acquisition legislation (DFARS 252.242-7005) to withhold payments from prime contractors whose internal business systems are found inadequate.

* Todd Harrison and Mark Gunzinger from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) argue that the US Congress should stop interfering, both fiscally and strategically, with the Department of Defense, and allow more flexibility in DoD’s decision making.

DID’s Newsletter Hiccups

* Our apologies to email subscribers whose Outlook got locked because of our last two newsletters. We’re not sure why this started happening since this is a long-standing Outlook bug, but we believe we removed conditions that can lead to such freezes. Let us know if you’re still have problems at [email protected].

Joint Strike Sophism

* Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman recently – and unsurprisingly – dismantled Loren Thompson’s cost comparison of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet vs. the carrier-based F-35C Lightning II. Most of these discussions revolve around discrepancies in inflationary accounting and materiel baselines. Get Then-Year dollars wrong, compare aircraft at different stages of their industrial lifecycles, or muddle what parts are included in a cost assessment, and you can end up with almost meaningless comparisons. This leads to endless arguments.

China’s Pervasive Presence

* China sends destroyers to South China Sea shoal contested by Malaysia, patrols East China Sea with AEW&C aircraft.

Data Security, Mobile Tracking

* Lockheed Martin, EMC, and Ben-Gurion University have signed an agreement to find and fund promising Israeli cyber-security start-ups. The move comes shortly after Israeli PM Netanyahu’s CyberTech 2014 speech, in which he touted a consortium of security agencies, research institutes, and businesses aimed at improving Israel’s capabilities. On the flip side, the IDF is still embarrassed that crackers recently managed to infiltrate its computers.

* A NYT article points out how much information about you some mobile apps are sending back to their companies – and to GCHQ, NSA, and other 3rd parties. Old news to German Green Party MP Malte Spitz, as a 2011 article in Die Zeit shows just how comprehensively he can be tracked using mobile data. Or, watch Spitz’s 2012 TED talk.

* Ukrainian protesters are finding these are not just theoretical discussions.

Iranian Options

* Today’s video, from the Council on Foreign Relations, features Senator Angus King [I-ME, caucuses with the Democrats, member of the Committee on Armed Services and Select Committee on Intelligence], talking about US negotiations with Iran. King co-signed an op ed with SASC chairman Carl Levin [D-MI] supporting making a deal with Iran:

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