Rapid Fire Oct. 18, 2013: Pentagon Back in Business, Slowly | France in Mali

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Pentagon Back in Business * US Senator Kelly Ayotte [R-NH] lifted her hold on Deborah Lee James’ nomination [PDF] as Air Force Secretary, which now looks ready to be confirmed by the Senate at the end of the month. Ayotte had blocked James’ nomination last month because the USAF was considering retiring its A-10s. * The GAO denied [PDF] a protest filed by Grant Thornton, LLP challenging the source selection scheme chosen by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to help assess its audit readiness. DLA evaluated bidders through lowest-price, technically acceptable criteria and used an online reverse auction, mechanisms that the accounting firm thought unworthy of its highly complex services. * Congressional notifications for defense contracts worth $6.5M+ have resumed with a trickle yesterday on defense.gov. * The US Air Force’s Space Missile Systems Center’s Range and Network Program Office (SMC/RN) will host an industry day on Nov. 5 at Los Angeles AFB, CA. They’ll post a draft RFP by next Tuesday. * Capt. Beau Duarte replaced Capt. Jaime Engdahl as program manager of the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Program Office (PMA-268), which absorbs the Advanced Development Program Office and its UCLASS effort, on top of its existing […]
Pentagon Back in Business

* US Senator Kelly Ayotte [R-NH] lifted her hold on Deborah Lee James’ nomination [PDF] as Air Force Secretary, which now looks ready to be confirmed by the Senate at the end of the month. Ayotte had blocked James’ nomination last month because the USAF was considering retiring its A-10s.

* The GAO denied [PDF] a protest filed by Grant Thornton, LLP challenging the source selection scheme chosen by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to help assess its audit readiness. DLA evaluated bidders through lowest-price, technically acceptable criteria and used an online reverse auction, mechanisms that the accounting firm thought unworthy of its highly complex services.

* Congressional notifications for defense contracts worth $6.5M+ have resumed with a trickle yesterday on defense.gov.

* The US Air Force’s Space Missile Systems Center’s Range and Network Program Office (SMC/RN) will host an industry day on Nov. 5 at Los Angeles AFB, CA. They’ll post a draft RFP by next Tuesday.

* Capt. Beau Duarte replaced Capt. Jaime Engdahl as program manager of the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Program Office (PMA-268), which absorbs the Advanced Development Program Office and its UCLASS effort, on top of its existing management of UCAS-D (more on this from USNI). Engdahl will be program manager for NAVAIR’s Precision Strike Weapons.

* The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has a competition [PDF] for research papers open to anyone interested in the subject matter. Submit yours by December 16.

Afghan Exit Logistics May Fly Through Romania

* The US is negotiating with Romania to use the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in order to ease the logistics flow out of Afghanistan after the US’ lease in Manas, Kyrgyzstan expires in July next year. EUCOM conducted the LOGEX exercise there 3 years ago. US marines and sailors from Black Sea Rotational Force 14 participated in a mass-casualty drill at the base just days ago.

France’s Ongoing Operation in Mali

* French troops fighting in Mali are about to receive 6 new PPLOG logistics 8×8 trucks. Next year the French military will receive 150 of these trucks jointly developed by Iveco and Soframe. They can be transported on A400Ms and offer better protection from direct fire and IEDs than the ‘TRM 10000’ trucks they’ll replace, while maintaining good mobility. Video [in French].

* Few pictures, let alone videos, had yet been released about Operation Serval. Envoye Special was granted access to hours of raw footage filmed by French troops since the beginning of the conflict in January, and edited this 48-minute documentary out of it. It shows the crazy load soldiers have to bear – between weapons, ammo, armor and water – while walking in scorching heat in a moon-like landscape that makes Afghanistan look lush.

Brilliant Mariner 2013 / F-35B Sea Trials

* NATO conducted a large-scale maritime exercise last month involving 5,000 people from 12 countries, around Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, 12 frigates and a dozen other vessels. The video below shows what was involved:

* The US Navy’s LHDs have roughly the same dimensions as Cavour, though they have a different mission set and are about a third heavier. The following video presents the 2nd round of F-35B sea trials aboard USS Wasp:

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