Rapid Fire June 13, 2012: Heidi Shunned
Though the hearing [PDF] happened at the end of March, Heidi Shyu‘s senatorial confirmation as acquisition chief for the US Army is still on hold. Tom Coburn [R-OK] doesn’t like the Army’s handling of the M4 carbine replacement/renewal, while SASC(Senate Armed Services Committee) member John Cornyn [R-TX] objects to helicopter deals with Rosoboronexport. Russia is not making things any easier by selling attack helicopters to Syria. Frank Kendall was confirmed as USD ATL last month, and former JSF PEO Charles R. Davis was promoted to Military Deputy of USAF acquisition, but the top USAF acquisition job is still vacant. It’s a small world: among other assignments Shyu was working on JSF antennas at Raytheon before joining DoD.
SASC Chairman Carl Levin [D-MI] is suggesting a $10B/year budget cut over 10 years as a compromise to avoid sequestration, with a focus on nuclear weapons and troops in South Korea. He’s also repeating the Democratic position that revenue (i.e. tax raises in Washingtonspeak) have to be part of the mix. Some Republicans such as Lindsay Graham and Tom Coburn are open to the idea, if entitlement reform is also on the table.
The GAO thinks that granting a monopoly to Dun & Bradstreet with the GSA’s reliance on DUNS numbers to identify contractors lets the company rake in, yet comes with restrictions. They want GSA to renegotiate, and will investigate whether switching to government-issued identifiers would save federal money, in the context of the move to the System for Award Management (SAM). This situation contributes to the serious shortcomings facing defense contract tracking:
“In 2009 Congress requested that DOD report on the total value of DOD contracts entered into with contractors that have been indicted for, settled charges of, or had been fined or convicted of fraud in connection with any contract entered into with the federal government over the past 10 years. In responding to this directive, DOD obtained fraud case data from the Department of Justice that did not contain DUNS numbers. DOD used the company names to search for contract obligation data in FPDS-NG. Without DUNS numbers and their associated corporate linkage information, however, DOD was unable to identify the parent company of all offending companies and could not capture all the obligation data. DOD was unable to use corporate linkage information since this use of data fell outside the scope of GSA’s contract with Dun & Bradstreet.
What is the role of Aircraft Operations (AO) within the US Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)? Navy Captain Drew Swenson explains in the latest Communicator [PDF].
Ursula Brennan, Permanent Secretary at the British MOD since November 2010, is leaving for the Ministry of Justice. In a recent hearing at the House of Commons on the Carrier strike report there was a strong “Yes Minister” undercurrent to her (non)answers. The Guardian describes her as “a glutton for punishment.”
Meanwhile the UK National Defence Association (UKNDA) is not mincing words: Britain’s armed forces will be “castrated” by personnel cuts.