Procurement

Pork Ranger

As the defense-budget battles heat up – they’ll come to a boil later this week when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta heads to Capitol Hill to say where he thinks the ax should fall – you’ve got to be on the lookout for pyromaniacs in fields of straw men (credit: William F. Buckley via George Will). While a comprehensive review of …

Hey Panetta, What’s Up With the Waste?

Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today asking Panetta to “look in every nook and cranny of the federal government to make sure that we’re getting the most bang for our buck.” Panetta has been aggressively fighting the prospect of cuts to the Defense Department’s budget. But …

Combat Contracting 101



War-zone contracting is a complicated business, because the pressures of combat drive people – not to mention governments – to do things they might not otherwise do. Besides which, it’s boring to wade through all the fine print.

Case in point: a contract to train 80 Afghan wanna-be pilots in both flying and English. Raytheon …

Best Military Obits of the Weekend

Journalists tend to disparage obituaries because many of them had to churn them out as young reporters. But few forms of writing are so rewarding. After all, unlike many stories, obits have a beginning, middle and an end. They trace the arc of the subject’s life, and try to put it into some kind of frame and perspective. It was a great …

Special Forces Navy

You won’t learn much from the most interesting contract announcement the Pentagon made Thursday (click on it to enlarge). It’s for as much as $400 million to “develop, test, produce, field, and sustain a modern, clandestine, agile, adaptive, technically relevant, reliable, and operationally capable combatant craft system in support …

Report Examines “Worst Case” Scenario for the U.S. Military

The debt ceiling deal passed this summer contains a sequestration “trigger.” If the Super Committee fails to agree on a plan to meet its deficit reduction targets–or if Congress fails to approve the plan, the legislation stipulates that huge amounts of discretionary spending funds will be automatically sequestered–i.e., taken off …

Pilots’ Days Are Numbered

On a day when a U.S. drone apparently sent Anwar al-Awlaki to his eternal reward, check out this Northrop Grumman video of the Navy’s X-47B UCAS — Unmanned Combat Air System. Sometime in the next year or two, these things are slated to start test flights off aircraft carriers. Somehow, a 21st Century Top Gun — with Tom Cruise …

$24,966,507

That’s how much the Air Force agreed to pay Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. of Herndon, Va., Tuesday, according to the Pentagon’s daily contract-awards list. The money will fund studies, including Emerging Leading-Edge Technological Advancement of Intelligence Surveillance Recon Capabilities Report, as well as Tactics, Techniques, and

Warplanes’ Cost-Per-Pound Steadily Rising

Here’s another gem from that recent study on the defense industrial base — or rather the prospective lack of it — by the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Instead of tracing weapons’ cost growth over time, the folks at CSBA have simply divided each warbird’s fly-away cost (the cost of the plane, minus R&D …

The Navy’s Own Solyndra

Washington was buzzing last week with the news that Solyndra LLC, a California solar-energy firm with ties to the Obama White House, had gone belly up – after pocketing a half-billion loan from the federal government. Seems the Navy also has been suffering from fiscal sunstroke, to judge from a just-released Pentagon inspector …

Afghanistan: It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas

Trouble on the blimp front: there apparently isn’t enough helium around to float the latest humongous lighter-than-air vehicles the U.S. military wants floating in the skies over Afghanistan to keep an eye out for bad guys.

The new Northrop Grumman unmanned Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle has “huge gaseous helium …

“We Must Maintain the Nuclear Triad”

That’s what Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Air Force Association’s annual gathering Monday. I’m sure his statement has nothing to do with the fact that his service owns two — bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles — of the triad’s three legs (the Navy’s submarine-launched missiles being the third). …

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