Magazine article National Defense

NDIA Lists Top Issues for the Coming Year. (Government Policy Notes)

Magazine article National Defense

NDIA Lists Top Issues for the Coming Year. (Government Policy Notes)

Article excerpt

At its semiannual meeting in November, NDIA's Board of Directors approved the association's "Top Issues for 2002." The issues-summarized below-were compiled by NDIA's Government Policy Advisory Committee, whose membership includes all chapter presidents as well as the chair of each committee and division.

Issue 1: Funding America's Defense

The defense budget top line must be increased significantly to assure that the national-security posture remains strong and U.S. forces are capable of meeting their commitments. Moreover, the defense budget must no longer be used as a national account to fund non-defense programs.

While funding increases are critical, efforts also need to be made to maximize efficiency within the Defense Department. Excess infrastructure must be eliminated through additional rounds of base realignment and closure, and impediments to the use of commercial best-business practices must be removed, so that the Pentagon can realize its acquisition-reform goals.

To gain and sustain support for proper funding of national defense, a public-education program is needed to emphasize the importance of the Defense Department and the defense industry to the security and economy of the nation.

Issue 2: Protecting the Homeland

The catastrophic events of Sept. 11 - together with the mailing of anthrax spores-have exposed U.S. vulnerability to attacks within its borders and demonstrated clearly that protecting the homeland, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and safeguarding critical infrastructure are key national-security issues for the 21st century.

The United States has, unfortunately, yet to adopt a comprehensive and properly funded homeland-security plan that identifies responsible parties, provides for the necessary interagency and intergovernmental coordination and training, and delineates clear lines of authority for actions to be taken in the event of future acts of terrorism. Implementation of such a plan will require the cooperation and coordination of multiple levels of government and private-sector entities.

Issue 3: Ensuring the Health of the Defense Industrial Base

National security requires a capable, competitive and efficient defense industrial and technological base. Reform of the Pentagon's acquisition policies and business practices are essential to ensure the viability of this base to meet future warfighter requirements within cost-effective levels.

Reform efforts focus on eliminating non-value-added requirements placed on contractors, barriers to accessing commercial technology and pressure to overly regulate the industry, based on the assumption that the Pentagon's acquisition process demands accountability over efficiency.

The rapidly developing demands for very different capabilities associated with the services' 21st century transformation plans requires a fresh assessment of how this relatively long-term evolution can be accomplished within each of the major defense industry sectors.

Issue 4: Improving Training and Logistics Support

In order to maintain proficiency in a wide variety of required missions and tasks in a joint environment, units will need to train more effectively. However, technologically advanced weapons and environmental and political constraints have made live-fire training increasingly difficult. …

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