Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Article excerpt

NEWS FROM INSIDE THE BELTWAY BY SANDRA I. ERWIN

2010 Budget

Gates: Industry unharmed by program cancellations

Military weapons programs often are justified on grounds that the nation must protect its industrial base. But the industry has consolidated into a handful of giant firms, so program cancellations diese days don't necessarily harm companies, contends Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Most of these companies have multiple programs with us," he said in reference to his recent decision to terminate a handful of big-ticket weapon systems. What really helps companies, he said, is to get larger orders so they can produce hardware more efficiendy. The Pentagon needs to stop buying "exquisite" technology that does not meet real military needs in favor of larger quantities of critical items. That was the reasoning behind Gates' endorsement of a large buy of F-35 aircraft, Littoral Combat Ships and Reaper armed drones.

A 'Disconnected' View of the Army

*Organizing and equipping Army brigades for war is far more difficult than it should be because commanders don't have a clear picture of what forces and equipment are available at any given time, said John Organek, the Army's chief enterprise architect. Staffing and equipping units requires information that has to be collected from 21 separate databases tiiat are not connected to each other, Organek said at a conference hosted by the SAP software company. The process of planning a brigade deployment is "like looking through a broken telescope. We just don't see die right picture," he said. Efforts are under way to try to improve the accuracy of the information so commanders don't end up ordering the same equipment three times, just in case one of the orders gets lost.

Contract Professionals Feel Like Fall Guys

* The crowd was rather dispirited at the recent National Contract Management Association World Congress in Long Beach, Calif, wrote Steve Kelman in his Federal Computer Week blog.

"The mood at the events . . . has been, I guess I would say, put-upon," said Kelman, a federal procurement expert. "Contracting professionals are not regarding the country's political leadership, either in Congress or the White House, as an ally or supportive in their efforts to achieve better contracting outcomes," he said. "Instead, they are seen primarily as the source of politically driven but substantively dubious mandates forced on contracting professionals. …

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