ComDef2012

WASHINGTON: The strategic guidance issued to much fanfare by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last January is getting a “relook” because the senior leadership has “found some problems” with it, according to the Defense Department’s head of acquisition, Frank Kendall.

What are the holes? As one might expect, Kendall didn’t outline them, so we went to one of the Pentagon’s top strategy resources, Andrew Krepinevich, head of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment and graduate of Andy Marshall’s Office of Net Assessment. (For those who don’t know, Marshall is a Pentagon legend whose office helps determine our strategy.) Keep reading →

[updated 3:00 pm with Kendall comments] WASHINGTON: If history is any guide, the cuts to the defense budget will prompt a new wave of acquisition reform — and if history is any guide, we’ll get it wrong, again.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary for acquisitions, logistics, and technology, rolled out a “Better Buying Power” initiative in September 2010, and yesterday at the National Press Club he promised he would soon roll out a new and improved version of BBP that built on the lessons of the last two years. But it’s an uphill battle. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… Keep reading →

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: The ambitious arms export reforms proposed and largely prepared by the Obama administration may founder if the White House changes hands.

The State, Commerce and Defense departments have completed “for all intents and purposes” the drafts of the major reforms after a week of all-day meetings. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: As hard as it is to figure out how to share cybersecurity information within the US — just look at Congress’s recent failure to legislate on the subject — it’s even harder to do internationally.

“We’re all pulling together because we have to,” Maj. Gen. Mark Bowman, the US Army officer who is now chief information officer for the Joint Staff, said at the ComDef 2012 conference at the National Press Club. “The value of cybercrime today is close to eclipsing the value of the illegal drug trade.” Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: US foreign military sales are growing so fast the Pentagon can’t keep its PowerPoint slides updated — and they may well grow still more if a Defense Department policy easing exports of unmanned aircraft to 66 countries gets interagency and Congressional approval.

When Defense Security Cooperation Agency staff put together a briefing for DSCA deputy director Richard Genaille to give today at the National Press Club, new Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for fiscal year 2012 were at $64 billion. “It’s now $65 billion and will probably go up more in this fiscal year,” Genaille told the audience this morning at the ComDef 2012 conference. All told, Genaille said, “the FMS portfolio is valued at $385 billion dollars,” and supports “at least 3.5 million jobs, [at] a conservative estimate.” Keep reading →