Bill LaPlante

WASHINGTON: It may have happened before but I can’t remember when the top acquisition officials of two of the three services announced their resignations in the same month — let alone on the same day. But both Bill LaPlante, the lead buyer for the Air Force, and Heidi Shyu, his counterpart at the Army, did just… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

WASHINGTON: Running weapons programs is a grueling job. Running Army programs, with their history of spectacular failures and cancellations, can be worse. That means Heidi Shyu‘s first achievement is endurance: in one senior position or another, the outgoing Army acquisition chief lasted five years amidst steeply declining budgets. Perhaps her biggest achievement was to keep her sense… Keep reading →


The House and Senate Armed Services committees are locked in an important battle to determine how much acquisition reform this year’s National Defense Authorization Act will embrace and what kinds of changes the Pentagon will be subject to. Sen. John McCain is pushing sweeping changes to how the Pentagon buys its weapons, including provisions that… Keep reading →

Robert Holland

WASHINGTON: What does the former CEO of Ben & Jerry’s have to teach the US military? When it comes to reforming the Pentagon’s business practices, the answer may be plenty. If you had to pick an ice cream company to partner with the Pentagon, you wouldn’t pick the notoriously (and sometimes literally) granola Ben &… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

PENTAGON: Sen. John McCain’s push to boost the power of the four service chiefs to manage Pentagon weapons programs is coming at the “worst time” and may well lead to more increased costs and busted schedules, the military’s acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, told Breaking Defense in an interview. “The thing that bothers me the most about… Keep reading →

Bell V-280 Valor Joint Multi-Role Demonstrator

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jack Reed SASC hearing

CAPITOL HILL: In a bold attempt to fix the Pentagon’s creaking system to develop and buy weapons, the Senate Armed Services Committee today introduced broad changes to who controls weapons programs and tried to encourage Silicon Valley and other non-defense industries to help maintain the country’s global technological and military dominance. This is the beginning of… Keep reading →

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jack Reed SASC hearing

UPDATED: With Thornberry Comment Supporting Reform WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain plans a long-term review of the law underpinning the modern American military, the Goldwater-Nichols legislation that created the current chain of command from president to defense secretary to combatant commanders. “The Committee will be conducting a preliminary examination of the structure, roles, and missions of civilian… Keep reading →


  PENTAGON: For the third year in a row, Air Force weapon programs have busted their schedules, taking longer to field, this time adding another 112 months to the 29 major weapons programs that the service monitors. It’s a pattern. In 2012, schedule performance “continues to remain problematic and shows no signs of improvement.” In 2013,… Keep reading →

Rep. Mac Thornberry

UPDATED: Here Is Bill That Thornberry Introduced On March 25 CAPITOL HILL: After over a year of preparation, House Armed Services chairman Mac Thornberry will announce Monday a plan to fix Pentagon procurement. In intentional contrast to past efforts at sweeping acquisition reforms, Monday’s child will be a relatively modest “increment one,” a committee aide… Keep reading →

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