Monthly Archives: September, 2017

Acquisition News
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CONTRACTS
ARMY
Vigor Works LLC, Clackamas, Oregon, has been awarded a $979,794,011 firm-fixed-price contract for Maneuver Support Vessel (Light). Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2027. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZB-17-D-0086).

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $300,088,180 fixed-price-incentive domestic and foreign military sales (Lebanon, Jordon and Morocco) contract for Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wireless-guided missiles for the Army, Marine Corps and foreign military sales customers. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona; and Farmington, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2020. Fiscal 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017 other procurement (Army); foreign military sales; and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds in the combined amount of $300,088,180 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-17-C-0194).

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WASHINGTON: After almost a decade of reporting on the Army’s crucial networks, I’d thought they’d started to get things right. Boy, was I wrong. At a hearing this afternoon of the House Armed Services air and land subcommittee, the Army left lawmakers shaking their heads when they announced they plan to shut down the controversial WIN-T program — except they aren’t really shutting it down: They’re going to keep buying it for a year. They’re also planning to buy other hardware and software that’s not 10 years out of date, as much of the current network equipment is. (See chart below). These decisions are all products of the sweeping review that Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley ordered of all the services’ networks, not just WIN-T. Milley sees the current systems as too vulnerable to jamming and hacking, too big a target for artillery, and too immobile for rapid maneuver. Those are tolerable weaknesses against the low-tech Taliban or Islamic State, but crippling in a high-intensity war against Russia or China. Milley faces the risk that, in the next war, the US Army’s communications will get shut down — as the Ukrainian Army’s networks were in 2014, paralyzing them against the Russian invasion. No wonder, then, that the Army feels a sense of urgency. The problem is they’re asking a frazzled Congress to approve major changes to the fiscal 2018 budget when the legislative process is limping and gasping towards the finish line. (FY18 actually begins Oct. 1st, not that anyone expects Congress to pass spending bills by then. One of our favorite defense industry analysts, Byron Callan of Capital Alpha, sums it up the legislative state of play crisply (his italics: “The hearing was held because the Army abruptly changed its acquisition strategy after having submitted its FY18 budget and after three of the four primary oversight committees had marked up the FY18 budget…..Its intent is to redirect funding to new aspects of network modernization that have yet to be fully defined….Committee members were not happy about the abrupt change in Army plans.” Some of the reaction from subcommittee members: Rep. Jim Langevin, ranking member of the HASC emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee: “This is just a stunning hearing and turn of events.” Army appears to have “squandered” precious dollars in “search of the perfect system.” Rep. Paul Cook, a retired Marine colonel: “Very very upset. Timing couldn’t be worse right now. A lot of us are trying to get the budget passed and now this happens.” Rep. Anthony Brown, a new member of the HASC: “Disappointed is just an understatement for me.” Subcommittee chairman Rep. Michael Turner at the end of the hearing: “This is a very skeptical subcommittee. The information you’ve given us does not justify the abrupt shift… very disappointing.” How bad is it? In testimony to the committee, Army Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, said this: “The Army’s current network was conceived, developed and fielded for the static environments of Iraq and Afghanistan but it does not meet the future warfighting needs of a high-end conflict.” To help fix this state of affairs,Crawford said, the service “will immediately halt procurement of the Mid-Tier Network Vehicular Radio (MNVR)) and legacy Command Post of the Future (CPOF). The Army will also halt procurement of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 at the end of FY18.” The nation has, so far, spent $6 billion developing WIN-T. That money, Crawford and other Army officials told the subcommittee, won’t be squandered because they will deploy “capabilities and elements” of WIN-T 2. — indeed, some brigades already have the system, with the first sets fielded in 2012. Oh, and after spending $6 billion on WIN-T the Army says it needs $545 million, which is not, they say, new money “but a realignment of existing resources” — i.e. a reprogramming, in Congressional parlance. (See chart below). The Army will plan to apply $413.8M to fix the network’s most pressing interoperability and security concerns, and $131.1M to “adapt and buy” better systems. The Army will reinvest the savings from WIN-T Increment 2, MNVR, and CPOF to fix the network by “improving survivability to electronic warfare, cyber capabilities and the mobility of command posts,” Crawford testified. WIN-T is heavy and took– on average– 40 to 50 hours to get equipment up on air at 16 National Training Center exercises, Crawford said. That’s not exactly the speedy, mobile, adaptable system you’d need on a modern battlefield against, say, the Russians, who can spot a target with drones and have artillery rockets inbound in minutes. Below is chart outlining just what the Army plans to do, although Crawford said no decision has been made yet — just a plan. Except it’s the Army, so unless someone on the Hill screams very loudly, this is the service’s decision. BLIN SSN/APE Program Title Mark BASE/OCO FY18 OPA 19 BW7100 WIN-T Ground Forces Tactical Network -420,492 Base 37 B51001 Mid-Tier Networked Vehicular Radio -25,100 Base 102 BA9320 Maneuver Control System -59,900 Base 184 BS9100 Initial Spares -23,935 Base FY18 RDTE, A 83 0604290A Mid-Tier Networked Vehicular Radio (MNVR) -10,589 Base 229 0310349A WIN-T Increment 2 – Initial Networking -4,723 Base FY18 OPA 21 B07100 Tactical Network Technology Mod In SVC * 209,100 Base 20 B00010 Signal Modernization Program 22,439 Base 55 B63000 Defensive CYBER Operations 20,000 Base 62 BU0500 Installation Info Infrastructure Mod Program (I3MP) 57,300 Base 166 MA9800 Generators and Associated Equipment 15,800 Base NEW BW7200 Situational Information Transport * 102,400 Base FY18 RDTE, A 103 0604798A Brigade Analysis, Integration and Evaluation * 52,700 Base 109 0604818A Army Tactical Command and Control Hardware & Software * 55,000 Base 137 0605380A AMF Joint Tactical Radio system (JTRS) * 10,000 Base * New Starts Among the problems with today’s hearing, and the Army’s culture generally, is that they really find it difficult to talk with people who aren’t in the Army — for example, members of Congress. And they want to follow a process, like developing requirements and following the acquisition rules. Of course, that leaves them lagging years behind commercial industry, as Crawford and the other Army officials admitted. They say they’re going to tell industry what they want and let it tell them what’s a good idea. Then they’ll test it. They’ve been “over prescribing” to industry, Crawford told the subcommittee. Gosh, wasn’t that what the Network Integration Exercises (NIE) were supposed to fix? Let’s hope the Army’s not really as stuck in the mud as today’s hearing made it appear. Our troops need those networks to fight and win.

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CAPITOL HILL: Is the arsenal of democracy out of business? Probably not, but America’s “increasingly brittle industrial base” may not be able to sustain our forces in a protracted war, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, warned the Senate in a written statement this morning. It’s a problem a lot of people are wrestling with, from Dunford’s subordinates on the Joint Staff to academics and a White House-commissioned task force. There are solutions, a panel of experts said this afternoon on the Hill – if we just invest enough to research and develop them. The highest-level effort to find answers is that White House task force, commissioned by President Trump. “In the executive order, the analytical focus is on peer competitor conventional threats that would really stress all the different vectors of the industrial base,” an administration official told me, in contrast to the past 16 years of counterinsurgency, which only strained certain sectors like uparmored vehicles.

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The Severson Group, of Carlsbad, California, protests the rejection of the firm’s proposal as late by the Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, under request for proposals (RFP) No. N40085-17-R-0004 for custodial services. Severson argues that its proposal was timely submitted because the agency’s subsequent amendments to the solicitation, which extended the date and time for receipt of proposals were confusing.
We deny the protest.

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