The U.S. Navy faces an uncertain future if coming defense cuts strike at its shipbuilding budget. The sea service already is underfunded for its shipbuilding program, so cuts in that area could have severe ramifications in its mission-oriented capabilities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, told a panel audience at West 2011 that the Navy did not have procurements that it can cut. The Navy did not use supplemental defense funding to procure new platforms, so it does not have programs that it can cut. "Some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of efficiencies already have been picked," O'Rourke said. Nor will efficiencies alone be able to make up budget requirements. While the Navy likely will be able to find future efficiencies, if the decline is more than a certain amount then efficiencies etc will not be enough to make ends meet, O'Rourke said. Without its needed capabilities, the Navy could cut back on ocean deployments by limiting them to specific areas. It also could rely more on unmanned aerial systems and extend the operational lives of older ships and submarines.
The U.S. Navy may have gone too far in emphasizing defensive measures over offensive capabilities, which it may need to rectify quickly. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that the recent emphasis on missile defense and cyberspace security may have overlooked the need to maintain leading-edge offensive capabilities in related areas. "We've stepped away and become too defensive," the admiral declared. The Navy needs to develop offensive capabilities to take the fight to the adversary instead of merely being reactive, he continued. Protecting the fleet is necessary, but the sea service must not neglect its strike mission. In particular, while citing the importance of cybersecurity, the admiral called for an offensive cyberspace capability-"look at it from a warfighter perspective," he said.
Maintaining maritime security will require humanitarian activities as well as traditional gunboat diplomacy, according to a U.S. Navy fleet commander. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that being able to provide disaster response and humanitarian assistance will be vital for ensuring maritime security. Many nations "could go either way" in either supporting or opposing U.S. national interests, the admiral explained. If the United States can respond rapidly and effectively when one of those nations suffers a natural disaster, that action could be the tipping agent that swings the nation into the U.S. column, he said. "It's not just kinetic power ... we must be a global force for good," Adm. Hunt declared.
The National Security Agency (NSA) now has an app for aspiring agents.
The U.S. Navy awarded several billion dollars in contracts to four companies, including Serco Incorporated, Reston, Virginia; VT Milcom, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lockheed Martin Services Incorporated, Gaithersburg, Maryland; and AMSEC Limited Liability Company, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contracts are for the installation and operational certification of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Centers for Program Executive Office (C4I & Space), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and other prospective U.S. Government and Foreign Military Sales customers. The C4ISR systems are produced under various production contracts-separate from these four contracts-and are delivered as government-furnished equipment to this contract for installation onboard surface ships, submarines, and shore stations located worldwide. The potential contract values are: Serco, $1.4 billion; VT Milcom, $1.38 million; Lockheed Martin, $1.37 billion; and Amsec, $1.31 billion. These four contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.
The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $1.5 billion modification to definitize the previously awarded advance acquisition P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) low-rate initial production I contract to a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract. This modification provides for the procurement of six P-8A MMA and associated spares, support equipment and tools, logistics support, trainers and courseware. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Atlantic CommTech Corporation (ACT-Corp), Norfolk, Virginia, recently received a $250 million contract award for the Electronic Security Systems Small Business Set Aside program by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The contract requires technical support, procurement, installation, monitoring, maintenance and service of electronic security systems, utility monitoring and control systems, heating ventilating and air conditioning, supervisory control and data acquisition systems and fire alarm systems worldwide for Department of the Army, Department of Defense, and non-defense agencies supported by the Corps of Engineers.