SIGNALScape

Budget Challenges Vex Pacific Fleet

January 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The U.S. Pacific Fleet will not be able to meet its mission priorities easily if any of a variety of pending budget cuts comes to pass, according to its commander. Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, told the Wednesday morning keynote audience at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego that both the continuing resolution and sequestration offer distinct challenges to the fleet’s ability to meet its obligations amid the strategic rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.

The admiral notes that the continuing resolution has underfunded operation and maintenance by $3 billion. The nature of the continuing resolution limits the U.S. military’s ability to react to contingencies by not allowing the transfer of funds from different sources into operational accounts.

Sequestration is “a whole new ball game,” he said. It could bring an additional $4 billion to $5 billion in cuts this year alone. And, if both the continuing resolution and sequestration are coupled together, the result will be a true worst-case scenario.

The Pacific Fleet is trying to address its new mission areas, the admiral said. This includes an enhanced ability to operate in a contested environment with low-signature interoperability. It also includes being able to integrate data to deliver integrated fires rapidly.

Lockheed Martin Awarded Mission Planning and Analysis Contract

January 30, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Lockheed Martin Services Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., is being awarded a $49,600,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for sustainment and maintenance of the Global Strike and Product Support suite of software applications within the Mission Planning and Analysis System framework. The contracting activity is Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Toshiba Supplies Radiology Equipment

January 30, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc., Tustin, Calif., was issued a contract modification exercising the fourth option year. The modification is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract with a maximum $214,041,309 for radiology systems, subsystems and components. Using military services are the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Reversible Decisions Are at the Core of Navy Sequestration Plans

January 29, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Facing fiscal Armageddon, the U.S. Navy is building its budget strategy around options that could be undone if conditions change in the near future. Not all the cuts under consideration could be restored easily, but the sea service is working to ensure that key capabilities are not lost forever in crisis budget cutting.

A panel at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 focused on the topic of making fiscal cliff numbers add up. Vice Adm. David H. Buss, USN, commander, naval air forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, described the reversibility doctrine as a way to reconstitute force capabilities if conditions permit in the future. These conditions could be driven by fewer fiscal constraints or changes in doctrine or mission requirements.

Some savings can be realized without gutting the force. Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr., USMC, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force, noted that this budget crisis is not a surprise. The United Kingdom went through it a couple of years ago, and British colleagues warned their U.S. counterparts that the United States would have its turn in short order. Accordingly, the Marine Corps began making some preparations for funding reductions.

Gen. Toolan noted that acquisition discipline can generate savings. Over the past 10 years of war, the services received whatever they needed to support the warfighter. Acquisition discipline was discarded, but the services could realize savings if they return to that discipline.

Adm. Buss added that the Navy must guard against near-term solutions that “save a dollar today but cost three dollars tomorrow.”

 

Asia-Pacific Force Rebalance Will Require New Means of Operations

January 29, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The U.S. Navy increasingly will need to rely on nonmilitary means to solve problems in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region continues, but its implementation will need to adjust to account for budgetary constraints.

Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work explained some of these nuances to a packed luncheon audience at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Work noted that many large- and medium-size Asia-Pacific nations are increasing the size of their navies and other maritime forces. By comparison, most European nations are shrinking their fleets.

With this growth in Asia-Pacific naval capabilities comes an increase in gunboat diplomacy, Work notes. States that might seem more likely to use gunboat diplomacy could cause a problem for U.S. interests there. Accordingly, the U.S. Navy must remain engaged in the region.

Work also pitched the Navy and the Marine Corps as “a sure bet” for carrying out the Asia-Pacific strategy, especially in a down defense market.

Cyber May Be Immune From Budget Cutting Affliction

January 29, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Amid all the concern about how the military will be cutting back severely across the board, cyber stands alone as one area that almost certainly will see spending increases. Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy, told a packed keynote luncheon audience at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego that cyber is one area that continues to grow in importance.

Saying that cyber today is like atomic warfare was in the 1950s—“all over the place” with regard to doctrine—he stated that the Navy is increasing funding in cybersecurity and cyber forces. These forces will become all the more important as other forces are cut back.

“We’re making more progress on the operational tactical realm than on the strategic realm, but that [strategic progress] is coming,” Work offered.

Navy Leader Pledges to Meet Shipbuilding Goals

January 29, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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U.S. Navy shipbuilding will sail on in spite of potentially severe budget cuts, according to the undersecretary of the Navy. Robert O. Work, giving the luncheon keynote address to a packed audience at AFCEA/USNI West 2013, declared that the Navy would achieve its goal of a 300-ship Navy “by hook or by crook” by 2019.

Calling the shipbuilding program “the best it has ever been since the heyday of the 600-ship Navy” during the Reagan Administration, Work noted that the 42 additional ships currently planned all are under contract, and most of these contracts are fixed-price.

Still, the Navy will have to realize savings and cuts elsewhere to address what undoubtedly will be a tight budget. “‘Flat’ is the new ‘up’ in this defense budget environment,” he said, quipping, “We have an average budget … lower than last year, higher than next year.”

And, sequestration might be catastrophic, he added. The Navy might have to furlough its civilian workers for 22 days, which would have serious effects on both Navy operations and the personal lives of those furloughed. That would be only one of many severe repercussions that would afflict the Navy.

“If we have sequestration, we will have a hollow force by the end of the year,” he warned.

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