Acquisition

June 30, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

 

Sweeping changes are on the horizon for one NATO agency as it reshapes its software acquisition processes and embarks on a task to create what officials call an in-house “software factory.”

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency wants to overhaul the way it buys software after inspections revealed acute shortcomings that led to several program cost overruns and delays, says Paul Howland, chief of command and control services for NCI Agency, which serves as NATO’s information technology and command, control, communications and computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) provider, including cyber and missile defense.

June 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, USA (Ret.)

The second in a series of articles

Among the latest steps the federal government has taken to reform the acquisition process, the U.S. Defense Department initiatives Better Buying Power 2.0 and 3.0 aim to improve the affordability of weapon system development and reduce the bureaucracy of program acquisition. In addition, Congress recently passed H.R. 1232, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which seeks better ways to obtain and manage federal information technology systems.

May 20, 2016
By Beverly Mowery Cooper
Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., USAF, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, spoke at the AFCEA International/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Weapon system acquisition costs and schedules are trending exponentially, and unsustainably, up and to the right. The Air Force can move down the cost/schedule curve to benefit value delivered to the warfighter, and the key is communications and dialog, according to Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., USAF, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

Industry must keep the Air Force honest for starters, the general explained. “If we are asking for something industry cannot do, they need to tell me that from the beginning,” he stated during his address to the AFCEA International/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

May 1, 2016
By James P. Craft

Acquisition reform has been a topic of discussion among individuals in government, industry and academia for several decades. A regular outpouring of well-written studies has occurred year after year, such as the 1986 Packard Commission report, the 1992 U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) report on weapons acquisition, the 1993 report of the Defense Department Acquisition Law Advisory Panel and the more recent Center for Strategic and International Studies report “Measuring the Outcomes of Acquisition Reform by Major DoD Components.” These studies have made recommendations and measured progress. In some cases, the same recommendations are repeated from study to study. 

December 16, 2016
Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now accepting proposals for its upcoming Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for fiscal year 2016. The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) jointly issued the solicitation. S&T and DNDO are seeking technical solutions from small businesses in 13 topic areas. The pre-solicitation is available online.

October 13, 2015
By George I. Seffers

This blog is a followup to an article in the October issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Operation Cooperation: U.S. Defense Officials Intend to Expand Asia-Pacific Partnerships.

Although tighter budgets motivate governments to cooperate on technology development, sequestration and the budget uncertainties in the United States have negatively impacted international partnerships, says Keith Webster, director of international cooperation, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

August 13, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Marines conduct civil-military operations and collect, process, analyze and share information using software from a smartphone.

The Defense Department’s much-anticipated capability solution to access classified voice and email up to the secret level from mobile devices finally migrated from the pilot stage and now is operational within the department and several federal agencies, says Kimberly Rice, program manger for the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Mobility Program Management Office.

March 18, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Photo courtesy of NASA

It will not be long before adversaries narrow the superiority gap the United States holds over others in satellite technology—rivals who are unencumbered by bureaucratic stagnation and who can rapidly leverage commercial technology for military use, according to one panelist speaking at the Satellite 2015 symposium in Washington D.C.

March 16, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Maj. Gen. Daniel Hughes, USA, program executive officer, command, control and communications-tactical (PEO-C3T), cops to being an impatient man. Patience is one of the first things to go as you age, he says.

That impatience showed during an interview for my March PEO Spotlight column, "Shaking Up the Radio Marketplace." It was a hard-charging zigzag from one topic to the next with a fair number of self-deprecating jokes scattered along the way. He spoke in a rapid-fire manner, as if concerned each word will consume too much time.

January 13, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

While cybersecurity is getting big play in the news these days—as it well should—three topics require just as much attention but have not yet hit the big time. Acquisition, spectrum and interoperability may not have the headline-grabbing charm of the hack into the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter account, but they are issues that need the same serious attention.

For years, industry and government personnel have agreed that the system for purchasing information technology systems needs change—serious change. The complicated acquisition process not only puts out-of-date technology in warfighters’ hands, it puts lives in danger.

July 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s Project Manager of Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, Warren, Michigan, is conducting market research to see what companies can provide a lightweight common robotic system (CRS) for dismounted soldiers.

July 9, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Kent Schneider, AFCEA’s president and chief executive officer, has called the 2013 U.S. Defense Department’s budget woes “the perfect storm.” Budget cuts, travel restrictions and sequestration converged to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and indecision. For the services, this meant a bit of scrambling to determine how reduced funding could have the least impact on national security. For the defense industry, it became a time of reaction and cutbacks, or at least flat budgets.

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The inertial navigation system (INS) market size is estimated to be $2.75 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.98 percent to reach $4.63 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market analysis firm. Though North America and Europe have the largest market for INS in terms of commercial and defense aviation, military and naval applications, a lot of INS development programs have been launched in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Defense Department networks will need to operate with the minimum security available as connectivity and the threat picture evolve, said a top defense official. Terry Halvorsen, acting Defense Department chief information officer, minced no words as he described how tight budgets are limiting options across the board.

“I want for all these networks, the minimum level of security to get the mission done,” Halvorsen declared. “If we try to do the best security everywhere, we will not get to what we want. We don’t have the money; we don’t have the time.”

June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Defense Department data will be invading the commercial world as the department moves its unclassified information out of its own hands. Terry Halvorsen, acting Defense Department chief information officer, described the upcoming move at the Wednesday luncheon of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium, being held June 24-25 in Baltimore.

May 22, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army has released a draft request for proposals to procure additional Rifleman Radios, moving the system toward full rate production. The Rifleman Radio is part of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit program. Under the full and open competition approach, the Army will award contracts, and qualified vendors will compete for delivery orders as needed.

May 9, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has evaluated color-coded chemical detection technology known as colorimetric explosive detection kits, the service recently announced. Colorimetric detection technology is based upon a series of chemical reactions that produce a visual response, most often in the form of a color change dependent upon the molecular structure of the compounds being tested. 

May 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The late Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, USN (Ret.), looks over my shoulder as I work in my home office. His picture graced the May 2003 cover of SIGNAL Magazine, highlighting an article Clarence A. Robinson Jr., wrote based on an interview with the admiral. I was lucky enough to escort SIGNAL’s freelance photographer to take the photo of Adm. Cebrowski when he led the charge for change as the director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Force Transformation. I received a cover photo plaque that hangs in my home office for my effort, though it really wasn’t necessary.

April 15, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a request for proposals to further develop “extreme scale” supercomputer technology under the FastForward program. Contracts will total about $100 million and the funding period will be from July 2014 to November 2016. Proposals are due May 9.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet.

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