Must-Reads

November 22, 2013  

Army warms to cellphones | Acquisition reform, take 27 | UCLASS, up in the air

At the Army’s Senior Leader Seminar, frustrated generals were talking openly about moving more battlefield communications from DoD networks to commercial ones. Besides availability and reliability, security has been the main bugaboo. But in an era when many defense networks are already penetrated, the implications of losing a cellphone to enemy hands seem less severe. (Breaking Defense)

Is acquisition reform back on the front burner? “There is a bipartisan and bicameral interest in acting,” says Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. At the Air Force General Counsel Blog, Samuel Mark Borowski asks, “Simplification sounds like a pretty good idea, but do you think complexity is the source of the acquisition system’s woes? If so, what is its source: the law, the requirements, or the business process? What about the rise in bid protests? Is it a sign of a system overburdened with oversight (as one former defense official has suggested), or is it the result of an increasingly bitter fight for a shrinking pool of dollars?”

Will the Navy’s UCLASS be designed primarily to drop bombs or gather info? Dave Majumdar reports that there is “still an ongoing and hotly contested debate underway between various factions within the Pentagon as to whether the UCLASS will be focused on the penetrating strike mission versus the permissive environment intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) role.” (USNI)

Warlord’s Quote

“The man who will go where his colors go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in the jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made.” — T.R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War

Contributed by Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Pond, Chief of Staff for a program that provides signals intelligence and cyber access to the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence. From a list compiled by the Warlord Loop, a private email forum for national security experts.

Keep in touch

For more articles on strategy and other military affairs, subscribe to our bimonthly e-newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or add the AFJ Daily RSS feed to your newsreader. And tell us about your own must-reads at mustreads@armedforcesjournal.com.

1 comments
simeonguyhiggins
simeonguyhiggins

Acquisition reform -- yes, the system is too complex.  It's complex because no one wants to give up any degree of control while at the same time they work very hard to ensure that they have no responsibility for that control.  I was a major program manager -- and I was really good at it.  But complexity is not the only cause.  See the GAO report published in Dec 1992 (FY '93).  Complete citation is available from me (guy.higgins@performance2.net) if you want to find out why acquisition is so hard.  I'll also be happy to tell you why bid protests are up -- that's not a hard one, it just takes a while to go through it.