At its semiannual meeting in November, NDIA’s Board of Directors
approved the association’s “Top Issues for 2002.”
The issues—summarized below—were compiled by NDIA’s
Government Policy Advisory Committee, whose membership includes
all chapter presidents as well as the chair of each committee and
Issue 1: Funding America’s Defense
The defense budget top line must be increased significantly to
assure that the national-security posture remains strong and U.S.
forces are capable of meeting their commitments. Moreover, the defense
budget must no longer be used as a national account to fund non-defense
While funding increases are critical, efforts also need to be made
to maximize efficiency within the Defense Department. Excess infrastructure
must be eliminated through additional rounds of base realignment
and closure, and impediments to the use of commercial best-business
practices must be removed, so that the Pentagon can realize its
To gain and sustain support for proper funding of national defense,
a public-education program is needed to emphasize the importance
of the Defense Department and the defense industry to the security
and economy of the nation.
Issue 2: Protecting the Homeland
The catastrophic events of Sept. 11—together with the mailing
of anthrax spores—have exposed U.S. vulnerability to attacks
within its borders and demonstrated clearly that protecting the
homeland, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and safeguarding critical infrastructure are key national-security
issues for the 21st century.
The United States has, unfortunately, yet to adopt a comprehensive
and properly funded homeland-security plan that identifies responsible
parties, provides for the necessary interagency and intergovernmental
coordination and training, and delineates clear lines of authority
for actions to be taken in the event of future acts of terrorism.
Implementation of such a plan will require the cooperation and coordination
of multiple levels of government and private-sector entities.
Issue 3: Ensuring the Health of the Defense Industrial Base
National security requires a capable, competitive and efficient
defense industrial and technological base. Reform of the Pentagon’s
acquisition policies and business practices are essential to ensure
the viability of this base to meet future warfighter requirements
within cost-effective levels.
Reform efforts focus on eliminating non-value-added requirements
placed on contractors, barriers to accessing commercial technology
and pressure to overly regulate the industry, based on the assumption
that the Pentagon’s acquisition process demands accountability
The rapidly developing demands for very different capabilities
associated with the services’ 21st century transformation
plans requires a fresh assessment of how this relatively long-term
evolution can be accomplished within each of the major defense industry
Issue 4: Improving Training and Logistics Support
In order to maintain proficiency in a wide variety of required
missions and tasks in a joint environment, units will need to train
more effectively. However, technologically advanced weapons and
environmental and political constraints have made live-fire training
A partial answer to live-fire training challenges is increased
use of simulation-based training systems. Because of their growing
importance, training devices require a thorough review at each program
milestone and should be accorded the same priority as the cost,
schedule and performance of the weapon system they support.
The department and industry both recognize that product-support
solutions for new systems can be designed and implemented more effectively
if the acquisition and logistics communities work in partnership
for the life of the weapon system.
Integrated acquisition and logistics-supportability analyses should
be conducted as basic elements of the systems-engineering process.
They should begin at program initiation to ensure designed-in reliability
and maintainability and continue throughout the program life cycle
to ensure that the warfighter’s supportability requirements
are met over time.
Issue 5: Reforming Trade Proceses and Cultivating Foreign Relationships
Export controls are key to protecting critical U.S. technologies.
However, the federal government must provide greater latitude in
the exchange of technology among trusted allies and friends in order
to ensure U.S. firms have increased opportunities to compete for
business in overseas markets. The Export Administration Act, U.S.
Munitions List and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations
all need to be revised to reflect the current international environment.
Implementation of the Defense Trade Security Initiative is critical
to this effort.
The administration also must work with Congress and the European
Union to avoid trade sanctions as a result of World Trade Organization
disputes regarding current U.S. export tax laws.
Issue 6: Focusing on Human Capital
For the public sector, an aging, retirement-eligible workforce
means that the necessary talent for the future will not be available
unless actions are taken to actively recruit and retain quality
employees. However, greater outsourcing of functions that are non-governmental
in nature will help mitigate the problem by allowing more Defense
Department civilians to be assigned to core governmental functions.
For the private sector, the ability to attract new talent is related
directly to the current business environment. The defense industry
will continue to have difficulty competing with other sectors of
the economy for next-generation talent until there is a fair profit
structure, which promotes competitive compensation, at all tiers.
In addition to the above six issues, NDIA members recognize the
critical value of information in both operational and business environments,
and the need for developing integrated systems that deliver, process
and portray timely and accurate data and information across the
defense enterprise. Consequently, NDIA and its affiliates advocate
acquisition policies and procedures that ensure effective and efficient
acquisition and management of software developed for operational,
training and logistics systems, as well as accelerated adoption
of commercially developed software to support internal Pentagon