‘Tradeoffs’ May Be Needed in Navy Programs
The defense secretary’s decision to cancel the Army’s
Crusader artillery vehicle program is a message to all the military
services that they must be prepared to make “tradeoffs,”
said Navy Secretary Gordon England.
In canceling Crusader, “The secretary is doing his job,”
England told reporters in Washington, D.C., last month.
Even though Secretary Donald Rumsfeld does not deny that the Army
needs an improved artillery system, he says the upgrades can be
achieved by investing the Crusader dollars in other technologies.
These decisions often are necessary, England said. “We make
tradeoffs in the Navy every day.”
When asked what programs may be slated for future tradeoffs, he
declined to specify any. “But that doesn’t mean that
at some point, [if] there’s another technology, another approach,”
a program may be cancelled. “If we don’t have the right
balance between cost and technology, then you reassess the situation.
... We are always looking at alternatives, in all our programs.”
Congressional Research Service analyst Ronald O’Rourke said
he did not see immediate trouble ahead for any specific program.
The LPD-17 amphibious assault ship has survived, despite huge cost
overruns, he noted. But some of the other shipbuilding accounts
may be running into problems, if costs don’t come down, especially
aircraft carriers and submarines, O’Rourke said in an interview.
“Potentially you may have to trade off funding for one program
against the other.”
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DLA Hopes to Win Back Marine Cammie Business
Last year, the Marines decided to buy their new camouflage battle
garments, called “cammies,” on their own, rather than
go through the Defense Logistics Agency. They claimed that DLA’s
markup was too high.
But DLA still is hoping to work out a deal with the Marines, said
Maj. Gen. Hawthorne L. Proctor, the agency’s director of logistics
“The Marines decided to walk when we could not make a deal,”
he told a recent conference of the Association of the U.S. Army.
DLA could not lower the price, because it had to recover its overhead
costs, explained Proctor. “The commandant decided that the
price of the cammies was too high and they could do better outside
DLA.” However, he added, “not all is lost.”
The Marines, he said, are “finding that it’s not as
easy as they thought” to buy uniforms without the assistance
of DLA. Proctor suggested that the Corps may be reconsidering its
decision. “Yes, they walked,” he said. But the reality
is that DLA sometimes is worth the higher price, because “we
provide more than just buying the cammies.” The Marines are
not the only service that has been unhappy with DLA’s services.
Proctor said one of his priorities is to improve “support
to the war fighter.” In the near future, he said, “There
are some tough issues we have to address with the services and with
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Utility Privatization Plodding Along
The privatization of military utility plants has been in the headlines
recently, because of the controversy surrounding Enron and the company’s
interest in bidding for Army outsourcing contracts.
But Enron is the least of the problems confronting the Defense
Energy Support Center, responsible for managing the utility privatization
Jeffrey Jones, director of DESC, said the process of privatizing
utilities is so complex that it is taking years just to draft the
solicitations. “We have an organization working full time
with the Army and the Air Force, helping them outsource utility
systems at base level,” he said during a conference of the
Association of the U.S. Army. DESC was granted contracting authority
for 161 utilities, most of them owned by the Army. The agency currently
is working on solicitations for 78 of them. Only 17 have been completed.
“This is a very, very corporate process,” said Jones.
“If you think about the conditions these utilities are in,
we are asking someone to take them over, operate them safely.”
Oftentimes, the deal-breaker is the amount of money that a company
would have to invest to refurbish the plants and make them complaint
with environmental and safety regulations. “They are difficult
negotiations,” Jones said.
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U.S. Does Not View India in Relation To Pakistan
The Bush administration rejects the “hyphenated view”
of India and Pakistan, despite an imminent threat of a war between
the two countries.
“We think of India in its own right, as a fellow democracy,
a strategically significant power,” said Undersecretary of
Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith at a recent U.S.-India Defense
Industry Seminar in Washington, DC.
“India’s relations with Pakistan are important ...
but those relations are seen as but a part of a very broad strategic
canvas in which India plays a key, multi-faceted role, sharing multiple,
large interests with the United States.”
The United States is working closely with Pakistan in the war on
terrorism, Feith emphasized. “Pakistan has contributed invaluably
to Operation Enduring Freedom — and the U.S.-Pakistani relationship
has warmed greatly as a result,” he said. “We view President
Musharraf as a man who is trying to accomplish something strategic
and historic for Pakistan.”
The Bush Administration came into office with a conviction that
U.S. interests require a strong relationship with India, said Feith.
“As the U.S.-India relationship develops and our two countries
increasingly harmonize their policies and strategic goals, the inevitable
result will be more durable and consistent links in defense and
However, when the United States shares military or dual-use technologies,
“even with our closest allies, we attach conditions,”
Feith noted. “We need the ability to protect specified items
and services. We expect our friends to protect militarily valuable
technologies through a robust export control system, with its own
legal, regulatory and policy infrastructure.”
The United States and India have been working on a Defense Policy
Group since December. A dozen sub-groups have met on issues ranging
from counter-terrorism to peacekeeping, Navy-to-Navy cooperation,
joint research and development, sales and licensing.