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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quora Top Writer 2013 Award


A Neat Award from Quora. Quill and Ink badge on Quora profile and a fleece jacket with emblem.

This year's class includes 650 writers representing over 40 countries.

Click on page linked below for quill and ink badge to view details. 
(no registration required).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The US Army's Future Mission is Vague, Leaving Industry with Little Direction

                                                              Photo "Go Army. com"

As an Army Veteran, and having worked in Aerospace over 3 decades to support  Army programs, I found the below article by John Keller, Editor in Chief, "Military & Aerospace Electronics" magazine an objective and disturbing piece.  Note the references to mission vacuum and lack of civilian leadership in Washington D.C.

John highlights that as the nation is struggling with stagnated politics the services are hampered by a lack of hard information to plan ahead.

Mr. Keller introduces a historical perspective and an excellent view of the hard issues, challenges and uncertainty that the Army and industry in its supporting role are facing today.


"A variety of factors are gathering into a potential perfect storm  that could threaten the U.S. Army's future mission, the continuing  relevance of the oldest American military service, and how the defense industry can move forward to support the Army's needs.

Some of these factors are well-known: sequestration, dim prospects  for budget growth, and substantial technology research and development  that for most practical purposes has come nearly to a dead-stop.

Perhaps most serious, however, is how top military and civilian  leadership define the Army's role moving into the future, the top  threats the Army will evolve to meet, and the very relevance of a large  standing Army in an era when large-scale, big-iron military land battles  appear to be part of the past.

Here's where we are today: U.S. military forces are finishing their  exit from Iraq, where they have operated for more than a decade. Their  final exit from Afghanistan is but a few years off, or less. When  operations on Southwest Asia are completed, where does the Army go from  there?

The Army has had a clear set of missions since  the U.S. entered World War II in 1941. Although the close of the Second  World War in 1945 saw a rapid drawdown in U.S. military power, the  strengthening Soviet Union was on everyone's mind.

Less than five years after World War II ended, North Korea invaded  South Korea, which created another sudden and dire mission for the Army.  That mission grew from containing North Korean forces to containing  Communism around the world, which continued until the fall of the Berlin  Wall in 1990. One year later, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which gave rise to  Operation Desert Shield, and eventually the military ouster of Iraqi  forces from Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, in which the Army played a  central role.

For the next decade, keeping an eye on a contained-but-restless Iraqi  military, on ethnic strife in what then was Yugoslavia, and on other  simmering hot spots throughout the world held the Army's attention and  helped define its mission.

Today things are different. Counter-insurgency operations are nearing  an end in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia does not pose the immediate  military threat that did its predecessors of the Soviet Union, and  Europe has been relatively quiet.
Still, trouble spots persist in areas like Syria and Iran, but with  no open conflict yet involving U.S. Army forces. There is no immediate  and dire threat in these areas, and hence no clear Army mission-at least  not yet.

So how does the Army move forward? Counter-insurgency, certainly. Special Forces capability, of  course. But what's the role of the large Army infrastructure involving  large combat infantry units, main battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles, and other organizations designed for large ground conflicts?

I'm not sure there is a role, and I'm not convinced that the top Army  leadership today knows what its role in the future will be, either.  Maybe the Army is at a moment of transition, and leaders will get a  handle on the Army's core mission sometime soon. With the civilian  leadership vacuum we have in Washington, I'm not sure the Army will be  able to do so. If Army leaders are unable to define the Army's long-term  mission clearly, then the defense industry will have no idea how to  proceed, other than to guess.

These factors were on display just below the surface last month at  the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA). What was striking in exhibits  was a lack of direction in where we go from here. It was as though the  industry were pointing out to the Army officers walking the aisles how  far technology has led us to this moment, yet pleading for direction on  where the industry should go from here."
About the Author:

 John  Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics  magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling  electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Friday, November 08, 2013

12 Names on a Wall in Washington D.C. Forgotten By Many But Not By Me


To those who died serving USAECAV  Countrywide 


  Database of the 58,195 Names on The Wall in Wash,D.C. This is the most accurate database online.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

The One Year Budget Cycle Must Go

                                                                     Photo Courtesy "Dabble With" dot com
Ken Larson

Having  dealt with the funding process in the government contracting industry  (both large and small business) for over 40 years through many  administrations and much frustration, I can discuss with  some  credibility a major weakness in the huge machine we call the US  Federal  Government -- the one year budget cycle. Its tail end is whipping everybody this month and we have undergone another sanctimonious "Shutdown", with the promise of more to come.  

A huge reason for much of the largess in this entire area is the one year budget cycle in which the US Government is entrenched. 

About mid-summer every agency begins to get paranoid about whether or not they have spent all their money, worried about having to return some and be cut back the next year. They flood the market with sources sought notifications and open solicitations to get the money committed. Many of these projects are meaningless.

Then during the last fiscal month (September) proposals are stacked up all over the place and everything is bottle-necked. If you are a small business trying to get the paperwork processed and be under contract before the new fiscal year starts you are facing a major challenge.

Surely the one year cycle has become a ludicrous exercise we can no longer afford and our government is choking on it. It is a political monstrosity that occurs too frequently to be managed.

Government must lay out a formal baseline over multiple years (I suggest at least 2 fiscal years - ideally 4 - tied to a presidential election)  - then fund in accordance with it and hold some principals in the agencies funded accountable by controlling their spending incrementally - not once year in a panic mode.

Naturally exigencies can occur. A management reserve can be set aside if events mandate scope changes in the baseline due to unforeseen circumstances. Congress could approve such baseline changes as they arise.

There is a management technique for the above that DOD, NASA and the major agencies require by regulation in large government contracts.    It is called "Earned Value Management" and it came about as a result of some of the biggest White Elephant overruns in Defense Department History.

I contend we have one of the biggest White Elephants ever in front of us (a National Debt approaching $17 Trillion)

We need to get this mess under control, manage our finances and our debt or it will manage us into default.