SECDEF gave a briefing today to finally release some perspective on what will be proposed in the budget.
There were the expected statements on needing to reform government acqusition processes.
This budget will support these goals by increasing the size of defense acquisition workforce, converting 11,000 contractors and hiring an additional 9,000 government acquisition professionals by 2015 – beginning with 4,100 in FY10.
I’m not sure how converting contractors to permanent hires converts into a significant amount of reform. but sure.
The big news is on DDG-1000 / DDG-51.
Fifth, in this request, we will include funds to complete the buy of two navy destroyers in FY10. These plans depend on being able to work out contracts to allow the Navy to efficiently build all three DDG-1000 class ships at Bath Iron Works in Maine and to smoothly restart the DDG-51 Aegis Destroyer program at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi. Even if these arrangements work out, the DDG-1000 program would end with the third ship and the DDG-51 would continue to be built in both yards.
If our efforts with industry are unsuccessful, the department will likely build only a single prototype DDG-1000 at Bath and then review our options for restarting production of the DDG-51. If the department is left to pursue this alternative, it would unfortunately reduce our overall procurement of ships and cut workload in both shipyards.
I like this. It’s not necessarily a win for the Navy, because buying three ships they don’t want is not what the Navy needs, but I like that it leaves the out that says, “If you can’t figure out how to build these things in a responsible, fiscally reasonable manner, we’ll pay you for one and then tell you to pack sand.” Good move I think.
The total list of CANX’d programs:
– VH-71, no big surprise there.
– CASR-X program for the Air Force
– Transformational Satellite (TSAT) and instead buy 2 new EHF satellites
– Restructure Missile Defense towards rogue states and theater missile threats.
– No increase in ground based interceptors in Alaska
– Cancel the Airborne Laser program, which was a useless capability.
– Multiple Kill Vehicle “need to re-evaluate the requirement”
– FCS – Here’s the big kill
However, I have concluded that there are significant unanswered questions concerning the FCS vehicle design strategy. I am also concerned that, despite some adjustments, the FCS vehicles – where lower weight, higher fuel efficiency, and greater informational awareness are expected to compensate for less armor – do not adequately reflect the lessons of counterinsurgency and close quarters combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yeah, that’s going away.
Another subtle kill is the CG(X) program. It was discussed in the middle of the “what i’m adding” list, but Gates said he will “delay the next generation program to revisit the requirement and acquisition strategy” I’d call that a “putting it on the back shelf to be forgotten, next to the old bag of Cheetos.”
– restarting DDG-51
– increasing LCS from 2 to 3 in FY-10 with a committment to 55 total
– getting rid of stop loss and letting the Army thicken their ranks (although with 45 vice 48 BCTs).
– increase ISR budget
– increase in Predator production
– increase in helo capability and SOF forces
Lots of great points in the statement. Go read it and tell me what YOU think about it!!
UPDATE: CNN Coverage of the briefing
Uber-Update: Andrew’s got a better, line by line, update of the speech here. Good readin there, although he doesn’t seem to follow the Navy stuff so well.