06 Jan 17. Termination of F-35 Is ‘Within the Realm of the Possible.’. The F-35 joint strike fighter program could be terminated after the Donald Trump administration takes office, the Air Force’s top civilian leader said Jan. 6. President-elect Trump has been highly critical of the Pentagon’s $400bn acquisition project. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” he tweeted last month. He has asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet” as a potential alternative to the joint strike fighter, he said in a subsequent tweet. During a meeting hosted by the Air Force Association, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James was asked about Trump’s statements and whether the future of the program could be in jeopardy. “Any new administration, any new commander-in-chief can certainly order a termination, a left turn, a right turn, a different approach to any system,” she said in what may be her last public appearance as head of the Air Force. “All of that is within the realm of the possible.” (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
09 Jan 17. US Army Looks to Change the Conversation With Defense Industry. The storyline on the Army’s bid to modernize its aging equipment has been one of fits and starts. A litany of fruitless weapon development efforts over the past decade has cost the Army billions of dollars but delivered little in the way of advanced equipment. Congressional leaders have hammered Army officials amid fears that U.S. forces are losing technological ground to adversaries.
Army leaders insist they are forging a new path forward, and promise to get more bang for their limited procurement bucks. Notably, they have concluded that past failures partly were brought on by poor communications with defense contractors.
“We have identified several problems,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, deputy director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, who discussed the Army’s latest thinking on how it plans to recover from its modernization slump.
Dyess summed up the situation in blunt terms: “Industry doesn’t know what the Army wants. There is no forum to address these needs. And small businesses don’t have a chance to present their ideas to the government.”
It falls on the organization that Dyess leads, known as ARCIC, to define as much as possible how the Army should be equipped for future wars. “Our mission is to design the Army,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “We look at the current and future force, we determine gaps and recommend solutions.”
But unless the Army can clearly articulate its vision for the future to contractors — so they can redirect investments and talent to meet those requirements — it will be difficult to move forward, Dyess suggested.
ARCIC last month hosted a “capabilities information exchange” at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, in Virginia, the first in a series of forums aimed at restarting a dialogue with contractors. Eustis is home to the Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Nearly 300 people participated in the exchange at Eustis, many via livestream. There were both unclassified and classified sessions. One issue for the Army is contractors’ reluctance to openly talk about their trade secrets out of fear they will leak to competitors. “We are discussing the possibility of having ‘break-out’ sessions with industry participants which would provide the opportunity to discuss proprietary information,” said Lt. Col. Eric Van De Hey, an ARCIC official who works in the science, technology and research division.
“We want to engage all business entities to gain an appreciation for what industry is working on which could possibly support Army needs,” Van De Hey told National Defense.
The Army is especially keen on reaching out to small businesses, he said, and has created a “forum for innovative novel discovery” that is geared to nontraditional vendors and startups. The next one will occur in