The Scout Report 60th Edition
Military, Veterans and Defense Industry Issues and Analysis
April 2, 2012
The week was relatively quiet aside from a minor tiff between Congressman Paul Ryan and the Pentagon that was resolved when the gentleman clarified his remarks accusing the military leadership of being untruthful to Congress about the budget. The week ahead has Congress on recess making D.C. a little quieter while Army Aviators gather in Nashville for the AAAA Annual Symposium and homeland security professionals gather in D.C. for the big GovSec annual conference.
The Scout Report is a weekly analysis of the news in the aerospace, defense and veterans sectors and emailed each Monday morning. Its designed to provide insight on what are the hot topics in these unique areas for those working in these areas as well as those with simple interest in them. Did you get this as a forward? Subscribe yourself for free here right now!
The week ahead:
Themes: The House has passed their own version of the budget separate from the President’s before they head off on recess so you can be sure the White House will take advantage of the lull to stake their claims to the higher ground.
Army Aviation Association of America Annual Symposium (Sun-Weds, 1-4 April) Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN
The annual conference for Quad-A is one of the top Army aviation focused symposiums in the world and draws a huge crowd of military aviators and companies every year to discuss the latest developments for the U.S. Army’s fleet of aircraft. This year will prove to be an interesting conference as the branch wrestles with the need to modernize and maintain its increasingly aging and overworked fleet while facing budget cuts and reductions in the size of the Army.
GOVSEC 2012 (Mon-Wed, 2-4 April) Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.
GovSec is the premier homeland security and federal law enforcement tradeshow of the year in the U.S. and features discussions and vendors surrounding counter-terrorism, network security and a host of other topics. In addition to the paid conference training the expo is free and includes a host of training opportunities.
Defense Intelligence Agency DODIIS 2012 (Mon-Wed, 2-4 April) Denver, CO
The DoD Intelligence Information Systems Annual Conference is hosted annually by the DIA Directorate for Information Management (DS) and Chief Information Officer (CIO), the conference’s 2012 theme, “Advancing Mission Integration,” will highlight the DIA CIO’s commitment and intent to unify defense intelligence infrastructure and information sharing initiatives. They organizers expect 2,000 participants and over 400 exhibitors discussing information sharing and IT challenges for the intel community.
Aviation Week MRO Military 2012 (Wed-Thurs, 4-5 April) Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX
Hosted by Aviation Week this conference promises over 500 exhibitors and 8,000 attendees focusing on the challenges of military maintenance, repair and operations in times of constrained budgets. MRO is key to sustaining the existing military equipment and facilities and although there are expected drawdowns in funding this area hasn’t been tagged with dramatic cuts as in acquisition and personnel files.
Congress: The full Congress is on recess this week. Limited field hearings will be conducted.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:30 AM, Wed, 4 April)
Full committee field hearing on “Washington’s Veterans: Helping the Newest Generation Transition Home.”
Witnesses: VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel; Susan Pendergrass, director of the VA Northwest Network (VISN 20), Veterans Health Administration; Willie Clark, Western Area director, Veterans Benefits Administration; Acting Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney; and senior Army leaders, local servicemembers and veterans, business leaders and veterans’ advocates
Location: The STAR Center, 3873 South 66th Street, Tacoma, Wash.
House of Representatives:
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Thurs, 5 April)
Health Subcommittee field hearing on “Vet Centers and the Veterans Health Administration: Opportunities and Challenges.”
Location: American Legion Hall, 1001 South Santa Cruz Avenue, Modesto, Calif.
Think tanks and other news events:
Center for New American Security: Security in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Singapore Perspective
Washington D.C. (10:30 AM, Wed, 4 April)
Description: As the United States deepens its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and faces new challenges in the South China Sea, relationships with key Asian partners and their insights into the dynamic Asian security landscape become even more critical to its long-term national security. At this critical juncture in the future of U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific, the Center for a New American Security will host Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defense of the Republic of Singapore, for a speech on “Security in the Asia-Pacific: A Singapore Perspective”. RSVP online.
Participants: Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defense of Singapore, and Governor Jon Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China.
Location: The Willard InterContinental Hotel, Willard Room, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
The Brookings Institution: The Impact of Domestic Drones on Privacy, Safety and National Security
Washington D.C. (2:00 PM, Wed, 4 April)
Description: On April 4, Governance Studies at Brookings will hold a forum focused on the privacy, safety and national security implications of drones in American airspace. The event will be webcast and live Tweeted at hashtag #BIDrones. RSVP online.
Participants: Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow at Brookings, Kenneth Anderson, Professor of Law at Washington College of Law, American University, Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, Paul Rosenzweig, Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, John Villasenor, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA
Location: Falk Auditorium, The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
United States Institute of Peace: The Afghanistan Security Transition: the Role and Importance of Afghanistan’s Neighbors
Washington D.C. (10:00 AM, Fri, 6 April)
Description: At USIP, panelists will discuss how Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors – Pakistan, Iran, and the bordering Central Asian Republics – view the present situation and impending transition in Afghanistan, and what their role and policies are likely to be between now and 2014, and beyond. What measures can the U.S. and other allies take to incentivize policies of cooperation and collaboration from these neighbors with the ultimate objective of promoting stability in Afghanistan? RSVP Online.
Participants: Abubakar Siddique, Senior News Correspondent at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh, Associate Researcher at Sciences Po (Paris), Alireza Nader, Senior International Policy Analyst at RAND Corporation, and Moeed Yusuf, South Asia Adviser at United States Institute of Peace
Location: 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies: Real Dangers From a Too Hasty Economic Transition in Afghanistan
Washington D.C. (5:30 PM, Wed, 4 April)
Description: Leif Rosenberger, adjunct professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, and Adib Farhabi, guest scholar at CACI and former Afghan deputy minister of commerce and industry, will discuss this topic. A reception will precede the forum at 5 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants: Leif Rosenberger, Adjunct Professor at the U.S. Army War College and Adib Farhabi, former Afghan Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry
Location: JHU-SAIS, Rome Building Auditorium, Rome Building, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
Changes in Defense Media:
Over at AOL Defense Sydney Freedberg is set to take over as Deputy Editor today after joining the team from National Journal. He replaces Carlo Munoz who has moved over to The Hill working the defense beat for DEFCON Hill.
ScoutComms Client News:
Kevin Doell, Army.mil
Our client Kongsberg Protech Systems reached a significant milestone in their highly successful CROWS II program with the production of the 10,000th PROTECTOR CROWS at their Johnstown, Pa. production facility last Monday. The occasion was marked by visits from a number of public leaders including Congressman Mark Critz, Norwegian Defense Attache’ RADM Trond Grytting and Deputy PEO Soldier director Ms. Mary Miller. In addition, there was a demonstration on Capitol Hill on Wednesday welcoming a number of Senators and staffers with the opportunity to see the system up close and personal that is saving soldiers lives in Afghanistan today.
Staff Reports, Reno Gazette-Journal
The Home Depot Foundation announced the grand prize winner in the year long Aprons In Action online competition was the Reno Veterans Guest House which provides temporary lodging to veterans and their families getting treatment at the local VA hospital. The organization was awarded $250,000 on top of their previous winnings of $25,000 to make improvements and expand their facility. The effort was part of a $1,000,000 year-long campaign by the Home Depot Foundation through their Facebook page which allowed fans to vote on their favorite causes to win cash and Home Depot products for their favorite local non-profits.
Major themes and issues from last week:
Veterans and Military Issues:
David Brown, Washington Post
Volumes of research are showing that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury can increase a person’s anger, hostility and self-control there isn’t a clear link to any outright violent behavior and especially the kind of premeditated violence perpetrated by SSG Robert Bales in Afghanistan. Brown looks at much of the research and finds that counter-intuitively there really isn’t a case to be made that PTSD/TBI victims are violent criminals. As many of us have said in recent weeks. PTSD victims are mostly a threat to themselves.
Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Maybe you’ve heard of the new Veterans Courts springing up across the country after the first was established in Buffalo, New York. There are now over 90 court programs and they are seeing remarkable success in getting troubled veterans who find themselves in the court system on a path to stability and success. This story profiles the Orange County court run by Judge Wendy Lindely with a simple mantra: no alcohol, no drugs, no bad friends. The court brings together reps from the district attorney’s office, VA’s justice outreach program, probation officers and volunteer mentors to work with a limited number of veterans in need. This is really worth a read to understand how these programs are making a difference and giving deserving young men and women a much-needed second chance.
Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News
Veteran military reporter Sig Christenson took a trip up to the TBI clinic at Ft. Hood to see how the Army is dealing with this challenging signature wound of our post 9/11 wars. The clinic opened in 2008 and now sees about 100 patients a day dealing with specific injuries that included lost or altered consciousness. Patients often deal with symptoms including ringing ears, headaches, jumbled thoughts and poor sleep that impacts their abilities to function in the military and life in general. Most of the patients are healing in three months or so and returning to duty with only a small fraction being medically retired. These injuries don’t have to be permanent disabilities if the victim admits they need help and gets the treatment being provided.
Military, Budget and Industry Issues:
Kate Brannen, Army Times
Take everything you knew about the JLTV competition for the Army and Marine Corps and throw it out. The game has changed completely with a lower cost per vehicle requirement and reduced engineering and manufacturing development timeline nearly ever player involved has shifted their plans or gone a different direction. Where there was going to be three pre-selected teams and vehicles competing now there are fully six submissions and several teams that were previously selected have added new vehicles or struck out on their own. The field now has AM General; a Lockheed Martin-led team that includes BAE Systems; Oshkosh; Navistar; General Tactical Vehicles (a joint venture formed in 2007 between AM General and General Dynamics Land Systems); and a BAE Systems-led team that includes Northrop Grumman. Hold on to your hats as the Army and Marines have said they will select three contracts in June but most analysts think they’ll only be able to afford two.
Chris Vaugn, Star-Telegram
This story illustrates precisely the challenges the Air Force has created for itself in its master plan to realign, move and cut National Guard and Reserve forces across the country. From the battle royale over the C-27J cancelation to moving of C-130 squadrons around the country these are not small decisions at the state level as jobs, prestige and money are tied at the hip with the presence of squadrons of aircraft at local bases. In this case Texas lawmakers are accusing the Air Force of moving medium-lift C-130’s to Montana as appeasement to the state’s powerful Senators after moving their fighter squadrons out. This battle will be a long one as lawmakers are lining up with the National Guard sitting at the Joint Chief’s table against the services to preserve whatever they can for their home districts.
Soyoung Kim and Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters
If you follow things you may recall that the Air Force recently canceled the award of a contract for light attack aircraft for the Afghanistan Air Force after complaints concerning the competition process. The contract went to Sierra Nevada and Brazilian Embraer against Goldman Sachs owned Hawker Beechcraft. Unfortunately, tough economic times and an overall downturn in the aviation market will likely place Hawker in a pre-arranged bankruptcy. It remains to be seen if the company will remain intact or close its doors but it is an example of what will likely be a series of falls for mid-tier defense manufacturers in coming years as more contracts are modified or cut entirely.
Andrew Lapin, Government Executive
Hearings on Capitol Hill this week made it clear that cutting services contracts remains a prime focus area for DoD and Congressional oversight committees in perfect alignment with government employees unions. There was a lot of discussion about the need to better manage insourcing again in spite of the challenges the effort created due to the inability of the federal government to hire quickly and effectively. While many of the critics of contractors blame poor oversight and management within the contracting entities there was little talk of effectively fixing these unspecified needs to better manage things and a focus on simple cuts such as the top salaries of federal contractors executives which makes for great anecdotes for white papers but isn’t the cost driving factor. Need for help and inability of federal employees to fill certain capabilities is what drives so much outside contracting.
Colin Clark, AOL Defense
The commanding general of Cyber Command was surprisingly candid with an example of the threats faced by the U.S. against states such as China in the Internet security realm. Gen. Keith Alexander laid out a fairly detailed breakdown of an assault by Chinese hackers on the cyber security firm RSA using a phishing scam and Trojan code on an Excel spreadsheet. It lays out a fairly clear case of how foreign hackers are actively seeking new ways to penetrate not just government networks but to use defense firms and others to get insight and intelligence on U.S. national security. The threat is real and growing.
Other Items of Interest:
Kathleen Toner, CNN
When former Marine Jake Wood saw the devastation in Haiti after the earthquake two years ago he decided to head down and see if his military skills could help. Seven other veterans soon joined him on his trip and off they went. The idea of Team Rubicon was born and the non-profit today boasts over 1,400 volunteers, 80% of whom are military veterans and responds to disasters both in the U.S and abroad as a unique service organization that let’s veterans use the skills they learned in the military while helping those in need. Check out this article and learn more about Team Rubicon.
El Snarkistani, Finding My Tribe
One little story came out last week amid the constant stories about the murders perpetrated by SSG Robert Bales about a U.S. Army soldier who dove in front of a rolling MRAP in Afghanistan to save a little girl who had run into the street costing him his life. Spc. Dennis Weichel was a father of three himself and gave his life without a second thought to save an Afghan girl. The blogger with the tongue in cheek name, El Snarkistani discovered that Good Morning America had donated just 34 seconds to the story while headlining an extended piece on how PTSD might have led to Bales murderous acts of several minutes. His point is that there are thousands more Weichel’s then there are Bales in the U.S. military who deserve to be recognized for their valor and “madness” much more than the one criminal.
J. Michael Haynie, New York Daily News
Mike Haynie is a founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and writes in this piece for the Daily News that study after study has found that its not just a good patriotic act to hire a veteran but a proven way to build your bottom line. Mike lays out how veterans are better team players, more worldly in their views, completely comfortable in diverse workplaces and loyal to their teams among a host of talents that any business needs on its staff. Bottom line is that aside from gauzy soft anecdotes there is a compelling business case to be made for hiring of veterans.
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Upcoming event? Have an event you would like us to include on our look ahead? Drop us an email at fwellman@ScoutCommsUSA.com and we will make sure we let our readers know.
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