FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of October 17, 2016

LOCAL COVERAGE

New Fleet Support Team at FRCSE looks to make explosive impact

FRCSW Names FY 2016 Civilian of the Quarter

WOC STEM Conference Recognizes FRCSW Employee

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

Pentagon’s No. 2 Needs To Slash Overhead, Says Defense Business Board

Defense Innovation Unit Announces Contracting Results

USS Zumwalt Commissions In Baltimore; Will Test, Train On East Coast Before Transit To San Diego

Navy’s Advanced Arresting Gear Traps First Flying Aircraft

Adm. John Richardson: Improving The Health Of The Navy’s Civilian Workforce

House Lawmakers Push For More F-35 Funding In FY17 Budget

Navy Federal Contacting Customers Eligible For Part Of $23 Million Settlement

 

 

Road Closures during the Oct 29-30 NAS Patuxent River Air Expo

 

From Oct. 28 to Oct. 30, 2016, personnel at NAS Patuxent River can expect increased traffic, selected road closures and restrictions, and selected building closures before and during aerial performances.

 

On Friday, Oct. 28, restricted access areas include portions of the base between Taxiway Alpha and the intersection of Taxiways Echo and Foxtrot. Employees who present ID and state their destination will be permitted access to this area.

 

Saturday and Sunday restricted access areas include:

– The entire base with the exception of general traffic routes from Gate 1 to Taxiway Alpha and Gate 2 to Taxiway Alpha. Anyone who needs to leave the general traffic route will need to present valid credentials and a reason at checkpoints.

 

From noon to 6 p.m. on Friday Oct. 28, Saturday Oct. 29, and Sunday Oct. 30 the following road closures will take place:

– Cedar Point Road between the Test Pilot School and the intersection with Bronson Road

– Bronson Road between its intersections with Cedar Point Road and Taxiway Golf

– Cedar Point Road will be closed between the intersection with Johnson Road and the intersection with Runway 32. NOTE: Traffic will only be permitted to transit this route with expected delays of up to 20 minutes.

 

NAS Pax River Golf Course patrons during these times will enter Gate 2 and turn right on Buse Road, following it to Cedar Point Road.

 

No ID will be required to enter Gates 1 and 2 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Gate 3 will be closed to traffic.

 

If you believe you will be impacted by these closures during working hours, please contact your chain of command.

 

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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New Fleet Support Team at FRCSE looks to make explosive impact

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHEAST 13 OCT 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Public Affairs

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new Fleet Support Team (FST) formed at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) Sept. 28 will combine jet fuel and armaments in hopes of an explosion – of speed and efficiency.

 

The FST will help maintain and support bomb racks, missile launchers, external fuel tanks, air-to-air refueling systems and more – whether at FRCSE or anywhere else across the globe. FST members regularly travel thousands of miles to fix problems wherever their aircraft or components might be.

 

The move is a collaborative effort between PMA-201’s Precision Strike Weapons Program Office and FRCSE.

 

“The whole move, from cost, to schedule, to performance is all about efficiency,” said PMA-201 Chief Systems Engineer and Technical Director Juan Ortiz. “This is all aligned with speed to the fleet, and trying to get everything to the warfighter faster and cheaper, while still having good technical quality.

 

“The idea is to consolidate people, functions, resources and proximity so that everything goes to the warfighter more efficiently.”

 

The move brings what was the Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE) technical program office from Indianapolis to FRCSE at Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax). It puts the FST on the grounds of the largest industrial employer in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. FRCSE performs maintenance and overhauls for the Navy’s aircraft, putting the FST within arms’ reach of massive technical expertise and maintenance capabilities.

 

The relocation also aligns the Navy’s initiative to move maintenance capabilities closer to the flight line in order to speed-up the process of returning aircraft more quickly to the fleet.

 

Each of the Navy’s main tactical aircraft has its own FST. Most of these aircraft use the launchers, bomb racks and fuel tanks in which the new FST will specialize.

 

“One benefit the Navy gets out of the move is many of the FSTs that support platforms that carry the AAE equipment – such as the EA-6B Prowler, P-3 Orion, F/A-18 Hornet, and P-8A Poseidon – are physically located in Jacksonville as well,” said Alexis Padilla, FRCSE’s Systems Engineering Department Director. “The new AAE/FC FST will have direct access to the platform FSTs, thus improving collaboration.”

 

The new team consists of 26 employees forming the Aircraft Armament Equipment/Fuel Container FST.

 

“On the engineering side, the FST’s role will be maintaining the health of the components through structures, mechanical systems and electrical avionics,” said FRCSE engineer John Giangaspro. “On the logistics side is sustainment, making sure that we’re able to provide products and services to refurbish that equipment and get it back up to standard.”

 

The team members are also responsible for updating publications, like repair and maintenance manuals that serve as instructions to the fleet.

 

“We’ll be providing every aspect of service to make sure we can take care of this equipment, while being conscious of the American taxpayer and doing it as efficiently as possible,” Giangaspro said.

 

Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for PMA-201’s Precision Strike Weapons program, was a driving force behind the creation of the combined FST.

 

“People have been looking at combining these departments for more than 20 years,” Engdahl said. “The only way we were able to get this accomplished was because of the teamwork between our program office, NAS Jax and FRCSE.

 

“I’m extraordinarily proud of how everyone came together to make this happen.”

 

The move is estimated to save the Navy $1.8 million per year.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6381

 

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FRCSW Names FY 2016 Civilian of the Quarter

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST 13 OCT 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs

 

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND – Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) selected William Fields as its Fiscal Year 2016 Civilian of the Quarter, second quarter.

 

Fields, an acquisition program specialist (commodity lead), was recognized for his work in contracting and purchasing functions in the 6.13 division by FRCSW Commanding Officer Capt. Craig Owen in ceremonies Sept. 30 in Building 94.

 

“The division 6.13 has only been up and running for about the past two and a-half years. We make sure everyone is in compliance for the acquisitions and contracting outside of the Defense Logistics Agency,” Fields said.

 

“We’re the liaison between the contract officer, who generally doesn’t understand naval aviation because that’s not their cue, and whoever comes through the door in need of everything from credit cards, to General Services Administration purchases, to labor and facilities contracts.”

 

A former electrician for Navy contractor AES, Fields worked at Camp Pendleton servicing AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters before transferring to FRCSW in 2003 and promoting to an electrical planner/estimator for manufacturing the following year.

 

He has been an acquisition program specialist since 2014.

 

A paramount concern is keeping the command’s machinery operational to ensure a consistent flow of artisan work within production timelines.

 

“We’ve only got so much experience on the floor to fix those machines here that break down, so sometimes we need to bring in the vendors or the original equipment manufacturer to come in to repair or overhaul — so we make sure we get the right contracts, so what their requirements are matches up to the compliance, mostly Fleet Logistics Center, to make sure we’re getting what we want,” Fields said.

 

To further reliable artisan work flow, Fields revised the command’s tool ordering procedures down from an average of nine months to only 30 days, and also provided input to the development of the Government Commercial Purchase Card Request portal.

 

The variety of his duties and the people he meets, Fields said, are what he enjoys most in his position.

 

“You never know what requirements will come. But after two years I know some will be repeats, but by the time you have it figured, something new comes in. You don’t get stale here,” he said. “And I get to interact with a lot more people than previous jobs I’d had, and we’ve got some pretty neat people here.”

 

The father of three, Fields lives in Riverside County with his wife Darilynn.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6382

 

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WOC STEM Conference Recognizes FRCSW Employee

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST 17 OCT 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southwest

 

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND – A Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) employee was honored during the 2016 Women of Color (WOC) Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) conference held Oct. 13-15 in Detroit.

 

Bethany Harris, an FRCSW engineering technician, was one of six STEM “Technology Rising Star” recipients. She received the award for her work within the command’s facilities organization.

 

The WOC STEM conference is designed to help and provide women with methods to improve their careers and educational goals.

 

Harris began her career at FRCSW in 2004 as a wage grade (WG) entry level aircraft mechanic helper.

 

“Shortly after 9/11, the company I was working for began downsizing so I started applying to the website that is now USAJOBS. I had welding experience from a previous job I had at National Steel and Ship Building Company (NASSCO) and that was the experience that got me the mechanic helper position,” she said.

 

Her determination to contribute to the command led her to enroll in classes to earn certifications as a collateral duty as an “entry authority,” where she verified that the air and environment of confined spaces, like aircraft fuel cells, were suitable for artisans to occupy.

 

Eight years later, Harris transitioned to her current general services (GS) position via a 120-day detail that became permanent.

 

She is assigned to the Production Planning Division where her work targets the management of FRCSW’s facilities and the development of the command’s Facilities Master Plan which strives to efficiently manage, reconfigure and upgrade office spaces, furniture and equipment.

 

To that end, it was decided to standardize the command’s office spaces for budgetary advantages. Harris was initially assigned as the procurement project manager.

 

She said she arrived to a program that was lacking established processes, and in need of “.checks and balances.”

 

“When I got here I was asked to procure furniture for the XO. But then it became bigger, so now I’m in the process of establishing a purchase agreement (with the General Services Administration (GSA)) for furniture not only for our FRC, but for all of the FRCs,” she said.

 

“In doing this I had to create and standardize the process. Last year, we established the contract for the first procurement; there was no support, so I had to define the requirements for that and come up with a standard process.”

 

Harris said that the first Broad Purchase Agreement (BPA) for furniture was about $976,000 for one year. After installation, the usable life of furniture is roughly 10 years, depending upon work space requirements.

 

Harris screens all furniture and appliance requirements to ensure that requests are within standards, energy conscious where applicable and avoid higher-end purchases in order to save the government money.

 

“Right now we buy furniture through GSA with up to a 25 percent fee for them to handle the process. This new BPA will set the fee at five percent; so whatever we order through this BPA will automatically save the government 20 percent,” Harris said.

 

The agreement is for one year with a four-year option.

 

As Harris works to fine tune the BPA and improve the command’s Facilities Master Plan, she also targets her own professional development and that of those around her.

 

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from National University last year, she continued her educational achievements by completing a master’s degree in organizational leadership just 16 months later, graduating with honors.

 

Since 2012, Harris has been a member of Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) African-American Pipelines Advisory Team which focuses on career planning, recruitment and retention of members from NAVAIR’s African-American workforce through mentorship and lessons-learned programs.

 

“We try to identify barriers; including promotion and pay barriers,” she said. “I champion that because a lot of people have problems transitioning from a WG to a GS like I did. There’s no track you can take to get from a WG to a GS — that’s one of the things we’re working on.”

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6385

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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Pentagon’s No. 2 Needs To Slash Overhead, Says Defense Business Board

(DEFENSE NEWS 13 OCT 16) … Joe Gould

 

WASHINGTON – The Defense Business Board is recommending that the next presidential administration run the Pentagon more like a business and turn the deputy defense secretary into a cost-cutting, efficiency-hunting chief management officer.

 

The board, a DoD advisory committee comprised of private-sector executives, says the role should focus more on reining in overhead and less on substituting for the defense secretary. The board made the recommendation in a recent, 112-page report on the presidential transition, which comes as Congress and the Pentagon are pursuing their own agendas for DoD reform.

 

“In the past, it has been quite normal for the Deputy to spend significant time away from the Pentagon, either ‘filling in’ for the Secretary or on matters requiring coordination with other agencies, international partners, or the White House,” DBB chair Michael Bayer said in a letter accompanying the report. “The adverse consequence of this has been an insufficient attention to the important primary function of managing the Department. The management challenges of this, the largest institution on the planet, require the full-time attention of a Chief Management Officer.”

 

The Defense Department is the nation’s largest enterprise, and if its expenditures were gross national product it would be the seventeenth largest nation, the report notes. It is the nation’s largest employer, with more than 1.3 million people on active duty, more than 700,000 civilian personnel and roughly 600,000 contractors. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces, and about 2 million military retirees and their family members receive earned benefits.

 

The current deputy defense secretary, Bob Work, has championed a vision for a Defense Department that is more technologically agile and globally engaged, and spearheaded its so-called “Third Offset Strategy.” Work also has called for cost cutting, and, pointing to estimates that the department has 22 percent more in installations and real estate than it needs, urged lawmakers to consider a new round of the politically unpopular base-closure process.

 

As envisioned by the advisory board, the deputy defense secretary would take bold action to tame the costs associated with overhead, personnel, benefits and unnecessary work, all of which Bayer considers necessary for DoD to “swiftly and shrewdly adapt to maintain its superiority over determined adversaries.”

 

“Without major surgery, our overhead and personnel costs will continue to eat away at our modernization and readiness,” Bayer’s letter reads. “This is not about policy; it is about running the Department like a modern business.”

 

The report argues DoD must look closely at off-limits budget areas like intelligence, classified programs and their overhead, the combatant commands and the armed services, and bring in specialized expertise to lead a re-structuring review of the Pentagon. This would ultimately cut entire organizations, activities and contracts, as opposed to picking around the edges of the budget.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/pentagons-no-2-needs-to-slash-overhead-says-defense-business-board

 

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Defense Innovation Unit Announces Contracting Results

(NATIONAL DEFENSE 13 OCT 16) … Jon Harper

 

An office established by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to build bridges between the U.S. military and commercial technology hubs awarded $36.3 million in contracts in the last quarter of fiscal year 2016, the director told reporters Oct. 13.

 

The Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, known as DIUx, is headquartered in Silicon Valley, with additional outposts located in Boston and Austin. The initiative, created last year, is intended to cut through bureaucratic red tape that often plagues the Pentagon’s procurement system, and fast-track contracts with high-tech commercial firms.

 

“Core to our value and our approach here … is to help non-traditional vendors work with the department so we get access to their technology earlier and more directly than we normally would,” DIUx managing director Raj Shah told reporters during a conference call where he provided the first quarterly update on the initiative since the new leadership team took over.

 

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30, DIUx awarded 12 contracts. The average time between solicitation response to contract award was less than 60 days, Shah noted. The $8.3 million initial spend by DIUx was augmented by $28 million that the services and other Defense Department agencies kicked in to support the initiative.

 

Following a leadership shakeup in May, DIUx launched the “commercial solutions opening” contracting mechanism to provide a shot in the arm to the initiative, which in its early days was criticized for being ineffective.

 

The mechanism “facilitates fast, flexible and collaborative work between DoD and technology companies that traditionally have not done business with the department. This enables us … to work at the speed of business,” Shah said.

 

Projects funded to date include prototyping efforts in areas such as high-speed drones, autonomy, cybersecurity and wireless technologies.

 

An additional 13 projects are moving through the pipeline, according to a DIUx fact sheet. They include multifactor authentication for data access, cyber protection toolkits, micro-satellites and advanced analytics.

“These are things that the private sector is investing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars towards, and for us to leverage and harness that investment will be critical to our national defense,” Shah said.

 

The Pentagon requested $30 million for research, development, test and evaluation for DIUx in fiscal year 2017. If Congress approves that level of spending, the office expects to combine it with funds contributed by other Defense Department organizations, he said.

 

For many small commercial companies, there are several impediments involved in the traditional contracting process that dissuade them from doing business with the Pentagon, he noted.

 

DIUx has used new authorities granted by Congress in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act to break down some of those barriers.

 

“It’s not really exclusive to us but we have leveraged it to great use,” Shah said.

 

The commercial solutions opening mechanism has increased speed and transparency in the contracting process. Upon the success of a prototype, the process enables a “quick translation or transition” into procurement contracts that enable the services or other Defense Department organizations to scale the prototype if it meets their needs, he said.

 

DIUx also requires less cumbersome accounting standards, and intellectual property and data rights are negotiable on project-by-project basis, Shah noted.

 

He hopes that other Defense Department organizations will follow his office’s lead when it comes to using new contracting authorities.

 

“Whenever you try something new there has got to be someone that’s first that goes through the motions and irons out the wrinkles and makes it into a reputable process, so we’re happy to have played that role,” Shah said.

 

“We’re in fact spending time educating others in the department of how they might use this capability and authority, and I’m very optimistic that others in the department will follow suit,” he added.

 

The DIUx initiative has been Carter’s pet project. Shah said he’s confident that it will survive well past the Pentagon chief’s tenure, which is expected to end when a new administration takes office next year.

 

“I’m quite optimistic that … the subsequent secretary and the subsequent secretary after that will see the value of this engagement and will be pleased to have DIUx in his or her quiver of tools to achieve their mission and goals,” he said.

 

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=2332

 

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USS Zumwalt Commissions In Baltimore; Will Test, Train On East Coast Before Transit To San Diego

(U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE NEWS 17 OCT 16) … Megan Eckstein

 

The Navy commissioned its most technologically advanced ship this weekend, bringing destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) into the fleet in a ceremony in Baltimore, Md.

 

Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Tom Rowden at the ceremony called Zumwalt “the most incredible ship of our time” and told namesake Adm. Elmo Zumwalt’s family in attendance that “a ship bearing your dad’s name is long overdue.”

 

“This ship symbolizes our commitment to remain bold, to remain the world’s preeminent naval force,” he said.

 

“It has been said that Adm. Zumwalt’s forward thinking brought the Navy kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Indeed, it is only fitting that this ship’s forward design and innovative technology will set the pace for the 21st century as well. And just like Bud Zumwalt, this ship and her crew will remain dedicated to our Navy and our nation in good times and bad and for decades to come.”

 

The ship will eventually join the U.S. Pacific Fleet and operate out of San Diego. U.S. Pacific Command commander Adm. Harry Harris said at the ceremony that “we can’t get this technological marvel to the Pacific fast enough, and it couldn’t come at a more pivotal moment in our nation’s history.”

 

Naming the many global threats the Navy faces and pointing to North Korea as the most dangerous threat in his area of operations, he said “Zumwalt will play a heavy role in giving us the clear edge in these challenges.”

 

“We must continue to develop and field combat power like this ship to defend the U.S. homeland and the homeland of our allies,” Harris continued.

 

“Indeed, it’s fitting that Zumwalt’s motto is Pax Propter Vim, Latin for ‘peace through power.’ … The technology in Zumwalt’s unique hull and the ingenuity of her stalwart crew are powerful guarantors of peace. They are embodiment of America’s determined will. As our newest class of destroyer enters active service, I can’t imagine a ship more like its namesake – Adm. Zumwalt was an innovative visionary and the groundbreaking DDG-1000 delivers not just credible combat power but incredible combat power. Zumwalt will assure our Navy and our entire joint force remain ready to fight tonight.”

 

Ahead of the commissioning ceremony, the ship’s leadership hosted media on Oct. 13. Ship Commanding Officer Capt. James Kirk told reporters on the pier next to his ship that he was honored to be the first commander of a ship named after former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Zumwalt.

 

“Adm. Zumwalt was a reformer; he changed our Navy in massive ways,” he said.

 

“Some that make this ship and the fleet a more potent fighting force, but most importantly he reformed the institution of the Navy to be more just and fair to all its sailors, making sure that all sailors regardless of race or creed, color, faith had an opportunity to serve in whatever capacity that their heart and their passion desired to.

 

And those reforms we see today manifest in this great Navy that we have that reflects all of the diversity of our country.”

 

Zumwalt delivered to the Navy in May and left the Bath Iron Works shipyard last month to head to Naval Station Norfolk and eventually to Baltimore for the commissioning ceremony. Kirk said the ship had used that time at sea to continue refining the operating manuals sailors developed, making them clearer, more precise and more effective. For example, he said, “one of the steps in our transfer of our throttle control, we had one of those steps that you really had to know how many seconds to push it, and if you didn’t push it that long it didn’t like that. So we made sure that we’re very specific about that in our procedures, and now we have a very effective procedure that works every time.”

 

Kirk said the ship would conduct tests, trials and other operations on the East Coast for a bit before heading to San Diego and arriving in its homeport by the end of the year. The ship will then undergo combat systems installation, activation and testing in San Diego before becoming an operational asset for the fleet and preparing for its maiden deployment.

 

https://news.usni.org/2016/10/17/uss-zumwalt-commissions-in-baltimore-will-test-train-on-east-coast-before-transit-to-san-diego

 

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Navy’s Advanced Arresting Gear Traps First Flying Aircraft

(DEFENSE DAILY 17 OCT 16) … Marc Selinger

 

The Navy’s troubled new advanced arresting gear (AAG), which is slated to be the landing system for the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, recently completed its first “fly-in” recovery of a manned plane on land.

 

The event involved an F/A-18E Super Hornet and occurred Oct. 13 at the Runway Arrested Landing Site in Lakehurst, N.J., Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said Oct. 14. The test followed more than 200 “roll-in” arrestments at the Lakehurst site since late March.

 

“This milestone test event demonstrates AAG’s capability and signifies a big step forward in getting the system ready for duty on board the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier,” said Capt. Stephen Tedford, the Navy’s program manager for aircraft launch and recovery equipment.

 

The AAG, whose prime contractor is General Atomics, has been plagued by technical glitches, schedule delays and cost overruns. But Vice Adm. Thomas Moore, NAVSEA’s commander, said in July that the Navy has a plan to fix those problems so that aircraft flights can start on the carrier deck of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) in January.

 

However, the Navy also indicated that it is studying whether the second Ford-class carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), should be equipped with an alternative landing system, such as the Mk 7 arresting system from the existing Nimitz-class carriers. Earlier this year, a report by the Department of Defense Inspector General recommended that the Navy perform “cost-benefit analyses to determine whether AAG is an affordable solution.”

 

The AAG is one of several systems the Navy is tending to prepare to take delivery of the CVN-78 from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries. The other systems include the main turbine generators, which have a component that needs repairs, and the dual-band radar, whose three faces need to be synchronized so they can share target-tracking information with each. The ship was most recently scheduled for delivery in November, but the timing is now under review.

 

Navy’s Advanced Arresting Gear Traps First Flying Aircraft

 

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Adm. John Richardson: Improving The Health Of The Navy’s Civilian Workforce

(WFED AM RADIO WASHINGTON DC 18 OCT 16) … Tom Temin

 

The Chief of Naval Operations is in charge of manning, training and equipping the Navy – and Adm. John Richardson, the current CNO, says that means civilians too. In a bit of an unusual step for a military service chief, he’s issued his own framework for improving the health of the civilian workforce.

 

The new document calls for each of the Navy’s commands to develop a strategy to make sure their civilian workforce is as healthy and well-developed as the military side – from hiring and training to performance management and professional development. Adm. Richardson spoke with Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu by phone to talk a bit about the new framework, and what comes next.

 

http://federalnewsradio.com/federal-drive/2016/10/adm-john-richardson-improving-the-health-of-the-navys-civilian-workforce/

 

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House Lawmakers Push For More F-35 Funding In FY17 Budget

(DEFENSE NEWS 18 OCT 16) … Valerie Insinna

 

WASHINGTON – The defense-policy and -spending bills are at a standstill on Capitol Hill, but 70 House lawmakers are hoping that when Congress returns after the election, they can press appropriators to boost the total F-35 purchase for fiscal year 2017.

 

In an Oct. 4 letter to House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ, and the subcommittee’s top Democrat, Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana, the lawmakers advocated for F-35 production increases, citing the impact such a move would have on lowering unit costs.

 

Both the Senate and House appropriations bills increased joint strike fighter procurement over the levels requested in the budget. The House bill added 11 F-35s – five F-35As, four F-35Cs and two F-35Bs – numbers that would satisfy the services’ “unfunded priorities” list. The Senate took a different tactic, opting instead to augment procurement by adding two more F-35Bs and two F-35Cs in 2017 while also increasing F-35A advance procurement by $100 million, a move that allows the Air Force to increase its production rate in 2018.

 

The 70 bipartisan signatories want the best of both worlds – for appropriators in conference to add 11 F-35s to the budget while also raising advance procurement. The lawmakers also recommended that appropriators reverse cuts to the F-35’s Block 4 modernization program included in the Senate bill.

 

“Increasing the production rate is the single most important factor in reducing future aircraft unit costs,” they said in the letter. “Additionally, significantly increasing production is critical to fielding F-35s in the numbers needed to meet the expected threats in the mid-2020s.”

 

The letter was initiated by the co-chairs of the House Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, Reps. Kay Granger, R-Texas, and John Larson, D-Conn. Both lawmakers represent regions that profit from the F-35, with the Lockheed Martin jet built in Fort Worth and the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine made in Connecticut.

 

The signatories argued that the services require the F-35 at a quicker rate than current budgets allow.

 

“Events around the globe continue to demonstrate the urgent need for the F-35’s capabilities,” they wrote. “The program is gaining momentum with the Marine Corps declaring initial operating capability last year and the Air Force declaring IOC this summer. We believe it is essential for Congress to provide the funding necessary to continue increasing F-35 production at a rate sufficient to meet future threats and to reach at least 120 U.S. aircraft per year as quickly as possible.”

 

As Congress debates how quickly to ramp up F-35 production, the government and Lockheed Martin remain gridlocked on the price of the ninth and tenth lots of aircraft. Lockheed on Monday received a $743 million award, which modifies a previous undefinitized contracting action for the ninth batch of low-rate initial production aircraft. Besides providing additional advance funding to the company, the agreement also establishes not-to-exceed prices “for diminishing manufacturing and material shortages redesign and development, estimated post production concurrency changes, and country-unique requirements.” However, a larger agreement on the production of LRIP-9 and -10 is still in the works.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/house-lawmakers-push-for-more-f-35-funding-in-fy17-budget

 

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Navy Federal Contacting Customers Eligible For Part Of $23 Million Settlement

(MILITARY TIMES 19 OCT 16) … Karen Jowers

 

Think you’re eligible for part of the Navy Federal Credit Union $23 million settlement affecting hundreds of thousands of customers? If you are, you should be hearing from NFCU soon.

 

“Consumers should know that Navy Federal Credit Union will contact you if you are eligible for compensation under the consent order,” said Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency that investigated the credit union’s allegedly deceptive debt-collection practices.

 

Some consumers have contacted Military Times with questions about who to contact for information about whether they might qualify for compensation. If you believe you’ve been overlooked, you can contact the credit union at 888-842-6328, NFCU spokesman Brian Parker said, or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint, according to Vahey.

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged that the credit union misled its members about its debt collection practices and also unfairly froze customers out of their own accounts without adequate warning, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. In addition to the $23 million in compensation to consumers, the credit union must correct its collection practices and pay $5.5 million to the CFPB civil penalty fund.

 

Navy Federal officials agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the allegations, according to the consent order. Officials said earlier in a statement that “where our collection practices have come up short in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s estimation, we have made all the necessary changes. We have cooperated with the CFPB throughout the process.”

 

http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/what-to-do-if-you-think-youre-eligible-for-part-of-the-navy-federal-settlement