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


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



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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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.


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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.


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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.”


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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



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.


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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.


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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, 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.”

FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of October 11, 2016



Attached and below are the COMFRC/AIR 6.0 Top Clips for the week Of Oct. 11. Also, please join me in wishing the U.S. Navy a Happy 241st Birthday!



FRCSW Shop Saves Navy Thousands in Tooling Costs

NADP provides veterans with second careers



McCain agrees to drop veterans hiring preference changes from NDAA

Navy COOL Unveils New Credentialing Program for DON Civilians

Rear Adm. Manazir Speaks On Allied Force Transformation, A2AD

DoN Grapples With Need For Rapid Prototyping Amid Congressional Concerns

Election could bring big changes to the Senate Armed Services Committee

Iwo Jima’s top enlisted says crew is ready for Haiti relief mission

Ford Carrier Problems Worse Than LCS: Navy Secretary Mabus

Mabus: Actions ‘Assure that Our Navy Has Never Been Stronger’




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CNO’s 241st Navy Birthday Message


Team, we’re all proud of our Navy’s 241 years of history and heritage. From 1775 to today, our Navy, with our Marine Corps teammates, has protected America from attack, and preserved our influence in key regions around the world. At and from the sea, we have enhanced safety, security and stability, which has led to American prosperity.


To succeed in today’s super-complex environment we must be the force that provides our national leadership with thoughtful solutions to tough problems.


We must represent our Navy and our Nation with pride and professionalism. We must look to our core attributes of Integrity, Accountability, Initiative and Toughness as our guide to living by our core values.


Dana and I are proud of each Sailor, civilian and family member. We are blessed to be part of the Navy team. Happy Birthday, Shipmates!


– Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson







FRCSW Shop Saves Navy Thousands in Tooling Costs

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST, 07 Oct 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs


NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND – Would you want to pay $200 to replace one drill bit or $500 for a new reamer? No? The Navy doesn’t want to either.


Many of the artisans at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) routinely use a variety of drill bits, reamers and cutting tools in the course of their work.


Instead of replacing these tools as they become dull or buying new ones vice modifying to a specific task, FRCSW turns to toolmakers Luis Quiambao and Henrico Fulgencio in the cutter and tool grinder shop in Building 379 for sharpening and adapting the command’s tools to meet the artisans’ needs.


A department of the command’s jig and fixture shop, the cutter and tool grinder shop is a sprawling area containing about a dozen grinding and milling machines where Quiambao and Fulgencio handle 200 to 500 tools quarterly.


“Both of us were machinist repairmen while serving in the Navy. We had been to Machinery Repairman ‘C’ School, grinding school, and we were able to revive this shop and start accepting jobs from different production shops here,” Quiambao said.


Both toolmakers were previously assigned to the production shop in Building 94, repairing F/A-18 Hornet wings. Quiambao left in December 2014 and Fulgencio joined him in the cutter and tool grinder shop this past January.


“In the wing shop you could be told that you need to work from a half inch to five thousandths or until you remove enough corrosion from the surface so a new bushing could be installed. Since you don’t have that exact size of reamer, you would send them to this shop for modification to a new dimension specified by engineers,” Quiambao said.


In grinding reamers and cutters the work is typically within ½ of a thousandth tolerance; the thickness of copier paper is roughly 4 thousandths of an inch.


The shop recently completed work on 87 reamers for FRCSW Site Yuma, Fulgencio noted.


Another recurring customer is the production shop in Building 472 that consistently requests sharpening of milling cutters. Milling cutters are tools normally used in milling machines that remove material by movement within the machine. The production shop’s handheld teardrop cutters that are used to cut finished machining metals are also routinely modified.


“We can get an urgent request for a two or three day turnaround time. I have an urgent call now from FRCSW Site Camp Pendleton for a reamer to fix a helicopter panel. For modifying reamers we use about four different machines, one step at a time. We have each machine setup to cut a certain way so we don’t have to re-set for each step,” Quiambao said.


“Before, these were contracted out for sharpening. But Louis noticed that the company that sharpened the reamer did it at the wrong angle, which is why it wouldn’t cut properly. So the command decided to save money and bought the diamond wheels and started having us provide that sharpening service,” Fulgencio said.


The F/A-18 canopy shop in Building 250 routinely sends its one-pass drill bits to the shop for sharpening and adjustment. The bits, made of carbide, are solely used by artisans to ream holes in the Hornet canopies.


In addition to carbide, the shop also modifies and sharpens tools and bits made of high speed steel and cobalt, saving FRCSW tens of thousands of dollars annually in replacement costs.


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NADP provides veterans with second careers

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 06 Oct 16) . Naval Air Systems Command Air-6.0 Public Affairs


NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Eight logistics management specialists graduated from the Navy Acquisition Development Program (NADP) in a ceremony Sept. 29 at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) Complex, Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, launching their new careers.


AIR 6.0 Deputy Assistant Commander Todd Balazs, who emceed the event, told the graduates that as much as they have learned from the co-workers and mentors, the NAVAIR workforce also learned from them.   “All of the graduates here have prior military experience,” he said.  “Before you entered the program two years ago, you already had developed leadership skills and passion for supporting the warfighter.  You brought and shared your unique perspective with our workforce.”


One of seven graduates recruited to the program through the NAVAIR Wounded Warrior program, Dwight Laushaw said NADP offered him the flexibility to see what his 32 years working supply in the Marine Corps could bring to logistics. “I took advantage of every rotation because I wanted to learn about the Navy and see how it does things,” he said.  “NADP allowed me to grow, train and meet other Wounded Warriors.”


Retired Navy aircraft controller Christopher League said that before NADP, he had only viewed the process as an end user. “Before, I didn’t know how in depth it was. This was a great program to learn through experience,” he said.


Mario Haddad, also recruited through the Wounded Warrior program while living in Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, credited NADP with giving him a second opportunity to contribute the nation’s defense. “How the Navy and Marine Corps handle logistics are completely different than the Army,” the former supply specialist said.  “I got to learn from the experts. I want to thank everyone for believing in me.  That confidence is what motivated me to continue to serve.”


In the next phase of their careers, Balazs said, new graduates should strive to nurture current relationships, build up their networks and seek additional mentors to guide them through their careers. “You will find out that you will cross paths with those whom you have worked with previously,” he said.  “Those connections will always be needed and should be maintained.”


Capt. Timothy Pfannenstein, AIR 6.0 executive director, advised graduates to always keep the importance of their work in focus, especially as they go through difficult times throughout their career. “Capability comes from NAVAIR.  If it is not right here, the fleet can’t do it out there, either,” he said.  “Lives depend on what you do.”


Laushaw, League and Haddad are assigned to Industrial and Logistics Maintenance Planning/Sustainment Department (AIR 6.7) at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO); the Logistics Management Integration Department (AIR 6.6) with the Small Tactical Unmanned Air Systems Program Office (PMA-263); and the Logistics Management Integration Department (AIR 6.6) in the Foreign Military Sales Office, respectively.


Jo Hartso-Pretty, Jay Lindsay, Calvin Mack and Doug Olson were also in the graduating class. Hartso-Pretty is assigned to AIR 6.7 in the F-35 Lightning II JPO and Mack is assigned to the Logistics Production Data Division (AIR 6.8.5) for the MQ-4C Triton. Both Olson and Lindsay will work in Logistics and Maintenance Information Systems and Technology Division (AIR 6.8.4).


Sandra German-Vasquez graduated as an associate and will be working in the Logistics Management Integration Department with the Tactical Airlift, Adversary, and Support Aircraft Program Office (PMA-207).


NADP is a management program that trains and develops future Department of the Navy leadership for up to three years in the areas of finance, contracting, logistics, science and engineering. Current civilian employees can participate in NADP’s professional development track as associates.


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McCain agrees to drop veterans hiring preference changes from NDAA

(MILITARY TIMES, 06 OCT 16) . Leo Shane III


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain told veterans groups this week that he’ll oppose controversial plans to limit federal hiring preferences for individuals with military experience, an advantage advocates argue is critical in helping them find employment.


Earlier this year, House lawmakers approved a draft of the annual defense authorization bill which included limiting veterans preference in federal hiring procedures to a one-time use. Veterans who applied for a second federal job or a transfer from their first position would be evaluated by hiring officials as just another civilian federal worker under the plan.


In a letter to the American Legion, McCain — Arizona’s senior Republican senator — said given the opposition from their leadership and other veterans groups, he will work to remove the provision from the final draft of the authorization bill.


His opposition doesn’t guarantee the death of the proposal, but it comes close. The proposal already rankled numerous lawmakers, and McCain’s role as the Senate’s lead negotiator on the legislation gives him significant influence over the final compromise legislation.


Veterans make up almost a third of the federal workforce, up significantly from the 26 percent they totaled in fiscal 2009.


Critics of the veterans preference policy — which include some officials at the Department of Defense — have argued that the hiring advantage is too generous, all but eliminating applicants without military experience from some federal posts.


But the White House and Congress in recent years have pushed veterans employment as a top priority, and said government agencies should set an example in hiring highly skilled, highly desirable veteran candidates.


The authorization bill, which sets a host of military policy and spending priorities, has been stalled in negotiations between House and Senate officials since August. But leaders from both chambers have said they are still confident a compromise can be reached when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill after the November elections.


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Navy COOL Unveils New Credentialing Program for DON Civilians

(NAVY.MIL, 04 OCT 16) . Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor L. Jackson, Center for Information Warfare Training Public Affairs


PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) — Department of the Navy (DON) Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) launched a new website aimed at providing certification opportunities for DON civilian employees, Oct. 3.


Just like Navy COOL for Sailors, DON Civilian COOL is a resource tool, mapping certifications and licensure based on formal training and on-the-job experience. The DON COOL website portal at now has a site specifically for civilians that is searchable by federal occupation code or title.


“Our intention, since Navy COOL’s inception, has always been to eventually include DON civilians,” said Michael Talley, assistant program director for Navy COOL. Navy COOL has helped more than 52,000 Sailors obtain civilian credentialing, which can contribute to career development while on active duty and when a Sailor joins the civilian workforce, possibly even as a federal employee.


DON Civilian COOL was developed in partnership with U.S. Fleet Forces Command and is the first of its kind for DOD civilians.


The initial group of 37 federal civilian occupations includes fields such as information technology, human resources, administrative, financial, engineering, education, legal, supply and security careers. It also has information for the cyber security workforce.


Keith Boring, program director for Navy COOL, said his team plans to continue connecting credentialing prospects for more DON civilian occupations by updating the program at regular intervals.


“Civilian COOL provides an expanded opportunity for DON personnel to pursue personal and professional development,” said Boring. “This program sets the foundation for all the other branches of service to offer credential opportunities for their civilian employees.”


Navy employees will find explanations for the different types of credentials and the four-step credentialing process, including costs and possible avenues for funding. DON Civilian COOL does not provide funding for costs associated with initial credential attainment and maintaining and renewing the credential.


Navy COOL may only fund application fees, exam fees and annual maintenance fees for DON civilians in the Navy’s Cyberspace Information Technology/Cyber Security Workforce. For most employees, some costs may be funded by the Navy if an employee’s command approves and budgets for it. In other cases, veterans eligible for the GI Bill may tap into that resource.


The DON COOL program is part of a joint-service initiative to promote civilian credentialing opportunities for military service members and civilian employees. DON COOL reflects the Navy’s ongoing commitment to Sailors, Marines and civilians in providing world-class training, experience and opportunities that will serve them well, whether during active-duty, federal service or post-service civilian careers.


For more information about DON Civilian COOL, visit and for DON COOL, visit


Navy COOL is located with the Center for Information Warfare Training, which delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services, enabling optimal performance of information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.


For more information, visit,, or


For more news from the Center for Information Warfare Training organization, visit,,, or


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Rear Adm. Manazir Speaks On Allied Force Transformation, A2AD

(BREAKING DEFENSE 11 Oct 16) … Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake


Recently, Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson drove home the point that using the term Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD), was too vague as to be useful to define the effort of US and allied forces to deal with peer competitors.


“The term ‘denial,’ as in anti-access/area denial is too often taken as a fait accompli,” the CNO said, “when it is, more accurately, an aspiration. Often, I get into A2AD discussions accompanied by maps with red arcs extending off the coastlines of countries like China or Iran. The images imply that any military force that enters the red area faces certain defeat – it’s a ‘no-go’ zone!”


But for the CNO not only does A2AD ascribe capabilities to peer competitors that are not demonstrated, but the term suggests an outcome when in fact U.S. and allied forces are being shaped to operate very differently than in the period of the dominance of the land wars.


Richardson is focused as well on the reshaping of the maritime forces to operate in a much more effective manner throughout an extended battlespace. The CNO has crafted a concept which he calls kill webs to describe the way ahead for the maritime and joint force.


We recently discussed the evolving approach to this issue with one of the senior Naval officers charged with translating the approach into combat reality, namely Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9). He is responsible for the integration of manpower, training, sustainment, modernization and procurement of the Navy’s warfare systems.


It is clear that both the Air Force, the Navy and Marine Corps team are focused on shaping the force for the high-end fight against peer competitors. The Army’s main contribution in such considerations is the expanding and evolving role of Army Air Defense and Missile Defense systems. But in so doing, the focus is upon shaping a modular, agile force, which can operate across the spectrum of military operations; not just be honed simply for the high-end fight. It is about shaping multi-mission and multi-tasking platforms into an integrated force, which can deliver lethal and non-lethal effects throughout the distributed battlespace.


Recently, the new Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein, underscored that preparing for the high-end fight was a moral imperative. Given similar language and statements by the Chief of Naval Operations, this raises the question of the evolving working relationship between the Air Force and the Navy and Marine Corps Team.

“We are working closely with General Goldfein through various service interaction groups; most effectively at the highly classified level,” Manazir told us. “The core commonality between the two is that both are expeditionary services. When we get into the battle area, Air Force assets can strike, reset, and strike again.


Naval forces operating in the maritime domain provide persistence. If you combine Air Force and Naval combat capabilities you have a winning combination. If you architect the joint force together, you achieve a great effect.”


A key focus for the changes needed is the kind of command and control for a distributed force to ensure decision-making superiority. The hierarchical CAOC (Combined Air and Space Operations Center) is an aging artifact of nearly 16 years of ground war which assumes the US and the allies had complete air superiority.


Dealing with peer competitors and drawing upon the assets in a distributed approach requires different force configuration, training and operational foci.


Manazir underscored that, “C2 is ubiquitous across the kill web. Where is information being processed? Where is knowledge being gained? Where is the human in the loop? Where can core C2 decisions best be made and what will they look like in the fluid battlespace? The key task is to create decision superiority. But what is the best way to achieve that in the fluid battlespace we will continue to operate in? What equipment and what systems allow me to ensure decision superiority?”


As the technology changes and as the force becomes more effectively in the extended battlespace changes are necessary to shape appropriate rules of engagement for the distributed force. “The rules of engagement (ROE) need to keep up with the technology,” the admiral said. “An F-35 is going to have electronic means that can affect somebody a long way away. We didn’t have those electronic means before, and so the ROE should be able to allow us to employ weapons based on the technology that we have.”


One of the key aspects of changes involves weapons in the kill web. Target identification and weapons delivery will not be necessarily located on the same platform. Indeed, the ability to deliver lethal effect in the electro-magnetic battlespace will be distributed throughout the kill web. Weapons are distributed throughout the kill web and can be fired by platforms also operating throughout the kill web capable of firing weapons not carried by that platform.


Distributed strike will become increasingly significant as well as weapons modernization accelerates and the problem of providing new capabilities to the force, a force that is distributed in operations.


A new capability already in the fleet but whose future has just begun are directed energy weapons. As Manazir put it: “directed energy weapons are part of our overall transformation in the weapons enterprise. Directed energy weapons are fifth generation weapons. Directed energy weapons, coupled with other new types of weapons, are critical to empowering a distributed force.”


Put simply, the 30-kilowatt laser on USS Ponce works right now. But the overall approach is to build from deployed capabilities to more optimal directed energy weapons. Manazir outlined the Navy’ strategy: “In order to have the higher-end kinetic effect, you have to have the space for the weight of the laser itself, the power for it, and then the cooling-wherever the source.


“Obviously, with a ship in the water, you have an unlimited source of cooling water. Then, in order to have a very, very deep magazine for a laser shot, you either have to have a constant source of fairly high electrical power, or you have to have a very large battery. We are not waiting until we have what many see as the ultimate goal, a one-megawatt laser weapon; we would like to build capability incrementally.


“Over time we will be able to field higher and higher power laser weapons. It is about putting it into the fleet and evolving the capability; it is not about waiting until we have the optimal weapon. We need not just the weapon, but the training and the tactics shaped by the fleet to provide inputs to how best to integrate the capability into the force.”


Manazir outlined some of these ideas in a recent presentation at the Williams Foundation Seminar on air-sea integration held in Canberra on August 10. With the Aussies and Brits participating, it was clear these core allies share that the Navy’s focus on kill webs as well. Manazir underscored the importance of the allied-US engagement in force transformation in our interview.


“In effect, when we can operate together in this new environment and work from the same page, we can support core allies or allies can support us in the battlespace,” he said. “We can function as each other’s wingman. We are moving from a platform-centric mindset to a capability-centric mindset.”


The entire kill web approach affects the modernization and acquisition of platforms as well as the high-end training necessary to shape an integrated force.


According to Rear Admiral Manazir, the Navy is focused on innovations in the man-machine interactive capabilities. By so doing, the Navy is focused on leveraging the interactive capabilities of manned and unmanned systems as well as kinetic and non-kinetic ones. In the famous OODA loop the focus is upon finding ways for the machine to work more effectively in delivering the OO part of the OODA loop and innovating in how the combat warriors then can make decisions in the extended battlespace.


According to Rear Admiral Manazir: “The key is continually evolving combinations of capabilities that enhance the defensive and offensive power of the platforms that you put into the kill web. We are very focused on the evolving man-machine relationship, and the ability of manned and unmanned systems, as well as kinetic and non-kinetic systems, to deliver a broader spectrum of capability to the force.


“We are aiming to use the machine for the OO (Observe-Orient) part of the OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) Loop and optimize our human capabilities to do the DA (Decide-Act). Fighter pilots have always been “thinking aviators” but we are adjusting what we expect from them as they become key nodes and crucial enablers in the kill web. Becoming a Top Gun pilot in this world will be quite different than in the legacy one,” Manazir said.


Rear Adm. Manazir Speaks On Allied Force Transformation, A2AD


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DoN Grapples With Need For Rapid Prototyping Amid Congressional Concerns

(USNI News, 07 Oct 16) . Megan Eckstein


MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – The Department of the Navy is working with Congress to gain support and trust for prototyping and rapid fielding efforts that help the military keep up with evolving technologies and threats while balancing lawmakers’ need for oversight, the Navy’s acquisition chief told USNI News.


The Navy and Marine Corps have both launched innovation campaigns to identify and address areas where the services can invest in technologies – sometimes commercial off-the-shelf products, sometimes products used elsewhere in the U.S. or foreign militaries – to improve warfighter effectiveness.


And yet, lawmakers have seemed uneasy. This spring a Defense Department reprogramming request – which allows funding to be moved from its original line item into others mid-year, with the approval of the House and Senate armed services committees and defense appropriations subcommittees – was denied. According to documents obtained by USNI News, the House and Senate appropriators denied the request to move $10.2 million into an Advanced Combat Systems Technology budget line in the Navy’s research, development, test and evaluation account.


That money would have paid for “rapid prototype development and experimentation in FY 2016 to transition technology solutions into products that address recently identified emerging warfighting capability needs as defined by the fleet, operational commands, and to include the newly established Naval Warfighting Development Centers,” according to the reprogramming request document. Specifically, $8.7 million would go to developing unmanned aerial vehicles that can perform “long range, persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance – Targeting (ISR-T) and strike” missions for a Surface Action Group, with electronic warfare payloads mentioned in the program description. The other $2 million would develop a “low-cost high-speed precision mortar capability with significantly increased range.”


The Marine Corps’ Assistant Deputy Commandant for Resources Edward Gardiner last week at the Modern Day Marine exposition expressed his frustration in the inability to get money moved around in the year of execution.


“The Congress is getting more and more difficult to deal with in the year of execution. For example, the Department of the Navy sent over a $600, $700 million reprogramming request; a substantial amount of that was not approved out of the committees just because it’s a more contentious environment,” he told a group of most industry representatives.


“So if you come to us with good ideas of what you want to do and you need to do it right now, there’s only so much we can do. I’ve got less money lying around that we can put up on a reprogramming to send to the Congress, and the chances of it getting through the Congress are even less. So we can’t really rely on that anymore. We’ll do it for the commandant’s top priorities, but it will take a lot of resources and time away from the leaders of the Marine Corps to get that through. So for the 50 other great ideas that are out there, I don’t have the resources or the capital to be able to bring that home in the year of execution.”


Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley told USNI News on Thursday that he has engaged with lawmakers to help explain not only the need for flexible funding for prototyping efforts and the need for rapid fielding in some cases, but also how lawmakers can maintain an oversight role outside of the traditional acquisition process.


“We’re spending a lot of time working across the four committees to try to give them clear understanding of what our strategy is and, as specific to the extent we can . provide specifics on these rapid prototype-type projects, because the first go out of the shoot with the budget, they saw the line items, they saw the request, they didn’t fully understand what’s inside of it,” he said of the reprogramming request.


“So we’ve been spending time with them to explain: here’s what’s inside of it; here are the types of projects that we have cued up that come from the fleet, that they have identified as these are important, urgent; and that we would look to go ahead and press forward first with prototyping to understand what the solution is.”


Stackley said that explaining what was in the reprogramming package was step one, as a short-term fix. Step two, to ensure future success when requesting rapid prototyping funding, “is ensuring that they have the degree of visibility and ability to perform their responsibilities as it relates to oversight. And so we want them to understand the process that we’re using, for identifying and prioritizing the needs, these needs that we want to move out on. And not just the process: how do they then monitor that process so they can see how we’re selecting, but equally important, how we’re executing the funds that they entrust with us.”


Lawmakers – led by Houser Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) – began a push for acquisition reform in 2014 with an eye towards simplifying the normal acquisition process to help design, test and field new systems more quickly and cheaply. Still, the military services working entirely outside that traditional acquisition system has caused some unease.


Stackley made clear that the Navy is not trying to use the guise of rapid prototyping to buy major systems. Instead, it’s helped the Navy and Marine Corps buy quadcopters, tablets, 3D printers and other technologies to begin to understand how they could help change the way warfighters operate.


“We’re talking about taking emerging needs and getting those requirements into the hands of our labs, our warfare centers, our engineers, our scientists and industry to start to identify what the technical solution is, what the fix is that will fill the need, so that we can cut time out of the equation.”


The executive and legislative branch will have to agree upon some way to budget money for these prototyping efforts, some of which may not have surfaced as requirements during the months lawmakers and service officials are hammering out a final budget. Stackley noted that relying on mid-year reprogramming requests to fund prototyping efforts as they’re identified would be untenable.


“You don’t want to have to rely on the reprogramming process to deal with urgent types of requirements. It’s not a reliable process – and I say not reliable, you can’t count on it and it’s not necessarily timely,” he said.

“And if you don’t have the ability to count on it and it is not timely, then everything that you’re trying to do in terms of increasing your speed (for fielding technology) is defeated.”


Stackley highlighted the need to get technology development right, in a speech to the Marine Corps Association on Thursday night. He called the new Marine Corps Operating Concept a “call to arms” to develop “those next-generation capabilities that are critical to supporting the operating concept, and we need to do so with a sense of urgency unlike the pattern we are so familiar with as we develop today’s large weapons systems.” While impossible to predict what the next fight would be, he said it would be important to invest in technological superiority in intelligence-collecting, information warfare, air dominance, sea control, logistics and the ability to maneuver in blue water or the littorals.


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Election could bring big changes to the Senate Armed Services Committee

(WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 12 Oct 16) . Jacqueline Klimas


Four members of the Senate Armed Services Committee will be on the ballot in November, some in tight races that could see the committee’s membership, and priorities, shift.


In addition to Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the other three up for re-election are Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Richard Blumenthal D-Conn.


McCain’s fate on Election Day likely has the most influence over the future of the committee, since he wields the committee’s gavel, sets its hearing schedule, and invites witnesses to testify. His race against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., is rated “likely R” by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. A RealClearPolitics average of the polls puts McCain ahead by more than 13 points.


Ultimately, not having McCain at the helm of the committee would not necessarily change the broad priorities of making sure the military is ready to meet the threats it faces, but could mean a significant shift in tone without McCain’s big personality and confrontations with the Pentagon, experts say.


If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, but McCain loses, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., would be “the favorite” to take over as chairman, said Justin Johnson, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation. Inhofe has served as the committee’s ranking member when Democrats were in the majority and is still a senior member on the committee.


“He would certainly have at least a different style to Sen. McCain,” Johnson said. “He’d be more collaborative with the Pentagon, less of a headline driver perhaps. At the biggest level, there would still be similar priorities in terms of changing the budget trajectory, focusing on current conflicts and what we need to do to win them and conclude them successfully.”


Roger Zakheim, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said he thinks McCain will keep his seat. But even so, Democrats regaining control of the Senate means McCain could still lose his chairmanship.


In that case, Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., would likely take over as chair, according to Zakheim, who is also a partner at Covington and Burling.


Both analysts agreed that Reed’s leadership style would differ drastically from McCain’s.


“It would definitely be a dramatic change in style of committee leadership. McCain is just a uniquely powerful personality, whereas I think Sen. Reed is a little bit quieter, a little bit more deliberative in his approach to things,” Johnson said.


A leadership change would also mean a change in some priorities. Democrats and Republicans agree defense budgets need to increase, but McCain has pushed for higher military spending alone while Reed, and most Democrats, want nondefense spending increased to match any boost in defense funding. How the committee tackles the next budget could depend on which party is in charge, Zakheim said.


McCain has also placed a heavy emphasis on reform, including changing the acquisition system and the organizational structure of the military created thirty years ago by Goldwater-Nichols. But Johnson said that, while some reform efforts will likely continue under whoever is chair, it won’t be at the top of the priority list for whoever takes over next.


“I would expect the aggressiveness of them to ramp down under basically anyone other than McCain,” he said. “There’d still be reform efforts, whether acquisition or personnel, they’d still be in the mix just not quite as aggressively or as high a priority.”


Other members are also at risk. Whether Ayotte returns to the Senate is a toss-up, according to experts, and a RealClearPolitics average of polls puts the incumbent senator only 1.6 points ahead of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.


Ayotte has been a vocal advocate on the committee for several key issues, such as keeping the detention center at Guantanamo Bay open and keeping the Air Force’s A-10s flying, despite efforts by the service to retire the planes.


The New Hampshire senator’s absence from the committee would be a loss “felt across the board,” but on the Gitmo fight, Johnson said he predicted other senators would jump in to keep pushing the issue. On the retirement of the A-10s, however, the loss of both McCain and Ayotte could allow the service an opening to begin taking the planes out of service.


“If you were to lose Sen. McCain and Ayotte, two of the strongest voices in the Senate on the A-10 issue, that could certainly put the issue back in play in the Senate next year if the Air Force were to propose retiring them once again,” Johnson said.


The Air Force has tried for several years to retire the A-10s, saying it needs to free up those resources to begin bringing the Lockheed Martin F-35 online. But lawmakers have prevented it because it is roundly considering the best aircraft for close-air support. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and a former A-10 pilot, has been the most vocal ally of keeping the planes flying in the House.


McCain has also spent much energy criticizing performance and cost overruns of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program and the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers.


Supporting Donald Trump has hurt both McCain and Ayotte in their re-election bids, but a leaked video of the GOP nominee making lewd remarks about women prompted both senators to revoke their endorsement of Trump.


“I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” Ayotte said in a statement.


It’s unclear how distancing themselves from Trump will impact the outcome of the election. Ayotte said she will write in the name of Trump’s vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and McCain suggested on Tuesday that he would write in Sen. Lindsey Graham, another long-time Senate Armed Services Committee member and close friend of McCain.


If McCain and Ayotte do not return to Washington, it could open a space for new members to become more powerful players in terms of national defense, including two recently-elected members who are also veterans: Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.


“Ernst is probably the top contender for stepping up more into the spotlight,” Johnson said.


Two of the committee members up for reelection are almost certainly returning to Congress in 2017. Lee’s race in Utah is rated safely Republican and one poll has him leading his opponent by 30 points.


Blumenthal, the only Democrat on the committee up for reelection, is also likely to keep his seat. Both the Center for Politics and RealClearPolitics rate the race as safely Democratic with Blumenthal 21 points ahead of his opponent, according to one poll.


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Iwo Jima’s top enlisted says crew is ready for Haiti relief mission

(NAVY TIMES, 12 Oct 16) . David B. Larter


ATLANTIC OCEAN, ABOARD THE AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT SHIP IWO JIMA – This gator flattop wasn’t planning on getting underway last Wednesday from its Mayport, Florida,nea homeport. Then Hurricane Matthew swirled towards Haiti and the East Coast, the storm’s path becoming more menacing just as the ship sortied on Oct. 5.


The state of Florida issued mandatory evacuation orders for the area the amphibious assault ship calls home. As the crew members’ families prepped for the storm, Iwo, on its way north to avoid the tempest, received new orders – a deployment to Haiti.


Iwo Jima had just been starting its pre-deployment workups. Within three days, Iwo and its crew were in Norfolk, Virginia, on-loading bulldozers, seven-ton trucks, water purification equipment and forklifts and more into its well deck.


As the storm bore down on Virginia’s Tidewater region, the outfitted big deck cut through the difficult Hampton Roads navigation channel amid a 70-knot gale, bound for Haiti.


Loaded with about 650 Marines, four MV-22 Ospreys, four MH-60s Knighthawks and 1,200 sailors, Iwo Jima neared Haiti on Wednesday, where it will pick up 300 more Marines and three more CH-53 helicopters from the amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde.


The ship’s top enlisted said the crew is focused on relief efforts and that the rapid on-load and deployment “validates what we do in training.”


Command Master Chief (SW/AW/IW) William Mullinax – callsign “Swamp Fox” – talked about the ad-hoc deployment, the crew’s families in Mayport, and wider fleet issues in an interview as the ship sailed to Haiti. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity.


  1. What’s the mood of Iwo’s crew right now, how are they feeling given the last-minute nature of this mission?


  1. I think they are excited about the mission. They are wanting to put boots on ground and actually help, so they are excited about that. But there is that piece of anxiety about what’s going on back in Mayport. So they’re saying, ‘Let’s get this done so we can get back to Mayport and take care of our own.’


  1. Have you had any reports of damage to sailors’ homes or any injuries?


  1. We’ve had a little bit, trees falling in the yard, things like that. We’ve been working with the ombudsmen to get the resources they need. But nobody is in dire straits because of the hurricane.


When we left the storm was supposed to track up the coast about but it was supposed to be about 150 miles out to sea. But as it started getting through the Bahamas and shifted over to the west a bit, word started coming out about the evacuation.


The worst that I’ve heard is the houses on the beach took on some water but I don’t know if any of our sailors live right on the beach. We’ve been in contact with our two ombudsmen and with the base to make sure the families have the resources they need.


  1. What’s the value to the crew of throwing a mission like this together at the last minute?


  1. Well, I think it validates what we do in our training. On any given day this platform could be tasked to do flight ops or well-deck ops or whatever the case may be. So obviously the crew has to be well versed, so it validates what we do.


I’ve been here since February of 2014, I would tell you that by far: anything that’s thrown at this crew, they respond without hesitation. Whenever anyone comes on board, I tell people, you’re walking on the best ship in the fleet. I admit I’m biased.


  1. You are a senior leader on this ship and therefore are in charge of executing the Navy’s new move to no longer identify sailors by their ratings. How is that going? What are you doing to make it successful?


  1. Well, it’s a loaded topic right now; everybody is talking about it, not only on this ship, but throughout the fleet. It affects everyone in the enlisted ranks. You know, when you do something for so many years, you get used to doing it that way. And when there is a rudder change in the way we do business, naturally there is going to be push-back, typically from the sailor who’s a little longer in the tooth, who is used to doing things a certain way.


But you know, from my perspective: The Navy has told us this is the way we are going to do business. And what I told my chiefs was, ‘Hey, these are our marching orders and this is what we’ve got to do.’


There are going to be missteps. There will be sailors who say, ‘Hey, DC1,’ and that’s going to happen for a little bit until we get in the rhythm. So you correct and move on.


It’s going to be difficult to get used to but it’s about the way we train. The sailors coming into boot camp now, this will be all they ever know. So it’s going to be a change in the way of thinking.


  1. The Navy is working on improved fire-resistant variant coveralls and they are moving to Navy Working Uniform Type IIIs. Since this is still in the works, any feedback on what you think would help accomplish the mission?


  1. I’ve been in the Navy since 1987 and I’ve seen a plethora of uniforms. So for me, I think where the sailors get frustrated is you get well versed on a uniform, how to wear it, how to keep it, how to make it look sharp. And then when you get there it’s changed to another version or a different type. And it gets frustrating because you have to buy all new uniforms.


Good, bad or indifferent, I think we need to develop the uniform and stick with it. If there are improvements we can make to the uniform, then so be it. Let’s make the improvements.


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Ford Carrier Problems Worse Than LCS: Navy Secretary Mabus

(BREAKING DEFENSE, 12 Oct 16) . Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.


NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: The $13 billion supercarrier USS Ford and the $500 million Littoral Combat Ship are both suffering engine trouble. But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus took pains today to defend LCS even as he derided Ford as “a textbook example of how not to build a ship.”


Mabus’ determination to draw a distinction says a lot about his preferences and priorities, especially since much of his critique of Ford would apply equally well to LCS. Both programs originated in the era of Donald Rumsfeld’s “transformation,” after then-candidate George H.W. Bush had promised to skip a generation of technology.


“The Ford is a textbook example of how not to build a ship,” Ford told reporters. “(We were) building it while it’s still being designed” – which results in costly do-overs of already-finished components – “(and) trying to force too much new and unproven technology on it” – whose teething troubles result in unplanned delays and costs.


“That was already on fire when I got in,” said Mabus, who became Navy Secretary the year the Ford’s keel was laid. “But we’ve stopped the cost growth.” The carrier’s schedule is still slipping, however, with a November delivery to the fleet postponed indefinitely due to problems in the Main Turbine Generators (MTG).


Meanwhile, however, five Littoral Combat Ships have suffered crippling breakdowns in 15 months. Isn’t LCS also a textbook example of a troubled ship program, I asked Mabus, for much the same reasons as Ford?


“No,” said Mabus. LCS is more an example of typical teething troubles on a new design, he argued.


“Every time you start a new class of’re going to have issues,” he said. “LCS gets a lot of attention, but during the first deployment of an LCS to was ready for sea more than the (US) Pacific Fleet average.”


“It’s got a lot of attention mainly because it looks different,” Mabus said. “It is a different kind of ship.”


In fact, it’s two different kinds of ship. The LCS-1 Freedom class, built by Lockheed to a design inspired by racing yachts, and the LCS-2 Independence, which famously resembles Star Trek’s Klingon Bird of Prey, is built by Austal. Both variants have suffered breakdowns. Both, like Ford, combined multiple untested innovations in ways that greatly complicated their development: the unusual hulls, a high-speed propulsion system unlike anything else in the Navy, and an extremely small crew highly dependent on automation aboard ship and contractors ashore. There was even a last-minute decision to redesign the first ship of each type for greater resistance to battle damage, requiring expensive refits when they were already half-built.


So LCS’s agonies strongly resemble the Ford’s. The crucial mistakes on both ships also predated Mabus’s appointment. “The main issue I had to deal with when I got there was they were just costing way too much, and we’ve driven that down,” Mabus said of LCS.


Why do two programs with similar troubles get such a different reaction from Mabus? It’s especially striking because the carrier program matters much more to naval traditionalists, who often disdain the relatively tiny and lightly armed LCS. But throughout Mabus’s seven years in office – the longest tenure of a Navy Secretary since World War I – he’s measured his success in terms of numbers of ships.


From 2001 to 2008, Mabus said today (as he says in every speech he makes) the US Navy fell from 316 ships to 278 and put only 41 new ships on contract. In the seven years since 2009, Mabus has contracted for 86.


“Quantity has a quality all of its own,” Mabus said – and you don’t get quantity without a small ship cheap enough to build in bulk. In the face of two skeptical Defense Secretaries and sometimes bitter criticism from Congress, Mabus’s commitment to LCS explains a lot about its survival.


On current plans, Mabus said, the Navy will reach 300 ships by 2019 and 308 by 2021. 308 is the current official requirement, but the Navy’s currently reassessing – and almost certainly raising – that number in light of growing Russian and Chinese threats.


“ what we’ve been building to,” Mabus said. “We are undergoing a force structure assessment right now. The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson) said during hearings last year that he would bet a paycheck that the number as going up. I’m happy to bet the CNO’s paycheck too.


“Going forward whatever that force structure assessment is, that’s what we’ll have to build for,” Mabus said.


That will be after President Obama and, presumably, most of his officials depart. But the long time scales for developing and building a class of ships don’t respect political deadlines, Mabus made clear.


“Building ships is not the job of one administration, not the job of one secretary. If you miss a year you never get it back,” He said. “And it’s taken from 2009 until 2021 just to reverse it and get it back up to where we thought we needed to be – and we’re pretty much at the capacity of our shipyards now.”


Ford Carrier Problems Worse Than LCS: Navy Secretary Mabus


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Mabus: Actions ‘Assure that Our Navy Has Never Been Stronger’

(SEAPOWER, 12 Oct 16) . Richard B. Burgess


WASHINGTON – The secretary of the Navy expressed confidence in the future of the Navy and Marine Corps as he reflected on the Navy Department’s accomplishments over the course of his eight-year tenure as secretary, the longest since that of Josephus Daniels in the early 20th century.


“I will depart in a few months knowing that this administration has taken the necessary steps to assure that our Navy has never been stronger,” Ray Mabus told an audience Oct. 12 during what likely was his last appearance as Navy secretary at the National Press Club. “We are getting the right number of the right kind of platforms to meet our mission; our disciplined and deliberate use of energy has made us better warfighters; we represent the greatest America has to offer, the absolute best in the world; and we continue to provide presence – around the globe, around the clock.”


Mabus chose to focus his remarks on three of his top priorities while secretary: shipbuilding, energy and personnel reforms.


“Among the challenges, when I came into office, we had a shrinking fleet in a very bad economy; we had our hands tied by sequestration, which continues to hang over and limit our ability to plan; oil dependency and volatility threatened operations and training; and bad laws and an antiquated personnel system limited our ability to attract and keep America’s most talented young people,” Mabus said. “All of this, of course, occurring amid increasing threats, a far more complicated world and an ever-increasing demand for naval forces.”


He stressed the importance of maintaining a naval presence, attainable only by having the ships to sustain it.


“That unrivaled advantage – on, above, beneath and from the sea – ensures stability, reassures allies, deters adversaries and gives our nation’s leaders options in times of crisis,” he said. “We are ‘America’s away team’ because Sailors and Marines, equally in times of peace and war, are not just in the right place at the right time, but in the right place all the time. There is no next best thing to being there. In every case, from high-end combat to irregular warfare to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, our naval assets get on station faster, we stay longer, we bring what we need with us, and, because our ships are sovereign U.S. territory, we can act without having to ask anyone’s permission to get the job done.


“To get that presence, you have to have grey hulls on the horizon,” Mabus said. “Quantity has a quality all of its own. To say that a Navy is too focused on building ships is to admit an ignorance of its purpose. So I made shipbuilding one of my top priorities, and we’ve dramatically reversed the decline in our fleet.”


Mabus said the Navy has put 86 ships under contract during his tenure, on track to increase the size of the battle fleet from 278 ships in 2008 to 308 in 2021. He also noted savings of $2 billion in the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer program and a similar number in the current Virginia-class submarine contract.


“Essentially, we got a submarine for free,” he said. “It’s like having one of those punch cards: buy nine, get your 10th sub free.”


Mabus also mentioned the 8,000 new manufacturing jobs in the shipbuilding industry that added $37 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product.


He noted the advancements made in unmanned systems, laser weapons and the electromagnetic rail gun.


Mabus also focused on his efforts to wean naval forces off addiction to fossil fuels and to provide alternative forms of energy to power Navy and Marine Corps systems and installations.


“So in 2009, I set a number of specific, ambitious energy goals, the most significant of which was to have at least half of naval energy – both ashore and afloat – come from non-fossil fueled sources by 2020,” he said. “President Obama reiterated the goal ashore of 50 percent or 1 gigawatt in his 2012 State of the Union Address. That is one of the many reasons why I’m particularly proud to say to you today, in my State of the Navy Address, that we surpassed our goal ashore last year – five years early. Today, at our shore installations, we get more than 1.2 gigawatts of energy, of our total requirement for 2 gigawatts, from alternative sources.”


He said the biofuel that is now powering some ships costs only $2.14 per gallon. Oil use by the fleet has declined 15 percent and by the Marine Corps by 60 percent, noting that some of the Marine Corps’ savings has been achieved because of reduction in combat operations.


He also described technologies that are reducing the fuel requirements of the fleet and Marine Corps units, such as hybrid electric drive; kinetic knee braces to power radios; and LED lighting for ships.


Mabus’ third emphasis was on reforms in the personnel programs. He defended his controversial decision to name ships for civil- and human rights heroes in addition to the more traditional military heroes, such as Medal of Honor recipients. He touted his support of increases in the number of female midshipmen at the Naval Academy; opening of all combat positions to women; ending of the ban on the service of gay, lesbian and transgender personnel; and the opening of Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps units at several universities that once had banned such units.


He also started the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative to “foster a professional, supportive and inclusive workplace,” including combating the crime of sexual assault, treating personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome; addressing suicide; increasing child care hours and maternity leave; increased co-location for couples; and providing a three-year career intermission.


Mabus stressed that the Navy and Marine Corps were not lowering their standards.


“But just as there is no good argument to lower standards, there is also no good argument to bar anyone who has met those standards from serving alongside his or her fellow Sailors and Marines – in every clime and place,” he said.


“So looking to the horizon, looking ahead,” he said, “I am confident that the policies we’ve enacted, the decisions we’ve made and the priorities we’ve set guarantee that our Navy and Marine Corps will remain the greatest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known – for as far into the future as the eye can see.”







FRCSW/COMFRC Clips for Week of Sept. 26


Honoring more than six decades of service

FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement

Mission mattered most in West’s work for warfighter

FRC East Team DINO wins NAVAIR Challenge



Budget Deal Avoids Government Shutdown, Finalizes Next Year’s VA Budget

Top Marine aviator: ‘Ways to go’ before enough aircraft are flyable

Readiness Worries Deepened By Hill Ineptitude On Budgets

Engine Upgrades For The F-35 Expected In Mid-2020s

Federal Employee Health Premiums To Rise 6.2 Percent On Average

Commentary: Why the military’s controversial F-35 fighter jet is more relevant than ever

Commentary: How Does Military Deal With Acts Of Civil Disobedience?




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Honoring more than six decades of service

(FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST, 29 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs


MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – Freddie Dawkins only planned to be a civil service employee two additional years after relocating from Alameda Naval Air Station, California to Fleet Readiness Center East in 1995.


And now 21 years later he is being honored for more than 60 years of federal service, and he has no plan of hanging it up just yet.


“I’m 81 years old. I might stay until I’m 100,” said Dawkins, who has worked as a pneudraulics systems mechanic – disassembling, assembling, repairing and overhauling various turbine compressor assemblies daily – with Naval Air Systems Command since January 1981. “I feel good that FRC East is still allowing me to serve.”


According to Dawkins, his lengthy federal service career began in 1953 when he enlisted in the United States Air Force in the aircraft and engine mechanic career field.


“I had to do something,” he said, as he talked of growing up in Washington, D.C. in the time leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. He said the job market was scarce for African-American males at that time in the nation, and he had to find a means of earning money.


He said, having attended a military preparatory school, “I always knew, some way or another I was going into the military.” So when his hope of attending West Point and becoming a pilot did not materialize he sought another route into the military.


“I went to the recruiter, and it was a lucky day for me, because only the Air Force and Army recruiters were there,” he said, holding in his mind that his hope of flying might still be realized. “It was an opportune time for me because the Air Force was accepting more African-Americans.”


“I had to really, really talk to my mom about signing me up,” said Dawkins, who was then 17 years old, the older of two children and sensing his mother’s apprehension of the matter, as the U.S. was engaged in the Korean War.


And while the situation in the military was not ideal for people of color, as segregation and prejudice were prominent then, Dawkins’s said he did not let that deter him. “I just wanted to serve,” he said.


“I overcame the prejudice and discrimination. I was well-aware of it, but at some point you have to progress,” he said, acknowledging a resilient attitude and self-motivation as his internal propellers through a 26-year active-duty military career (and now more than 35 years in civil service). “I believe I can do anything I want to do when I’m ready to do it. I thought, ‘despite what’s going on, I’m going to make me better.’ . I’m kind of stubborn a little bit too, you know.”


Dawkins credits a strong work ethic, “good support systems” and “the man upstairs” for enduring in service. “I didn’t get here by myself,” he said, giving an instinctive nod to family, church, friends, doctors and various social organizations.


He also attributes some of his success to admonishment from an “old sergeant.”


“He said, ‘You’re not going to make it because of what you’re doing,'” Dawkins recalled, telling of how his off-duty activeness, which equaled his work intensity, drew unfavorable attention of his superiors. “I worked hard, but I also partied hard.


“He walked me up to the line. He said, ‘you are very skilled and can do anything, but here is the line that you do not cross.’ I kept myself out of trouble by that resonating in my head.”


Dawkins served in the earlier part of his career in the distinguished Strategic Air Command, noting that while assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Turner Field, Ga. he worked some with the historic Tuskegee Airmen. He became a flight engineer after about five years of service. He served a couple of tours in the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1969 where he earned the Air Medal – with five oak leaf clusters, representing 125 combat missions flown – and the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was awarded to him for performing the mission in the Republic of Vietnam.


Dawkins retired from the Air Force in 1979, but he quickly realized he would have to get another job when he saw that he would not be able to partake of benefits the way he did while he was enlisted.


“I rolled up to the clinic and the guy said, ‘Sarge it’s a little different now that you’re not on active duty,” he said.


He used his Montgomery GI Bill to take some classes at a community college, where he studied aircraft and engine maintenance – what he already knew.


He worked with a military contractor, working on C-5 aircraft, for a short while before landing a federal service position at Alameda. The naval air station was on the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission list to close, subsequently displacing much of its workforce around the country. Dawkins received orders to relocate to the Navy Depot at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and started in January 1995.


Through the years his focus has remained resolute on serving his nation.


“Every day I think of the importance of getting the details right for the troops who use these products in the field,” said Dawkins, commenting on his role in generating combat air power for America’s Marines and Naval forces.


According to the man affectionately known around FRC East as Mr. Fred, the reason he has stayed so long is because he has “met such beautiful people here.”


“It wasn’t a perfect journey. It was a rough and rugged road,” he said. “But I liked what I was doing. It’s a collection of good days and bad days; I’ve had more good (ones) than I’ve had bad.”


And for those asking, “When will Mr. Fred retire,” he said, the people and mood around the depot are still pleasant. “When we start bothering each other, I’ll be the first to go,” he said.


The FRC East Commanding Officer Col. Vincent Clark presented Dawkins the Secretary of the Navy Certificate of Service and pin for 60 years of federal service Sept. 7 during a special ceremony in the command Conference Room, honoring his comprehensive military and civilian service, calling him “a national treasure.”


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FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST, 23 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs


NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND – In a move that exemplifies teamwork and cooperation, Fleet Readiness Centers Southwest (FRCSW) and Southeast (FRCSE) recently joined forces to ensure the timely return of E-2C Hawkeye components to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).


Work on the JASDF E-2C assets was derived from a 2011 Repair Commercial Services Agreement (CSA) between FRCSW and Aeronautical Systems Incorporated (ASI). ASI provides maintenance, repair, overhaul and logistical support to foreign militaries.


The JASDF operates approximately 13 E-2C aircraft, and was in need of crucial repairs to the nose steering assembly units of eight aircraft to meet mission requirements. Steering assembly units enable pilots to taxi the airplane prior to takeoff and after landing.


Under the terms of the CSA, FRCSW ordered all repair materials through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and provided the touch labor to service the steering assemblies, said Lee Strother, performance-based logistics program coordinator, who ensured the on-time delivery schedules and cost requirements of the project.


“We do a complete overhaul to these,” said hydraulics/pneudraulics shop supervisor Jack Jackson. “That means we’ll completely disassemble the unit, evaluate, order any outstanding material required; then send it out for cleaning, remove any corrosion, run a non-destructive inspection on them and assemble and test them before they’re sent to paint and returned to the customer.”


The units were inducted into the FRCSW components program in Building 472 last August and September and were returned in less than five months, thanks to cooperative problem solving between the two FRCs.


“As the first few units were nearing completion of repair, ASI was notified that the test bench for the nose steering assembly was down for service,” wrote Carlos Pichardo, ASI director of operations in his April 12, 2016, letter of commendation to FRCSW.


“(Then FRCSW Components IPT Lead) Wade Wendell took initiative to identify solutions for testing. Mr. Wendell worked directly with engineering at FRCSW to see if there was any way to bring the test stand back up, and when it was deemed that it would take a number of weeks, Mr. Wendell identified that there was an active test bench located at FRCSE. This out-of-the-box thinking allowed ASI to work with FRCSW for the repair of the assets and the final testing was performed by FRCSE so that the final delivery made it to the customer within their fiscal year requirement.”


Pichardo noted that “. any items not delivered within the JASDF fiscal year lose funding.”


“ASI has recently sent additional JASDF assets to FRCSW for repair and with the assistance of the Components Integrated Product Team at FRCSW and its management, we look forward to continued success in the support of availability delivered for United States allies,” Pichardo wrote.


The FRCSW test bench used to assess the E-2C nose steering assembly units is currently under an update modification.


In addition to E-2C components work, FRCSW also services legacy Hornet Aircraft Mounted Accessory Drives (AMAD) under its service agreement with ASI.


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Mission mattered most in West’s work for warfighter

(FLEET READINESS CENTERS, 21 Sept 16) . Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs


MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Accomplishing the mission by getting capability and capacity to the warfighter was Dennis West’s raison d’etre over the course of his 32-year career.


On Aug. 31, West departed his position as deputy commander, Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and leaves as his legacy a resource sharing organizational system, a competency aligned organization/integrated program teams (CAO/IPTs) in the Fleet Readiness Center (FRCs), a strategic plan for readiness named Vision 2020 and sound advice for the next generation.


West began his career as a General Service-5 aerospace engineer at what was then the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF), Cherry Point, North Carolina, and is now FRC East (FRCE). During the course of his service, he worked in many capacities at FRCE: starting as a pneumatics engineer on the shop floor; production support engineer for aircraft and support equipment; research and engineering group head; director of logistics; and the industrial group head.


“My career has been very, very rewarding,” he said. “Every job I’ve had, I’ve really enjoyed and have enjoyed every subsequent job more than the last one.”


In 2012, West was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and became deputy commander, COMFRC.


Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, Commander, Operations and Test Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), Norfolk, Virginia, came onboard as COMFRC in Aug. 2013 and served with West through June 2016.


“When I first met Dennis,” Sohl began, “I could tell right then he thought, not from an engineering standpoint, but from an FRC one, and he always had in his mind, ‘What do the fleet and the warfighter need and how can I get it to them?’ There were times you could see him get impatient because some of us were just thinking in terms of getting the warfighters what they needed today. And he was thinking one step ahead, thinking ‘What will they need tomorrow?'”


This forward-thinking led West to lay the foundation for Vision 2020, a strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation and for optimizing capability and capacity. The ultimate achievement of Vision 2020 will be the inception of a global maintenance management system, which will recognize a failing aircraft as soon as it happens and immediately route parts, materials, artisans, equipment — whatever is needed — to the aircraft to fix it in real time.


“We’ve got to progress the sustainment system to operate near real time, like the airlines do, if we’re going to fix the future readiness issues,” West said. “Even though we have readiness issues now, if we don’t fundamentally change the way we’re doing sustainment, we’re going to have a serious problem going into the future.


West considers a few of his accomplishments to be key enablers that have paved the way for a plan such as Vision 2020 to succeed: the FRC resource sharing effort that led to the implementation of the workload management system (WMS), enabling prioritization and task management across sites; the completion of the NAVAIR Depot Maintenance System (NDMS) that ended more than 38 FRC-unique systems and shut down three FRC data centers, going from 484 servers to fewer than 90, resulting in a 34 percent reduction in cost and no degradation in service, thus paving the way for faster upgrades, more consistent maintenance processes and supporting cyber security.


Also important is the implementation of the digital thread infrastructure across the FRCs which allows for the seamless movement of digital data from an engineer’s desk directly to the industrial manufacturing environment, regardless of the site in which either reside. And, a significant accomplishment is the implementation of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), a theory of constraints tool to improve line production, at three of the FRCs, which has increased the speed of F/A-18 Hornet throughput significantly as well as other aircraft lines.


West is also credited with helping to grow the next generation of technical leaders through his personal involvement and professional development events where he shares his philosophy for being successful.


To those just beginning their careers and facing roadblocks, West said you should “recognize that every rule, every process you encounter as a barrier, was written by somebody. The key to your success in removing these barriers and moving forward is to find out who wrote the rule or process that is holding you up, and then have some discussions with that person to try to figure out what you can do. Don’t get stopped dead in your tracks; don’t let it keep you from accomplishing the mission. Some human somewhere wrote it and all you have to do is find out who. Usually, they wrote it for a specific reason, for a specific case, and if yours doesn’t fit, they’re most likely willing to rewrite it so you can do what you need to do.”


West also said managing your own career is vital.


“Do not expect anyone to be wake up every morning trying to figure out how they can help you,” West said. “It’s your responsibility to manage your career and figure out where you want to go and then enlist the help of people who can help you do that.”


To the COMFRC workforce, West offered parting guidance: “Keep up the fight; keep working on cross-site coordination and relationships; and continue to centralize functions where it makes sense and where it benefits the whole. Everyone should continue to work to understand where what they do fits into the mission. ”


West said what he will miss most is “Working with people and working to make sure the mission is successful.”


“I can’t overstate all he has brought to COMFRC,” Sohl said. “He was my close confident at COMFRC, and we were able to talk deeply on a great many and wide variety of topics and not just things in the FRC world. He is a man of great intelligence. All of us will miss him greatly.”


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FRC East Team DINO wins NAVAIR Challenge

(FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST, 29 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs


MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2016) – Six members of Fleet Readiness Center East’s Propeller Integrated Product Team of In-Service Support Center won the first Naval Air Systems Command Data Challenge that culminated in a two-day summit Sept. 13-14 at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.


The Data Innovations Negating Obsolescence Team, or Team DINO, consisting of Derrick White, Jonathan Markl, Chris Parry and Andrew Hunter of the Propulsion and Power Engineering Department, and Pam Lawley of the Aviation Readiness and Resource Analysis Department, and Glenn Pangburn of the Industrial and Logistical Maintenance Planning Sustainment Department beat out 33 teams for the initiative that focused on improving readiness by using NAVAIR data sources.


“This team was a perfect blend of experienced individuals and recently hired engineers producing a unique level of creativity,” said Mark Meno, Research and Engineering Group (Air-4.0) head.


The initiative began in March, led by Rear Adm. Francis Morley, NAVAIR vice commander, and the Integrated Business Capabilities Team, and sought to create visualizations, algorithms and data manipulation methods that could help identify and predict factors affecting readiness.


After months of collaboration and thousands of hours of work, five teams emerged as finalists who presented their ideas to NAVAIR leadership and data science specialists from private industries at the summit.


“What we discovered during the Data Challenge is that, within NAVAIR, we have all of the personnel and tools to address and mitigate readiness issues, but they are spread out between different teams and sites,” said Markl, an aerospace engineer with Team DINO. “Creating a community centered on data science will hopefully bring some of these ideas to the forefront and allow them to become standard practices within the command.”


Insight from all teams will improve data validation methods and enhance tools implemented in future developments to Vector, a web-based tool that integrates more than 15 data sources and provides visualizations. Vector is the web-based version of the powerful Integrated Logistics Support Management System readiness data analysis tool that each type/model/series team has been using to help identify and manage readiness and cost degraders affecting their specific TMS platforms.


Team DINO focused its efforts on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Vector. They found that Vector was an effective tool for determining what parts were affecting readiness, but proved ineffective in pinpointing reasons and projecting future action once parts are identified.


The team tackled these questions by incorporating methods used by the Research and Engineering Group, Air-4.0, for root cause analysis and predictive models for component failures. By combining data sources from Vector and incorporating additional data from the Joint Deficiency Reporting System and the Integrated Reliability-Centered Maintenance System, the team was able to automate data scrubbing processes and cross-check sources for validation. Being limited to only those programs available on an Navy Marine Corps Intranet seat, the team developed a spreadsheet tool using Program Management Activity 231 aircraft and maintenance data as a proof of concept. The tool included aircraft level visualization for inventory and flight hour tracking, and component level analysis. The component-level tools included modules for risk assessment, root cause analysis and metric comparison tools by TMS, squadrons and bureau numbers.


Crunching the numbers


Team DINO focused on component level predictive tools that use a Monte Carlo Simulation to project future component failures to address the challenge of improving readiness. Monte Carlo is a mathematical method of using a random number generator with a known distribution to project the likelihood of possible outcomes. Applying this method to a Weibull distribution – a continuous probability distribution that models the life of a component to failure – revealed accurate failure times for a given population. The Monte Carlo method also allows for “what-if” scenarios to be programmed into the outcome to account for factors affecting supply such as aircraft procurements or retirements, overhaul interval changes, component reliability changes, and wartime part use surges.


Application of the knowledge and insights gained throughout the Data Challenge will help NAVAIR PMAs improve platform readiness. The Propeller IPT is using the tool created by Team DINO to quickly diagnose failure causes and supply shortages, and aid the team in providing mitigation. One example was a known supply shortage. The team was able to use the tool to identify the cause of an increase in failures and provide suggestions for mitigation through maintenance awareness training.


“They were able to fully leverage their blended skills resulting in the development of a powerful tool that will undoubtedly provide broad readiness improvements going forward to not just the propeller community but Naval Aviation at large,” said Meno. “We are proud (and in awe) of our Cherry Point teammates.”


Team DINO plans to continue to use and develop their tool to address future readiness issues and to lead the way in moving from reactive to proactive to predictive in the Propeller IPT and beyond.


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Budget Deal Avoids Government Shutdown, Finalizes Next Year’s VA Budget

(MILITARY TIMES 28 Sept 16) … Leo Shane III


Congress averted a government shutdown with a rushed budget deal on Wednesday that also settles the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction budget for all of fiscal 2017.


The measure gives VA officials $74.4 billion in discretionary spending next year, a nearly 4 percent increase but about $700 million below what the White House requested in its budget plan. Still, department leaders have signaled support for that level of funding, especially considering more significant cuts proposed by House lawmakers.


It also includes $7.72 billion for more than 200 military construction projects, a decrease of almost 6 percent but nearly $300 million above the president’s request. About $1.3 billion of that is slated for military housing projects scheduled to get underway in coming months.


Those two agency budgets are the only ones to get a full-year spending plan approved before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.


Lawmakers approved a 10-week extension of federal funding at fiscal 2016 levels for all other government programs, and will need to adopt a long-term budget deal after the November elections are complete.


The move means a delay in new program starts for the first quarter of the new fiscal year, but that is less disruptive than the possibility of a partial government shutdown, which would have started Oct. 1 without a deal.


Senate Democrats and Republicans had sparred in recent days over a budget extension, largely because of the absence of emergency funding to help with drinking water contamination in Flint, Mich.


Early on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was satisfied that issue will be dealt with in the lame duck congressional session later this year.


The final deal passed by a margin of 72-26 in the Senate and 342-85 in the House.


Party leaders will also have to decide in November whether to pass another temporary budget measure, bridging federal funding into the next administration, or simply pass a full fiscal year budget, as Congress often belatedly does at the end of the calendar year.


But VA operations and military construction projects will move ahead regardless. The construction allocation includes $350 million for improvements to military medical facilities, $272 million for upgrades to Defense Department schools and $673 million for Guard and reserve projects.


VA funding, which will top $176.9 billion when mandatory spending is included, features $65 billion for medical programs, including $7.2 billion for medical appointments and treatment outside the VA system. Also, $5.7 billion is set aside for specifically for medical care of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.


The bill also sets aside $675 million for medical and prosthetic research, $535 million for health care specifically for women veteran, and $284 million for traumatic brain injury treatment.


Lawmakers inserted $260 million for continued work on the VA electronic health record system, but restrict access to those funds until certain interoperability benchmarks are reached. Another $900 million is set aside for major and minor VA construction projects.


President Barack Obama is expected to sign the budget bill into law later this week.


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Top Marine aviator: ‘Ways to go’ before enough aircraft are flyable

(MARINE CORPS TIMES ONLINE 21 Sept 16) . Jeff Schogol


Engineers and mechanics are working furiously to keep enough of the Marine Corps’ aging planes and helicopters flying longer than originally intended until the service gets new aircraft to replace them.


Years of war and maintenance delays have worn out many Marine airframes. That, combined with delays in the controversial F-35 joint strike fighter program, has left the Marine Corps with a shortage of flyable planes and helicopters.


“Our readiness numbers are ticking up, but they are still shy of what they should be,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told Marine Corps Times. “We’re not satisfied at all. We have a ways to go before we achieve full readiness recovery.”


As of July 31, 465 of a total of 968 Marine aircraft are flyable, said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns. The Marine Corps’ plan to boost the number of flyable aircraft and the flight hours that pilots get calls for having 589 out of 1,065 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft flyable by July of 2019, Davis said.


Last month, Davis ordered all non-deployed squadrons to stand down for 24 hours. The move followed three F/A-18 Hornets crashes between June and August. Two Marine pilots were killed in the accidents.


“Enough things came together for me to go: I want everybody to take a knee and tell me what they see from their foxhole,” Davis said. “Everybody did that. We didn’t see anything systemically wrong with that squadron or the F/A-18.”


The Marine Corps’ aviation readiness crisis has gained national attention this year. Marine Corps Times reported in April that only a third of the Corps’ Hornets could fly. Later, the Marines had to take Hornets out of storage from “the Boneyard” in Arizona.


Currently, 90 of the Marine Corps’ 273 F/A-18 Hornets are able to fly, in part because of deep “sequestration” budget cuts that deferred maintenance when depots had to shut down and many civilian artisans who repair Marine aircraft quit.


Under its readiness recovery plan, the Marine Corps expects to have 162 flyable Hornets by mid-2017 or early 2018, depending on how much work the planes need in depot, Davis said. But the demand for Marine aircraft may pick up before then — in January, a new president will take office, and he or she may decide to increase airstrikes over Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.


Davis said the Marines would send all available aircraft to support an increase in combat operations, but he added, “I think it would stress the system to do that” because the Marine air component has been at war since Operation Desert Storm in 1991.


Keeping score


Davis constantly keeps track of how many planes and helicopters are flying. He has a chart that shows the number of flyable aircraft per month that he shares with members of Congress and Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.


“Gen. Neller, he sees this chart all the time,” Davis said. “This is my scorecard. This is how I’m doing as a [deputy commandant for aviation].”


Of all Marine aircraft, the CH-53E Super Stallion fleet faces the most serious readiness problems, Davis said. About 27 percent of the Marine Corps 146 CH-53Es are unable to fly because they need spare parts. Along with the AV-8B Harrier jump-jet, Marine helicopters like the Super Stallion have the Corps’ highest mishap rates, according to Naval Safety Center data from fiscal years 2011-2015.


Over the next three years, the Marine Corps will repair all of its CH-53Es, he said. The process is expected to yield 16 refurbished helicopters every 110 days. The Marine Corps also plans to replace the CH-53Es with 200 brand new CH-53Ks between 2019 and 2029.


One way the Marine Corps hopes to speed the healing process is by asking Congress for money to buy more F-35s and CH-53Ks per year as part of the service’s unfunded priority list, Davis said.


“If I could buy F-35s faster, I could stand down first Hornet and then Harrier squadrons,” he said. “If I got 53Ks faster, I’d be able to get a little bit faster out of the 53E.”


Davis also wants to make sure that the Marine Corps is keeping its best pilots, aircrew and maintainers, whom he worries could be lured away by the high-paying private sector.


“I see what the airlines are doing,” he said. “They are hiring a lot of folks. Their demand signal for pilots and maintainers is pretty astounding and concerning.”


Overall, the Marine Corps has enough pilots, but certain communities such as MV-22B Osprey squadrons need more enough qualified pilots and maintainers, Davis said.


“We’re actively leaning forward at Gen. Neller’s direction to make sure that we get out in front of a potential problem,” he said. “I worry about everything, but that’s one of the things I worry about a lot.”


While Davis is confident that the Marine Corps will meet its goals of getting more aircraft flyable, he stressed that this push is more than a wing and a prayer.


“I don’t use the word ‘hope,'” Davis said. “If I said ‘hope,’ [you] can slap me around a little bit. Hope is not a method. We have a plan that drives us to that.”


Looking to the future, the Marines are looking at new ways to use the K-MAX remotely piloted helicopter, which was used to move cargo in Afghanistan, Davis said.


Ultimately, the Marine Corps wants to develop a ship-based unmanned aircraft similar to the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper, which can fire Hellfire missiles at targets, he said.


“I’d actually like to get a better capability than the Reaper but with a vertical takeoff and land capability that we can put aboard a ship,” Davis said. “We’ve got about three prototypes that are in development right now.”


–Staff reporter Meghann Myers contributed to this report


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Readiness Worries Deepened By Hill Ineptitude On Budgets

(MILITARY ADVANTAGE BLOG 22 Sept 16) … Tom Philpott


For an eighth straight year, a period spanning the wartime presidency of President Obama, Congress will fail to pass a defense budget on time. It’s a wasteful misstep caused again by bitter partisanship, weak leaders and alarming apathy over the harm being done to military readiness, say senators on the armed services committee.


That harm is deep and widespread, uniformed leaders of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps told the committee last week in urging Congress both to avoid five more years of defense spending caps and to shelve its destabilizing habit of passing late-hour “continuing resolutions,” or CRs, instead of detailed and on-time defense budgets.


Accepting the inevitability of another CR this October, service chiefs still pleaded that it last weeks not months. The fear is that a lame duck Congress in November will decide newly elected lawmakers should cut the next budget deal, delaying approval of a fiscal 2017 defense budget into next calendar year, thus aggravating fiscal uncertainties for a force under stress.


Defense dollars wasted by failure to pass budgets by Oct. 1, start of the fiscal year, are estimated to be enormous. Under a CR, spending is capped at previous year levels, which delays new construction projects and weapon buys, driving up contract costs across the department.


Politic gridlock, therefore, is gobbling up chunks of real budget savings, including from spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 and enforced through the mindless tool of sequestration. After a two-year hiatus, BCA caps are set to resume in fiscal 2018.


That threat and uncertainty created by another CR were dominant themes at Thursday’s hearing. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), committee chairman, delivered a scathing indictment of the budget mess Congress has created for the military. Republicans, Democrats and the president should share the blame, he said, and have the “courage to put aside politics” in finding a solution.


Operating on stopgap deals like “continuing resolutions, omnibus spending bills and episodic budget agreements, are a poor substitute for actually doing our jobs…” said McCain. “Is it any wonder why Americans say they are losing trust in government?”


Dysfunction in Washington “has very real consequences for the thousands of Americans serving in uniform and sacrificing on our behalf … Are we serving them with a similar degree of courage? The answer, I say with profound sadness, is: We are not.”


McCain noted how five years ago, to address the nation’s ballooning debt, Congress opted to pass the BCA, which imposed arbitrary spending caps for a decade on discretionary spending including defense, rather than tackle the real issue, “the unsustainable growth of entitlement spending.”


Democrats argue the BCA resulted from the brinksmanship of Republican leaders who threatened to force a default on America’s debt rather than agree to a balanced budget deal that include raising taxes on the wealthy or closing tax loopholes that benefit special interests.


With the current defense budget $150 billion less than in 2011, McCain said, the military is struggling “to sustain higher operational tempo with aging equipment and depleted readiness, and doing so at the expense of modernizing to deal with the threats of tomorrow.”


Meanwhile forces are too small “to train for and meet our growing operational requirements against low-end threats” and still prepare “for full-spectrum warfare against high-end threats.”


BCA spending caps set to resume in the budget Congress will begin work on in February, McCain said, so “we are fooling ourselves, and deceiving the American people, about the true cost of fixing the problem.”


The current five-year defense budget plan already is $100 billion above BCA caps. In addition, $30 billion of annual spending for base defense requirements is buried in the OCO, or Overseas Contingency Operations account, a House gimmick adopted so as not exceed the spending caps.


“What this means is that, over the next five years, our nation must come up with $250 billion just to pay for our current defense strategy and our current programs of record,” McCain said.


“Put simply, we have no plan as of yet to pay for what our Department of Defense is doing right now, even as most of us agree that what we are doing at present is not sufficient for what we really need,” he warned.


The service chiefs said deployed units are fully ready to confront and defeat any adversary. But the tradeoff for keeping frontline units ready using constrained budgets, and after 15 years fighting against insurgent forces, is degraded longer term readiness to confront near-peer powers like China, Russia or even Iran and North Korea.


The Army, said chief of staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, is “more capable, better trained, better equipped, better led and more lethal than any other ground force in the world today.” That said, he added, Army chooses to “prioritize and fully fund readiness” versus needed end strength, modernization and infrastructure. “In other words we are mortgaging future readiness for current readiness,” Milley said.


Milley said he stood by an assessment given months ago that the Army would be at risk of taking unacceptably high casualties if it had to fight two near-simultaneous wars against nation state powers.


Adm. John M. Richardson, chief of naval operations, laid out a “triple whammy” of challenges Navy faces, the first being the high pace of operations for 15 years that has strained ships, aircraft and families.


Number two is budget uncertainty. “Eight years of continuing resolutions including a year of sequestration have driven additional costs and time into just about everything that we do,” Richardson said. “The services are essentially operating in three fiscal quarters per year now. Nobody schedules anything important in the first quarter. The disruption this uncertainty imposes translates directly into risk for our Navy and our nation.”


The third whammy, he said, are spending caps that lowered readiness rates of ships and aircraft that would be needed in a wartime surge.


Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said Marines are meeting all current force requirements by “pushing risk and the long-term health of the force into the future.” He noted the Corps’ list of unfunded budget priorities totals $2.6 billion, “the largest we’ve ever submitted” to Congress.


“Repealing sequestration, returning to stable budgets without extended continuing resolutions and allowing us the flexibility to reduce excess infrastructure and make strategic trades are essential” to address long-term challenges, said Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff.


The four leaders agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that unless BCA is repealed or suspended, it could do more damage to force readiness than any adversary can, short of war. Graham, unlike most Republicans, will consider tax hikes to get a better budget deal.


Asked if he would too, McCain’s didn’t comment by our deadline.


“Do you want to do revenue to fix it? I’ll do revenue,” said Graham. “But what I’m not going to do is keep playing this silly [BCA] game.”


“If sequestration goes back into effect [after] 2017, are we putting people’s lives at risk” by squeezing available training dollars, Graham asked.


“Yes,” each service chief responded.


Readiness Worries Deepened by Hill Ineptitude on Budgets


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Engine Upgrades For The F-35 Expected In Mid-2020s

(DEFENSE NEWS 26 Sept 16) … Aaron Mehta


WASHINGTON – The F-35 joint program office is eyeing the middle of the next decade for when major upgrades to the engines on the joint strike fighter can proceed.


Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, who heads the JPO head, said at last week’s Air Force Association conference that the “mid-2020s” is when the power plant on the joint strike fighter could be refreshed, whether through improvements to the Pratt & Whitney F135 design currently used or through a new engine design from another competitor.


“I would expect … that somewhere in the mid-2020s much of the work being done in the labs right now with our industry partners will find its way onto the F-35,” Bogdan told an audience Sept. 21. “Whether it finds its way onto the F-35 in the current engine or some modified engine remains to be seen, but we do fully expect in the mid-20s to include some advanced technologies on engines.”


The Air Force is currently funding the early stages of the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) competition, with both Pratt and General Electric Aviation participating. The goal of AETP is to see if the companies can successfully add a third stream of air inside the engine. The program’s goal is to “demonstrate 25 percent improved fuel efficiency, 10 percent increased thrust, and significantly improved thermal management,” according to an Air Force statement.


Both companies received contracts worth $1.01 billion over the summer to fund the research under AETP, with a period of performance ending in September 2021.


While the AETP competition will likely be the source of the F-35 power plant of the future, its official focus is whatever the service decides to do with the so-called “sixth generation” fighter development. Theoretically, engine improvements could also be rolled into the B-21 Raider bomber, which is expected to enter production by the mid-2020s. Pratt & Whitney is the engine supplier on the program; and although neither they nor Northrop Grumman, the prime on the B-21, have said what engine is being used, speculation is that some form of the F135 engine will power the bomber.


Bogdan made it clear it is too early to make any decisions about how engine improvements could be rolled into the F-35 program.


“We have to take a look and see if they are 1) applicable and can be integrated into the F-35, and 2) the right time and place to do that,” Bogdan said. “A lot of that comes from the warfighter telling us what he or she needs and wants on the airplane, but relative to engine technology, just like sensor technology, just like materials technology, engine technology is moving along also. And there is a lot of work being done in the labs right now to improve the range [and] capability of our engines, the thrust capability on the size and weight of our engines.”


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Federal Employee Health Premiums To Rise 6.2 Percent On Average



The enrollee share of premiums in the health-care program for federal employees and retirees will rise 6.2 percent on average in 2017, an increase about in line with the general trend for employer-sponsored health insurance, the government announced Wednesday.


The announcement of premium rates in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program comes in advance of an annual open season, which this year will run Nov. 14-Dec. 12, during which enrollees may change plans or change types of enrollment for the following year. Also, employees who are not currently enrolled may join the program, although retirees generally may not newly join.


The increase in premiums overall averages 4.4 percent, but because of the way the formula works for setting the government and enrollee shares, the enrollee share on average is increasing by more than the government share. The government pays about 70 percent of the total premium and enrollee pays the rest; the U.S. Postal Service pays a somewhat larger share for its employees, although not for its retirees.


“We are at the lower end of what is being experienced around the country,” John O’Brien, Office of Personnel Management director of health care and insurance, said at a briefing for reporters. OPM said that two outside assessments project increases of 6 to 6.5 percent in private-sector plans.


The FEHBP, the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program in the country, is open to almost all federal employees, while federal retirees can continue coverage if they were covered for the five years before retiring.


About 4 million people, roughly evenly split between active employees and retirees, are enrolled, and about an equal number of family members – spouses and children under 26, with no cutoff for disabled children – have coverage through those enrollments.


The increases in non-postal employee premiums break down to an average of 6 percent for self-only coverage, 5.4 percent for self-plus-one and 6.6 percent for self-and-family coverage. In dollar terms, that’s an average of $5.27, $10.32 and $12.97 biweekly. Retirees pay premiums at the same level, although on a monthly basis; also, unlike active employees, retirees may not pay premiums on a pre-tax basis.


Within the averages there is a wide range of costs and changes in premiums among the plans, a few of which are holding their rates virtually steady or even decreasing them slightly. A total of 245 plans will participate in 2017, 15 of them available nationally, with the rest being health maintenance organization-type plans available regionally.


In the Washington area, a total of 31 plans will be available, officials said.


Rates for non-postal enrollees in the largest plan, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard option, will rise by $5.81 to $105.99 biweekly for self-only coverage, by $9.46 to $240.77 for self-plus-one and by $15.99 to $254.23 for family coverage.


The Blue Cross standard option accounts for about 40 percent of all enrollments, while a lower-cost Blue Cross option accounts for another 24 percent.


As in past years, officials attributed the rise largely to increasing prescription drug costs, which make up about a quarter of the total costs in the program, general inflation and the aging of the covered population.


There will be only minimal changes in out-of-pocket costs such as copayments and deductibles, they said.


Full details of each plan’s terms will be in brochures to be released just ahead of the election period. Blue Cross announced Wednesday that it will increase the financial incentives for its enrollees who have diabetes to get a health assessment and monitor and control their blood sugar levels.


The most significant change program-wide will be a standard requirement to cover applied behavior analysis for children on the autism spectrum. Some plans already provide that coverage, but terms vary.


The enrollee share of premiums rose 7.4 percent on average for 2016, following four years of increases in the 4 percent range – what OPM officials called the longest stretch of increases that small on average over six years in the program’s history.


However, several organizations representing federal employees and retirees decried the latest increase.

“Like most other Americans, federal employees and retirees have seen their standard of living decline due to stagnant incomes and cost increases for basic goods and services,” American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “This is an unacceptably high increase that will force many families to make difficult decisions about how to pay their bills.”


“While the increases in FEHBP premiums for 2017 are relatively modest, they add to already skyrocketing costs incurred by federal retirees,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Richard G. Thissen.


Federal employees are in line for a raise averaging 1.6 percent, varying somewhat by location, in January. Federal retirees will learn in late October about a January cost-of-living adjustment to their benefits; with one month to go, the inflation count used in that calculation stands at below 1 percent.


OPM officials added that many enrollees with only one eligible family member could benefit by switching from family coverage to self-plus-one, an option introduced into the program last fall for this year. They estimate that 1 million FEHBP enrollees have just one eligible family member, but about half of them are still in the generally more expensive family coverage.


“We’re hoping that those who have not looked at self-plus-one will consider it,” O’Brien said.


However, in about 40 plans, which account for about 5 percent of enrollments, self-plus-one is more expensive than family coverage. That’s largely due to the overall higher cost of insuring the relatively high percentage of retirees and older employee couples with no eligible children who are most likely to choose self-plus-one, officials said.


The open season also is the annual opportunity to join or change options in a separate program, the Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program. That program offers federal employees and retirees the choice of a smaller number of vision and/or dental coverage plans with no government subsidy. Rates are increasing 1.9 percent on average for dental plans and 6.3 percent on average for vision plans.


In both the FEHBP and FEDVIP programs, coverage continues year to year, subject to the new premium rates and benefits, unless the enrollee makes a change.


However, a new election is required each open season in the separate flexible spending account program, which allows active employees, although not retirees, to set aside money pre-tax to pay for certain health care and dependent care expenses. The 2017 maximums will remain $2,550 and $5,000, respectively, OPM said.


The announcement comes just ahead of the close of election periods for the two other government-sponsored insurance programs for federal employees and retirees.


In the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program, active employees can newly enroll or increase existing coverage during an open season ending Friday. Open seasons in that program are rare and such changes otherwise can be made only after experiencing certain life events or on passing a medical exam.


Also, an “enrollee decision period” ends Friday in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program. That offers enrollees facing premium increases in November averaging 83 percent to restructure their benefits – for example, reducing inflation protection – to soften or eliminate the increase. Most of those affected also can invoke a paid-up provision allowing them to stop paying premiums while remaining eligible for a benefit, although a much-reduced one.


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Commentary: Why the military’s controversial F-35 fighter jet is more relevant than ever

(DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 26 Sept 16) . Deborah Lee James and David L. Goldfein


Back in the summer of 2008, “Black Hawk Down” author Mark Bowden wrote a story in the Atlantic magazine detailing how Russian and Chinese military forces were making rapid strides to close the performance gap with American fighter planes and fighter pilots. In a piece bemoaning the Pentagon’s decision to cap production of the high-tech F-22 Raptor at the relatively small number of 183 jets, Bowden noted that some foreign-built fighters “can now match or best” another front-line American fighter, the F-15 Eagle, in aerial combat.


Eight years later, the gap between U.S. capabilities and those of Russia and China has narrowed even more significantly at a time when both nations routinely and provocatively test our air defenses around the world. That’s why a few weeks ago, with the announcement that the Air Force has declared the new F-35 fighter jet combat ready, we reached an important point for our nation’s national security.


In recent months, it has been all too common for Russian and Chinese aircraft and ships to make bold – and in some cases dangerous – provocations as they operate near our warplanes over Europe and in the Pacific. This stands in sharp contrast to the more than 50 years we have been intercepting each other in a professional and predictable manner. The Air Force’s declaration the F-35 has achieved what we call “Initial Operational Capability” could not come at a more crucial time. As the service leading the air campaign in the fight with ISIL, we are stretched thin as we grapple with shortages of pilots and mechanics and damaging sequestration budget cuts as we turn our eyes to these new threats.


The F-35 is what the Pentagon calls a fifth-generation fighter, a stealthy, data-driven jet that will help reverse an erosion of U.S. air dominance that began in the mid-1990s. As recent RAND Corp. study “China Scorecard” showed, the Chinese have made a concerted effort to develop large numbers of anti-aircraft missiles and combat aircraft specifically designed to blunt U.S. advantages in the region. The unclassified 2015 report noted that the Chinese have now achieved near parity with U.S. airpower if we had to go to war in the Taiwan Straits.


The aircraft’s development has not been without controversy, overcoming delays and notable cost increases as the Defense Department struggled to field the F-35 variants for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and our coalition partners, a daunting engineering and logistical challenge. It is the most expensive weapons program in history at $1 trillion and its critics have labeled it an unnecessary albatross. However well-intentioned, those critics are as wrong about the F-35 as they were about the CV-22 Osprey, the F-16 and the F-15, modern-day pillars of American air dominance that were also decried as costly and unnecessary by critics at similar stages in development. By 2019, we expect the cost of an F-35 to fall to $85 million, roughly equal to the price tag for new versions of the much less-capable planes it will be replacing.


While there are no silver bullets or panaceas in the complex world of networked modern warfare, the F-35 will undoubtedly help to tip the scales back toward U.S. air supremacy. How will it do that? Although some of the details are classified, the F-35 will be significantly less visible to tracking radars, much better at jamming those radars and able to sense and avoid threats in ways none of our current fourth-generation fighters can.


The Air Force will soon take possession of its 100th F-35 and we now have a combat squadron ready to deploy should regional military commanders decide its capabilities are needed in global hotspots. We follow the Marine Corps’ declaration of IOC last year and look forward to the Navy bringing its own F-35 fleet online in the next few years.


This highly capable jet will be fielded by many key allies in the near future and the synergy will strengthen ties that benefit us and our many overseas friends and allies. The F-35 will quickly become the quarterback of joint and coalition campaigns as we use big data and a networked approach to combined arms.


This airplane and the rest of our fifth-generation fleet is a means to hedge against potential Russian military resurgence and to assure our Pacific partners that they can continue to count on stability in the region. Make no mistake, advanced Russian and Chinese anti-aircraft missiles are menacing to many of our older fourth-generation fighters such as the F-15 and F-16. In Ukraine, advanced Russian-built fighters were blasted from the sky by these missiles, which have the ability to inflict lethal damage at increasingly longer ranges. The F-35, like its workhorse predecessors did a generation ago, is certain to shift that balance back in our favor.


Deborah Lee James is the secretary of the Air Force.


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Commentary: How Does Military Deal With Acts Of Civil Disobedience?

(SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 28 Sept 16) … Carl Prine


The Navy remained mum Wednesday on the fate of Janaye Meishawn Ervin, the petty officer who refused to stand for the national anthem in Pearl Harbor, and she has also clammed up.


That wasn’t her strategy on Sept. 21, when the reservist assigned to North Island’s Navy Operational Support Center posted to her Facebook page that she felt like a “hypocrite” singing about the “land of the free” when those rights were given only to “some Americans.”


Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Ervin said that she “couldn’t answer any questions” and hadn’t hired an attorney.


Public affairs officers on North Island didn’t return messages seeking comment and her command wouldn’t answer multiple phone calls from The San Diego Union-Tribune.


Ervin, who is black, has served in the Navy for eight years and lives in Riverside County’s Moreno Valley.


Historical researchers and activists told the Union-Tribune that her social media dissent is a 21st century spin on a long tradition of protest within the ranks.


It also arrives in the wake of ongoing stadium demonstrations by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who takes a knee when the Star-Spangled Banner is played.


And in early September, an online video surfaced of an unidentified sailor who refused to stand for morning colors when played in early September at Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla.


Navy Regulation 1205 requires sailors in uniform to face the flag and stand at attention when the anthem is played. Violating the order could trigger a sailor’s prosecution or separation from the service and the Navy can strip her security clearance.


The 37th Judge Advocate General of the Navy, retired Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter, said that he couldn’t recall a case similar to Ervin’s in his 32 years of service.


“I think it could spread,” said Guter, who retired from the service in 2002 and now helms the Houston College of Law in Texas. “I think that the ideas that this young sailor tried to express are widely felt by others, but the way that she chose to express them becomes the issue.”


Guter said that while service members don’t surrender all free speech rights when they enlist, some Constitutional protections are curtailed to protect good order and discipline in the ranks and ensure that personnel don’t bring dishonor to the military or the nation it defends.


U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, a Marine combat veteran, called for swift action.


“How do you have somebody who serves the country and fights for the flag not salute it? That’s preposterous,” he wrote in an email message to the Union-Tribune. “If somebody is in the military, and he or she chooses not to salute the flag, it’s grounds for removal. The Navy and the taxpayer should be spared the hassle of an investigation.”


Chris Lombardi, a Philadelphia-based author who penned “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore,” a book about civil disobedience within the military, said Ervin’s protest isn’t that unusual.


In the Mexican-American War from 1845-47, more than one out of every 10 soldiers deserted, many after they began to view the campaign as an unjust invasion that spread slavery across the continent, she said.


With his troops facing Jim Crow discrimination aboard a troop transport during World War I, a black colonel refused to embark his all-black regiment at Newport News, Va. In France, however, his doughboys fought with great valor, Lombardi said.


In unit formations during the Vietnam War, GIs drawn to the Black Power movement held up their fists in protest – an image repeated in May when an online photo of graduating black female West Point cadets raising the same sign went viral, Lombardi added.


She also pointed to Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier serving 35 years behind bars for leaking classified information to online activists to protest the Iraq war. Like Ervin, Manning was a junior enlisted intelligence analyst.


“That’s not a coincidence. I think that what you’ll find is that the sailor in San Diego is very intelligent, that she sees protest as a distinct and vital form of patriotism, and that her conscience led her to do what she did,” said Lombardi, whose book is slated for publication in 2017.


According to college records and her online résumés, Ervin holds a 2011 Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. She works a civilian job as a microbiology lab technician in San Bernardino County.


Riverside County Superior Court records reveal Ervin paid $564 in fines and traffic school costs in 2011 after being cited for running a red light, apparently her only previous brush with the law.


“She intentionally made remarks online before she made her protest, so her motive was established in advance. If the government wanted to play hardball, they have a pretty solid case to pursue over good order and discipline,” said Morris “Mo” Davis, a retired colonel who headed the U.S. Air Force Judiciary and served two years as the chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions.


“But in my 25 years in the Air Force, I can’t remember any case like it, except for service members who made derogatory remarks about the commander in chief during heated elections. And in those cases, we treated them administratively, not through court martial.”


Morris pointed to Jesse Thorsen, the Army reservist who wore his uniform during a fiery address to an Iowa rally for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2012, running afoul of military regulations barring partisan political speech.


A corporal, Thorsen wasn’t prosecuted or discharged from the military but he drew a reprimand for violating Army policies.


To former Navy legal ace Guter, Ervin’s moment of dissent could spark a wider discussion within the services between commanders and junior troops over a range of hot-button topics, including race.


He recalled his duty as a young Navy officer in 1970, when sailors protesting discrimination would set fire to ships and race riots erupted at sea. To defuse the anger, he kept his hatch open to enlisted personnel.


“There was this one sailor who treated our talks as an outlet. Talking it out prevented many of the problems that occurred elsewhere in the Navy,” Guter said. “That was a good thing.”