Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

Posts in "Procurement"

July 30, 2014

GAO: Littoral Combat Ship Too Fat

162936806 445x317 GAO: Littoral Combat Ship Too Fat

The littoral combat ship U.S.S. Freedom, LCS 1, departs San Diego Bay for deployment to the Asia-Pacific region last year in San Diego, Calif. (Christine Walker-Singh/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Moving from the construction phase into testing, it turns out the littoral combat ship has gotten too heavy, and that has slowed it down, according to the Government Accountability Office. Full story

July 23, 2014

DARPA Humanoid Robot Plan Going Too Well, Apparently

6jBFt 445x295 DARPA Humanoid Robot Plan Going Too Well, Apparently

Team ViGIR’s humanoid robot entry for DARPA. (via @darpa on Twitter, July 23)

Apparently the DARPA competition to build a humanoid robot is going so swimmingly that the Defense Department’s advanced research wing is pushing back the schedule — not the usual reason for a missed deadline at the Pentagon. Full story

July 18, 2014

Russian RD-180 Not the Only Rocket Worry on Capitol Hill

Concerns over the Defense Department’s reliance on the Russian RD-180 rocket engine are just one aspect of the Senate’s worries about foreign-supplied rocket propulsion methods and instances where the Pentagon is counting on one vendor. In a report on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill the Appropriations Committee approved Thursday, the panel expresses dismay about the overall state of the United States’ ability to produce rocket motors and the department’s tendency to award sole-source contracts. Full story

July 11, 2014

Official Says Pentagon Wants Satellite Launch Competition; Lawmakers Unsure

The Pentagon’s acquisition boss took some guff at a House hearing over a massive satellite launch contract that has prompted a lawsuit by a company that thinks it got shoved aside unfairly. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:58 a.m.
Air Force, Procurement

July 10, 2014

F-35 Fire Looks Like a One-Off So Far, Pentagon Official Says

There’s an ongoing evaluation to get to the bottom of a June F-35 engine fire, but a top Pentagon official said Thursday that “There’s a growing body of evidence this may have been an individual situation, not a systemic one.” Full story

Some ‘Told You So,’ Some Uncertainty on the F-35

451312505 2 445x316 Some Told You So, Some Uncertainty on the F 35

This picture taken Oct. 28, 2013, shows a model of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II during a press day of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in Goyang. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

A mysterious F-35 engine fire, the grounding of the fleet, a visit from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel scheduled for Thursday and the resulting possible pullback from an international debut at a British air show have put the Joint Strike Fighter — the most expensive weapon system ever — in the, well, hot seat. Full story

July 9, 2014

Pentagon Claims Low Flubbed Payment Rate, Could Be Totally Wrong

The good news for the Department of Defense: By its own estimation, less than 1 percent of its payments are improper payments (to the wrong party, or of the wrong amount), which is better than the more than 3 percent rate government-wide, with improper payments by the feds adding up to $106 billion in the past fiscal year.

The bad news for the department: The Government Accountability Office “has grave reservations even about DOD’s ability to track and accurately report its improper payments,” John L. Mica, R-Fla., said at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Full story

July 8, 2014

Afghanistan Embassy Construction Price Grows by Nearly 25 Percent, Audit Discovers

171517294 2 445x301 Afghanistan Embassy Construction Price Grows by Nearly 25 Percent, Audit Discovers

Afghan policemen keep watch at a check post near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on June, 26. 2013. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

Since the State Department awarded contracts to expand the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, the price has grown 24 percent and is running two years behind schedule, according to the Government Accountability Office. Full story

How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

495261817 2 445x296 How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

LEIPZIG, Germany: The future of the defense industry? The new Honda Civic Type R Concept at the 2014 AMI Auto Show on May 30. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

William J. Lynn III, the former No. 2 man at the Defense Department, compares the state of the defense industry to the car business from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. “It was basically unpatriotic to drive a European or an Asian car,” he said Tuesday. “Look what’s happened now. Of the top 10 most American-made cars now, five have foreign name plates.” Full story

More Spare Parts Overbilling, Pentagon Watchdog Finds

Each instance is just nickels and dimes in a Defense Department budget of around half a trillion dollars, but it happens plenty: overcharges for spare parts. The latest example is potentially worth $9 million, per the Pentagon’s inspector general, and could be worth another $2.6 million over the next year. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:15 a.m.
Procurement

July 7, 2014

Defense Globalization, Acquisition, Nominations in the Week Ahead

Congress is back in town after the July Fourth holiday, and not entirely coincidentally there’s a great deal of Afghanistan on the schedule this week, from nominations to hearings to events off the Hill. Full story

July 1, 2014

Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

451550778 445x295 Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

U.S. Army soldiers stand next to a Black Hawk helicopter during a military exercise near the town of Gjakova, Kosovo on July 1. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

In about a month, the number of designs moving forward for the technology demonstration program that’s associated with a long-term plan for replacing the current fleet of military helicopters will be pared down, a top program official said Tuesday. And he’s not worried about the rug being pulled out from underneath the program because of budget pressures. Full story

June 26, 2014

POGO Knocks Wasteful Defense Spending-Bill Spending — F-35, Carrier Refueling

467988801 445x295 POGO Knocks Wasteful Defense Spending Bill Spending    F 35, Carrier Refueling

A staff member prepares the replica of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet at the exhibition center ahead of the Singapore’s Airshow on Feb. 9. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Project on Government Oversight has issued something of report card on the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. The group likes some things the House did, but not others. Full story

June 25, 2014

On A-10 ‘Warthog,’ Rank and File Defy the End

145697354 445x325 On A 10 Warthog, Rank and File Defy the End

A-10 ‘Warthogs’ make a flyover before the start of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix auto race in 2012. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Building on a post here recently about the Air Force’s foiled attempts to cut expenses thanks to congressional opposition, Megan Scully detailed for Roll Call how and why the House recently voted to block retirement of the A-10 “Warthog” aircraft. Full story

June 24, 2014

DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

reed 096 021114 445x286 DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

Flynn, left, speaks with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., before the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has a three-fold problem: “We are in persistent conflict,” with ever-changing kinds of conflicts and ever-changing needs for what the DIA provides all over the world, he said Tuesday. Also: “Our defense programs and frankly our intelligence community programs operate at such a turtle’s pace that we have a challenge staying ahead of the adjustments that need to be made.” Also: Money is drying up as the federal government tries to rein in its budget.

What’s a spy/defense agency to do? Full story

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