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6:11 pm, July 22, 2014

DoD News

Steve Bell, Senior Director of Economic Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center

The military is shrinking, but the Pentagon's personnel costs keep growing. In fact, it pays about $125,000 per active-duty service member, including both salary and benefits. Two Washington think tanks are raising alarms. They say the Pentagon needs to do something now so it doesn't have to cut other critical parts of its budget later on. Steve Bell is senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss why the personnel cost has become expensive.

Tuesday - 07/22/2014, 10:00am EDT
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Agencies need to put laser focus on business optimization

Now is not the time to play 'small ball.' As budgets shrink, agencies should be bold as they look to improve mission effectiveness and modernize operations, says Beth McGrath, former deputy chief management officer at the Pentagon.

Tuesday - 07/22/2014, 02:34am EDT

Army intelligence system DCGS-A pulled from key test

Army officials have withdrawn their intelligence network, DCGS-A, from a major testing exercise this fall because of software glitches, in the latest setback for the troubled system.

Monday - 07/21/2014, 08:18pm EDT

DoD must 'reset' to prepare for future budget struggles

To maintain readiness under current budget pressure, the Defense Department needs to have a long-term mindset and rethink their force structure, according to Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 06:12pm EDT

Robert Levinson, Senior Defense Analyst, Bloomberg Government

Top Pentagon officials have been railing against the consequences of sequestration ever since the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. And in their planning documents, they've also decided not to acknowledge the likelihood that the cuts are here to stay. For the last three years, officials have submitted budget requests that exceed the caps in current law, and they've indicated they plan to continue doing so in future years. Even if the Pentagon isn't building its military plans around sequestration, some outside analysts are taking a look at what various scenarios would look like under lower funding levels. One of them is Rob Levinson. He's a senior defense analyst for Bloomberg Government, and shared some financial predictions on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 04:07pm EDT
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Are agency insider threat programs getting off the ground?

It's hard to tell how many agencies are actually checking all the boxes on the Obama administration's plan for detecting disgruntled or rogue employees. Agencies were supposed to have taken initial steps to set up insider threat programs by June 30, according to an update posted on Performance.gov. But it's impossible to know the number of agencies who met the initial criteria so far. The progress update says that information is classified.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 12:24pm EDT

Michael Lumpkin, Defense Department

Congress has been urging the Pentagon to speed up finding and identifying remains of service members dating back to World War II. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has promised to fix deficiencies in the recovery process. As part of that effort, the Pentagon is consolidating two agencies that had roughly equal responsibilities. Michael Lumpkin is the assistant secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss the objective of the new command.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 11:00am EDT
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Russian sanction could be "catastrophic"

A day after the U.S. hit several Russian arms companies with sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, a top U.S. general is warning that congressional efforts to cut off dealings with Moscow's main weapons exporter could be "catastrophic" for U.S. forces. Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said 88 Russian helicopters the Pentagon is buying for Afghan security forces were critical for protecting U.S.troops that remain in the country after the end of this year.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 08:40am EDT

Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow, CSBA

The Defense Department's overseas contingency budget might survive the end of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wednesday, two of the Pentagon's top civilian and uniformed leaders asked the House Armed Services Committee to keep authorizing an OCO budget even after the U.S. finishes the draw-downs in the region. DoD's latest OCO request came late in the year, and it's less than Congress anticipated. The House set aside $79 billion for OCO funding when it passed DoD's baseline budget for fiscal 2015, but now the Pentagon is only asking for about $59 billion. Todd Harrison is senior fellow for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He explained how the budget deliberations on Capitol Hill might unfold on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Thursday - 07/17/2014, 04:47pm EDT
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Navy Yard employees to return to Building 197 in February

Commander says workers to begin returning in February to Navy Yard building where 12 slain

Thursday - 07/17/2014, 11:00am EDT

Work: DoD to experience 'trough' of readiness as it resets force

Robert Work, the new deputy defense secretary, told members of the House Armed Services Committee that the Defense Department will experience a two-year trough in readiness as it resets its force,

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 05:22pm EDT

Christopher Zember and Jay Harrison

The Defense Department has some significant blind spots when it comes to its ability to assess what's going on in the global technology landscape -- especially in the commercial and non-defense markets. DoD officials are keenly aware of the problem, and there's a nascent effort underway to help solve it. The new Technology Domain Awareness initiative is a project of DoD's Information Analysis Centers. Christopher Zember is the director of the Information Analysis Centers. And Jay Harrison is the director of the Center for Smart Defense at West Virginia University, which is helping DoD get the TDA effort of the ground. They explained the initial drive behind TDA on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 04:27pm EDT
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Senate derails Army bid to take Guard helicopters

Army bid to take Apache helicopters from Guard loses first Senate test after states resist

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 12:30pm EDT

The F-35 gets good and bad news

The F-35 is back in business, at least on a limited basis. The military is allowing some flying capabilities. It was grounded back in June when part of the engine of a U.S. Air Force F-35 A-model broke apart and ripped through the top of a jet as it prepared for take-off. As a result, the plane will not fly in the Farnborough International Airshow in England.

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 09:55am EDT

Larry Allen, President, Allen Federal Business Partners

As Congress tries to piece together the big National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, it's also looking back to the version of the bill it passed two years ago and asking what ever happened with some of those provisions. The 2013 version of the NDAA included several provisions dealing with small business that made advocates happy. But several of those legal changes are still awaiting agency regulations to actually implement them. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the matter earlier today. Larry Allen was among the witnesses. He's president of Allen Federal Business Partners. He shared his insights on the neglected proposals on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 05:13pm EDT
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Dr. Chris Lamb, National Defense University

Congress is mulling through a stream of feedback from outside groups on how to fix a labyrinth of defense acquisition policies. Chris Lamb is deputy director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. He recently testified before the House Armed Services Committee to share his ideas. On In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu, Lamb said a source of frustration is a disconnect between the top and bottom of DoD's chain of acquisition authority.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 04:44pm EDT
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Betsy Schmid and MJ Mitchell, Aerospace Industries Association

Capitol Hill turns to an array of outside groups for advice. The deadline for comments to the Armed Services committees was last Thursday. One set of recommendations comes from the Aerospace Industries Association. Betsy Schmid is VP of National Security and Acquisition Policy for the AIA. She's also former staff director of Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. MJ Mitchell is AIA's managing assistant VP for National Security and Acquisition Policy, and former chief financial officer of the F-35 program. The two explained AIA's approach to acquisition reform on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 04:30pm EDT
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Air Force to offer early retirement, buyouts to civilians

The Air Force will offer early retirement and buyouts to civilian personnel, in order to eliminate nearly 3,500 positions, officials announced Monday. The service estimates the cuts will save the Air Force $1.6 billion over the next five years.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 10:17am EDT

GAO: Pentagon needs to connect dots between workforce planning, budget needs

The Defense Department is getting smarter about workforce planning making sure it has the right people with the right skills in the right positions. But DoD's five-year strategic workforce plan, released last fall, is short on details in a few key areas, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 06:41pm EDT

Army Corps of Engineers looks to private sector to hasten waterway improvements

Congress has approved $8 billion for 26 inland waterway improvement projects. But, many of those projects won't be completed for another 50 to 60 years. The Army Corps of Engineers is looking to speed up the process through public private partnerships.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 06:20pm EDT
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