Investments in defense systems dwindling

Jun. 30, 2011

During his confirmation hearing last week, incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated an earlier assertion from Secretary Robert Gates: The defense budget must not be viewed as the panacea for reducing the nation’s debt.

This is easier said than done, in light of President Barack Obama’s call for $400 billion in cuts over 12 years. Even with 100 percent efficiency, it’s hard to see those savings will be achieved without cutting into the bedrock of the Pentagon’s capabilities.

This is a concern. Investment in procurement and research and development must remain…

A call to Obama: Keep politics out of contracting

May. 31, 2011

Jaws dropped in the contracting world when a draft presidential order came to light in May that would require companies bidding for federal contracts to disclose more information about their employee’s political contributions. While we've heard outcries from industry and others on the potential harm of such an order, a summary of how this would impact the procurement process — I believe — is warranted.

In testimony before a joint congressional hearing May 12, an administration official asserted that the intention of the draft executive order is to promote greater…

AIA: Strengthening Safeguards Against Counterfeit Parts

May. 09, 2011

Counterfeiting has been around for nearly as long as humans have traded things of value. An Aztec manuscript from the mid-16th century, for instance, cites warnings against making false cacao beans, which were used as currency. Counterfeiters made wax replicas and refilled hollow beans with sand.

Today counterfeiting affects manufacturers as well as treasuries, and is a particular concern in aerospace and defense.

Each year aerospace products safely transport billions of passengers and billions of dollars worth of cargo. They reliably perform national security missions, protecting citizens at home and troops…

STEM: Nurturing tomorrow’s pioneers

Apr. 28, 2011

Among Washington’s many visitors this spring were select groups of young people who mixed hard work with fun, vying in top technology competitions. Their keen interest in innovation is heartening, particularly as we face a key challenge: Ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers to fuel America’s global competitiveness.

Hundreds of middle and high school students came here to test their mettle before judges in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot, the Real World Design Challenge in engineering, and the Raytheon MATHCOUNTS competition, to name a few. On May 14, in The Plains, Va., 600…

DOD’s war on profit

Apr. 19, 2011

“Doing more without more.” That's the slogan for the Defense Department's efficiency initiative, which seeks to save $100 billion over five years. More than just a snappy catchphrase, this bears a promise to the taxpayer that reforms will save the government money — even if at the expense of industry.

The contractor community supports Secretary Gates’ initiative to reduce the number of requirements and procedures that are either duplicative or provide little added value. However, the initiative bears the potential to have a far wider impact — and may be a double-edged sword.