Study tackles DOD acquisition riddle

Use all funding options to get new technologies to soldiers faster. That is one of the key recommendations to emerge from an 18-month study of innovation at the Defense Department done by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Standing in the way of more rapid technology deployment is a lumbering DOD acquisition process that lawmakers and defense officials are trying to speed up. Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, has made the issue an integral part of his latest bid to reform the acquisition system.

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New Partnering Report: Primes grade their subs

We’ve released our latest Washington Technology Insider Report on the prime-sub contract relationship, and the picture it paints shows a mixed bag as far as how the primes view their subs.

This report follows a report we did two years ago. Both reports examine how primes view subcontractors, what attributes they value and where subcontractors can improve if they want to be a partner of choice.

The new report, Government IT Partnering 2015 Update: Primes Grade the Subs, is available free to WT Insider. Click here for information on how to become an Insider.

As we say in both reports, when the relationship works well, it works very well and is a true win-win-win for the prime, the sub and the customer.

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Patriot Warrior provides realism for Reserve EOD techs

FORT MCCOY, Wis — Few careers in the military demand as much precision, focus, situational awareness, and attention to detail as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. Hence, non-stop training is critical in maintaining the mental acuity required to shoulder their daunting and hazardous mission.

During the Patriot Warrior exercise here, Reserve technicians from the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, McChord Field, Wash., undertook an exclusive brand of instruction to keep them on their toes in preparation for challenges they could face while serving downrange.

Patriot Warrior is the Air Force Reserve Command portion of an immense joint field exercise involving nearly 6,000 Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, and multinational forces. Formerly known as Global Medic, the exercise still focuses primarily on aeromedical evacuation training and readiness, but has evolved to become more multi-faceted.

Four of McChord’s EOD technicians traveled to Wisconsin in order to capitalize on the specialized training offered by Fort McCoy’s state-of-the-art facilities.

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Senate amendments to NDAA would shake up DoD acquisition

The Senate packed a lot into its version of the 2016 Defense authorization bill before final passage Thursday afternoon. In a notable break from recent history, the full package passed well before the start of the new fiscal year. (Last year, readers will recall, the Senate didn’t get around to passing its own NDAA at all. It finally voted in December on a compromise package hammered out by the four leaders of the two Armed Services committees.)

Among the major provisions in this year’s bill is an overhaul of military retirement that’s mostly aligned with the version the House approved last month and with the recommendations of the Military Retirement and Compensation Modernization Commission. They would trim defined pensions in return for government contributions to members’ TSP accounts.

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NIST: Protecting data after it’s left your network

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published the final version of its guidance to ensure that sensitive federal information remains confidential even when stored in nonfederal information systems.

Working with the National Archives and Records Administration, NIST released draft guidance last November to clarify how contractors, state and local governments, universities and independent research organizations routinely process, store and transmit sensitive federal information.

The final guidance, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations (NIST Special Publication 800-171), gives federal agencies recommended requirements for protecting the confidentiality of CUI residing in nonfederal systems that process, store, transmit or provide security for CUI. The requirements are intended for use by federal agencies in contractual vehicles or other agreements established between agencies and nonfederal organizations.

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7 questions to answer when making bid, no bid decisions

Did you ever wonder why some companies have higher win rates than others?

You might think at first that these companies have smarter people who are better trained at proposal writing, better proposal development processes, and maybe newer tools to help them write winning proposals.

While all of these reasons may be valid, there are often more subtle reasons that have less to do with people, process and technology and more to do with executive decision-making and the health of their new business pipeline.  Let me explain why this is the case.

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NATO Members’ Defense Spending, in Two Charts

Five NATO members are expected to meet the alliance’s 2 percent target for defense spending in 2015, according to data released on Monday.

Poland joins Britain, Estonia, Greece, and the United States as the only members of the 28-country alliance to meet the threshold.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commended the change, but warned that total alliance spending will decline by roughly 1.5 percent this year.

Of the 28 countries, 18 are increasing their military spending in real terms, the data indicates. Still, alliance members will spend a collective total $892 billion on defense in 2015, down from $942 billion in 2014 and $968 billion in 2013.

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Navy Issues RFI for New Frigate Anti-Surface Missile

The Navy has issued a call to industry for options for an over-the-horizon anti-surface missile for the service’s future frigate design, according to a notice from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) posted on FedBizOpps.

The request for information (RFI) — issued on June 15 — asks industry for options for a complete systems that includes the munitions, the fire control system and the launch system for the future missile destined for the frigate with an upward weight limits of 22,500 pounds, according to the notice.

The new OTH missile is a key component for the frigate design, as outlined in broad strokes in December by the Navy.

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Derco Aerospace joins team to supply parts for F-16 fighter jets

Derco Aerospace Inc., a Milwaukee-based provider of aircraft parts, repair and logistics services, has partnered with three other companies that support F-16 fighter jet fleets to streamline parts and service delivery in a rare collaboration, Derco officials said.

The teaming agreement formalizes the joint supply and systems services of Derco, Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) and UTC Aerospace Systems, which has an electrical systems operation in Pleasant Prairie. The launch was announced at the Paris Air Show.

At the core of the teaming agreement is a single-stop web portal that will streamline the parts acquisition and management for F-16 operators. Currently, more than 20 countries maintain fleets of the F-16 jets produced by Lockheed Martin Aerospace.

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How the biggest contractors are preparing for growth

The 2015 Washington Technology Top 100 is populated with the largest government contractors in the market, and nearly all are running their businesses on two intertwined tracks.

One track has them positioning themselves for future growth by making acquisitions, pursuing new markets, restructuring operations and investing in new technologies.

At the same time, they also are weathering a market that continues to contract as total prime contracts measured by the Top 100 fell for the fourth straight year. The continued decline isn’t totally unexpected as many executives look toward 2016 for when they expect overall growth to return.

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