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HASC Releases Interim Report on Benghazi

Friday, February 14th, 2014

I’ve essentially remained quiet on the events that transpired on Banghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012. This is based on two issues. First, very soon after the event, I was privy to information that has just recently come to light. Second, I didn’t have all of the information regarding this tragedy and I still don’t. On one hand, I didn’t want to disclose who may or may not have been on the battlespace that night and on the other, there’s nothing that will make you look more like a fool than making declarative statements about situations you don’t have the facts on. However, I now have the House Armed Services Committee report entitled, “Majority Interim Report: Benghazi Investigation Update.” I’d say that’s a good point to start talking, armed with, you know, “facts”. Having said that, two caveats with this report. From the summary, “This report should be considered one component of continuing comprehensive Benghazi-related oversight underway in the U.S. House of Representatives. In keeping with the committee’s jurisdiction, however, this document addresses only the activities and actions of personnel in DOD.” By no means is the info the final word, but it does begin to allow us to peer deeper into what happened from DoD’s perspective.

It was a sad day for America and we lost some great folks. Many want to lay blame, but blame isn’t going to bring those men back. Generally, it isn’t one thing that goes wrong, but a whole chain of events with several issues coalescing into disaster. As far as I can tell, I’m the only guy who wants to take a serious look at what happened, for the sake of making sure it doesn’t happen again. It seems that everyone else talking about this has some agenda.

Since that day, the event has been politicized and I have watched countless armchair generals talk about things they don’t understand; Internet experts fueled by propaganda and spin doctors. I hate to lay it on most of you, but your sister-in-law’s nephew’s best friend who is a Spec-4 truck driver stationed at Fort Polk is not an authoritative source on US force projection. I could spend hours and hours talking about the subject but sufficed to say, when attempting to project force to the location of Benghazi, Libya, the United States is a victim of the tyranny of distance. You’ll see this issue come up over and over in this report. What’s more, while it does happen on a case-by-case basis, QRFs do not sit on strip alert just waiting for a crisis, despite what you might see in the movies. Even if they had, they would have been quite some distance from Benghazi (see ‘tyranny of distance’), as you will see in the report. You’ll read about three different groups dispatched to the region in the wake of the attacks and some of the challenges they faced to get there. Additionally, we don’t commit forces to ‘suicide’ missions and rarely, if ever attempt forced entry without a clear operational picture of the situation. As you will find in the report, this was not the case. DoD did not enjoy a clear operational picture. This hindered the military’s ability to respond.

Despite this, they did take action. Several, in fact.

The first step DOD took upon learning of the attack involved a U.S. drone that was overflying Darnah, a city in northeastern Libya. AFRICOM’s operations officer immediately redirected the unarmed Predator to Benghazi, which was about an hour’s flight time away. Separately, following the meeting in the White House, Secretary Panetta (in consultation with General Ham, General Dempsey, and others) verbally authorized three specific actions. First, two Marine FAST platoons in Rota, Spain were ordered to prepare to deploy; one bound for Benghazi and one destined for Tripoli. Second, a special operations unit assigned to the European Command, known as a Commander’s In-Extremis Force (CIF), which was training in Croatia was ordered to move to a U.S. Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy and await further instructions. Third, a special operations unit in the United States was also dispatched to the region. These orders were issued approximately two to four hours after the initial attack on the Special Mission Compound.

Of particular interest to me is that there is no indication of a cabal within DoD set to destroy America from within or a decision by senior leaders to ‘let Americans die’. Rather, we see the same problems we constantly face; the fog of war and interagency stovepipes. We may have gone a long way to mitigate those issues within the CENTCOM AOR but in the other theaters they remain.

The findings are the most significant issue at hand. While not exhaustive, and omitting certain operational factors such as the units of assignment for those personnel actually on the ground, it is clear about DoD issues at hand that day and during the immediate aftermath. It also indicates which issues are the responsibility of both State and the White House. In fact, it discusses State’s request to reduce the Tripoli-based DoD Security Support Team from 16 to 4. However, please remember that Tripoli is over 600 miles by land from Benghazi (see tyranny of distance). It remains unclear if a larger force would have changed the outcome of the attack.


Findings

I. In assessing military posture in anticipation of the September 11 anniversary, White House officials failed to comprehend or ignored the dramatically deteriorating security situation in Libya and the growing threat to U.S. interests in the region. Official public statements seem to have exaggerated the extent and rigor of the security assessment conducted at the time.

II. U.S. personnel in Benghazi were woefully vulnerable in September 2012 because
a.) the administration did not direct a change in military force posture,
b.) there was no intelligence of a specific “imminent” threat in Libya, and
c.) the Department of State, which has primary responsibility for diplomatic security, favored a reduction of Department of Defense security personnel in Libya before the attack.

III. Defense Department officials believed nearly from the outset of violence in Benghazi that it was a terrorist attack rather than a protest gone awry, and the President subsequently permitted the military to respond with minimal direction.

IV. The U.S. military’s response to the Benghazi attack was severely degraded because of the location and readiness posture of U.S. forces, and because of lack of clarity about how the terrorist action was unfolding. However, given the uncertainty about the prospective length and scope of the attack, military commanders did not take all possible steps to prepare for a more extended operation.

V. There was no “stand down” order issued to U.S. military personnel in Tripoli who sought to join the fight in Benghazi. However, because official reviews after the attack were not sufficiently comprehensive, there was confusion about the roles and responsibilities of these individuals.

VI. The Department of Defense is working to correct many weaknesses revealed by the Benghazi attack, but the global security situation is still deteriorating and military resources continue to decline.

I know, I know, this is Soldier Systems Daily and I rarely comment on operational issues but this has been something I have been following for some time. As the old adage goes, “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” It is my assertion that the events in Beghazi are just as much a function of logistics as they are bad, pre-crisis decision making. While Nathan Bedford Forrest (Lt Gen, CSA) was misquoted with “Git thar fustest with the most mostest,” the sentiment is apropos. That is certainly what transpired in this case. The bad guys got there first and were gone before we could project any serious combat power to the area.

Feel free to read the whole thing and then comment. All I ask is this, keep it on point. There are loads of websites out there where inappropriate and off topic comments are the norm. If you feel the need to express yourself that way, please go there.

HASC Report

(Click cover to view report)

Joint Service Camo and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 – Repost

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

I originally posted this story on 20 December, 2013. It gives you some real background on how Congress fumbled the quest for a camouflage pattern by stripping the deadline out of the legislation in conference committee. Since several articles discussing camouflage have made the rounds recently, I felt it was important to arm SSD readers with some facts.

I keep getting emails from readers with links to stories from other websites with these silly headlines about new legislation blocking the Army’s ability to field new camo. I thought that the best way to put this to bed is to share the actual language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 with you so I asked the folks at Rising Tide if they could provide a copy and they were more than happy to oblige. Read the section in question for yourself and then we’ll discuss.

CJCS visit to Afghanistan

SEC. 352. REVISED POLICY ON GROUND COMBAT AND CAMOUFLAGE UTILITY UNIFORMS.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICY.—It is the policy of the United States that the Secretary of Defense shall eliminate the development and fielding of Armed Force specific combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms in order to adopt and field a common combat and camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for specific combat environments to be used by all members of the Armed Forces.

(b) PROHIBITION.—Except as provided in subsection

(c), after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of a military department may not adopt any new camouflage pattern design or uniform fabric for any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for use by an Armed Force, unless—
(1) the new design or fabric is a combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms that will be adopted by all Armed Forces;
(2) the Secretary adopts a uniform already in use by another Armed Force; or
(3) the Secretary of Defense grants an exception based on unique circumstances or operational requirements.

(c) EXCEPTIONS.—Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed as—

(1) prohibiting the development of combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms for use by personnel assigned to or operating in support of the unified combatant command for special operations forces described in section 167 of title 10, United States Code;
(2) prohibiting engineering modifications to existing uniforms that improve the performance of combat and camouflage utility uniforms, including power harnessing or generating textiles, fire resistant fabrics, and anti-vector, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial treatments;
(3) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from fielding ancillary uniform items, including headwear, footwear, body armor, and any other such items as determined by the Secretary;
(4) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from issuing vehicle crew uniforms;
(5) prohibiting cosmetic service-specific uniform modifications to include insignia, pocket orientation, closure devices, inserts, and undergarments; or
(6) prohibiting the continued fielding or use of pre-existing service-specific or operation-specific combat uniforms as long as the uniforms continue to meet operational requirements.

(d) REGISTRATION REQUIRED.—The Secretary of a military department shall formally register with the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board all uniforms in use by an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of the Secretary and all such uniforms planned for use by such an Armed Force.

(e) LIMITATION ON RESTRICTION.—The Secretary of a military department may not prevent the Secretary of another military department from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms.

(f) GUIDANCE REQUIRED.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall issue guidance to implement this section.

(2) CONTENT.—At a minimum, the guidance required by paragraph (1) shall require the Secretary of each of the military departments—
(A) in cooperation with the commanders of the combatant commands, including the unified combatant command for special operations forces, to establish, by not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, joint criteria for combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms, which shall be included in all new requirements documents for such uniforms;

(B) to continually work together to assess and develop new technologies that could be incorporated into future combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms to improve war fighter survivability;

(C) to ensure that new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms meet the geographic and operational requirements of the commanders of the combatant commands; and

(D) to ensure that all new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms achieve interoperability with all components of individual war fighter systems, including body armor, organizational clothing and individual equipment, and other individual protective systems.

(g) REPEAL OF POLICY.—Section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84, 123 Stat. 2262; 10 U.S.C. 771 note) is repealed.

Now my comments-

The hope has been that Congress would step in to curb the US military’s number of camouflage patterns from what averages out to about two per service, to a more manageable total of three or less for everybody. I hope you aren’t as underwhelmed as I am with the legislation. Any teeth that the original Enyart Amendment had to bring about any real change, seem to have been yanked from this document.

Having said that, there are a couple of interesting bits. Such as…This section, which halts the Marine Corps’ restriction on sharing MARPAT:

(e) LIMITATION ON RESTRICTION.—The Secretary of a military department may not prevent the Secretary of another military department from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms.

But this section is the free pass that the USMC has been looking for to continue to use MARPAT as long as they want:

Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed as—
(6) prohibiting the continued fielding or use of pre-existing service-specific or operation-specific combat uniforms as long as the uniforms continue to meet operational requirements.

My take is that this proposed law really does nothing to control the problem. It’s just another watered down version of the language from 2010 that it replaces. There are no deadlines to move to a common uniform or pattern as specified in Rep William Enyart’s (D-IL) (MG, USA NG, Ret) original amendment to the House version of the NDAA; no consequences to continuing on the current path. It’s status quo. Services can continue to use the patterns they already have and can utilize different pocket configurations and even different body armor. It’s the development of new patterns that is at issue and even this can be accomplished so long as it is done so under the banner of jointness. In fact, the language even encourages development of new patterns and technologies.

The real question is how this will affect the Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort and the USMC’s developmental Transitional MARPAT (yes, you read that right). Not that it really matters. The Army has zero interest in announcing the results of the so-called Phase IV Camo Tests and instead is in the midst of a soft-transition to the Operational Camouflage Pattern (aka Crye Precision’s MultiCam), a currently issued pattern. And so far, no one knows what will come of work being accomplished by NRL on behalf of the Marine Corps.

If you want to know about all of the other defense programs, below is the entire 1105 page NDAA bill. It was recently passed by the House of Representatives and should clear the Senate today. The President is expected to sign it into law before Christmas.

2014 NDAA

Click on image to download .pdf

There’s also some guidance on protective equipment early on in the bill. It’s worth looking at.

Joint Service Camo and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Friday, December 20th, 2013

I keep getting emails from readers with links to stories from other websites with these silly headlines about new legislation blocking the Army’s ability to field new camo. I thought that the best way to put this to bed is to share the actual language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 with you so I asked the folks at Rising Tide if they could provide a copy and they were more than happy to oblige. Read the section in question for yourself and then we’ll discuss.

CJCS visit to Afghanistan

SEC. 352. REVISED POLICY ON GROUND COMBAT AND CAMOUFLAGE UTILITY UNIFORMS.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICY.—It is the policy of the United States that the Secretary of Defense shall eliminate the development and fielding of Armed Force specific combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms in order to adopt and field a common combat and camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for specific combat environments to be used by all members of the Armed Forces.

(b) PROHIBITION.—Except as provided in subsection

(c), after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of a military department may not adopt any new camouflage pattern design or uniform fabric for any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for use by an Armed Force, unless—
(1) the new design or fabric is a combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms that will be adopted by all Armed Forces;
(2) the Secretary adopts a uniform already in use by another Armed Force; or
(3) the Secretary of Defense grants an exception based on unique circumstances or operational requirements.

(c) EXCEPTIONS.—Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed as—

(1) prohibiting the development of combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms for use by personnel assigned to or operating in support of the unified combatant command for special operations forces described in section 167 of title 10, United States Code;
(2) prohibiting engineering modifications to existing uniforms that improve the performance of combat and camouflage utility uniforms, including power harnessing or generating textiles, fire resistant fabrics, and anti-vector, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial treatments;
(3) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from fielding ancillary uniform items, including headwear, footwear, body armor, and any other such items as determined by the Secretary;
(4) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from issuing vehicle crew uniforms;
(5) prohibiting cosmetic service-specific uniform modifications to include insignia, pocket orientation, closure devices, inserts, and undergarments; or
(6) prohibiting the continued fielding or use of pre-existing service-specific or operation-specific combat uniforms as long as the uniforms continue to meet operational requirements.

(d) REGISTRATION REQUIRED.—The Secretary of a military department shall formally register with the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board all uniforms in use by an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of the Secretary and all such uniforms planned for use by such an Armed Force.

(e) LIMITATION ON RESTRICTION.—The Secretary of a military department may not prevent the Secretary of another military department from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms.

(f) GUIDANCE REQUIRED.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall issue guidance to implement this section.

(2) CONTENT.—At a minimum, the guidance required by paragraph (1) shall require the Secretary of each of the military departments—
(A) in cooperation with the commanders of the combatant commands, including the unified combatant command for special operations forces, to establish, by not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, joint criteria for combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms, which shall be included in all new requirements documents for such uniforms;

(B) to continually work together to assess and develop new technologies that could be incorporated into future combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms to improve war fighter survivability;

(C) to ensure that new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms meet the geographic and operational requirements of the commanders of the combatant commands; and

(D) to ensure that all new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms achieve interoperability with all components of individual war fighter systems, including body armor, organizational clothing and individual equipment, and other individual protective systems.

(g) REPEAL OF POLICY.—Section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84, 123 Stat. 2262; 10 U.S.C. 771 note) is repealed.

Now my comments-

The hope has been that Congress would step in to curb the US military’s number of camouflage patterns from what averages out to about two per service, to a more manageable total of three or less for everybody. I hope you aren’t as underwhelmed as I am with the legislation. Any teeth that the original Enyart Amendment had to bring about any real change, seem to have been yanked from this document.

Having said that, there are a couple of interesting bits. Such as…This section, which halts the Marine Corps’ restriction on sharing MARPAT:

(e) LIMITATION ON RESTRICTION.—The Secretary of a military department may not prevent the Secretary of another military department from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms.

But this section is the free pass that the USMC has been looking for to continue to use MARPAT as long as they want:

Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed as—
(6) prohibiting the continued fielding or use of pre-existing service-specific or operation-specific combat uniforms as long as the uniforms continue to meet operational requirements.

My take is that this proposed law really does nothing to control the problem. It’s just another watered down version of the language from 2010 that it replaces. There are no deadlines to move to a common uniform or pattern as specified in Rep William Enyart’s (D-IL) (MG, USA NG, Ret) original amendment to the House version of the NDAA; no consequences to continuing on the current path. It’s status quo. Services can continue to use the patterns they already have and can utilize different pocket configurations and even different body armor. It’s the development of new patterns that is at issue and even this can be accomplished so long as it is done so under the banner of jointness. In fact, the language even encourages development of new patterns and technologies.

The real question is how this will affect the Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort and the USMC’s developmental Transitional MARPAT (yes, you read that right). Not that it really matters. The Army has zero interest in announcing the results of the so-called Phase IV Camo Tests and instead is in the midst of a soft-transition to the Operational Camouflage Pattern (aka Crye Precision’s MultiCam), a currently issued pattern. And so far, no one knows what will come of work being accomplished by NRL on behalf of the Marine Corps.

If you want to know about all of the other defense programs, below is the entire 1105 page NDAA bill. It was recently passed by the House of Representatives and should clear the Senate today. The President is expected to sign it into law before Christmas.

2014 NDAA

Click on image to download .pdf

There’s also some guidance on protective equipment early on in the bill. It’s worth looking at.

The Army Transitions to OCP – A Note from Congress

Friday, November 1st, 2013

An SSD reader asked his Congressman about what the Army is up to regarding camouflage. In fact, the Army has been fielding plenty of these Congressional inquiries. For some reason they’re not getting the hint that they need to make a formal announcement. Here’s a screen capture of the answer provided by the good Representative’s office based on their communications with the Army.

20131101-155638.jpg

Yeah, there’s some historical revisionism afoot here. UCP was never tested in 2002-2004. It was fielded prior to testing. But, who cares right? Does it matter if they end up fielding what everyone wanted in the first place? Yeah, it does. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they are doing something. What I’m not happy about is that this whole course of action was on the table in the summer of 2010. Think of where we’d be now if they had just pulled the trigger on MultiCam for all back then.

Former Missouri Rep Ike Skelton Dies at 81

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Former Democrat Missouri Representative Isaac Newton “Ike” Skelton, IV passed away yesterday in Virginia. Skelton won the first of 17 congressional terms in 1976 and was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee when he left office in 2010. His District included Whiteman AFB and Ft Leonard Wood. He is recognized as a key supporter of the military. He was also an Eagle Scout. He will be missed.

20131029-081044.jpg

To learn more, read his obituary www.nytimes.com.

Winter Is Coming

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

All around the Pentagon they are saying, “Winter is coming” borrowing a catch phrase from the HBO series “Game of Thrones”. Just as in the series, it is meant as a warning that bad days are coming.

20130813-145140.jpg

If you thought FY2013 was fun thanks to Sequestration, then you will love FY2014. DoD is facing a $52 Billion (yes, with a B) shortfall. It didn’t hurt enough this year substantially because the folks at DoD made it work. Consequently, Congress isn’t going to fix it. But next year? It’s going to be extra special. Prepare accordingly. When the military asks you to develop a capability using IRAD ask to see the acquisition strategy. Weigh your risk. Remember, Winter isn’t even here yet and already some companies have the flu.

US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort Update – The Announcement

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

I’ve heard it from enough sources now that I’m prepared to share a new target date for the official announcement of selection for the US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort. While already a year behind schedule, a lot as happened. They began by pitting 20 candidates against one another before whittling the field down to four.

During the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting, October 21-23, we anticipate the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh, to announce the winner from among the four finalist patterns. They are from top left, clockwise: Crye Precision, Kryptek, ADS Inc partnered with Guy Cramer, and Brookwood.

20130723-184958.jpg

In addition to the new pattern we also expect an announcement for a new boot color although we understand that the actual color has not yet been determined. Don’t be surprised if we see a new accessory color as well for T-shirts, socks, gloves, etc.

First off, it’s nice to hear confirmation after confirmation (although not officially) that the announcement is coming. But, we’ve been here before and still no announcement. I’m still a bit skeptical, so I’ll believe it when I see it. Second, both Houses of Congress have passed versions of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that require DoD to move toward a common combat uniform and associated camouflage. Those bills will take effect 1 October. While not a mathematician, I can look at a calendar and when I do, I see an issue.

To say that I am less than impressed would be an understatement. In military terms, this strategy is the equivalent of the Army knowing that an attack was coming on 1 October but planning to respond on the 21st of October. Of course, the Army could head all of this pesky legislation off at the pass and come out on top in the DoD Camo Wars. They did it already with the Individual Carbine program when members of Congress passed an amendment to the NDAA requiring them to complete testing. They didn’t wait around for that good idea to become law. but they seem to be waiting for this. if they would only act, they would not only be the dominate land force but also look like it and simultaneously, dominate the camouflage debate and do it with empirical evidence.

Even so, the impending legislation remains contentious with services openly challenging the notion of returning to a common combat uniform. Last week, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, GEN Amos let his Marines know that he wasn’t going to give up the service’s distinctive MARPAT camouflage.

“We are on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich,” Amos was quoted in a DoD press release, “I love the hell out of this uniform and I don’t have any intention of changing it.”

It will be very interesting to watch this all play out.

Senate Language Regarding Military Camouflage

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

It appears that the House of Representatives aren’t the only ones who want to hold the US military’s feet to the fire regarding their myriad camouflage patterns. The Senate version contains the following language which, while not exactly like the House’s Enyart Amendment, it is definitely in the same vein. Naturally, if it makes it through the remainder of the legislative process, any differences such as the Senate’s stipulation that an individual service (ie the Marines) can’t restrict their pattern’s use by the other services. At any rate, this ought to wake the Army up and get them to announce their camouflage decision before one is foistered upon them.

Subtitle F—Other Matters

Revised policy on ground combat and camouflage utility uniforms (sec. 351)

Section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111–84) required the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the performance, interoperability, costs, logistics, and patents involved in the services’ combat camouflage and utility uniforms. In April 2010, the GAO reported that since 2002, the services continued to develop unique combat and utility uniforms. The committee notes that prior to 2002, the services wore the same pattern and family of combat camouflage and utility uniforms. The GAO found no performance standards for specific combat environments, no criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of camouflage patterns, and no requirements for the services to test interoperability between their uniforms and other tactical gear, despite the DOD establishing a Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board in 2008.

The committee remains concerned that until this year, the Department of the Navy chose to equip its sailors and marines with different types of combat uniforms, providing significantly different levels of protection in combat environments. The GAO recently identified that the DOD’s fragmented approach to developing and acquiring combat uniforms could be more efficient, better protect service members, and result in up to $82.0 million in development and acquisition cost savings through increased collaboration among the military services.

The committee continues to strongly urge the secretaries of the military departments to explore additional methods for sharing uniform technology across the services as they develop their combat and utility uniforms. The committee continues to believe that combat and utility uniforms should incorporate the most advanced levels of protection and should be available to all men and women in uniform, regardless of the military service in which they serve. Accordingly, the committee recommends a provision that would direct the Secretary of Defense to reduce the separate development and fielding of service-specific combat and camouflage utility uniforms in order to collectively adopt and field the same combat and camouflage utility uniforms for use by all members of the armed forces. The committee notes that the recommended provision would also restrict any military service from preventing another military service from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform. Additionally, after the date of enactment of this Act, each military service would be prohibited from adopting new designs for combat and camouflage utility uniforms, including uniforms reflecting changes to the fabric and camouflage patterns used in current combat and camouflage utility uniforms, unless the services adopt a uniform currently in use, all services adopt the same combat or camouflage utility uniform, or the Secretary of Defense determines that unique circumstances or requirements justify an exception to the policy.

Soldier Systems Congressional Watch – Updated

Friday, June 14th, 2013

HR1960, the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act is on the House floor today. The bill would provide $638 billion for DOD; $552.1 billion in baseline defense spending plus $85.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. It also includes $5.1 billion to restore readiness accounts for Afghanistan, and includes the restoration of Army and Air Force flying hours programs and facilities sustainment.

This is probably the most significant issue. The bill authorizes $52 billion over sequestration caps. We will need to see what the Senate comes up with.

Update – The bill passed 315 to 108. Read the roll call vote here.

Additionally, the Senate Armed Services Committee marks up today, as does the House Appropriations Committee.

House NDAA Bill Requires Army To Complete Individual Carbine Testing

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

On March 19th we broke the story that Ms. Lynne M. Halbrooks, Principal Deputy Inspector General, Department of Defense Inspector General testified before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform stating that the Army’s Individual Carbine program was under audit due to “concerns that DoD may not have an established need for this weapon nor developed performance requirements for the $1.8 billion acquisition.” What a mouthful.

We hear that as the Army charges ahead with the PIP portion of their “dual path strategy” to modernize Army rifles, they are looking to reprogram the funds set aside to test the Individual Carbine candidates currently under consideration,s effectively ending the program.

But, just as members of the House want the military to adopt a single camouflage uniform, others are working to force the Army to continue to spend funds on a program that its not sure it needs.

Below is the amendment that was added to the 2014 NDAA (HR 1960) by the House Armed Services Committee. The bill passed out of committee on Thursday and should hit the House floor this week.

OFFERED BY Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ OF CALIFORNIA
At the appropriate place in title II, insert the following:
1 SEC. 2_. REQUIREMENT TO COMPLETE INDIVIDUAL CAR-
2 BINE TESTING.
3 The Secretary of the Army may not cancel the indi-
4 ·vidual carbine program unless the Secretary-
5 (1) completes the Phase III down-select and
6 user-evaluation phase of the individual carbine com-
7 petitors;
8 (2) conducts the required comprehensive busi-
9 ness case analysis of such program; and
10 (3) submits to the congressional defense com-
11 mittees-
12 (A} the results of the down-select and user
13 evaluation described in paragraph (1); and
14 (B) the business case analysis described in
15 paragraph (2).