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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).

HASC Interested in PPE As Well As Camo

Friday, June 7th, 2013

It’s been a busy week at the House Armed Services Committee where they’ve been working on the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. In fact, it passed out of committee with a vote of 59-2 and is expected on thd House floor next week. And while, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the Enyart Amendment that directs all of DoD to adopt a common camouflage combat uniform, there are plenty of other Soldier Systems items on their plate.

From the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee we’ve seen language that:

1) Creates budget line items for protective equipment. This will move money out of Operations and Maintenance accounts and into procurement accounts providing more visibility of funding to industry in the Military Department’s budgets.
2) Provision requiring DOD to contract with a Federally Funded Research Center to study the procurement methods used to for protective equipment
3) Provision requiring the DOD to report on their body armor strategy to increase innovation, reduce weight, etc.
4) Provision requiring report on plan to provide female specific clothing and equipment.

Additionally, from the Chairman’s mark there is:
1) Language requiring IG to audit Berry amendment compliance
2) Directive report language to evaluate the risks of use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Contracting and Reverse Auctions for critical safety items and protective equipment.

The HASC characterized the bill in summary press release available here but this how they refer to their work on warfighter equipment:.

“The bill facilitates the development of ever more functional, lighter, and more protective body armor by requiring each service to create a separate procurement budget line for personal protective equipment- thus making body armor a more traditional weapon system acquisition program that can build on successive generations of innovation and investment, rather than the ad hoc procedure now in place. The bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comprehensive study and assessment on ways to improve personal protective equipment for female service members.”

We asked our friends at the Warfighter Protection & Readiness Coalition for their thoughts on HR 1960 and they offered us this statement:

“The WPRC applauds all of these legislative steps by the House Armed Services Committee that support warfighter readiness and ensure equipping the individual warfighter is a continued priority. This bill recognizes that warfighter equipment acquisition reform is needed to sustain industry’s innovation investments and production capabilities to meet future force requirements.”

The Full Text Of The Enyart Amendment

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

This is the full text of what I will from here on out refer to as the Enyart Amendment to the House version of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1960). The original idea and hence the name of the amendment comes from Rep William Enyart (D-IL) who happens to also be a Retired Major General and former State Adjutant General of the Illinois Army National Guard.

The “Requirement to Establish Policy on Joint Combat Uniforms” passed yesterday 32-30 in a session of the House Armed Services Committee. As I am told the waiver for SOCOM was added after opposition to a blanket requirement for all of DoD to adopt the same uniform. Additionally, you will note that the 2010 legislation regarding joint combat uniforms will be repealed by this act. As I have read multiple accounts of what it says or doesn’t say I felt it best to offer the actual language.

Enyart Amendment to the 2014 NDAA (HR 1960) by solsys

And as I published earlier today, this is still far from law.

First off, for those of you unfamiliar with the legislative process, this is just the first hurdle and it’s still quite a way from becoming law. It’s not as bad as I had feared but I’m concerned it still ham strings the individual services. Below is a simplified version of what still has to happen.

In order to become the law of the land, it must first pass a vote in the full House of Representatives. Then, the Senate will vote on their version of the NDAA which may or may not include similar language. Either way, the two versions of the NDAA will most assuredly contain differences which will have to be hammered out in Conference Committee made up of members of both chambers of Congress. Once those differences are worked out, a conference report detailing what is in the final legislation is voted on by both the Senate and House of Representatives. After approval, it goes to the President to be signed. Barring a veto it becomes law. At any point in this process expect the services to weigh in.

This is by no means a quick process. The NDAA will become law some time after the Army’s anticipated June 14th announcement of a new family of camouflage patterns.

I still feel that it isn’t the job of Congress to dictate to the Services which uniforms to wear but I understand the frustration felt by many (although those that yell the loudest are oftentimes unaffected by the issue). Ultimately, the individual Services have brought this oversight upon themselves by not complying with earlier legislation.

Congress Loves Camo – Maybe A Little Too Much?

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

As we understand it, Retired Major General (IL ARNG) and Rep William Enyart’s (D- IL) amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act was introduced to the full House Armed Services Committee and passed 32-30. If enacted it will…

require all military services to use a joint combat camouflage uniform, including color and pattern variants designed for specific combat environments.

First off, for those of you unfamiliar with the legislative process, this is just the first hurdle and it’s still quite a way from becoming law. It’s not as bad as I had feared but I’m concerned it still ham strings the individual services. Below is a simplified version of what has to happen.

In order to become the law of the land, it must first pass a vote in the full House of Representatives. Then, the Senate will vote on their version of the NDAA which may or may not include similar language. Either way, the two versions of the NDAA will most assuredly contain differences which will have to be hammered out in Conference Committee made up of members of both chambers of Congress. Once those differences are worked out, a conference report detailing what is in the final legislation is voted on by both the Senate and House of Representatives. After approval, it goes to the President to be signed. Barring a veto it becomes law. At any point in this process expect the services to weigh in.

This is by no means a quick process. The NDAA will become law some time after the Army’s June 14th announcement.

I find this language shortsighted. Service leaders need the latitude to accomplish their mission and at some point, that may require different uniforms. Despite assertions to the contrary, prior to the adoption of the MARPAT MCCUU in 2003, the services did not all wear the same uniform. For example, the Navy wore a work uniform that was not camouflaged and was unlike anything the other services used. But, It was the right uniform for their mission.

And lastly, while the services should work together, Congress telling them that they have to use the same individual equipment to accomplish their missions sets a bad precedent. In the past we have seen Congress force unwanted combat systems on the various services that place undue burdens on force structure and readiness. The services are the experts at defending the Nation and they should decide what tools are required to make that happen.

Congress Shouldn’t Make Rules Regarding Camouflage

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

I’ve been mulling this over all day. I don’t think it’s a good idea for Congress to tell the military services which camouflage they should be using or how they should equip their troops.

First off, they’ve got more important things to worry about. That’s a given.

Second, they have their lane in the road and the military services have theirs. Even retired two-star General turned Congressman William Enyart, (D-IL) doesn’t seem to have the bubble on camouflage. If a guy with that kind of pedigree doesn’t understand the issues at hand, how can we expect someone to who has never served? Representative Enyart has stated that he plans to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require all services to adopt the same camouflage pattern by 2018 and would ban the services from developing new camouflage patterns for their own use.

While I’m all for the separate branches of the US military adopting the same camouflage patterns for a variety of reasons, doing it because Congress said so is not even on the list. Aside from the operational and logistical advantages of a common uniform, this budget environment alone should be the precursor to a more common sense approach to field uniforms. Dress uniforms Remain a great way for the services to express their individuality. I’m advocating for the military to do the right thing for the right reasons.

As for a moratorium on camouflage development, I strongly disagree with this idea. Based on the poorly written legislation I see coming out of Washington, such a move will assuredly have negative second and third order effects. For example, what about USSOCOM? While it isn’t a service, it has service-like budget authority and regularly has unique requirements. It uses its budgetary and acquisition authority to fulfill those requirements under MFP-11. Would a poorly written law preclude SOCOM from the fulfillment of unique camouflage requirements that are not shared by conventional forces? Based on Congress’s batting average, my guess is “yes.”

Congress needs to put the services in the hot seat for sure and make them explain why they can’t play nice together but telling them how they should equip individual service members oversteps their mandate.

US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort Update – Meanwhile in Washington

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

You literally cannot make this stuff up. Apparently, Illinois Freshman Congressman Rep. William L. Enyart (Dem), came up with a great idea. He read an article last month in the The Washington Post about the US military’s multitude of camouflage patterns and intends to introduce legislation today that will require all of DoD to share a common camouflage pattern.

Apparently, living in a city where you regularly see military personnel from all services strutting around in their individually branded uniforms like so many third world militaries didn’t attract his attention. It took a newspaper article to garner his attention. Ironically, Rep Enyart retired just last year as a Major General from the Illinois Army National Guard where he served from 1982 – 2012. Prior to that, he served in the US Air Force from 1969 to 1973. Somehow, that didn’t wake him up either.

And it seems, he is oblivious to previous public law regarding camouflage and field uniforms. His proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would require all of the services to adopt a common pattern by 2018 and would forbid any of them from producing a pattern for its own sole use. Horse left the barn on that one I’m afraid.

On one hand, I’m glad to hear about this new found interest Rep Enyart has for camouflage but I’m deeply saddened that, as usual, a Congressmen is going to run blindly uninformed into introducing redundant legislation. Instead, hopefully he’ll do a little research, take a look at what comes out of the Army Camouflage Improvement Effort and perhaps hold DoD’s feet to the fire on previous legislation.

I appreciate where his heart is, but I wish he was better informed, especially as he is a retired GO.

Is the US Army’s Individual Carbine Program Doomed?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Earlier today, in a statement by Ms. Lynne M. Halbrooks, Principal Deputy Inspector General, Department of Defense Inspector General before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform entitled, “Opportunities to Reduce Waste and Improve Efficiency at the Department of Defense and Other Federal Agencies,” she made a rather interesting comment about the US Army’s proposed replacement for the M4/M16 family.

In another example, we are auditing the Army’s acquisition of the individual carbine program, which is an acquisition the Department may want to re-evaluate. We expect to report concerns that DoD may not have an established need for this weapon nor developed performance requirements for the $1.8 billion acquisition. Currently, the Army is modifying its existing M4 rifle and, at the same time, seeking to develop a new rifle. However, key performance parameters such as accuracy, reliability, and lethality have not been established. In addition, it is unclear what additional capability this new rifle will have over the modified M4. Further, the Army is seeking to acquire more rifles during a time when their total force structure will be reduced. We expect to issue our draft report within the next two months that will further elaborate on these concerns and provide recommendations for the Department to increase efficiencies.

Considering the Army’s dual path strategy that is alluded to in the statement which concurrently improves the performance of existing M4A1 carbines while simultaneously working to acquire an entirely new weapon, it is no wonder that DoD is reconsidering the replacement half of the equation. Industry analysts have long questioned the notion that a new weapon would offer a dramatic increase in performance without first undertaking a caliber and associated ammunition change. The IC program does not adequately do this. And then there’s Sequestration…

What’s Congress Doing To Help The Industry?

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Lets face it, the tactical bubble has burst. As the war winds down, things have slowed up quite a bit, but sequestration has put an end to not only training but the purchase of commercial soldier systems commodities.

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Tactical Tailor’s Casey Ingels is in Washington this week to meet with members of Congress. One remedy that has been mentioned is to introduce legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security to fall under the Berry Amendment. Here’s the problem with that approach. It’s been done. In 2009 the Kissel Amendment (Berry Amendment Extension Act) required DHS to adopt Berry Amendment buying policies which require all textile based commodities to be manufactured in the US from US raw goods. Berry dates back to WWII and was intended to protect both the industrial base as well as the military. Unfortunately, the Kissel Amendment turned out to be a failure. In 2009, DHS decided that it didn’t really apply to them becuase of this statement in the law, “applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.” It gave them an out that they needed in order to continue to purchase foreign goods. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? Border Patrol agents are issued foreign manufactured uniforms. It’s almost insulting.

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Recently, the federal government agreed on new terms for TSA agents that would raise their annual clothing allowance to over $500. Currently, the contract for these uniforms is with fashion house VF. Agents have an account and order their uniform items online through VF’s website. Unfortunately, those uniforms are no made here in the US.

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Two immediate things could happen that would breathe some life into the US tactical industry that has made possible the amazing modernization of the US service member’s clothing and individual equipment over the past 10 years.

First, the Army needs to stop messing around and announce their new camouflage pattern. Second, Congress needs enact tough legislation that places not only DHS but the entire federal government under Berry, requiring them to purchase their clothing and individual equipment from US sources. There are enough loopholes that foreign produced specialty items can be procured and if the demand is there, US based manufacturing will be established. Additionally, Congress needs to pressure the Obama administration to issue an executive order requiring DHS to comply with the spirit of the already existing Kissel amendment.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Ever since they took Schoolhouse Rock off of Saturday morning cartoons it seems that no one has an even basic understanding of the legislative process or how an idea becomes a law. It’s not an easy thing to pass a law and this short cartoon will give you an idea of the multiple roadblocks to passing a new law. Think of it as activism 101.

Welcome The New Congress

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Be sure to contact your Senators and Representative and introduce yourself. While you’re at it, be sure to let them know how you feel about any upcoming legislation regarding the defense budget and gun rights.

Find your Senators here: http://1.usa.gov/W7hwg9
Find your Representatives here: http://1.usa.gov/Uqqt6r