US Army 2010 onwards......
Green Berets Add Battalion at Ft. Carson
August 12, 2010
The Gazette, Colorado Springs,Colo.
Fort Carson's secretive Green Beret community is getting larger.
Over recent months, the Army's 10th Special Forces Group has quietly begun assembling a new operational battalion -- which, when complete, will consist of about 300 mission-ready Green Berets.
The move is part of the first major Special Forces expansion in 20 years, which began in 2008 to address the growing need for Green Berets and their small-team tactics against insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. All five Green Beret groups were tapped to receive a fourth battalion, the Army Special Operations Command said when it announced the expansion.
At Fort Carson, where Army infantry units deploy and return with fanfare, the Green Berets have shrouded their movements in secrecy and avoided media glare.
That's an occupational necessity for a unit that deploys in small teams for classified operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the post has been generally low-key about its fresh arrivals, the new battalion is hardly a state secret.
"Other groups have stood up a fourth battalion, this is our turn and there will be others," said 10th Special Forces Group spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Osterholzer.
The 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky., got the first additions in August 2008.
The 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., stood up a new battalion last summer.
The 10th Group plans to publicly announce the new battalion at an Aug. 19 news conference at Fort Carson.
The new Soldiers will bring Fort Carson's contingent of Green Berets to three operational battalions. A fourth operational battalion under 10th Special Forces Group is based in Stuttgart, Germany.
Osterholzer said the new battalion is about 70 percent complete.
"We've taken a blend of experienced (Special Forces) Soldiers from other organizations and balanced them in with new Soldiers straight out of the qualification course," he said.
Osterholzer said training began "a good number of months ago," with cold-weather mountain warfare drills and urban combat exercises.
To accommodate the new arrivals, Fort Carson will in all likelihood need to add a barracks in the 10th Group area, Col. Robert McLaughlin, the garrison commander, said in a recent interview.
Until then, the unit will have to improvise by filling rooms left vacant by Soldiers who are deployed, he said.
"We're able to shuffle so that our population can be billeted," McLaughlin said.
From an economic standpoint, the new arrivals are good news for the rest of the Pikes Peak Region, said Brian Binn, president of military affairs for The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.
"If you add any number of Soldiers, then you add to the economic base," he said.
© Copyright 2010 The Gazette, Colorado Springs,Colo..
Army Crafts Tailorable Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Acquisition Strategy
(Source: US Army; issued Aug 13, 2010)
WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Army has released its Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Acquisition Strategy report to Congress, calling for a tailorable approach to vehicle procurement to include new buys and repair, sustainment and recapitalization of the existing fleet service officials said.
The acquisition strategy lays out a roadmap for Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP vehicles from 2010 through 2025.
"The acquisition objective is to have the ability to adapt to change and mitigate the risk of uncertainty caused by an evolving threat," said Tim Goddette, director, Combat Sustainment Systems.
"The challenge is finding the balance between an unconstrained requirements process and a constrained resource process that promotes stability and efficiencies."
Overall, the report takes up plans for the 260,000 TWVs in the Army inventory, representing an initial procurement investment of $50 billion.
The TWV Acquisition Strategy is nested in the philosophy that combat and threat circumstances are subject to change, thus resulting in a commensurate need to shift procurement strategy in response to prevailing combat and budgetary circumstances.
"Finding the right balance and mix of TWVs requires the Army to continually assess and adjust investments," the report states. "Managing this fleet effectively goes beyond simply buying new vehicles as the existing vehicles age beyond their useful life. We will use a combination of new procurement, repair (sustainment ), recapitalization (recap), and divesture to achieve our strategic objective by addressing the readiness and mission issues of the fleet."
For instance, the report calls for sustainment and recapitalization of 50,000 up-armored Humvees and the progressive divestiture of up to 50,000aging Humvees -- to be incrementally replaced by the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV.
For the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles or FMTVs -- the Army will continue to buy new ones, 44,000 will be sustained through reset, and up to 28,000 aging trucks will be retired or divested, according to the report. In addition, the Army's truck divesture plan calls for complete divesture of all M35 2.5-ton vehicles by the end of FY11.
The report also places a premium on fostering competition within industry so as to increase productivity and reduce costs; it is important to have contract mechanisms in place such that production can surge should that be needed, the report says.
"Competition improves quality and reduces costs, while providing the Army access to a full range of industry (depot, private, or public private teaming) capabilities, processes and potential technical advances," the report says.
Also, the report points out how post-9/11 conflicts have changed the mission scope and threat levels encountered by tactical trucks in today's current wars and this phenomenon has had a distinct impact on the procurement of tactical trucks as it has evolved to meet current and evolving threats.
Prior to the events leading up to Sept. 11, 2001, the main focus of effort on the TWV fleet consisted primarily on vehicle performance and payload, according to the report.
"The general assumption was that the battlefield was linear such that combat vehicles positioned forward in formations required protection from enemy fire, but tactical vehicles providing supporting functions did not," the report states.
"The result was a fleet designed without the burden of armor protection and the corresponding automotive impacts that potential add-on armor would have on critical truck sub-components like the engine, suspension, transmission, and axles."
The report goes on to point out that the events following 9/11 and the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism had a significant impact on the TWV fleet, in particular the need for armored trucks. Assumptions about the linear battlefields of the Cold War gave way to the complex, urban terrain and supporting the forward operating bases of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the report.
"Without a front line, all vehicles proved to be targets of enemy fire, particularly emergent threats of improvised explosive devices that would drive the need for greater and greater protection levels across the truck fleet," the report states.
These dynamics have lead to the creation of a Long Term Armor Strategy, or LTAS which, according to the report, seeks to build tactical trucks with an A-kit, B-kit modular armor approach -- allowing trucks to adjust their protection to the potential threats they will face in combat.
"The A-Cab is designed to accept additional armor in the form of a B-Kit. The A-Cab/B-Kit concept allows the Army flexibility in several areas: the armor B-Kit can be taken off when not needed -- reducing unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicles; the Army can continue to pursue upgrades in armor protection -- adapting B-Kits to match the threat; and the versatility of the B-Kit enables the transfer of armor from unit to unit -- makes armor requirements affordable by pooling assets versus buying armor that is only for one vehicle," the report states.
When it comes to buying armor, the strategy seeks to make room for the acquisition community to accommodate the pace of technological change and buy newer materials as they emerge.
"With armor, since it is ever-changing, our industry partners are constantly finding new ways to improve its effectiveness. You want to buy a certain amount and then to make sure you have the best going to the field and a source you can surge into production as needed," said Col. Mark Barbosa, division chief for Focused Logistics, Army G8. "We are integrating the elements TRADOC and G3 worked very hard on in the long term protection strategy in the Tactical Vehicle Strategy which covers all the fleets."
"Everybody wants to get the product right so that when you go to war you meet expectations and there are no shortcomings," said Goddette. "You don't' always know what kind of war you might be called upon to fight, so we must be flexible. How do we apply the art of acquisition to meet the uncertainty of the world we live in?"
Army Lacks A Complete Plan for Armored Fleet
(Source: Lexington Institute; issued August 13, 2010)
(© Lexington Institute; reproduced by permission)
Very shortly, the Army will announce the winners of initial contracts to build its new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). The GCV program was the Secretary of Defense’s consolation prize to the Army when he cancelled the manned ground vehicle portion of its Future Combat System (FCS) program. Gone are the days when the Army was supposed to be light and easily deployable; from Humvees and MRAPS to the GCV the Army mantra now is all the weight necessary to protect the passengers and crew.
Based on the lessons learned from nine years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the GCV is intended, first and foremost, to be a highly survivable, maneuverable troop carrier that can also fight. The requirements laid down by the Army for the initial design of the vehicle include better protection than the vaunted MRAP, capability to carry a squad of 12 plus crew, a lot of power generation capability and heavy armament. With all these requirements the GCV is almost certainly going to be big and heavy.
Depending on who you talk to in the Army, the GCV is either just the next step in an evolutionary process for armored vehicles or a revolutionary leap forward based on taking in all the lessons of the recent past. The Army’s current plan is to replace the existing Bradley Fighting Vehicles in its Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCTs) with the GCV.
This is fine as far as it goes. But there are a lot of other armored vehicles in the Army’s inventory. For example, there are also over 5,000 M-113 armored personnel carriers in the HBCTs and at higher echelons. Then there are the Stryker wheeled combat vehicles in the uniquely designed Stryker Brigade Combat teams, the M-1 Abrams tank and, of course, around 20,000 MRAPs and M-ATVs.
The Army has made some efforts to enhance its other armored vehicles even as it planned for the introduction of new vehicles. There have been survivability upgrades to the Bradleys and the M-1s that made them the best protected vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, better than the MRAPs. There is a program for the relatively new Strykers to, among other things, modify them with a v-shaped plate on their underside to defeat IEDs.
Unfortunately, the Army seems to be so fixated on the GCV program that it has had a “brain freeze” with regard to creating an overall plan for the future of its armored vehicle fleets. Additional planned upgrades for both the Bradley and the M-1 have been put on hold.
More important, the Army has not made a decision regarding replacing the obsolete M-113s. Will it be Bradleys, Strykers, MRAPs or, more likely, some combination? What about the thousands of Bradleys that will remain in the inventory for decades while the GCV is slowly introduced? Should the Army create additional Stryker brigades? Oh yes, will there be any effort to finally replace -- or at least significantly upgrade -- the Paladin self-propelled howitzer now that the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon has been cancelled?
The Army appears to be repeating a mistake it made with the FCS program, specifically acting like this is the only program or system it has. The Army needs to figure out for itself what it wants to do with its armored vehicle fleets and then let the rest of us in on the secret.
Army Will Whack Tac Vehicles
By Colin Clark Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 4:31 pm
UPDATED: Congressional Aide Says JLTV Fate Looks Uncertain; Less Biz for Industry
The Army has come out with its tactical vehicle strategy and it commits the force to field 244,000 trucks with scalable armor that can support network connections, including MRAPs. That will leave the service with smaller total fleet, down to 244,000 by 2025 from the current level of 260,000.
A congressional aide said the new strategy will mean, “a significant decline for all the companies building new trucks (AM General, Oshkosh, and BAE, primarily).
The Army was pushed by Congress to come out with a strategy out of worries the service was basically buying MRAPS and other gear without any kind of intelligent, long-term plan. As the defense appropriations report language put it:
Concerns persist regarding the absence of an overall truck acquisition strategy to guide the Army’s plans and programs. It is not clear that the Army has conducted the needed analyses for sound acquisition plans or to reap potential savings. defense appropriations report language.
Here’s the basic plan. Overall, the Army will shrink its fleet of HUMVEEs, MRAPs and medium trucks to 244,000 by 2025 from its current 260,000. How? The service will rid itself of 4,000 of the hardest to maintain and most beat up MRAPS by 2025. It will scrap the 28,000-strong M35 fleet and replace it with new FMTVs for a fleet total of 76,000. That will mean a total reduction of 4,000 trucks. The HUMVEE fleet will shrink the most, going from 101,000 to 35,000 by 2025. But there appears to be one big hole in the Army plan. It does not project how many Joint Light Tactical Wheeled Vehicles it will be. The strategy’s answer: TBD.
Overall, the service wants to“buy less, more often” because it thinks this “allows maximum flexibility and technology insertion, thereby reducing risk of obsolescence in the face of a highly adaptive enemy.” To put it another way, the Army won’t again have to pour unplanned money into something like MRAPs, which lack automated maintenance technology and standard tools, parts and maintenance training that has long been required for most Army vehicles. Not to mention how poorly most MRAPs perform once they leave highways.
What does Congress think of the plan? One aide still in town –quoted above — said the report didn’t have much new information and didn’t answer some of the questions the Army needs to answer.
“The only new information appears to be a tacit admission that due to the large number of new trucks procured since 2001 that they are going to significantly reduce procurement of new vehicles in favor of recap/mods,” the aide said.
Things don’t look great for JLTV if the plan turns out to be what actually happens. “The fact that JLTV is a “TBD” does not auger well for the program. It seems likely that we will buy just enough to support deployed units, for example, vs. equipping the entire Army. If one assumes only a few brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan at some point, that is a small number of JLTVs. As far as those numbers go, they seem to be just nibbling around the margins,” the aide added.
On top of that, the service didn’t really address “what assumptions they are making about force structure. In theory, every type of unit in the Army should have X trucks. If you total up the requirement, that tells you what the entire Army needs (call it X’). I’m not sure I understand how they explain having less than the current X’ for each truck type,” the aide said in an email.
Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/08/17/ar...#ixzz0wuYy9l8c
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U.S. Army Submits Vehicle Report To Congress
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 18 Aug 2010 15:32
A report to Congress sheds some light on the U.S. Army's tactical wheeled vehicle strategy, but leaves many questions unanswered until further information becomes available.
The report, which was mandated by Congress in the explanatory statement accompanying the 2010 defense appropriations bill, broadly outlines the Army's acquisition strategy for tactical wheeled vehicles. It was first reported by InsideDefense.com.
Citing concerns that the Army lacked an overall strategy for procuring trucks, Congress required the service to submit a report on its plans. In the report, the Army admits that the document submitted is not the full picture.
One missing piece of information is the number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) the Army plans to buy. A chart in the report outlines the Army's procurement goals for 2025. For JLTV, the report says, "to be determined."
It's been reported that the Marine Corps is expected to purchase 5,500 of the Humvee replacements, and the Army has said it could buy 60,000 or so. However, Army officials have acknowledged that number could change as the tactical wheeled vehicle strategy evolves.
The overall number of light, medium and heavy trucks is expected to fall between now and 2025, according to the report. Today, the Army has 260,000 trucks, and in 2025 it plans to have 244,000.
The Army explains how it plans to manage and armor its fleet, but the service is waiting on a number of other reviews to wrap up or be approved before it can provide more information, according to the report.
Under "constraints," the report says, "There are several key [tactical wheeled vehicle] documents that are currently not approved and are being worked that have influenced the Army's overall [tactical wheeled vehicle] acquisition strategy." These are the draft tactical wheeled vehicle long-term protection strategy, a G-8-initiated tactical wheeled vehicle strategy update, phase two of a truck study being done by the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and a Defense Department Cost Assessment Program Evaluation study for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.
TRADOC is also leading a major force-mix and force-design study to help shape the next two program objective memorandums. Changes to the Army's force structure will directly affect the number of trucks and associated armor kits the Army plans to buy.
"Changes to the Army force structure and how the Army equips the new force structure continues to mold TWV requirements with respect to quantity and quality metrics," the report reads.
The Army's truck portfolio is unwieldy to manage because it is so big and because there are several variants of each type of vehicle. The Army plans to buy new vehicles, repair and upgrade existing trucks, and retire older ones across the fleet to ensure the best mix of vehicles is available, the report says.
For example, the Army plans to shed 4,000 of its 19,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles by 2025.
In addition to how many, the Army is also trying to answer questions about how to armor and how much to armor its giant fleet of trucks. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, armor protection was not a priority for the Army's tactical wheeled vehicles, the report says. Instead, performance and payload were paramount.
Cold War assumptions about linear battlefields were made obsolete by roadside bombs and the complex terrain in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of a sudden, light trucks designed to operate behind front lines were fitted with heavy armor packages, which take a toll on the trucks' engines, suspension systems, transmissions and axles, the report explains.
To avoid this situation in the future, the Army wants to maintain some flexibility in its fleet so that it can adapt to emerging threats. One way it plans to accomplish this is through scalable armor packages for its vehicles. It also wants vehicles to share armor kits, so that the Army can buy fewer and use the leftover dollars to invest in research and development in advanced armor solutions, the report says.
The Army also wants to continue using competition to drive down costs. According to the report, the contest for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles resulted in a new contract award that represents 28 percent in savings over the old contract.
The report also indicates the Army intends to shift resources from buying brand new vehicles to efforts to upgrade the existing fleet and do service-life extension programs. These types of activities keep production lines warm, but don't lock the Army into inflexible schedules that it has trouble modifying, the report says. The goal is to have more flexibility to respond to emerging requirements.
U.S. Army Releases Operating Concept
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 19 Aug 2010 18:12
The U.S. Army on Aug. 19 published the Army Operating Concept, which describes how the service will fight in 2016 to 2028. The 65-page paper describes combined arms maneuver and security operations as the service's core contributions to the joint force.
The 2016-2028 Army Operating Concept
"Army forces capable of combined arms maneuver and wide area security operations are an essential component of the joint force's ability to achieve or facilitate the achievement of strategic and policy goals," says Gen. Martin Dempsey in the document's foreword. Dempsey is the commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
Defense News previously reported on a June 15 draft.
The concept is not considered Army doctrine, which implies more permanence within Army thinking. Instead, the concept paper is more experimental and is meant to influence future concept writing, Army force structure decisions and capabilities development.
The concept development work was led by Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was asked by Gen. David Petraeus to join him in Afghanistan. Previously, he served as director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center's Concepts Development and Experimentation Directorate, which is part of TRADOC.
McMaster's TRADOC effort expands on the ideas introduced in the Army's Capstone Concept, published in December.
The operating concept is to serve as the "central guide for the development of subordinate warfighting functional concepts addressing mission command, intelligence, movement and maneuver, fires, protection, and sustainment," Dempsey says at the beginning of the paper.
Combined arms maneuver and security operations are described as the main ways the Army conducts full-spectrum operations. Army forces need to be able to do both within the context of joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational efforts, the concept says.
Army forces conduct combined arms maneuver to gain "physical, temporal, and psychological advantages over enemy organizations," and they conduct security operations to "consolidate gains and ensure freedom of movement and action," the concept says.
Put simply, combined arms maneuver is how Army forces can beat the enemy and through security operations, how they can maintain those gains.
U.S. Army To Weed Out Unnecessary Contractors
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 14 Sep 2010 17:00
U.S. Army commanders have been told to list the contractors who serve them, rank them by usefulness and name the ones who can be let go.
The memo from U.S. Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal gives 15 tasks meant to boost Army efficiency. (U.S. Army)
The order is contained in a Sept. 2 memo from Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal that also gives 14 other tasks meant to boost Army efficiency.
Distributed to regional commands and functional organizations such as Training and Doctrine Command, the memo also lists the savings that various commands are expected to produce from 2012 to 2016.
It's part of the service's effort to meet Defense Secretary Robert Gates' order to "reduce duplication, overhead, excess, and instill a culture of savings and restraint," Westphal wrote in the memo.
Gates provided more details of his plan to save $100 billion over five years on Sept. 14. The undersecretary has been tapped by Army Secretary John McHugh to lead the service's efficiency drive.
"As the Army's lead, I want to ensure we work in a coordinated and collaborative manner to identify and record viable efficiencies effectively, while reinvesting those savings against the Army's most urgent future needs," Wesphal wrote in the memo.
One step, Westphal wrote, is asking commanders to list the contractors who "augment" their organizations' staffs.
"For these purposes, contractors augmenting staff includes, but is not limited to, work that is inherently governmental, closely associated with inherently governmental, or involves unauthorized personal services," the memo reads.
Commands will rank the contractors in order of importance.
"Also insure you identify contractors you recommended for divestiture," Westphal says. "If a requirement performed by a contractor is enduring or savings can be achieved, they may be identified for consideration for insourcing consistent with the law."
Westphal wants the lists completed by Oct. 4.
Westphal's memo details how much each command must find in savings and includes initial guidance for adjusting the 2012-16 program objective memorandum (POM).
It appears that Army training may take the biggest hit. The office of Army Operations, Plans and Policies (G-3/5/7) is directed to review training requirements with the goal of saving $440 million in 2014, $1.9 billion in 2015 and $1.9 billion in 2016.
The Army's Office of Business Transformation has to identify candidates for business process efficiencies with a goal of $25 million in 2012, $50 million in 2013, $100 million in 2014, $200 million in 2015 and $300 million in 2016.
The Army's acquisition office has to identify efficiency initiatives, with the goal of saving $25 million in 2012, $50 million in 2013, $100 million in 2014, $500 million in 2015 and $1 billion in 2016.
The assistant secretary of the Army for installations and environment must identify efficiencies with the goal of $160 million in 2014, $390 million in 2015 and $620 million in 2016. The installation capability portfolio review will be the forum for developing and coordinating these savings, the memo says.
The Army's chief information officer (G-6) must find efficiency in information technology management with the goal of $50 million in 2012, $75 million in 2013, $190 million in 2014, $220 million in 2015 and $270 million in 2016.
The chief information officer "must include enterprise e-mail and data center consolidations with the savings goals," the memo says. Specific programs and locations must be listed.
As part of the work-force capability portfolio review, the G-3/5/7 will look at headquarters' organizational structure with a goal of identifying manpower efficiencies within Army headquarters with a goal of $200 million in 2014, $650 million in 2015 and $870 million in 2016.
The G-3/5/7 is also directed to assess the effects of the defense secretary's directed headquarters reductions and realignments "to identify Army efficiencies in subordinate or functionally aligned Army Service Component Headquarters with an efficiency goal of $60 million in 2015 and $80 million in 2016."
The assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller is directed to develop a 10 percent reduction in contracts executed in object class 25.1 and 25.2 for consideration for approval by the Army secretary. These will not include intelligence programs, federally funded research and development centers or reductions already identified in other efficiencies.
"These reductions will be used to meet or exceed Secretary of Defense efficiency goals," according to Westphal.
He directs the Army comptroller to develop a draft policy that addresses increases to the acquisition work force, a moved aimed at improving contract management: "The policy will address procedures for approving necessary increases to the acquisition work force to comply with Secretary of Defense guidance and other Mission Critical Occupations as required by statute."
Westphal also directs freezing and revalidating all oversight reports currently required by the Department of the Army. Westphal wants to review which reports are actually worth keeping. The deadline for this is Oct. 12.
He also wants the cost of preparing such reports and advisory studies tracked and published on the front of each report. The office of the G-8 is to begin this immediately, the memo says.
The administrative assistant to the secretary of the Army is directed to review all outside boards and commissions for the purpose of eliminating those no longer needed and focusing the efforts on those that continue to be relevant, with a goal of reducing overall funding by 25 percent in 2011, the memo says.
Westphal has directed Mary Sally Matiella, assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller, or ASA (FM&C), to develop and publish a framework that provides efficiency task leads and consolidates responses.
"Once completed, ASA (FM&C) will provide, through me, the Army's identified and integrated efficiencies for the Secretary of the Army's approval and adjustment to our FY12-16 POM and beyond," Westphal says.
Wesphal says the Army must work to meet these short-term goals, but also continue its longer term efforts, like the capability portfolio reviews, that provide "in-depth analysis and details" that go beyond the next spending plan.
Those sent the memo must submit two-page statements detailing the operational impact of implementing the guidance.
"Some of these initiatives require immediate action," Westphal writes.
Westphal highlights two short-term milestones: a Sept. 22 Large Group meeting and an Oct. 29 resource management decision submission to the Pentagon's Capability Assessment and Program Evaluation office.
U.S. Army Continues to Grow Contracting Work Force
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 15 Sep 2010 18:33
While the Pentagon begins scaling back to meet Defense Secretary Robert Gates' efficiency goals, those in charge of the U.S. Army acquisition work force are on a hiring spree to make the Pentagon more efficient.
The Army is growing its military contracting work force by 600 percent and its civilian contracting work force by 25 percent, said Jeffrey Parsons, the executive director of Army Contracting Command, at a Sept. 15 meeting with reporters. In the last few years, the Army has also hired and trained more than 800 entry-level people to begin contracting careers, Parsons said.
Even though there's pressure to pare back in other areas, the Army has "very good support" to continue its efforts to increase the size of the acquisition work force, said Edward Harrington, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement. The goal to develop savvy, seasoned buyers who can get the best deal for the Army is right in line with Gates' efficiencies initiatives, he said.
The affordability initiatives rolled out Sept. 15 by Gates and Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter focus on saving money by becoming smarter buyers, Parsons said.
Army contracting represents 25 percent of all federal contracting dollars, so how the Army spends those dollars is of great interest to Congress, Parsons said. The Army has $585 billion in active contracts and over half of those go toward service contracts, Lt. Gen. William Phillips, military deputy to the Army acquisition executive, said at a conference in Baltimore last month.
"The efficiencies initiatives, from our perspective, are only beneficial to us because they reinforce what we do as a profession," said Harrington.
As the Army downsized in the 1990s, its acquisition work force lost many of its mid- and senior-level contracting professionals, said Harrington. Over the last eight years, the Army has seen a tremendous increase in workload, with each person doing five times the transaction volume, he said.
"I think there's a recognition that we need to have additional personnel to handle these acquisitions and these contracting matters and that we need a much improved and skilled work force to do that," said Parsons.
Even as the Army draws down in Iraq, Harrington sees the workload staying steady for years to come as the service continues to modernize, equip and train its soldiers.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has two offices that are 70 to 80 percent staffed at all times, said Kim Denver, director of the National Contracting Organization, which oversees contracting for the Corps. It is not "where we'd like it to be," he said.
The Army Contracting Command was established after the 2007 Gansler Commission found the Army was not properly trained or staffed to manage contracting activities for expeditionary operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jacques Gansler, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, who chaired the study, recommended the Army grow its contracting work force after lack of oversight led to cases of bribery and corruption in Iraq, wasting millions of federal dollars.
As a result, the Army has been working for the last three years to build its acquisition work force.
Because demand for experienced contracting professionals outstrips the supply, the Army's strategy is to develop new talent, Harrington said.
The economy is helping, Parsons said. The service is having luck recruiting former buyers from the auto and steel industry in areas around Detroit, and Rock Island, Ill., he said.
U.S. Army Special Operations Force Not Expected To Grow Beyond 2017
By KATE BRANNEN
Published: 21 Sep 2010 18:52
While demand for its elite soldiers is climbing, the U.S. Army does not plan to increase the size of its special operations force (SOF) more than already planned, according to a top commander.
"I'm not particularly interested in growing Army special operations forces any bigger than it is today," said Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Army special operations forces are expected to finish their currently planned growth by 2017 and at that point, "we'll be pretty well postured," Mulholland said.
This is partly because growing Army SOF force structure comes at the expense of the larger Army, the three-star told a Sept. 21 conference hosted by the Institute for Defense & Government Advancement.
"I don't think you'll see SOF growth across the force, not just in the Army," Mulholland said.
If there is growth, it will be in providing more "enabling capabilities," such as communications, intelligence, medical and logistics personnel, he said. However, it is possible that Army Special Operations Command will rely on the larger Army to provide more of these capabilities, rather than growing and maintaining the extra resources itself, Mulholland said. His soldiers need engineers, not necessarily SOF-specific ones.
The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review directed increases in SOF force structure, specifically increasing the number of enabling units and rotary and fixed-wing SOF aircraft.
In the fiscal year 2011 budget, Army Special Operations Command has requested 1,638 additional personnel, according to a July report from the Congressional Research Service.
Army SOF includes approximately 30,000 soldiers from the active Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. Out of this pool, the Army has roughly 5,550 special operators deployed and working in 56 countries on 115 different missions, according to Mulholland's presentation.
The vast majority of its deployed force is operating in U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM) area of operations, where 4,785 Army special operators are carrying out 45 missions in 11 countries.
Army SOF is still operating at the same size and operational tempo in Iraq as it has been for the last several years, at about 1,000 soldiers, said Mulholland.
After CENTCOM, U.S. Pacific Command has the most Army special operators, with 313 soldiers engaged in 19 missions there.
As part of U.S. Africa Command, there are 154 special operators working in 12 countries on 14 different missions, according to Mulholland's slides. This includes Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahel, an area of operations that stretches across Northern Africa, where Al Qaeda is known to operate, said Mulholland.
U.S. Southern Command has 205 Army special operators deployed and in Northern Command, which includes Mexico, there are 21 special operators engaged in three different missions. Finally, in Europe, the Army has 92 special operators deployed in eight countries.
As the demand for Army special operators in Iraq and Afghanistan decreases, Army SOF will be able to better resource operations in other parts of the world, said Mulholland.
In 2004, the Army Special Operations Command's missions were 61 percent sourced, the general said. Today, that number is down to 47 percent, but by 2012, he expects it to reach 50 percent.
Walls Between Spec Ops, Rest of Army Disappearing
Posted by Military Times Online | October 26th, 2010 | AUSA 2010
By SEAN D. NAYLOR — The tension and mutual suspicions that once existed between the Army’s special operations forces and its conventional or “general purpose” forces are being replaced by mutual trust and reliance, according to a panel of leaders from both communities at the annual Association of the U.S. Army symposium.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger speaks Tuesday during a panel discussion on special operarions forces. (Sheila Vemmer / Staff)
Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, head of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, who chaired Tuesday’s panel, said it was “not the intent” to have “a gigantic lovefest” between the special operations and conventional personnel on the panel, but nonetheless each panel member reinforced the point that special operations forces are now “integral” to the wider Army. Not coincidentally, an AUSA brochure on the subject given to each audience member was titled “U.S. Army Special Operations Forces: Integral to the Army and the Joint Force.”
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