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L-3 Acquires Data Tactics Corporation

March 5, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL) announced effective today that it has acquired Data Tactics Corporation. The business, renamed L-3 Data Tactics, is a specialized provider of Big Data analytics and cloud computing solution services, primarily to the U.S. Department of Defense. Headquartered in McLean, Va., Data Tactics employs approximately 200 people, including more than 150 data scientists, engineers, architects and developers, most of whom possess U.S. government secu

PROCUREMENT: Blowing Smoke For the F-35

February 2, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 
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CHINA: Rebuilding The Empire

December 10, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

BOOK REVIEW: Hitler's Berlin: Abused City

November 3, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial, Syndicated Industry News 
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PEACEKEEPING: Another Central African Catastrophe

September 25, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial, Syndicated Industry News 

AIR WEAPONS: TOW Fades

September 24, 2013 by · Comment
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3 Steps for Successful Agile Implementation of Government Operations and Maintenance Projects — Article

ESI IntBy Peter Schmidt, MBA, PMP, ACP, CPL
Vice President Client Services, ESI International

Established software systems account for 68 percent of overall federal IT investments and present the single greatest opportunity for agencies to ensure they continuously deliver IT value. Working within a few guidelines, Agile methods are very effective for delivering rapid and flexible modifications to established systems. However, agencies’ use of Agile for operations and maintenance (O & M) of established systems has been uneven and ad hoc at best. An examination of the reasons behind previous Agile shortfalls, and a three-step approach to implementation will provide a framework for federal agencies’ IT project success.

What went wrong?

The failure of many agencies to conduct the appropriate annual operational analysis (OA) is partly to blame for limited successes with Agile in the management of embedded infrastructure. When conducted at all, OA is performed only partially or infrequently. According to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) IT report titled “Agencies Need to Strengthen Oversight of Billions of Dollars in Operations and Maintenance, ” agencies often rely on a highly structured budget submission process, referred to as Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC), in lieu of OA. As a result, agencies do not routinely gauge the need to modify or terminate an existing investment. Nor can they recommend modifications or redesigns to forestall potential obsolescence.

Steps for sustainable change

Following are steps agencies can take to achieve sustainable transformation and tangible benefits through an Agile approach to O & M investments.

Step 1: Obtain executive support and understanding of the benefits of Agile
Finding a champion tops the list of steps to successful Agile implementation and execution. The most common barriers to executive support are (1) their lack of time to oversee a project, (2) their need for more information to make an informed decision and (3) their fear of losing control. Today, one might be hard pressed to find agency IT or operations executives who haven’t heard of Agile. Most know what Agile is, but much fewer know how to make it work in government environments. A good way to overcome the first two barriers is to set up an executive level briefing that shows why Agile is the right approach. To overcome an executive’s skepticism or reluctance to cede control, uncover the source of concerns by conducting one-to-one conversations.

Step 2: Conduct Rigorous Operational Analysis

When one or several executives have offered their support, the team can begin to identify the right systems or processes for applying Agile to O&M. Conducting thorough OA will help to
• Determine where in the system lifecycle the operating investments are currently situated,
• Gauge to what extent investments are improving administrative efficiency or citizen services,
• Determine whether investments are continuing to help the agency fulfill its strategic goals,
• Identify which steady state and mixed cycle investments are good candidates for Agile methods.

Loop

Such an integrated process will encourage development and operations teams to collaborate on building and managing a system throughout its lifecycle. Improved collaboration between development and production teams reduce cost and risk while simultaneously raising customer satisfaction by delivering upgrades at the optimal times. Conducting routine OAs will close the loop started with the CPIC process by giving development and operations teams shared visibility and accountability for a system’s performance after its release.

The Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) guidance on OA suggests that agencies should address 17 key factors which can help identify systems in need of enhancements or updates, as well as:

• Areas for innovation in customer satisfaction, strategic and business results, and financial performance,
• Identification of whether there is a need to redesign, modify or terminate the investment,
• Recommendations to redesign or modify an asset in advance of potential problems.

Demand for service delivery and administrative efficiency is rising and sequestration cuts are leaving few budgets untouched, so making the right judgment call on whether to enhance or retire a system is more crucial than ever. Why? Because as systems reach their retirement or disposal phase, the cost of running them escalates rapidly over time.

Step 3: Prepare the organization for Agile
The next step is to assess the readiness of the organization, project manager, team and stakeholders to adopt Agile practices. This should be measured in the following areas:

• Innovation – How much do the organization, project manager, team, and stakeholders value innovation and creativity over organizational stability?
• Independence – To what extent can people make independent, product-related decisions without consulting other groups within the organization?
• Risk tolerance – How much are people willing to accept and work with uncertainty?
• Resource allocation – To what extent are people able to devote resources full time to one investment rather than divide people’s time among multiple investments?
• Flexibility – How able is the organization to accept multiple approaches to documentation and measuring progress?
• Customer focus – How much can customers and the organization partner with each other?

Regardless of an organization’s Agile maturity, teams with the right skill set will help ensure the success of an Agile O&M effort. Findings of a recent survey of participants of an ESI International Agile for Government Executives workshop corroborated this: participants cited the lack of teams with the right skill set as a critical barrier to implementing Agile in agencies.

Improvement with Agile

The high sunk-cost of the existing infrastructure and the budget-driven need to operate systems for a longer period point toward the need for better, more agile approaches to managing the O&M function. Agile methods are a well-recognized approach to managing these challenges more effectively and should be the standard for any government agency looking to realize the benefits of improved operational efficiency.

About the Author

Peter Schmidt, MBA, PMP, ACP, CPL is Vice President Client Services at ESI International. For any questions or comments, Mr. Schmidt can be reached at [email protected] or visit ESI International’s website http://www.esi-intl.com.

[1] Agencies Need to Strengthen Oversight of Billions of Dollars in Operations and Maintenance Investments, GAO-13-87, Oct 16, 2012

[2] Ibid

Overview of the Virtualization and Cloud Market Vendor Landscape for Small and Medium Businesses

This executive summary evaluates virtual infrastructure and management, end user computing, and cloud service provider solutions from leading vendors, to enable senior decision makers in SMB organizations to decide which vendors in the market offer the best virtualization and cloud solutions.

 

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Lockheed Martin And The MDA Conduct Successful Test Of New Air-launched Missile Target Prototype — Press Release

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully tested a prototype air-launched Extended Medium-range Ballistic Missile (eMRBM) target at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona .

In the test, a full-scale prototype of the eMRBM target was released from the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft at 25,000 feet. The system’s parachutes deployed, and the prototype successfully separated from the carriage extraction system. The prototype is a replica of the missile target, without propulsion, that is being used to test and validate the air-launch equipment and carriage extraction system in preparation for the maiden flight of the eMRBM missile target planned for later this year. Supporting Lockheed Martin and the MDA in the test were the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and subcontractors Orbital Sciences Corp. and Dynetics.

Lockheed Martin is developing the air-launched eMRBM target for the MDA for testing of the Ballistic Missile Defense System to enable warfighters to gain experience with system performance in realistic scenarios.

“This new target is designed to provide the threat realism that is essential to ensuring that missile defense systems are developed against accurate representations of the systems they would likely encounter in an operational environment,” said John Holly, vice president of Missile Defense Systems and deputy for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

Added Dr. Patricia Dare, Lockheed Martin’s Targets and Countermeasures Program director, “The eMRBM air-launch equipment and carriage extraction system performed nominally in this test, verifying system performance and preparing the launch team for future mission operations.”

Under the Targets and Countermeasures Prime Contract, Lockheed Martin is developing and producing a total of 17 missile targets of various types and ranges, including five eMRBM targets. Since the prime contract was awarded in 2003, the company has delivered and launched 27 missile targets in tests of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Prior to that the company produced and launched 17 missile targets under other contracts. The company has achieved an unmatched 98-percent mission success rate in providing ground-, air- and sea-launched, short-, medium- and intermediate-range missile targets since 1996.

Lockheed Martin performs Targets and Countermeasures program management and engineering in Huntsville, Ala., production and integration in Courtland, Ala., and payload design in Ampthill, England.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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SUBMARINES: Deadly Secrets

April 3, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Wal-Mart limits ammunition sales to three boxes per day

January 31, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 


An increase in ammunition demand has forced the retail giant to limit the amount of boxes they sell per customer.



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Missile defense EKV shows value

January 28, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial, Syndicated Industry News 

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Jan. 28 (UPI) — Raytheon’s new Enhanced Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle demonstrated its capability in a recent non-intercept homeland missile defense test.



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Oil spills when barges hit bridge

VICKSBURG, Miss., Jan. 28 (UPI) — An unknown amount of crude oil leaked into the Mississippi River when two tank barges collided with a bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard said.



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RAF Sentinel Departed for Mali Mission

 
A Sentinel aircraft from No 5(AC) Squadron deployed today from RAF Waddington to an airbase in Africa, in support of French military operations in Mali.
The squadron, which has both RAF and Army personnel, operates the ASTOR radar surveillance …

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RAF Sentinel Departed for Mali Mission

 
A Sentinel aircraft from No 5(AC) Squadron deployed today from RAF Waddington to an airbase in Africa, in support of French military operations in Mali.
The squadron, which has both RAF and Army personnel, operates the ASTOR radar surveillance …

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

We hope everyone will have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving no matter if you are with family or not, no matter where you are.

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Veterans and War Remembrance Day

November 11, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Please take time today to honor and thank our living veterans. Remember those who sacrificed in the past.

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Chesapeake PERL To Produce Nerve Agent Bioscavenger For DTRA — Press Release

C-PERL Will Produce Nerve Agent Bioscavenger Butyrylcholinesterase for Defense Threat Reduction Agency using Proprietary Protein Production System.

SAVAGE, Md., Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Chesapeake PERL has been awarded a contract to develop the human nerve agent bioscavenger butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) as a potential nerve agent countermeasure for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The contract will fund development of a recombinant human BChE and its production in C-PERL’s PERLXpress high efficiency protein manufacturing system. C-PERL will collaborate with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (located on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD) to test the circulatory stability and anti-nerve agent protective efficacy of the recombinant BChE, with the ultimate objective of advancing a product into human clinical trials.

BChE is the lead bioscavenger candidate based on its ability to afford protection over a broad range of highly toxic organophosphorus nerve agents. It is a natural mammalian blood protein that can be administered either prophylactically or post-exposure, but is normally present at low concentrations in human plasma making it both expensive to produce and severely limited in supply. DTRA is seeking economical alternative production methods utilizing recombinant technology, and has selected C-PERL for its experience in manufacturing high quality proteins using its highly automated, efficient and cost-effective PERLXpress production system.

Chesapeake PERL is a biological manufacturer specializing in the production of high quality proteins, including glycosylated and lipid-associated proteins, multimeric forms and self-assembling macromolecular structures. PERLXpress, the Company’s proprietary, highly automated in vivo implementation of the Baculovirus Expression Vector System, employs whole insect larvae as mini-bioreactors. The tissue heterogeneity of the insect bioreactors leads to very high levels of protein expression as well as protein modification and processing that closely resemble native versions of the same proteins, and the system flexibility enables rapid, precisely controlled production from micrograms to tens of grams of protein. www.c-perl.com.

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Option Executed for More C-130 Aircraft

October 24, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

The U.S. Department of Defense executed a contract option with Lockheed Martin (LMT) for another batch of C-130J aircraft. The C-130J is the latest version of the venerable Hercules in use for fifty years with the U.S. military and many allied nations. The latest option is for the FY13 budget year.

The nearly $900 million contract will buy 13 new C-130 aircraft. This includes most versions of the transport including MC-130, HC-130, KC-130 and the normal C-130 transport version.

The U.S. air transport fleet has flown millions of hours and carried thousands of tons and passengers in support of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The C-130 are normally used for shorter missions often in theater to move cargo and people around.

The largest U.S. defense contractor also recently signed a deal with Iraq for 18 more F-16 fighters worth close to $3 billion. This is part of a deal to provide 36 of the light aircraft to modernize the new Iraq air force.

Photo from ngotoh’s Flickr photostream.

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IAR Systems hosts hands-on lab and debug sessions for developers at Renesas DevCon — Press Release

October 11, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Developers experience firsthand the end-to-end architectural support, high performance, compact code, power profiling, efficient debugging and ease of use of IAR Embedded Workbench
Uppsala, Sweden—October 9, 2012—IAR Systems outlined today its extensive participation in the Renesas DevCon taking place from October 22 to 25 at Hyatt Regency in Orange County, California. A long-standing partner of Renesas Electronics Corporation, IAR Systems is the only software development tools provider to support all of the Renesas processors. Top CoreMark scores are proof points that continual optimizations and fine-tuning of IAR Embedded Workbench gives Renesas developers best-in-class development tools that are low power, high performance and small footprint.

In the booth, IAR Systems will showcase the latest optimizations to be included in the upcoming version of IAR Embedded Workbench with demonstrations featuring Renesas’ RH850, RX, and RL78 families. In-depth developer information to be presented in a hands-on lab and technical class will offer techniques for debugging the RX architecture and compiling applications to include maximum functionality with the smallest amount of space:

⋄ Lab session: Debugging on RX with IAR Embedded Workbench
Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 1:30pm – 3:45pm
⋄ Class session: IAR Embedded Workbench for Renesas processors
Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Developers can see how tool chain optimizations, debugging capabilities and coverage of all Renesas architectures can improve productivity, particularly as additional architectures are covered.

Full session descriptions available on: http://www.iar.com/en/IAR/Seminar-and-lab-at-RenesasDevCon/.

###

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Austal Lays Keel for 3rd JHSV

May 7, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Austal America is the U.S. subsidiary of Australian high speed ferry and ship builder Austal. They have a yard in Mobile, AL and are currently working on two similar designed ships for the U.S. Navy. These are one of the two versions of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as well as the fast, mobile support ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).

These are both aluminum, trimarans based on ferry designs manufactured by Austal. The LCS is a small combatant also being built by Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Marinette Marine at a yard in Wisconsin that uses a more traditional design. Austal has so far received orders for 9 JHSV from the U.S. Navy. Last week they laid the keel for JHSV 3 while construction on JHSV 2, USNS Choctaw County, continues.

JHSV 1 is close to delivery and recently conducted builder trials.

The company also has orders for five LCS and has delivered their first, USS Independence (LCS 2). LCS 4, USS Coronado, is close to delivery and LCS 6 and 8 are under construction.

Austal has been quite successful in winning orders based on their trimaran fast ferries. Ultimately up to 10 JHSV and 20-25 LCS could be built by the company.

Photo taken by Author.

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Two More F-35 Added to Most Recent Production Order

April 19, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

The Department of Defense executed a contract modification with Lockheed Martin (LMT) this week to add 2 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) to the most recent production buy. This brings the total aircraft on the order to 32. This is consistent with last year’s quantity.

The total value of the modification was about $259 million. This is the fifth production buy.

The program is currently in low rate production while it continues testing and development of the different variants of the aircraft.

The F-35 continues to see cost growth for the total program as recent annual reductions in the buy quantities stretch out production and add billions to the cost. The program is also under fire as some of the foreign partners reconsider their total quantities and commitment to the most expensive defense program in the history of the world.

With this order almost 100 of the aircraft have been ordered out of a planned quantity of 3 to 4,000. Production is supposed to ramp up steadily with a goal of 130 aircraft a year by 2015.

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Joint Venture Formed to Compete for Air Force Range Contract

April 18, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Three large defense contractors have formed a new joint venture in order to compete for the U.S. Air Force’s unified range management contract. ITT Exelis (XLS), BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) and L-3 Communications (LLL) have set up IBL JV, LLC (IBL) to hopefully win the work.

The Air Force has previously used separate contracts to run its two main ranges located on either coast of the United States. These provide space launch capability for satellites as well as managing those in orbit. The ranges also launch targets and support testing of systems. All three of these companies have at one-time-or-another been involved in running the ranges in the past.

The decision to combine the contracts has a goal of saving the government money through efficiencies of only having one contract. It would be used to carry out total support for the ranges including program management, maintenance and operations and housekeeping services.

Due to the size of the contract it is expected to attract a lot of attention from large, U.S. defense contractors who have a great deal of experience in this type of work.

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Cuts to Submarine Programs – April 2012

In this podcast, we look at the cuts to submarine programs, trouble in the cluster munitions business, and the possibility of permanent Coast Guard bases in the Arctic.

Editor’s Note

December 5, 2011 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Posting will be light for the remainder of the year as I try to figure out where to take the blog.  It may mean a redesign or the launch of something new.

Thanks to our loyal readers these past three years.

Matthew Potter

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Cubic Global Sentinel Devices Give AAFES In-Transit Visibility — Press Release

November 15, 2011 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Cubic Global Sentinel Devices Give AAFES In-Transit Visibility

Cubic GS-5B Devices Prevent Intrusion and Theft of Consumer Goods for U.S. Forces

VIENNA, VA–(Marketwire – November 14, 2011) – Cubic Global Tracking Solutions, the asset visibility solutions provider of Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB), has deployed its Container Tracking and Monitoring (CTMS) solution for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and American Presidents Line (APL). Cubic’s solution for AAFES relies on the Cubic Global Sentinel GS-5B devices, referred to by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as Generation II Satellite Enabled Tracking and Intrusion Detection (GEN II SETID) tags.

AAFES is a DoD organization that ships retail consumer goods for sale to U.S. forces around the world. AAFES identified they had insufficient visibility of product location and condition while en route and at interim holding locations. This translated to potential vulnerability for diversion and theft of high-value goods while in transit and at the temporary holding locations. APL, the principal intermodal shipping company supporting AAFES, suggested AAFES employ Cubic Global Tracking Solutions to improve visibility, deter theft and detect post-delivery intrusions.

Cubic GTS initially collaborated with AAFES and APL to conduct a pilot early this summer, in which AAFES goods were shipped out of the United States. The increase in near real-time visibility and intrusion detection capabilities demonstrated by the successful pilot created logistics intelligence, which resulted in AAFES and APL moving forward with a large deployment of Cubic Global Tracking Solutions CTMS/GEN II SETID devices.

“By partnering with APL, we were able to help AAFES deter theft of high-value items in potential problem areas. We were also able to provide AAFES with asset visibility from the time their goods left the United States until their goods reached their final destination. We are pleased with the positive outcome of the APL/AAFES pilot and look forward to a long-term relationship to continue to provide logistics intelligence and intrusion detection, and on-going situational awareness,” said Mary Ann Wagner, President of Cubic Global Tracking Solutions.

About Cubic Global Tracking Solutions

Cubic Global Tracking Solutions is a provider of asset-visibility systems and services. Cubic’s secure asset monitoring solutions provide ongoing situational awareness across an enterprise, and require limited or no infrastructure.

About Cubic Corporation

Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments: Defense Systems, Mission Support Services and Transportation Systems. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems, cyber technologies, asset tracking solutions, and defense electronics. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services. Cubic Transportation Systems is the world’s leading provider of automated fare collection systems and services for public transit authorities. For more information about Cubic, see the company’s website at www.cubic.com.

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