Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.
Cindy Williams, MIT Security Studies Program. Ms. Williams cuts right to the chase in this short PowerPoint presentation that lays out the details of the Budget Control Act passed on Monday and what it means for the defense budgets going forward. This PDF lays things out rather nicely in just 11 slides. This is where to start your understanding of the debt ceiling battle and its meaning to DoD.
Jack Lew, Office of Management and Budget Blog. The second place to look is probably the Administration’s official spin with this blog post Thursday from the head of the OMB which explains the security spending cuts in the deal. Mr. Lew explains that the precise wording of the deal is on security spending in the initial batch of savings with approximately $330 billion being precisely from the Department of Defense, and an additional $70 billion from other agencies such as Homeland Security. Good details on how that breaks out in coming fiscal years as well.
Leon Panetta, Defense Secretary Panetta’s Message. Over at DoD SecDef Panetta has taken to sending out monthly “Panetta’s Messages,” this week focused on the deficit reduction fight. He acknowledges the need for DoD to cut back in the wake of the drive for fiscal austerity. But at the same time Panetta forcefully states that he will not allow a hollow force to develop that could endanger the nation’s security through extreme cuts not based on sound strategy and policy. He is showing a real propensity for telling it like it is that is refreshing from a cabinet official.
Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes. President Obama is announcing a new program Friday to be developed by the military as a sort of “reverse boot camp” for transitioning service members as they look for civilian employment. This will be part of a larger program to reduce the high unemployment among recent veterans, including tax breaks for companies that hire vets and other training opportunities. The issue is a tough one as most of the many proposals and bills before Congress only nibble around the edges of the problem long term. Hopefully the tax break will make an immediate impact but this comes the day after the Army announces plans to cut 8,700 civilian positions this fiscal year.
Alexandra Alper, Reuters. Pretty good examination of the challenges facing recent veterans in their job search and what is being done to address the issues. Advocates point out that while it is good that the President and Congress are making moves to make things easier to get certifications for certain job skills, it’s really the same discussion that has been going on for a decade. The perfect example is that a combat medic who has saved lives under fire in Afghanistan for multiple tours isn’t considered even basically trained by EMT standards in the U.S. and essentially has to start over with 18 months of training. Those are the kinds of issues that only DoD can address by assuring that the training programs comply from the start with national standards.
Brendan McGarry and Roxana Tiron, Bloomberg Business Week. Very interesting story on how many defense contractors have representatives downrange with the troops in combat to ensure their products are meeting the needs of the customer while seeking opportunities to sell more of their systems. The practice has grown dramatically in the last ten years as products have been rapidly fielded directly to combat units. It will likely grow even more as defense manufacturers seek to sell their products in the wake of tightening budgets and less Congressional top cover. Very interesting story for those unfamiliar with this practice.
The Army announced Thursday the goal of reducing the civilian workforce by over 8,700 employees by the end of Fiscal Year 2012. This rather dramatic cut will mostly target the many installations and headquarters nationwide, with 80% of the cuts coming from the Installation Management Command, Army Materiel Command, Training and Doctrine Command and Headquarters DA at the Pentagon. The rest will hit over 30 agencies and organizations around the globe. This initial cut was from the previously planned budget reductions identified by former Secretary of Defense Gates last year.