Archive: defense

Contractors Owe Government $2.8 Billion

It was supposed to be a stealthy, aircraft carrier-based attack jet. Instead, it turned out merely to be yet another late, over-budget project that never really got off the ground. The Navy terminated the A-12 progam in 1991 and then did battle in court with the contractors, McDonnell Douglas and...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | June 2, 2009; 04:23 PM ET | Comments (6)

Government Turns Again To Cloud Computing

Skeptics take note: Cloud computing is taking hold. The Pentagon has awarded another contract for cloud computer -- which, roughly speaking, involves putting software tools on the 'net and delivering them to users only when needed. Think of it as sort of a digital utility model. Anyway, Northrop Grumman and...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | May 1, 2009; 04:58 PM ET | Comments (16)

GAO: Soaring Use Of Contractors Puts DoD At Risk Of Fraud, Waste

Pentagon spending on goods and services has doubled to $388 billion since 2001, while the defense workforce has remained almost flat, an imbalance that has put "acquisitions at an increased risk of poor outcomes and vulnerability to fraud, waste, and abuse," according to the Government Accountability Office. The risks come...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | April 28, 2009; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (9)

An Era Begins Closing On F-22

"We support the final four F-22s proposed in the fiscal 2009 supplemental request, as this will aid the long-term viability of the F-22 fleet. But the time has come to close out production. That is why we do not recommend that F-22s be included in the fiscal 2010 defense budget....

 

By Robert O'Harrow | April 13, 2009; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (13)

As DoD Spending Soared, Fraud Referrals Dipped

"The number of defense contracting fraud and corruption cases sent by government investigators to prosecutors dropped precipitously under the Bush administration, even as contracting by the Defense Department almost doubled." That's the conclusion of a sharp review by Nick Schwellenbach of the Center For Public Integrity, the non-profit oversight group...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | April 1, 2009; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (2)

Report Card Mixed On Pentagon Weapons Spending, Deadlines

The latest report on weapons systems programs at the Pentagon offers some bright moments against a darker background. We should all be thankful for small blessings, even if we're feeling fussy about the rest. The good news from the report, by the GAO: Spending is actually lower -- a cool...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 31, 2009; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Congress Wants Easier Way To Kill Weapons Systems

Two legislative warhorses have teamed up to try to do something that never gets done in Congress: making it easier to kill costly weapons systems. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and ranking Republican John McCain , introduced the bill two days before the anticipated release today...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | February 26, 2009; 07:08 AM ET | Comments (5)

GAO Flags Pentagon's Weapons Systems Spending

As many in the defense industry are watching closely to see the details of a new budget under Defense Secretary Gates, Gene L. Dodaro - the head of the GAO - reminds us just how much the Pentagon has spent on weapons systems. Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the oversight...

 

By Sara Goo | February 18, 2009; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (6)

Defense Spending: In The Line Of Fire

"After the massive buildup in defense spending during the Bush administration, the defense industry is in the line of fire," says the lead of a story by Post reporters Dana Hedgpeth and Steve Mufson. Ok, we've been hearing this for awhile now. The cuts are coming. The cuts are coming....

 

By Robert O'Harrow | February 6, 2009; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (2)

Pentagon Letter Complicates Blackwater Prosecution

A Pentagon determination two years ago that Blackwater security forces working for the State Department were not subject to U.S. civilian criminal laws now may undercut the Justice Department's case against five of the firm's guards for manslaughter. That's according to a story by the Associated Press. "The Pentagon...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | February 5, 2009; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (11)

Intelligence Spending: CACI Gets More

As many of you know, intelligence spending on contractors has soared to new heights in recent years. Up to 70 percent of the I-world budgets go to private vendors for everything from light bulbs to eye-in-sky satellites. Government Inc. guesses (and hopes) that those soaring outsourcing budgets will get more...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 28, 2009; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pentagon IG Report Finds Problems with Air Force Contract

The Pentagon's Inspector General found problems in an Air Force acquisition problem that sound all too familiar. According to the IG's recent report on the Second Generation Wireless Local Area Network, the program's management office failed to properly plan, manage and figure out the program's final cost. The report goes...

 

By Sara Goo | January 23, 2009; 07:59 AM ET | Comments (4)

Boeing, India and Arms

What do you do if you want to watch 4,700 miles of coastline? If you're India, you buy $2.1 billion worth of maritime patrol aircraft. That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which said the India's government signed the deal with the Chicago-based Boeing for eight P-8I aircraft. Dana Hedgpeth,...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 7, 2009; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (5)

An End for the F-22?

It may not be a happy start to the new year for Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor, according to a story this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Japan has said it won't buy Lockheed's fighter jet because it believes the factory lines in Texas and Georgia could eventually be shut...

 

By Terri Rupar | December 31, 2008; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (9)

Raytheon Gets $54M Missile Defense Contract

And now, a simple reminder that the federal government is spending -- and spending -- and spending -- a lot on missile defense contacts. "Raytheon Company was awarded a $54 million Missile Defense Agency contract to continue design and development of a Multiple Kill Vehicle. MKV-R, as it is known,...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | November 21, 2008; 01:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

More Calls for Less Defense Spending

Yikes. The drumbeat to cut defense spending is getting louder. Now comes the Boston Globe with a story about the Defense Business Board, an internal oversight organization at the Pentagon, and its recommendation that the government "slash some of the nation's most costly and troubled weapons to ensure they can...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | November 14, 2008; 06:16 AM ET | Comments (15)

Tanker Questions Take Flight

Congress has begun poking around on why and how the Air Force botched the effort to award a $40 billion contract for refueling tanker planes. The questions came one day after the Pentagon said it would conduct another, expedited competition to decide who should get the extraordinarily rich deal: Northrop...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | July 11, 2008; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (10)

Oh My

Hate to seem like I'm picking on defense contractors and the hardworking DoD acquisition workforce. But people. Please. What is going on here? Officials from the Government Accountability Office, in testimony before House lawmakers released yesterday, said cost overruns and missed deadlines are getting worse. The GAO review found...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | April 30, 2008; 04:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

This Is No Joke

Just in time for April Fool's Day, the Government Accountability Office issued a report (gao-08-467sp) that documents the horrible truth of an open secret in town: That contracts for ships, aircraft and satellite are billions over budget and delayed by years. Here's what the GAO had to say about the...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | April 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Tanker, Influence and Questions

Here's another thought or two about the $40 billion Air Force fuel tanker contract and some related matters. Please, gentle readers, be patient. Goverment Inc. is feeling a bit slow and doesn't understand everything that's happening. It feels like some people don't want us to understand who is promoting...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 28, 2008; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (23)

Tanker

The officially controversial $40 billion deal for the Air Force fuel tanker keeps on kicking up dust in Washington. First there was the surprise award to Northrop Grumman and its partner, European Aeronautic Defence and Space. In other words, NOT to Boeing, which many insiders assumed had a virtual...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 26, 2008; 06:47 AM ET | Comments (18)

How Future?

The Government Accountability Office minced no words in expressing its alarm about the Army's Future Combat Systems project. Five years and many hundreds of millions of dollars into the project, and there's still no way to say "if or when the information network that is at the heart of...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 11, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tanker Deal Backlash

The Pentagon's remarkable decision last week to stiff Boeing and award a $40 billion deal for refueling tankers to rivals Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defence and Space continues to roil Congress. A Boeing win was a foregone conclusion -- or so it seemed. As Loren B. Thompson, a...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | March 5, 2008; 06:12 AM ET | Comments (26)

Going Down II

There's more coming out on the Air Force's contention that its jet fighters and other equipment are in dire need of upgrades, needs it says willl go unmet unless the Air Force receives billion more than planned in the next few years. Government Inc. touched on this once earlier...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | February 22, 2008; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Life in Wartime

The Defense Department is suggesting changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation that would mandate that contractors learn the lines between acceptable and illegal behavior under the international laws of war. This according to a story on the InsideDefense.com Web site. Under the Pentagon proposal, contractors "'shall institute and implement...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 21, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defense and the Future of Contracting

The Defense Authorization bill approved by the House on Tuesday includes several sections that could have a substantial impact on federal contracting practices. Here's the link. Section 802 would sharply restrict the use of lead system integrators. Those of you in the know will think of the Coast Guard's...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | January 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Murtha, Politics and Money

Those of you interested in earmarks may enjoy reading about a company called Concurrent Technologies Corporation. It operates out of the district of Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, and has benefitted from many millions of dollars in direct congressional appropriations. I wrote the story today. If nothing else, check out...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | November 2, 2007; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (5)

'Abnormally High' Profits

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency and contractor Northrop Grumman got hit hard by Pentagon's Inspector General's Office, which recommended canceling a services contract that gives Northrop "abnormally high profit rates," according to a Bloomberg news story. The contract is worth up to $375 million. Northrop has already received $63 million...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | October 19, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Fabric Of Life

The Justice Department is investigating whether a North Dakota properly manufactured Kevlar cloth that served as the key component in 2 million helmets sold to the military. I first heard about the investigation this summer. Several publications ran stories this summer. Though this has been sitting on my desk...

 

By Robert O'Harrow | September 7, 2007; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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