A nearly $3 million facility the United States built in Afghanistan for local farmers has sat unused for the last year despite interest from locals in leasing it, says a July 21 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report. The project, developed by the Defense Department's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations is at risk of failing, the report says, because the DoD didn't identify an investor to take ownership before construction began.
The head of the House subcommittee on military readiness said the Defense Department needs train soldiers for a broader set of missions during tough fiscal times, at a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion last week. "People have extraordinary experience, but in a very narrow range of operation. I can guarantee you that the challenges they face in the future will not be exactly like what they have faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the question is how do you make sure you train to develop that capability?" said Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on readiness at the event.
The U.S. government has just wrapped up one of the largest cyber exercises to date, involving more than 500 participants from the military, law enforcement, civilian agencies, academia and the commercial sector.
The Defense Department's decreased war budget request comes as a result of the war in Afghanistan winding down, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told a House panel. The DoD requested $58.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding for fiscal 2015--about $26.7 billion less than the fiscal 2014 enacted level. And it comes in at about $100 billion less than the OCO request from fiscal 2011.
State governors and the Homeland Security and Defense departments said they've agreed on a joint plan to help strengthen cybersecurity across the United States.
The Air Force plans to reduce costs and personnel by offering early retirement to 3,500 civilian workers, a July 14 Air Force statement says. The reduction is part of a Defense Department initiative that requires each military branch to cut costs and staff by at least 20 percent by 2019, saving the Air Force about $1.6 billion over the next five years.
Myriad challenges face Defense Department acquisition and many of them have been exacerbated budget cuts and pay freezes, DoD officials told a House panel July 10. "The fiscal challenges, shifting operational requirements, the current budget instability deriving from sequestration, years of pay freezes, furloughs, military end-strength reductions and the requirement for commensurate reductions in our civilian workforce, more than a decade of conflict--inevitably all of these things have affected the acquisition workforce," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephanie Barna at the hearing.
The Defense Department didn't address all of its reporting requirements for its workforce plan, including assessments of critical skills and competencies, a July 9 Government Accountability Office report says.
National Guard and reservist benefits don't match the requirements that those military members have been asked to perform, a military commission said in its interim report. "Numerous Guardsman, reservists and subject matter experts explained to the commission how current compensation programs do not adequately address these operational requirements, specifically noting inflexibilities in health care benefits during Guard and Reserve mobilization and demobilization," the interim report says.
The Defense Department is doing a good job of managing its software licenses and has laid the groundwork for data analyses that could help it negotiate better agreements and achieve greater savings in the future, congressional investigators said..