Military News

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Accountability Office Urges Air Force to Re-Bid Tanker Contract

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 18, 2008 - The Government Accountability Office has recommended the
Air Force reopen the bidding process for the service's aerial refueling aircraft contract. The GAO – the investigative arm of Congress -- made the recommendation following a review of the contract process that selected the Northrop-Grumman/EADS/Airbus consortium as the winner of the $35 billion contract in February. Boeing Company protested the decision.

The initial contract for the KC-45A tanker was for 64 aircraft at $10.6 billion.

"Our review of the record led us to conclude that the
Air Force had made a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what was a close competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman. We therefore sustained Boeing's protest," said Michael R. Golden, the GAO's managing associate general counsel for procurement law, in a news release.

The GAO made its determination based solely on irregularities in the contract procedures. The office did not make any judgment on the merits of the rival aircraft.

Air Force officials release a statement that says the service is reviewing the GAO's decision that sustained portions of Boeing's protest, and that once the review is complete, the Air Force will be in a position to determine the best course of action.

"The
Air Force will do everything we can to rapidly move forward so America receives this urgently needed capability," Sue C. Payton, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said in the statement. "The Air Force will select the best value tanker for our nation's defense, while being good stewards of the taxpayer dollar.

"As soon as possible, we will provide the
Air Force's way ahead," she continued. "We appreciate the GAO's professionalism and thoroughness in its assessment of the protest of the KC-45A source selection."

During a media availability last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said it is important to start getting these new aircraft on flightlines as soon as possible. He said the tankers flying today are the same ones he flew in as an Air Force second lieutenant in 1967.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said during a news conference yesterday that Pentagon officials still fully support the
Air Force choice, and that the process must move forward. "This is the No. 1 acquisition priority of the Air Force," Morrell said. "It has to be. It is 10 years overdue."

The average age of the KC-135 tanker fleet is 47 years old. "Any further delay would be a real problem," Morrell said.

The
Air Force does not have to accept the GAO finding. By law, the service has 60 days to respond to the agency.

Army General Cites Challenging Recruiting Environment

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 18, 2008 - The
Army is now exceeding its recruiting requirements, but that force may contain more soldiers who needed waivers to sign up in the years ahead, a senior U.S. military officer said here today. But, he added, that may not be as bad as it sounds.

Each year, the
Army recruits about 80,000 new soldiers who join an all-volunteer force that also includes sailors, airmen and Marines and is universally recognized as "a national treasure," Army Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt, deputy commanding general and chief of staff of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, told attendees at the 2008 Joint Warfighting Conference.

However, although the Army currently is exceeding its recruiting goals for active duty and reserve component soldiers, a looming recruiting crisis is on the horizon, Valcourt said.

"Today, seven out of 10 American citizens between the ages of 17 and 24 that are walking the streets of America can not quality for entry into our services without some form of a waiver, ... and that is a national crisis," the three-star general said. Prospects within that group, Valcourt said, require medical, physical or moral waivers to enter the military.

The
Army has received criticism from some quarters, Valcourt said, because soldiers being enlisted today have twice as many waivers compared to soldiers who enlisted a year ago. Valcourt indicated such criticism may be misplaced, especially if someone wants to serve his or her county during wartime.

"If somebody has 'a little stain on their shirt' and they want to raise their hand and come serve their country in a time of war -- knowing not if, but when they are going to deploy in harm's way -- where would you rather them be?" Valcourt asked.

Such enlistees, he said, can benefit from
Army training "under the watchful arm of one of our sergeants who is a professional at instilling values and discipline and taking care of business that hadn't been done in the last 18 years."

Another way to look at the waiver issue, Valcourt said, would be to thank the armed services "for giving those folks who may have a slight stain on their shirt an opportunity to come in our services and find their way to fulfill their call of duty and serve and protect our freedom."

Existing programs, such as the Junior ROTC, help young people to consider joining the
military or to make it a career, Valcourt noted. There's also a new proposal being coordinated with the state of South Carolina, he added, to establish an Army preparatory school for young people without high school diplomas.

The bottom line, Valcourt said, is that the current recruiting environment for a volunteer force is what it is.

"And, the answer is not the draft," Valcourt emphasized, noting that his experience with a conscripted
Army that ended in 1973 "was not a fun thing."

America Supports You: Arizona Support Group Receives Recognition

American Forces Press Service

June 18, 2008 - A congressman from
Arizona has recognized a group from his state for its continued dedication to supporting the troops. U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell honored Packages From Home on June 14 for its efforts and continued support for the nation's servicemembers and for their dedication in providing care packages to U.S. troops.

Packages From Home is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Mitchell recognized Kathleen Lewis and Lisa Benson -- president and executive director, respectively, of Packages From Home -- in a Flag Day ceremony at the state capitol. The three participated in the unveiling of a poster-sized replica of the new
Arizona state flag stamp.

Packages from Home has sent more than 140,000 packages to U.S. troops over the past four years. The group also has provided tons of equipment for the troops to use in rest centers in Iraq.

Defense Department Program Informs Overseas Voters

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

June 18, 2008 - A Defense Department program is working to ensure overseas government employees, civilian contractors, servicemembers and their spouses have all the information they need to make their vote count. Scott Wiedmann, deputy director and 15-year employee of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, said people deployed to combat or stationed overseas have numerous sources for registration and balloting information.

Every U.S.
military installation and individual unit, as well as U.S. embassies, has voting assistance officers to help servicemembers and civilians. Information can also be found on the program's Web site at www.fvap.gov.

This year is particularly important because of the U.S. presidential election approaching in November, Wiedmann noted. "Every vote counts, and a vote in the U.S. is a very powerful vote, so people need to take advantage of it," he said. "Not to diminish the importance of any other country, but certainly, a vote for the U.S. president will have its effect on many issues. Policy decisions made by the U.S. government do have an effect on many other countries around the world."

Military members, especially, should take advantage of their vote, he said. "Their daily lives, their income, their living conditions and their retirement benefits are decided by Congress. So, they should certainly have a choice in who's representing them," he added.

Wiedmann encouraged people turning in absentee ballots to act as early as possible to ensure enough time for their ballots and registration requests to process. The earlier one starts the process, the more time election officials have to decide whether the applicant meets the jurisdiction requirements to vote, he explained. Early application allows enough time for such issues to be resolved, he added.

"As long as people get their ballot requests in at least 30 days before the election, no state will be too late," Wiedmann said. "Thirty days is the maximum timeline for registration and ballot requests."

The primary procedure for all 55 U.S. states and territories is to process registrations and ballots by mail, but many states are working with the Defense Department and allowing servicemembers and overseas voters to request by e-mail and fax, he said.

If voters don't receive their ballots in a timely manner, they can request backup ballots on the program's Web site as well as at every
military installation and U.S. embassies worldwide, he added.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 18, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

BP Energy Company,
Houston, Texas is being awarded a maximum $268,462,041.00 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas supplies. Other locations of performance will be in New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and California. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2011. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7514).

Atmos Energy marketing, LLC,
Houston, Texas is being awarded a maximum $87,508,552.67 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas supplies. Other locations of performance will be in Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7500).

IGI Resources Inc. Boise,
Idaho is being awarded a maximum $52,180,473.00 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas supplies. Other locations of performance will be in Washington and Oregon. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7513).

Valero Marketing & Supply Company,
San Antonio, Texas is being awarded a maximum $28,519,190.00 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is in Corpus Christi, Texas. Using service is Foreign Military Sales. The original proposal was Web solicited with 3 responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is July 14, 2008. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir Va. (SP0600-07-D-0454).

Oneok Energy Marketing, Topeka, Kan. is being awarded a maximum $13,141,000.00 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas. Other location of performance is in Oklahoma. Using service is
Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir Va.(SP0600-08-D-7505).

AC Fabricated Products, Jackson, Ala.* is being awarded a maximum $12,948,572.50 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery contract for tents. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The original proposal was Web solicited with 3 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 17, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-08-D-1070).

ARMY

Bradbury Stamm Construction, Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., was awarded on June 16, 2008, a $38,342,400 firm-fixed price contract for construction of a new school and dormitory for the Crownpoint Community School. Work will be performed in Crownpoint, N.M., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 21, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on March 21, 2008, and four bids were received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, N.M., is the contracting activity (W912PP-08-C-0013).

American Registry of Pathology, Washington, D.C., was awarded on June 17, 2008, a $21,414,001 contract for support to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in the form of diagnostic consultation, education and research for the U.S.
military and civilian community. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Aug. 1, 2000. U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Frederick, Md., is the contracting activity (DAMD17-00-C-0034).

Femme Comp., Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo.., was awarded on June 13, 2008, a $10,000,000 cost-plus-fixed fee contract for command, control, communications,
computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operational management, engineering and technical services. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Co., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Sept. 16, 2003, and four bids were received. U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity (DASG62-03-D-0006).

ITT night Vision, Roanoke, Va., was awarded on June 17, 2008, a $6,888,976 firm-fixed price contract for PVS-7D night vision and AN/PVS7 night vision. Work will be performed in Roanoke, Va., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Feb. 12, 2008. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-C-D236).

NAVY

BAE Systems, Armament Systems Division,
Minneapolis, Minn., is being awarded an $8,288,417 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-5407) to exercise an option for engineering services to support operations and capabilities of the MK 110 57 MM Naval Gun System. The MK 110 57 MM Gun is designed to provide surface fire support for multiple ship platforms of the US Navy, US Coast Guard and various Foreign Military Sales customers. These engineering services will provide design, development, production, logistics, test, operational and life cycle support for the gun system. Work will be performed in Minneapolis, Minn. (87.1 percent) and Louisville, Ky. (12.9 percent), and is expected to be completed by June 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $50,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.