Pentagon trying to make its $400 billion fighter jet cheaper to fly

As the F-35’s expected price tag settles around $165 million per plane, DoD is trying to trim the much larger operations-and-maintenance bills to come.

The Pentagon, which has spent the last four years lowering the purchase price of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is now taking aim at the costs of flying it.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The headline-grabbing $400 billion price tag for developing and buying 2,443 U.S.F-35s is less than half the cost of operating, maintaining, and upgrading all of those jets for the next half-century. In March estimates, various Pentagon offices put the total of those expenses at $859 billion and $1 trillion.

Top program officials met this week with executives from the companies that are building the F-35. The annual summit had a new venue — Norway, not the jet’s Fort Worth assembly line — and a fresh agenda: having largely moved beyond nagging design and production problems, the group discussed the future of the world’s most expensive weapons program.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.defenseone.com/management/2015/05/pentagon-trying-make-its-400-billion-fighter-jet-cheaper-fly/114037

Longtime procurement expert Dan Gordon set to retire

Come mid-summer, one of the workhorses of federal procurement is set to retire after decades of direct and advisory service to the government.

Former OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon
Former OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and now an associate dean at George Washington University Law School, told FCW in an interview that he has been gradually pulling back from his many advisory roles in the last few months with an eye to retiring by July.

“The goal for July 1 is full retirement,” he said, adding that after that he plans to focus on his continuing study of Chinese languages and then, whatever comes.

Looking back, Gordon said his enthusiasm for the federal government’s procurement system is undimmed, even in the face of the increasing complexity and technological changes that have many calling for reform of the system.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/04/15/gordon-set-to-retire.aspx

DISA drops $16 billion contract after controversy

The Pentagon has pulled back its plans to award a$1.6 billion contract re-up to VMware after several companies protested the award in February.

The Defense Department’s cancellation of its joint enterprise licensing agreement with VMware allowed the Government Accountability Office to dismiss bid protests filed by Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Nutanix and Minburn Technology Group.

Those four companies contended the re-up was an improper sole-source request for cloud services that would have given VMware an unfair edge for DOD’s growing cloud demand.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/emerging-tech-blog/2015/03/disa-drops-16b-contract-after-controversy/107631

IG: Navy and Marine Corps reasonably justified IT contracts with little or no competition

The Navy and Marine Corps reasonably justified about $220 million worth of IT contracts that were solicited without full and open competition, says the Defense Department’s inspector general in a report issued Jan. 23.

The IG reviewed 66 Navy and Marine Corps IT contracts that used “other than full and open competition” to procure technology services, with 34 being sole-source contracts and the other 32 limiting competition in some way.

The 34 sole-source contracts were valued at $151.5 million, with the rest coming in around $70 million, the report says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/ig-navy-and-marine-corps-justified-it-contracts-little-or-no-competition/2015-01-26

Air Force to reshape ‘cost curve’ via targeted acquisition reforms

The Air Force is kicking off a series of targeted acquisition initiatives that its leaders hope will bring in more competition, cut out internal bureaucracy and ultimately lead to faster, cheaper procurements.

Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force, announced the plans under an overall banner she dubbed “Bending the Cost Curve.” She described the initiative as a series of actions that are complementary to DoD’s Better Buying Power initiative — but more specific and tailored than the DoD-wide project.

James said the changes, which the service developed after a months-long series of roundtables with industry groups, will help the Air Force do a better job of communicating with its existing vendor base, welcoming new firms into the fold and removing bureaucratic processes that seem to serve little purpose other than to slow things down.

“We are simply too slow in all that we do,” she told the Atlantic Council Wednesday evening. “Here’s one horrifying factoid: We currently average 17 months to award a contract in situations where we already know there’s only one supplier who can do the work.”

To tackle costs on its major systems, the Air Force will institutionalize a new program that will attempt to make price more of an independent variable in the service’s decisions about precisely what it wants its weapons systems to do.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/395/3781054/Air-Force-to-reshape-cost-curve-via-targeted-acquisition-reforms