No more charging strippers to Uncle Sam’s plastic

Federal employees who want to gamble or frequent strip clubs for an evening of fun will have to use their own credit cards to pay for it.

PcardAn amendment included in the House-passed fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill prohibits Defense civilian workers and military personnel from using government charge cards for expenses related to “gaming, or for entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants.”

The language specifically prohibits gaming, rather than any expenses at a casino, so lodging and meals, for example, would be exempt.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sponsored the amendment, which was adopted on voice vote. The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill. The full Senate has not yet considered its fiscal 2016 Defense appropriations legislation.

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See related story at: Senators Want GSA to Catch Feds Who Use Plastic at Strip Clubs

Military chiefs say they’re often blindsided by acquisition problems

Interviews with 12 current and former military service chiefs reveal strong dissatisfaction with their Pentagon acquisition colleagues, who too often change the requirements for weapons systems or demand additional capability, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

pentagon-seal“Some current and former service chiefs said that because they lack visibility into programs, they are unable to influence trade-offs between requirements and resources,” said the watchdog in a report released Thursday. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs said they are “frequently caught by surprise when cost, schedule, and performance problems emerge in programs.”

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Whistleblower exposes problems with government war contractors

A federal civil trial, which opened last week in the Western District of Virginia, offers an intimate view of the sausage making of war procurement, which over the years has resulted in billions of dollars in waste and fraud.

This case involves the 2006 sale of armored trucks, called Gurkhas, from a company called Armet Armored Vehicles to the military, via the Joint Contracting Command Iraq. Known as the JCCI, the command was responsible for purchasing billions of dollars worth of stuff for the Iraq war effort.

With its hollow cavity walls filled with blast protective materials, the Gurkha armored personnel vehicle 's side armor is designed to provide protection against side load IEDs. In addition, its frontal armor and second armored firewall protects the driver and front passenger from a frontal attack.  In addition, the armored floor is protected from a blast from below.
With its hollow cavity walls filled with blast protective materials, the Gurkha armored personnel vehicle is designed to provide protection against side load IEDs. Its additional armor and second firewall protects the driver and front passenger from a frontal attack. The armored floor provides blast protection from below.

As per its agreement with the JCCI, Armet, which started in Largo but according to documents moved when it couldn’t pay its suppliers here, was supposed to deliver 32 Gurkhas. The trucks were being purchased to “provide security to Iraqi ‘VIPs’ who regularly traveled by motorcade through a ‘hostile and dangerous environment,’” according to a federal indictment charging Armet with three counts of major fraud against the United States, seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of false, fictitious and fraudulent claims.

Each of the armored gun trucks was supposed to be able to prevent armor-piercing rounds from entering the vehicle and have enough mine plating on its belly to withstand blast underneath “from grenades and/or blasts of whatever nature equivalent to the strength of two DM51” German landmines.

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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.

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Pentagon will relaunch $475 million cyber effort this fall

Shortly after cancelling its search for bids on a five-year outsourcing contract, U.S. Cyber Command said a retooled version will be out by October.

US Cyber CommandAfter abandoning last week a $475 million job posting for cyberattack and network defense experts, the Pentagon now says a retooled solicitation that takes into account private sector questions will be out by Oct. 1.

Given significant interest along with technical and clarification questions from industry, U.S. Cyber Command is reassessing and amending the [request for proposals] to give industry better fidelity into cyber requirements,” a Cyber Command official told Nextgov on May 28th.

The original solicitation, released April 30, was itself a revised version of a December 2014 draft request for proposals. The draft and final contracts both strove to reconcile the command’s needs with cyber market realities.

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