A Request For Information by the defense department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in July 2011 culminated this month in contract awards to seven different companies worth up to $4 billion over the next ten years. The contract awards, posted in a notice entitled Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Research and Technology Development, went to some well known defense contractors including Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.
Despite the $4 billion ceiling, the contracts come with a guaranteed minimum of only $100,000 for each of the seven companies as the work will be parceled out on an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) basis, which is typical in these types of projects.
The documents with the original Request For Information provide background on the project:
The mission of the DTRA Research and Development (RD) Enterprise is to reduce national defense and homeland security WMD threats by conducting innovative research and development supporting the nation's WMD-related counterforce, consequence assessment, defeat and arms control objectives. Potential WMD threats include Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Explosive (CBRNE) materials. In support of this mission, the RD Enterprise is seeking a multiple-source capability for performing research, technology development; technical, scientific and program analyses; and systems integration efforts that will provide scientific and technological solutions to meet the Department of Defense’s nonproliferation, counterproliferation, consequence management and warfighter mission objectives.
The process stretched over more than two years and included various briefing, an Industry Day for potential contract recipients, and dozen of revisions and amendments. And the Defense Department is not through. Just a day after the awards were released, the DTRA announced another Industry Day as part of its "market research" entitled "Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Situational Awareness, Intelligence, Operations, and Data Visualization Support" held in December in Arlington, Virginia.
Washington D.C. is big on tradition, and one of those traditions involves official portraits of top government officials. The Defense Department just awarded a $31,200 contract (frame included) to Portraits, Inc. for an official portrait of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:
The Defense Department announced that it's sponsoring anonymous Internet chat groups for sexual assault victims, according to Defense.gov. The announcement comes after a string of high-profile sexual assaults among military personnel.
The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense early Tuesday evening, with 58 senators supporting his nomination and 41, all Republicans, opposing. The boss, in his capacity as the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, responded in a statement:
Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama's nominee to head the defense department, said in his confirmation hearing Thursday that he doesn't "know much" about military programs and technology. "I've said I don't know enough about it," Hagel said, in a response to Maine senator Angus King. "There are a lot of things I don't know about. I, if confirmed, intend to know a lot more than I do. I will have to." Watch the video below:
It's been a rough Thursday for former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, and lawmakers from both parties seem to recognize it. Members of the Senate's armed services committee say they are "shocked at how ill-prepared" Hagel was for his hearing to be confirmed as defense secretary. Dana Bash from CNN reports:
In 1991, at the end of the Cold War, there were 710,821 active-duty soldiers in the U.S. Army. By 2001, that figure was down to 478,918. That 32 percent decline in active-duty strength severely limited our options for a military response to 9/11, practically dictating that the forces sent to Afghanistan and Iraq would be too small to pacify two countries with a combined population of nearly 60 million. The result was years of protracted conflict that put a severe strain on an undersized force.
If you think the health care debate is a tangled mess, try wading into the thickets of the energy sector, which is high on the Obama administration’s list of targets to subjugate. Few areas of national policy offer as bad a ratio of blather to substance as energy. It is a field where cliché, wishful thinking, and wince-inducing ignorance dominate the discourse.