Friday, January 18, 2013

Army Grinds to a Halt: Leadership Issues Cease and Desist to Projects "not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety,".

On January 16th, Army Sec McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Ray Odierno released a memo with 15  "near-term actions to help the Army reduce our expenditure rate and mitigate budget execution risks in order to avoid even more serious future fiscal shortfalls."  Among them appears to be a death knell for energy projects….but I could be wrong!

The memo directed installation commanders to “cease facility sustainment activity that is not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety, and to stop restoration and modernization projects”.  One would argue that an EUL supported by a PPA would not be sustainment activity, but the need to manage the procurement process maybe. 

It will be even more critical for industry to demonstrate their value and for contracting officers to be more flexible in their thinking to survive this hiatus.  The need for energy security persists, just as the need to improve facilities persists.  It will be a challenge to restart any program suspended by this measure.

We will continue to monitor the progress on the impending (or suspending?) MATOC, but this should make people a little nervous and giggly.

Meanwhile, the day before the memo, McHugh made his way down to the trailer park at Fort Belvoir to visit the Rapid Equipping Force.  While they may be throttling back in other areas, taking care of immediate combat needs is not one of them.  COL Newell showed the SecArmy all the cool kit, including their Energy to the Tactical Edge, or E2E, suite of capabilities.  Steven Mapes, the product lead for Soldier Power at PEO Soldier, showed off the Soldier Worn Integrated Power System, to McHugh.  What is notable here is not that the SWIPS got a high level review, but that the acquisition community recognizes that playing with other may have a positive outcome.  In an environment of dwindling resources, projects directly connected to the fight will be sustained. 

Will keep you posted.  Dan Nolan   

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