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bob7947

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About bob7947

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  1. Last week, I posted an article on the Wifcon Forum in which Dr. Mark J. Lewis, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization provided some thoughts about defense projects. The article was entitled Risk Aversion Impedes Hypersonics Development. Within the article was a 44- minute video that includes, in part, his discussion of the race for hypersonic weapons systems. I listened to the video and found it interesting. The article itself started with this quote: I lived through the 1960s and I'm in no hurry to go back there. What did Dr. Lewis mean? In so many words he was saying, being the fallible humans that we are, expect failures as we push the current envelope of technology. It's hard moving forward into something new. He mentioned two types of failures, the first one he called a noble failure. Think about it. We do our homework, test, and something unexpected happens. From that failure, learn from it, and move forward with the program. The second type of failure is one that is caused by a stupid mistake and you don't learn much, if anything, from it. He also noted that since we must expect failures, we must have the resources to test, correct, and move the system forward. As an example of having available resources for testing, he mentioned the X-15 research vehicle that had 199 test flights in the 1950s and 1960s. The X-15 was dropped from a B-52, its small rocket engine was ignited for a little over a minute so it could reach space. It would then glide to earth and land on its skis. He contrasted that to DoD's X-51 program that had 4 test flights planned from 2010 through 2013. In short, looking back to the 1960s means that you learn from testing if you plan for enough tests. I agree. I took Dr. Lewis's advice and went back to the 1960s and looked on my own. In truth, I've been looking at the 1960s for some time. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Lewis's article that caught my attention. About hypersonic weapons, he said. If DoD and Dr. Lewis believe hypersonic weapons are important to develop again and field again, then do it with adequate testing and resources. But what if we already tested such a system in a real operational airplane, in less than 5 years, over 60 years ago. Here is an excerpt from Clarence L "Kelly" Johnson's book, KELLEY, More than My Share of it All. He was writing about the Air Force's YF-12A, first flown in 1963, which is a derivative of the CIA's A-12, first flown in 1962. The YF-12A was being tested to drop missiles from its bomb-bay doors. Now compare the numbers in the quote below to those in Dr. Lewis's above quote. Although the YF-12A was sending hypersonic missiles at targets successfully in 1963, we now are hoping to do it in 2025. That's over 60 years after we first did it. What happened? Well, the YF-12A program was killed by Robert Strange McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, who is infamous for his efforts in Southeast Asia. Accoding to Kelley Johnson, McNamara said: McNamara was working in the moment and had no vision of the future. Although Congress appropriated money for the YF-12A program for three successive years, McNamara refused to use our technological advantage with hypersonic systems and move forward with it. Before the program was killed, there were 3 YF-12A's built but only one exists today at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Here it is. Now, let me take you and Dr. Lewis back to the 1960s and design, develop, and field real airplanes and beat his 5-year window. Let's start at the beginning of 1960 when the A-12 contract was signed by Kelly Johnson and the CIA. In April 1962, 2 1/2 years later, the A-12 was on its first flight. The YF-12A was an A-12 derivative that the Air Force and Kelly Johnson converted to an interceptor. It's first flight was in August 1963. The SR-71, another A-12 derivative, built by Kelly Johnson and the Air Force, had its first flight in November 1964--less than 5 years after the award of the A-12 contract. Let's slip back into the mid 1950s for a moment and the U-2. Kelly Johnson built the U-2 in 8 months. You've caught on--Kelly Johnson was an absolute aviation genius and his U-2, A-12, YF-12A, and SR-71 were incredible operational airplanes. The A-12, YF-12A, and SR-71 were all Mach 3.2 airplanes. They didn't reach Mach 3.2 with afterburners for a few minutes. They cruised at that speed for hours. By the way, the U-2 is still flying and Lockheed is still selling it--about 65 years after its first flight. If Dr. Lewis wants to go back to the 1960s for ideas on how to field real airpalnes quickly, he's going to have to go back and resurrect Kelly Johnson. Let's take one last brief trip back to the 1960s. How about July 20, 1969 as the United States was landing humans on the Moon. A few years later, that program was ended as a result of budget cuts. After the Moon landing, I went to my Summer job in the factory that I worked at during my college years. I expected to see happy faces and hear loud talk about our country's great achievement. As I approached my workspace on the factory floor, I heard grumbling from the workers. It was depressing, I was ready for Mars and theses guys were still dreaming about P-38s--which, of course, Kelly Johnson helped to build. All I heard from the workers was something like: we did it, let's quit. I agree with much of what Dr. Lewis says but he stated the obvious. However, more is needed. We built technology to down enemy aircraft with hypersonic missiles in 1963 but that achievement was squandered by a politiical appointee who couldn't see past his green eyeshades when he terminated the YF-12A. Now, nearly 60 years later, we're competing with China and Russia in a race to build hypersonic weapons. Did we take a technology break so the rest of Earth could catch-up? We landed humans on the moon in 1969, politicians terminated the program to save money, and we are now among several nations hoping to land on the moon--50 years after the United States did it before. Did we take a success break? If we achieve something truly remarkable and important this year, how do we know our politicians and political appointees will recognize its importance and build on the achievement. Or, will they decide that we did it, let's quit.
  2. I found the following IG report. EPA’s Initial Implementation of CARES Act Section 3610
  3. Don Mansfield and FrankJon: Some time ago, Pepe asked that I delete his account. Pepe gave no reason and I honored his/her/its request without questioning it.
  4. There is a U. S. Supreme Court Case in the recent past. I could not find anything else this morning within the last 6 months.
  5. Back in the mid-1980s, I was researching Public Law 87-653 which picked up the popular name "Truth in Negotiations Act." It isn't called that in the law. I remember searching for the popular name in Committee Reports, hearings, etc. I seem to remember the phrase "level playing field" somewhere but that is over 30 years ago and I lost the paper I wrote and all my research material. I do remember the hearing where Carl Vinson, a major player in 87-653, celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of Congress. He was given a color TV at the hearing by his colleagues. Many years later, DoD gave him an aircraft carrier. I read Joel's thread that included mention of incentive contracting and know that 87-653 was passed, to a great degree, because of the abuse of fixed-price incentive contracts. So, I went back and found a statement about GAO's involvement in the law. I had the file stored in one of my "favorites" folders. Before I show it to you, back then incentive contracts were used to increase profits. It was too easy for contractors to beat their negotiated target costs. Today, it's a different story as Joel points out. The article is from 1968--6 years after 87-653 became law. It is entitled: Role of the General Accounting Office in the Enactment and Implementation of Public Law 87-653-The Truth in Negotiations Act . It was delivered by Robert Keller, who later became Deputy Comptroller General, to The Southwestern Legal Foundation. I've also added 87-653 as it became law in 1962 so you can view it before Congress added decades of perfections.
  6. This appears very similar to the original post's subject matter. DOD Ventilator Challenge: Innovative Response to the Nation’s Need for Rapid Prototyping.
  7. I posted this new FAR case last night. This is proposed and ready for comments. It was done by SBA and the FAR is implementing it. It's long but maybe you can find something in it. Federal Acquisition Regulation FAR Case 2017-019: Policy on Joint Ventures. (June 5, 2020)
  8. I expect to hear contracting horror stories from now until at least 10 years into the future.
  9. From -- H. R. 6800 - The Heroes Act Section 70402 of the above act has passed the House with a clarification of the language in Section 3610 of the Cares Act. There are concerns about this clarification and its cost to the government. Maybe we have an answer or a guess. The section above is from the Cares 2 bill or H. R. 6800. In an April 20, 2020 press transcript, Ellen Lord answered: When one thinks of the overall cost of the CARES law and H. R. 6800 as trillions and trillions, maybe billions and billions is fair and reasonable.
  10. Those cases make their way to opinions, every once in a while.
  11. You might be interested in COFC opinion No. 20-490C, May 27, 2019.
  12. The Compliance Mentorship Program: Improving Ethics and Compliance in Small Government Contractors. Jessica Tillipman and Vijaya Surampudi. Unlike their large counterparts, many small government contractors are largely unable to keep up with the rapidly evolving trends and best practices in ethics and compliance. Their inattention to this critical area leaves them at risk for compliance failures, fraud, and corruption. As a result, small contractors are more likely than their large counterparts to be debarred from the U.S. procurement system. Despite the harsh consequences of compliance deficiencies, few small contractors are likely to dedicate resources to the development of vital compliance policies and internal controls because of the reality of limited resources. This has created a critical gap in the defense industry supply chain, as many large contractors may partner with small companies that lack the sophistication and resources necessary to ensure compliance with the many government contracts compliance requirements. This article recommends incentivizing large businesses to utilize their vast resources to assist their small business partners with the development of internal ethics and compliance programs in order to improve the overall integrity of the government procurement system. It analyzes the development of global anti-corruption compliance standards through an overview of noteworthy changes in laws, regulations and enforcement, as well as the current compliance risks that large companies face when contracting with smaller companies who lack robust compliance systems and internal controls. The article concludes by recommending the adoption of a corporate mentor-protégé program that incentivizes larger companies to dedicate resources to helping smaller contractors develop anti-corruption compliance programs.
  13. I would look at the section and then the Conference report. Section 889: Prohibition on certain telecommunications and video surveillance services or equipment. Note: I went back to Congress.gov and realized there is no paragraph (e) that I could find. I'm going to check the .pdf file to see if it was an editiing error by the LOC. I checked the .pdf version and no (e). The statute pages which are in sequence so there is nothing missing--that I see. (d) WAIVER AUTHORITY.— (f) DEFINITIONS.—In this section: Apparently, we have a section of the NDAA for 2019 that doesn't have a paragraph (e) FARA: The answer to your question is what is in paragraph (f).
  14. I don't think we can judge how much being a finalist means to a company/start-up. xTechSearch 2 provides links to each company. I looked at one called AKHAN Semiconductor Inc. One can read through the news releases and imagine how the founder is using being selected as one of the finalists. Read the article on the Samsung Fold near the top of the list. We can almost feel the peaks and valleys that the founder is going through. Note a little help from a federal contractor and patent after patent.
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