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bob7947

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  1. H_2_H: Thanks for reminding me. I have it on the Home Page and the Analysis page but forgot to post it here too.
  2. Vern provides us with this article: In the last month or so we have seen a number of articles about Michael Wooten, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy, and his ideas about “frictionless acquisition,” which is his metaphor for reducing administrative lead time and speeding up the buying process. See the article at: FRICTIONLESS ACQUISITION: A New Initiative By The Office Of Federal Procurement Policy.
  3. Formerfed: The history of the A-12 has so many potential diversions that it was difficult to focus on the main story. For example, the Soviet Union and the U. S. were competing about everything. When Johnson found out about the A-12 in 1964, he wanted to let the Soviet Union know that we had the fastest airplane. So on February 29, 1964 he had a press conference to announce our achievement. He used design A-11 in his press release instead of design A-12 so not to technically violate its secrecy. Then he mentioned that the A-11 was being tested at Edwards Air Force Base instead of Groom Lake--or Area 51--where the A-12s were. He did mention the fabrication of the airplane using titatnium which was germane to my article so I used that and skipped the funny part of the story. The funny part was that there was no A-11 being tested at Edwards so when the press would show up to see it or talk about it, it wasn't there. There was a YF-12A interceptor at Groom Lake along with several A-12s. I'm quite sure there was only one YF-12A that could fly at that time. As cover for Johnson's statement, there were 2 or 3 A-12s at Groom Lake and the one YF-12A available for a quick trip to Edwards. So, the airplanes took off for Edwards and flew directly into a hangar at Edwards. They were so hot when they were in the hangar that they set off the sprinkler system in the hangar. Now, the A-12s were classified so they couldn't admit what they were and I cannot explain why the YF-12A was or wasn't. However, they used the name YF-12A while at Edwards as cover for the secret A-12s that flew from Groom Lake. It doesn't end there. The Soviet Union wasn't going to take news of an A-11 without a response. So, they flew one of their MIGs in a speed contest set up by some international organization. The MIG's speed was about 1,600 mph, if I remember correctly and the MIG's speed was made public. President Johnson didn't want to be shown up when he knew that he had a 2,100 mph cruiser at Groom Lake. There are about 2 or 3 unclassified memos at the CIA site that discuss the U. S. concerns about entering a YF-12A in the contest. They were worried about the secrecy issue and finally Lyndon Johnson was convinced not to enter the YF-12A in the test. Since the YF-12A was a derivative of the A-12, it was only a little bit slower than the A-12. What really set the A-12 apart from everything else was its J-58 engine which could fly continuously with the afterburners engaged. Then the real power was developed by the spikes in front of the nacelles. When functioning as designed, they allowed the exact air pressure to enter the J-58 at its peak of performance.
  4. "Many years ago, as a teen, I noticed a magazine on a barbershop table with an incredible black airplane on the cover. Huge engines on each side of a delta wing and a long thin fuselage with a cockpit near the front. I never forgot that airplane, it was an SR-71 Blackbird. Now, 55 years later, I'm writing a brief article about the first Blackbird -- the A-12. It's the fastest and highest flying jet airplane that was ever built. Everything about the A-12 was incredible. Imagine this. A requirement is developed to: make an airplane so fast that nothing can catch it, make it fly so high that nothing can reach it, and make it nearly invisible. Add to that the fact that no one knew how to do it, the materials didn't exist, and it had to be done quickly. How about a few names for good measure: Groom Lake, Area 51, Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works . . . That's the story of how the A-12 was conceived, finally built, and then flown. Before I write about the A-12, I need to provide some perspective on the times in which it was born." I added the above article on the A-12. I've worked on it-off and on- for over the last 18 months and its time to publish it. It is Faster Than A Speeding Bullet, Three Times Higher Than The Tallest Mountain. I've added a number of links in the article and at the end of the article. To access a link, you have to put your cursor on the link, click the ctrl key on your keyboard and click the link. Its easier that it sounds. The A-12 first flew in 1962. However, a few of the pilots are still alive. The first flight of the A-12 is on YouTube and the link is at the end of the article.
  5. As you know, the current Requirement is in FAR Subpart 4.8 - Government Contract Files. I started reviewing contract files in the early 1970s, years before the FAR. I remember mulitleaf folders with the solicitation, contract etc. on one side and supporting documents on the other. Other relics here remember the same. I always marveled at the consistency of different agency contract files. The laws and regulations before the FAR were the: Armed Services Procurement Act of 1947, Armed Services Procurement Regulation (ASPR), later the Defense Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 and the subsequent Frederal Procurement Regulation (FPR) for civilian agencies. Sometime in the 1980s, and prior to the FAR in 1984, there was something called the FAR Crosswalk produced. The Crosswalk showed where the old ASPR, maybe the DAR, and FPR sections ended up in the FAR. I'm sure FAR Subpart 4.8 - Government Contract Files could be crosswalked from the ASPR or DAR, and FPR. The requirement might have been in the 1947 and 1947 laws. I no longer remember. Now you can do some research and find your answer.
  6. I was updating the Home Page on Thursday when I found this CBCA Case: S & DF Properties, LLC, CBCA 6809, August 13, 2020.
  7. A contractor appeals a contracting officer's final decision and wants to settle it by using an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) at the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA). The government does not want to settle the dispute using ADR. Since the contractor wants to use ADR, must the government agree to use ADR at the CBCA?
  8. Here is another unique one due to contract period and subject matter. The discussion starts at p. 28. South Carolina Public Service Authority, ASBCA Nos. 60460, 60616, July 22, 2020.
  9. This is a special A-12. Notice the tail number "77835." This is Article 131 with the real CIA tail number 60-6937 which made the final A-12 flight from Groom Lake, Nevada to Palmdale, California. The tail number that the A-12 is currently wearing was from Operation Black Shield which flew missions over Vietnam in 1967 - 1968. After each mission the tail numbers were changed to hide their identity from the spy boats that were outside of Kadena AFB in Okinawa. This A-12 is now at the Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, Alabama. Since this airplane was the last to leave Kadena for its retirement flight in the U. S., they probably didn't have time to change the tail number or they decided it no longer mattered. Also notice the aluminum painted rear wheels.
  10. I didn't know where to put this but I settled for here. In the middle of July in 1998, I started Wifcon.com. So, its 22 years old now and it is entering its 23rd year. I have so much left to do with it.
  11. The only thing I can think of is a GAO Protective Order and that would involve information you might share. Protective Orders are included in GAO's Bid Protest Regulations at 21.4. Here is the Protest Page I once updated.
  12. H-2-H: I learn something new every time I look at the A-12. I've read about the spikes in the engine nacelles many times but it wasn't until last night that it registered in my head that they were 6 feet long. This morning I looked at that video a couple more times and I remembered to look at the spikes. They're huge.
  13. H-2-H: Here is a video for you. The speaker is the pilot narrating the video some 30 years later. It's April 1962 and the A-12 had a pre-flight and then its first flight. This airplane has 2 J-75 engines not the A-12s J-58s. The J-58s were not ready for first flight.
  14. H-2-H: I listened to that one. I have much more to add in my paper. Joel: I know where each A-12 is. Alabama has another at Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham. The one there is CIA article 131, serial number 60-6937. It flew in Operation Black Shield (probably from Kadena) although I have not verified that. The tail number on it is wrong. It is an A-12 though.
  15. Joel: I know. I'm writing about the A-12. Anyone that sees something that looks like the SR-71, is really looking at a derivative of the A-12. The A-12 was an impossibility that Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works created anyway. I'm trying to keep it to 20-pages so it will be read but still tell a complete story about the airplane. That also may be an impossibility for me. The best I can hope for is that someone reads my humble article, is as fascinated as I am about the A-12, visits an A-12, the YF-12A in Dayton, or even an SR-71 in a museum, stares at the titanium beast in front of them and understands what it is, and holds the airplane and the people who built them in awe.
  16. H-2-H: I read portions of Ben Rich's book too. In it, he mentions members of the elite team in Kelly's skunk works in the early 1960s. So, I should have said something about Kelly's Team. My article took me all day Sunday and a couple of proofs Monday morning and I was hurrying to get it done because I am determined to get my 20-page article on the A-12 done this month. I realized what Dr. Lewis's article was really about and wanted to diplomatically counter it, so I cut some corners. If Dr. Lewis wanted to return to the 1960s, he didn't really explian about the 1960s in his article. Yes, Kelly was very angry when the CIA forced one bureaucrat to monitor his team's work on the A-12. Apparently, that guy ended up fitting in with the team too.
  17. Joel: I agree. There are too many unknowns with the original and subsequent post. Maka needs to get a straight answer from the CO whose phone number may be on the contract, order, etc. The CO response has to be better than this. Or just find the CO's name, google it, and he can find the phone number.
  18. Joel: With the success of the prototype YF-12As (I know I referred to them as operational), the Air Force ordered 93 F-12Bs which would have been the production run of the YF-12A. As I wrote, Robert Strange McNamara failed to release funding for the production run although it was appropriated. Here is a quote from the Kelly book. Do me a favor. If anyone you know refers to McNamara in a conversation, make sure that you use his full name.
  19. 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.
  20. I found the following IG report. EPA’s Initial Implementation of CARES Act Section 3610
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. This appears very similar to the original post's subject matter. DOD Ventilator Challenge: Innovative Response to the Nation’s Need for Rapid Prototyping.
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