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Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending the practice of segregating the military services by race. That same year, the Army allowed women to join the services on an equal basis with men. Both of these steps preceded the larger societal changes that allowed fully equal treatment of all types of American citizens in military service. Just over 2 years ago, Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, allowing for gays and lesbians to openly take their place in the military. Our procedures and policies for successful gender integration have grown and evolved. The authors share five principles for leaders and commanders on the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, as well as associated “Tips” for implementation: (1) Leaders identify and break chains of circumstance; (2) Education is preferable to litigation; (3) What’s electronic is public; (4) Don’t ignore pornography; and, (5) Unit climate is the commander’s responsibility. These principles and their associated tips are not panaceas, and these recommendations are submitted for discussion and feedback.

Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) (As of December 31, 2014)

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) (As of December 31, 2014)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD) has released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the December 2013 reporting period. This information is based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2014 reporting period.

SARs summarize the latest estimates of cost, schedule, and performance status. These reports are prepared annually in conjunction with submission of the President’s Budget. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit cost increases of at least 15 percent or schedule delays of at least six months. Quarterly SARs are also submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions.

The total program cost estimates provided in the SARs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and acquisition-related operations and maintenance. Total program costs reflect actual costs to date as well as future anticipated costs. All estimates are shown in fully inflated then-year dollars.

Plan to Establish Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Plan to Establish Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

This document describes the DoD proposed draft plan that provides an approach to support increased public access to peer reviewed scholarly publications and digitally formatted scientific data arising from unclassified publicly releasable research and programs funded wholly or in part by the DoD, as directed by OSTP Memorandum: “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research”, dated 22 February 2013 and the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) Memorandum: “Public Access to the Results of Department of Defense-Funded Research,” dated 9 July 2014. A primary mission of Defense research is to safeguard national security and maintain technological superiority of the U. S. military through advances in science, technology and engineering. By providing greater public access to DoD funded research, the Department seeks to encourage and accelerate scientific breakthroughs and innovation of potential interest to DoD in carrying out its mission. A robust industrial base and commercialization of DoD technologies will also benefit entrepreneurship, and enhance economic growth and job creation.

SIGAR — Final Assessment: What We Have Learned From Our Inspections of Incinerators and Use of Burn Pits in Afghanistan

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Final Assessment: What We Have Learned From Our Inspections of Incinerators and Use of Burn Pits in Afghanistan
Source: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

This report presents SIGAR’s final assessment of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) use of incinera – tors and open-air burn pits to dispose of solid waste in Afghanistan. The facts and concluding observations contained in this report are based on inspections conducted by SIGAR between October 2012 and June 2014 at Camp Leatherneck, Forward Operating Base Salerno, Forward Operating Base Sha – rana, and Shindand Airbase. By addressing at a systemic level the common problems identified in this report, DOD could improve management of solid waste disposal in future contingency operations.

This report highlights the ways in which incinerator operations in Afghanistan were not conducted in a manner that resulted in the most efficient use of U.S. taxpayer funds. Unfortunately, in many instances DOD officials did not take sufficient steps to ensure the proper management of contracts for the construction of the incinerators to address the problems identified during our inspections of particular incinerator facilities. Given the fact that DOD has been aware for many years of the significant health risks associated with open-air burn pits, it is indefensible that U.S. military personnel, who are already at risk of serious injury and death when fighting the enemy, were put at further risk from the potentially harmful emissions from the use of open-air burn pits.

Because SIGAR’s prior inspection reports on incinerators contained numerous recommenda- tions to improve the planning and management of incinerator facilities, this report contains no new recommendations. We provided a draft of this report to U.S. Central Command, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and U.S. Forces–Afghanistan (USFOR-A) for review and comment. USACE and USFOR-A provided us with written comments, which are reproduced in appendices IV and V, respectively. Technical comments were incorporated into this report, as appropriate.

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies

February 13, 2015 Comments off

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Today, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies for Academic Program Year (APY) 2013 – 2014, and announced five directives to further strengthen the academies’ and department’s prevention and response programs.

This year’s report includes an anonymous survey of cadets and midshipmen conducted every two years by the Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as self-assessments conducted by each academy.

The survey indicates that cadets and midshipmen at all three academies experienced fewer sexual assaults in APY 13-14 than in APY 11-12. In 2014, 8.2 percent of academy women and 1.1 percent of academy men indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact in the year before being surveyed, down from 12.4 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

+ DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood
Source: U.S. Army

he U.S. Army today released its months-long investigation into an April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left four people dead, concluding that there was nothing in the assailant’s background, medical or military profile that might have provided an early warning for potential violence.

On April 2, 2014, Spec. Ivan Lopez-Lopez opened fire at several locations on the sprawling Army installation, killing three Soldiers and wounding 12. Lopez-Lopez took his own life after being confronted by a military police officer.

“We find no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting Spec. Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act,” wrote Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, who led an investigation team that interviewed and obtained sworn statements from 169 witnesses, in addition to reviewing materials and statements gathered during an earlier criminal investigation.

Martz’s investigation also determined that no “single event or stressor, in isolation, was the cause of the shooting.”

+ Full report and appendices (redacted)

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation

January 28, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The purpose of operational testing is to assure the Military Services field weapons that work in combat. This purpose has been codified in both USC Title 10 and in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 5000-series regulations for many years without substantive alteration. Operational testing is intended to occur under “realistic combat conditions” that include operational scenarios typical of a system’s employment in combat, realistic threat forces, and employment of the systems under test by typical users (Soldiers) rather than by hand-picked or contractor crews.

Thorough operational testing should be conducted prior to a system’ s Full-Rate Production decision or deployment to combat in order to inform acquisition decision makers and operators in an objective way about how the system will perform in its combat missions. Under current law, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is required to present his opinion on whether the operational testing conducted prior to the Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production decision is adequate or not. The Director must consider all the operational facets of a system’s employment in combat when he determines what constitutes adequate operational testing, including the performance envelope the system must be able to achieve, the various operating conditions anticipated in a time of war, and the range of realistic operational threats.

In 2014, I investigated many examples of recent programs across all Services to identify common themes in operational testing. These themes illustrate the value that operational testing provides to the Defense community. Additionally, they highlight the continuing improvements we have made in the credibility and efficiency of OT&E during my tenure. A briefing covering these six themes and dozens of examples across all Services is posted on the DOT&E website. 1 These themes reveal a common conclusion: OT&E provides value to the Department by identifying key problems and clearly informing warfighters and the acquisition community about the capabilities our combat systems do and do not have. Furthermore, we are getting this information now more efficiently and cost effectively than ever by employing rigorous scientific methods in test planning, execution, and evaluation.

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