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NDIA Lists Top Issues for the Coming Year. (Government Policy Notes).

At its semiannual meeting in November, NDIA's Board of Directors approved the association's "Top Issues for 2002." The issues-summarized below-were compiled by NDIA's Government Policy Advisory Committee, whose membership includes all chapter presidents as well as the chair of each committee and division.

Issue 1: Funding America's Defense

The defense budget top line must be increased significantly to assure that the national-security posture remains strong and U.S. forces are capable of meeting their commitments. Moreover, the defense budget must no longer be used as a national account to fund non-defense programs.

While funding increases are critical, efforts also need to be made to maximize efficiency within the Defense Department. Excess infrastructure must be eliminated through additional rounds of base realignment and closure, and impediments to the use of commercial best-business practices must be removed, so that the Pentagon can realize its acquisition-reform goals.

To gain and sustain support for proper funding of national defense, a public-education program is needed to emphasize the importance of the Defense Department and the defense industry to the security and economy of the nation.

Issue 2: Protecting the Homeland

The catastrophic events of Sept. 11 - together with the mailing of anthrax spores-have exposed U.S. vulnerability to attacks within its borders and demonstrated clearly that protecting the homeland, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and safeguarding critical infrastructure are key national-security issues for the 21st century.

The United States has, unfortunately, yet to adopt a comprehensive and properly funded homeland-security plan that identifies responsible parties, provides for the necessary interagency and intergovernmental coordination and training, and delineates clear lines of authority for actions to be taken in the event of future acts of terrorism. Implementation of such a plan will require the cooperation and coordination of multiple levels of government and private-sector entities.

Issue 3: Ensuring the Health of the Defense Industrial Base

National security requires a capable, competitive and efficient defense industrial and technological base. Reform of the Pentagon's acquisition policies and business practices are essential to ensure the viability of this base to meet future warfighter requirements within cost-effective levels.

Reform efforts focus on eliminating non-value-added requirements placed on contractors, barriers to accessing commercial technology and pressure to overly regulate the industry, based on the assumption that the Pentagon's acquisition process demands accountability over efficiency.

The rapidly developing demands for very different capabilities associated with the services' 21st century transformation plans requires a fresh assessment of how this relatively long-term evolution can be accomplished within each of the major defense industry sectors.

Issue 4: Improving Training and Logistics Support

In order to maintain proficiency in a wide variety of required missions and tasks in a joint environment, units will need to train more effectively. However, technologically advanced weapons and environmental and political constraints have made live-fire training increasingly difficult.

A partial answer to live-fire training challenges is increased use of simulation-based training systems. Because of their growing importance, training devices require a thorough review at each program milestone and should be accorded the same priority as the cost, schedule and performance of the weapon system they support.

The department and industry both recognize that product-support solutions for new systems can be designed and implemented more effectively if the acquisition and logistics communities work in partnership for the life of the weapon system.

Integrated acquisition and logistics-supportability analyses should be conducted as basic elements of the systems-engineering process. They should begin at program initiation to ensure designed-in reliability and maintainability and continue throughout the program life cycle to ensure that the warfighter's supportability requirements are met Over time.

Issue 5: Reforming Trade Proceses and Cultivating Foreign Relationships

Export controls are key to protecting critical U.S. technologies. However, the federal government must provide greater latitude in the exchange of technology among trusted allies and friends in order to ensure U.S. firms have increased opportunities to compete for business in overseas markets. The Export Administration Act, U.S. Munitions List and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations all need to be revised to reflect the current international environment. Implementation of the Defense Trade Security Initiative is critical to this effort.

The administration also must work with Congress and the European Union to avoid trade sanctions as a result of World Trade Organization disputes regarding current U.S. export tax laws.

Issue 6: Focusing on Human Capital

For the public sector, an aging, retirement-eligible workforce means that the necessary talent for the future will not be available unless actions are taken to actively recruit and retain quality employees. However, greater outsourcing of functions that are non-governmental in nature will help mitigate the problem by allowing more Defense Department civilians to be assigned to core governmental functions.

For the private sector, the ability to attract new talent is related directly to the current business environment. The defense industry will continue to have difficulty competing with other sectors of the economy for next-generation talent until there is a fair profit structure, which promotes competitive compensation, at all tiers.

In addition to the above six issues, NDIA members recognize the critical value of information in both operational and business environments, and the need for developing integrated systems that deliver, process and portray timely and accurate data and information across the defense enterprise. Consequently, NDIA and its affiliates advocate acquisition policies and procedures that ensure effective and efficient acquisition and management of software developed for operational, training and logistics systems, as well as accelerated adoption of commercially developed software to support internal Pentagon business systems.
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Title Annotation:National Defense Industrial Association
Author:Thompson, Steve
Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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