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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Circular A-76 and the Moratorium on DOD Competitions: Background and Issues for Congress

Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

This report discusses the status of the ongoing moratorium on the conduct of Department of Defense (DOD) public-private competitions under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76, and potential issues for Congress.

OMB Circular A-76 is a federal executive branch policy for managing public-private competitions to perform functions for the federal government. A-76 states that, whenever possible, and to achieve greater efficiency and productivity, the federal government should conduct competitions between public agencies and the private sector to determine who should perform the work.

Congress passed legislation in P.L. 110-181, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2008 to suspend DOD public-private competitions under OMB Circular A-76. A governmentwide moratorium on the conduct of Circular A-76 competitions was extended through FY2012 through Section 733, Title VII (General Provisions, Government-wide Departments, Agencies and Corporations) of Division C (Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2012) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of FY2012, P.L. 112-74. This moratorium extended through September 30, 2012. The government-wide moratorium has been in place since the passage of P.L. 111-8, the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY2009.

There were at least two legislative amendments introduced during the 2
nd session of the 112th Congress that sought to suspend the moratorium on the conduct of future Circular A-76 competitions. Both amendments failed to pass.

Public debate over A-76 policy ignited in February 2007 as a result of a series of articles in the Washington Post on the conditions at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. The articles led to several investigations, resignations of some senior Army officials, congressional hearings, and legislation passed by Congress to prohibit the conduct of A- 76 competitions at military medical facilities. Congress passed legislation in P.L. 110-181, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2008 to suspend DOD public-private competitions under OMB Circular A-76. Congress also passed legislation in P.L. 111-8, the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY2009, to halt the beginning of any new A-76 competitions throughout the rest of the federal government. The government-wide moratorium has continued to the present.

Congress had directed the completion of several reports before the moratorium can be lifted. The congressionally required reports were the “Section 325” report which DOD was required to submit to Congress within 30 days of the enactment of the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the DOD Inspector General’s report on issues involving DOD’s conduct of A- 76 competitions, and two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports: one on DOD’s conduct of public-private competitions, and the other on DOD’s inventory of service contracts. These reports have been completed. Still, the moratorium has not been lifted.

Some policymakers have advocated for an end to the moratorium on the conduct of DOD Circular A-76 competitions. Questions about the moratorium are largely centered around to what extent the problems identified with Circular A-76 have been corrected, and the extent to which the issues raised in the reports have been resolved to the satisfaction of Congress.

Date of Report: January 16, 2013
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: R40854
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces

In April 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Gates announced he intended to significantly restructure the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) program. The FCS was a multiyear, multibillion dollar program that had been underway since 2000 and was at the heart of the Army’s transformation efforts. In lieu of the cancelled FCS manned ground vehicle (MGV), the Army was directed to develop a ground combat vehicle (GCV) that would be relevant across the entire spectrum of Army operations and would incorporate combat lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army reissued a request for proposal (RFP) for the GCV on November 30, 2010, and plans to begin fielding the GCV by 2015-2017. On August 17, 2011, the GCV program was approved to enter the Technology Development Phase of the acquisition process, and a day later, the Army awarded two technology development contracts: $439.7 million to the General Dynamics-led team and a second contract for $449.9 million to the BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman team.

Starting in May and running through June 2012, the Army tested a number of foreign candidates during a Network Integration Exercise. This test informed the Army’s Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), which is a requirement before the GCV program can progress to the next developmental phase. The AoA reportedly found no suitable existing, less expensive combat vehicles that could meet the Army’s GCV requirements. In addition, the Army is said to be considering including an active protection system (APS)—perhaps the Israeli Trophy system—for inclusion on the GCV but past experiences in terms of technical feasibility and cost will likely play a factor in any decision to initially field the GCV with an APS capability. On January 16, 2013, the Department of Defense (DOD) initiated a series of major GCV program changes which, while slipping the program schedule to the right and going to a single competitor during Engineering and Manufacturing Development, could save over $ 4 billion from FY2014 to FY2019.

The Administration’s January 26, 2012, Major Budget Decision Briefing not only introduced a new Asia-Pacific strategic focus, but also delayed the GCV program for a year due to the SAICBoeing protest. While some might consider this a setback, it can also be viewed as an endorsement of the GCV program by the DOD. The FY2013 budget request for the GCV was $639.874 million for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), reflecting a oneyear delay in the program and a $1.7 billion program cut. The FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act fully funds the Administration’s FY2013 GCV Budget Request.

Potential issues for Congress include the role and need for the GCV in a downsized Army that will likely have fewer armored brigade combat teams (ABCTs). The Administration’s announcement of a strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific region presents questions as to the necessity for ABCTs and, by association, the GCV. GCV affordability also remains a key consideration for Congress. A November 2012 Congressional Budget Office report on the GCV provides a range of GCV technical issues for congressional consideration. A report suggests DOD is considering significant budget cuts in the GCV program from FY2014 to FY2018, which could have a major impact on the GCV program. DOD’s January 16, 2013, GCV program changes might also have long-term overall program cost considerations as a result of “stretching out the program” as well as “less than efficient buy size.”

Date of Report: January 18, 2013
Number of Pages: 22
Order Number: R41597
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations

Jerome P. Bjelopera
Specialist in Organized Crime and Terrorism

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the Bureau) is the lead federal law enforcement agency charged with counterterrorism investigations. Since the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks, the FBI has implemented a series of reforms intended to transform itself from a largely reactive law enforcement agency focused on investigations of criminal activity into a more proactive, agile, flexible, and intelligence-driven agency that can prevent acts of terrorism.

This report provides background information on key elements of the FBI terrorism investigative process based on publicly available information. It discusses

  • several enhanced investigative tools, authorities, and capabilities provided to the FBI through post-9/11 legislation, such as the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001; the 2008 revision to the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (Mukasey Guidelines); and the expansion of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) throughout the country; 
  • intelligence reform within the FBI and concerns about the progress of those reform initiatives; 
  • the FBI’s proactive, intelligence-driven posture in its terrorism investigations using preventative policing techniques such as the “Al Capone” approach and the use of agent provocateurs; and 
  • the implications for privacy and civil liberties inherent in the use of preventative policing techniques to combat terrorism. 

This report sets forth possible considerations for Congress as it executes its oversight role. These issues include the extent to which intelligence has been integrated into FBI operations to support its counterterrorism mission and the progress the Bureau has made on its intelligence reform initiatives.

Date of Report: January 14, 2013
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: R41780
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Peacekeeping and Stabilization Missions Abroad: The Development of Civilian Capabilities, 2004-2011

Nina M. Serafino
Specialist in International Security Affairs

In November 2011, the Obama Administration announced the creation of a new State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) to provide the institutional focus for policy and “operational solutions” to prevent, respond to, and stabilize crises in priority states. This bureau represents a “second generation” effort to develop civilian capacity to deal with conflict, integrating the “first generation” Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS).

Congress established S/CRS by law in the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act, 2008, as Title XVI of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (S. 3001, P.L. 110-417, signed into law October 14, 2008). This “Lugar-Biden” legislation codified the existence and functions of S/CRS and authorized new operational capabilities within the State Department, a Civilian Response Corps (CRC) of government employees with an active and a standby component, and a reserve component. Earlier, in 2004, the George W. Bush Administration had stood up S/CRS to address long-standing concerns, both within Congress and the broader foreign policy community, over the perceived lack of the appropriate capabilities and processes to deal with transitions from conflict to stability. These capabilities and procedures include adequate planning mechanisms for stabilization and reconstruction operations, efficient interagency coordination structures and procedures in carrying out such tasks, and appropriate civilian personnel for many of the non-military tasks required.

From July 2004, S/CRS worked to establish the basic concepts, mechanisms, and capabilities necessary to carry out such operations. With a staff that slowly grew from a few dozen to well over 100 individuals, S/CRS took steps to monitor and plan for potential conflicts, to develop a rapid-response crisis management “surge” capability, to improve interagency and international coordination, to develop interagency training exercises, and to help State Department regional bureaus develop concepts and proposals for preventive action.

Not until four years later, in 2008, did Congress provide the first funding to establish civilian response capabilities, as well as the first line-item funding for S/CRS. The Bush Administration plans at that point contemplated a CRC force of 4,250, including a sizable reserve component of private citizens similar in concept to the U.S. military reserve. The Obama Administration proceeded with plans and funding requests to develop S/CRS and its operational arm, the CRC. The 111
th Congress provided funding to expand the active and standby units, but not to establish the civilian reserve. The 111th Congress also established a new USAID Complex Crises Fund (CCF) to support programs and activities responding to emerging or unforeseen complex crises abroad. The 112th Congress continued to fund S/CRS and its successor, the CSO Bureau, as well as the CCF, although at reduced levels.

As background for the 113
th Congress’s possible consideration of civilian capabilities, this report covers their development through the formation of the CSO Bureau. This report will not be updated. For information on the CSO Bureau, see CRS Report R42775, In Brief: State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), by Nina M. Serafino.

Date of Report: December 19, 2012
Number of Pages:34
Order Number: RL32862
Price: $29.95

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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.

In February 2006, the Navy presented to Congress a goal of achieving and maintaining a fleet of 313 ships, consisting of certain types and quantities of ships. On March 28, 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD) submitted to Congress an FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan that includes a new goal for a fleet of about 310-316 ships. The Navy is conducting a force structure assessment, to be completed later this year, that could lead to a refinement of this 310- 316 ship plan.

The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests funding for the procurement of 10 new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the 310-316 ship goal). The 10 ships include one Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier, two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class Aegis destroyers, four Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), and one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). These ships are all funded through the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) account.

The FY2013-FY2017 five-year shipbuilding plan contains a total of 41 ships—14 ships, or about 25%, less than the 55 ships in the FY2012 five-year (FY2012-FY2016) shipbuilding plan, and 16 ships, or about 28%, less than the 57 ships that were planned for FY2013-FY2017 under the FY2012 budget. Of the 16 ships no longer planned for FY2013-FY2017, 9 were eliminated from the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and 7 were deferred to years beyond FY2017. The nine ships that were eliminated were eight Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) and one TAGOS ocean surveillance ship. The seven ships deferred beyond FY2017 were one Virginia-class attack submarine, two LCSs, one LSD(X) amphibious ship, and three TAO(X) oilers. The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget also proposes the early retirement of seven Aegis cruisers and the placement into Reduced Operating Status (ROS) of two LSD-type amphibious ships.

The Navy’s FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan, which was submitted to Congress on March 28, 2012 (more than a month after the submission of the FY2013 budget on February 13, 2012), does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the Navy’s 310-316 ship goal over the long run. The Navy projects that the fleet would remain below 310 ships during the entire 30-year period, and experience shortfalls at various points in ballistic missile submarines, cruisers-destroyers, attack submarines, and amphibious ships. The projected cruiser-destroyer and attack submarine shortfalls are smaller than they were projected to be under the FY2012 30-year (FY2012-FY2041) shipbuilding plan, due in part to a reduction in the cruiser-destroyer force-level goal and the insertion of additional destroyers and attack submarines into the FY2013 30-year plan.

In its July 2012 report on the cost of the FY2013 30-year shipbuilding plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the plan would cost an average of $20.0 billion per year in constant FY2012 dollars to implement, or about 19% more than the Navy estimates. CBO’s estimate is about 11% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the first 10 years of the plan, about 13% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the second 10 years of the plan, and about 33% higher than the Navy’s estimate for the final 10 years of the plan. Some of the difference between CBO’s estimate and the Navy’s estimate, particularly in the latter years of the plan, is due to a difference between CBO and the Navy in how to treat inflation in Navy shipbuilding.

Date of Report: January 3, 2013
Number of Pages: 69
Order Number: RL32665
Price: $29.95

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