The Army’s beleaguered Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) battle just keeps getting more interesting. Thought to be all but dead less than eight months ago, the $13 billion-plus Army and Marine troop carrier program is now being sought by no fewer than six contractors.
It’s no secret that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a troubled program. Over the past 10 years, the price of Lockheed Martin’s cutting-edge stealth aircraft has shot up 64 percent, while sales projections have continued to slide. Indeed, foreign countries that once fell over themselves to join the multinational F-35 program are now showing far less enthusiasm for the $120-150 million plane.
Tension was in the air at last week’s AUSA meeting. Hanging over the entire conference was an impending sense of doom. Companies wondered where their next sale would come from; program managers worried about meeting their sales goals; and the military just focused on getting in and out without contractors bleeding them dry. It was quite a scene.
It’s markup time again; but unlike previous years where House and Senate Committees had been given an open checkbook, this year Appropriations Committees have been mandated to take more than $26 billion in cuts from the President’s proposed budget.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s acquisition! Well, not quite, but acquisition is undoubtedly a critical element for any defense company’s business strategy. And understanding this process is all the more important in light of Secretary Carter’s new wave of initiatives.
This week, you’ll make the long trek up to Capitol Hill to convince lawmakers of your ability to replace one of the most effective Secretarys of Defense our nation’s seen. While Gates will no doubt be a hard act to follow, he wasn’t perfect, and neither were the administrations he served.
Incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will have a number of massive challenges ahead of him. These range from a sprawling military structure to the planned refurbishments of the Pentagon. However, a recent decision to halt funding for a congressionally earmarked program of note offers him some insight into the inner working of his new charge.
It is not especially difficult for a PR professional to come up with a print ad for, say, an F-35 fighter jet. The subject — a hi-speed aircraft bristling with advanced weaponry — practically sells itself. True, you still have to come up with accompanying text that is both interesting and original, and this does require some artistry with the English language. But once you have the F-35 photo, you’re half-way done.