On DoD

Federal News Radio Defense Reporter Jared Serbu speaks one-on-one and in depth with the people responsible for managing the inner workings of the federal government's largest department, and those who know it best.

LATEST EPISODE

Army uses unconventional challenge process to advance data science for electronic warfare

The Army wants to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help its electronic warfare officers sort out signal from noise on the battlefield. And to pick the best solutions, it's using an innovative approach. Instead of a traditional procurement, it gave industry and academia a set of challenges, using real-world data from Army sensors. Rob Monto, the Emerging Technologies Director for the Army Rapid Capabilities Office, joins Jared Serbu to talk about the results.
00:00:00 9/11/2018

Past Episodes

For the second year in a row, the Defense department's inspector general has just released a "compendium" of open recommendations. The document is a list of all the recommendations the DOD IG has issued to the Pentagon that have gone unresolved for a year or more. There are 1,558 of them, including 56 that have been open for at least five years. The compendium also singles out 33 recommendations that the IG says could save the department $2.3 billion dollars if DoD implemented them. Troy Meyer, the assistant DoD inspector general for audit joins us to discuss the compendium. Also, the Defense Department recently announced it's changing the name of its Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, dropping the word "experimental." The Pentagon says the change reflects the "permanence" of what's now called DIU and the ongoing need to engage with nontraditional firms in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. But there's more going on than just a name change. Sean Heritage, DIU's acting managing partner, joins us to share details.
00:00:00 8/21/2018
The Army already owns what amounts to fully-functional city it uses that it uses for traditional military training events in southeastern Indiana. But until recently, it hasn't been used for cyber training. Officials have high hopes that a new set of exercises at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center will give cyber protection teams a much more realistic training experience than they'd get at the "cyber ranges" DoD currently operates. Ed Skoudis and John Nix from the SANS institute join us to discuss the "Cybertropolis" environment SANS has been helping the Army build in southeastern Indiana. Also on this week's show, Chris Cornillie from Bloomberg Government talks with Jared about Bgov's latest analysis on DoD's spending on other transation agreements. And Bill Woods joins us from the Government Accountability Office to talk about GAO's latest recommendations to revitalize DoD's moribund processes for buying commercial goods and services.
00:00:00 8/14/2018
Ever since they first announced the idea last Fall, Army leaders have intended the new Army Futures Command to serve as a single entity to oversee the service's sprawling acquisition and modernization bureaucracy. AFC is now up and running in Austin, but the hardest parts of achieving the initial vision are yet to be accomplished. Our guest this week is Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, the commander of the Army Futures task force that's been leading the design of the new command. He talked with Jared Serbu about governance and cultural challenges the Army still faces.
00:00:00 7/31/2018
On this week's edition of On DoD, we go a bit deeper into Federal News Radio's series, Danger at High Speed: OTAs in Action. This edition of the program features some of the extended interviews Scott Maucione conducted with acquisition experts as part of the reporting process for his two-part series on the Defense Department's use of acquisition authorities: -- Angela Styles, a former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, now a partner at Bracewell. -- David Berteau, the president of the Professional Services Council and a former assistant secretary of Defense for logistics and materiel readiness -- Scott Amey, the general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight
00:00:00 7/24/2018
For the Navy, a new $100 million other transaction agreement focusing on information warfare isn't just a way to turn government requirements into prototypes and fielded products at a faster clip than is possible under Federal Acquisition Regulation. It is that, but the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command sees the value in the Information Warfare Research Project as a way to pull new ideas from industry at the same time it's asking companies to solve specific problems. Bill Deligne, the deputy executive director of SPAWAR's Systems Center Atlantic joins Jared Serbu to talk about IWRP's objectives, including how it plans to maintain proper governance and oversight in the world of OTAs, where most of the government's usual acquisition rules don't apply.
00:00:00 7/17/2018
Last year, the White House called on all federal agencies to draw up plans to reduce the government's civilian workforce. The Defense Department responded with a plan that explicitly rejected the presumption that civilian employees are too numerous, calling them an essential part of the total force, and asserting it needs more of them, not fewer. In this week's edition of On DoD, Thomas Hessel, the department's deputy director for total force manpower and resources joins Jared Serbu to discuss what the Pentagon has termed a "bold shift" in its approach to managing civilian employees.
00:00:00 6/26/2018
Naval Supply Systems Command is not suffering from a lack of data. But the information it holds about its responsibilities to move food, parts and supplies around the world tends to be unstructured, trapped in legacy IT systems, and not used on a day-to-day basis to help the command make better business decisions. NAVSUP is exploring ways to change that via a pair of prototype programs, both focused on the way the command does its contracting. Kurt Wendelken, NAVSUP's assistant commander for supply chain IT talks with Federal News Radio's Jared Serbu about the prototypes, and the workforce's role in helping to develop them.
00:00:00 6/25/2018
The Section 809 Panel -- the commission Congress chartered to study reforms to the federal acquisition system -- is already seeing some of its work reflected in federal legislation. The House's version of the 2019 Defense authorization bill includes several provisions that closely match the changes commissioners recommended in the first volume of their report, and there are still two more volumes to come. On this week's edition of On DoD, we hear from several Section 809 panel members about the rationale behind the reforms that made their way into the House's NDAA.
00:00:00 6/12/2018
DISA's milCloud 2.0 is about to get a wave of new customers, thanks to a Pentagon mandate to move "fourth estate" applications to the new service.
00:00:00 5/15/2018
In this week's edition of On DoD, Robert Behler, the Defense Department's new Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, talks with Jared Serbu about new procedures the department is using to test the cybersecurity of its systems. The processes include a new push to track DoD's IT supply chain, and an increased emphasis on how resilient its weapons systems will be to the cyber attacks they'll inevitably face.
00:00:00 5/13/2018
A special edition of On DoD: This week's program is an abridged version of a panel discussion at the annual Sea Air Space conference with the personnel chiefs of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, moderated by Jared Serbu.
00:00:00 4/18/2018
Some members of Congress and some corners of the Defense Department have become enamored of the idea of using other transaction authorities instead of traditional contracts as the way to force the DoD acquisition system to move as quickly as its appetite for technology. But OTAs, in and of themselves, are not the magic bullet for speedier acquisitions. That, at least, is the Army's take when it comes to acquiring new tools to defend its networks. On this week's show, Scott Helmore, the Army's product manager for defensive cyberspace operations talks with us about the various other pieces of the acquisition bureaucracy puzzle the Army had to get right before it could settle on a speedier process for acquiring new cyber tools, one that it believes will successfully operate in cycles of 30 days or less.
00:00:00 4/3/2018
Glenn Fine, the Defense Department's principal deputy inspector general joins us in the first half of this week's show to talk about the audit of DoD's consolidated financial statements, and some of the internal changes his own office has made to earn it a new award as the "most improved" place to work among DoD sub-agencies. We also talk with officials from the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems about a new electronic tool that's making the process of moving paper and tasks around the Pentagon dramatically more efficient.
00:00:00 3/20/2018
Under this year's Defense authorization bill, the Defense Department has until June to start moving much of its custom-developed software source code to a central repository and begin managing and licensing it via open source methods. The mandate might prove daunting for an organization in which open source practices are relatively scarce, especially considering that, until recently, there was no established open source playbook for the federal government. That's begun to change, however, with the Office of Management and Budget's Code.gov, and its DoD corollary, Code.mil, run by the Defense Digital Service (DDS). Jordan Kasper and Ari Chivukula, two engineers on the Code.mil team join Jared Serbu to talk about open source software in DoD and Code.mil's February "relaunch."
00:00:00 3/13/2018

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