R&D centers offer fresh air

I'm surprised you would put a blatant opinion piece by someone like Robert Elliott [on the Op-Ed page] of your publication ["R&D centers growing too fat on federal dole," FCW, Sept. 20].

He comes across as someone who has some unstated bone to pick. He gives no data to support his misguided opinions. He totally ignores the honest broker role Federally Funded Research and Development Centers [FFRDCs] often play. The data shows that FFRDC rates are actually highly competitive.

I have spent most of my 22 years in Defense Department-related full-time and consulting activities, working for "for-profit" Beltway bandits. I find FFRDCs to provide a breath of fresh air. Most employees accept lower wages to work there because they have found the way the bandits chase government coffers to be distasteful.

Money spent on FFRDCs is a pittance compared with that spent on for-profit concerns. Someone really needs to get their facts straight, and you need to publish data, not just opinions.

Michael DonnellMitre Corp. lead staff (part time)Associate professor of engineering management and systems engineeringGeorge Washington University


CIO Council on the rise

In the Sept. 27 FCW ["CIOs to ask Hill for real money"], I was quoted as follows: " 'I never had any expectations for any short-run successes,' said Kiviat, who worked as an industry liaison to help establish the council. 'I sort of thought it would be around for only two or three years.' "

This was half right, as I did say that I thought it would be hard for the council to accomplish much, if anything, in its first few years. But I did not say that I "thought it would be around for only two or three years." The CIO Council plays an important coordinating role in making a government that is increasingly interconnected and interdependent work together, and my expectation is that it will rise rather than fall in prominence, not disappear.

Philip KiviatThe Kiviat Group


  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected