Lack of sustained leadership

The Defense Department's books are complex and out of date. Department officials have never received a clean financial audit, and they don't know where they're spending money. Officials cannot give Congress accurate data at budget time.

It's an old story now — a recording stuck in continuous replay. The efforts DOD officials are making to balance their books and manage their business are Herculean but erratic. And the problem, according to Government Accountability Office officials, is a lack of sustained fiscal leadership.

In the past three weeks, at least three GAO reports and two congressional subcommittees have reached the same conclusion: DOD needs to pick up the pace.

Dov Zakheim, former comptroller and chief financial officer, left the Pentagon in April and his acting replacement, Larry Lanzillotta, left last week. The president's nominee to replace Zakheim, Tina Jonas, is stuck in confirmation limbo until Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) decides to unfreeze DOD's nominee list.

The lack of sustained leadership might be a problem, but in this case, it might not be all DOD's fault.


The Air Force wants to get terrorists.

Last month, service officials asked industry for ideas on how to use surveillance and reconnaissance imagery to detect the cause of an explosion. They call the new initiative the Geo-spatial Observation of Terrorists with Consequences for Hostile Activities, known by the acronym GOTCHA.

Officials from the Air Force's Command and Control Battle Lab want to play back imagery to identify a vehicle or an object that carried munitions. They also want to use the data to determine their path — from passenger pick up to assembly area to the arming site, said a June 15 government solicitation.

Vendors must submit ideas for GOTCHA by Aug. 13 via U.S. mail to Concurrent Technologies Corp., 100 CTC Drive, Johnstown, PA 15904-1935, or via e-mail to [email protected] Got it?

FCS fuss

Army officials plan to respond to a story that ran last week in The Wall Street Journal that said the Army plans to delay again the fielding of the Future Combat System.

Service officials originally planned to make the first FCS unit operational by 2008. They pushed back that date to 2010. The story said the Army will delay the program again by at least two years.

"From this morning's article [July 14], the Army's direction and thought process is missing in the article, and I think that you will all appreciate getting the full story," said a service e-mail later that day.

New Army VP at CSC

Last week, David Ohle became vice president and general manager of Army programs at Computer Sciences Corp.

Ohle retired as a three-star general from the Army in 2000. He served 32 years in the service.

Ohle helped start the Army's Blue Force Tracking initiative. He directed the Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force, the service effort started in 1994 to use information technology to make its forces more lethal and efficient.

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