RAND analysis finds Army downsizing plan inadequate for current defense commitments

Jared Serbu
Jared Serbu

“Inside the DoD’s Reporter’s Notebook” is a biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community, as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu. Submit your ideas, suggestions and news tips to Jared via email.


RAND analysis finds Army downsizing plan inadequate for current defense commitments

When it comes to the current plan to downsize the active duty Army to 450,000 soldiers, military leaders have consistently said the force would be large enough to execute the current defense strategy, but only at the “lower ragged edge of risk.”

Jared Serbu: DISA's best practices guide for commercial cloud buyers

A new analysis from the federally-funded RAND Corporation begs to differ, and finds “significant shortcomings” in the forces planned to meet three major defense missions the U.S. already promised it would execute: combating terrorism, deterring aggression, and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Those shortcomings are a recipe for future regret by current policymakers, Timothy Bonds, the vice president of RAND’s Army research division told the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army last week.

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) laid out plans to confront each of those challenges and while those plans were credible at the time, Bonds said, they were written before the Islamic State occupied large swaths of Iraq and Syria and before a Russian-backed invasion by “volunteers” in Ukraine showed that the Putin government is willing and capable of using force to expand its borders. He estimates the actual demand for Army forces is now about 545,000 soldiers.

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DISA releases ‘best practices’ guide for commercial cloud buyers

The Defense Information Systems Agency is taking an interesting approach as it transitions from its former role as the sole broker for the DoD commercial cloud market and into something more like a cloud sherpa for the rest of the military.

A few days ago, DISA released what it termed a “best practices guide” for DoD cloud mission owners. Its appearance on the agency’s information assurance website is notable in that’s a serious departure from the prescriptive security-related documents usually published there,  a fact reinforced by the big red letters and bold fonts in the first few pages of the guide emphasizing that its content is NOT to be interpreted as official DoD policy; mentions of particular vendors are not endorsements of their services, etc.

The document is partially a Cloud 101 introduction for potential DoD buyers who haven’t seriously contemplated commercial cloud  and partially a compilation of the lessons learned by other DoD IT officials who’ve actually migrated some of their systems to commercial cloud services.

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Defense Health Agency absorbs three more DoD medical organizations

As the new Defense Health Agency pushes forward toward its Oct. 1 target date to declare full operational capability, it’s bringing three existing DoD medical institutions into the fold.

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and the National Museum of Health and Medicine officially became part of DHA on Sunday.

The move would seem to make sense, since DHA’s raison d’être is to prod the three military departments and their independent surgeons general into sharing standardized DoD-wide services, and the three newest editions to DHA are already semi-independent organizations that serve the entire military medical system.

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