IFT Explanation. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Thursday released its 18-page decision that sustained Raytheon’s protest of a border surveillance contract awarded by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to EFW, Inc., a Texas-based business unit of Israel’s Elbit Systems. The decision had been under a protective order until redactions were made.  The GAO upheld Raytheon’s challenge of the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) award in three of five areas that were protested, saying that CBP unreasonably credited EFW’s feature to enhance camera image quality over Raytheon’s image enhancement techniques, that the record doesn’t back CBP’s finding that EFW’s solution reduced on-screen clutter, and the agency unreasonably evaluated EFW’s past performance by highlighting work by a corporate affiliate that may not be an important player in the IFT contract.

…Raytheon the Low Bidder. The decision paper says that Raytheon was the low bidder versus EFW for the IFT contract but the bid amount was redacted. According to the GAO decision, EFW’s bid was $145 million. CBP awarded EFW a $145.3 million contract for IFT in February. The GAO decision quotes CBP’s Source Selection Authority discussing the EFW and Raytheon bids as saying, “The Raytheon proposal is a good and strong proposal—but the increased operational capability created by the Elbit system offers a better value, even at a [DELETED]% premium.’”

Remote Video Surveillance Systems used by CBP to track illegal border crossers. Photo: CBP

…Recompete Outcome. The Department of Homeland Security earlier this month said that CBP will reevaluate the IFT proposals by EFW and Raytheon. “Given these identified errors” in CBP’s original source selection, “and considering Raytheon’s more than $[DELETED] million price advantage, it is possible that a best-value tradeoff decision might differ following a revised evaluation,” GAO says.

PreCheck’s Labor Savings. The Transportation Security Administration has about 7 percent fewer employees than it did a year ago due to efficiencies it has gained through its PreCheck trusted traveler program and Risk Based Security initiatives overall, John Pistole, the agency’s chief, says at the Aspen Security Forum. He also says wait times at aviation security checkpoints are down compared to five years ago. Pistole says 3,500 people daily are applying for PreCheck status.

Body Armor Effort. The Senate Appropriations defense panel adds $80 million for the Army to develop and implement a plan to replace and refurbish expired body armor. The funds are added to the president’s budget request of $6.4 million for the body armor program under the industrial preparedness line in operations and maintenance. In their report on the bill to the full committee, members said they realize the importance of deployed soldiers having the lightest and most advanced body armor to improve mission performance and save lives. “Modernizing the body armor inventory through replenishment will help the manufacturing base continue the development and manufacturing of more advanced body armor our soldiers need,” the report says.

…NIE Overestimates. The SAC-D report also would reduce the Army’s Network Evaluation Integration (NIE) fiscal year 2015 budget request of $105 million by $20 million…the amount appropriated in FY 2014 and not used. “The committee notes that the Army continues to over-estimate costs for the NIE, resulting in repeated significant under execution, accumulating carry-over funding and annual budget re-estimates,” the panel wrote.

Looking Ahead. The U.K. Ambassador to the United States says complex threats need complex tools to counter them. “Today’s threats arise from a tangled web of failed states, regional conflicts, terrorism and cyber-attacks and so on,” says Sir Peter Westmacott July 22 during a Defense One conversation. A comprehensive set of tools must counter this threat.

…NATO Summit. At the summit, Westmacott says Afghanistan and continued alliance support will be a major topic. The alliance will also target European security and the implications of Russian actions in Ukraine. Additionally the alliance must see allies pulling their financial weight. “We should be open to the idea that collective security means just that–a system in which allies share the burden of security by pooling resources in a coordinated manner,” he says. Partnerships, and how to integrate them into NATO decisions, also will be a topic of discussion. “Partners outside the alliance accounted for 10 percent of the air campaign in Libya, and almost half of the nation’s participating in ISAF,” he says.

Army Generals Move On. The Senate has approved new jobs for Army Gen. John Campbell, Army vice chief of staff, to be commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, succeeding Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who moves on to lead the Marine Corps. Additionally, Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel will be promoted to general and lead U.S. Special Operations Command, succeeding Adm. William McRaven. Votel has been serving as chief of staff at USSOCOM.

FAB-T Lessons. Boeing’s top executive of its defense sector says the company should have been more aggressive with its Family of Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) proposal to the Air Force. Boeing President and CEO of Defense, Space and Security (BDS) Chris Chadwick tells Defense Daily an incumbent, as Boeing was with FAB-T, “must be very aggressive in terms of continuing to invest in providing capability and reducing cost for our customer.” “If you do that,” Chadwick says, “you keep your customer happy, you’re always prepared to compete and you’ll come out in a fairly-successful position.” Chadwick says FAB-T winner Raytheon “came through with a really good package and the customer in the end made the decision that they thought was best for them from a value-proposition perspective. But you can always do better,” Chadwick says.

SpaceX Soft Land. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) says the first stage from one of its Falcon 9 rockets soft lands in the Atlantic Ocean after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere following a successful launch of Orbcomm satellites. SpaceX says this confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able to consistently re-enter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity. SpaceX says in a statement is it highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and re-fly the rocket with no required refurbishment. SpaceX says it will attempt its next water landing on flight 13 of Falcon 9, but with a “low probability” of success. Flights 14 and 15, the company says, will be used to attempt to land on a solid surface with an improved probability of success.

Senate Confirmations. The Senate confirms Madelyn Creedon to be the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) principal deputy administrator and Lisa Disbrow to be the Air Force’s assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller. Creedon was formerly assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs. Disbrow was vice director for force structure, resources and assessment (J8) with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.