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James Hasik
Austin, Texas
Business consultant working for the success of the industrial organizations that provide the tools of international security.
Interests: Marketing, military innovation, military organization, defense administration, new technologies
Recent Activity
I recently joined Eric Lofgren, an Emergent Ventures Fellow of George Mason University's Mercatus Center, on his podcast Acquisition Talk, to discuss (as he put it in the title) "The Defense Industry, Intellectual Property, the B-21, and More." I will just provide his introduction, as written at the website: Jim Hasik joined me on the Acquisition Talk podcast to discuss a wide range of topics. He was a former naval officer and long time industry consultant, now with the Center for Government Contracting at GMU and Renaissance Strategic Advisers. During the episode, I ask Jim to reflect on why the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at James Hasik
Rather than mandating that women register, just terminate that useless practice. As the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service continues its work, I need to repost an updated version of an essay I wrote a few years ago for the Atlantic Council. I had thought that the commission was effectively bereft of military arguments for its work, when I saw that its webpage now talks about "Strengthening American Democracy Through Service.” That sounds like a solution in search of a problem. The commission’s own interim report notes that “young Americans' interest in service is evident given their appetite... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2019 at James Hasik
Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal contained, as a rather interesting two-page spread, a brief oral history of Sears Roebuck, the iconic American department store that has been circling the drain since perhaps the mid-1990s. (See Suzanne Kapner, “Sears: How it Lost the American Shopper,” WSJ, 16–17 March 2019, pp. B1 & B6-B7.) Some of the interviewees therein insisted that Sears was actually not long-fated to failure, but the first comments in the chain from a former chief executive are telling about Sears’ perceived prospects back then: Arthur Martinez, a former Saks Fifth Avenue executive, ran the Sears Merchandise Group from... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2019 at James Hasik
A week ago this past Friday, I attended the Wharton Aerospace Conference, an annual, Chatham-House-Rule, by-invitation confab amongst executives, strategists, financiers, advisors, and other enthusiasts in the industry. For the past fifteen years or so, the event has been organized as a part-time avocation by its founders, Michael Langman, currently of Thales, and Ellen Chang, lately of BMNT. If you get an invitation, go. It's that good. This year’s panel discussion on mergers & acquisitions (organized by Steve Grundman, of the Atlantic Council) provided me a useful reminder of how governmental and industrial viewpoints differ. After the four panelists provided... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2019 at James Hasik
My breakfast yesterday morning came courtesy of the Atlantic Council, at its occasional Corporate Strategy Forum, a Chatham-House-Rule discussion amongst about two dozen former defense officials, current defense industry executives, business advisors, and investment managers. If you ever receive an invitation to speak or just attend, by all means go—these events are excellent. This week’s topic of discussion was “Innovation at the Department of Defense”—is the Pentagon getting enough, fast enough, and of the right kinds? I cannot say who said what, of course, but I can relate an intriguing idea about failed offsets. Steve Grundman, the Lund Fellow in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2019 at James Hasik
“Boeing, for the first time, has reached offshore to develop a military aircraft specifically intended for sale globally.” So starts Graham Warwick’s article on the “Loyal Wingman” drone this past week for Aviation Week & Space Technology. Robin Laird similarly covered the development for Breaking Defense. The program was announced at the biennial Avalon Airshow in Australia, but the company is not just currying local favor, and simply aiming to sell the new plane to the RAAF. That customer is discerning, but not big enough to absorb such a program on its own. Boeing is rather seeking, as Warwick writes,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2019 at James Hasik
“How do you set-up a fair competition between existing and clean-sheet aircraft?” That was the question that Steve Trimble of Aviation Week & Space Technology asked last week in his article about “With USAF T-X Award, Boeing Seizes a Trio of Contracts” (27 September 2018). Boeing and Saab won the T-X trainer jet competition with their clean-sheet design; two other teams—Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries, and Leonardo and CAE—had missed with already-proven aircraft. Fairness, however, is not my foremost concern with this award of competition, and it’s not even what I think that Steve meant. What interests me in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at James Hasik
As a matter of professional avocation, I call myself a political economist of international security. In that sense, I rely on economics for answering political questions related to the material requirements of peace and war. Not everyone does these days: the White House has been repeatedly signaling that no one in the building actually shares my appreciation for that discipline, and particularly with respect to international matters. Even so, we cannot blame all tomfoolery in trade on Mr. Trump and the odd cabal of advisors around him. We have been living with the Jones Act since 1920, and it is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2018 at James Hasik
I arrived home one day last week to find that this month’s issue (August 2018) of Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institutehad been slipped through my mail slot. After I spent a few moments reading the table of contents, I flipped back to Nick Nethery’s essay “Prepare to Fight in Megacities,” which begins thus— There are at least 35 megacities—or “dense urban areas” in doctrinal terms—in the world, most of them adjacent to littorals. Lagos, Nigeria; Mumbai, India; and Seoul, South Korea; to name just three, are among the many that also sit in active or potential conflict zones. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2018 at James Hasik
As a political economist, my morning trip through the newspaper (I prefer the Wall Street Journal, by the way) seems of late to elicit almost daily outrage. Wednesday brought the headline “Trump Offers Trade Aid to Farmers” (Vivian Salama and Jacob Bunge, 25 July 2018). The Trump Administration’s escalating “trade war” with a host of nations around the world is reducing American agricultural exports, and particularly from states whose electors voted for Trump. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke Tuesday of providing $12 billion in emergency bailout funds that would not require separate Congressional authorization or appropriation—and which would in turn... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2018 at James Hasik
In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady asks “Is Canada a National Security Risk?” That’s the inescapable question posed by Donald Trump’s announcement this past week that he would use Section 232 of the oddly-named Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. In a pair of essays last spring, I analyzed the Trump Administration’s then-mooted plans economically. With “Is Imported Steel a Threat to American National Security?” (10 May 2017) and “Is Imported Aluminum a Threat to American National Security?” (15 June 2017), I argued... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2018 at James Hasik
Amongst the more notable items in the Trump Administration’s recently released military spending plans for the next several years was termination of the Air Force’s plan to recapitalize its JSTARS fleet. The seventeen E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, stationed at Robbins Air Force Base, are flown by both the regular Air Force and the Georgia Air National Guard, and their service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War was the stuff of legend. The Air Force, however, started floating the cancellation idea rather firmly this past autumn. Colin Clark of Breaking Defense reported from the Air Force Association... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2018 at James Hasik
The order of the titles of the Wall Street Journal’s articles explains the problem well. “Bombardier Nearing Joint Venture with Airbus for C-Series Jet Business, Sources Say,” the team wrote last night, and then confirmed this morning. Closely following was “Airbus Secures Canadian Wingman in Dogfight With Boeing,” and then “Boeing’s Bombardier Fight Blows Up in Its Face.” Aviation Week called the combination “industry-shaking.” Granted, the rumors started early in the year, but it took Boeing’s railing against Bombardier’s subsidy from the Canadian federal government to induce this deal. Omitted from the all the analysis, however, is the effect on... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2017 at James Hasik
Early this month, Congressional appropriators decided to trim this year’s development budget for Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider bomber from $1.358 billion to $1.338 billion. The $20 million reduction, which constitutes about 1.5 percent of that year’s funding, was justified in legislative documents by two words: “forward funding”. The language suggests that the money has already been sent, or will be sent later; it’s hard to know which. As secretive as the project remains, it’s hard to know much, which probably explains why I’ve been writing about it so much. While visiting Northrop the other day, a friend at the company... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at James Hasik
“Trump’s recent executive order on federal procurement could restrain the flow of good ideas into the American armed forces.” I am reposting, almost immediately, the essay I have just written for the Atlantic Council’s Defense Industrialist blog. While we have seen many essays over the past few months about the economic importance of the immigration into the United States, I believe that officialdom and the commentariat alike could use to read one specifically about its military importance too. ————— Donald Trump’s executive order on buying American and hiring American both ballyhooed and verbally bombarded. On Breaking Defense a day in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at James Hasik
On this business of Carrier’s factories in Indiana, and the dreadful signal it sends to defense contractors When President-elect Trump and Senator Sanders team up on both economic and military policy, I have reason to be wary. Last weekend, Roberta Rampton reported for Reuters how The Bern asked The Donald to “use defense contracts as leverage for Carrier jobs.” The manufacturer of air conditioners is but one division of United Technologies, which also sells billions of dollars in aircraft parts through UTC Aerospace Systems, and billions in jet engines through Pratt & Whitney. Much of these go to air lines,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at James Hasik
At the conclusion of an unconventional but brilliant campaign, Donald Trump has effected, in terms he might appreciate, a hostile takeover of the executive branch of the United States federal government. In that campaign, he repeatedly promised to move swiftly towards administrative change, perhaps in a hundred-day campaign. There is reason to move out smartly. As Paul Ryan wrote in A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America, enemies and adversaries are “moving at the speed of broadband, so we cannot move at the speed of bureaucracy.” Rather, as the Speaker said the day after the election, with majorities... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at James Hasik
After the CSIS’s event on 23 September about “Future Vertical Lift: Insights from the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator,” Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners related in a research note how One point raised during the discussion was whether Future Vertical Lift should be modeled along the lines of the F-35. This could entail multi-national involvement in development of helicopters to replace medium lift and attack variants. A Joint Vertical Future aircraft (JVF)? It’s always an appealing idea, spreading development costs across multiple countries, and then spreading the fixed elements of sustainment costs across a huge multinational fleet. Besides, as a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2016 at James Hasik
Two years ago this week, a former Army acquisition official wrote to me in exasperation at the apparent disconnect between the acquisition under secretary’s “better buying power” guidance for procurement strategy, and the bureaucracy’s misapplication of it: As [Under Secretary Frank] Kendall describes it, “define best value, so industry knows what we are willing to pay for the increased performance. [We need to] give industry a reason to be innovative, to bid above the threshold”… [But] how does this reconcile with what appears to be an enormous prevalence for LPTA acquisition? I've seen multi-million dollar requirements go to the winner... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at James Hasik
I was hoping that the madness would stop, and perhaps it has. As Marjorie Censer reports for Inside Defense, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has sustained a pre-award protest by both Booz Allen Hamilton and CACI against the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in its ENCORE III solicitation. That is, the GAO has told DISA—even before a contract was awarded—that its use of a lowest-price, technically-acceptable (LPTA) set of selection criteria could not “provide a reasonable basis for comparing the cost of competing proposals”. The auditors put it this way: First, although the RFP contemplates awarding some portion of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2016 at James Hasik
At the instigation of a friend, I took the time last week to read the longish essay from the Union on Concerned Scientists Shielded from Oversight: The Disastrous US Approach to Strategic Missile Defense. As he put it in forwarding me the link, their primary criticism seems to be the MDA's failure—because it had been waived—to follow the proceduralism of the DoD 5000-series in developing and fielding its missile defense system for North America. [See especially page 10.] But the 5000 is hardly a proper approach, and is thus something of a strawman in the report. Further, [developmental and operational... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at James Hasik
Why do countries have air forces? Or, why do all air forces seem to wear light blue uniforms? My paper on this question has just been published by Defense and Security Analysis, under the very academic title “Mimetic and Normative Isomorphism in the Establishment and Maintenance of Independent Air Forces” (September 2016, vol. 32., no. 3). Here’s the abstract: Organizational alternatives, such as maintaining separate air arms for the army and navy, have become quite rare. The conventional narrative advanced by advocates of independent air forces stress that the primacy of airpower in modern warfare mandates centralized control of most... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2016 at James Hasik
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 program manager, testified that his office was staffed with the full-time equivalent of 2,590 people—military, civil service, and contractors—at an annual cost of $70 million. In response, Senator John McCain offered that “that information that I have is it's nearly 3,000 [staff] and the cost is $300 million a year. But $70 million a year to run an office is pretty disturbing.” Whether the number is 2,590 or 3,000, the fully-loaded cost certainly isn’t $70 million. Bogdan’s lower staffing and cost figures would work out to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2016 at James Hasik
I want to take a moment to call attention to the nominee for chief of staff of the US Air Force—General David Goldfein. The general, who is currently the vice chief of staff, led US Air Forces Central for nearly two years, and prior to that, spent two years directing operations for Air Combat Command. His combat experience, however, is about more than planning and commanding. He’s actually one of very few serving American pilots who have been shot down in combat. During the 1999 Kosovo War, then-Lt. Col. Goldfein commanded the 555th Fighter Squadron (the Triple Nickel), a unit... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at James Hasik
Writing in Forbes last week, editorialist Loren Thompson assailed Airbus with his essay “How The U.S. Government Helped Kill 4,000 Jobs This Week At Boeing.” According to Boeing commercial airplanes chief Ray Conner, Thompson writes, the “single-aisle 737, the biggest contributor to company earnings, is under siege from the rival A320, and losing many competitions.” Boeing has thus resolved to get more efficient about building its 737s, and designing the follow-on, with fewer labor hours going into each task. One can imagine that certain factions at Boeing, including its labor unions, might prefer a less efficient company, sheltered by legislative... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at James Hasik