Defense Business Briefing -- Oct. 20, 2020

Welcome to today's Defense Business Briefing, your weekly roundup of the latest defense industry news.

This week's top story

DOD watchdog investigating pandemic aid directed to defense contractors

The Defense Department inspector general has begun an investigation to determine whether the Pentagon acted appropriately when it spent hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief aid to prop up defense contractors.

News & notes

Leonardo DRS chief says company is readying for a flat budget

The chief executive of Leonardo DRS says the company expects a flat defense budget -- regardless of who wins next month's election.

Conley set to grow CTO office at Mercury Systems

The chief technology office created last year at Mercury Systems now has three employees and is slated to grow, according to the company's chief technology officer.

AM General CEO says new owner has manufacturing focus

The chief executive of AM General said the company's new private-equity owner has a background in manufacturing and is ready to make needed investments.

Tech industry seeks clarity on rollout of self-assessment under CMMC rule, timing to reach compliance

The Information Technology Industry Council is looking for details from the Defense Department on how the Pentagon will handle the implementation of DOD's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification based on an interim rule currently out for public comment.

NDIA asks Pentagon for details on CMMC pilot activities, guardrails around assessments

The National Defense Industrial Association is asking the Defense Department and the accreditation body behind its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program for additional guidance on issues ranging from the assessment process to costs for certification.

Appointments & promotions

Hooper joins the Cohen Group

The Cohen Group has hired retired Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper as a senior counselor.

Northrop names Jones to lead aeronautics systems

Northrop Grumman said Tom Jones will become head of its aeronautics systems business, effective Jan. 1.

What's happening

The week ahead

Several virtual events are scheduled this week featuring senior officials from government and industry, including earnings calls with large defense contractors.

For Inside Defense subscribers

New DOD pilot program to turn white hat hackers loose on defense contractor networks

The Pentagon will start a pilot program early next year allowing cybersecurity researchers to probe the networks of defense contractors for vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers.

AI Commission recommends Pentagon increase the powers of its chief technology officer

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence is advising Congress to beef up the authorities of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering to direct the Pentagon's technology strategy and investments.