Defense Business Briefing -- Oct. 12, 2021

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

This week's top story

Key DOD tech nominee would check for 'undue bias' toward prime contractors

The nominee tapped for a senior Pentagon technology post told lawmakers today he will work to increase the participation of commercial companies in defense acquisition and, if confirmed, is planning to review the department’s current prototyping strategy and processes for any “undue bias” favoring large, traditional defense contractors.

News & notes

Pratt & Whitney targets 36% cost reduction on first F135 scheduled maintenance visit

MIDDLETOWN, CT -- The F-35 program is approaching its first wave of scheduled engine maintenance in 2023, and in preparation, engine-maker Pratt & Whitney is readying its architecture and processes for what the company views as a test of whether the engine sustainment enterprise is positioned to maintain readiness as it takes on additional workload.

Industry sees Air Force weighing future threats as it considers potential MQ-9 follow-ons

Following two requests for information tied to a potential replacement for the MQ-9 Reaper, some in the defense industry say the Air Force is training an eye on future threats and prioritizing survivability as officials continue to weigh their options.

GM Defense watching cuts to JLTV follow-on contract

GM Defense remains interested in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on contract after the Army announced it would buy 40% fewer vehicles than initially planned, but the company is paying attention to the changing economics of producing the vehicle, according to Steve duMont, GM Defense’s president.

Austin says debt default would risk national security

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Congress would damage U.S. national security, military families, and countless federal contractors if it allows the nation to default on its debt.

Promotions & appointments

Lockheed space exec Ambrose to retire 

Lockheed Martin announced that Space Executive Vice President Richard Ambrose will retire, effective March 1, 2022.

What's happening

The week ahead

The annual Association of the United States Army conference is being held in Washington this week.

For Inside Defense subscribers

Wormuth: Army must 'ruthlessly prioritize' to avoid becoming a 'bill-payer' for other services

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has acknowledged the tensions between the Army and other the U.S. military services as the Pentagon is structuring its multiyear budget strategy, especially since deterring the "pacing threat" of China means accepting geographic realities in the Indo-Pacific region.

Army RCV experiment to include General Dynamics prototypes

Four prototypes of the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium from General Dynamics Land Systems will participate in a soldier operational experiment at Ft. Hood, TX, next year, a spokesman for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team told Inside Defense Oct. 5.

Del Toro's strategic guidance warns of China threat, supports modernization

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro echoed familiar themes in his first strategic guidance released last week, identifying countering China as the service’s top priority while also stating he is focused on improving the Navy’s culture and working to address climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOD to leverage 'procurement power' to address climate change

A top Pentagon energy official, discussing a newly released Climate Adaptation Plan, said the department intends to use its vast procurement power to address the impacts of climate change, specifically with greenhouse gas emissions in the defense supply chain.