The Insider

By Jaspreet Gill
June 15, 2021 at 4:50 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) today released the full committee and subcommittee mark-up schedule for the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021:

10:00 a.m. -- Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems (Room 2118 and WebEx)

12:00 p.m. -- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces (Room 2118 and WebEx)

2:00 p.m. -- Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces (Room 2118 and WebEx)

3:30 p.m. -- Subcommittee on Military Personnel (Room 2118 and WebEx)

Thursday, July 29, 2021:

10:00 a.m. -- Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces (Room 2118 and WebEx)

12:00 p.m. -- Subcommittee on Readiness (Room 2118 and WebEx)

2:00 p.m. -- Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations (Room 2118 and WebEx)

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021:

10:00 a.m. -- Full committee markup (Room TBA and WebEx)

By Aidan Quigley
June 15, 2021 at 2:43 PM

Two Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would hold half of the Defense Department's cost assessment and program evaluation office budget until the Navy executes a block-buy contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries for four amphibious ships.

House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (VA) and Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS) introduced the legislation Monday that holds the CAPE funding until the service executes the block-buy contract for three LPD-class amphibious transport docks and one LHA-class landing helicopter assault vessel.

Acting Navy chief acquisition executive Frederick Stefany said last week that the Navy has a "handshake agreement" with HII for the block buy but is unlikely to execute the contract. He said Navy leadership wants to conduct a force assessment during its fiscal year 2023 budget review before executing the contract.

"The commitment of four ships at once, they would like to defer that commitment until they are able to do that force structure assessment," Stefany said. "Right now, indicators are we will not be able to execute that, but it's not a done deal, it's going through the process within the department for a final decision."

Wittman said in a statement Monday that the bundled procurement would save the government $720 million.

"The Navy still wants these ships and has signaled they will build them -- but thanks to the Administration wanting their fingerprints on everything, we are sitting on our hands and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in savings," he said. "This is unacceptable."

By John Liang
June 15, 2021 at 1:38 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on NATO's cyber defense policy and more.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke with the media this morning during a virtual Defense Writers Group event:

NATO members endorse new cyber defense policy

President Biden and leaders from the 30 nations that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization endorsed a new cyber defense policy Monday that calls for invoking its self-defense clause against cyberattacks from adversaries on a "case-by-case basis."

Inside Defense recently interviewed Kevin Mills, associate director for ground vehicle robotics at the Ground Vehicle Systems Center:

Army developing common software to control ground robots

The Army is developing a common robotic controller software that should make it easier for soldiers to operate a bevy of robots on the future battlefield, according to officials from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center.

A new report released this week is the latest effort by the National Defense Industrial Association to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the defense industrial base:

NDIA: One-third of contractors surveyed said business won't return to normal for months

The National Defense Industrial Association, in its latest survey of the defense industrial base, found that nearly 32% of defense contractors do not expect their businesses to return to a normal level of operations for more than six months.

The $2.2 billion meant to help pay for a southern border wall will be returned to fund 66 military construction projects that former President Trump ordered deferred:

White House restoring $2.2B in military construction funds Trump diverted to border wall

The White House announced today it would restore $2.2 billion in remaining unobligated military construction funds former President Trump previously redirected to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without the approval of Congress.

Document: DOD memo on redirecting border wall money

Lockheed Martin expects to deliver up to 139 Joint Strike Fighter jets this year:

Lockheed, JPO finalizing post-COVID F-35 delivery plans as part of production contract negotiations

FORT WORTH, TX -- As Lockheed Martin and the F-35 joint program office continue negotiations for the next production contract, the company is looking to smooth out delivery quantities and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Marjorie Censer
June 15, 2021 at 11:50 AM

Huntington Ingalls Industries said today it has named Ashutosh Gokhale chief financial officer for its technical solutions division.

He succeeds Billy Jahn, who will retire on July 9. In his new role, Gokhale “will be responsible for all financial management and business management functions in Technical Solutions.”

He joins HII from Maximus, where he has worked since 2007. Most recently, he was chief financial officer of Maximus’ federal services division.

By Marjorie Censer
June 15, 2021 at 9:46 AM

AeroVironment said today it has relocated its corporate headquarters from Simi Valley, CA to Arlington, VA.

In a statement, Wahid Nawabi, the company’s chief executive, said many of AeroVironment’s key customers are located in the Washington, DC area.

“[E]xpanding our presence in the region will further our access to decision makers, influencers and talent,” he said.

AeroVironment said it will maintain its existing operations in Simi Valley.

By John Liang
June 14, 2021 at 2:02 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the effects of COVID-19 on the defense industrial base and more.

A new report released today is the latest effort by the National Defense Industrial Association to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the defense industrial base:

NDIA: One-third of contractors surveyed said business won't return to normal for months

The National Defense Industrial Association, in its latest survey of the defense industrial base, found that nearly 32% of defense contractors do not expect their businesses to return to a normal level of operations for more than six months.

The $2.2 billion meant to help pay for a southern border wall will fund 66 military construction projects that former President Trump ordered deferred in 11 states, three territories and 16 countries:

White House restoring $2.2B in military construction funds Trump diverted to border wall

The White House announced today it would restore $2.2 billion in remaining unobligated military construction funds former President Trump previously redirected to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without the approval of Congress.

Document: DOD memo on redirecting border wall money

Lockheed Martin expects to deliver between 133 and 139 Joint Strike Fighter jets this year, 19 more than in 2020:

Lockheed, JPO finalizing post-COVID F-35 delivery plans as part of production contract negotiations

FORT WORTH, TX -- As Lockheed Martin and the F-35 joint program office continue negotiations for the next production contract, the company is looking to smooth out delivery quantities and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has sent lawmakers a 13-project wish list totaling $889 million "critical for deterring China's decision calculus" not funded in the Pentagon's $715 billion spending proposal:

INDOPACOM ranks additional funding for Guam defense system, Hawaii missile defense radar on FY-22 wish list

The head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is seeking full funding in fiscal year 2022 for a new Guam missile defense system -- arguing the project requires an additional $231.7 million beyond the Missile Defense Agency's request of $118.3 million -- as well as advocating for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, which MDA declined to resource in its annual spending request for a second consecutive year.

Document: COCOMs' FY-22 unfunded priorities lists

The defense industry is generally supportive of more informative post-award debriefings for contractors:

DOD unveils new enhanced debriefing rule

The Pentagon last month proposed amending defense federal acquisition regulations to enhance contractors' post-award debriefing rights, a move welcomed by contractors.

By Courtney Albon
June 14, 2021 at 1:44 PM

The Space Force this weekend launched a space domain awareness satellite from an aircraft -- its first tactically responsive space launch mission and the first capability supported in partnership with its new Space Safari program office.

The technology demonstration mission, TacRL-2, took off Sunday from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, on Northrop Grumman's Pegasus commercial space launch vehicle. The three-stage, air-launched rocket was carried aboard the company's modified Stargazer aircraft and released into low Earth orbit.

The launch was managed by the small launch and targets division as well as a new organization within the Space and Missile Systems Center's special programs directorate, Space Safari. Modeled off the Air Force's Big Safari office, Space Safari aims to quickly integrate mature technology to meet specialized needs.

In a press release this weekend, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said the effort was initiated about a year ago when he challenged SMC to demonstrate a responsive launch capability. The team was able to cut the normal timeline from two years to 11 months.

"With this effort, we demonstrated the kind of speed it will take to win," Raymond said. "We executed a '21-day call-up' to get a satellite on orbit -- pulling the payload, mating it with the rocket and integrating the combined package onto the aircraft. Agile, responsive capability development, combined with our ability to rapidly launch and insert capabilities into space where we want, when we want, will deny our competitors the perceived benefits of beginning a conflict in, or extending a conflict to, space."

Space Safari plans to take the lessons it learned from this mission to support future responsive space launch efforts slated for 2022 and 2023.

The satellite itself was built by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space Dynamics Laboratory.

By Marjorie Censer
June 14, 2021 at 9:42 AM

Fincantieri Marinette Marne said this month it has named Mark Vandroff the company's new chief executive, effective July 7.

Vandroff previously was in the company's Washington, DC office, where he was senior vice president of business development.

He succeeds Jan Allman, who will serve as CEO until July 7 and then be promoted to Fincantieri Marine Group's senior vice president for public affairs and community relations.

Vandroff, before working for Fincantieri, was senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council staff during the Trump administration.

By Tony Bertuca
June 14, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials will testify on Capitol Hill this week about the fiscal year 2022 defense budget request.

Tuesday

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Navy budget.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on the missile defense budget.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Army budget.

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee holds a hearing on Army modernization.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Air Force budget.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing to consider several Pentagon nominees.

The Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on U.S. nuclear deterrence policy.

Thursday

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Pentagon budget with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

The House Armed Services seapower and projections forces subcommittee holds a hearing on the seapower and projection forces budget.

KBR is slated to participate in a UBS space summit.

Friday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on the future of the U.S. defense industrial base.

By Tony Bertuca
June 11, 2021 at 3:49 PM

The Defense Department announced today a new $150 million military aid package for Ukraine.

The package includes "training, equipment, and advisory efforts to help Ukraine's forces preserve the country's territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO," according to DOD.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters today the equipment in the package includes systems to counter unmanned aerial systems, secure communications technology and two counter-artillery radar systems.

The new package complements $125 million in military aid DOD announced for Ukraine in March that "included armed Mark VI patrol boats, counter-artillery radars, tactical equipment, support for a satellite imagery and analysis capability, and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures," according to DOD.

Meanwhile, DOD "encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms" that, among other things, would "better align Ukraine's defense enterprise with the core NATO principle of democratic civilian control of the military."

The United States, DOD said, has committed more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014.

By John Liang
June 11, 2021 at 2:05 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's fiscal year 2022 budget topline and more.

We start off with the Pentagon's top civilian and uniformed officials testifying on the FY-22 budget request this week:

Austin and Milley questioned on budget topline, PDI and aircraft cuts

The Pentagon's top leaders fielded questions and took some criticism today from senators concerned about defense spending and whether the U.S. military is appropriately postured to deter China.

Document: Senate hearing on the FY-22 defense budget

The defense industry is generally supportive of more informative post-award debriefings for contractors:

DOD unveils new enhanced debriefing rule

The Pentagon last month proposed amending defense federal acquisition regulations to enhance contractors' post-award debriefing rights, a move welcomed by contractors.

A recent Army test event confirmed many of the service's beliefs about the possible advantages of an electric reconnaissance vehicle, including acoustic and thermal signature reduction:

eLRV soldier touch point draws 10 companies

Ten companies demonstrated their electric or hybrid-electric vehicle capabilities at an Army soldier touch point May 10-14 at Ft. Benning, GA, to help the service develop a plan for the electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, its first electric tactical vehicle.

The first of two next-generation Navy training helicopters have been delivered:

Leonardo Helicopters delivers first next-generation Navy TH-73A training helo

Leonardo Helicopters delivered the first next-generation TH-73A training helicopter to the Navy today, marking a significant step for a program which is Leonardo's first as a prime contractor.

Last but by no means least, some defense cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC body reveals first authorized organization cleared to conduct assessments for defense contractors

The first authorized, certified third-party assessment organization has entered the marketplace to conduct official audits for defense contractors who want to become certified under the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.

CMMC accreditation body looks to hire compliance director responsible for meeting terms of DOD contract

The independent accreditation body behind the Defense Department's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program is looking for an individual to serve as "Director of Security and Compliance," a new position created to liaise with the Pentagon on security matters and the latest move by the accreditation authority to transition to a full-time professional staff.

By Aidan Quigley
June 11, 2021 at 1:49 PM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) called President Biden’s Navy secretary selection Carlos Del Toro an "excellent choice" to lead the service.

In a Friday statement, Reed said Del Toro, the president of SBG Technology Solutions and a former destroyer commanding officer has a distinguished record as “a Naval officer, White House fellow, entrepreneur and tech CEO."

“We must strengthen the readiness and capacity of the Navy and Marine Corps,” Reed said. “Carlos Del Toro is uniquely well-qualified to address these challenges and help steer the Navy and Marine Corps in the right direction.

Del Toro, a Naval Academy graduate, served as the commanding officer for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Bulkeley (DDG 84) from 1999 to 2001, according to his LinkedIn page.

He also worked in the Office of Management and Budget and as a senior military assistant for the Defense Department before founding SBG Technology, an engineering and consulting firm, in 2004.

Media reports Friday morning pointed to Del Toro as the Biden administration’s choice for the position.

By Marjorie Censer
June 11, 2021 at 1:22 PM

Parsons said this week it has agreed to acquire BlackHorse Solutions in a deal worth $203 million.

The Herndon, VA-based BlackHorse was founded in 2018 and specializes in cyber, digital operations, artificial intelligence and full-spectrum operations.

"Parsons' acquisition of BlackHorse expands the company's proven solutions and products that address next-generation military, intelligence, and space operations," the company said. "BlackHorse will be integrated into Parsons' federal solutions business segment, adding nearly two hundred employees, the predominance of which hold high-level security clearances."

In 2022, BlackHorse is expected to generate sales of about $100 million. The deal is slated to close next month.

By John Liang
June 10, 2021 at 1:48 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on missile defense funding, the Air Force's B-52 bomber engine replacement program and more.

We start off with news on the Missile Defense Agency's latest unfunded priorities list:

MDA's FY-22 wish list smallest to date; would fund interceptors, hypersonic and cruise missile defense projects

The Missile Defense Agency has provided Congress a $367 million wish list to finance eight projects above and beyond the agency's $8.9 billion fiscal year 2022 budget request, additional undertakings that -- if funded -- would increase Standard Missile-3 Block IIA and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor procurement, hypersonic defense funding and support a project to better defend the National Capital Region from cruise missile attack.

More missile defense news:

Biden administration missile defense review launch 'imminent'

The Pentagon is readying to launch in the next couple of weeks an examination of the mix of missile defense capabilities the Biden administration believes the U.S. military requires, but it's not clear yet whether the final product will be a stand-alone volume or folded into a larger defense strategic assessment, a senior official told lawmakers.

Keep an eye on the Air Force's B-52 engine replacement effort:

Air Force aims for B-52 CERP down-select in September following technical risk assessment this summer

The Air Force is progressing toward a down-select decision for the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program, with plans to award a contract in September following a technical risk assessment and cost estimate review this summer.

The Defense Department this week submitted its first package of proposals for the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill:

Army says multiyear Black Hawk procurement could produce $361.8M in savings

The Army has sent Congress a legislative proposal asking to use a multiyear contract to buy UH/HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters beginning next fiscal year that could produce significant savings for the service.

Document: DOD's first package of FY-22 legislative proposals

North American Aerospace Defense Command also sent lawmakers an unfunded priorities list of its own:

NORAD eyes additional FY-22 funding for cruise missile defense elevated sensors, Arctic pLEO communications

The head of the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command has outlined for Congress a trio of unfunded fiscal year 2022 elevated sensor projects aimed at improving the U.S. and Canada's ability to defend domestic targets against advanced Russian and Chinese subsonic and hypersonic cruise missiles as well as maritime surface threats.

Document: COCOMs' FY-22 unfunded priorities lists

By Marjorie Censer
June 10, 2021 at 11:24 AM

The chief financial officer of Lockheed Martin said this week the company benefited from congressional additions to the fiscal year 2021 budget and will be watching the FY-22 process.

Speaking at a virtual UBS conference, Ken Possenriede noted Lockheed "got an additional 17 F-35s" out of the FY-21 appropriations process. The company also saw nine C-130Js added that year, he said.

"Will history repeat itself?" he asked.

"The process may change a little bit, but I do think . . . there will be a demand for some of our portfolio," Possenriede told analysts. "Not sure I know what that will be at this time, but it would not surprise me to see, based on this budget, there will be congressional adds."