The Insider

October 20, 2017 -- 2:02 PM

A slew of Air Force news dominates this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Air Force is asking for more money for the AOC Pathfinder program:

DOD plans new reprogramming request for AOC pathfinder

The Air Force plans to send Congress another reprogramming request to fund the Air Operations Center Weapon System pathfinder, after a previous request was deferred and ultimately expired this fall.

The Air Force wants to increase the number of space intelligence officers:

Air Force crafts plan to boost space intel support as it preps for future conflict

Air Force Space Command is working to increase the level of intelligence support provided to its space operators by increasing its cadre of intelligence officers, making it easier to access critical information and improving its capacity to process data.

Keep an eye out for the Air Force validating the GPS ground control segment's Block 0 launch and checkout system next month:

Raytheon delivers OCX Block 0, Air Force expects to validate in November

Raytheon delivered the next-generation GPS ground control segment's Block 0 launch and checkout system to the Air Force late last month, the service confirmed this week.

The Air Force is figuring out the next steps for its battle management and command-and-control missions:

ACC finishing AWACS initial capabilities document to prepare for ABMS AOA

An Air Force Air Combat Command spokeswoman said this week the command is laying the groundwork for an Advanced Battle Management System analysis of alternatives to decide a way forward for the service's battle management and command-and-control missions.

Multidomain command and control is getting increased attention by the Air Force:

Air Force eyes ways to ingrain MDC2 into personnel structure

The Air Force will experiment with the idea of replicating parts of its air warfare organization across cyber and space, as part of the service's ongoing study of multidomain command and control.

The Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office could be getting more acquisition authority:

Air Force to apply RCO authorities to other major programs

A new Air Force charter would seek to apply procurement authorities granted to the Rapid Capabilities Office to other high-priority programs, expanding the service's ability to streamline the acquisition process and field new capabilities more quickly.

October 20, 2017 -- 12:01 PM

The Air Force now expects to award a contract for its next-generation trainer next spring.

The service's original schedule called for a T-X contract before the end of this year, but Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch confirmed to reporters Oct. 17 the award date has slipped to spring 2018.

Bunch did not provide a reason for the delay but said it will not impact other program milestones. The service plans to buy 350 advanced trainers to replace its aging T-38 fleet.

Three industry teams are competing: Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries; Boeing and Saab; and Leonardo.

October 20, 2017 -- 10:10 AM

Some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Air Force:

1. The Air Force plans to send Congress another reprogramming request to fund the Air Operations Center Weapon System pathfinder, after a previous request was deferred and ultimately expired this fall.

Full story: DOD plans new reprogramming request for AOC pathfinder

2. Air Force Space Command is working to increase the level of intelligence support provided to its space operators by increasing its cadre of intelligence officers, making it easier to access critical information and improving its capacity to process data.

Full story: USAF crafts plan to boost space intel support as it preps for future conflict

3. Raytheon delivered the next-generation GPS ground control segment's Block 0 launch and checkout system to the Air Force late last month, the service confirmed this week.

Full story: Raytheon delivers OCX Block 0, Air Force expects to validate in November

4. An Air Force Air Combat Command spokeswoman said this week the command is laying the groundwork for an Advanced Battle Management System analysis of alternatives to decide a way forward for the service's battle management and command-and-control missions.

Full story: ACC finishing AWACS initial capabilities document to prepare for ABMS AOA

October 20, 2017 -- 9:39 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton said today it has agreed to acquire cybersecurity firm Morphick.

The deal is meant to expand Booz Allen's managed security portfolio and improve its ability to counter advanced cyber threats, the contractor said.

Morphick's “platform, which analyzes the motivation and actions of attackers to thwart their attacks, assists companies in mitigating the challenges of the shortage of skilled cyber professionals and limitations of traditional, static defenses,” Booz Allen said, noting the deal bolsters the company's commercial strategy.

Morphick, based in Blue Ash, OH, has about 40 employees. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

October 19, 2017 -- 6:33 PM

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will travel to Texas next week to tour Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production line, according to the Defense Department.

The three officials will travel to the Fort Worth, TX, facility on Oct. 23 to tour the F-35 production line and speak with employees who build the aircraft, according to Cmdr. Sarah Higgins, a spokeswoman for Shanahan.

"This trip is an opportunity to engage firsthand with Lockheed Martin, the F-35 prime contractor, to discuss product performance, affordability and the important role defense contractors play in creating a more lethal force," Higgins told Inside Defense.

The senior DOD delegation's visit comes at something of an inflection point for the F-35 program. As previously reported by Inside Defense, F-35 Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter plans to seek approval for a new follow-on modernization strategy by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, DOD was set to start a yearlong deep dive into the cost of the JSF on Oct. 1. Officials are expected to work with prime and sub-tier suppliers to inject more competition and affordability into the Pentagon's most expensive program.

October 19, 2017 -- 3:14 PM

The science and technology community must communicate more effectively with Navy program offices to speed prototype integration, according to a service official.

William Bray, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, testing and evaluation, who took up his post less than two months ago, said integration is difficult if program offices are not prepared in advance to receive those prototypes.

"If a component needs to go into a program -- prototyping a specific piece of hardware -- you have to be able to connect that piece to where it needs to land," Bray told attendees at an open architecture summit in Washington.

"If the program office is not there to land it and integrate it, or is not prepared or doesn’t have an open system to do that, it's going to be very hard to integrate," he said.

October 19, 2017 -- 1:41 PM

DOD cyber news leads off this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest, along with a draft RFP for a new polar icebreaker, industry news and NATO missile defense.

Senate lawmakers held a hearing this morning on defending against cyberattacks:

Pentagon pushes back on McCain's new cyber doctrine

The Pentagon is pushing back against Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain’s (R-AZ) effort to make the military more responsible for responding to cyberattacks against the United States, with a senior Defense Department official arguing it would distract DOD and upset the balance of civil-military authorities.

Document: Senate hearing on cybersecurity


More DOD cyber news:

U.S. Cyber Command awards first contract

U.S. Cyber Command made first use of its new acquisition authority last month, inking a contract worth just over half a million dollars with Gartner Inc. for research and executive advisory assistance.

DOD cyber official says WannaCry attack showed vulnerabilities in military supply-chain

The Defense Department's top cybersecurity official said the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year highlighted the military's dependence on third-party suppliers which creates cyber risks that are being dealt with through acquisition rules going into effect later this year.

A draft RFP for a new polar icebreaker is out:

Navy, Coast Guard seek final tweaks for potential $2.5B icebreaker program in FY-19

The Navy and Coast Guard are readying a once-in-a-generation modernization project to build a new fleet of heavy polar icebreaker cutters, issuing a draft solicitation for a potential three-ship acquisition effort beginning in fiscal year 2019, a project that could -- according to one authoritative estimate -- cost at least $2.5 billion and comes after lawmakers voiced support for a six-ship fleet.

Document: Navy notice on draft RFP for Coast Guard icebreaker design, construction


Boeing is investing in an unmanned systems company:

Boeing HorizonX invests in autonomous flight company

Boeing said today HorizonX, its innovation cell, has invested in Near Earth Autonomy, which specializes in developing technologies to enable autonomous flight.

Missile defense news:

NATO missile defense fleet tackles supersonic threat

Ships from several NATO countries conducting an integrated air and missile defense exercise defended against a supersonic target in waters near Scotland Oct. 17, wrapping up a two-week effort to improve interoperability using alliance command-and-control reporting structures and datalink architecture, according to U.S. 6th Fleet.

October 19, 2017 -- 12:01 PM

More rapid fielding shouldn't mean extended reliance on contractors to service equipment in the field, a Marine Corps official said today.

Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson, assistant deputy commandant for combat development and integration, said at a conference in Washington he "absolutely" sees open architecture interoperability as a way to help the Marine Corps' Rapid Capabilities Office field technologies quicker.

But "what I don't want to have is something that goes to the field that doesn't go through acquisition and I get stuck with field service [representatives] forever," he said. "I can't afford that."

"What I need is a system that is integrated and that's what our acquisition process does," Nelson added.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller established the Rapid Capabilities Office last year to quickly experiment and field promising technologies.

October 19, 2017 -- 10:43 AM

Textron Systems said today sales in its most recent quarter reached $458 million, up $45 million from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company attributed the bolstered revenue to "higher volume in the Marine and Land Systems product line," but noted it saw lower sales of its weapons and sensors products.

The unit's quarterly profit reached $40 million, down $4 million from the same period the prior year.

October 19, 2017 -- 10:36 AM

Some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Pentagon:

1. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants House and Senate lawmakers to know he is opposed to several provisions in their versions of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill as they head into conference committee deliberations, according to an Oct. 17 letter sent to Capitol Hill and obtained by Inside Defense.

Full story: Mattis opposes several FY-18 defense policy bill measures

2. Raytheon interceptor successfully knocked down a ballistic missile target in a live-fire exercise over the weekend, setting the stage for the Missile Defense Agency to proceed with a long-delayed full-rate production decision of the weapon which is pivotal to U.S. plans to defend American forces and allies against North Korean and Iranian threats.

Full story: Raytheon's SM-3 Block IB intercepts target, paving way for potential mega contract

3. U.S. Cyber Command made first use of its new acquisition authority last month, inking a contract worth just over half a million dollars with Gartner Inc. for research and executive advisory assistance.

Full story: U.S. Cyber Command awards first contract

4. The Defense Department has tapped Lockheed Martin to begin integrating a low-power laser on a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, the first of a small number of contracts slated to be awarded this year to develop competing approaches for a potential precursor to an airborne laser capable of intercepting ballistic missiles during the boost-phase of flight.

Full story: DOD taps Lockheed to start new effort to develop airborne missile-defense laser

October 18, 2017 -- 1:54 PM

The SECDEF's "heartburn" letter on the FY-18 defense policy bill leads off this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside Defense has obtained Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' "heartburn letter" on the FY-18 defense policy bill:

Mattis opposes several defense policy bill measures

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants House and Senate lawmakers to know he is opposed to several provisions in their versions of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill as they head into conference committee deliberations, according to an Oct. 17 letter sent to Capitol Hill and obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Mattis' 'heartburn letter' to conferees on the FY-18 defense policy bill


We recently chatted with the Littoral Combat Ship program executive officer:

LCS official: Navy will apply Ghost Fleet lessons to UUV programs of record

The Navy will apply lessons learned from the Strategic Capabilities Office's Ghost Fleet project to the service's unmanned undersea vehicle programs, according to the Littoral Combat Ship program executive officer.

More Navy news:

Navy, Marine Corps intend to release Expeditionary Advanced Base Ops concept

The Navy and Marine Corps plan to release an Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept this fall that is subordinate to the Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment construct, according to a Marine Corps official.

SPAWAR preparing two RFPs and industry day for C4ISR network

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is preparing two requests for proposals for a program that manages command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) networks afloat, according to two Federal Business Opportunities notices posted last month.

Document: SPAWAR notices for C4ISR network RFPs and industry day


Analysts: Navy SeaPort-e proposal raises questions

As the Navy mulls over the next iteration of SeaPort-e, analysts say changes the service has proposed are raising questions of how some naval commands will fulfill their contracting needs going forward.

Document: Navy briefing slides on next-gen SeaPort-e


Stryker news:

2CR commander 'very happy' with role in Stryker lethality upgrade

The commander of the Europe-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment says his unit's participation in the Stryker lethality upgrade process has paid dividends.

Directed-energy news:

DOD taps Lockheed to start new effort to develop airborne missile-defense laser

The Defense Department has tapped Lockheed Martin to begin integrating a low-power laser on a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, the first of a small number of contracts slated to be awarded this year to develop competing approaches for a potential precursor to an airborne laser capable of intercepting ballistic missiles during the boost-phase of flight.

October 18, 2017 -- 11:10 AM

The Navy League has named James Bruns national executive director, beginning this week, the organization announced today.

Bruns spent six years as chief executive for the flagship museum of Naval History and Heritage Command, overseeing the 10 national Navy museums around the country, according to the Navy League.

He previously spent more than two decades at the Smithsonian Institution and is founding director of the National Postal Museum.

October 17, 2017 -- 9:00 PM

CSRA said today it has agreed to buy Praxis Engineering Technologies, an intelligence contractor, for $235 million in cash.

The Annapolis Junction, MD-based Praxis is a consulting firm focused on software and systems engineering applications, CSRA said. The company has more than 350 cleared employees, most of whom are software and systems engineers.

The acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year. Under the deal, Praxis would become a wholly owned subsidiary of CSRA.

October 17, 2017 -- 5:25 PM

The Air Force has nominated Maj. Gen. David Thompson to serve as deputy chief of staff for space superiority and to lead its new Space Operations Directorate.

If approved, Thompson would be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and would play a key role in the Air Force's effort to elevate and prioritize space warfighter requirements within the service.

Thompson is currently the deputy chief of Air Force Space command.

As House lawmakers push for a major reorganization across the Defense Department's space enterprise through the creation of a separate Space Corps, the Air Force has cited the newly created role, dubbed the A11, as a major step toward improving its focus in the domain.

"This is one more element of the plan to ensure our space forces are organized, trained and equipped to prevail in any conflict," Sec. Heather Wilson said in August when the service announced the creation of the new directorate.

Speaking of the A11 specifically, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in August, "the A11 will be key to ensuring we link combatant commander and service space requirements with our capabilities."

The organization will have an initial staff of 43 military, civilian and contractor space professionals.

October 17, 2017 -- 3:16 PM

Boeing said today Mark Cherry, president and chief operating officer at Aurora Flight Sciences, will lead its Phantom Works advanced technology organization within Boeing's defense business.

Cherry succeeds Darryl Davis, who led Phantom Works for a decade. Davis is now serving in a company-wide program management role, Boeing said.

Before joining Aurora, which Boeing announced earlier this month it plans to acquire, Cherry worked at United Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft, Teradyne and Boston Consulting Group.

Matthew Hutchison will succeed Cherry, according to Aurora.

Hutchison is Aurora's vice president for engineering. He helped create Athena Technologies, which was spun out from Aurora and sold to Rockwell Collins in 2008. Hutchison then led that company's unmanned aircraft systems and controls technologies business before rejoining Aurora in 2014.