The Insider

April 27, 2017 -- 4:15 PM

President Trump today called for a study "to determine the effects on national security of aluminum imports."

In a memo to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trump states:

Core industries such as steel, aluminum, vehicles, aircraft, shipbuilding, and semiconductors are critical elements of our manufacturing and defense industrial bases, which we must defend against unfair trade practices and other abuses.  In the case of aluminum, both the United States and global markets for aluminum products are distorted by large volumes of excess capacity -- much of which results from foreign government subsidies and other unfair practices. Efforts to work with other countries to reduce excess global overcapacity have not succeeded.

The artificially low prices caused by excess capacity and unfairly traded imports suppress profits in the American aluminum industry, which discourages long-term investment in the industry and hinders efforts by American aluminum producers to research and develop new and better grades of aluminum. If the present situation continues, it may place the American aluminum industry at risk by undermining the ability of American aluminum producers to continue investment, research, and development, and by reducing or eliminating the jobs needed to maintain a pool of skilled workers essential for the continued development of advanced aluminum manufacturing.

Consequently, Trump wants the Commerce Department to:

(a)  consider the domestic production of aluminum needed for projected national defense requirements; the capacity of domestic industries to meet such requirements; the existing and anticipated availabilities of the human resources, products, raw materials, and other supplies and services essential to the national defense; the requirements of growth of such industries and such supplies and services, including the investment, exploration, and development necessary to assure such growth; and the importation of goods in terms of their quantities, availabilities, character, and use as those affect such industries and the capacity of the United States to meet national security requirements;

(b)  recognize the close relation of the Nation's economic welfare to our national security, and consider the effect of foreign competition in the aluminum industry on the economic welfare of domestic industries;

(c)  consider any substantial unemployment, decrease in government revenues, loss of skills or investment, or other serious effects resulting from the displacement of any domestic products by excessive aluminum imports; and

(d)  consider the status and likely effectiveness of efforts of the United States to negotiate a reduction in the levels of excess aluminum capacity worldwide.

If Ross finds that aluminum "is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security, the Secretary shall . . . recommend actions and steps that should be taken to adjust aluminum imports so that they will not threaten to impair the national security," according to the memo.

In a similar memo issued last week, Trump directed the Commerce Department to study the effects of steel imports on national security.

April 27, 2017 -- 3:48 PM

Former Army Secretary Eric Fanning has joined McKinsey & Co. as a senior adviser.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fanning assumed the position, which is external to the company, in April 2017.

During his tenure, Fanning launched the Army's Rapid Capabilities Office, an initiative he discussed as early as his January 2016 nomination hearing. Introducing the RCO last August, Fanning said it was intended “to strip some of [the] unnecessary bureaucracy out of” the acquisition system.

Nominated to the Army's top civilian post in September 2015, Fanning served in an acting capacity before congressional opposition prompted him to step aside in favor of Under Secretary Patrick Murphy. Fanning ultimately was confirmed in May 2016.

He previously served in senior posts in the services and Defense Department, including under secretary and acting secretary of the Air Force, deputy under secretary of the Navy and chief of staff to the defense secretary.

April 27, 2017 -- 3:20 PM

SwitchPitch, a platform that connects big companies with startups, will host an event geared to the space industry next month.

SwitchPitch is based on the idea that it makes more sense for larger companies to pitch startups than to have startups try to predict established companies' needs. The group's first defense event, held last year in Arlington, VA, included BAE Systems, Elbit Systems of America and Harris.

The space industry event will be held in Long Beach, CA, May 3 and will draw NASA, the Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne, SwitchPitch said.

SwitchPitch and partner Glacier Point are also working with the Aerospace Industries Association on the event.

April 27, 2017 -- 2:46 PM

Marine Corps rapid prototyping efforts, defense contractor earnings, Quad A coverage and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Rapid prototyping could be the way forward for the Marine Corps:

Marines intend to reprogram funds to support rapid prototyping efforts

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, CA -- Facing tighter budgets and an ongoing continuing resolution, the Marine Corps is looking to reprogram funding and use prototyping to stretch their dollars, according to Navy and Marine Corps officials.

More defense contractor earnings news:

Raytheon, L3 report bolstered sales

Defense contractors Raytheon and L3 Technologies on Thursday reported their sales improved in the most recent quarter.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming Army Science Board study:

Advisory panel assessing readiness of U.S. forces to withstand nuclear strike and fight on

An influential Army advisory panel is assessing the readiness of ground forces to withstand a nuclear strike, specifically studying both the nuclear hardness and survivability requirements for the service's major weapon systems and the adequacy of testing facilities to verify the ability of tanks, helicopters and combat vehicles to withstand such an attack.

Document: ASB terms of reference memo for nuke hardening study

News from Quad A in Nashville:

Marion: Yearlong CR would halt ITEP, slow Future Vertical Lift

Ongoing funding instability is hurting critical modernization efforts for Army aviation, a service official said at an annual gathering here hosted by the Army Aviation Association of America.

McConville highlights challenges of future fight

The future success of Army aviation will depend on innovation not only in platforms, but in the service’s approach to warfare, according to a senior leader.

(Keep track of all of our Quad A coverage here.)

The CNO spoke this morning:

Navy to release future fleet vision

The Navy is finalizing a publication discussing the service's position on the composition and capability of its future fleet, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

News from today's Inside the Pentagon:

DOD's DT&E shop encourages tabletop exercises to focus cybersecurity efforts

The Pentagon's developmental test and evaluation shop plans to encourage programs to use tabletop exercises to help focus its cybersecurity efforts, according to the recently released annual DT&E report.

Document: DOD's FY-16 DT&E report

DBB technology task group expects to report findings in August

A new task group studying the impact of technology on the Defense Department workforce will present a briefing of its findings by August, the head of the group told the Defense Business Board during its recent quarterly meeting.

DARPA to hold event for Tactical Exploitation of Acoustic Channel program

The Pentagon's advanced research arm plans to hold a proposers' day next week for a program that intends to allow for long-duration source payloads on more affordable undersea platforms.

Document: DARPA's TEAC proposers' day notice

DSB: Vulnerability of U.S. military satellite communications 'a crisis'

Satellites the U.S. military relies on to wage war -- with the exception of those that operate on extremely high frequencies -- are at risk of being rendered inoperable by jamming and cyber attack, a "reality that should be considered a crisis to be dealt with immediately," an influential Pentagon advisory panel warns in a new report.

Document: Unclassified DSB summary of MILSATCOM report

April 27, 2017 -- 1:51 PM

Accenture Federal Services said today retired Army Lt. Gen. Mary Legere has joined as managing director of its national and defense intelligence business.

As deputy chief of staff (G-2), Legere served as the Army's senior intelligence officer.

"Legere will bring Accenture's global secure digital, mission analytics and agile development capabilities to national defense intelligence and cyber clients," the company said.

April 27, 2017 -- 11:39 AM

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

1. The Pentagon's developmental test and evaluation shop plans to encourage programs to use tabletop exercises to help focus its cybersecurity efforts, according to the recently released annual DT&E report.

Full story: DOD's DT&E shop encourages tabletop exercises to focus cybersecurity efforts

2. Satellites the U.S. military relies on to wage war -- with the exception of those that operate on extremely high frequencies -- are at risk of being rendered inoperable by jamming and cyber attack, a "reality that should be considered a crisis to be dealt with immediately," an influential Pentagon advisory panel warns in a new report.

Full story: DSB: Vulnerability of U.S. military satellite communications 'a crisis'

3. The Pentagon's No. 2 official has tasked the Defense Business Board with two new studies examining how private sector tools could help the Defense Department reduce its overhead costs.

Full story: Work tasks DBB with two new studies to help DOD cut overhead costs

4. The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, which faced an uncertain future at the start of the Trump administration, remains a priority now that Defense Secretary James Mattis runs the Pentagon and reports directly to him in the same way it did with his predecessor, Ash Carter, who established DIUx to inject greater innovation into the acquisition system.

Full story: DIUx remains a priority under Mattis

April 27, 2017 -- 10:08 AM

A senior House lawmaker wants to make sure the government doesn't shut down this coming weekend.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) has introduced a short-term continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through May 5.

"This Continuing Resolution will continue to keep the government open and operating as normal for the next several days, in order to finalize legislation to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year," Frelinghuysen said in a statement, adding: "I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon. It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities -- including national defense -- are properly and adequately funded for the year."

The CR would maintain the current budget cap level of $1.07 trillion put into place under the Budget Control Act of 2011, and continue policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted fiscal year 2016 appropriations legislation, according to Frelinghuysen.

April 26, 2017 -- 4:17 PM

Lockheed Martin's vice president for logistics told reporters Wednesday the company is pitching its F-35 Autonomic Logistics Information System as a possible maintenance solution for other aircraft.

Reeves Valentine said during an April 26 conference call there have been some discussions about "what kind of adaptations or modifications could be made so that the investment in ALIS could be used across other platforms."

"There are some adjacent opportunities," he said. "We're early in those conversations, but I certainly think that as ALIS transforms the way the services maintain and supply their airplanes, that there's certainly going to be adjacent opportunities and follow-on discussions with our customer about how to apply ALIS to other platforms."

Valentine would not discuss which other platforms are under consideration.

April 26, 2017 -- 2:58 PM

Defense contractors' quarterly earnings, the Joint Strike Fighter, the situation in the Asia Pacific and more highlight this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

It's corporate earnings season:

Defense contractors remain upbeat on defense spending -- but warn of uncertainty

Executives from some of the largest defense contractors on April 26 reported bolstered profits in the most recent quarter and struck an upbeat tone about U.S. defense spending, though one executive said the increase will likely be modest.

Joint Strike Fighter news:

Newest version of F-35 ALIS software approved for delivery

The F-35 joint program office has approved the newest version of the jet's diagnostic health management system for installation at Air Force and Navy sites, after several months of delays.

DOD to seek at least $650M in FY-18 for new F-35 bulk parts purchase initiative

The Pentagon plans to seek more than $650 million in fiscal year 2018 to finance bulk purchase of parts for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production, an initiative congressional auditors say may be premature but which the Defense Department says will produce future savings in tandem with a potential multiyear block-buy package from foreign governments.

The head of U.S. Pacific Command testified on Capitol Hill this morning:

Navy can only meet half of submarine requirements in Pacific

The Navy can only meet half of the requirements for attack submarines from U.S. Pacific Command, according to a top military officer.

Document: House hearing on the Asia Pacific

Army contracting news:

Army, industry leaders stress need for collaboration on contracting

Collaboration among the Army's requirements generators, contracting communities and industry is critical to streamlining the acquisition process, according to participants in an April 26 event hosted by the Association of the United States Army.

More Army news:

Army National Guard official outlines SHORAD plans

A short-range air defense unit will be sent to Europe next spring to augment the maneuver force, the chief of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command said this week.

Army Aviation community set to convene in Nashville for AAAA

This week's gathering of the Army aviation community is expected to include insights from senior service leaders and previews of potential future platforms from industry.

ARNG director outlines end-strength plans

The Army National Guard plans to use the higher end strength authorized by Congress to improve the readiness of its "urgent units," according to its director, Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy.

Army intel chief examines technology use

As the Army continues to adapt to changing warfare, the service needs to look at how it uses technology, according to the service's deputy chief of staff (G-2).

April 26, 2017 -- 1:42 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today Robert Soofer has been selected to serve as deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy.

Soofer has worked as a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee, serving as staff lead for the strategic forces subcommittee.

Additionally, Mattis announced Amy Mitchell has been selected to serve as special assistant to the secretary of defense for protocol. Mitchell most recently served as vice president of communications for National Review.

April 26, 2017 -- 1:39 PM

Cubic Global Defense said today it has named Diane Giuliani, a former Textron executive, senior vice president of global business development and strategy.

Giuliani previously was senior vice president of business operations at Textron Systems. She also led business development and strategy at Honeywell Technology Solutions.

April 26, 2017 -- 10:31 AM

The Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar under development for the Navy's aircraft carriers and amphibious ships has passed its preliminary design review, contractor Raytheon announced today.

The radar went through combined systems requirement and system functional reviews, and an integrated baseline review prior to completing the PDR, according to an April 26 Raytheon statement.

"Each EASR development milestone brings us closer to providing this needed mission capability to our Sailors and Marines deployed on aircraft carriers and amphibious ships," Capt. Seiko Okano, major program manager for above water sensors, said in the statement. "As the PDR confirmed, the technical and design maturity of this advanced radar is right where it should be."

The Navy awarded Raytheon a $92 million contract for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the EASR program last August. A rotating, phased-array variant will be developed for amphibious ships, while a three-face, fixed-phased array version will be built for aircraft carriers.

The first ship expected to receive EASR will be the third America-class amphibious assault ship (LHA-8). The first carrier, meanwhile, to get EASR will be the second Ford-class aircraft carrier, the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Last year, the Navy announced plans to install EASR on CVN-79 rather than the more powerful but more expensive Dual-band radar (DBR).

April 25, 2017 -- 4:37 PM

The member of the Army staff responsible for manpower and personnel has been nominated for promotion to the rank of general and to serve as the service's next vice chief of staff.

According to a nomination notice received in the Senate on April 24 and referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lt. Gen. James McConville has been selected "for appointment as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army."

If approved by the Senate, McConville, the deputy chief of staff (G-1), would replace Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn upon the latter's retirement later this year.

Prior to joining the Army staff, McConville served as commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Ft. Campbell, KY.

McConville has held his current role since Aug. 4, 2014. Allyn has served as vice chief of staff since Aug. 15, 2014.

A master Army aviator qualified on the OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache, AH-6 and AH-1, McConville is scheduled to address the annual summit of the Army Aviation Association of America in Nashville on April 27.

April 25, 2017 -- 3:31 PM

Army short-range air defense, the Joint Strike Fighter, some upcoming DBB studies and more highlight this Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

A senior Army National Guard officer spoke this morning:

Army National Guard official outlines SHORAD plans

A short-range air defense unit will be sent to Europe next spring to augment the maneuver force, the chief of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command said this week.

Joint Strike Fighter news:

Defense Department reviewing JSF Block 4 time line due to budget concerns

The Defense Department plans to release a request for proposals for F-35 Block 4 follow-on modernization by the end of the year, but said in a Government Accountability Office report published April 24 it is evaluating those plans "in light of existing budget realities."

Document: GAO report on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Pentagon directs P&W analysis on supporting future F-35 work

The Pentagon plans to award Pratt & Whitney a contract to study how the company will support future Joint Strike Fighter flight test activity for follow-on modernization.

Keep an eye out for some upcoming Defense Business Board studies:

Work tasks DBB with two new studies to help DOD cut overhead costs

The Pentagon's No. 2 official has tasked the Defense Business Board with two new studies examining how private sector tools could help the Defense Department reduce its overhead costs.

Document: DBB terms-of-reference memos for pair of studies to help reduce overhead costs

A new Congressional Budget Office report is out:

CBO estimates Navy must spend $26.6 billion annually to build 355-ship fleet

In a new report, the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost the Navy $26.6 billion annually over the next 30 years to build a 355-ship fleet.

Document: CBO report on costs of building a 355-ship Navy

Lockheed Martin's quarterly earnings news:

Lockheed Martin reports increased quarterly sales, lower profit

The world's largest defense contractor said April 25 that while sales grew in the company's most recent quarter, profit declined because of several charges.

Some unmanned systems news:

General Atomics tells Navy accelerated acquisition is part of its culture

General Atomics is pitching the Navy that it is the best vendor for the MQ-25 Stingray program because accelerated acquisition is part of the company's culture, according to an executive.

Lawmakers want a special forces-centric submarine:

Congress wants a sub optimized to host special operations forces

Congress wants the Navy to design a submarine optimized to host special operations forces based on the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.

April 25, 2017 -- 10:39 AM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is seeking support from President Trump for more Littoral Combat Ships in the Defense Department's fiscal year 2018 budget submission.

In a March 21 letter, Walker asks Trump to support funding for three LCSs or frigates in the FY-18 budget. The Navy's FY-17 budget request shows just one LCS planned for FY-18. Lockheed Martin is a prime contractor on the program, and the company uses the Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, WI, to build Freedom-variant LCSs.

"Wisconsin workers have the capability to continue to build and produce world-class ships in Marinette for our Navy," Walker's letter states. "The Navy's frigate program is extremely important to our state and the United States as a whole. I ask for your support for three Littoral Combat ships/frigates in your FY-18 budget submission to Congress."

The Defense Department is expected to send its FY-18 budget submission to the White House's Office of Management and Budget by May 1. The budget request is due to hit Capitol Hill in mid-May.

The Navy's frigate program, meanwhile, is in flux. The service was set to deliver a draft request for proposals to industry this spring, but the Pentagon is now reconsidering the frigate requirements, as well as mulling whether to open up the competition to designs beyond those just based on the LCS hull. The requirements are expected to be finalized by May.