The Insider

January 23, 2017

The Navy will keep the Advanced Arresting Gear as the recovery system on the future John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) instead of reverting to the legacy Mk-7, the service announced Monday.

The decision was made after a thorough review by an AAG Resource Requirements Review Board in November 2016 and an independent review team chartered by former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall, according to a Jan. 23 service statement.                         

"AAG works," Capt. Steve Tedford, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment program manager, whose team manages the recovery system program, said in a statement. "The progress of AAG testing this past year has been significant and has demonstrated the system's ability to meet Navy requirements. The team overcame many challenges to get the system to this point and ensure its readiness to support CVN-78 and future Ford-class ships."

January 23, 2017

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency today announced that the State Department had approved foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya and the United Kingdom totaling more than $1.85 billion:

* Saudi Arabia has been approved to buy $525 million worth of 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) Aerostats and related equipment, support, and training.

* Kuwait has been approved to buy $400 million worth of sustainment and contractor logistics support for AH-64D Apache helicopters, as well as a separate $110 million proposed sale of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles.

* Kenya has been approved to buy $418 million worth of Air Tractor aircraft with weapons and related support.

* The United Kingdom has been approved to buy $400 million worth of continued C-17 logistics support services and equipment.

January 23, 2017

Terry Crimmins has been appointed president of BAE Systems' Nashua, NH-based Electronic Systems sector, the company announced today.

"Terry brings diverse experience in technology development, program execution, business development, sector strategy, and line leadership during his 15-year tenure with Electronic Systems," President and CEO Jerry DeMuro said in a statement. "He is well qualified to provide the strong leadership and vision that will enable the sector to maintain its momentum and market-leading positions across an extensive portfolio of programs."

Crimmins joined BAE Systems in 2001, and most recently was vice president and deputy general manager of the sector and previously led the company's Survivability, Targeting, and Sensing Solutions business. Prior to 2001, Crimmins held management positions in both the consumer and medical electronics industries.

Crimmins holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University. He succeeds Tom Arseneault, who is now the overall company's chief operating officer.

January 23, 2017

President Trump's choice to lead OMB and the implication that might have on the defense budget leads off this Monday INSIDER Daily Digest.

President Trump's choice to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget will be testifying on Capitol Hill this week:

Future of defense spending under Trump in question as Mulvaney heads to the Hill

Deficit hawk and Tea Party supporter Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), President Trump's choice to lead the powerful White House Office of Management and Budget, is slated to testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday and one of the lawmakers scheduled to question him is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who recently authored a plan for a massive defense spending increase that some supporters fear could be derailed by a new fiscal agenda.

Related:

McCain plan boosts Navy spending by $94 billion compared to current five-year plan

Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) proposed blueprint to hike U.S. military spending boosts the Navy's budget by $94 billion between fiscal years 2018 and 2022 compared to the Defense Department's current forecast, including $58 billion to increase the size of the Navy and Marine Corps and buy new ships and weapons.

Document: McCain's 'Restoring American Power' white paper

More Navy news:

Navy won't accept new Freedom-variant LCS until gear software fixed

The Navy is refusing to accept a new Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship from contractor Lockheed Martin until a software glitch with the ship's high-speed propulsion gears is fixed, according to an official.

Navy plans for Tomahawk re-certification to include anti-ship upgrade

The Navy is preparing to put its inventory of Tomahawk missiles through a refurbishment process known as re-certification starting in fiscal year 2019, with some of the land-attack missiles expected to receive a newly developed ability to strike targets at sea during the factory restoration.

A new Congressional Research Service report is out:

CRS report outlines modernization challenges for Army ground vehicles

The Army's continued reliance on systems first fielded in the 1980s and 1990s puts the service at risk of falling behind allies and potential adversaries, according to a new report prepared for lawmakers.

Document: CRS report on foreign counterparts of Army ground combat systems

More Army news:

Army abandons planned cuts to officer corps in FY-17

Following legislative action in late 2016, the Army has halted plans to reduce the number of officers this year.

Army seeks contractor support for future warfare study

In keeping with its ongoing efforts to prepare for potential future conflicts against a near-peer competitor, the Army is asking industry to aid in its examination of "new generation warfare."

Document: Army's new generation warfare study plan

January 23, 2017

Congressional hearings -- including the nomination of Rex Tillerson to become secretary of state -- and defense contractors' quarterly earnings conference calls dominate the week ahead.

Monday

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State.

Tuesday

U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten speaks at a Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation event.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the defense budget for fiscal year 2018 and onwards, featuring testimony from The Heritage Foundation's Dakota Wood, the Center For Strategic And Budgetary Assessments' Thomas Mahnken, and Lawrence Korb from the Center For American Progress.

Lockheed Martin discusses its fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), President Trump's choice to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, testifies on Capitol Hill before the Senate Budget Committee as well as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee holds an "organizational meeting."

Wedesday

Sens. Jon Teseter (R-MT) and John Hoeven (R-ND) discuss the value of ICBMs and the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent at a Mitchell Institute event.

Textron and Boeing hold their fourth-quarter earnings conference calls.

Thursday

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Oshkosh Corp. hold their respective earnings calls.

Friday

General Dynamics holds its earnings conference call.

January 23, 2017

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson and other business executives met with President Trump at the White House today to discuss ways to increase manufacturing in the United States.

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet today with President Trump and industry leaders to discuss ways we can grow manufacturing jobs in the United States,” Hewson said in a statement. “I was encouraged by the president’s commitment to reduce barriers to job creation, including targeted regulatory reform and long term budget planning.”

Trump has signaled that he plans to use the defense industrial base to boost manufacturing jobs.

Other executives meeting with Trump today include Mark Fields of Ford Motor Co.; Michael Dell of Dell Technologies; Jeff Fettig of Whirlpool; Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson; Klaus Kleinfeld of Arconic; Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical; Mario Longhi of U.S. Steel; Elon Musk of SpaceX; Kevin Plank of Under Armour; Mark Sutton of International Paper; and Wendell Weeks of Corning.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the group would reconvene in a month and meet on a quarterly basis.

Hewson said Lockheed supported Trump's stated plan to end the spending caps mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act “so that our military can invest in the equipment and technology they need to defend our nation and protect our interests. Ending these budget restrictions will allow industry to plan, invest and hire for the long term.”

It marks the third time Hewson has met with Trump since he was elected. Trump first met with Hewson Dec. 22 to discuss the F-35, which he has criticized on Twitter and in speeches for being “out of control” and too costly.

After his first meeting with Hewson, Trump announced plans to shakeup the program via Twitter: "Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!"

On Jan. 13, the second time Hewson met with Trump, she issued a statement announcing that Lockheed planned to add 1,800 employees in Fort Worth, TX, and cut the cost of the program. However, the company won't confirm whether or not those plans have actually been in the works for months.

January 23, 2017

The Defense Department's acquisition office recently issued a revised document aimed at mitigating risk when developing weapons programs.

"In Better Buying Power 3.0, I highlighted the need to improve the department's ability to understand, anticipate, and mitigate technical risks before they become issues, and to recognize and pursue opportunities that may significantly benefit program outcomes," then-outgoing Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall wrote in a Jan. 9 foreword to DOD's new "Risk, Issue and Opportunity Management Guide."

The new document, updated and renamed by DOD's systems engineering office, "provides practical advice to programs as they work to identify, analyze and manage risks, issues and opportunities," Kendall wrote in his introduction. "Program managers and engineers need to understand the technical risks they face and structure programs and acquisition strategies in a manner that best mitigates those risks to deliver a product to our warfighters. While processes help, the quality and effectiveness of risk mitigation planning, judgment, and the decisions made by program managers matter the most for achieving objectives."

Read the full document.

January 23, 2017

Heather Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate and former Republican congresswoman, is expected to earn the Trump administration's nomination for Air Force secretary, the White House announced Monday morning.

Wilson, 56, has served as president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a public regional science and engineering university, since 2013. From 1998 to 2009, she represented New Mexico in the U.S. House and served on the Armed Services Committee and what is now the Energy and Commerce Committee, and chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's technical and tactical subcommittee.

Wilson graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1982 and served until 1989, when she joined the National Security Council under President George H.W. Bush as director for European defense policy and arms control, according to a congressional biography. She also ran New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department from 1995 to 1998.

While in Congress, Wilson "opposed a plan by the Republican leadership to move management of the nuclear weapons program (largely based in New Mexico) from the Department of Energy to the Pentagon," according to the House biography.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wilson would inherit the post from newly departed Secretary Deborah Lee James. Lisa Disbrow, the current Air Force under secretary, holds the job in the meantime.

January 23, 2017

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

1. The Navy is preparing to put its inventory of Tomahawk missiles through a refurbishment process known as re-certification starting in fiscal year 2019, with some of the land-attack missiles expected to receive a newly developed ability to strike targets at sea during the factory restoration.

Full Story: Navy plans for Tomahawk re-certification to include anti-ship upgrade

2. The Navy is refusing to accept a new Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship from contractor Lockheed Martin until a software glitch with the ship's high-speed propulsion gears is fixed.

Full Story: Navy won't accept new Freedom-variant LCS until gear software fixed

3. The surface Navy is interested in technology similar to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research's unmanned aerial system that can fly vertically and horizontally from a small ship.

Full Story: Surface Navy is interested in UAS helicopter to operate from small ship

January 23, 2017

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. Following legislative action in late 2016, the Army has halted plans to reduce the number of officers this year.

Full story: Army abandons planned cuts to officer corps in FY-17

2. The Army has taken steps to clarify the rate-of-fire requirement for the Paladin Integrated Management program, an area that was highlighted as a concern in a previous Defense Department inspector general report.

Full story: PIM rate-of-fire requirement approved

3. Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) proposed blueprint to hike U.S. military spending would boost the Army's budget by $100 billion between fiscal years 2018 and 2022 compared to the Defense Department's current forecast, including $67 billion to increase the size of the service and buy additional weapon systems.

Full story: McCain pitches $100B, five-year increase above current plan to Army accounts

4. In keeping with its ongoing efforts to prepare for potential future conflicts against a near-peer competitor, the Army is asking industry to aid in its examination of "new generation warfare."

Full story: Army seeks contractor support for future warfare study

January 20, 2017

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

1. Mounting a laser on an AC-130J gunship would boost the Air Force Special Operations Command's offensive and defensive capabilities, the service's scientific advisors found in a recent study, confirming the command's hope of pursuing a dual-purpose weapon down the road.

Full story: AFSAB study indicates AC-130J laser can serve offensive-defensive role

2. As the Air Force prepares to operate its workhorse B-52 bomber into the 2050s, aircraft manufacturer Boeing expects the service to consider a slate of capability and sustainability upgrades to keep the aging bomber flying past its anticipated service life.

Full story: Boeing predicts more upgrades as USAF stretches B-52 into 2050s

3. A joint assessment by the Air Force and Navy found pursuing full commonality for the future Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent and the Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile is "not feasible or practical," the Pentagon told lawmakers in a report delivered last month.

Full story: Air Force-Navy study finds total nuclear commonality unrealistic

4. Fiscal year 2016 testing on one of the Air Force's key surveillance platforms revealed "difficulty in combining various on- and off-board sensor data into a coherent single track on a consistent basis," according to the director of operational test and evaluation's annual report to Congress published Jan. 10.

Full story: Testing report shows AWACS falls short in data fusion, cybersecurity

January 20, 2017

The Senate voted Friday to confirm retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as the next defense secretary.

Mattis has promised to intensify the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and will also conduct a review of the Pentagon's acquisition system.

Congress voted to change existing law to allow Mattis to serve, despite having been retired for fewer than seven years. The last time Congress granted such an exemption was Gen. George Marshall in 1950. In one of his first official acts, President Trump signed the legislation into law Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work will continue to serve at his post until a successor is chosen. A host of interim Pentagon officials have also been named.

January 20, 2017

Michael Leiter, who heads Leidos' defense group, will depart his position today, the company said.

In a statement, Leidos said Leiter is leaving "to explore other opportunities." An internal memo from Roger Krone, Leidos' chief executive, says the company will use his departure as "an opportunity to review our current organization structure for possible further efficiency."

Sharon Watts, deputy of the defense group, will lead the group on an acting basis.

Leiter, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, joined Leidos in 2014. Before being named head of Leidos' defense business, he led the company's merger with Lockheed Martin's IT services business, which was completed last year.

January 20, 2017

The first day of the Trump administration leads off this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

News on who will be running the various Pentagon offices during the Trump administration's first 100 days:

Pentagon names 'acting' leadership positions during Trump transition

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work on Thursday released a list of officials designated to serve in "acting" capacities for a host of Pentagon leadership positions as many Obama administration appointees exit government service in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday.

Document: DOD memo on 'acting' leadership positions during Trump transition

The latest SBIRS satellite is now scheduled for launch tonight:

SBIRS GEO-3 launch delayed; Air Force soliciting sources for future satellites

The third geosynchronous Space-Based Infrared System satellite slated to launch last night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, was scrubbed due to "a violation of Eastern Range safety criteria."

Getting two nuclear weapon systems to have common components won't be easy:

Air Force-Navy study finds total nuclear commonality unrealistic

A joint assessment by the Air Force and Navy found pursuing full commonality for the future Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent and the Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile is "not feasible or practical," the Pentagon told lawmakers in a report delivered last month.

Continued coverage of McCain's 'Restoring American Power' white paper:

McCain pitches $100B, five-year increase above current plan to Army accounts

Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) proposed blueprint to hike U.S. military spending would boost the Army's budget by $100 billion between fiscal years 2018 and 2022 compared to the Defense Department's current forecast, including $67 billion to increase the size of the service and buy additional weapon systems.

McCain proposes $55 billion increase for Air Force modernization in five-year blueprint

Sen. John McCain's proposed Pentagon blueprint to hike the U.S. military budget would boost Air Force modernization spending by $55 billion between fiscal years 2018 and 2022 compared to the Defense Department's current forecast, including $11 billion for accelerated Joint Strike Fighter procurement and an additional $7.6 billion for a new penetrating counter-air capability.

More news from today's Inside the Air Force:

Boeing predicts more upgrades as Air Force stretches B-52 into 2050s

As the Air Force prepares to operate its workhorse B-52 bomber into the 2050s, aircraft manufacturer Boeing expects the service to consider a slate of capability and sustainability upgrades to keep the aging bomber flying past its anticipated service life.

AFSAB study indicates AC-130J laser can serve offensive-defensive role

Mounting a laser on an AC-130J gunship would boost the Air Force Special Operations Command's offensive and defensive capabilities, the service's scientific advisors found in a recent study, confirming the command's hope of pursuing a dual-purpose weapon down the road.

January 20, 2017

Shortly after noon today, the Trump White House released a series of objectives espoused by the new administration, among them one titled "Make Our Military Strong Again."

An excerpt:

President Trump will end the defense sequester and submit a new budget to Congress outlining a plan to rebuild our military. We will provide our military leaders with the means to plan for our future defense needs.

We will also develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea.

Cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and we must take every measure to safeguard our national security secrets and systems. We will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area.

Read the full document.

The White House also had a brief post on an "America First Foreign Policy," part of which reads:

Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary. In addition, the Trump Administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting.

Next, we will rebuild the American military. Our Navy has shrunk from more than 500 ships in 1991 to 275 in 2016. Our Air Force is roughly one third smaller than in 1991. President Trump is committed to reversing this trend, because he knows that our military dominance must be unquestioned.