The Insider

By Justin Katz
October 21, 2019 at 4:09 PM

(Editor's Note: This blog post has been updated to include a comment from a Marine Corps spokeswoman.)

The Navy has been drafting a contracting and acquisition guide for additive manufacturing that it planned to publish last month and implement across the Pentagon, according to a government watchdog report.

"The AM Contracting and Acquisition Guide will include guidance on topics such as AM standards, intellectual property, and acquisition and contracting," a new Defense Department inspector general report states. "According to a Naval Supply Systems Command official, the Navy planned to issue the guide in September 2019."

A NAVSUP spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether the Navy has published the document.

The Oct. 17 DOD IG report summarizes the Pentagon's efforts to incorporate additive manufacturing for sustaining vehicle and weapon parts.

The IG notes the military has not standardized what data it collects about parts that are additively manufactured to "ensure consistency in production, reporting requirements for AM equipment and funds spent to understand where the DOD is investing its resources."

The watchdog says the Pentagon's acquisition executive issued an interim policy in March 2019 "which defined the roles and responsibilities of the military services and the [Defense Logistics Agency]." The policy stated a DOD instruction on additive manufacturing would be published in 2020, according to the IG.

However, the IG report notes that neither the policy nor the Navy's guide will effectively standardize the data and reporting requirements as recommended by the IG.

The Pentagon's acquisition chief did not respond to the watchdog's recommendation.

Separately, in its response to the report, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for installations and logistics said the service plans to release "an enterprise-wide policy on AM in the form of a Marine Corps Order during" the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

"Within this policy, the Marine Corps has outlined specific processes and identified tasks to not only identify appropriate funding and personnel, but also establish processes and capability development to continue to enhance and mature AM throughout the Marine Corps," the report states.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Karoline Foote told Inside Defense the policy has not yet been published.

By John Liang
October 21, 2019 at 1:36 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Strategic Long Range Cannon, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and more.

The Army has a $228 million, three-year spending plan for the Strategic Long Range Cannon:

Army preparing to award contracts for Strategic Long Range Cannon

The Army is forging gun tubes and readying initial contracts for a new system intended to operate with the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon in the opening salvos of a major fight against a near-peer military force. The Strategic Long Range Cannon is a prototype mega-cannon envisioned to fire rounds hundreds of miles at high-priority enemy radar and air-defense sites, namely those of Russia and China.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord held a press conference Friday, where she discussed the Joint Strike Fighter, acquisition reform and more:

F-35 full-rate production decision delayed up to 13 months

The Pentagon confirmed today the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter full-rate production decision, which was expected in December, could be delayed by 13 months due to delays in integrating the Joint Simulation Environment.

Lord: Pentagon is 'on the brink' of acquisition transformation

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said her office is set to unveil in December "the most transformational acquisition policy change we've seen in decades."

Document: Lord briefing at the Pentagon

ATA Technologies, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Kord Technologies as well as the Air Force Research Laboratory's Tactical High-Power Operational Responder -- a high-power microwave integrated by BAE Systems -- are being tested for a counter-drone capability:

USAF directed-energy counter-drone demo begins, as program of record discussions progress

The Air Force's directed-energy experimentation campaign has started another round of counter-drone testing with five different systems that management officials are exploring for an anticipated program of record.

Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington spoke last week at the Consortium for Information and Software Quality meeting:

Funding DOD through CRs could scuttle cyber certification program, Arrington warns

The Pentagon's landmark cybersecurity certification program could be scuttled if Congress ends up funding the military through a series of continuing resolutions until after the election, according to Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington.

By Justin Katz
October 21, 2019 at 11:37 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Oct. 24 for Vice Adm. Charles Richard, the Navy's top officer overseeing submarine forces, to receive a fourth star and become the new head of U.S Strategic Command.

The committee received the three-star's nomination from the White House last week, but the Senate's website did not disclose Richard's potential new position.

The Navy stopped announcing new general officer nominations this summer and cited issues with its personnel being targets for cyberattacks.

Richard is currently the commander of submarine forces. He previously served as STRATCOM's deputy commander as well as the Navy's director for submarine warfare requirements (N97).

If confirmed, Richard will succeed Air Force Gen. John Hyten as the operational commander overseeing the country's nuclear triad. Hyten was confirmed last month to become the vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.

By Courtney Albon
October 21, 2019 at 11:13 AM

The Air Force is giving six companies a chance to compete to provide contracted combat air support through a deal worth up to $6.4 billion over the next five years.

The service selected Air USA, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, Coastal Defense, Draken International, Blue Air Training, Tactical Air Support and Top Aces Corp. as part of the pool for the multiple-award contract, announced Oct. 18.

The chosen companies will provide adversary air services meant to replicate close-air support operations in order to make training more realistic. Services will include providing manned and unmanned aircraft, system support, maintenance, support equipment and contract management.

The need for adversary air capacity has grown in recent years and is a high priority for Air Combat Command, which has a particular need for jets that can provide realistic threat simulation for fifth-generation aircraft.

By Tony Bertuca
October 21, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to appear around the Washington area this week, while several defense companies are slated to hold quarterly earnings calls.

Tuesday

Lockheed Martin and United Technologies executives are set to discuss quarterly earnings.

The National Defense Industrial Association hosts the annual Expeditionary Warfare Conference in Annapolis, MD. The conference runs through Thursday.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on Navy ship and submarine maintenance.

Wednesday

The chief of U.S. Central Command speaks at the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington.

Boeing and General Dynamics executives are slated to discuss quarterly earnings.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer speaks at the Brookings Institution.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing to discuss the nomination of Vice Adm. Charles Richard to become the next chief of U.S. Strategic Command.

Senior defense officials speak at the CyberTalks 2019 conference.

The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the director and program executive officer for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon executives will discuss quarterly earnings.

Friday

Senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to appear at the Military Reporters and Editors Conference.

By John Liang
October 18, 2019 at 2:06 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an Air Force counter-drone technology, Army multidomain operations and more.

We start off with some big Joint Strike Fighter news:

F-35 full-rate production decision delayed up to 13 months

The Pentagon confirmed today the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter full-rate production decision, which was expected in December, could be delayed by 13 months due to delays in integrating the Joint Simulation Environment.

ATA Technologies, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Kord Technologies as well as the Air Force Research Laboratory's Tactical High-Power Operational Responder -- a high-power microwave integrated by BAE Systems -- are being tested for a counter-drone capability:

USAF directed-energy counter-drone demo begins, as program of record discussions progress

The Air Force's directed-energy experimentation campaign has started another round of counter-drone testing with five different systems that management officials are exploring for an anticipated program of record.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Todd chatted with Inside Defense at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting:

Army developing 'flying network' for multidomain operations

The Army is developing a "digital backbone" for its aircraft while modernizing the current fleet, according to the program executive officer for aviation.

(Follow our comprehensive coverage of the AUSA conference here.)

Paul Jacob, cybersecurity architect and "lead DOD zero trust architect" within the office of the DOD chief information officer, spoke at a conference this week hosted by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology:

DOD developing 'zero-trust' cloud security guidance for eventual transition to JEDI

The Defense Department is developing guidance for securely connecting national security systems and other devices to the pending Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure commercial cloud environment using a "zero trust" security framework, according to a defense official.

Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington spoke this week at the Consortium for Information and Software Quality meeting. Here's coverage from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Funding DOD through CRs could scuttle cyber certification program, Arrington warns

The Pentagon's landmark cybersecurity certification program could be scuttled if Congress ends up funding the military through a series of continuing resolutions until after the election, according to Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington.

DOD's Arrington says cyber certification 'is happening' despite calls for go-slow approach

Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington said the Pentagon's maturity model for certifying contractors based on their ability to secure data and systems is moving forward, with a revised version of the plan to be released at the beginning of November for use in contracts next year, despite calls from industry and others to slow down the implementation process.

By Sara Sirota
October 18, 2019 at 1:57 PM

A developmental robotic pilot system that was damaged in a mishap two months ago will return to flight next March, according to an Air Force Research Laboratory official.

"A root-cause analysis of the mishap was conducted and a solution is in development," Marc Owens, ROBOpilot program manager, said in an email to Inside Defense today.

The accident occurred Aug. 22 during landing at Michael Army Airfield on Dugway Proving Ground, UT, per an AFRL statement released the following day. The lab immediately began an investigation and the fate of future testing plans at the time was unclear.

Using a simple installation process, ROBOpilot can be inserted into a general aviation aircraft like a Cessna or Piper to convert it into an unmanned aerial vehicle. The system was developed by AFRL and DZYNE Technologies via a Small Business Innovation Research program contract.

"ROBOpilot offers the benefits of unmanned operations without the complexity and upfront cost associated with the development of new unmanned vehicles," Alok Das, senior scientist with AFRL's Center for Rapid Innovation, previously said.

Before the mishap, ROBOpilot completed a successful two-hour first flight on Dugway Proving Ground on Aug. 9.

By Justin Doubleday
October 18, 2019 at 1:18 PM

The House Armed Services Committee has chartered a special task force to compare the Defense Department's priorities, capabilities and concepts against potential adversaries and long-range threats.

The "Future of Defense Task Force" is co-chaired by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Jim Banks (R-IN), according to the committee's announcement today. Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) will also serve on the task force.

The group has been chartered by committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) "to examine the Department of Defense's strategic priorities, capabilities and operational concepts to ensure the national security innovation base is poised to meet long-range emerging threats and the rise of global competitors," according to the panel's announcement.

The initial duration of the task force is three months, after which the group's charter can be renewed for an additional three months.

By Jaspreet Gill
October 18, 2019 at 11:58 AM

The Army is asking industry to provide input that could inform the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft program of record, a multiservice effort to replace the Black Hawk helicopter by 2030.

A recent Federal Business Opportunities notice states the service is seeking information on mission equipment systems and weapon system cost information that will inform FLRAA risk reduction activities.

The service is asking for information on mission equipment systems ready for production and suitable for integration on the FLRAA. Industry should provide a detailed system description of the capability solution, cost data and production capabilities among other requirements.

The Future Vertical Lift cross-functional team’s director, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, told reporters Wednesday at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting the service will be hosting an industry day in March or April next year to discuss FLRAA integrated mission equipment.

The Army is also asking industry to identify "cost estimating techniques for the development, production and operations and support phase costs between the next generation rotorcraft program and current/historical defense rotorcraft programs," according to the notice.

Responses should include specific cost estimation methods which identify changes to critical technologies and methods.

Industry should submit responses no later than Nov. 15.

By John Liang
October 18, 2019 at 10:05 AM

The Defense Business Board will hold a mostly closed meeting next month to discuss the establishment of U.S. Space Command and the Space Force, among other topics, according to a Federal Register notice published this morning.

Derek Tournear, the acting director of the Space Development Agency, said this week during the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference that the agency is still focused on initial next-generation space architecture planning and has some time before it needs additional funding to start building out constellations. The current plan is to launch a "training tranche" of satellites in the FY-22 time frame, which would be used to help space organizations develop a concept of operations and tactics, techniques and procedures for operating with the constellation. The first slate of operational satellites is set to launch in FY-24.

In addition to SPACECOM, attendees at the Nov. 6 DBB meeting will also get classified briefings on the National Guard Bureau and the Navy, as well as "discussions on proposed reform efforts, key challenges, and current scorecard within the Fourth Estate; classified discussions with the secretary of defense, deputy secretary of defense, and the chief management officer in regards to ongoing reform efforts," the notice states.

The Defense Department's CMO wrote in a recent report to Congress that about 5% can be cut from the Pentagon's so-called "Fourth Estate" civilian management agencies next year, falling far short of the reductions Congress hoped to see.

By Ashley Tressel
October 17, 2019 at 3:46 PM

The Army's Space and Missile Defense Command will be updating its Space Training Strategy over the next three to four months, according to the general in charge of the command.

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson told reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting Wednesday the strategy is based on SMDC's role in the service's multidomain task force in the Indo-Pacific region.

The multidomain task force pilot program was created under Army Pacific Command in 2017 and has participated in nine major joint training events across the region, according to the service.

Dickinson said the strategy aims to look at: "How do we educate the soldiers within the formations to understand the space environment that they're working or training in combat in. So, do they know whether or not signals that they're receiving are correct [or] incorrect, or should they use them or not, and then what space capabilities can they leverage to do the mission that they’re given on the ground?"

"It's a thorough process," he added. "We need to make sure that not just the people that do space understand and agree with it, but the bigger force understands and agrees with our strategy."

Dickinson also emphasized SMDC's close relationship with the assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team, which this week announced the development of an overarching "space strategy."

By Jaspreet Gill
October 17, 2019 at 1:53 PM

The Army is bringing back full air assault capabilities to the 101st Airborne Division, according to senior aviation officials.

Maj. Gen. David Francis, commander of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Ft. Rucker, AL, told reporters Oct. 16 at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting the service is currently equipping 12 Chinooks to the division and is planning on an additional 38 aircraft in the future.

He added the service was required to reduce the number of combat aviation brigades from 13 to 11 in the active component during sequestration in 2013. Last year, the service was grappling with the possibility of boosting CH-47 Chinook force structure with two companies in the 101st Airborne Division to support the unit’s requirements.

"One of the combat aviation brigades that was inactivated was the 159th CAB, one of two that resided at Ft. Campbell," Francis said. "The capacity that we lost was primarily on the lift side. So we're going to build additional lift capability into the 101st to enable that capability to reside back in that organization."

He added the service is planning to equip a total of 48 aircraft to the 101st Airborne Division by 2028.

By John Liang
October 17, 2019 at 1:44 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from this week's Common Defense conference, the Army's final decision on the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor competition and more.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord spoke at the ComDef conference this morning:

DOD acquisition chief says U.S. discussing path ahead on Turkish arms sales

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said today the United States is working on how it might keep selling weapons to Turkey, despite growing tensions over Ankara's ongoing military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

The Army finally announced the winner of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor competition:

Raytheon wins LTAMDS competition, extends hold on Patriot franchise

The Army has selected Raytheon to build the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, handing defeat to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman who had hoped to oust the incumbent Patriot radar builder.

In a recent request for white papers, the Defense Information Systems Agency lays out its requirements for Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) services:

DOD seeks white papers on identity technologies foundational to 'zero-trust' initiative

The Defense Information Systems Agency is seeking proposals from companies interested in prototyping identity management technologies that officials say are foundational to the Defense Department's new "zero-trust" approach to network security.

Document: DISA request for white papers on identity management technologies

John Henderson, the Air Force's assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy, testified before a House subcommittee this week:

Air Force to review cyber threats to installations at November summit

The Air Force is working to better characterize cyber vulnerabilities at its installations and plans to discuss the findings of several ongoing assessments during a summit next month.

Document: House hearing on 'Resiliency of Military Installations to Emerging Threats'

More cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD's Arrington says cyber certification 'is happening' despite calls for go-slow approach

Defense Department Special Assistant for Cybersecurity Katie Arrington said the Pentagon's maturity model for certifying contractors based on their ability to secure data and systems is moving forward, with a revised version of the plan to be released at the beginning of November for use in contracts next year, despite calls from industry and others to slow down the implementation process.

By Sara Sirota
October 17, 2019 at 1:24 PM

The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $108 million contract for the Mk21A reentry vehicle -- a platform that's intended to deliver the W87-1 warhead from the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system.

The contract provides for technology-maturation and risk-reduction work, which the service expects to be completed by October 2022, according to a contract notice posted yesterday on the Defense Department website.

At the time of the award, the Air Force obligated $8 million in fiscal year 2019 research and development funds. Lockheed will perform the contract work in King of Prussia, PA.

GBSD is the service's replacement to the legacy Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system and is expected to begin deployment in the late 2020s.

The W87-1 -- which the National Nuclear Security Agency is developing -- is intended to provide enhanced safety and security compared to the W78 warhead that’s integrated with Minuteman III.

By Marjorie Censer
October 17, 2019 at 12:05 PM

Though Science Applications International Corp. has changed its platform strategy, the company's pursuit of recent vehicle programs, from the Amphibious Combat Vehicle to Mobile Protected Firepower, disrupted the market, according to SAIC's chief executive.

Speaking to Inside Defense on the floor of the Association of the U.S. Army conference this week, Nazzic Keene said the company had "what I would consider a sound strategy on disrupting the market."

"I actually believe we did that," she added, noting the company demonstrated speed in bringing its technologies together.

"With that being said, one of the things we learned is that there were aspects . . . that we were very good at . . . and there were aspects that were stretching us a bit," Keene continued. "The decision that we made, that Jim [Scanlon, who heads SAIC's defense systems business] and I made jointly, was let's step back, focus on those areas where SAIC stands out."

Keene noted that SAIC is "not out of the platform business; we don't intend to get out of it."

"But we intend to leverage what we’re very good at and partner on those areas where it's probably better served for somebody else, to do the heavy duty manufacturing, as an example," she said. "I feel very good about our position, about our strategy, and I think it gives the government what they were looking for without a totally radical way" of acquiring platforms.

SAIC announced earlier this year it is working with Polaris on the Army Infantry Squad Vehicle program.