The Insider

By John Liang
December 2, 2021 at 4:24 PM

Reston, VA-based Acclaim Technical Services announced today it has acquired Entegra Systems, LLC, a Hanover, MD-based cyber technology solutions company.

While terms of the purchase were not disclosed, the acquisition "further enhances ATS' strategic expansion into technology to support its clients' objectives, building upon the acquisition of Global Consulting Services (2020) and Axis of Engineering (2019)," ATS said in a statement.

Entegra Systems "develops integrated solutions for enhanced situational awareness, operational planning, intelligence and geospatial analysis, and cyber and intelligence operations," the statement reads. "Entegra is also a leading provider of services related to [signals intelligence] development, collection, and analysis; mission and collection management; and intelligence analysis."

By John Liang
December 2, 2021 at 3:54 PM

Peraton announced today it has signed a lease to establish a new corporate headquarters in Reston, VA.

The company, which since 2017 has had its headquarters in Herndon, VA, expects to open operations in its new building by September 2022, once initial construction phases are completed.

“2021 has been a year of transformational expansion for Peraton,” Stu Shea, the company's CEO, said in a statement. “As we have grown to become the nation’s leading mission capability integrator and the fourth largest privately owned company in Virginia, we have acquired employees and offices based all over the U.S. After spending the last six months focused on integration activities, we are now ready to move forward in 2022 as One Peraton.”

In a regulatory filing in May, Peraton said it was preparing to have nine business units once its acquisition of Perspecta was complete.

“Identifying a new headquarters that can be tailored to meet the needs and identity of the new Peraton is of paramount importance in that process,” Shea said in the statement today. “With the announcement of our new Reston headquarters, we are excited to remain in Northern Virginia, close to our customers as well as a robust and diverse talent pipeline and supported by world-class resources and infrastructure.”

In an interview with Inside Defense in May, Shea said the company was seeking to have around July 1 the "85% solution" for consolidating areas like business tools and bringing together the pipeline of bids, among other areas. Peraton that same month closed on its acquisition of Perspecta; in February, the company added Northrop Grumman's IT services business.

It will take another six to eight months "beyond that to get to the point that we're truly one integrated company," Shea said at the time.

By the end of 2021, he said, Peraton aims to have most of the systems, processes, people and bids fully integrated.

By John Liang
December 2, 2021 at 2:11 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's Saildrone unmanned surface vessel, a new delay to the FY-22 defense policy bill and more.

A Navy unmanned surface vessel has arrived in the Persian Gulf:

Wind- and solar-powered Saildrone reaches Task Force 59

Harnessing renewable power, the first Saildrone Explorer arrived at the Navy's unmanned fleet in Bahrain, with more vessels on the way.

The fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill has hit another snag in the Senate:

Defense policy bill still stuck in Senate

Senators remain at an impasse over the annual defense authorization bill this morning, with Democrats arguing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is blocking the legislative process over his insistence on the inclusion of an amendment that would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote spoke this morning at an Association of Old Crows conference in Washington:

Hinote highlights Air Force EMS priorities, including efforts to deny spectrum access

As the Air Force works to better leverage the electromagnetic spectrum, officials are looking at ways to turn it into a mutually denied space at given times -- a defensive strategy that the service's deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements said today would ensure an adversary like China "is fearful of their ability to operate in that area."

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has issued his "Concept for Stand-in Forces," which describes what the service can provide the nation in strategic competition below the threshold of violence:

Marine Corps aims to establish lethal, mobile stand-in forces as part of force design efforts

The Marine Corps is planning on forming low-signature but lethal and mobile stand-in forces to be the leading edge of the United States' forward-deployed forces, according to a new guidance Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger published Wednesday.

Document: USMC 'concept for stand-in forces'

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is still awaiting a new acquisition program baseline:

Pentagon awaiting F-35 JPO APB submission before finalizing remaining IOT&E schedule

The Pentagon still has not approved a new F-35 baseline and is awaiting a submission from the joint program office following an interim program review in October.

In an executive order issued this week, President Biden sets forth the National Space Council’s "membership, duties, and responsibilities":

Biden administration identifies resilient DOD space architecture as key priority

The Biden administration's new space priorities framework calls for the Defense Department to move quickly to develop a resilient space architecture as a means of deterring adversary aggression and a tool for better characterizing hostile action.

Document: White House executive order on the National Space Council

If 19- or 20-year-old sailors are going to use new technology to face problems in high-stress environments, the Navy must prioritize training:

Navy official: Emerging capabilities need to be 'sailor proof'

Amidst a service-wide push for emerging technologies, the Navy needs to make sure sailors aren't left behind, according to a service official.

By John Liang
December 2, 2021 at 9:59 AM

Amentum is inching closer to its acquisition of PAE, with the latter company announcing Wednesday there are no other interested buyers.

PAE said the "go-shop" period had expired, where "representatives of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, the company's financial advisor, contacted and sought to engage in discussions regarding alternative acquisition proposals with potentially interested third parties. The company did not receive an alternative acquisition proposal from any third party that constitutes a Company Acquisition Proposal (as defined in the Merger Agreement)."

On Oct. 25, Amentum and PAE announced the merger of the two companies, with Amentum paying approximately $1.9 billion. "The go-shop period expired at 12:01 a.m. on November 29, 2021," PAE said.

The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, according to PAE.

Amentum CEO John Vollmer told Inside Defense last January that with the acquisition of DynCorp International under its belt, the company was still pursuing new acquisitions.

"We are definitely looking, and I would not rule out [a] large” deal, he said at the time, noting Amentum was interested in cybersecurity, among other areas.

By Tony Bertuca
December 2, 2021 at 9:11 AM

Lawmakers have reached an agreement on a stopgap continuing resolution to keep the federal government open and funded through Feb. 18, according to a statement from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

If approved, the measure would avert a government shutdown slated for Friday.

DeLauro said lawmakers, looking to “build pressure” for a final bipartisan appropriations deal, are proposing a CR that includes “virtually no changes” to existing funding or policy anomalies.

However, she said, the measure does include $7 billion for Afghanistan evacuees. The Pentagon would get more than $4 billion of that amount to cover evacuee housing at military bases.

“The end date is February 18,” she said. “While I wish it were earlier, this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people.”

The federal government has been operating under a CR since Oct. 1 that runs through Dec. 3. Congress has until tomorrow at midnight to pass the CR to avert a government shutdown.

Under a CR, the Pentagon’s budget is frozen at previous-year levels and it is prohibited from launching new programs or contracting for production increases unless specifically approved by Congress.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
December 1, 2021 at 4:57 PM

The Army's upcoming hypersonic missile and other ground-based, long-range fires will likely be fielded in the United States, rather than in allied countries near China, according to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

"Initially, I think, they are much more likely to be fielded on United States territory," Wormuth said at a Dec. 1 Center for Strategic and International Studies event. "The Army is ready, when called upon, to be able to put those kinds of capabilities in the region. But it's really [the State and Defense departments] that will take the lead in those discussions."

A question from the audience was whether the military has made agreements to station the missiles in countries "in or near the First Island Chain," which includes Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan.

Long-range fires has become the Army's top priority in its modernization effort, and Wormuth said the ability to provide ground-based, long-range fires will be an important component of the service’s relevance in the Pacific.

The Army plans to begin fielding in fiscal year 2023 the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, which will be the military’s first operational hypersonic missile, and the Mid-Range Capability, a new ground-launch platform for Navy cruise missiles. The LRHW will fly at least 1,700 miles, while the MRC is expected to reach around 1,000 miles.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said earlier this year that stationing long-range fires in foreign countries was a "political question."

By John Liang
December 1, 2021 at 3:01 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on space-based sensors for missile defense, the Army secretary's speech at CSIS and more.

L3Harris' Spectral Solutions division in Fort Wayne, IN, is parlaying decades of experience in developing tools to monitor the weather to tackle missile defense:

L3Harris wields weather-watching expertise to elbow into missile defense market

Earlier this year, the Defense Department turned to a relative newcomer in the missile defense business to prototype novel technologies the U.S. military is counting on to counter Chinese and Russian hypersonic threats, awarding L3Harris one of two competitive contracts for a Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor.

The Army's top civilian spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this week:

Army would play critical role in conflict with China, Wormuth argues

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on Wednesday made a case for her branch's relevance in a potential conflict with China, arguing that a clash with the rising power would require a joint force response with a heavy Army presence.

No mention of armored brigades in Army secretary's speech on future China fight

Infantry and Stryker brigades will play a valuable role in a potential future fight against China, the Army secretary said in a policy speech Dec. 1 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Analysts have been largely positive over President Biden's choice for the Pentagon's acquisition chief:

LaPlante gets nod for DOD acquisition chief

Former Air force acquisition executive Bill LaPlante has been tapped to be the Pentagon's next under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, ending months of speculation that followed the derailed nomination of Michael Brown, the defense innovation official who was President Biden's previous nominee for the job.

The Navy will test Aegis Weapon System Advanced Capability Build 16 Phase 1 and Phase 2 hardware and software baseline upgrades in 2022:

Navy planning cruiser and destroyer Aegis modernization testing in FY-22

The Navy has scheduled operational testing of Aegis Weapon System upgrades on cruisers and destroyers next year, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Heidi Shyu, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, spoke this week at the Association of Old Crows International Symposium and Convention:

Pentagon's CTO warns of microelectronics supply chain risks

The Pentagon's chief technology officer today warned the microelectronics manufacturing industry could be disrupted by supply chain vulnerabilities and stressed the need for the United States to re-shore its commercial microelectronics capability.

The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office is offering prize money and potential program funding to companies that propose innovative solutions in eight technological areas:

Army soliciting innovations for rapid technological improvements in eight areas

The Army has announced it will hold its fourth innovation day for technological improvements in areas such as handheld batteries and power electronics between now and April of next year.

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

Pentagon plans to release scoping guides for CMMC assessments, new model in December

The Defense Department is working on several pieces of documentation to support the revamp of its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, including scoping guides for the new levels one and two and an overview document describing the CMMC 2.0 model.

By Briana Reilly
November 30, 2021 at 6:19 PM

The head of the recently stood up 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing said today the transition of a new data translation tool to the unit "may have hit upon a way to cheat the valley of death" and could serve as a framework for further maturing software going forward.

Further, the wing's purview over and continued development of the data transition tool serves to showcase the value of an organization like the 350th, said Col. William Young, the wing's commander: having a dedicated pool of people with the right talents to accept imperfect, software-based technology "and actually turn it into something that provides capability to a warfighter."

Though Young told attendees at the Association of Old Crows convention in Washington he didn’t believe software should face the so-called acquisition "valley of death" in most cases, he touted the unit's direct receipt of the System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems, a move he said would help get that technology and others into warfighters' hands quickly "and start doing reps."

STITCHES, a software tool that automatically integrates different systems across domains, was recently transitioned to the wing from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Officials have since set up a STITCHES Warfighter Application Team to serve as a help desk and assist others with leveraging the technology to solve other organizations' integration issues.

A team within the 350th is set to deliver STITCHES mission capabilities in the spring of 2022, Young said. Officials aim to achieve initial operational capability by the summer, he told Inside Defense, a timeline that's driving the spring goal.

Beyond STITCHES, Young touted the value of having an organization like the 350th, which Air Combat Command activated in late June, that he said could "take these one-off capabilities and one-off great ideas" from industry, academia and the military and "put those together in a synthetic thing" that could become a minimum viable product or capability release.

That happens, he said, through repeated use from a multidisciplinary team, individuals who can "take all those great ideas and translate them into something that you can put in the warfighter's hand today, even if they're not perfect."

That then, Young added, allows officials to "feed our acquisition system and go, 'Now I've got my requirements and I've got confidence that what I'm saying what I want is actually what I want because I've had the chance to get some reps.'"

"That's really what we're talking about here," he said. "Going back to why a spectrum warfare wing -- what other organization do we have today across the Air Force that can do that?"

By John Liang
November 30, 2021 at 2:12 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Marine Corps training, the Pentagon's latest Global Posture Review and more.

The Marine Corps is updating the way it trains its troops:

Marine Corps to employ LVC training by 2024

Live, virtual and constructive training will be the "underpinning" of the Marine Corps' future training environment, according to a service official.

Senior Pentagon officials discussed the Defense Department's recently completed Global Posture Review:

DOD completes Global Posture Review intended to push resources to Indo-Pacific

Details and outcomes from the Defense Department's recently completed Global Posture Review are classified, but a senior defense official says the review, which has the support of President Biden, will ultimately give DOD the "framework" necessary to increase U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China.

The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and the Navy's Strategic Systems Program Office are jointly developing an intermediate-range hypersonic glide vehicle that will be integrated on a new, two-stage booster:

DOD sets plan to upgrade long-range hypersonic strike fleet every two years

The Defense Department is laying plans to upgrade its future fleet of long-range hypersonic glide vehicles as frequently as every two years, creating windows for new technology insertion as experimental capabilities prove ready for production in a bid to catch up -- and overtake – China's current dominance of the near-space domain.

An Air Force base will be the first military installation to get a 5G network:

Hill AFB to mark first successful 5G network deployment with ceremony next week

Officials at Hill Air Force Base, UT, are poised to mark the first successful 5G network deployment at a service installation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week, a key milestone in the first phase of mid-band dynamic spectrum sharing work at the site.

Service officials are looking to modernize Letterkenny Army Depot:

Army depot looks at Futures Command efforts to guide its own modernization

CHAMBERSBURG, PA -- The Army's 35 priority acquisition programs grab most of the attention about what the service's chief of staff calls a once-in-four-decades modernization push.

By Tony Bertuca
November 30, 2021 at 9:57 AM

President Biden intends to nominate former Air Force acquisition chief Bill LaPlante to be under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, according to a White House announcement.

LaPlante is a former senior vice president at MITRE. In September 2020, LaPlante became the new president and CEO of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA.

While at MITRE, LaPlante served as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s national security sector, which includes two federally funded research and development centers -- the National Security Engineering Center (NSEC) and the National Cybersecurity FFRDC.

He served as the Air Force acquisition chief from February 2014 to November 2015.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting throughout the day.

By Tony Bertuca
November 29, 2021 at 9:28 PM

Senate Republicans today set up a blockade against the annual defense authorization bill, arguing they have proposed amendments that Democrats have shut out of the legislative process.

A measure intended to begin ending debate on the $778 billion defense policy bill -- which needed 60 votes to pass -- went down 45-51.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican who voted with Democrats to advance the bill. Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Independent Bernie Sanders (VT) voted against the bill as well.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the GOP's position "inexplicable and outrageous."

"Just because a few Republicans didn't get every single concession they insisted on they are halting the process," he said. "Republicans just blocked legislation to support our troops, support our families, keep Americans safe. Republican dysfunction has again derailed bipartisan progress."

But Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused Schumer of trying to "jam" the bill through without giving adequate consideration to GOP amendments, such as proposed sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a Russian-backed natural gas pipeline Republicans say is harmful to U.S. allies in Europe.

"Let me be clear: Sen. Schumer has put us in this position today," Inhofe said. "He waited more than two months after we filed the [bill] to bring it to the floor."

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to advance the bill in July and filed it for consideration on the Senate floor in September. The House passed its version of the bill Sept. 23 and is waiting on the Senate to enter conference committee negotiations. Senate Republicans have spent weeks criticizing Schumer for not bringing the bill to the floor more quickly.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said he attempted to broker an amendment deal with the GOP that fell through because a small number of Republicans opposed it.

"It doesn't seem to be particularly logical in my mind," he said. "A few members on the other side frustrated the entire process."

The deal, according to Schumer, would have allowed a single vote on 50 non-controversial amendments in the form of an en bloc amendment. The deal also would have allowed debate on 18 separate amendments, 11 of which, he said, were either GOP amendments or bipartisan amendments.

"At any other time in history what we offered Republicans would have been considered a very fair and generous compromise," Schumer said.

Reed said work to move the bill -- which has been signed into law for 60 consecutive years -- would continue.

"It will be done," he said. "I think Sen. Inhofe is committed to that, as I am. And we'll have to use procedures that are appropriate to get it done. . . . I think tonight we demonstrated irresponsibility."

Inhofe, meanwhile, said he continues to support the bill.

"I'm still very supportive of this bill and hope we will pass it soon," Inhofe said.

By Courtney Albon
November 29, 2021 at 3:06 PM

The Space Force is considering its options for acquiring Space-Based Space Surveillance capabilities as a service and is reaching out to industry for input.

Space Systems Command released a sources-sought synopsis Nov. 18 to get insight into the feasibility and possible market for SBSS as a service.

According to the notice, the work would include contractor operations and maintenance of the current on-orbit SBSS Block 10 system. The existing SBSS Block 10 sustainment contract only includes maintenance and sustainment of the system, not operations.

“This sources-sought will inform the government if contractor operations and maintenance of the SBSS Block 10 space vehicle can be performed as a service from cleared defense contractor facilities, if and when SBSS Block 10 is decommissioned from operational service in support of the space domain awareness mission area,” the notice states.

SSC notes that many of the system’s critical design elements are proprietary, owned by Boeing and Ball Aerospace, and the government doesn’t plan to purchase the associated data rights.

By John Liang
November 29, 2021 at 1:25 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy and Army's hypersonic weapon development efforts, the first Air Force base to get a 5G network, Army depot modernization and more.

The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and the Navy's Strategic Systems Program Office are jointly developing an intermediate-range hypersonic glide vehicle that will be integrated on a new, two-stage booster:

DOD sets plan to upgrade long-range hypersonic strike fleet every two years

The Defense Department is laying plans to upgrade its future fleet of long-range hypersonic glide vehicles as frequently as every two years, creating windows for new technology insertion as experimental capabilities prove ready for production in a bid to catch up -- and overtake -- China’s current dominance of the near-space domain.

An Air Force base will be the first military installation to get a 5G network:

Hill AFB to mark first successful 5G network deployment with ceremony next week

Officials at Hill Air Force Base, UT, are poised to mark the first successful 5G network deployment at a service installation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week, a key milestone in the first phase of mid-band dynamic spectrum sharing work at the site.

Officials at Letterkenny Army Depot, an organic industrial base location, have looked at the service's 35 priority modernization programs to determine the capabilities the base will need in the future:

Army depot looks at Futures Command efforts to guide its own modernization

CHAMBERSBURG, PA -- The Army's 35 priority acquisition programs grab most of the attention about what the service's chief of staff calls a once-in-four-decades modernization push.

German company Rheinmetall wants to build tactical wheeled vehicles for the U.S. military:

Rheinmetall 'looking forward' to Common Tactical Truck prototyping process, competition

Rheinmetall is participating with the Army in its acquisition process for the service's next-generation heavy tactical vehicles, according to Matthew Warnick, managing director at American Rheinmetall Vehicles.

Last but certainly not least, some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Senate defense policy bill heading to floor lacks key Cyber Solarium proposals passed by Homeland Security panel

Major Cyberspace Solarium Commission proposals were not included in the revised version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill expected to be debated next week in the Senate, but a key Solarium leader says provisions on cyber incident reporting and others remain in play for ultimate inclusion in the legislation.

By John Liang
November 29, 2021 at 12:48 PM

Mercury Systems announced today it has bought Norcross, GA-based radio frequency module and component maker Atlanta Micro.

Atlanta Micro builds advanced monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) used in high-speed data acquisition applications including electronic warfare, radar and weapons.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Mercury acquired Atlanta Micro for all cash, subject to net working capital and net debt adjustments, according to the Mercury announcement.

"The acquisition and associated transaction expenses were funded through Mercury’s existing revolving credit facility. The acquisition is expected to have a non-material financial impact in Mercury’s second fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2021," Mercury said.

"The acquisition of Atlanta Micro, our fourth transaction in 12 months and 15th since our fiscal [year] 2014, continues our strategy of supplementing organic growth with disciplined [mergers and acquisitions] and full integration," Mark Aslett, Mercury's president and CEO, said in the statement. “The acquisition directly supports our stated goal to provide next-generation trusted microelectronics capabilities for critical aerospace and defense applications. Atlanta Micro's state-of-the-art MMIC capabilities expand our prior investments in the RF and microwave domain, enabling us to both provide best-in-class solutions for our customers and to address new markets through our combined expertise. We see strong alignment in our strategies and vision, as well as our cultures, values, and commitment to innovation."

By Ethan Sterenfeld
November 29, 2021 at 12:02 PM

Oshkosh Defense has received a $592 million order for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, the Army announced Nov. 24.

The order will include 1,669 JLTVs, 868 trailers for the vehicles and spare parts, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2023, according to the announcement. Vehicles from the order will go to the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and foreign countries.

Brazil, Lithuania, Montenegro and Slovenia will buy a total of 125 vehicles, according to a Nov. 29 Oshkosh press release.

The order will be made with fiscal year 2022 foreign military sales and U.S. military funding, according to the Army announcement. The Army will also use FY-20 funding.

The number of vehicles each service will receive was not available in the Army announcement or the Oshkosh press release.

This is the first of two JLTV orders the Army has planned for FY-22. The second will come in September 2022, after the Army chooses the winner of the JLTV follow-on competition, according to the service’s FY-22 budget request.

The Army purchased fewer trailers in this order than it had planned in its FY-22 budget request. The request said the Army would buy 877 trailers, and that other services would buy more.

Congress has not passed an FY-22 defense appropriations bill, and it is unclear how much the Army will receive for the JLTV program. The House Appropriations defense subcommittee proposed lower funding than the Army request, while its Senate counterpart proposed spending more than the budget request.

Oshkosh executives said last month that they expect JLTV spending to fall in the coming years.