The Insider

By Evan Ochsner
May 26, 2022 at 2:54 PM

The Army has appointed a new director to lead its Assured Position, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team, the service announced, effective this week. 

Michael Monteleone will lead the CFT’s push to synchronize PNT efforts across the Army as the leader of one of the eight CFTs under Army Futures Command. 

“AFC’s mission to modernize the PNT landscape for our warfighters is certainly a worthy one,” Monteleone said in an announcement of his new role. “Our team will work diligently to ensure this mission is achieved.” 

Monteleone was previously director of the Engineering and Systems Integration Directorate under the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, according to the announcement.

By John Liang
May 26, 2022 at 2:09 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on autonomous weapon systems, the normalization of ballistic missile warfare and more.

A Pentagon directive on autonomous weapon systems might soon get an update:

DOD eyes potential refresh for autonomy in weapon systems policy as 10-year mark nears

With the decade anniversary of the Pentagon's autonomous weapon systems policy nearing, the bedrock directive could soon be in for the refresh that some have sought for years.

The head of the Aerospace Industries Association is calling on lawmakers to increase defense spending:

AIA chief calls on Congress for increased defense spending, timely budgets

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning has sent a letter to senior lawmakers urging them to pass a defense budget that is 3% to 5% higher than the current rate of inflation and wants them to do so before the beginning of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Document: AIA chief's letter on increased defense spending

Ballistic missile attacks have become normalized since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

Top U.S. general: Russia's war against Ukraine 'normalizing' ballistic missile warfare

A top Army general believes the Russian invasion of Ukraine has ushered in a new benchmark for modern combat with wide-ranging implications for the United States and all modern armed forces: the normalization of ballistic missile attacks.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday announced the creation of an Unmanned Task Force last year, but the service hasn’t provided any detail on the progress of the task force since then:

Navy task force aims to field unmanned systems within next five years

After starting various developmental efforts and unmanned programs across the Navy, the service hopes to consolidate its efforts into a single team to accelerate the fielding of unmanned systems within the next five years.

The Army will test hybrid-electric Bradley Fighting Vehicles later this year against vehicles with traditional powertrains:

Hybrid Bradley prototypes coming this summer

The Army is on track to finish a two-year effort to prototype two hybrid-electric Bradley Fighting Vehicles this summer, according to a service official.

By Audrey Decker
May 26, 2022 at 12:51 PM

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday has suggested selling used Littoral Combat Ships to other countries -- citing South America as an example -- instead of scrapping the ship entirely.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2023 budget request plans to decommission 24 ships -- nine of which are the Freedom-variant LCS.

The anti-submarine warfare package developed for the Freedom-variant hull was ineffective and wouldn’t match the Chinese undersea threat, Gilday said during a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing today.

One of the nine LCS posed to be decommissioned was involved in joint exercises with the Dominican Republic Navy, performing drug interdictions, according to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), a member of the subcommittee.

“In terms of what are the options going forward with these ships, I would offer to the subcommittee that we should consider offering the ships to other countries that would be able to use them effectively,” Gilday said.

“There are countries in South America as an example . . . that would be able to use these ships that have small crews and so instead of just considering scrapping as a single option, I think there are others that we can look at,” Gilday said.

By John Liang
May 26, 2022 at 12:37 PM

HII announced today it has named Brandi Smith to run the Columbia-class submarine program at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division.

Smith will succeed Charles Southall, who will retire July 1 after more than 35 years with the company, according to HII.

Smith began her career at Newport News in 2002 as an engineer in the carrier overhaul program and most recently served as Columbia-class construction program director.

She will assume her new role as vice president of the Columbia program June 1, and will report to Matt Needy, vice president of Navy programs, according to HII.

By Michael Marrow
May 25, 2022 at 5:02 PM

The first of new Boeing-designed wing sets that will extend the service life of several A-10 Warthog aircraft was delivered earlier this month to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT, according to a company press release.

Boeing was awarded the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract in August 2019 to manufacture up to 112 wing sets for the aircraft, which was capped at $999 million. The Air Force has so far ordered 50 wing sets, according to a Boeing spokeswoman, though future sustainment needs could prompt the service to order more.

Assembly for the next wing set is underway, the spokeswoman added, with all elements of the set expected to be delivered before July 1. Delivery for the third wing kit is planned for September.

The Air Force is continuing sustainment of the A-10 as the service seeks permission from Congress to gradually divest it, with the goal of phasing out the entire fleet within a decade. After blocking divestment of the aircraft last year, key lawmakers have since told Inside Defense that they would support A-10 retirements for fiscal year 2023.

The Air Force is aiming to retire 21 A-10s in FY-23, according to legislative proposals recently released by the Defense Department. The aircraft first entered service in 1976.

By Evan Ochsner
May 25, 2022 at 2:27 PM

The Army awarded Airbus a follow-on logistics support contract to provide spare parts, material and engineering support for the service's fleet of 482 Lokata utility and training helicopters, the company announced Monday.

The contract has a potential total value of more than $1.5 billion over 4.5 years after a six-month base, the announcement states.

Airbus will provide Contractor Logistics Support across 67 Lakota sites, according to the release, including National Guard bases and at Ft. Rucker, AL, where the Army uses the aircraft for rotorcraft training.

The CLS contract with the Army is the largest helicopter performance-based support contract managed by Airbus worldwide, the company said. It has provided product support services to the Army for the aircraft for almost 20 years, according to the company, which also makes the aircraft.

The contract is for maintenance for the UH-72A and UH-72B variants of the Lokota. The company delivered the first UH-72B variant to the Army last year. The first UH-72As entered the service about 15 years ago, according to the announcement.

By John Liang
May 25, 2022 at 1:45 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's updated cloud computing framework, the Defense Department's seeking to expand its use of a certain procurement authority and more.

The Army's updated cloud computing plan will contain "a greater level of detail and maturity" for a host of areas, including leveraging commercial cloud computing services, according to a service official:

Army poised to release updated cloud plan in coming months

The Army's updated framework outlining its approach to implementing cloud solutions is in staffing and poised to be released "soon," the head of the service's Enterprise Cloud Management Agency said.

The Pentagon is looking to expand the Special Emergency Procurement Authority to include humanitarian or peacekeeping operations to support requests for combatant commanders:

DOD wants to expand emergency procurement powers to deter Russia, China

The Defense Department wants to expand its use of Special Emergency Procurement Authority to include "gray zone" missions abroad, according to a new legislative proposal sent to Congress.

The Navy will be moving to the MQ-8C Fire Scout sooner than originally planned:

Navy pushes up timeline to phase out MQ-8B

The Navy has pushed up the timeline to fully transition from the MQ-8B Fire Scout variant to the MQ-8C from fiscal year 2024 to the end of this year.

The Marine Corps is the service with the first installation to stop drawing electrical power from its off-base utility provider:

Marine Corps base Albany is first DOD installation to achieve 'net zero' status

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, GA, officially declared "net zero" status today -- the Defense Department's first installation to meet this milestone.

The Marine Corps' announcement comes the day after the Navy released its new climate action plan:

Navy aims to become climate-ready through new action plan

As coastal installations face rising sea levels, recurring flooding and other disastrous impacts of climate change, the Navy has outlined its course of action to build a climate-ready force by 2030.

Document: Navy's climate action 2030 plan

By Michael Marrow
May 25, 2022 at 11:30 AM

The National Reconnaissance Office awarded three multibillion-dollar Electro-Optical Commercial Layer contracts to BlackSky, Maxar Technologies and Planet in what NRO said is its largest-ever commercial imagery contract award, according to an agency press release.

An EOCL request for proposals was first issued in 2021, following study contracts that were issued to the three companies in 2019. The EOCL will expand capabilities provided by the EnhancedView Follow-On contract, which was previously awarded to a Maxar subsidiary in 2019.

The program will continue to furnish the U.S. defense and intelligence communities with unclassified, shareable remote sensing data that can support transparency, situational awareness and humanitarian missions, according to the release.

EOCL was effective beginning May 22, 2022, the release says, and the contracts consist of a five-year base and five additional years of options through 2032. According to a presentation prepared by Maxar, the company’s contract is worth up to $3.24 billion.

By Audrey Decker
May 24, 2022 at 4:38 PM

The Navy is asking industry for information on the service's next-generation destroyer's electric propulsion system.

The DDG(X) program will leverage the DDG-51 Flight III combat system and feature an Integrated Power System for power and propulsion, according to a notice published May 12.

Last summer, the Navy conducted a DDG(X) IPS industry day. The May 12 notice states that a key theme from the industry day was the service’s intent to use non-developmental technologies for IPS to reduce risk.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2023 budget documents allocate $195.5 million in research and development funding for the DDG(X) program -- $145.8 million for power and propulsion risk mitigation and demonstration.

DDG(X) will replace older Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers. The service wants to procure the first DDG(X) in FY-30.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 24, 2022 at 3:38 PM

A bipartisan commission announced potential new names today for nine Army bases that are currently named for Confederate officers, which it will officially send to Congress by Oct. 1.

The fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Pentagon to create a "Naming Commission" to review military bases and other equipment that honor the Confederacy. Authority to rename the bases lies with the Defense Department, which is supposed to implement the changes by Jan. 1, 2024.

The following bases will be renamed, according to the commission’s plan:

  • Ft. Benning, GA, would be renamed Ft. Moore
  • Ft. Bragg, NC, would be renamed Ft. Liberty
  • Ft. Gordon, GA, would be renamed Ft. Eisenhower
  • Ft. A.P. Hill, VA, would be renamed Ft. Walker
  • Ft. Hood, TX, would be renamed Ft. Cavazos
  • Ft. Lee, VA, would be renamed Ft. Gregg-Adams
  • Ft. Pickett, VA, would be renamed Ft. Barfoot
  • Ft. Polk, LA, would be renamed Ft. Johnson
  • Ft. Rucker, AL, would be renamed Ft. Novosel

Ft. Belvoir, VA, did not meet the criteria for renaming established by Congress, according to the commission. But the commission “will recommend the Department of Defense conduct its own naming review of the post.”

National Guard installations are under state control, so the commission does not plan to recommend new names for those that honor Confederate leaders.

The final report to Congress will include naming recommendations for two Navy vessels, “along with many other items,” according to the Naming Commission.

“Today’s announcement highlights the Commission's efforts to propose nine new installation names that reflect the courage, values, sacrifices, and diversity of our military men and women,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement today.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) also praised the commission’s work.

“This list is but a first step in addressing Confederate symbolism in the U.S. military, a process that is more than symbolic,” Smith said. “This process has created a new opportunity to foster a more inclusive environment for our service members by remembering and acknowledging our country’s history while honoring the valor and sacrifice of our service members and their families.”

By Tony Bertuca
May 24, 2022 at 3:34 PM

The Defense Policy Board is slated to meet in closed session June 7 and June 8 to receive classified briefings from senior Pentagon officials about the conflict in Ukraine, according to a Federal Register notice issued this morning.

The board, a key Pentagon advisory group, will be addressed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.

“The board will receive classified briefings on (1) implementation of the National Defense Strategy and integrated deterrence; (2) a current intelligence briefing on Ukraine; (3) a discussion on the Ukrainian security environment; (4) a budget priority briefing and (5) discussions on the briefings in a classified session with the Secretary, and the Under Secretary of Defense,” the notice states.

The board was re-established last September following a “zero-base” review and allegations that former President Trump had removed members and installed political loyalists.

The board’s current membership includes former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, retired Army four-star Jack Keane and others.

The previous chairman of the board was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who died in March. A new chair has not yet been named.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 24, 2022 at 2:53 PM

The Army plans to increase the number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicle trailers it can buy under its existing contract with Oshkosh Defense by 2,021, according to a May 23 notice.

This will allow the military to buy up to 5,562 trailers under the existing contract, compared to the previously allowed 3,541, according to the notice.

The Army announced in 2020 that it would increase the production ceiling in the current JLTV contract to 23,163 vehicles, but it did not say at the time how many extra trailers it could buy. Other services that use the JLTV buy their vehicles and trailers through the Army’s contract.

Lower-than-expected unit costs and a delay to a follow-on contract led to raising the vehicle procurement ceiling, the program manager responsible for the JLTV said last year. Costs per vehicle were about 17% below earlier government projections.

Oshkosh is expected to face competition for a JLTV follow-on production contract, which could be worth $7.3 billion over a decade. Bids for that contract are due July 15, and the Army plans to announce a winner on Dec. 22.

Procurement costs could grow at the beginning of the follow-on contract, according to the Army’s fiscal year 2023 budget request. That request would include an increase in the Army’s JLTV procurement spending, to $703 million, after multiple years of cuts.

By John Liang
May 24, 2022 at 1:41 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on military energy consumption reduction, the Navy's new climate action plan and more.

The Marine Corps is the service with the first installation to stop drawing electrical power from its off-base utility provider:

Marine Corps base Albany is first DOD installation to achieve net zero status

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, GA, officially declared 'net zero' status today -- the Defense Department's first installation to meet this milestone.

The announcement comes one day after the Navy released its new climate action plan, the service's first holistic strategy to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change:

Navy aims to become climate-ready through new action plan

As coastal installations face rising sea levels, recurring flooding and other disastrous impacts of climate change, the Navy has outlined its course of action to build a climate-ready force by 2030.

Document: Navy's climate action 2030 plan

The House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat spoke this week at the Center for Foreign Policy in Washington:

Smith predicts 'tough fights' over planned nuke cuts

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today he knows he's "100% lost" his previous battle to eliminate the ground-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad but predicted there are still "tough fights" ahead in this year's defense policy bill when it comes President Biden's proposed termination of a developmental submarine-launched cruise missile and the retirement of the B-83 megaton gravity bomb.

The Army wants to spend more money developing big trucks:

Army FY-23 request boosts truck research funding

The Army would increase development spending on its medium and heavy tactical vehicles by tens of millions of dollars under its fiscal year 2023 budget request, including programs to bring limited electrification and autonomy to cargo trucks.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said this week that the source-selection process for the Glide Phase Interceptor program is in its final stages:

MDA contemplating range of GPI development scenarios, including pursuing three concepts

The Missile Defense Agency is nearing a decision on how many hypersonic-busting missile designs to pursue, retaining the option to concurrently develop as many as three competing blueprints for a Glide Phase Interceptor or narrow the current contest among Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman.

By John Liang
May 24, 2022 at 9:55 AM

Former Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has joined Castellum's advisory board, the company announced today.

"Castellum's Advisory Board seats experienced business leaders and senior cybersecurity/information technology (IT) executives with business, government, and technical expertise useful in fostering the growth of the company," according to a statement.

Moran served in Congress for 24 years before retiring.

By John Liang
May 23, 2022 at 1:27 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the nascent Guam Defense System, the Army's Multidomain Task Force and more.

We start off with the latest on the Missile Defense Agency's efforts to set up a system to defend Guam against ballistic missile attack:

DOD eyes 42 mobile launchers to deter, defeat potential Chinese attack against Guam

The Defense Department is eyeing a distributed air and missile defense system for Guam that would arm 42 mobile platforms with Standard Missile-3 and Standard Missile-6 interceptors to give the U.S. territory roughly the equivalent of two-and-a-half Aegis destroyers to counter Chinese ballistic, cruise and hypersonic threats.

The Army's Multidomain Task Force doesn't have a website or social media accounts, which service officials say contributes to the unit's operational security:

Army MDTFs fly below radar amid great power competition

The Army’s 1st Multidomain Task Force, the first of a new unit that will field hypersonic and ship-killing missiles, deliberately shares less information about itself than other military units, according to its commander.

The Air Force's Life Cycle Management Detachment 12, known as Kessel Run, recently announced it received approval to use a new software system:

Kessel Run receives approval to use faster Software Acquisition Pathway

A crucial software development arm of the Air Force received approval to use a relatively new Software Acquisition Pathway that will allow it to advance technology to warfighters more quickly.

The Government Accountability Office has generally good things to say about DOD cybersecurity:

GAO: DOD mostly meets cybersecurity requirements in key CUI areas

While the Defense Department has taken steps to safeguard sensitive data, it has yet to fully implement cybersecurity requirements surrounding its controlled unclassified information across the military's components, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Document: GAO report on protecting CUI systems

Although the Navy currently has 11 operational aircraft carriers, at least two CVNs are regularly unavailable for deployment due to routine or scheduled maintenance or repair:

Navy proposes legislation to move from 10 to 9 carrier air wings

The Navy has sent legislation to Congress that would reduce the number of carrier air wings to nine until additional aircraft carriers can fully support a 10th air wing.