The Insider

By John Liang
January 31, 2023 at 2:02 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Oshkosh's quarterly earnings, a nascent Defense Management Institute and more.

Oshkosh had its quarterly earnings call this morning:

Oshkosh reports sales growth in fourth quarter, lower profits for 2022 overall

Oshkosh reported sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, but profits for the year were lower due to continuing supply chain issues, company executives said during an earnings call Tuesday.

The newly formed Defense Management Institute will work directly with the office of the Defense Department’s top performance improvement officer, Michael Donley, who serves as director of administration and management:

DOD establishes new Defense Management Institute to work reform agenda

The Pentagon, in coordination with the Institute for Defense Analyses, has established a new Defense Management Institute to be an "independent research entity" to help reform the department's business operations.

Document: DOD memo on defense management institute

The Army is asking for the private sector's input on providing Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems:

Army plans to add unmanned aircraft component to Long Range Reconnaissance system

The Army is drafting an updated requirement for an unmanned Long Range Reconnaissance system and could field developmental test systems of the aircraft in two years, according to a new request for information.

Document: Army RFI for unmanned aircraft component to LRR system

A hypersonic missile test flight was recently conducted over California:

Lockheed completes second HAWC flight; too late to influence AF cruise missile competition

Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne -- along with two government partners -- executed a second flight test of the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept, demonstrating technology with potential application for a next-generation, ultra-fast cruise missile and a key objective for the advanced component development effort.

An Air Force general's memo predicting a war with China in 2025 has come under criticism:

Pentagon leadership distances from Minihan memo predicting war in 2025

Pentagon top brass are distancing themselves from a provocative memo issued by Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, that predicted war with China would come to pass in 2025.

By Audrey Decker
January 31, 2023 at 10:08 AM

In partnership with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon's chief digital and artificial intelligence officer has relaunched a series of experiments to improve access to data across the force.

Tasked with reintroducing the Global Information Dominance Experiments, or GIDE, CDAO will host four iterations of the experiment throughout 2023, according to a Jan. 30 press release.

The fifth iteration of GIDE, and the first of the relaunch, began Monday and will conclude Thursday with “participants at the Pentagon, multiple combatant commands and duty stations around the world.”

“The experiments are designed to inform Joint All-Domain Command and Control solutions related to joint data integration and the use of [artificial intelligence] and machine learning technology,” the department said.

Led by Craig Martell, formerly the head of machine learning for rideshare company Lyft, CDAO was stood up to consolidate various data integration and AI efforts across the department and reached full operating capability last June.

In a statement, Martell said the goal of these experiments is to identify where there are barriers to sharing data across the joint force and demonstrate how data and AI can help the force across a variety of mission sets.

By John Liang
January 31, 2023 at 9:38 AM

Mission assurance and cybersecurity company RMC has appointed retired Navy Adm. James Foggo as the new chairman of the company's board of directors.

Foggo has been on the RMC board since 2021.

The former admiral was head of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa as well as the U.S. Sixth Fleet. He is currently the dean of the Navy League's Center for Maritime Strategy and a distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and the Council on Competitiveness.

By John Liang
January 30, 2023 at 1:17 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on an upcoming Defense Science Board study on climate change, the multibillion-dollar Common Tactical Truck program, Army cruise missile defense and more.

The Defense Science Board will begin a new study on climate change next month:

Shyu launches DSB study to investigate 'new dimensions' of conflict driven by climate change

As the Pentagon expects climate change to "further intensify tensions" between countries, the Defense Science Board will begin a study this summer to investigate climate's impact on national security and assess the new systems and technology needed for the U.S. military's near- and far-term needs.

Document: DSB terms of reference memo for climate change study

The Army has announced prototype contracts for its multibillion-dollar Common Tactical Truck program:

Army announces $24M in prototype awards to four bidders for Common Tactical Truck

The Army has awarded prototype contracts totaling more than $24 million to four bidders for the multibillion-dollar Common Tactical Truck program, the service announced Friday.

On Jan. 12, the office of the Army’s project manager for Short and Intermediate Effectors for Layered Defense (SHIELD) in the program executive office for missiles and space published a notice asking industry for feedback on a new interceptor in addition to the guided missile selected as part of the original program -- the Raytheon Technologies-built AIM-9X:

Army eyes new interceptor to counter supersonic cruise missiles, large-caliber rockets

The Army is looking to add a second interceptor to its still-in-development, next-generation cruise missile defense system, seeking a guided-missile to counter supersonic air-breathing threats as well as large-caliber rockets and setting the stage for a likely new round of competition for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 program.

The latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC accreditation body publishes stakeholder input from initial assessment process guide

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's cyber certification program has published a detailed spreadsheet outlining comments from stakeholders on the group's first assessment process guide.

L3Harris Technologies executives talked about the company's quarterly earnings on Friday:

L3Harris CEO says hypersonics could be 'crown jewel' of Aerojet Rocketdyne acquisition

L3Harris Technologies' proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne is a way to branch into the missiles market, L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said Friday, adding that hypersonic missile technology could be the "crown jewel" of the acquisition.

By Shelley K. Mesch
January 30, 2023 at 1:05 PM

The Air Force is looking at using artificial intelligence-based surveillance systems to monitor other country nationals at a U.S. Central Command base, which could significantly cut back on the number of uniformed personnel needed for force protection, according to a request for information posted Friday.

OCNs at Al Udeid Air Force Base, Qatar, and other CENTCOM locations are monitored by Force Protection personnel, but the service believes it could reduce those in-person monitoring hours by up to 75% with the use of AI monitoring, according to the post.

The round-the-clock surveillance network would include cameras covering the entire site, digital twins, geospatial tracking, automated alerts, enhanced-monitoring zones and other AI capabilities, the post states. It would also integrate automation “to address safety and/or security concerns,” according to the post.

The Air Force is also looking to integrate artificial intelligence into other systems, including the Advance Battle Management System and predictive maintenance technologies at Air Force Global Strike Command.

The Defense Department last week released an update to its autonomous weapon systems policy, which sets parameters around military applications for AI.

By Dan Schere
January 30, 2023 at 11:37 AM

Australia will purchase 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters as a result of a $656.8 million contract modification awarded to Sikorsky. The Army announced the award on Jan. 26.

In June 2022, Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin, inked a $2.3 billion contract to provide the Army, other government agencies and foreign militaries with 120 Black Hawks through 2027. That contract included options for 135 additional aircraft, which would bring the total contract cost to $4.4 billion.

The contract for the Black Hawks being sent to Australia is part of the MYX contract awarded last year, according to Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Britt Rabinovici.

“On 26 Jan a contract was awarded with Sikorsky to exercise an option for 40 additional UH-60Ms off the current MYX contract to support an Australia Foreign Military Sales case,” she wrote in an email to Inside Defense.

Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo said in a statement that the UH-60M “provides the Australian Army with critical capabilities that will strengthen Australia’s readiness, interoperability and security for decades to come.”

Warren McDonald, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia, noted in a statement that Sikorsky Australia has been sustaining the Australian Defence Force’s Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopter fleets for more than 30 years.

“The addition of the UH-60M to the ADF fleet will generate positive economic opportunities for Australian Defence Industry across jobs creation, global supply chains and sovereign partnerships with regional small to medium enterprises,” he said.

By Michael Marrow
January 30, 2023 at 10:22 AM

Boeing will receive $2.25 billion to build the next lot of KC-46 tankers, according to an award announcement posted by the Air Force on Jan. 27.

The service ordered a total of 15 aircraft for production lot 9, with work expected to be completed Aug. 31, 2026, the announcement says.

The lot 9 award comes about five months after the lot 8 contract, which similarly ordered 15 new tankers. According to the Air Force’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, the service planned to order 15 tankers in FY-23, with lawmakers providing approximately $2.49 billion in funding.

The KC-46 contract struck in 2011 included options for 179 tankers, with the final order expected in FY-27. According to a Boeing press release, the company has delivered 68 KC-46s to date including two for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. Israel has additionally ordered four of the tankers.

The KC-46’s fixed-price contract has saddled Boeing with billions in losses primarily due to issues with the aircraft’s Remote Vision System, whose fix is now expected in October 2025. A series of new issues with the aircraft’s cargo loading were also recently identified in a recent report published by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

The issues raised a Category I deficiency that was later downgraded to Category II in November 2022, according to a report in Air & Space Forces Magazine.

Air Force officials are weighing whether to keep buying the aircraft for the service’s KC-Y bridge tanker effort or hold a competition to consider buying the KC-46’s competitor, the A330 derivative LMXT manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

A decision on the KC-Y program is expected around the time the Air Force unveils its FY-24 budget request this spring.

By John Liang
January 30, 2023 at 10:16 AM

Northrop Grumman has hired Stephen O'Bryan to be corporate vice president and global business development officer, the company announced today.

O'Bryan will "be responsible for leading the business development organization and enabling the company's international growth strategy," according to a Northrop statement. He will succeed David Perry, who has announced his intent to retire effective March 31.

Perry will continue as corporate vice president to support the transition until his retirement, Northrop said.

Prior to Northrop Grumman, O'Bryan worked at the Boston Consulting Group and from 2018 to 2019 he was senior vice president and chief global business development officer for L3Harris Technologies. Before that he worked for Lockheed Martin from 2004 to 2018. O'Bryan is also a former Navy F/A-18 pilot.

By John Liang
January 30, 2023 at 9:55 AM

HII has hired Eric Chewning to be executive vice president for strategy and development, the company announced today.

Chewning is a former chief of staff to the defense secretary and deputy assistant secretary for industrial policy.

In his role, Chewning "will guide HII's corporate strategy, including identifying new opportunities for growth, cross-division collaboration and potential investment," according to a company statement.

Before joining HII, Chewning was the Americas co-lead for the aerospace and defense practice at McKinsey & Company. He joined the Army after the September 11 attacks and prior to that was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.

By John Liang
January 30, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Industry organizations around the Washington area are scheduled to host several national security discussions this week, while the Defense Innovation and Business boards are set to meet as well.

Monday

The American Society of Naval Engineers holds its Technology, Systems & Ships and Combat Systems Symposium through Thursday.

Tuesday

Oshkosh Corp. holds its quarterly earnings call.

The Defense Innovation Board holds a session through Wednesday.

Wednesday

The Defense Business Board holds a session through Thursday.

Thursday

The RAND Corp.'s Project Air Force will host a virtual event exploring the potential security, strategic and geopolitical implications of climate change.

By John Liang
January 27, 2023 at 2:11 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman's quarterly earnings calls plus the status of the Army's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead, the Air Force's F-15EX lot 1 contract and a secret SM-3 Block IIA interceptor test launch.

L3Harris Technologies executives talked about the company's quarterly earnings this morning:

L3Harris CEO says hypersonics could be 'crown jewel' of Aerojet Rocketdyne acquisition

L3Harris Technologies' proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne is a way to branch into the missiles market, L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said Friday, adding that hypersonic missile technology could be the "crown jewel" of the acquisition, L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said Friday.

We have a status update on the Army's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead:

Preliminary design review for GMLRS' Enhanced Alternative Warhead scheduled for current fiscal year

A preliminary design review for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead (EAW) is scheduled for fiscal year 2023, and operational testing for the full system is to take place in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, according to Army officials.

. . . along with a scoop on the Air Force's F-15EX lot 1 contract:

Air Force, Boeing definitize F-15EX lot 1 contract

The Air Force and Boeing have definitized the F-15EX lot 1 contract, setting the flyaway price of six remaining fighters in the lot at $80.5 million each, Inside Defense has learned.

The Missile Defense Agency secretly launched a Standard Missile Block IIA interceptor last year:

MDA acknowledges clandestine SM-3 Block IIA experiment of classified capability

The Missile Defense Agency executed a covert launch of the nation's most advanced Aegis guided missile interceptor over the Pacific Ocean, keeping under wraps until now an experiment -- which one senior Pentagon official also called a developmental test -- of a highly classified potential new capability for the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA.

Northrop Grumman executives also talked about their company's earnings this week:

Northrop Grumman shares B-21 roadmap during year-end earnings call

Northrop Grumman remains on track for a flight test of the Air Force's B-21 Raider later this year and is anticipating a low-rate initial production purchase of five of the bombers, executives said during the company's year-end earnings call Thursday.

By Audrey Decker
January 27, 2023 at 10:40 AM

Next week, the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Board and Defense Business Board will convene for their first meetings of 2023.

In partially closed sessions, DIB will meet on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and DBB will meet on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, according to notices posted in the Federal Register. Historically, both groups have met on a quarterly basis.

The current DIB panel, which met for the first time last October, is a fraction of the size when compared to the 20 representatives it had at its start in 2016. Now the board has seven members, not including Chairman Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and one-time presidential candidate.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed DIB to tackle two main objectives: assess the Pentagon’s ties to investment capital and help shape the military’s science and technology strategy.

The innovation board will discuss and listen to classified briefs on S&T threats posed by adversaries and innovation “pain points” for the Pentagon.

The mission of the DOD’s business board is to advise the defense secretary on overall management and governance, and DBB will be briefed on topics such as how the department is avoiding the acquisition “valley of death” and challenges impacting DOD supply chains.

“[DBB] provides independent, strategic-level, private-sector and academic advice and counsel on enterprise-wide business management approaches and best practices for business operations and achieving National Defense goals,” the notice states.

By Dan Schere
January 27, 2023 at 9:30 AM

The Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation conducted a test this week at Ft. Irwin, CA that simulated various direct-fire scenarios involving small arms, officials said during a media briefing Thursday.

The PEO STRI’s Agile Acquisition Response, or STAAR, team has recently been conducting a series of soldier touchpoints for scenarios including direct and indirect fires, counter defilade target engagement, thrown grenades, placed munitions, guided missiles and attack drones.

STAAR was created in 2021 as a way to bring subject-matter expects together in order to field new technologies two and a half years earlier than expected, Tim Bishop, the deputy program executive officer for STRI said Thursday.

Currently, the office can support 60% of engagement on the battlefield in a direct-fire capacity, Bishop said.

“What we were challenged by the chief of staff of the Army to do was to get after filling the void of that 40%,” he said.

Curtis Leslie, the director of the STAAR team, said Thursday the Army is currently conducting a series of six soldier touchpoints that will help address current training capability gaps for new weapon systems that are to be introduced.

The test conducted Wednesday involved soldiers shooting at various targets from different distances to determine the accuracy of transmitters, Leslie said. The prototype system that was tested, he said, received positive feedback from soldiers during an after-action review.

“They really liked the fact that we developed some capabilities that are much lighter and smaller and compact,” he said. “So the goal here is to provide them with systems that don’t weigh them down, that increases probability of safety and lowers risk across the board, and allows them to maneuver more effectively as if they were in a real fight.”

By John Liang
January 26, 2023 at 1:55 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a Pentagon directive on autonomy in weapon systems, Army multiyear contracts and more.

An updated Pentagon directive "establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for developing and using autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including armed platforms that are remotely operated or operated by onboard personnel":

Pentagon releases long-awaited refresh to policy for autonomy in weapon systems

The Defense Department has released its updated autonomous weapon systems policy, accounting for the "dramatic, expanded" vision for artificial intelligence in the future of the U.S. military and clarifying the previous iteration of the document.

Document: DOD directive on autonomy in weapon systems

The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act gave the Defense Department permission to use multiyear contracts for munitions such as Stingers, Javelins, Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors and 155mm Excalibur rounds, among others:

Army contracts lasting multiple years will be part of ramped-up production efforts for Ukraine

As part of the Army's efforts to ramp up production of weapons and equipment in Ukraine, the service will utilize contracts that last multiple years, approval for which came in this year's defense authorization legislation, according to the Army's top acquisition official.

Boeing and General Dynamics discussed their quarterly earnings this week:

Boeing starts to stanch bleeding in defense sector; records fresh losses in Q4

A rebound in commercial jet deliveries boosted Boeing’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2022 but lingering supply chain woes and a struggling defense business unit led the company to record a net loss of $663 million.

GD reports strong growth but continued challenges in submarine production

General Dynamics executives recorded a "good year in a difficult environment," with record growth in the company's Marine Systems sector, but said labor and supply chain problems remain a significant challenge for submarine production.

In case you missed it, the United States has reversed its policy and will now send main battle tanks to Ukraine:

U.S. sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Following Germany's decision to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Biden administration has announced it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to aid the fight against Russia.

By Nick Wilson
January 26, 2023 at 1:02 PM

The Marine Corps reactivated a base on the island of Guam Thursday in an effort to establish an increased forward presence in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen ties with Japan and other allies in the region.

Known as Camp Blaz, the base is located on Guam’s northern plateau where it will serve as a “strategic hub as the Department of Defense realizes the vision of the 2022 National Defense Strategy,” according to a service announcement.

The location was selected during the 2012 Bilateral Agreement between the U.S. and Japan under the Defense Policy Review Initiative which established a framework for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, the release states.

According to a Friday statement from Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh, the Defense Policy Review Initiative Realignment Plan includes the relocation of 9,000 Marines from Okinawa beginning in 2024.

“No new units will be added to Okinawa under the agreement. 12th Marine Regiment, an existing unit on Okinawa, will undergo a transition to 12th Marine Littoral Regiment, in accordance with Marine Corps modernization efforts,” Singh stated.

“To maintain the number at the agreed upon troop levels, units identified to remain in Okinawa per the previous agreement will be strategically dispersed throughout the Indo-Pacific Theater, with Guam to serve as an important logistics hub in the future,” she continued.

Approximately 5,000 Marines will eventually be housed at Camp Blaz. They will begin relocating from Okinawa to Guam in the first half of the 2020s, according to Singh.

Camp Blaz is the first newly constructed Marine Corps base in almost 70 years. This construction is partially funded by the government of Japan, which will contribute $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2012 dollars to the effort.

The base is intended to act as a strategic outpost to promote collective defense in the region, and as a training ground for U.S. and allied forces.

“Forward, persistent presence is key to the regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz is a critical part of that. More than that, it shows our undivided relationship with the Government of Japan,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said in a statement included in the service’s release.

The Marine Corps first established a Guam presence in 1899 with Marine Barracks Guam. The base was reactivated in 1946 after World War II, and operated until it was deactivated again in 1992, according to the release.

“The realignment of Japan-based Marine Corps forces is the result of nearly 20 years of bilateral policy negotiation reflected in eight international agreements and arrangements. The realignment aims to secure a Marine Corps posture in the Indo-Pacific region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,” Singh’s statement added.

“The current program of record (POR) develops Guam as a strategic hub in the region and eases the impact of hosting Marine Corps units on the Okinawan people. The initiative also includes the relocation of Marines to Australia, Hawaii, and the continental United States,” she continued.