The Insider

By John Liang
December 20, 2022 at 1:36 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the defense part of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending package plus coverage of a recent critical minerals contract and more.

We start off with an overview of the defense portion of the FY-23 omnibus spending bill:

Congress readies $300B modernization account for DOD

House and Senate appropriators have drafted a final fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending bill that would increase Pentagon procurement by more than $17 billion above what lawmakers enacted in FY-22, while research and development would be boosted by more than $20 billion.

Document: FY-23 defense appropriations bill

Stay tuned to Inside Defense for in-depth coverage of this bill.

An up-to-$24.8 million award to mining company Perpetua Resources comes through the Defense Production Act Investments Program and seeks to advance the business’ current permitting work that will pave the way for construction on its so-called Stibnite gold project based in Idaho:

DOD makes first critical minerals award with Ukraine supplemental appropriations dollars

The Pentagon has made its first critical minerals award leveraging Ukraine supplemental appropriations aid, the Defense Department announced today, pledging nearly $25 million to help create a domestic source for a compound that’s key in munitions manufacturing.

Research and development of the Expendable Hypersonic Multimission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Strike program will take place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, and run through October 2028, according to the Defense Department:

AFRL awards Leidos $334 million for air-breathing hypersonic system

Leidos will work with the Air Force Research Laboratory under a contract of up to $334 million to develop an air-breathing hypersonic system for the Mayhem program, the Defense Department announced Friday.

The Navy has published a record of decision regarding where it would build a new submarine dry dock in Hawaii:

Navy will build new sub dry dock at Pearl Harbor, advancing SIOP efforts

The Navy has selected a plan for the construction of a new submarine dry dock and waterfront production facility at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to support maintenance of current and future classes of attack submarines.

The compromise version of the annual defense policy legislation, which has been approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the president, supports a boosted budget for the Defense Innovation Unit and further changes to two recently reauthorized small business programs:

Defense policy bill includes focus on DOD's innovation environment

Lawmakers are using the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill to push for changes to the military's innovation ecosystem, including through a provision seeking to produce a framework for bolstering the current capability environment.

By Tony Bertuca
December 20, 2022 at 9:17 AM

Lawmakers last night released a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill that would provide $858 billion in total defense spending for fiscal year 2023, exceeding President Biden's request by $45 billion. The bill also includes an additional $45 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine, about $7 billion more than Biden sought.

The final FY-23 topline is nearly 10% higher than what was appropriated for national defense in FY-22, an increase many lawmakers argued was needed to combat historic inflation.

The bill would also provide $772 billion in non-defense spending and $40 billion emergency supplemental spending for disaster aid.

Though senior lawmakers have said they support the bill and expect it to pass, there remains a large group of Republicans who have pledged to vote against the omnibus. Senior Republicans in the House did not participate in omnibus negotiations, arguing they would be in a better position to influence outcomes next year when they have a majority in the chamber. The bill, however, has the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Meanwhile, the bill must pass the House and Senate and be signed into law before Friday at midnight to avert a government shutdown.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting.

By John Liang
December 20, 2022 at 5:00 AM

General Dynamics announced Monday that it has appointed Chief Financial Officer Jason Aiken as executive vice president of the company's technologies segment.

Aiken will succeed Christopher Marzilli, who has served as executive vice president of technologies since 2019. Marzilli announced he plans to retire in early 2023, according to a GD statement.

Aiken, who has been senior vice president and CFO of the company since January 2014, will retain his responsibilities as CFO "while expanding his leadership role," the statement reads.

By Briana Reilly
December 19, 2022 at 3:20 PM

The Pentagon's joint cyber force dedicated to deterring and disrupting malicious actors has officially become the Pentagon's latest subordinate unified command, the Defense Department announced today.

The elevation of the Cyber National Mission Force, which occurred during a ceremony at U.S. Cyber Command’s headquarters at Ft. Meade, MD, comes after officials there were active in areas ranging from election defense to counter-ransomware operations and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the DOD release states.

“What this designation is really about is the maturity of the Cyber National Mission Force as a forward-looking organization to defend the nation,” Maj. Gen. William Hartman, the commander of CNMF, said in the release. “It’s about building a sustained readiness model that enables us to stay in a fight. It’s about our people: how we develop a dynamic model to recruit, assess, train and retain the world’s most talented cyber force.”

CNMF was first spun up in 2014, and now consists of 39 joint cyber teams spread across six task forces.

By John Liang
December 19, 2022 at 1:31 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a new Air Force hypersonic missile project, the Navy's recent decision on where to build a new submarine dry dock facility and more.

Research and development of the Expendable Hypersonic Multimission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Strike program will take place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, and run through October 2028, according to the Defense Department:

AFRL awards Leidos $334 million for air-breathing hypersonic system

Leidos will work with the Air Force Research Laboratory under a contract of up to $334 million to develop an air-breathing hypersonic system for the Mayhem program, the Defense Department announced Friday.

On Friday, the Navy published a record of decision regarding where it would build a new submarine dry dock in Hawaii:

Navy will build new sub dry dock at Pearl Harbor, advancing SIOP efforts

The Navy has selected a plan for the construction of a new submarine dry dock and waterfront production facility at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to support maintenance of current and future classes of attack submarines.

Document: Navy record of decision for dry dock at Pearl Harbor

The compromise version of the annual defense policy legislation, which has now cleared both the House and Senate and awaits the president's signature, supports a boosted budget for the Defense Innovation Unit and further changes to two recently reauthorized small business programs:

Defense policy bill includes focus on DOD's innovation environment

Lawmakers are using the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill to push for changes to the military's innovation ecosystem, including through a provision seeking to produce a framework for bolstering the current capability environment.

It looks like the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program will remain under the service's control:

Rollback of 2018 law imminent, ending drama over U.S. missile defense procurement authority

The Missile Defense Agency is on the cusp of securing a major bureaucratic victory after prevailing on lawmakers to roll back a law mandating weapon system procurement authority be transitioned to the military departments, a policy shift with implications most immediately for the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program.

The Naval Postgraduate School has signed an educational partnership agreement with Stanford University's Doerr School of Sustainability to address the challenges of climate change and join the research facilities of both institutions:

NPS partners with Stanford to address climate issues, collaborate on research efforts

As the Navy's key installations are confronted by the drastic effects of climate change, two prominent California schools have joined forces to tackle sustainability and climate issues, a partnership the sea service's top civilian official said will advance thinking on topics from fuel alternatives to future platforms.

By John Liang
December 16, 2022 at 3:13 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Defense Department innovation efforts, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system remaining in Army hands, the Naval Postgraduate School and Stanford University teaming up to work on climate change issues and more.

House and Senate lawmakers want the Defense Department to innovate more:

Defense policy bill includes focus on DOD's innovation environment

Lawmakers are using the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill to push for changes to the military's innovation ecosystem, including through a provision seeking to produce a framework for bolstering the current capability environment.

Looks like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will stay in Army hands, after all:

Rollback of 2018 law imminent, ending drama over U.S. missile defense procurement authority

The Missile Defense Agency is on the cusp of securing a major bureaucratic victory after prevailing on lawmakers to roll back a law mandating weapon system procurement authority be transitioned to the military departments, a policy shift with implications most immediately for the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program.

The Naval Postgraduate School and Stanford University have teamed up to work on climate change solutions:

NPS partners with Stanford to address climate issues, collaborate on research efforts

As the Navy's key installations are confronted by the drastic effects of climate change, two prominent California schools have joined forces to tackle sustainability and climate issues, a partnership the sea service's top civilian official said will advance thinking on topics from fuel alternatives to future platforms.

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

Defense sector ISAC guide seeks to help small business reach CMMC compliance using managed service providers

A recent guide from the National Defense Information Sharing and Analysis Center is designed to assist small and medium-size businesses with choosing a managed service provider to help reach compliance with the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.

The fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill includes a provision that would require the Missile Defense Agency to codify a plan -- and provide required funding between FY-24 and FY-28 -- to develop a suite of directed energy and cyber weapons to counter hypersonic threats:

Congress set to mandate strategy to defeat hypersonic missiles with lasers, microwaves, cyber

Legislation, poised to become law, would require the Pentagon to craft a strategy to add a new layer of asymmetric countermeasures to the U.S. missile defense system to defeat ultra-fast maneuvering threats -- including hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles.

By Michael Marrow
December 16, 2022 at 2:57 PM

Boosted by a preliminary engine enhancement contract, Pratt & Whitney is touting cost savings and a speedier delivery through the company’s favored option for upgrading the F-35’s engine as executives ramp up their work on the modernized propulsion choice they say can be ready in 2028.

This story is now available to all.

By Dan Schere
December 16, 2022 at 10:42 AM

The Army has placed a $543 million order to Oshkosh Defense for the fielding of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, the company has announced. The contract includes JLTVs for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Oshkosh won the initial JLTV contract in 2015 and has produced more than 18,500 vehicles since, according to a press release. It has fielded vehicles to more than 50 military installations in the United States and overseas.

The recent order, awarded Thursday, has an estimated completion date of July 31, 2024, according to a Defense Department notice.

Oshkosh is also competing for a follow-on production contract for the JLTV that will be announced early next year, company Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs George Mansfield said in a statement.

“Oshkosh has spent the past eight years optimizing its manufacturing and design processes and building a robust supply chain with maximized efficiencies,” he said.

As of November 2021, the Army estimated that the JLTV follow-on contract would be worth $6.5 billion over 10 years.

By Tony Bertuca
December 15, 2022 at 10:09 PM

The House and Senate have passed legislation that would extend the current stopgap continuing resolution from Dec. 16 to Dec. 23, giving lawmakers more time to negotiate a final spending deal to fund the federal government and stave off a shutdown.

The House passed the measure Wednesday voting 224-201 and on Thursday the Senate did the same with a 71-19 vote.

Senior Democrats and Republicans say they have agreed to a “framework” for a fiscal year 2023 appropriations omnibus package but need more time to hash out details, including spending toplines, which have not yet been released.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has pledged Congress will remain in session next week and will “work around the clock” to finalize the omnibus.

News of the framework follows efforts from House Republicans to scuttle the short-term CR in favor of a longer extension that could maximize their leverage when the GOP has a majority in the new year.

“This one-week continuing resolution is an attempt to buy additional time for a massive lame-duck spending bill in which House Republicans have had no seat at the negotiating table,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a statement.

The framework, meanwhile, is more popular among Republicans in the Senate, who mostly support it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said this week he backs the framework but cautioned that much work remains.

“It means the hard work can finally start,” he said on the Senate floor. “It will take seriousness and good faith on both sides to produce actual legislation that follows this framework. Poison pills, especially far-left demands to overturn longstanding and commonsense policy riders, will need to stay far away from this process.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), speaking on the Senate floor, called the framework a “roadmap for funding the government before the conclusion of the 117th Congress -- something the majority, the large majority of us, want to see."

By Tony Bertuca
December 15, 2022 at 8:47 PM

The Senate voted 83-11 to pass the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill, sending the measure to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The topline of the 4,400-page bill supports $858 billion in national defense spending, which is $45 billion above the amount Biden initially requested.

The bill also requires the Pentagon to rescind the mandate that members of the armed forces be vaccinated against COVID-19. The White House has said it is disappointed with the vaccine rollback but has not threatened to veto the bill, which also serves as a vehicle for several other key pieces of legislation including bills to increase U.S. defense assistance to Taiwan, authorize policy and toplines for the State Department and intelligence community, and more.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) released a statement touting the bill’s key investments.

“This bipartisan bill strengthens national security by ensuring our military has the resources it needs to defend our nation, deter conflict, and meet a range of evolving security challenges,” he said. “This year’s [bill] includes targeted investments, needed reforms, and enhanced oversight. It addresses a broad range of pressing issues, from strategic competition with China and Russia, to disruptive technologies like hypersonics, AI, and quantum computing, to modernizing our ships, aircraft, and other equipment.”

The bill is named in honor of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who is retiring at the end of the year. Inhofe, in a statement, praised the bill’s strong bipartisan passage.

“This is the most important bill we do every year, and the overwhelming majority of my colleagues agree -- that’s why it has become law for 61 years in a row, and this year we are one step closer to the 62nd year,” he said.

By Shelley K. Mesch
December 15, 2022 at 3:59 PM

The Space Force and its industry contractors should be able to launch new satellites in no more than three years after signing a contract, the service’s acquisition chief said Thursday.

As pacing threat China continues to increase its capabilities in the space domain, the United States needs to speed its development and fielding processes to stay ahead, Assistant Air Force Secretary for Space Acquisitions and Integration Frank Calvelli told attendees of a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon.

“I would like to challenge my folks that the timeline between contract award and first launch should be three years maximum. Hopefully less,” he said.

Calvelli pointed to efforts by the Space Development Agency to send up its Transport Layer Tranche 0 satellites. Even though the launch date for those platforms has been pushed into next year, he said the program is still on an impressive path.

“When you think about the fact when they awarded the contract and they launch the first set in March is still about 30 months from [a signed contract] to launch,” Calvelli said, “which is still pretty damn fast.”

SDA Director Derek Tournear confirmed to SpaceNews last week that the first of two sets of launches originally scheduled for this month will instead be scheduled for March, and the second set will be pushed to June.

This is the second schedule slip for the program. Tranche 0 had first been scheduled to launch in September before being pushed back.

The launches were pushed due to supply chain problems, Tournear has said.

As mandated by Congress, SDA formally joined the Space Force in October, and Calvelli said he’s already seeing a positive culture shift in the service.

“When I speak with my friends at Space Systems Command, they talk about doing things more like SDA,” he said. “To me, even though it’s only been a few months that [SDA has] been a part of the Space Force, we’re already seeing success and people trying to emulate their business model.”

Calvelli on Oct. 31 posted a memo outlining his nine tenets of space acquisition to more rapidly create a resilient architecture for the U.S. in the space domain and meet the pacing challenge.

The threat from China has grown because of the country’s ability, both on the defense and commercial sides, to launch smaller systems more frequently and to proliferate its systems across the orbital layers.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is their strengthening numbers,” Calvelli said of China.

By Dan Schere
December 15, 2022 at 2:01 PM

The Army has awarded an $84 million contract to Raytheon Missiles and Defense for more than 1,000 Excalibur 1B precision munitions to replenish U.S. stocks that have been transferred to Ukraine, the service announced Thursday.

Excalibur 155 mm rounds are long range artillery used for precision strikes in GPS-degraded and denied environments.

In October, the Pentagon announced that 500 M982 Excalibur rounds were being sent to Ukraine as part of a $625 million security assistant package.

Additionally, the compromise version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill, approved by the House last week, would grant multiyear authority to procure 12,050 Excalibur M982A1 rounds, as part of a group of munitions deemed critical for Ukraine and Taiwan.

The Raytheon contract announced on Thursday is a replenishment contract that was awarded Nov. 29, according to the Army. The contract utilized Tranche Seven funding and was awarded about 75 days after the funds were received, according to a press release.

Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, said in a statement Thursday that “the Army is focused on acquisition at speed in a responsible manner.”

“That applies to the Army’s support to Ukraine as well as routine program activity -- a winning strategy for our Soldiers, America and our allies,” he said.

According to the contract notice from the Defense Department, it has an estimated completion date of April 29, 2024.

By Thomas Duffy
December 15, 2022 at 12:38 PM

We start off this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest with an in-depth look at an upcoming F-35 engine decision, a story about lawmakers making a move on Guam’s air and missile defense, an examination of the next steps after a major Army contract award, and news of a recent Navy unmanned exercise carried out in the Middle East.

The Joint Strike Fighter office has a decision to make on the aircraft’s engine:

As F-35 engine decision nears, Pratt touts upgrade that execs say would be faster and cost less than AETP

Boosted by a preliminary engine enhancement contract, Pratt & Whitney is touting cost savings and a speedier delivery through the company’s favored option for upgrading the F-35’s engine as executives ramp up their work on the modernized propulsion choice they say can be ready in 2028.

News out of the 2023 defense authorization bill affecting Guam’s defense:

Lawmakers set three new 2023 policy initiatives for Guam air and missile defense project

Congress has settled on three new 2023 policy initiatives related to the Guam air and missile defense project, including the requirement that the Defense Department appoint a senior official to oversee the wrangling of personnel, equipment, budgets and more across military services associated with the effort to begin fielding a new capability as soon as 2024.

We walk through the next steps after a huge Army helicopter contract award:

After FLRAA award, here's what could come next

The losing bidders of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft contract have asked for feedback from the Army, and while it remains uncertain whether they will protest the service's decision, the debrief process could last several weeks with the holidays approaching.

The Navy recently carried out a exercise involving its unmanned platforms and new data distribution systems:

'Single Pane Of Glass': How one company delivered visibility for the Navy's Digital Horizon exercise

During a three-week maritime exercise in the Middle East featuring an array of unmanned systems, the Navy relied on an IT-focused contractor to collect data from its platforms and create a single operational picture for operators.

By Audrey Decker
December 15, 2022 at 12:33 PM

The Navy is working on a classified report to brief service leadership next year on the future of its vertical lift program and has asked for industry input.

As the service’s current fleet of MH-60R/S helicopters and MQ-8B/C unmanned air vehicles will reach the end of their service lives in the 2030s, the Navy is seeking a future vertical lift capability with maritime strike to replace these platforms.

The analysis portion of the future vertical lift maritime strike analysis of alternatives has been completed, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Travis Callaghan.

Currently, the AOA study team is focused on writing the “classified final report” which will be delivered to the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation early next year, Callaghan told Inside Defense in a statement.

“Once the report is complete, the results will be briefed to Navy leadership and OSD CAPE for decisions on how to proceed,” he said.

Last year, the service released a request for information, asking industry for its solutions to help inform this AOA. The Navy told Inside Defense that the program received over 30 responses to the RFI, “ranging from aircraft manufacturers to sub-systems suppliers.”

By John Liang
December 14, 2022 at 1:56 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's battle management systems, Army tactical vehicle safety, missile defense cybersecurity and more.

Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey, the Air Force's integrating program executive officer for command, control, communications and battle management, spoke to the media recently about his organization:

More assessment needed to create roadmap for ABMS, Air Force's new integrating PEO says

The Air Force's integrating program executive officer for command, control, communications and battle management said he will need a few more months to assess before he can share the priorities for the recently formed office.

The compromise defense policy bill awaiting Senate approval and subsequent presidential enactment has provisions on tactical vehicle safety:

Congress seeks reports on safer tactical vehicles

Congressional leaders are asking the armed services to up their efforts to improve tactical vehicle safety, multiple provisions in the conference version of the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill show.

That same legislation also has provisions on missile defense cybersecurity:

New legislation set to impose major new cybersecurity regime on MDA's $226B portfolio

Congress is poised to lay a major new requirement on the U.S. military's long-range missile defense enterprise, mandating a comprehensive set of actions to establish persistent cybersecurity operations and testing for ballistic missile defense systems and networks.

. . . As well as other missile defense language:

Senate push to expand NGI fleet finds place in final bill; DOD to draft potential $7B plan

The Defense Department would be required to draft a plan to triple the size of the Next Generation Interceptor inventory -- from 20 to 64 guided missiles -- a move that could drive the procurement price tag for the homeland defense interceptor fleet from $2.3 billion to more than $7 billion.

The Navy is looking "to identify potential sources capable of manufacturing Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS) Encanistered Missiles (EM)":

Navy signals interest in multiyear procurement for Naval Strike Missiles

The Navy put out a call to industry looking for companies that can produce the Naval Strike Missile -- a component of the service's long-range anti-ship capability known as the Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS).