The Insider

By Aidan Quigley
January 21, 2022 at 5:04 PM

The Navy's aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78), the first carrier of its class, will deploy "by fall," Rear Adm. James Downey, the program executive officer for aircraft carriers, told reporters Friday. 

“The plan is toward the end of the summer, she goes,” Downey said. “She’s going to visit multiple theaters of operations with multiple allies, and her strike group, and her wing.” 

Downey said he could not release specifics of the Ford’s deployment plans. 

The Ford concluded its full ship shock trials in April 2021 and is currently undergoing a planned incremental availability.

During the PIA, the Navy is evaluating any damage sustained during shock trials and modernizing and maintaining the carrier to prepare for its deployment. Downey said the PIA is set to be concluded by the end of February.

After the PIA, Ford will do more trials, Downey said. The strike group and carrier wing will embark this spring as the ship starts its workups, he said.

The Navy announced in December that it had received the eleventh and final elevator following lengthy development, installation and delivery delays.

The Ford was commissioned in 2017 but has faced long-lasting issues with its elevators and reliability concerns with its electromagnetic aircraft launch system and arresting gear, according to the Government Accountability Office’s annual acquisition programs assessment, released in June 2021.

By John Liang
January 21, 2022 at 2:23 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army urban operations training, Navy unmanned surface vessels and more.

The Army has designated a certain division that will specialize in urban warfare:

Army division creates course for planning urban operations

Leaders of the 40th Infantry Division found a problem with their January 2020 Warfighter exercise: it took place in a city, but the computer software that it relied on could not accurately simulate urban warfare.

Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, surface warfare director in the office of the chief of naval operations (N96), recently said the Distributed Offensive Surface Fires Analysis of Alternatives study, formally launched a year ago, is nearing completion:

Navy now eyeing April for LUSV analysis of alternatives completion

The Navy has pushed the target completion date for a mandated study -- exploring potential alternatives to a fleet of Large Unmanned Surface Vessels that include commercial ships and amphibious warships packed with long-range missiles -- until spring, a delay of more than six months compared to the project's original goal.

In case you missed it, Inside Defense recently spoke with L3Harris executives about the company's unmanned surface vessel work:

First MUSV platform will feature broad payload area

The first Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel platform will feature a broad payload area where the Navy can "pick and choose" the platform's capabilities, according to L3Harris executives.

More Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification coverage from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Delay in publicly releasing CMMC process guide attributed to potential national 'security' implications

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body board chairman Jeff Dalton says the delay in the public release of the CMMC assessment process guide, known as the CAP, is related to national "security" concerns, a claim that is raising questions among CMMC stakeholders.

DOD contracting official: Policy for fixing CMMC compliance blind spots to include threshold requirements

The Defense Department's policy for contractors to provide details on how they will address gaps in their Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification assessments will include a threshold on requirements that "need to be" taken "seriously," according to DOD's John Ellis, who leads the office responsible for conducting CMMC assessor audits.

By Evan Ochsner
January 21, 2022 at 1:04 PM

The Army is seeking information about industry's capability to develop and integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning features into its Integrated Visual Augmentation System, according to a request for information issued Jan. 19. 

IVAS, one of the Army’s modernization priorities, is a militarized version of Microsoft’s HoloLens virtual reality headset and is intended to provide soldiers with movement of information, high-level processing, and augmented-reality information. 

The request asks for industry capabilities in about 30 areas related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. They include AI-enabled target detection algorithms, battlefield data processing, mixed-reality solider interface, and battlefield language translation. 

Responses are due by Feb. 18.

Congress in the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill cut $213 million from the IVAS budget and withheld 25% of approved money until the Army secretary submits a report on “system reliability, network adequacy, power duration, terrain data sufficiency, and plans for iterative improvements.”

The Army last year awarded Microsoft $21.9 billion to build the system.

By Tony Bertuca
January 21, 2022 at 11:39 AM

Anduril Industries has won a contract from U.S. Special Operations Command to provide counter-drone technology that could be worth almost $1 billion, according to the Pentagon.

SOCOM has awarded the Irvine, CA-based company an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum ceiling of nearly $1 billion for “a counter-unmanned systems, systems integration partner,” according to Pentagon notice.

SOCOM chose Anduril out 12 competing proposals. The work will be performed at various locations within and outside the United States and is expected to be completed by January 2032.

Anduril has moved aggressively in recent years to win Pentagon business, acquiring technology companieshiring key defense committee staffers from Capitol Hill and recruiting former senior defense officials to serve on its advisory board.

By Audrey Decker
January 21, 2022 at 11:17 AM

The Navy will host an industry day next week to provide further information on an unmanned aircraft system that would perform maritime search and rescue missions. 

The industry day will take place on Jan. 26, according to a request for information updated yesterday. 

Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division AIRWorks “intends to accelerate the identification and evaluation of unmanned aircraft systems capable of performing wide-area Maritime Search and Rescue missions from a surface vessel,” according to the RFI. 

The program is interested in systems that can perform at long ranges for extended periods while relaying information back to the host vessel, according to the RFI. 

“More specifically, AIRWorks is interested in locating personnel adrift, downed airliners (finding debris, oil slicks, beacons), ships in distress, or other incidents at sea, through a variety of technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Electro-optic, infrared, Full Motion Video, Maritime Wide-Area Search, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and Electronic Sensing),” the RFI states. 

The Navy is seeking an unmanned aircraft that can relay data back to Command and Control in a potentially comms-denied environment, according to the RFI. 

This summer, NAWCAD will host an at-sea technology demonstration, which will be “part of a multi-phased merit-based selection process for the potential award of an Other Transaction prototype,” according to the Navy. 

The Navy is also seeking industry input on a UAS capable of vertical takeoff and landing that would support a variety of expeditionary operations. 

By Audrey Decker
January 21, 2022 at 10:22 AM

The Navy is seeking industry input on a new unmanned aircraft system capable of vertical takeoff and landing. 

The system would support operations such as mission planning, reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, patrolling and other expeditionary operations, according to a Jan. 18 request for information.

“The system should be rugged and ready to use as delivered with minimal logistic, training and support requirements. The system should provide real-time full motion video via electro-optical and/or infrared sensors,” according to the RFI.

The unmanned aircraft should be capable of an autonomous or safe manual launch with “minimum support of equipment from a small, confined area,” the RFI states. 

Some characteristics of the system include vertical takeoff and landing, minimum endurance of 25 minutes, lightweight and easily portable, maximum two-man setup and high-resolution day and night imagery via electro-optical/infrared sensors, the Navy states. 

“The air vehicle should be equipped with a Ground Control Station that is man-portable and consist of the necessary equipment to monitor the sensor(s) position and status and control its movement and view its video or is interoperable with existing common control systems available for U.S. government procurement,” the RFI states.

Mission data collected by the UAS would be stored in the GCS or air vehicle with removable storage, according to the Navy. 

Late last year, the Navy and Marine Corps demonstrated resupply capabilities of two unmanned aircraft -- the Tactical Resupply UAS and Blue Water logistics UAS.

By Audrey Decker
January 20, 2022 at 5:03 PM

President Biden has nominated Franklin Parker to become assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

Parker was appointed for this position in 2015 under the Obama administration and served until 2017.

Parker is currently working as a senior counsel in intelligence solutions for BAE Systems.

By John Liang
January 20, 2022 at 1:55 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on unmanned surface vessels, the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program and more.

Inside Defense recently spoke with L3Harris executives about the company's unmanned surface vessel work:

First MUSV platform will feature broad payload area

The first Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel platform will feature a broad payload area where the Navy can "pick and choose" the platform's capabilities, according to L3Harris executives.

Some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Delay in publicly releasing CMMC process guide attributed to potential national 'security' implications

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body board chairman Jeff Dalton says the delay in the public release of the CMMC assessment process guide, known as the CAP, is related to national "security" concerns, a claim that is raising questions among CMMC stakeholders.

DOD contracting official: Policy for fixing CMMC compliance blind spots to include threshold requirements

The Defense Department's policy for contractors to provide details on how they will address gaps in their Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification assessments will include a threshold on requirements that "need to be" taken "seriously," according to DOD's John Ellis, who leads the office responsible for conducting CMMC assessor audits.

The Air Force's top civilian spoke this week at an online Center for a New American Security event:

ABMS' first capability release moving forward 'as planned' following Kendall's review

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the service is moving forward with the first capability release tied to the Advanced Battle Management System "as planned," and officials are still on track to proceed with a second incremental one following his review of the program.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing this week on price gouging in military contracts:

TransDigm 'price gouging' controversy spurs new cost transparency bill

Citing the ongoing pricing controversy with Pentagon contractor TransDigm, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has drafted a bill based off a Defense Department legislative proposal that would require contractors provide more cost information to the federal government.

Document: House hearing on Transdigm, price gouging

Army Training and Doctrine Command is no longer administratively in charge of the service's capabilities managers:

Army capability managers move to Futures Command from TRADOC

Army Futures Command assumed administrative control of the Army's capability managers from Training and Doctrine Command on Oct. 1, according to an Army spokesman.

By Briana Reilly
January 20, 2022 at 11:11 AM

The Air Force is planning to gather industry partners for a May meeting to bolster collaboration between business and government in hypersonics-related independent research and development, a recent notice shows.

The Hypersonics IR&D Technology Interchange Meeting, slated for May 23-27 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, will bring together defense officials across a number of agencies “with active roles in hypersonics" science and technology to provide feedback on industry’s potential research investments and other presented material, according to the notice.

Those interested in participating are directed to submit up to five IR&D abstracts and corporate investments by mid-February, with an evaluation of those abstracts completed the following month, according to a schedule accompanying the notice. Companies in April will then be notified which abstracts are selected for the meeting, and those chosen would need to submit briefings to the Air Force’s IR&D team in early May.

During the meeting, which the notice says is “intended to foster mutual awareness, increase collaboration, and identify alignment between industry’s independent research investments and DAF hypersonics-related science and technology needs,” company presenters will receive input on the “relevance and criticality” of their material.

The planned event comes as the Defense Department works to up the speed of hypersonic testing while decreasing associated costs. Meanwhile, at the Air Force level, where Secretary Frank Kendall has expressed his dissatisfaction with the service’s pace on hypersonics development, he this week cautioned against “mirror-imaging the potential threats” from China in the hypersonics realm, noting the U.S. doesn’t “have the same targets that they’re worried about.”

“We have to think about what’s most cost effective for us,” Kendall said during an online Center for a New American Security event yesterday. “And while I do think there is a role for hypersonics in that mix, and I think we should continue with and proceed with developing and fielding appropriate hypersonics, I think we have to look very carefully at the targets that we’re interested in and at the most cost-effective way to deal with that. And I think that’s still very much an open question for me.”

By Audrey Decker
January 20, 2022 at 10:14 AM

Naval Information Warfare Systems Command is hosting a virtual industry day to discuss information warfare topics on Feb. 14, according to a notice released Wednesday.

Briefs during the Information Warfare Research Project Consortium industry day “will include a variety of information warfare research technology focus area topics,” the notice states.

The topics of the industry day will be the basis of upcoming requests for prototype projects, according to the notice.

The Navy anticipates eight topics for the requests for prototype projects:

  • 5G-Enabled Command & Control/ Situational Awareness Tool
  • 5G-Connected Vehicles/ Autonomous Platforms
  • 5G-Networked ISR Sensors
  • Cloud, Data and Analytics at the Edge
  • Data Engineering Pipelines and DataOps
  • Digital HF Mesh Embarkable Systems
  • Cyber Security Service Provider Cloud Services
  • Marine Corps the Expeditionary Advanced Ground Link

The service is working to harness the power of data and artificial intelligence across the surface warfare enterprise and pilot new technology on its platforms.

By Tony Bertuca
January 20, 2022 at 9:51 AM

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has released a request for proposals from interested parties who could provide a one-time, unclassified report on the demographics of the Chinese army and the personnel challenges associated with recruitment and retention.

The commission, established by Congress in 2000 to monitor the national security implications of the bilateral economic relationship between the United States and China, wants the report to address several key questions, according to the RFP.

For example, what do Chinese leaders assess to be the most significant shortfalls in personnel quality? Also, what types of education or expertise does China most prize in its recruits, and how successfully is it recruiting citizens with that background?

The commission also wants an update on what portion of Chinese servicemembers are conscripted into compulsory service, rather than being voluntarily recruited.

Responses to the RFP are due Feb. 10.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said China is the Pentagon’s “pacing challenge” and, like the previous administration, has placed the nation at the center of his upcoming National Defense Strategy.

By Audrey Decker
January 19, 2022 at 3:09 PM

The Navy is considering adding an advanced degaussing system to all destroyers in 2023, according to Capt. Seth Miller, program manager for the Arleigh Burke class.

The Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Navy to incorporate an advanced degaussing system, which helps cancel out the ship’s magnetic field, into the next multiyear procurement contract for Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

“There's actually a configuration decision being looked at on the 2023 multiyear right now. The Navy's coming through that decision,” Miller said at the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium on Jan. 12.

“Understand the NDAA cuts in at 2025, so depending on how that 2023 decision comes out, that'll drive . . . what the cut in point is, but it’s either 2023 or 2025 at this point, depending on how the appropriation [bill] and everything works out,” Miller said.

Currently, the Navy has seven Flight III destroyers under construction at its shipyards -- Huntington Ingalls Industries and Bath Iron Works, Miller said.

The shipyards remain “on track” and the first Flight III ship will be delivered in April 2023, he said.

The program is waiting for a decision regarding the shipbuilding profile but is preparing for a FY-23 to FY-27 multiyear contract, Miller said.

“The program is still planning on a two-a-year production rate,” he said. “And then, as far as the transition, the Navy is looking closely at that as far as making a smooth transition with industry to get to that DDG(X) as we continue the conversation.”

Congress added three destroyers to its final version of the FY-22 NDAA, despite the Navy only requesting one destroyer in its original budget.

By John Liang
January 19, 2022 at 2:48 PM

Dan Ostrosky has been hired to be Peraton's senior vice president and chief procurement officer, the company announced this week.

In this role, Ostrosky will be responsible "for all aspects of the procurement organization including supply chain operations, strategic sourcing, and subcontractor management," according to a Peraton statement. "He will also lead the implementation of Peraton's multiyear procurement strategy that is designed to significantly reduce complexity and drive supply chain efficiencies."

Ostrosky will report to Jim Winner, Peraton's executive vice president and chief legal officer.

Before joining Peraton, Ostrosky was a strategic adviser to Banbury Private Capital, advising the firm on its investments in the aerospace, defense and industrial sectors. Prior to that, he was corporate vice president and chief procurement officer for Triumph Group.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
January 19, 2022 at 2:18 PM

Teledyne FLIR has combined its surveillance and unmanned solutions segments and promoted a pair of executives to vice president roles in the new organization, the company announced Jan. 18.

JihFen Lei will serve as executive vice president of Teledyne FLIR Defense, the name for the newly combined division, according to the company’s announcement. She will continue in her role as general manager of surveillance.

David Cullin, formerly the acting general manager for unmanned and integrated solutions, will become the vice president and general manager of unmanned solutions in the combined division, according to the announcement.

Culllin will also lead efforts to integrate products from other divisions of Teledyne Digital Imaging into FLIR Defense products, according to the announcement.

Last year, Teledyne bought FLIR, which was best known for its sensors and unmanned ground and aerial systems. At the time, a Teledyne FLIR executive said the company would increase interoperability and share components with other parts of its new parent company.

By John Liang
January 19, 2022 at 2:03 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Stryker brigades, the military's billion-dollar fuel bill and more.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Col. Samuel Edwards, the Army capability manager for Stryker brigades:

Infantry still the focus of up-gunned Stryker brigades

Dismounted infantry is the foundation of the Stryker brigade's fighting power, and that will not change as modernization programs make Stryker vehicles more lethal, according to the Army official responsible for coordinating the brigades' doctrine, training, personnel and materiel requirements.

A Pentagon spokesman told Inside Defense the military services have not yet determined how they will pay a $1.5 billion fuel bill, though doing so may require approval from Congress to shift existing funds:

DOD may need to reprogram funds to pay $1.5B fuel bill

Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord made news last week when he said historic inflation rates driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have left the U.S. military with an unexpected $1.5 billion fuel bill.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall recently directed officials to "really take a hard look at tactical level" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance:

Space Force head expects GMTI analysis in 'late spring'

Defense officials plan to release an analysis of alternatives surrounding the now-declassified Ground Moving Target Indicator satellite program in late spring, the chief of space operations said today, as the Space Force gears up to focus on further force design work in the service’s third year.

The investment timeline for the Navy’s unmanned systems portfolio remains dependent on the passage of the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill:

Navy, industry want more clarity from Congress to ensure unmanned development

The Navy and its industry partners say ongoing congressional dysfunction is making it harder for the service to plot a path forward to increase its number of unmanned systems and invest in other emerging technologies.

Sikorsky-Boeing's Defiant X is competing against Bell’s V-280 Valor for the Army's Black Hawk replacement helicopter effort:

Defiant helicopter demonstrates Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft capabilities

A Sikorsky-Boeing helicopter vying to replace the UH-60 Blackhawk successfully completed Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft mission profile test flights, the companies announced Tuesday.

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

Biden signs memo extending cyber EO requirements to national security systems

President Biden is extending requirements in a major 2021 cybersecurity executive order to national security systems, in a memorandum signed today.