The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
July 1, 2022 at 3:03 PM

The Defense Department has announced a new $820 million military aid package for Ukraine to defend itself against an ongoing Russian invasion, including two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems from Norway and additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems that have already been sent from the United States.

The package is composed of $770 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which allows DOD to award money directly to contractors to provide weapons for Ukraine, and $50 million in presidential “drawdown authority,” which allows for the transfer of weapons from U.S. stocks.

Along with the two NASAMS designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for the Norwegian Air Force, the USAI funds will also cover up to 150,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, and four additional counter-artillery radars. 

A senior defense official told reporters the NASAMS is used to protect the airspace above Washington D.C.

“This system, co-produced by Norway and the U.S., is a NATO system, so for us it’s important to start to help the Ukrainians transition their air defense systems from what is a now a Soviet-type system, to introduce some of this modern technology,” the official said.

The Pentagon said it wanted to recognize “Norway’s cooperation to enable the historic provision by the United States of modern air defense systems that will help Ukraine defend against Russia’s brutal air attacks.”

“Unlike Presidential Drawdown, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry rather than delivering equipment that is drawn down from DOD stocks,” DOD said. “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine's Armed Forces.”

The drawdown, which is the 14th such transfer from U.S. stocks since August 2021, includes funds to pay for additional HIMARS ammunition.

Meanwhile, DOD said the United States has now committed approximately $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including approximately $6.9 billion since the beginning of the ongoing Russian invasion.

“The United States continues to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its evolving battlefield requirements,” DOD said.

By John Liang
July 1, 2022 at 1:11 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy fuel facilities, the Government Accountability Office's latest report on missile defense, Army future reconnaissance helicopters and more.

We start off with the latest on the status of the Navy fuel facility in Hawaii that suffered a pair of major leakages in recent years:

Aquilino: Navy will still meet operational requirements after Red Hill defueling

The Navy will use existing facilities, potential new facilities and afloat capabilities to store fuel after the service defuels the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility in Hawaii, which was permanently closed due to a petroleum leak.

More coverage of the Government Accountability Office's latest report on missile defense:

MDA extends streak of 'fundamental disconnect' between annual test planning and execution

The Missile Defense Agency's testing program barely conducted half of its planned flight, ground and cybersecurity tests in 2021 -- extending a long-running pattern of under-executing assessments necessary to demonstrate new capabilities U.S. commanders depend on to protect the U.S. public, allies and armed forces from advanced missile threats.

MDA missed mark for advanced Aegis interceptor deliveries, including No. 1 unfunded priority

The Missile Defense Agency failed to deliver one-third of the most advanced guided missiles the Navy requires to defend ships and allies from ballistic missiles around the world, with particular difficulty producing the newest and most powerful Aegis interceptor -- the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA -- slated for Japan, U.S. destroyers and land sites to defend against Iranian threats.

Despite possible budget restrictions, Army and industry officials still think the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft program has a future with the service:

Army, industry continue to express confidence in FARA, but some are skeptical

Company leaders and Army officials continue to express confidence in the service's next-generation forward reconnaissance helicopter, even as analysts and experts cast doubt on the program's future, citing potential budget constraints and other capabilities that could fulfill the aircraft's roles.

The Navy is learning that climate change will have an increasing role to play in its activities in the Indo-Pacific region:

Navy simulates Pacific typhoon in climate war game

The Navy conducted a tabletop exercise in a fictionalized area of the Western Pacific to simulate the impact of climate change on its operations.

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

DOD plans to finalize rulemaking in December allowing officials to assess compliance with NIST standard

The Pentagon is planning to issue a final rule in December establishing a regime for Defense Department acquisition officials to conduct assessments of a contractor's compliance with NIST Special Publication 800-171.

By Evan Ochsner
July 1, 2022 at 12:23 PM

The Korea Rotational Force will become a Stryker brigade combat team, transitioning from an armored brigade combat team starting this fall, the Army announced Thursday.

SBCTs, using the Stryker ground vehicle, offer speed and mobility and have more than 4,400 soldiers, the Army said. 

The Army will maintain its existing ABCT equipment on the Korean peninsula, including M-1 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, according to the announcement. 

The Army last year announced that the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, from Ft. Bliss, TX, would replace that division’s 3rd ABCT in South Korea, in the second quarter of fiscal year 2022.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 1, 2022 at 11:38 AM

BAE Systems has won a $299 million contract modification to continue upgrading the Army's self-propelled howitzers, according to a June 30 Pentagon announcement.

This order includes the production and delivery of 40 vehicle sets for the M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management 155 mm howitzer, a BAE spokeswoman told Inside Defense. Each howitzer is delivered in a set with one M992A3 ammunition supply vehicle.

BAE will build the vehicles through December 2024 under this contract modification, according to the Pentagon announcement. Army procurement funding from fiscal years 2020 and 2021 will fund the upgrades, which bring mobility improvements to existing howitzers.

M109 upgrades would receive $493 million under the Army’s FY-23 budget request, a cut from the $663 million Congress appropriated for FY-22. But the House and Senate Armed Services committees have proposed authorizing funding above the budget request.

Two other ground vehicle contracts were announced June 30, as the third quarter of the fiscal year drew to a close.

A $217 million contract modification for Oshkosh Defense will support fielding of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, according to the contract announcement. Funding will come from a variety of accounts across the Army, Army Reserve, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, along with sales to Brazil, Lithuania and Montenegro.

This order includes 513 JLTVs and 1,152 trailers, according to an Oshkosh press release.

Oshkosh is expected to place a bid next month to continue producing the JLTV for another five to 10 years. The re-compete for the vehicle, which will partially replace the humvee in the U.S. military, was delayed earlier this year, and a winner will be announced in late December.

Bukkehave, a company based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will sell the Army “Toyota Land Cruiser truck variants and common spare parts,” under a $92 million contract that runs through June 29, 2027, according to the announcement. According to its website, Bukkehave specializes in selling trucks and heavy commercial vehicles to governments and extractive industries in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

By Evan Ochsner
June 30, 2022 at 3:13 PM

The Army's Aviation Center of Excellence will host industry days at Ft. Rucker, AL in early August to provide information about current priorities and allow industry showcase capabilities, according to a June 30 announcement.

The event will take place Aug. 2-4 and include information about readiness and modernization priorities, including the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, among others.

An Aug. 2 session about Army Aviation in support of large-scale combat operations requires a security clearance to attend. Sessions on Aug. 3 and 4 do not require security clearances, according to the announcement.

Registration for the event is now open.

By Shelley K. Mesch
June 30, 2022 at 2:44 PM

The Air Force's Rapid Sustainment Office is seeking industry feedback for advanced manufacturing to reduce sustainment and operational costs along with improving mission readiness.

RSO’s Advanced Manufacturing Program Office, which posted the request online today, is sourcing market research, asking companies to describe their work with advanced manufacturing and what their core technical capabilities are.

The AMPO wants to know how these companies work with systems such as additive manufacturing, directed-energy deposition, cold spray, reverse engineering and inspection technologies.

It’s asking companies to describe their processes for development and operation and how they approach acquiring new capabilities. Companies should also describe their abilities to develop or maintain applications relating to Platform as a Service and Agile methodologies.

Responses should be submitted by July 29.

By John Liang
June 30, 2022 at 2:21 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Aegis interceptors, Air Force aircraft upgrades, the Army's European posture and more.

The Government Accountability Office found new issues with Aegis interceptor deliveries:

MDA missed mark for advanced Aegis interceptor deliveries, including No. 1 unfunded priority

The Missile Defense Agency failed to deliver one-third of the most advanced guided missiles the Navy requires to defend ships and allies from ballistic missiles around the world, with particular difficulty producing the newest and most powerful Aegis interceptor -- the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA -- slated for Japan, U.S. destroyers and land sites to defend against Iranian threats.

The Air Force recently issued a request for information seeking industry input on certain aircraft upgrades:

Air Force seeks KC-46A, KC-135 upgrades

The Air Force is looking to enhance its current tanker fleet with a suite of upgrades for the KC-46A Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker, according to a request for information recently posted by the service.

Many of the stepped-up rotations to Europe the U.S. Army has implemented during the war in Ukraine will continue:

Army expanding European posture, not adding permanent BCTs

The Army will station more support elements in Europe but will not increase the number of brigade combat teams permanently based there, the Defense Department announced this week.

Some more cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon considers creating cyber framework for industrial base partners modeled on CSF guidance from NIST

Pentagon cyber chief David McKeown says there are ongoing discussions to create a "cyber secure framework" for the defense industrial base that will go beyond the CMMC program and be based on the NIST cybersecurity framework.

DOD memo directs AQ officials to ensure contractor compliance with cyber standard

The Pentagon's acquisition office has issued a memorandum reminding acquisition officials of the Defense Department's current standard for the handling of controlled unclassified information and potential remedies for non-compliance.

Document: DOD memo on handling CUI

By approaching AI development through a new lens, said Margaret Palmieri, the deputy chief digital and AI officer, the Defense Department then "opens up the potential to innovate across the whole problem space":

DOD seeks to leverage existing AI tech, explore new ways to boost development

Top officials within the Pentagon's newly stood up artificial intelligence outfit want to see the capability discussed not just as a technology but as a "solution to a mission problem" -- a framing they hope would allow experts to be part of early development talks and ensure late-stage requests to "sprinkle some AI on" a given program are minimized.

The Marine Corps has released "Doctrinal Publication 8, Information," to elevate information as a warfighting function:

Marine Corps releases new doctrine making information a warfighting function

As information warfare takes shape on the battlespace, the Marine Corps has released a framework, informed by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, to elevate information as a warfighting function.

Document: Marine Corps' information doctrine document

By Tony Bertuca
June 30, 2022 at 12:47 PM

The House Rules Committee has given lawmakers until July 5 to file amendments to the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill, scheduled to be debated when Congress returns from recess the week of July 11.

At this time, approximately 35 amendments have been filed for consideration by the committee, but dozens more are expected, and many are often submitted late.

The current version of the bill, which ended up being $37 billion larger than what President Biden has requested, was advanced by the House Armed Services Committee on June 23 by a vote of 57-1.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, has also passed its version of the bill, which is $45 billion larger than what Biden has requested, though committee leaders have not yet sent the full measure to the floor for consideration.

The toplines for both bills, however, are at odds with one passed by the House Appropriations Committee, which is aligned with Biden’s requested defense topline of $813 billion.

By Audrey Decker
June 30, 2022 at 11:52 AM

The Navy will award a contract in the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 as part of an effort to protect aircraft carriers and amphibious vessels from anti-ship cruise missiles.

The contract would provide Ship Self Defense System Combat System Ship Integration and Test for Nimitz and Ford-class aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious ships, according to a June 13 updated notice.

This would support the integration, testing and sustainment of combat systems and command, control, communications, computers, combat systems and intelligence equipment installations on new construction and in-service carriers and amphibious ships, the Navy states.

The service canceled an $800 million research and development program for a surface ship torpedo defense program in FY-20.

The SSDS program received a total of $159.4 million for R&D funding in the Navy’s FY-23 budget request, according to budget documents.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
June 29, 2022 at 5:33 PM

Lt. Gen. Randy George has been nominated to receive a fourth star and become the Army's next vice chief of staff, the service announced June 28 with a slew of other general officer reassignments and promotions.

George, who currently serves as the senior military assistant to the defense secretary, would succeed Gen. Joseph Martin as the Army’s second-highest-ranking uniformed officer. Besides supporting the chief of staff, the vice chief holds his own responsibilities for the Army acquisition process.

Lt. Gen. Gary Brito, currently the deputy chief of staff for personnel (G-1), has been nominated to receive a fourth star and lead Training and Doctrine Command.

Maj. Gen. Douglas Stitt, who is currently director of military personnel operations in Brito’s office, will be nominated to receive a third star and succeed Brito.

The announcement included two other four-star appointments that have been previously announced and reported. Gen. Darryl Williams, previously the superintendent of West Point, will replace Gen. Christopher Cavoli at the head of Army Europe and Africa, while Cavoli will lead U.S. European Command.

Absent from the announcement was any mention of a new permanent head for Army Futures Command, which has lacked a four-star leader since Gen. John Murray retired late last year. Other changes were announced at the upper echelons of Futures Command.

Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman will receive a third star and become a deputy commanding general at Futures Command. Coffman currently directs the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, which is responsible for coordinating four high-profile ground modernization programs within Futures Command.

Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman will replace Coffman at the CFT, according to the Army announcement. Norman is currently the deputy commanding general for support at the 1st Infantry Division.

The program executive office for combat support and combat service support will have a permanent director for the first time in more than a year, according to the announcement.

Brig. Gen. Samuel Peterson, currently the deputy director for transition at the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, will take command at the PEO.

Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider will become the next program executive officer for soldier, according to the announcement. He most recently served as the Army acquisition executive’s deputy for acquisition and systems management.

By John Liang
June 29, 2022 at 2:14 PM

Today's INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the new, multibillion-dollar Mobile Protected Firepower program contract won by General Dynamics, the Missile Defense Agency's Next Generation Interceptor effort and more.

General Dynamics this week won a multibillion-dollar Mobile Protected Firepower program contract:

General Dynamics wins Army's $6B Mobile Protected Firepower program

General Dynamics Land Systems has beaten BAE Systems in the competition to produce the Army's new light tank, and it has received an order for the first 26 vehicles, according to an announcement today from the service.

Northrop Grumman has begun building a nozzle throat for the Next Generation Interceptor, which allows for the propellant to expel gases in a specified direction, optimizing thrust and control of the rocket motor:

Northrop pivots from NGI blueprint to 'long-pole-in-the-tent' component manufacturing

Northrop Grumman has begun manufacturing a critical component of its Next Generation Interceptor, weaving composite threads to create a newly designed rocket throat nozzle to demonstrate the efficacy of its proposal in a competition against Lockheed Martin to build a new intercontinental ballistic missile killer.

The Space Force's Space Warfighting Analysis Center currently has just six civilian and 15 military staff with a $37 million budget, making the center relatively smaller than peer organizations:

After 'bumpy' start, SWAC seeks to spearhead force designs with new congressional backing

With four major projects in the books and several others in the works, it could be easy to think the Space Force's recently created Space Warfighting Analysis Center has a massive budget and staff to match.

The Air Force is partnering with historically black colleges to work on tactical autonomy:

Air Force to create UARC for tactical autonomy in partnership with HBCUs

The Air Force will stand up its first University Affiliated Research Center focused on tactical autonomy, which will be awarded to a historically black college or university, the service announced Monday.

A five-year $2.3 billion contract includes options for the buyers to procure an additional 135 Black Hawks on top of the deal's base, bringing the total potential value of the contract up to $4.4 billion:

Army, Sikorsky announce $2.3B Black Hawk procurement deal

Sikorsky will provide the Army, other government agencies and foreign militaries with at least 120 Black Hawk helicopters through 2027 thanks to a multibillion-dollar procurement deal that has options to nearly double in size.

News from Poland and the Aegis Ashore site based there:

Aegis Ashore Poland activates radar, combat system; MDA eyes EPAA Phase 3 in early 2023

The U.S. project to establish a second Aegis Ashore site in Europe -- beleaguered by construction problems that have delayed by five years plans to declare the system operational -- achieved an important benchmark this month when the Navy activated the radar and weapon system even as work to complete the physical structure in Poland continues.

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter recently said "consideration" discussions are underway for the contract for the VC-25B, where Boeing faces monetary consequences for its failure to meet delivery deadlines:

Hunter: Air Force has 'struggled' to reach agreement with Boeing on contracts

The Air Force is currently negotiating with Boeing to resolve critical issues on major contracts that could entail further financial penalties for the company, according to the service's top acquisition official.

By Tony Bertuca
June 29, 2022 at 12:33 PM

The Army has awarded contracts to Palantir and Raytheon Technologies to develop prototypes for the service's Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node, a military battlefield system intended to leverage artificial intelligence like never before.

The Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence for Electronic Warfare and Sensors has announced each company will receive $36 million to build TITAN prototypes over the next 14 months, after which the service will select one contractor to produce the final system.

The Army intends the TITAN system, which will be a key component of the service’s contribution to the Pentagon’s battlefield Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept, to be integrated on ground vehicles, like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

The Army has requested $58 million for the TITAN program in fiscal 2023.

“Now more than ever, the nation’s warriors and allies are being asked to make more decisions, at a faster speed, with more available data,” Aki Jain, president of Palantir USG, said in a statement. “TITAN is the crucial combination of the Defense Industry’s best technology from both emerging and enduring DOD partners, and we’re proud to serve as a non-traditional prime contractor for this effort.”

The Raytheon team is led by its intelligence and space unit.

“Our team is prepared to deliver a mature solution on time to help Army commanders make decisions faster and ultimately, operationalize joint warfighting capabilities to support the JADC2 vision,” said Scott McGleish, executive director of space and C2 Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “Our team has the mission know-how to develop and deploy this system efficiently and affordably, with flexibility to upgrade over time.”

Meanwhile, a senior engineer from Palantir, who spoke to reporters about the sensitive nature of the company’s offering on the condition of anonymity, said Palantir views itself as a non-traditional competitor going up against a larger prime contractor.

“Having a more modular, flexible approach that’s centered around how the software is going to be delivering the basic weapon capability here -- I think it makes it so a company that is primarily a software company is well-suited to actually deliver on that technology promise here,” the engineer said. “We tried to make this platform as digitally capable as possible.”

Additionally, the engineer said, Palantir has learned from solider feedback gathered during different experimental events.

“We’re really excited about the direction of the program,” the engineer said. “We’re going to be developing and delivering an actual prototype vehicle to the Army to collect soldier feedback and have it involved in exercises.”

Raytheon, meanwhile, said in a statement it intends to “pull from decades of experience gleaned from work in support of the intelligence community, system integration, communications design and effectors.”

“RI&S in collaboration with the Raytheon Technologies business units, is contributing a multidomain footprint of capabilities in secure communications, advanced sensors, software solutions and smart effectors to enable DOD’s JADC2 architecture,” Raytheon said.

By Thomas Duffy
June 28, 2022 at 1:26 PM

We start today’s INSIDER Daily Digest with news about a Navy unmanned aircraft program, we then have news on Defense Department artificial intelligence plans, another Navy UAV program, missile defense news, space news, and some intelligence sharing news.

One of the Navy’s major UAV efforts is showing stability:

Triton’s IFC-4 configuration baseline now stable

The technical baseline for the MQ-4C Triton’s upgraded hardware and software configuration -- IFC-4 -- is now stable, a program official told Inside Defense.

A House committee has ideas on artificial intelligence:

House authorizers want wider AI adoption at DOD

The House Armed Services Committee wants to see the military step up its efforts to more widely leverage artificial intelligence and autonomy capabilities, including adding the technology to legacy systems, according to an amendment to the panel’s recently approved fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill.

A Navy UAV is seeing its schedule adjusted:

MQ-25 operational capability pushed to September 2025 due to supplier issues

The Navy’s unmanned MQ-25 Stingray will reach initial operating capability in September 2025, approximately six months later than planned, a program official said.

The Missile Defense Agency has made a significant program decision:

MDA selects Raytheon, Northrop to advance in GPI design contest; Lockheed sidelined

The Pentagon has narrowed the competition for development of a Glide Phase Interceptor, selecting Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman to continue refining concepts for a counter-hypersonic missile in a move that sidelines Lockheed Martin from the contest and sets up high-level review of the two remaining designs in early 2023.

The Space Force may learn some acquisition lessons from the National Reconnaissance Office:

New Space acquisition chief seeks to bring NRO discipline to role

The first chief of acquisitions for the Space Force is leaning into his previous experience as a top official at the National Reconnaissance Office to accelerate procurement of space systems.

The U.S. Navy and French navy are cooperating with each other:

U.S. sharing information on unmanned systems with French Navy

The United States and France -- the world’s largest maritime domain nations -- are sharing information on unmanned systems and working on interoperability, according to two top military officials.

By Briana Reilly
June 28, 2022 at 10:36 AM

The Defense Department inspector general is launching an evaluation to gauge the extent to which the Pentagon coordinated with “European partners in support of Ukraine.”

The announcement, dated Monday, notes that work will begin on the audit this month and will focus on DOD’s developing, planning and executing of cross-domain intelligence sharing with its European allies.

The memorandum doesn’t state the time period the IG’s office will be focusing on as part of its review. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, though Russian aggressions -- including offensive cyber attacks targeting organizations inside or allied with Ukraine -- began before that.

The office said it would perform its evaluation at the U.S. European Command headquarters, as well as the EUCOM service component headquarters, EUCOM’s Joint Analysis Center, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Army and Air Force headquarters, the under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The notice cautions officials may add extra offices and personnel over the course of its work and could “revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds,” as they field suggestions from management.

By Thomas Duffy
June 27, 2022 at 2:02 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest starts off with a look at Taiwan’s missile defense capabilities, and we have news on the Pentagon’s efforts to work with commercial companies, Navy carrier news, some legislative news addressing cyber issues, and a House committee looking at defense nuclear programs.

House lawmakers want to know what options are available for defending Taiwan from ballistic missiles:

Lawmakers want DOD to draft options for upgrading Taiwan’s missile defense capabilities

The Defense Department may soon be required to draft options for Taiwan to expedite acquisition of improved air and missile defense capabilities -- an assessment that could build a case for future sales of new guided missile interceptors, radar and more to the self-governing island that Beijing regards a breakaway province.

The Defense Department is trying to make it easier to work with commercial technology companies:

DIU’s new training effort seeks to ease commercial tech transition

A new immersive commercial acquisition program from the Defense Innovation Unit seeks to reduce barriers to transitioning new technologies from nontraditional vendors to military components by teaching service contracting professionals about the process.

The Navy is shifting some money around for carrier overhaul work:

Budgetary reprogramming for Navy’s CVN-73 overhaul reduced

The Navy is shifting $122.6 million in funding for the refueling and complex overhaul of aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73) -- an over-budget refueling program.

A House committee is trying to shore up cyber incident response:

House committee advances bill with provisions on joint collaborative environment, incident reporting

The House Armed Services Committee has approved its version of the fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill, including provisions to create an “information collaboration environment” at CISA and directing DHS and CISA to provide details to Congress on cyber incident response responsibilities.

House authorizers want to know more about the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons programs:

House Armed Services Committee calls for studies, limitations on nuclear program decisions

The House Armed Services Committee has passed a fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill that would order several studies on and limitations of Defense Department efforts to modernize the nuclear triad.