The Insider

July 19, 2018 at 2:35 PM | John Liang

The F-22 Raptor, Virginia-class submarine, Littoral Combat Ship and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

A new GAO report on the Air Force's F-22 Raptor program is out:

GAO says F-22 fleet structure, training needs to be revamped to meet high-end threats

The Air Force needs to reorganize its Lockheed Martin F-22 enterprise and increase pilot training to properly address high-end threats, the Government Accountability Office says in a report published Thursday.

The ranking member on the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chatted with Inside Defense this week:

Courtney aiming to include language for additional Virginia-class subs in defense policy bill

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) is trying "to create legal space" in the upcoming defense policy bill to allow the Navy to pursue up to two additional Virginia-class submarines in upcoming contract negotiations.

The Navy doesn't need an extra Littoral Combat Ship, according to the Office of Management and Budget:

White House opposes additional LCS, smaller end strength in Senate appropriations bill

The White House objects to provisions in the Senate defense appropriations bill that it says would provide for the procurement of an additional Littoral Combat Ship, along with a measure that limits the Pentagon's requested increase in military end strength, according to a letter from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

Document: OMB letter on Senate FY-19 defense spending bill

Coverage of the Air Force portion of the Pentagon's omnibus reprogramming request:

Air Force's latest reprogramming request aims to keep programs on, ahead of schedule

Defense Department officials are asking Congress to let the Air Force shift more than $536 million of its base-budget funds to higher priorities in fiscal year 2018, largely for research and development efforts, according to an omnibus reprogramming request signed by the Pentagon comptroller July 11.

The diameter of the Standard Missile-6 interceptor could become as wide as the latest iteration of the SM-3:

Navy looking to dramatically increase range, speed of SM-6 with larger rocket motor

The Defense Department has launched a prototype project that aims to dramatically increase the speed and range of the Navy's Standard Missile-6 by adding a larger rocket motor to the ship-launched weapon, a move that aims to improve both the offensive and defensive reach of the Raytheon-built system.

An efficiency strategy begun earlier this year has already garnered billions of dollars in savings, according to the Pentagon's chief management officer:

Pentagon CMO eyes insourcing, services contract reductions to exceed $4B in efficiencies

Defense Department Chief Management Officer Jay Gibson said the Pentagon is on track to exceed a savings of $4 billion in fiscal year 2018 that can be redirected to other military priorities thanks to an efficiency strategy that began in earnest shortly after he was confirmed by the Senate in February.

July 19, 2018 at 12:10 PM | Tony Bertuca

America's chief military commander in the Middle East says he has been given no new guidance on operating with the Russian military following President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"For us right now, it’s kinda steady as she goes," U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel told reporters in a Pentagon video briefing from command headquarters in Tampa, FL.

"No new guidance for me as a result of the Helsinki discussions as of yet," he said. "I am not privy to any grand bargain."

Votel's comments come after a joint press conference Trump held with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, in which Trump said the United States and Russia could begin new military coordination in Southern Syria to protect Israel from Iranian military operations.

Russia's defense spokesman on Tuesday said Russia is ready to "to intensify contacts with its American colleagues through the General Staff and other available channels of communication."

Votel, however, noted today that the U.S. military is prohibited from operating directly with Russian forces under a law passed shortly after Russia annexed Crimea.

"The [Fiscal Year 2016] National Defense Authorization Act, as a law, prohibits us from coordinating, synchronizing collaborating with Russian Forces," Votel said. "Any space would have to be created by Congress or a waiver that they would approve to allow us to do something like that. I have not asked for that at this point, and we'll see what direction comes down."

July 19, 2018 at 10:24 AM | Justin Katz

The Navy completed two test events for an anti-submarine warfare mission package this week, according to a July 16 Naval Sea Systems Command statement.

The Dual-mode ARay Transmitter (DART) Mission System Towed Body, along with associated launch-and-recovery components, completed a 10-day Dockside-1 test event in Fort Pierce, FL. The test was the first opportunity to use the system in an open-water test environment, which "allows better understanding of how the system will perform when deployed on a [Littoral Combat Ship]," the statement said.

The second test event was a "full-power, in-water" test of the active array at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Seneca Lake Detachment in Dresden, NY.

"DART development includes incremental testing of the individual system components followed by progressively more inclusive integration and testing until the full ASW Mission Package has been tested," according to the statement. 

Dockside-2 testing is planned for later this year and will "expand the scope of DART system integration to add three additional Raytheon mission modules to complete the system," the statement said. The Navy intends to take delivery of the system this year and continue additional testing next year.

July 19, 2018 at 9:36 AM | John Liang

Some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Pentagon:

1. The Pentagon is seeking congressional permission to shift $4.3 billion between budget accounts as part of an annual reallocation of funds the U.S. military has in hand, revealing new details about Defense Department plans to develop and field hypersonic strike weapons and launching 10 new-start projects -- including a new deep-strike cannon for the Army.

Full story: Defense Department seeks congressional OK to shift $4.3 billion

2. Defense Department Chief Management Officer Jay Gibson said the Pentagon is on track to exceed a savings of $4 billion in fiscal year 2018 that can be redirected to other military priorities thanks to an efficiency strategy that began in earnest shortly after he was confirmed by the Senate in February.

Full story: DOD CMO eyes in-sourcing, services contract reductions to exceed $4B in efficiencies

3. The Defense Department wants to shift $75 million in its budget to establish the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, a new organization which the department forecasts will require $1.7 billion over the next six years, according to DOD's June omnibus reprogramming request.

Full story: DOD wants $75M to establish Joint AI Center, forecasts $1.7B over six years

4. The Defense Department has launched a prototype project that aims to dramatically increase the speed and range of the Navy's Standard Missile-6 by adding a larger rocket motor to the ship-launched weapon, a move that aims to improve both the offensive and defensive reach of the Raytheon-built system.

Full story: Navy looking to increase range, speed of SM-6 with larger rocket motor

July 18, 2018 at 2:12 PM | John Liang

A new Air Force One replacement contract, our continuing coverage ofthe Pentagon's latest reprogramming request and more highlight this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Trump administration is lauding the latest contract award for the aircraft that will replace Air Force One:

Boeing's $3.9B Air Force One development contract matches agreement reached with Trump

The Air Force this week awarded Boeing a $3.9 billion firm, fixed-price contract to formally launch the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program's engineering and manufacturing development phase, which was hailed as a win by the White House after months of hashing out a cost estimate.

Could yet another continuing resolution for defense spending be on the horizon?

House defense hawks hustle to head off another stopgap spending measure

House Republican defense hawks, worried that Congress will find itself mired in another stopgap spending measure at the end of the fiscal year, successfully spearheaded three symbolic resolutions staking out their position that a defense appropriations bill should be passed, regardless of partisan gridlock in other areas.

The Pentagon's proposed Joint Artificial Intelligence Center could be getting more funding:

DOD wants $75 million to establish Joint AI Center, forecasts $1.7B over six years

The Defense Department wants to shift $75 million in its budget to establish the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, a new organization which the department forecasts will require $1.7 billion over the next six years, according to DOD's June omnibus reprogramming request.

Recent ship collisions have led the Navy to ask for more money to improve vessel safety:

Navy seeks to reprogram millions for surface fleet reforms

The Navy is asking Congress for permission to transfer funds to improve the safety conditions within the surface fleet following two high-profile collisions in U.S. 7th Fleet last summer, according to a reprogramming request obtained by Inside Defense.

If Congress allows it, the Army could be getting more money for training:

Army plans to shore up training with reprogrammed funds

The Army will realign $399.3 million to boost its operating forces if Congress approves the Defense Department's fiscal year 2018 omnibus reprogramming request, obtained by Inside Defense.

Keep an eye out for new DOD cyber and artificial intelligence strategies:

Pentagon soon to release new cyber, AI strategies

The Pentagon is expected to release in the coming weeks new strategies for cyber and artificial intelligence, respectively, according to a Defense Department official.

July 18, 2018 at 11:31 AM | Maximilian Kwiatkowski

A retrofit to a defective part on the Army's AH-64E Apache helicopters is expected to be finished by December 2019, according to a service spokesman.

A new strap pack nut was designed by Boeing after a flaw in the old nut was found in 2016 to be the likely cause of a fatal accident in Galveston, TX.

The Army stopped accepting deliveries in February and is still not accepting new Apaches from Boeing and does not know when it will allow them to resume.

This nut keeps the main rotor blades secure, according Paul Stevenson, a spokesman for the program executive office for aviation.

"The issue was a material failure of the mega nut due to stress corrosion cracking," he said. "This is a critical safety issue."

Fielding of the new part began in June with the Texas National Guard. So far, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade in Hawaii and the Mississippi National Guard are the only other units to have the parts replaced. The retrofit team is now at McChord Air Force Base, WA, working on two battalions' aircraft.

July 18, 2018 at 11:16 AM | Ashley Tressel

Four companies will compete for each order of a $249.6 million hybrid contract to develop and modernize waveforms for the Army, the Defense Department announced July 16.

Rockwell Collins, Northrup Grumman Space and Mission Systems, Harris Corp. and General Dynamics Mission Systems share the contract running through July 12, 2023.

The Army aims to achieve a unified network transport layer by modernizing the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, or SINCGARS, waveform and developing advanced low probability of detection/low probability of intercept waveforms, according to Army spokesman Paul Mehney.

Those efforts could lead to maturing other DOD waveforms, pending future requirements, Mehney said.

The program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical plans to issue a broad agency announcement for procurement of commercial waveform technology in fiscal year 2019.

July 18, 2018 at 10:30 AM | Marjorie Censer

Austal USA today announced the formal opening of its San Diego operations office.

"The move is another milestone in the company's growing service and support business," the company said.

More than 200 employees focused on service work for the Littoral Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transports will work out of the new office.

"This location will serve as a base of operations on the West Coast for Austal USA," the company said.

July 18, 2018 at 9:38 AM | Marjorie Censer

Textron Systems said today sales in its most recent quarter hit $388 million, down from $477 million during the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company attributed the decline to lower volumes at its weapons and sensors business related to ending sensor fuzed weapon production in 2017. Additionally, Textron's marine and land systems business saw lower Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle deliveries.

The unit's quarterly profit was $40 million, down from $42 million a year earlier. 

July 17, 2018 at 2:40 PM | John Liang

The Pentagon's FY-18 omnibus reprogramming request leads off this Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside Defense this week obtained a copy of the Pentagon's latest fiscal year 2018 reprogramming request:

DOD seeks congressional OK to shift $4.3B, offers new details about hypersonic strike projects

The Pentagon is seeking congressional permission to shift $4.3 billion between budget accounts as part of an annual reallocation of funds the U.S. military has in hand, revealing new details about Defense Department plans to develop and field hypersonic strike weapons and launching 10 new-start projects -- including a new deep-strike cannon for the Army.

More on the reprogramming request:

Navy says $12.3M needed immediately to keep AMDR development, DDG-51 Flight III schedule

The Navy requires an immediate cash infusion into the research and development accounts of its Air and Missile Defense Radar program to pay an unexpected bill following a test failure caused by the shortcoming of a ballistic missile target used to validate the effectiveness of the new sensor.

NGCV plans detailed in FY-18 reprogramming

The Army is looking to accelerate development of Next Generation Combat Vehicle experimental prototypes by shifting $57 million within its fiscal year 2018 budget, according to the Pentagon's annual omnibus reprogramming request awaiting congressional approval.

Huey replacement award could slip to FY-20 if Congress denies reprogramming request

The Air Force will delay the contract award in the UH-1N Huey replacement program for at least a year if Congress doesn't authorize an $83.4 million infusion to keep the effort on track, according to a copy of the Defense Department's June omnibus reprogramming request obtained by Inside Defense this week.

(Stay tuned for more coverage of the reprogramming request)

Army Futures Command officially has its new leader:

Murray nominated as Army Futures commander

Lt. Gen. Mike Murray has officially been nominated to lead Army Futures Command, standing up over the next year in Austin, TX.

The commandant of the Eisenhower School spoke this week about a new industrial base assessment his organization hosted in recent weeks:

Jansen set to soon debrief Shanahan, Dunford on June industrial base assessment

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John Jansen said today he's set to soon debrief Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Pat Shanahan, the deputy defense secretary, about a June industrial base examination held at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.

A new Defense Science Board report is out:

New recommendations emerge to counter Russian and Chinese weapon systems

The Pentagon has received nine classified recommendations to begin planning the integration of new, long-range weapons intended to counter the anti-access systems of Russia and China, according to a new report from the Defense Science Board.

The Pentagon's pricing chief recently responded to a new Government Accountability Office report on defense contracting:

Pentagon crafting data strategy to accelerate contract awards

The Pentagon plans to develop a strategy to hasten its lengthy contract award time lines, according to Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad.

July 17, 2018 at 1:07 PM | Maximilian Kwiatkowski

The Army will be forced to delay fielding its Black Hawk UH-60V prototype if Congress does not approve the Defense Department's fiscal year 2018 omnibus reprogramming request, according to DOD.

The service seeks to realign $15.2 million in research, development, test and evaluation funding to speed up developmental flight testing of the UH-60V, as well as fielding and development of training support.

The request points to issues with the Army having to rely on the current UH-60L model's analog cockpit system, which "reduces situational awareness, increases pilot workload and decreases mission readiness," according to the request obtained by Inside Defense.

The same amount would be shifted from the procurement budget for UH-60A and UH-60L models, as well as for aircraft survivability equipment, $15.2 million each.

The request cites a decreased need for UH-60V kits, with only three of the seven currently funded kits required to equip the first unit by FY-21. The survivability equipment is also in less demand due to a reduction of aircraft that require work to install a radar receiver and electronic warfare system, the request states.

The Soldier Borne Sensor program could also see a multimillion-dollar realignment -- an additional $21 million going to procure the miniature UASs for infantry brigade combat teams.

July 17, 2018 at 12:58 PM | Maximilian Kwiatkowski

More than $104 million in appropriations could be reprogrammed to procure 3,609 Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular systems for the Army.

In the Defense Department's omnibus request submitted in June for fiscal year 2018, the Army is requesting a shift towards this new night-vision model as a new start. The total appropriation would be about $287 million for FY-18.

The total funding for the program over the next three years would be $278.6 million: the $104 million reprogramming, $109 million in FY-19 which has already been requested, and $64 million which will be requested in the FY-20 budget.

Currently, the Army uses a monocular-type night vision device, which was originally scheduled to be procured for about $104 million. Instead, the Army wants to use that money to buy more of the new ENVG-B system as a replacement.

The new system, which was scheduled to be fielded to soldiers soon, offers both night-vision and heat-sensing thermal vision but with a wider field of view due to the binocular design. That design change offers a better field of view and high-resolution views so looking through them is clearer and the user has improved depth perception.

July 16, 2018 at 3:21 PM | Justin Doubleday

President Trump has approved an implementation plan to carry out the new conventional arms transfer policy aimed at streamlining the international weapon sales process and boosting American jobs.

Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant secretary of state for the bureau of political-military affairs, confirmed the implementation plan had been approved in a call with reporters from the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom. Kaidanow is leading the U.S. delegation at the show.

In April, Trump signed a national security policy memorandum outlining a new arms transfer policy that calls for the consideration of “economic security” when weighing the benefits of a potential weapon sale. The idea is to boost American jobs and more aggressively advocate on behalf of the U.S. defense industry by competing for sales in key regions against firms from China and Russia.

"The action plan is really just a further fleshing-out, if you will, of some of the basic premises that were already in the executive order itself and in the NSPM and so on," Kaidanow told reporters today.

A fact sheet provided by the State Department says the implementation plan's three lines of effort are "prioritizing strategic competition," "organizing for success," and "creating conducive environments."

The U.S. government will work with partners and allies to identify what capabilities they need and initiate a "whole-of-government effort to expedite transfers that support these essential foreign policy and national security objectives," the fact sheet states. The United States will also "compete with adversaries" by pitching allies and partners on "alternatives to foreign defense articles in order to maintain U.S. influence in key regions," it continues.

U.S.-made systems will be made more competitive by building "exportability into design and development, expanding support for non-Program of Record systems, and by incentivizing increased production capacity and timely delivery," according to the document. Agencies will also work to update policy and regulatory frameworks like the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, it states.

Meanwhile, U.S. government officials will do more to promote foreign sales of U.S. equipment and "exploring mechanisms to reduce financial barriers to the procurement of American defense goods and services," the fact sheet states. However, the United States will also ensure policies like offset requirements do not put American jobs at risk, the document continues.

Finally, the U.S. government is also expected to establish time lines and milestones for conventional arms transfers, according to the fact sheet.

The Aerospace Industries Association praised the implementation plan in a statement.

"We are gratified to see our recommendations for strategic focus, whole of government coordination, and enhanced accountability feature prominently in the newly released CAT Policy implementation plan," AIA President Eric Fanning said. "It is absolutely essential for our government and our industry to get to the right answers on defense trade with our allies sooner, so that we can continue to 'outpartner' our adversaries. Going forward we commit to expanding our already robust dialogue and partnership with the government's security cooperation enterprise to sustain and grow the competitiveness of U.S. defense exports."

July 16, 2018 at 2:57 PM | John Liang

A recent interview with the CEO of Leonardo DRA, the Pentagon's new NC3 senior point person, a new GAO report on defense contracting and the Air Force's KC-46 airborne refueling tanker highlight this Monday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside Defense recently chatted with Bill Lynn, the former deputy defense secretary and current chief executive of Leonardo DRS:

Lynn: Two-year budget stability bolsters industry investment

The stability created by the two-year budget deal will help the defense industry make investments in research and development, according to Bill Lynn.

The Pentagon has a new head of its nuclear command, control and communications systems:

Mattis names Hyten as new NC3 point person

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently named U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten the sole person responsible for overseeing nuclear command, control and communications, Hyten said at a July 13 Mitchell Institute conference.

The Air Force's KC-46 tanker program recently hit some major objectives:

KC-46 finishes flight tests needed for first aircraft delivery in October

Boeing and the Air Force wrapped up a slate of KC-46 tanker flight tests July 6, clearing another hurdle ahead of the first aircraft's planned delivery in late October.

More recent KC-46 news:

Newly aligned KC-46 schedule includes slate of risk-mitigation efforts

The Air Force's recent announcement that its KC-46 delivery schedule was aligned with prime contractor Boeing's came after the two parties agreed on a slate of schedule mitigation efforts, Inside Defense has learned.

Air Force, Boeing eye first KC-46 delivery in October

The Air Force and Boeing have agreed to a new KC-46 schedule that sets October as the anticipated date of the first new tanker delivery.

House lawmakers want Air Force to accept KC-46 deliveries at a faster pace

As the Air Force works with Boeing to assure timely delivery of the first new KC-46 tanker, House policymakers want the service to increase its planned aircraft acceptance rate to more than three new tankers per month.

A new Government Accountability Office report is out:

Pentagon crafting data strategy to accelerate contract awards

The Pentagon plans to develop a strategy to hasten its lengthy contract award timelines, according to Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad.

July 16, 2018 at 11:46 AM | Marjorie Censer

BAE Systems said today it will expand its operations in Huntsville, AL.

"The company's multiphase growth plan includes the immediate expansion of its offices on Discovery Drive and the development of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and office space facility in the Cummings Research Park," the company said. "Work at the site will consist of new programs and existing business, including the design, development, and manufacturing of precision munitions and aircraft survivability technology."

BAE said it plans to start construction this year and complete in 2019 the new, 83,000-square-foot facility, which will include space for engineering development, manufacturing and laboratories. The building's 20-acre lot will provide room for expansion, BAE said.

The contractor said it has more than 380 employees in Alabama, primarily at facilities in Anniston and Albertville.