The Insider

By Aidan Quigley
October 19, 2021 at 4:15 PM

The Navy is starting to experience a longer lead time for materials due to international supply chain issues, Vice Adm. William Galinis, the head of Navy Sea Systems Command, said Tuesday.

Galinis, speaking Tuesday at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium, said the service is experiencing the effects of COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain issues.

“We’re starting to see additional longer lead time for material, for parts, and for raw stock and everything like that,” he said. “I think that’s something we’re going to have to continue to work our way through.”

These supply chain challenges are affecting both the private and public sectors, Galinis said.

“Normally you can get parts in a relatively short turnaround time; we’re starting to see evidence of increased lead times to buy parts,” he said.

The Navy has stood up a supply chain monitoring group, which started with a focus on new construction but has now migrated across the enterprise, Galinis said.

“It’s principally on the new construction side, but I think there’s some opportunity to leverage that into what we are doing with the fleet maintenance work,” he said.

Galinis said that the Navy’s days of maintenance delay didn’t change from fiscal year 2020 to FY-21, partially driven by some long-lasting, complex modernization and maintenance availabilities that are ongoing.

By John Liang
October 19, 2021 at 1:52 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the Senate Appropriations Committee's fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill and more.

We start off with an overall look at the defense spending bill:

Senate appropriators would increase defense spending by $24B above Biden's request

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to provide $24 billion more for national defense than what President Biden has requested, according to a draft fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill, which is in line with separate legislation passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

. . . followed by a look at funding for the Army:

Draft Senate spending bill would cut Army procurement

The Senate Appropriations Committee seeks to cut $174 million from the Army procurement budget in a draft of its fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill, although it would add $667 million in funding for the Army Reserve and National Guard.

. . . the Navy:

Senate lawmakers to increase Navy spending on major programs

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to increase funding for the Marine Corps Force Design effort, the Navy’s shipyard infrastructure and fund a second destroyer.

Senate appropriators caution Navy against adding second frigate shipyard too fast

The Senate Appropriations Committee is concerned the Navy may be moving too fast to add a second shipyard for Constellation-class frigate production.

. . . the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program:

Senate appropriators recommend $366 million cut for F-35 C2D2

Frustrated by delays to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's near-term modernization plans, Senate appropriators want to cut $365.8 million from the program's $1.9 billion budget request for fiscal year 2022 -- a proposal that, if enacted, could lead to further delays as the program seeks to ready its jets for the future high-end fight.

. . . the Air Force:

Senate appropriators seek to add $65 million to ABMS budget

After Congress nearly halved the budget for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System last year, Senate appropriators are looking to add another $65 million to the program as service officials work to pivot away from experimentation and focus on capability delivery.

. . . and missile defense:

Senate panel recommends $10.3B for MDA; 15% hike in FY-22 buys added interceptors, Guam capability

Senate appropriators are proposing $10.3 billion for the Missile Defense Agency in fiscal year 2022, an increase of $1.4 billion above the Pentagon’s request, including funds to buy 14 additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and eight Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptors as well as finance the start of a new air and missile defense system for Guam. 

We also have news on Army combat vehicle programs:

AMPV production reaches LRIP levels

Monthly production of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle has reached contracted levels for low-rate initial production, and the early manufacturing troubles that plagued the program appear to have subsided, James Schirmer, deputy program executive officer for ground combat systems, told reporters Oct. 12 at the Association of the United States Army conference.

Army to create motorized infantry formations with new vehicles

The Army will use the Infantry Squad Vehicle, electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle and Mobile Protected Firepower light tank to motorize some infantry brigades and divisions for large-scale combat operations, Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said during an Oct. 11 interview.

. . . as well as the Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar program:

LRDR initial fielding now estimated to be one full year behind schedule

The Missile Defense Agency's plan to deliver the Long Range Discrimination Radar for operations is delayed yet again -- pushing the key milestone off by an entire year compared to original plans -- with a new target date now set for December 2021 as the government and prime contractor Lockheed Martin work to complete installation of the new sensor next month.

A senior naval officer wants the service to do better at reducing its days of maintenance delays:

Kitchener: Navy has more work to do to limit maintenance delays

The Navy is not reducing days of maintenance delays fast enough and must take action to improve its maintenance efforts, according to Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, the commander of Naval Surface Forces.

The Navy is also working on artificial intelligence and machine learning:

Navy building task force to focus on AI across surface warfare enterprise

The Navy is building "Task Force Hopper" to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to the surface force.

By Briana Reilly
October 19, 2021 at 11:55 AM

The Air Force is seeking studies and analyses tied to replacing the aging fleet of E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, according to a new notice.

The notice, posted today, gives few public details surrounding the information officials want, though the description calls for studying and analyzing “activities related to the current E-7A baseline configuration.”

It also directed respondents to “determine what additional work the government might need to accomplish meeting USAF configuration standards and mandates.”

The posting comes weeks after Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown told reporters in September that the service is “looking at” Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail as a replacement for AWACS -- an aircraft Brown had previously identified as one of several follow-on options for the E-3 fleet.

The E-7, Brown said last month, “gives us a path” to move forward, as he touted the speed at which it could be obtained and noted officials wouldn’t have to “start from scratch” because it’s already “a proven capability.”

Responses are due Nov. 2.

By John Liang
October 18, 2021 at 1:54 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from last week's AUSA conference on Iron Dome, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program and more.

Army Maj. Gen. Brian Gibson, director of the Air and Missile Defense cross-functional team, spoke about his service's deployments of the Israeli Iron Dome system:

Army readying second Iron Dome battery; exploring role for 'stand-alone' Israeli system in U.S. architecture

The Army -- which earlier this month announced deployment of its first Iron Dome battery to Guam -- is "on track" to ready for deployment a second short-range air defense battery equipped with the Israeli-developed system by December, according to a senior leader, in accordance with statutory mandates to utilize the interim cruise missile defense capability which the service does not plan to fully integrate with other elements of its air- and missile-defense network.

Inside Defense interviewed George Mansfield, vice president and general manager for joint programs at Oshkosh Defense, at AUSA:

Oshkosh remains committed to JLTV follow-on after cuts

Oshkosh Defense remains committed to competing for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on contract, even after the Army acknowledged it plans to purchase fewer vehicles than previously expected, according to a company executive.

Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, also spoke with Inside Defense at AUSA last week:

Army to pilot division-level cavalry with 1st Cav

The Army will shift many of the 1st Cavalry Division's cavalry units up from the brigade level to create a battalion-sized cavalry unit at the division level in the summer of 2023, leaders from the Maneuver Center of Excellence told Inside Defense during an Oct. 11 interview at the Association of the United States Army conference in Washington.

The Pentagon recently issued a notice on changing its acquisition regulations to incorporate climate change:

DOD seeks comment on new climate change proposal aimed at contractors

The Defense Department is seeking public comment on a proposed acquisition regulation that would require major federal suppliers to publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions and "climate-related financial risk," while also mandating "science-based reduction targets."

Document: DOD notice on new climate change proposal aimed at contractors

The Army recently tested the new Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense capability at a range in Germany:

First operational M-SHORAD unit conducts first-ever live-fire in Europe

The first Army unit equipped with the new Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense capability conducted a first-ever, live-fire of the rapidly developed system this month -- a major milestone in the effort to harden U.S. ground forces in Europe from Russian threats.

By Tony Bertuca
October 18, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to discuss national security policy at several venues around Washington this week.

Monday

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance hosts a discussion on air-to-air missile defense.

The National Defense Transportation Association hosts its fall meeting. The event runs through Thursday.

Tuesday

The Senate Armed Services Committee considers four nominees for senior defense positions.

DefenseOne hosts the 2021 Network Modernization Summit.

The Navy League hosts a breakfast with the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy (N3/N5).

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on lethality and the future of the U.S. military.

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the director of the Army National Guard.

The Heritage Foundation launches its 2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength.

Thursday

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attends a NATO defense ministerial in Brussels, Belgium.

Defense News hosts a webcast discussion on “JADC2’s Data Dilemma” with the Army’s chief information officer.

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion on executing the national technology strategy with the director of the Defense Innovation Unit.

By Briana Reilly
October 15, 2021 at 3:19 PM

The head of Air Mobility Command this week cleared the way for the KC-46 tanker aircraft to refuel F-15s and F-16s, marking the third time officials have approved an interim capability release to grant greater capacity to U.S. Transportation Command.

AMC announced the move in a press release today, two days after Gen. Mike Minihan, who took over as commander after Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost was recently confirmed to lead TRANSCOM, signed off on the ICR.

The latest expansion of the KC-46’s limited operational missions allows the tanker to refuel all variants of the two fighters, freeing up the legacy KC-10 and KC-135 for other operational taskings. It’s part of a broader plan from AMC, which Ovost announced in February, to expand the KC-46’s mission sets as the program awaits full mission capability amid delays that have pushed the decision to 2024.

“The KC-46 can now support 62 percent of all receiver aircraft that request air refueling support from USTRANSCOM,” Brig. Gen. Ryan Samuelson, AMC’s deputy director of strategy, plans, requirements and programs and the KC-46 cross functional team lead, said in the release. "This step forward accelerates the critical projection and connection warfighting requirements the Pegasus brings to the joint force, even before it’s fully operational.”

AMC in July approved the first ICR, permitting the KC-46 centerline drogue system to be used for operational missions; in August, the command allowed the aircraft to refuel the B-52, C-17 and other KC-46s.

By John Liang
October 15, 2021 at 1:53 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a recent multibillion-dollar reprogramming request, a proposed climate change-related acquisition regulation plus more from the AUSA conference.

Lawmakers have allowed the Defense Department to shift $3 billion out of an original $4.4 billion request among various programs:

Congress allows DOD to shift $3B in spending

Congress has granted the Defense Department permission to reprogram $3 billion in spending across a variety of accounts, though DOD had wanted to reprogram $4.4 billion, according to a new document from the Pentagon comptroller’s office.

Document: DOD's omnibus reprogramming request

The Pentagon issued a notice this morning seeking industry comments on a proposed climate change-related acquisition regulation:

DOD seeks comment on new climate change proposal aimed at contractors

The Defense Department is seeking public comment on a proposed acquisition regulation that would require major federal suppliers to publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions and “climate-related financial risk,” while also mandating “science-based reduction targets.”

The Hudson Institute has issued a new report on the military services' dependence on China for batteries used on unmanned systems:

Hudson report warns of dependency on China for batteries powering unmanned systems

The military services’ push for more unmanned systems is dependent on the power supplied by batteries, a supply chain almost completed controlled by China.

Last but by no means least, our continuing coverage of this week's AUSA conference:

First operational M-SHORAD unit conducts first-ever live-fire in Europe

The first Army unit equipped with the new Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense capability conducted a first-ever, live-fire of the rapidly developed system this month -- a major milestone in the effort to harden U.S. ground forces in Europe from Russian threats.

Next round of major testing for IBCS set to launch in weeks

U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command is readying within weeks to commence a high-stakes assessment of Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense -- a command-and-control system that integrates sensors, weapons and mission command across an integrated fire control network.

Lockheed Martin forecasts 2027 delivery for NGI, meeting DOD hopes for accelerated timetable

Lockheed Martin believes it can accelerate delivery of a Next Generation Interceptor to support emplacement by 2027, a new development that matches expectations from senior military officials that incentives built into the acquisition strategy could deliver a new guided missile to defeat North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles sooner than 2028.

AM General pledges to compete for JLTV, guaranteeing Army competition in $7.6B acquisition

AM General, maker of the U.S. military’s legacy light tactical vehicle fleet, will toss its hat in the ring for the upcoming competition to build Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, a move that presents incumbent Oshkosh with a formidable challenger and assures the Army an industrial rivalry that acquisition officials hope will drive innovation and a fair cost in an estimated $7.6 billion project.

Army creating Black Hawk rendering to prepare for FVL digital design

The Army is making a three-dimensional scan of every part within a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter as a test run for the digital modeling that it plans to implement with the Future Vertical Lift programs, the leader of Army Aviation and Missile Command said this week.

(Read our complete coverage of the AUSA convention.)

By John Liang
October 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM

Boeing has hired former Defense Security Cooperation Agency Director Heidi Grant, the company announced today.

Grant will "lead Boeing’s defense, space and government services sales teams," according to a company statement. "She will join the company Nov. 8 as vice president of Business Development, leading the organization previously known as Global Sales and Marketing (GSM)."

Grant succeeds Jeff Shockey, who departed the company in July, according to Boeing. Mike Manazir, who has served as interim GSM vice president, returns to his role as vice president, Boeing Global Services business development.

DSCA announced Grant's resignation earlier this week.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
October 14, 2021 at 2:35 PM

The Army has delayed fielding and operational testing of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a militarized version of a Microsoft augmented reality headset, according to an announcement today from program executive office soldier.

“This decision allows the Army and Industry team to continue to enhance the IVAS technology platform,” the announcement stated. “The Army intends to continue developing and fielding this revolutionary, first-of-its-kind technology in” fiscal year 2022.

Microsoft won a $21.9 billion contract in March for IVAS, which is designed to enhance training and give soldiers more information in the battlefield.

That award was supposed to begin rapid fielding of IVAS, which Microsoft had adapted for military use through a $479 million other transaction agreement, a flexible contract that allows for rapid prototyping. OTAs are designed to accelerate the development process for new systems, and the Army has used them for for many of its priority modernization programs.

The Army had planned to equip a unit with IVAS by the end of last month, but first unit equipped has been delayed to September 2022, according to a new timeline included in today’s announcement. An initial operational test is scheduled for May.

Last month, the Army completed an integration test with the Bradley fighting vehicle and electronic warfare testing with the IVAS, according to the timeline. The service held a “user jury” in July on the criteria to begin operational testing.

The Senate Armed Services Committee expressed concern in its version of the FY-22 defense authorization bill that the Army planned to field IVAS before system development was complete. Even as the committee voted to add $1.4 billion to the service’s procurement budget, it cut $270 million from IVAS procurement funding.

By John Liang
October 14, 2021 at 1:44 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II, a proposed Air Force advanced tactical trainer aircraft and more.

Putting the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II on Navy Super Hornet fighter aircraft has been a challenge for the service:

Weather, technical difficulties causing SDB Increment II F/A-18E/F integration delay

The Navy continues to face setbacks fielding the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet due to weather delays and technical challenges, a program spokesman told Inside Defense Tuesday.

An Air Combat Command spokeswoman has confirmed to Inside Defense that a request for information released this week was meant to address Reforge requirements and “modernize the training pipeline and ecosystem for development of [Combat Air Force] pilots”:

ACC: Air Force RFI for tactical training jet aims to address Reforge requirements

After canceling an open solicitation to industry this summer aimed at supporting a new concept for streamlining pilot training, Project Reforge, the Air Force this week initiated the acquisition process for a new advanced training jet that would meet the requirements of Reforge and possibly serve as an adversary air platform and tactical aircraft surrogate.

Document: Air Force RFI for new advanced tactical trainer

More coverage from this week's AUSA convention:

Lockheed says PrSM sets new distance record, mum about 499km objective

Lockheed Martin is touting a "record-breaking" flight of the Precision Strike Missile but will not disclose whether the new surface-to-surface round exceeded a 499-kilometer objective during an Oct. 13 test over the Pacific Ocean.

Army developing implementation strategy for new network plan

The Army expects to publish an implementation strategy for its newly released Unified Network Plan, according to service officials.

Document: Army's 2021 unified network plan

(Read our complete coverage of the AUSA convention.)

The Air Force's former top software official hopes the service will replace him soon:

Chaillan pushes for Air Force chief software successor, calling role 'critical' for U.S. future

More than a month after posting a pointed resignation message on his LinkedIn page slamming the Defense Department’s approach to IT modernization, the Air Force’s first chief software officer, Nicolas Chaillan, is hopeful the service will hire a successor for the role he described as "critical for the future of our nation."

By Jaspreet Gill
October 13, 2021 at 4:32 PM

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit yesterday announced $14 million in Defense Production Act Title III agreements to strengthen the domestic small unmanned aerial systems industrial base.

DIU made eight awards in total as part of a larger strategy to accelerate the adoption of capable and secure sUAS through the Blue UAS effort, according to an Oct. 12 DOD announcement.

Blue UAS is “focused on increasing DOD access to commercial systems and strengthening the industrial base to disrupt the dominance currently demonstrated in the supply chain by one of the nation’s near-peer adversaries,” the announcement states.

The companies awarded include Systems and Technology Research; Skydio; Shield AI; Auterion Government Solutions; Kutta Technologies; Vantage Robotics; and Tomahawk Robotics. Auterion Government Solutions received two separate awards, according to the announcement.

“This investment in the defense industrial base is intended to provide critical battlefield capabilities across the spectrum of conflict, including on-demand reconnaissance which augments service members’ capabilities and increases their survivability, lethality and mission flexibility,” Jesse Salazar, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, said in a statement.

By Tony Bertuca
October 13, 2021 at 4:19 PM

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency today announced the resignation of director Heidi Grant, one of the top U.S. officials overseeing foreign military sales.

“Director Grant had been considering this transition for some time and believed the moment was right after successfully leading DSCA to its full operational capability phase of organizational transformation on October 1, 15 months after becoming the first permanent DOD civilian to lead DSCA in its 50-year history,” the agency announced.

Deputy Director Jed Royal will become acting DSCA director on Nov. 7.

Grant previously served as the Air Force’s deputy under secretary of international affairs.

It has been reported that Grant spoke critically this week of the U.S. government’s decision to not supply drones to allies in the Middle East, which instead purchased them from China.

By John Liang
October 13, 2021 at 2:30 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Air Force software and refueling aircraft as well as continuing coverage of the AUSA convention.

The Air Force's former top software official hopes the service will replace him soon:

Chaillan pushes for Air Force chief software successor, calling role 'critical' for U.S. future

More than a month after posting a pointed resignation message on his LinkedIn page slamming the Defense Department’s approach to IT modernization, the Air Force’s first chief software officer, Nicolas Chaillan, is hopeful the service will hire a successor for the role he described as "critical for the future of our nation."

In a request for information released this week, the Air Force "seeks to provide Air Mobility Command (AMC) with the technical, programmatic, research, data analytics expertise, and assessment to determine if a shortfall in U.S. Air Force day-to-day peacetime air refueling capability exists":

Air Force seeking aerial refueling gap analysis to inform broader COMAR study

The Air Force plans to commission a study to determine whether there is a gap in peacetime aerial refueling capacity that will set the foundation for a broader look at options for bridging such a shortfall.

Document: Commercial air refueling case study RFI, PWS

More coverage from AUSA's annual conference:

McConville touts Army prototypes and 'transformation' as service wrestles with new mission

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said yesterday the service is advancing a series of developmental technologies necessary to dominate land warfare in the 21st century, but he provided scant details on what missions and weapon systems the Army is prepared to leave behind as it shifts focus away from the Middle East and toward China.

Lockheed: Max-range PrSM shot could possibly exceed 499km requirement

Lockheed Martin is planning an Oct. 13 flight test of its new deep strike weapon over the Pacific Ocean by conducting a maximum-range assessment of the Precision Strike Munition, untethering the next-generation surface-to-surface missile to fly out as far as it can -- possibly further than the 499-kilometer objective, according to a senior company representative.

Contractors likely to host OMFV digital design

The Army is "leaning towards" having companies host the authoritative source of truth for the digital design of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the Bradley fighting vehicle replacement, James Schirmer, the deputy program executive officer for ground combat systems, said Oct. 13 at the Association of the United States Army conference in Washington.

(Read our complete coverage of the AUSA convention.)

By Courtney Albon
October 13, 2021 at 12:54 PM

The Space Development Agency is preparing to release a request for proposals for a slate of demonstration and experimentation satellites meant to augment the Tranche 1 Transport Layer.

According to a draft RFP released Oct. 8, SDA anticipates the Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System (T1DES) will launch by May of 2025 and include up to 18 satellites -- including 12 “offeror-sourced” payloads and six developed by the government.

The agency plans to award a single contract for the effort.

Meanwhile, proposals were due last week for SDA’s Tranche 1 Transport Layer, which includes 126 satellites that will make up the agency’s initial warfighting capability. 

The Tranche 1 capability will build on that of the Tranche 0 transport satellites, which are currently in development, providing improved technology, integration and production efficiencies. 

“The T1TL will provide global communications access and deliver persistent regional encrypted connectivity in support of warfighter missions around the globe by serving as the backbone for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control built on low-latency data transport, sensor-to-shooter connectivity and direct-to-weapon connectivity,” the RFP states.

By Briana Reilly
October 12, 2021 at 5:01 PM

Northrop Grumman announced today it has opened a software development facility as part of an expanded footprint in Huntsville, AL, to support the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

A newly renovated site, the location will host Northrop’s work as GBSD prime contractor associated with engineering and manufacturing development in the software realm, in addition to some production activities, company spokesman Nathan Drevna told Inside Defense.

Specifically, Drevna said the facility would be charged with building part of the weapon system and integrating it with the rest of the program, though he declined to share further details.

The move comes as Northrop pushes to launch its first test missile in the fourth quarter of 2023 and kick-start production in 2026.

“We are excited to grow our GBSD team in Alabama and leverage the dynamic aerospace talent in the Rocket City to support this critical strategic deterrent capability for our country and allies,” Greg Manuel, the vice president and general manager of Northrop’s Strategic Deterrent Systems division, said in the press release announcing the move.

Meanwhile, the company is in the midst of "a massive construction effort" at Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, where the test launch will occur, Manuel told Inside Defense in an interview last month. The company is now in possession of two launch facilities there and its first launch center.