The Insider

By Ethan Sterenfeld
September 30, 2021 at 4:42 PM

Project Convergence 21 will begin next week and run for six weeks, Army Futures Command announced Thursday.

Personnel from the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will join the Army for the exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, according to a Futures Command press release. More than 100 new technologies will appear at the exercise, which will include seven “use cases.”

“Technologies to be tested utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and other scientific advances in transformative ways, resulting in sophisticated sensor-to-shooter systems and revolutionary speed, range and convergence of joint operations,” the press release stated.

This is the second iteration of the Project Convergence exercise. Last year’s event focused on decreasing the sensor-to-shooter time for Army systems, and it has expanded to other services and more new technologies this year.

Attempts to link sensors and shooters will continue this year, and they will include more systems from the other services, Gen. John Murray, leader of Futures Command, said in the press release.

“We are learning how to converge all of the joint capabilities together to enable the best sensor to the best shooter, regardless of service,” Murray said.

Senior leaders are expected to visit Yuma Proving Ground during a daylong event this fall to see the results of the exercise.

The service has conducted 113 soldier touchpoints this fiscal year in preparation for PC 21, according to the press release. Other Army exercises this year, including for new communications and aviation capabilities, have also served to preview capabilities that will appear at the marquee Project Convergence exercise.

The Army began teasing Project Convergence 21 last October, a month after the completion of PC 20. Many of the service’s high-profile new units and technologies are expected to appear, such as the Multi-Domain Task Force, Precision Strike Missile and Directed Energy Mobile Short-Range Air Defense.

By Tony Bertuca
September 30, 2021 at 4:11 PM

The House and Senate voted today to pass a stopgap continuing resolution that would keep the federal government funded through Dec. 3, thus avoiding a midnight shutdown.

The CR now goes to the Oval Office for President Biden’s signature.

The House voted 254-175 to pass the CR a short while after the Senate passed it 65-35.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said the bill would continue funding for education, health, housing, and public safety programs, as well as $28.6 billion to assist survivors of recent disasters and $6.3 billion to support Afghan refugees.

“I look forward to soon beginning negotiations with my counterparts across the aisle and across the Capitol to complete full-year government funding bills that reverse decades of disinvestment and ensure government is looking out for the middle class, working families, and small businesses,” she said in a statement.

The House passed its own CR last week, but could not win the support of Senate Republicans, who opposed a measure it contained that would suspend the federal debt limit until December 2022. The CR Congress passed does not address the debt limit, which covers spending lawmakers have already approved.

Congress, meanwhile, has until Oct. 18 to extend the debt limit or the federal government will default.

By Thomas Duffy
September 30, 2021 at 2:48 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has new information on a 2020 test involving a Standard Missile and a Navy unmanned vessel, industry thoughts on the Pentagon’s JADC2 program, and Senate interest in developing strike weapons.

The Pentagon revealed that the Navy used an unmanned vessel to launch an interceptor missile late last year:

USV Ranger launched an SM-6 and successfully struck target in 2020 test

At the end of last year, the Navy and the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office launched a Standard Missile-6 from an unmanned surface vessel and successfully intercepted a target.

Industry reps see a role in leading the way in the Pentagon’s JADC2 effort:

Large ABMS contractors see potential for industry to lead the way in enabling JADC2

Some of the more traditional vendors supporting the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System say they see potential for the defense industry to lead the way in ensuring the Pentagon’s broader vision for a military internet of things is achieved, as they internally orient themselves toward enabling both ABMS and joint all domain command and control.

Senate lawmakers are very interested in the Defense Department development of new strike weapons:

Senate directs DOD update on ground-based strike weapons for ships

Lawmakers want an accounting of Defense Department plans for cross-domain, cross-service strike concepts -- particularly the use of ground-based systems launched from sea-based platforms -- such as the “game-changing” demonstration the Pentagon disclosed earlier this month of a Standard Missile-6 fired from a large unmanned surface vessel.

By Tony Bertuca
September 30, 2021 at 2:26 PM

The Senate voted 65-35 today to pass a stopgap continuing resolution to keep the federal government open through Dec. 3. The House is expected to quickly pass the bill, thus averting a government shutdown at midnight.

The House passed its own CR last week, but Senate Republicans balked at a measure it contained to suspend the federal debt limit until December 2022. The Senate’s CR does not address the debt limit, which covers spending Congress has already approved.

Meanwhile, the debt limit is set to expire Oct. 18, resulting in a federal government default if Congress does not reach an agreement to raise it.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) released a statement applauding the CR’s passage.

“I am pleased that the Senate has passed the continuing resolution to keep the government open, allowing us more time to find a bipartisan path forward on our fiscal 2022 appropriations process,” he said. “This effort did not need to be complicated. There was a simple solution negotiated on a bipartisan, bicameral basis, and that’s what we advanced today -- a bill that continues government funding and provides much-needed emergency and disaster assistance. I urge our House colleagues to do the same. It’s time we work together to provide this funding for the sake of the American people.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor he hoped lawmakers could reach a bipartisan compromise on the debt ceiling, which covers spending Congress approved during former President Trump’s administration as well as President Biden’s current administration.

“Just as the CR is so important and requires bipartisan cooperation, I wish my colleagues on the other side of the aisle saw the debt ceiling as equally important and equally requiring bipartisan cooperation,” he said.

By Thomas Duffy
September 29, 2021 at 2:35 PM

Today’s INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy shipbuilding, a possible new acquisition approach, new acquisition portfolio reviews, and news from the cyber front.

A Navy shipbuilder is making good progress with two new ship classes:

Navy fleet oiler to undergo sea trials in December

The T-AO 205 John Lewis Fleet Oiler will undergo sea trials this December.

A Pentagon official is thinking that new legislation may solve a recurring acquisition issue:

Pentagon’s CTO pursuing new legislation to bridge ‘valley of death’

The Pentagon’s chief technology officer is proposing multiple tranches of Small Business Innovation Research funding to bridge the dreaded valley of death.

The Pentagon has begun new weapon system reviews:

DOD embarks on new acquisition portfolio reviews

The acting Pentagon acquisition chief said today the Defense Department has begun a new series of weapon system reviews that could impact future budget and programming decisions.

An industry group is looking at some cyber program controls:

CMMC industry council plans to evaluate effectiveness of maturity model controls, small business impacts

A new industry advisory council for the Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program is determining “rules of the road” for its work and “scope” of operations, according to council chair Yong-Gon Chon, who says early efforts have focused on evaluating “practice effectiveness” for controls in the CMMC model and examining small business issues.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
September 28, 2021 at 3:05 PM

Senate authorizers are supporting Army efforts to rapidly field land-based hypersonic missiles but are raising concerns about costs in their version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill.

“The committee is encouraged by the speed with which the Army is working to field an initial land-based long-range hypersonic weapons capability in fiscal year 2023,” the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote in the report accompanying its version of the authorization bill.

The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon is expected to be the U.S. military’s first fielded hypersonic weapon if it remains on schedule. The unit that will operate the first battery of eight missiles has already begun training.

After it builds and fields the prototype missiles, the Army will need to pay more attention to costs, which should fall once the weapon enters regular production, the report stated.

“To better understand future costs and inform future decisions, the committee directs the Army to refine the cost estimate for additional currently designed hypersonic glide body missiles that are to be acquired,” the report stated. “Additionally, the committee directs the Army to assess alternatives to the current LRHW missile, to include lower-cost alternatives to glide bodies and air-breathing hypersonic technologies.”

The Army would have to brief the committee by Jan. 15, 2022 on its assessment of alternatives to the current hypersonic technology.

Army officials defended the service’s expansion in long-range fires earlier this year after the chief of Air Force Global Strike Command said land-based missiles replicate existing capabilities at great expense.

By Aidan Quigley
September 28, 2021 at 2:36 PM

The Navy and Air Force have launched an effort to eliminate redundancy in cybersecurity testing, assessment and documentation.

In a Sept. 14 memo, Navy Chief Information Officer Aaron Weis and Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger agreed to cybersecurity reciprocity.

“Accepting Cybersecurity reciprocity accelerates approval timelines and eliminates redundant test, assessment and documentation efforts,” the memo states.

The memo states that in order to provide warfighting capability in an agile, secure way, the services must work together and determine if systems being assessed have already been assessed and tested.

“Achieving this balance requires that scarce security resources be spent on due diligence and analysis rather than redundant and unnecessary testing or bureaucratic documentation,” the memo states.

By Jaspreet Gill
September 28, 2021 at 2:13 PM

The Defense Department is asking agencies to submit information regarding opportunities to address key supply chain vulnerabilities, according to a Federal Register notice.

The notice follows President Biden’s Feb. 24 executive order, America’s Supply Chains, which focused on the need for resilient and secure supply chains to ensure national security and economic prosperity.

Agency comments will help DOD respond to the executive order, the Sept. 28 notice states.

One of the directives from the executive order requires the defense secretary to submit a report within one year on supply chains for the defense industrial base.

“This report will provide an assessment of key supply chains, including their vulnerabilities and potential courses of action to strengthen the defense industrial base,” according to the notice.

DOD specifically wants comments about supply chain vulnerabilities and opportunities in the areas of select kinetic capabilities, including hypersonics, directed-energy and precision guided munitions; energy storage and batteries; microelectronics; and castings and forgings.

In addition to the four topic areas, DOD is asking for input on five system enablers: workforce, cyber posture, interoperability, small business and manufacturing. These systemic enablers span all four topic areas and “are critical to mission success,” according to the notice.

The notice outlines specific questions for agencies and responses are wanted by Oct. 13.

By John Liang
September 28, 2021 at 1:40 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, an upcoming flight test of the Air Force's X-61A airborne retrieval system and more.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its version of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill, is proposing a new requirement mandating MDA provide Congress and congressional auditors detailed “accountability matrices” that can be used to assess progress in the project to field by 2028 a new guided missile to protect the United States from long-range, nuclear-armed North Korean missiles:

Senate legislation would mandate exacting oversight of NGI development

Senate lawmakers want rigorous oversight measures imposed on the Next Generation Interceptor program -- the $17 billion acquisition launched after the Missile Defense Agency sank $1.2 billion and many years of development into the terminated Redesigned Kill Vehicle -- proposing new legislation mandating routine updates to Congress, including frequent independent cost and technical reviews.

An upcoming flight test of the X-61A airborne retrieval system is poised to include the long-anticipated recovery of multiple drones safely at an “operational rate of speed,” or within half an hour:

Gremlins mid-air retrieval demonstration set for fall

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The next flight test for the X-61A airborne retrieval system is slated for this fall, during which Dynetics' Gremlins team lead said the program will showcase repeated recoveries of a single drone and more amid what he anticipates will be the first successful demonstration of the effort.

The Army has lowered the number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles it says it will need in the future:

JLTV follow-on contract shrinks to 16,600 vehicles

The follow-on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle production contract could include 16,600 vehicles and 10,000 trailers over 10 years after the Army makes an award in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022, according to the most recent draft numbers.

The Marine Corps is trying to field by 2024 a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle with medium-range cruise missiles to give the service a Ground Based Anti-Ship Missile (GBASM) capability:

Marine Corps will start NMESIS user evaluation in October with 11th Marines

The Marine Corps next month plans to launch user evaluation of its top ground-vehicle modernization priority -- a new robotically controlled, ship-killing ground vehicle -- by providing 11th Marines in Camp Pendleton, CA, Navy/Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) assets, beginning a process that is slated to transition to a formal operational assessment next spring.

Last but by no means least, some news about the transfer of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency data translation tool to the Air Force:

DARPA: STITCHES' transition to Air Force 'a model' for other potential JADC2 efforts

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has fully transitioned its data translation tool to the Air Force, a process that one official said will "serve as a model" for moving other efforts that could be leveraged to enable joint all-domain command and control to the service and elsewhere.

By Tony Bertuca
September 28, 2021 at 9:59 AM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, testifying before Congress today on the chaotic and violent completion of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, said American forces deployed there over 20 years “helped build a state, but we could not forge a nation.”

In his opening testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin, who once led U.S. Central Command, said along with “tactical issues” associated with the evacuation of Kabul last month, there are also “tough questions” and “uncomfortable truths” about the 20-year U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

“Did we have the right strategy? Did we have too many strategies?” he asked. “Did we put too much faith in our ability to build effective Afghan institutions -- an army, an air force, a police force, and government ministries?”

Austin said it would be “dishonest” to claim the collapse of the Afghan military -- which the United States spent years funding and training -- came as anything other than a surprise to U.S. military leaders.

“The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away -- in many cases without firing a shot -- took us all by surprise,” he said.

Skeptical lawmakers, however, have pointed to the work done by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which for years has released reports about the failing U.S. mission to build the Afghan government and military.

Austin said the United States must now grapple with the fact it “did not fully comprehend the depth of corruption and poor leadership in their senior ranks, that we did not grasp the damaging effect of frequent and unexplained rotations by President Ghani of his commanders, that we did not anticipate the snowball effect caused by the deals that Taliban commanders struck with local leaders in the wake of the Doha agreement, that the Doha agreement itself had a demoralizing effect on Afghan soldiers, and that we failed to fully grasp that there was only so much for which -- and for whom -- many of the Afghan forces would fight.”

Austin also acknowledged the lives “tragically” lost during the evacuation of Kabul, including several Afghans killed climbing aboard a departing aircraft the first day; 13 U.S. servicemembers and dozens of Afghan civilians killed in a terrorist bombing on Aug. 26 and as many as 10 innocent people, many of whom were children, mistakenly killed in a U.S. drone strike Aug. 29.

“As for the mission’s end, my judgment remains that extending beyond the end of August would have greatly imperiled our people and our mission,” he said. “The Taliban made clear that their cooperation would end on the first of September, and as you know, we faced grave and growing threats from ISIS-K. Staying longer than we did would have made it even more dangerous for our people and would not have significantly changed the number of evacuees who we could get out.”

Austin said the U.S. government is still working to evacuate Americans who remain in Afghanistan, along with Afghan allies not yet enrolled in the Special Immigrant Visa program.

“We take that very seriously,” he said. “That is why we are working across the interagency to continue facilitating their departure. Even with no military presence on the ground, that part of our mission is not over.”

Austin said the U.S. military planned to move between 70,000 and 80,000 people out of Afghanistan but ended up transporting more than 124,000.

“It was the largest airlift conducted in U.S. history, and it was executed in just 17 days,” he said. “Was it perfect? Of course not. We moved so many people so quickly out of Kabul that we ran into capacity and screening problems at intermediate staging bases outside of Afghanistan.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said lawmakers need to understand why and how the Afghan state failed and fell to the Taliban, despite 20 years of U.S. presence and “enormous sacrifice” and “vast investment.”

“While there is a temptation to close the book on Afghanistan and simply move on to long-term strategic competition with China and Russia, we must capture the lessons of the last two decades to ensure that our future counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere continue to hold violent extremists at bay,” he said. “The United States faces new and evolving threats around the world. To overcome them, we must first understand what went wrong during our mission in Afghanistan and learn from those missteps. We owe it to the American people.”

Reed said he understands many lawmakers will want to focus their attention on the final months of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

“I think it is equally important, however, that this committee takes a step back and examines the broader two-decade mission that shaped the outcome we face today,” he said. “Our withdrawal this summer and the events surrounding it did not happen in a vacuum. The path that led to this moment was paved with years of mistakes, from our catastrophic pivot to Iraq, to our failure to handle Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, to the flawed Doha Agreement signed by President Trump.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member, said he is concerned the Biden administration has yet to present a strategy for future counterterrorism operations in the region.

“There is no plan,” he said. “We have no reliable partners on the ground. We have no bases nearby. The Afghan government is now led by terrorists with long ties to al-Qaeda. And we’re at the mercy of the Pakistan government to get into Afghanistan airspace. Even if we can get there, we can’t strike al-Qaeda in Afghanistan because we’re worried about what the Taliban will do to the Americans still there.”

Inhofe said President Biden made a “disastrous decision” to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“President Biden’s decision to withdraw has expanded the threat of terrorism -- and increased the likelihood of an attack on the homeland,” he said. “The administration is telling the American people that the plan to deal with these threats is something called ‘over the horizon’ counterterrorism, and that we do these types of operations elsewhere in the world. That’s misleading at best and dishonest, at worst.”

Austin said U.S. forces conducted an “over-the-horizon” strike in Syria a few days ago.

“When we use that term, we refer to assets and target analysis that come from outside the country in which the operation occurs,” he said. “These are effective, and fairly common, operations. Just days ago, we conducted one such strike in Syria, eliminating a senior Al Qaeda figure. Over-the-horizon operations are difficult but absolutely possible and the intelligence that supports them comes from a variety of sources, not just U.S. boots on the ground.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the United States has been drawing down troops from Afghanistan for the past decade.

“This has been a 10-year multi-administration drawdown, not a 19-month or a 19-day deal,” he said.

In fact, Milley said, he received an unclassified, signed order on Nov. 11 from former President Trump directing the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Jan. 15.

“After further discussions regarding the risks associated with such a withdrawal, the order was rescinded,” he said.

Milley said it is “clear that the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms that we wanted with the Taliban in power in Kabul.”

Still, he said, “there is no doubt in my mind that our efforts prevented an attack on the homeland from Afghanistan, which was our core mission and everyone who served in that war should be proud.”

By Tony Bertuca
September 28, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Defense technology company Anduril Industries announced today it has acquired Copious Imaging, a Massachusetts company focused on passive sensing technology to counter unmanned aerial systems.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Brian Schimpf, Anduril's chief executive, said Copious’ Wide-Area Infrared Sensing with Persistence technology made the company an attractive acquisition, Anduril’s first since April when it acquired Area-I.

“We’re very excited about the technology they have,” he said of Copious’ WISP system. “The basic idea is their sensor can look 360 degrees, find everything that is moving based on its thermal signatures, be able to ID that out at huge range with incredible accuracy.”

Schimpf said the WISP technology is ideal for counter-UAS systems, a key area for Anduril.

“We do a lot of work in counter-drone systems . . . where the ability to identify these sort of inbound threats is incredibly important,” he said. “Historically, this has been done with radar. But radar obviously emits a huge amount of energy and it is very easy to detect. Passive sensing completely eliminates that vulnerability. Now you can detect and understand what the adversary is doing without giving up any information about yourself.”

He also said the new counter-drone systems Anduril is working on are far cheaper than shooting down a small drone with a sophisticated missile.

Copious, which spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory almost four years ago, is a company of more than 40 employees and Schimpf said Anduril isn’t planning on cutting any jobs or facilities.

Bill Ross, CEO of Copious, said in a statement that “joining forces with Anduril will help get our technology out to the field faster and at greater scale, safeguarding our critical infrastructure and protecting our security forces to make America and its allies safer.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Schimpf said Anduril wants to acquire more promising technology companies.

“We think there is a huge array of technologies you can bring forward in terms of autonomy, how you apply AI, how you utilize unmanned systems that are incredibly compelling and our goal is to bring those forward as fast as possible,” he said. “You can’t really do that unless you’re basically a prime, where you are actually delivering all of the capabilities; you’re delivering something that goes all the way out to the user, all the field support, all those pieces as well as all the supporting technologies to enable these capabilities to get out there. M&A is a huge chunk of how we are going to get there.”

By Briana Reilly
September 27, 2021 at 4:28 PM

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has notched a free-flight test of one variant of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, the agency announced today.

The test, completed last week, involved a demonstrator from a Raytheon and Northrop Grumman team, featuring Raytheon’s ultra-fast missiles and Northrop-produced scramjet engines. But the release doesn’t mention Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne, which have paired up to develop their own demonstrator.

DARPA spokesman Jared Adams confirmed Lockheed’s platform wasn’t involved in the flight test.

“We are readying our next vehicles and working toward additional flight tests later in the year,” Andrew Knoedler, DARPA’s HAWC program manager, said in a statement to Inside Defense.

The effort came a year after DARPA finished captive-carry tests of both Lockheed’s and Raytheon’s HAWC variants. At the time, free-flight demonstrations were expected later last year.

During the test last week, Raytheon’s missile -- carried under the wing of an aircraft prior to its release -- was boosted to supersonic speeds ahead of the ignition of the scramjet engine, which pushed it to greater than Mach 5, or hypersonic speeds, a company press release said.

"This test proves we can deliver the first operational hypersonic scramjet, providing a significant increase in warfighting capabilities," said Colin Whelan, Raytheon’s vice president of advanced technology, in the release.

Overall, DARPA’s press release noted, the test successfully demonstrated vehicle integration and release sequence, the safe separation of the missile from the launch aircraft, booster ignition and separation, engine ignition and cruise.

"The HAWC free flight test was a successful demonstration of the capabilities that will make hypersonic cruise missiles a highly effective tool for our warfighters,” Knoedler said in the DARPA release. "This brings us one step closer to transitioning HAWC to a program of record that offers next generation capability to the U.S military."

By Tony Bertuca
September 27, 2021 at 3:42 PM

The Pentagon is taking “prudent” steps to prepare for a government shutdown on Oct. 1 in the event Congress cannot reach a short-term spending agreement, according to a new memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

A shutdown would mean halting the pay of active-duty U.S. military personnel and furloughing some Defense Department civilians.

While DOD would continue “excepted” operations “necessary for the safety of human life or the protection of property,” Hicks said “all other activities -- including, with few exceptions, temporary duty travel -- would need to be shut down in an orderly and deliberate fashion.”

House Democrats passed a stopgap continuing resolution last week that would keep the federal government funded through Dec. 3, but Senate Republicans have vowed to block the measure because it would suspend the U.S. debt limit until December 2022.

“The administration does not want a lapse in appropriations, which would require the federal government to shut down,” Hicks said. “The administration is willing to work with the Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution (CR) if necessary to fund critical federal government operations and allow Congress the time to pass the full 2022 appropriations.”

Hicks notes that under a shutdown, all military personnel performing active duty would continue in their normal duty status regardless of whether they are involved in excepted activities.

However, military personnel would not be paid “until such time as Congress appropriates funds available to compensate them for this period of service,” Hicks said.

Civilians necessary to carry out excepted DOD activities would continue to do so but would also not be paid until Congress can appropriate funds for their compensation. Civilians who are not supporting excepted activities would be furloughed.

“The responsibility for determining which activities meet the criteria for being excepted from shutdown resides with the secretaries of the military departments and heads of the DOD Components, including the combatant commanders with respect to activities undertaken by their immediate headquarters and subordinate joint headquarters,” she said. “These officials may delegate this authority as they deem appropriate.”

By John Liang
September 27, 2021 at 2:00 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a DARPA data translation tool being transferred to the Air Force, an MQ-9 Reaper exercise in Hawaii and more.

We start off with news from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency:

DARPA: STITCHES' transition to Air Force 'a model' for other potential JADC2 efforts

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has fully transitioned its data translation tool to the Air Force, a process that one official said will "serve as a model" for moving other efforts that could be leveraged to enable joint all-domain command and control to the service and elsewhere. 

The Air Force is conducting a Reaper exercise in Hawaii:

Three MQ-9 Reapers head to Hawaii for maritime-focused exercise

Three MQ-9 Reapers are participating in a weeks-long exercise in Hawaii that allows the drones to showcase their maritime tactics, techniques and procedures, ahead of a planned transfer of a handful of the aircraft to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in the years ahead.

The Army has awarded Dynetics a $237 million other transaction agreement to produce Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 prototype launchers and interceptors:

Dynetics wins Enduring IFPC competition

Leidos subsidiary Dynetics has won the competition to build the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2, and it will supply the first battery's worth of 12 launchers by the end of fiscal year 2023, the Army announced Sept. 24.

The Army recently held a demonstration to showcase various counter-small unmanned aerial systems capabilities:

Industry showcases C-sUAS capabilities for Pentagon's JCO

Five industry vendors last week wrapped up a demonstration held by the Army-led Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office showcasing their ground-launched aerial denial and handheld and dismounted solutions.

Last but by no means least, some missile defense news:

Lawmakers seek new assessment of high-volume, advanced missile salvo defense capability

Senate lawmakers want a new assessment of the military’s ability to counter high-volume salvos of advanced missiles against joint force critical fixed sites and high-value assets, considered “one of the greatest threats” to U.S. forces posed by Russia and China that is forecast to grow as competitors expand their inventories of weapons that stress existing U.S. air and missile defense systems.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
September 27, 2021 at 1:24 PM

The Army has placed its first full-rate production orders for Manpack and Leader tactical radios, with a total value of $345 million across two vendors for each radio, the service announced in a Sept. 24 press release.

“Full-rate production of these radios across the force will provide our warfighters with the most advanced radio network capabilities available for enhanced situational awareness, which is critical for mission success,” Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for tactical radios, said in the press release.

Most of the funding, $226 million, will go to the satellite-connected Manpack radio program. L3Harris will supply 2,320 radios, and Collins Aerospace will supply 1,547.

The rest of the money, $119 million, will buy handheld Leader radios. L3Harris will supply 2,498 radios, and Thales will supply 1,096.

Radios will go to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, a Stryker brigade combat team that is permanently stationed in Europe, and “multiple” infantry brigades in the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division, according to the Army press release.

L3Harris will receive more than $200 million for the radios from this round of orders, according to a Sept. 27 press release from the company.