The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
October 5, 2021 at 11:52 AM

The Defense Department is mandating all civilian employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22.

“Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said in a new DOD-wide memo.

The Pentagon earlier this year mandated the vaccine for all members of the U.S. military and each service has set its own deadline, with none going beyond late December, except for Army reservists and National Guard members, who have until June 30, 2022.

Hicks’ memo notes a previous COVID-19 infection does not exempt DOD civilians from mandatory vaccination.

“To defend the nation and protect the American people, we need a healthy and ready Total Force,” the memo states. “Vaccinating DOD civilian employees against COVID-19 will save lives and allow for the defense of our nation.”

By Audrey Decker
October 5, 2021 at 10:55 AM

The Navy is holding an industry meeting today to discuss a new cyber framework that would assess and enhance the cybersecurity of the defense industrial base.

The industry day will provide an overview of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework to better understand controlled unclassified information, according to a notice released late last month.

“CMMC measures a company’s maturity and institutionalization of cybersecurity practices and processes,” according to the notice.

The majority of lost or stolen technology occurs on unclassified systems -- an estimated $600 billion in annual losses, according to an industry day document.

The CUI program is “intended to establish an open and uniform program for managing information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls,” the document states.

The new framework will serve as a verification mechanism to ensure companies in the defense industrial base protect CUI within their unclassified networks.

By Jason Sherman
October 4, 2021 at 4:21 PM

Lockheed Martin last week awarded Boeing a $1.1 billion contract to supply seekers for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors.

The deal, definitized by the two companies late last week and announced today by Boeing, is part of a $6 billion firm-fixed priced contract the Army awarded Lockheed in April 2020 for incidental services, hardware, facilities, equipment and all technical, planning, management, manufacturing and testing efforts to produce PAC-3 MSE interceptors, associated ground support equipment and spares.

That contract included 954 PAC-3 MSE missiles to fulfill existing foreign military sales partner agreements and had option pricing to support 2021 to 2023 requirements and future foreign purchases, an official in the Lower Tier Project Office in the Army’s program executive office for missiles and space said in 2020.

Today, Boeing said under the contract it will produce approximately 1,500 additional seekers in Huntsville, AL, as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin beginning in 2023. Boeing says it has produced more than 4,300 PAC-3 missile seekers since 2000 and recently completed a facilities expansion in Huntsville to accommodate future production growth.

By John Liang
October 4, 2021 at 1:19 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of Defense Department inspector general reports on middle tier acquisition pathways and Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet anti-corrosion efforts.

We start off with coverage of a new Defense Department inspector general report on middle tier acquisition pathways:

Pentagon increasing use of MTA pathways to streamline acquisition efforts

Defense Department acquisition personnel effectively leveraged and increased the use of middle tier acquisition pathways to execute more agile acquisition efforts, a new report from the Pentagon's inspector general found.

Document: DOD IG audit of MTA rapid prototyping, rapid fielding programs

Senate authorizers want a new commission to look into planning, programming, budgeting and execution reform:

Congress wants commission to review, reform Kennedy-era PPBE system

Lawmakers want an independent critique of the Defense Department's system for creating annual budgets and future years spending plans, seeking an assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of processes introduced during the Kennedy administration to meet the needs of today's rapid technology acquisition in formulating and executing U.S. military expenditures.

Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet fighter aircraft need more inspections, according to the Pentagon's inspector general:

DOD IG finds Navy and Marine Corps lacking required inspections of Super Hornets

Navy and Marine Corps maintainers did not perform required inspections to address corrosion in the F/A-18C-G Super Hornet and gave no adequate reason why, according to a new Defense Department inspector general's report.

Document: DOD IG audit of Navy, Marine Corps Super Hornet anti-corrosion efforts

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks recently spoke virtually with the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Hicks highlights new U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal as DOD sharpens focus on China

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said a new defense pact between the United States, the U.K. and Australia, which, among other things, will allow access to sensitive U.S. submarine technology, demonstrates how global opinion is “shifting” regarding the perceived need to deter China's activities in the Indo-Pacific region, especially when it comes to undersea capabilities.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program:

CMMC accreditation body approves first content for official assessor training

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program has approved the first content created by a third-party partner publisher that will be used to teach assessors as part of the CMMC official assessor training program.

By Aidan Quigley
October 4, 2021 at 12:48 PM

The Navy has established a new helicopter squadron that will be equipped with MH-60Rs to provide support for Littoral Combat Ships.

The service established Maritime Strike Squadron 50 at Naval Air Station Mayport, FL on Friday. HSM-50 will fall under Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic.

Cmdr. Carolyn Peterson, who has served as a Carrier Air Wing MH-60R operational squadron department head and a joint planning officer in Alaska, will lead the command.

The Navy also announced Friday that it has realigned the LCS Fleet Introduction and Sustainment Program Office to the Naval Sea System Command’s Surface Ship Maintenance, Modernization and Sustainment directorate.

The LCS Fleet Introduction and Sustainment Program Office had been under the purview of PEO Unmanned and Small Combatants.

“This transition will ensure LCS sustainment plans remain aligned with all other surface ship classes as we serve the fleet,” Rear. Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center and director of surface ship maintenance and modernization, said in a Navy press release announcing the change.

By Tony Bertuca
October 4, 2021 at 12:09 PM

The National Defense Industrial Association has elected 16 new board members.

NDIA President Arnold Punaro said in a statement the new electees “were based on nomination committee recommendation, then approved and submitted by the executive committee to the electors, including the full board and chapter presidents.”

The new members are:

• David Caswell, head of critical infrastructure engineering, Microsoft

• Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of vertical lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

• Malissia Clinton, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, The Aerospace Corp.

• Air Force Reserve Col. Kenny Cushing, senior vice president of the defense division, Avantus Federal

• Jaymie Durnan, deputy assistant to the director of strategic initiatives, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

• Retired Navy Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, president, Fincantieri Marinette Marine

• Retired Army Col. Armando “Mandy” Lopez, vice president, Tex-Shield

• ML Mackey, co-founder and CEO, Beacon Interactive Systems

• Kris McGuire, founder and CEO, Victory Solutions

• Megan Milam, head of government relations, Anduril Industries

• Retired Air Force Gen. Terrence “Shags” O’Shaughnessy, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX

• Brian Perry, senior vice president and general manager of the processing division, Mercury Systems

• Retired Air Force Col. Reginald Robinson, vice president for executive branch and international government relations, BAE Systems

• Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, executive director, The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University

• Mary Springer, director of legislative affairs, Lockheed Martin

• Jen Stewart, senior vice president, WestExec Advisors LLC

Tony Mathis, president and CEO of military systems at GE Aviation will also be joining NDIA’s executive committee.

By John Liang
October 4, 2021 at 11:24 AM

Lockheed Martin announced this week it has opened a new facility in Courtland, AL dedicated to hypersonic strike missile production.

The new facility "represents Lockheed Martin's commitment to establishing northern Alabama as the base of the company's hypersonic strike programs," the company said in a statement. "The 65,000-square-foot Hypersonic Missile Assembly Building 4 (MAB 4) is built on the digital foundation that Lockheed Martin has prioritized through mission-driven transformation efforts across the enterprise to meet customer needs with speed and agility while bolstering U.S. manufacturing capability."

The new building is the second Conventional Prompt Strike production facility onsite, according to Lockheed, and "integrates critical digital transformation advancements such as robotic thermal protection application capabilities, smart torque tools and mixed-reality capabilities for training and virtual inspections. The machines in this facility also will connect to the company's Intelligent Factory Framework early next year, which digitally links production facilities and assets across the Lockheed Martin enterprise to help enable unprecedented insights into the health, status and optimization of operations."

The Courtland site houses one of four transformational manufacturing facilities the company says it is opening in the United States within one year.

By Tony Bertuca
October 4, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Lawmakers this week will consider nominees for several senior Pentagon positions.

Monday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on preserving peace in the Taiwan Strait.

Tuesday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing for several key Pentagon nominees.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg.

Gen. Charles Flynn, head of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks at the Modern War Institute's online War Studies Conference.

Wednesday

Senior DOD cybersecurity officials speak at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit through Friday.

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on the upcoming Missile Defense Review.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing for three key Pentagon nominees.

By John Liang
October 1, 2021 at 2:20 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on possible changes to the Pentagon's budget planning system, Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet aircraft, the Navy's second frigate yard competition and more.

Senate authorizers want a 10-member commission to look into planning, programming, budgeting and execution reform:

Congress wants commission to review, reform Kennedy-era PPBE system

Lawmakers want an independent critique of the Defense Department's system for creating annual budgets and future years spending plans, seeking an assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of processes introduced during the Kennedy administration to meet the needs of today's rapid technology acquisition in formulating and executing U.S. military expenditures.

Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet fighter aircraft need more inspections:

DOD IG finds Navy and Marine Corps lacking required inspections of Super Hornets

Navy and Marine Corps maintainers did not perform required inspections to address corrosion in the F/A-18C-G Super Hornet and gave no adequate reason why, according to a Defense Department inspector general's report released today.

More Super Hornet news:

Raytheon forecasts SDB II Super Hornet fielding in coming months; approval for F-35 operational use next year

Raytheon Technologies expects its Small Diameter Bomb II will be fielded on the Navy's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet within the next few months, while approval for operational use on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is projected to follow in calendar year 2022.

The Navy's proposed second shipyard meant to build new frigates could help the industrial base, according to analysts:

Navy's second frigate yard competition could shore up industrial base, increase production

As Fincantieri Marinette Marine prepares to start construction on the first Constellation-class frigate next spring, analysts and lawmakers say the Navy’s planned second frigate yard could both expedite the production of frigates and bolster the nation’s shipbuilding industrial base.

The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian spoke this week about the new pact between the United States, Great Britain and Australia:

Hicks highlights new U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal as DOD sharpens focus on China

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said a new defense pact between the United States, the U.K. and Australia, which, among other things, will allow access to sensitive U.S. submarine technology, demonstrates how global opinion is "shifting" regarding the perceived need to deter China's activities in the Indo-Pacific region, especially when it comes to undersea capabilities.

Keep an eye out for the results of testing of Navy unmanned units in the Middle East:

Navy's unmanned task force to conduct testing within next five months

The Navy's Mideast-based unmanned task force will conduct testing within the next few months using command-and-control infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

The Army's Precision Strike Missile has passed an important milestone:

Precision Strike Missile passes milestone B

The Precision Strike Missile, one of the Army's top long-range fires modernization programs, passed a milestone B review Sept. 27, according to Col. Guy Yelverton, the service's product manager for strategic operational rockets and missiles.

U.S. and Indonesian Army personnel cooperated during a recent exercise in the region:

SFAB officers support Indonesian, U.S. forces at Garuda Shield

Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade embedded with Indonesian army units during the Garuda Shield exercise in Indonesia in August and served as communications liaisons between the two armies.

Last but by no means least, the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model program from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC accreditation body approves first content for official assessor training

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program has approved the first content created by a third-party partner publisher that will be used to teach assessors as part of the CMMC official assessor training program.

By Aidan Quigley
October 1, 2021 at 11:26 AM

The Navy is adjusting its training and testing in the northwestern United States following an environmental review.

The service completed an environmental impact statement for air and sea space training in the eastern north Pacific Ocean region, which covers areas around Washington and Alaska.

The service chose to conduct a “representative level of training activity rather than a maximum level of training activity,” which was the “environmentally preferred action alternative,” according to the Sept. 23 record of decision.

Under the plan, the Navy will conduct military readiness activities as necessary to meet readiness requirements, the record of decision states. Some unit-level training would be conducted using simulators, and some active sonar training will be completed outside of the study area.

“The majority of testing activities that would be conducted under this alternative are the same as or similar to those conducted currently or in the past,” the decision states.

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.