The Insider

By Audrey Decker
November 3, 2022 at 10:04 AM

The upcoming iteration of the Defense Department’s Joint Warfighting Concept will be key in that it is expected to transition to official military guidance, according to a top Pentagon official.

“This next iteration will become doctrine. It will become a joint publication No. 1,” said Adm. Christopher Grady, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and co-chairman of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, which sets the procurement requirements for the military services.

“What came out of 2.0 were the concept-required capabilities that drive that work of prioritizing those tasks that the JROC needs to do,” he said Tuesday at the Naval Submarine League Annual Symposium.

Grady said the department is adding “a few more” concept-required capabilities in JWC 3.0.

JWC 3.0 will “take from force design to solve those key concept-required capabilities, to close those priorities and gaps that we work so hard in the JROC,” he said.

The new warfighting concept will be completed at the end of this year.

“We must ensure that the joint force is on the trajectory necessary to implement the National Defense Strategy to address its key operational problems in the current joint warfighting concept, and the future of concept iterations to come,” Grady said.

Last week, DOD released its new National Defense Strategy, that maintains the U.S. military’s focus on China as a pacing threat and Russia as an acute threat.

By Thomas Duffy
November 2, 2022 at 1:46 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest leads off with a look at the Pentagon’s latest Missile Defense Review, more company earnings news, an Air Force effort that has fallen behind schedule and a Navy electronic warfare program.

The latest missile defense strategy has a lot to say about the island of Guam:

Missile Defense Review prioritizes sensors, singles out Guam, says risk ‘expanding and accelerating’

The Defense Department’s new Missile Defense Review asserts modern air and missile threats pose “an expanding and accelerating risk” to the nation, its deployed forces, allies and partners -- and requires a special focus on sensor technology development to detect low-flying drones and hypersonic maneuvering weapons.

Earnings news from a leading propulsion manufacturer:

Aerojet Rocketdyne touts several contracts and milestones in Q3 earnings call

Aerojet Rocketdyne has conducted the post-boost propulsion system critical design review for the Sentinel nuclear missile program, the company said in its third quarter earnings call Tuesday morning.

A program that is key to the country’s nuclear enterprise is behind schedule:

Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals, 'essential component' of nuclear enterprise, three years behind schedule

The Air Force's Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals isn't expected to complete its initial operational test and evaluation until the end of fiscal year 2023 -- three years past the originally planned completion date.

A software upgrade is slowing down a Navy aircraft protection effort:

Navy adjusts IDECM fielding schedule to account for software upgrades

The Navy is adjusting the fielding schedule for an upgraded F/A-18 electronic defensive system as it works through software improvement efforts.

By Tony Bertuca
November 1, 2022 at 4:12 PM

The Defense Department announced today that the budget for its classified military intelligence program was $24.1 billion for fiscal year 2022.

The Pentagon said the spending is “aligned to support the National Defense Strategy,” providing no other details about the classified funds.

“No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons,” DOD said.

The MIP funding for FY-22 is about $800 million more than DOD requested.

The department, meanwhile, is requesting $26.6 billion in MIP spending for FY-23.

By Thomas Duffy
November 1, 2022 at 3:47 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on what could come after the MQ-9 Reaper and more.

Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mark Kelly spoke about the next generation of MQ-9 Reapers during a recent online Mitchell Institute event:

ACC head: ADAIR-UX initiative could 'inform our way ahead' on potential MQ-9 follow-on

The head of Air Combat Command says work to leverage unmanned, semi-autonomous platforms as simulated adversaries could inform what capabilities may come after the MQ-9.

L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik spoke about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program during his company's recent quarterly earnings conference call:

L3Harris touts progress on F-35 Technology Refresh 3

The CEO of L3Harris said today the company is making "good progress" on a major F-35 technology refresh effort, following significant delays and cost growth in recent years.

A classified report to Congress details a potential programmatic blueprint for defending Guam against advanced Chinese cruise, ballistic and maneuvering hypersonic weapons:

DOD sends Congress classified blueprint for potential Guam Defense System

The Pentagon has outlined for Congress options for a new integrated air and missile defense of Guam in a classified report that marks the latest development in a long-running internal Defense Department debate over the efficacy of such as system, outlining a potential capability that uses elements of the Aegis Ashore as a building block and ties in Army technologies.

The Defense Department's new artificial intelligence and data accelerator initiative was launched earlier this year as part of the Joint All Domain Command and Control strategy:

AI and data initiative could inform COCOMs on how to enable JWCC

The Pentagon's new artificial intelligence and data accelerator initiative will help inform the Defense Department on how to enable combatant commands to use the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, a senior DOD official said this week.

A South Korean company is throwing its hat into the ring for the U.S. Army's mobile howitzer programs:

Hanwha seeks to participate in Army howitzer programs

Hanwha Defense, a South Korean company that opened its American division in 2018, hopes to demonstrate and offer its technology to the U.S. Army for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery and other self-propelled howitzer programs, according to John Kelly, the president of Hanwha Defense USA.

By Michael Marrow
November 1, 2022 at 10:55 AM

The Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket operated by SpaceX, launched from Kennedy Space Center, FL, at 9:41 a.m. Tuesday carrying secretive payloads for the Space Force.

Dubbed USSF-44, the mission will deploy multiple satellites fielded by Space Systems Command’s Innovation and Prototyping Delta, SSC stated in an October press release.

The Space Force has released few details about the nature and objectives of the satellites. Mounted on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter, or ESPA, ring manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the satellites will launch into geosynchronous orbit.

Liftoff of the Falcon Heavy marks the first launch for the system since June 2019, when the rocket catapulted 24 DOD Space Test Program satellites into orbit, the SSC press release says.

SpaceX planned to recover the two side rocket boosters of the Falcon Heavy, with the center booster left to fall into the ocean due to inadequate fuel. Approximately 10 minutes after launch, the two side boosters safely landed on ground pads, the company posted on Twitter.

By John Liang
October 31, 2022 at 1:45 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on delivery delays to the Army's next-generation attack helicopter engine, the Pentagon's latest Strategic Management Plan and more.

Hopes that the Army, and General Electric, which makes the engines for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft helicopter would be delivered in November were dashed recently:

ITEP FARA delivery delayed until spring 2023

Deliveries of the new engine the Army says will power its next-generation attack helicopter are delayed until the spring because of supply chain issues, the Army said Friday.

A new Defense Department document released late last week is meant to help shape the defense industrial base for the 21st century:

DOD releases four-year Strategic Management Plan

The Pentagon, following the release of the National Defense Strategy, has released a Strategic Management Plan covering fiscal years 2022 through 2026 that lays out broad strategic goals and objectives, including shaping the defense industrial base for the 21st century.

Document: DOD's four-year Strategic Management Plan

Oshkosh, L3Harris Technologies and Textron all had earnings calls recently:

Oshkosh: Supply chain snarls lowered revenues

A parts shortage caused Oshkosh to close a manufacturing line for two weeks in the third quarter and contributed to lower defense revenues for the company in the quarter, executives said during an earnings call Thursday.

L3Harris reduces 2022 guidance after falling short on Q3 expectations

L3Harris Technologies reduced its 2022 outlook after failing to reach expectations in its third-quarter results, the company announced in its earnings report released Thursday evening.

Amidst FLRAA delays, Textron CEO projects confidence

Despite what has been a months-long delay for the Army in announcing the winning bidder for its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, the CEO of the parent company of one of the two finalists says that company can "live within its guidance."

(Keep an eye out for all the defense contractor earnings news in this week's upcoming Defense Business Briefing.)

By Audrey Decker
October 31, 2022 at 10:30 AM

The Navy has awarded HII's Ingalls Shipbuilding a $2.4 billion contract to build the fourth amphibious assault ship, LHA-9.

The award includes options that, if exercised, could raise the contract value to $3.2 billion, according to an Oct. 27 contract announcement.

Construction is scheduled to begin in December, according to HII’s press release.

“Ingalls shipbuilders are ready to build the Navy’s newest LHA,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson in the release. “We understand how important this work is and consider it an honor to be given the opportunity to deliver this capability to the fleet. We value our partnership with the Navy and all of our critical supplier partners.”

The third ship of the America class, Bougainville (LHA-8), is under construction at HII.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2023 budget request pushes LHA-10 out to 2031, which is about a nine- or 10-year gap in production from LHA-9. Lawmakers are hoping to move the LHA-10 schedule to the left in the final defense policy bill to avoid a cost increase for the Navy and keep the industrial base on track.

By Tony Bertuca
October 31, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak at several Washington think-tank events this week.

Tuesday

The Navy Submarine League holds its annual symposium that runs through Wednesday.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on the Nuclear Posture Review.

Thursday

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on "Accelerating the Electrification of U.S. Military Ground Vehicles."

Friday

Defense Acquisition University and George Mason University host the Acquisition Next conference.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the Missile Defense Review.

By Tony Bertuca
October 28, 2022 at 1:46 PM

The Defense Department announced today that a new $275 million military aid package will be sent to Ukraine, transferring long-range ammunition, humvees, satellite communications gear and other capabilities.

The aid package is being transferred directly from U.S. stocks via presidential “drawdown” authority, the 24th such action since August 2021.

The package, according to a DOD fact sheet, includes:

* additional HIMARs munitions

* 500 precision-guided 155 mm rounds

* 2,000 155 mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems

* 125 humvees

* more than 1,300 anti-armor systems

* small arms and more than 2,750,000 rounds of small arms ammunition

* four satellite communications antennas

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the package is the first time since the start of the Russian invasion that U.S. satellite antennas are being sent to Ukraine.

By John Liang
October 28, 2022 at 1:07 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on countering inflation in defense contracts plus the latest quarterly earnings reports and more.

Don't expect the Pentagon to willingly pay extra in its contracts to counteract inflation:

LaPlante: DOD does not intend to enact policy to boost contracts impacted by inflation

The Defense Department "does not intend to enact a policy to increase contract prices due to inflation," according to a new letter sent by Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: LaPlante letter to Warren on inflation

We also have more defense contractor earnings news:

L3Harris reduces 2022 guidance after falling short on Q3 expectations

L3Harris Technologies reduced its 2022 outlook after failing to reach expectations in its third-quarter results, the company announced in its earnings report released Thursday evening.

Amidst FLRAA delays, Textron CEO projects confidence

Despite what has been a months-long delay for the Army in announcing the winning bidder for its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, the CEO of the parent company of one of the two finalists says that company can "live within its guidance."

(Keep an eye out for all the defense contractor earnings news in next week's Defense Business Briefing.)

The Army next year is expected to release a request for proposals for a converted corporate jet that would join the growing array of sensors and processors that the service says will enable multidomain operations:

To deliver long-range sensing, industry says it can make corporate jets survivable

Defense companies seeking to modify corporate jets to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the Army say they are confident they can make the planes survivable enough to be operationally relevant, even as the Air Force has moved away from a similar capability in recent years.

The recent discovery of a Chinese component in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has prompted and elevated a broader discussion over what officials call "supply chain illumination" and the need to deploy detection and mitigation strategies moving forward:

Work to pinpoint root cause behind Chinese alloy in F-35 magnet continues

While leaders across the U.S. military and defense industry are pushing to bolster visibility over in their supply chains, Pentagon officials are continuing work to determine how a Chinese-sourced alloy found its way into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's turbomachine.

By Audrey Decker
October 27, 2022 at 4:09 PM

The Navy and industry partners are trying to tackle a big data problem driven by constant surveillance of unmanned systems: what information to keep and how to relay it back to the operator.

Small, autonomous and attritable systems are the future, but the Navy hasn’t figured out how to manage the massive amount of data collected by these systems, according to Chris Cleary, principal cyber adviser for the Navy.

The score of data traveling between an unmanned aerial vehicle and its home base is “almost mind-boggling,” Cleary said at a Federal News Network event yesterday.

“How much of it needs to be stored? How much of it needs to be readily available? Can it just be lost after the fact?” Cleary said.

The Navy faces a unique problem at sea because it might operate in a communications-denied environment, “so I can't kill things with information if I'm bandwidth-constrained,” Cleary said.

“What [are] the most important 1s and 0s it needs to travel on very resource-constrained devices that move things from satellite, from ship to ship and all of the above? The Navy is really struggling with this, but there are organizations that have [been] stood up to look at all these problems,” Cleary said.

Defense companies are asking the same question: How can the Navy -- and the Defense Department at large -- filter out important information and send it to an operator?

“We have not yet developed a way to even be able to figure out what the human pilot will want to be able to debrief and then sift through that data and deliver it to them,” said Steven Fino, engineering fellow at Raytheon Intelligence & Space.

“When I lose the attritable thing if I don't have links, how do I get that information off that little buddy? Otherwise, the mission was for naught and I have to go back and do it again,” Fino said yesterday at the Association of Old Crows symposium in Washington.

Thomas Beaudette, director of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ RF payloads, echoed Fino’s concerns at AOC, adding that it’s a “balancing act” to determine how much data should be left on a drone versus how much should be funneled to the operator.

If data is retained onboard the drone, and it gets shot down, the Navy risks giving critical information to the enemy.

“I think a lot of that determination is a risk decision that, frankly, you want to push to a commander in the battlefield because in the end, it's their mission and they're the ones that need to have the effect or get the information,” Beaudette said. “They are the ones that have to make those risk determinations. Am I willing to lose X capability by doing this with whatever protections we can put in place?”

By Dan Schere
October 27, 2022 at 2:29 PM

The Army is shifting $16 million toward Long Range Precision Fires Technology that had been set aside for a now-canceled air and missile defense project.

Maneuver Air Defense Technology had been a science and technology development program “to mature air defense missile component technologies and missile prototypes” for the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense program, according to Jennifer Ivey-Harper, chief of public and congressional affairs for the service’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Command.

The service decided in late fiscal year 2021 that the MAD-T interceptor would not become a program of record, Ivey-Harper wrote in an email to Inside Defense.

“The decision was made to reprogram funding to other critical modernization efforts. The Army is pursuing other transition opportunities for key component technologies that were developed under the MAD-T program,” she wrote.

According to a September prior approval reprogramming request from the Defense Department comptroller’s office, the Army plans to move the $16 million toward long-range precision fires technology.

The Army says the additional funding is needed to speed up the production of the Precision Strike Missile’s (PrSM) Increment 4 prototype -- on track for completion in FY-26. The first iteration of PrSM is in development and is expected to be in soldiers’ hands by next year.

The first increment PrSMs will have a range of about 500 kilometers and will double the missile capacity for each launcher, compared to the service’s Tactical Missile System. The fourth increment of PRsM will extend the missile’s range to about 1,000 km.

By John Liang
October 27, 2022 at 2:09 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's latest National Defense Strategy, military contractors' quarterly earnings and more.

We start off with the Pentagon releasing its latest National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review:

DOD releases new strategies focused on China, Russia

The Defense Department today released a new National Defense Strategy, accompanied with the Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review, that maintains the U.S. military's focus on China as a "pacing challenge," labels Russia as an "acute threat," and has upgraded the importance of defending Guam.

Document: DOD's National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, Missile Defense Review

We also have coverage from this morning's Northrop Grumman quarterly earnings call:

Northrop Grumman expects to hit low end of 2022 guidance, execs say in earnings call

Northrop Grumman expects to hit within the low end of its forecasted range for sales and profits this year, the company announced in its third quarter earnings call Thursday morning.

. . . and here is Boeing's from yesterday, in case you missed it:

Boeing Defense records major losses, pointing at KC-46A and VC-25B fixed-price contracts

Boeing lost $2.8 billion from its Defense, Space and Security business in the third quarter from fixed-price development programs, according to the company's earnings report, because of continuously rising supply chain and manufacturing costs along with "technical challenges."

(Keep an eye out for all the defense contractor earnings news in next week's Defense Business Briefing.)

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

Pentagon officials warn contractors on their duty to comply with NIST standard ahead of CMMC

Defense contractors should not wait until the launch of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program to reach compliance with the Pentagon's cyber standard for handling of controlled unclassified information, according to Defense Department officials.

The head of the Navy's Unmanned Task Force spoke this week at the Association of Old Crows symposium in Washington:

Navy's unmanned task force becoming 'voice of the fleet'

Using a venture capital model, the Navy's Unmanned Task Force is hoping to field "game changers" for the fleet and heavily experiment to prepare the service for the arrival of unmanned systems.

By Nick Wilson
October 27, 2022 at 12:57 PM

Service-level efforts to achieve Joint All-Domain Command and Control are still facing interoperability challenges, according to the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Speaking Tuesday at the AFCEA NOVA Naval IT Day, Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison said JADC2 -- the department-wide effort to connect sensors, shooters and communication devices across all service branches -- is “not there yet” when it comes to system-to-system communication and data sharing.

“Interoperability, perhaps, is something as simple as systems being able to talk to systems, so we can even get on a radio for example together, or we can pass data over each other’s systems that can then feed a targeting cycle for example,” Ellison said.

“But we’re not there yet with interoperability, and if we’re not there with interoperability then how can we integrate all of that into an effective warfighting concept or a warfighting approach?” he asked.

Despite persistent challenges, Ellison said he is excited by the results of the Army’s Project Convergence which illuminated opportunities to improve upon JADC2.

He also emphasized the importance of interoperability and integration, not only between service branches but also with allies and partners.

“Because we're not going to win by ourselves as a single service, we will have a better contribution to integrated deterrence when we deter as a joint force and we deter as a partner or allied coalition,” he said.

Earlier this week, Pentagon leaders announced they will stand up a new office that aims to facilitate the integration of service-led JADC2 efforts.

By Michael Marrow
October 27, 2022 at 12:30 PM

The Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Research Laboratory are teaming up to improve the Defense Department's weather sensing capabilities through a set of prototype contracts awarded to five commercial companies.

The prototype agreements will award contracts of undisclosed dollar amounts to Greensight, Muon Space, NextGen Federal Systems, Tomorrow.io and Windborne Systems to improve global situational awareness and analysis as well as physics- and machine learning-based weather models, DIU announced yesterday.

Each company has unique platforms DOD is seeking to leverage to provide missing capabilities.

Greensight, for example, provides nano-sized drones to measure atmospheric conditions; Muon Space manufactures and operates small satellites and other scientific instruments to measure climate fluctuations; NextGen will develop a machine learning prototype that will collect and analyze commercially available weather data; Tomorrow.io will mount microwave radiometer sensors on low earth orbit satellites to analyze weather; and Windborne will deploy smart balloons for further weather monitoring, according to the announcement.

The prototype agreements -- which were awarded at the end of fiscal year 2022, according to a DIU spokeswoman -- come as the Space Force is aiming to replenish the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program constellation with two separate programs known as the Weather System Follow-on and Electro-Optical/Infrared Weather System, or EWS.

After wrapping up full system and cybersecurity tests, the first of two WSF satellites is scheduled for a September 2023 delivery, Inside Defense reported yesterday. The EWS initiative, having previously awarded General Atomics, Astra and Raytheon prototype contracts, intends to eventually build out a LEO mesh network with launches set to begin in FY-2025, the Space Force’s FY-23 budget documents say.

The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Digital and Enterprise Services used DIU’s Commercial Solutions Opening’s contracting process for the program, DIU stated in the release. It’s the first time an outside contracting organization has done so, DIU added, an approach the organization wants to push across the Pentagon to field cutting-edge technology more quickly.

“DIU hopes this could be a new model for scaling the use of CSO throughout the rest of the DOD and potentially more broadly across the U.S. Government,” the announcement says.