The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
October 17, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior government officials are slated to speak in the Washington area this week.

Monday

The Council on Foreign Relations hosts a discussion with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI).

Tuesday

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on the "diminished state of today’s military."

The Hill holds a virtual event on hypersonics featuring Pentagon research chief Heidi Shyu and senior lawmakers.

Wednesday

AFCEA Lost Angeles holds an in-person and online "Space Industry Days 2022" conference through Thursday.

By John Liang
October 14, 2022 at 1:58 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's long-term climate change goals, Aegis Ashore, Navy unmanned surface vessels and more.

Will Rogers, the senior climate adviser to the Army secretary, elaborated on long-term goals the service has for making installations more resilient to the effects of climate change during a virtual discussion hosted by the Center for a New American Security:

Following Army's climate strategy implementation plan, senior climate adviser discusses carbon reduction goals for 2040

One of the Army's main climate advisers said on Thursday that the service aims to ensure that by 2040, electricity generation on installations is carbon free, and the installations are equipped with battery storage and microgrids.

Lt. Gen. Dan Karbler, head of Army Space and Missile Defense Command, spoke about Aegis Ashore during this week's AUSA conference:

Army leaders looked at, turned down Navy proposal to assume responsibility for Aegis Ashore

Army leaders considered and rejected a Navy gambit to put soldiers behind the consoles of Aegis Ashore, maintaining sailors are best suited to operate the land-based variant of the air and missile defense system -- originally deployed on the surface combatant fleet -- that is operational in Romania, slated for Poland and expected soon in a new form on Guam.

(Follow our coverage of the AUSA conference.)

Commander of Navy 5th Fleet Vice Adm. Brad Cooper told reporters this week that the fleet will receive more unmanned surface vessels and unmanned aerial vehicles but didn’t comment on specific systems:

Navy filling out Mideast-based unmanned fleet next month

The Navy's 5th Fleet is set to expand its unmanned inventory next month and continue working on a mesh network to connect the systems, according to a service official.

Inside Defense recently interviewed the head of the Defense Information Systems Agency:

Data-centric mindset needed to enable JADC2, DISA director says

Reaching Joint All-Domain Command and Control operationality is going to take shifting software systems toward a data-centric rather than network-centric approach along with collaboration across the Defense Department and its partners, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency director.

The latest defense cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Cybersecurity an undercurrent of Biden National Security Strategy focused on technology advances, global alliances

The Biden administration has released a National Security Strategy focused on challenges from China and Russia, global alliances, deterring nation-state and criminal actors in cyberspace, and bolstering the United States' underlying technological strength.

Senate shies away from expansive cyber focus in defense policy bill

The annual defense policy bill teed up for Senate floor debate in November lacks the type of landmark cybersecurity elements included in previous years, though cyber provisions related to both the Defense Department and civilian agencies are included throughout the sprawling measure.

By Briana Reilly
October 13, 2022 at 1:51 PM

The Pentagon has stood up a new Information Management and Technology Directorate and named a chief information officer tasked with enhancing oversight of the Office of the Secretary of Defense's IT resources.

The outfit, announced in a press release today, will be led by Danielle Metz, a Pentagon chief IT strategist who formerly served as deputy CIO for information enterprise.

The new directorate is initially charged with “establishing a framework for the integration of IT activities across the OSD components; developing an OSD IT resource requirements baseline; and creating a standardized memorandum of agreement between OSD and the Joint Service Provider for shared service support,” according to the release.

Metz and the new directorate will be overseen by Director of Administration and Management Michael Donley, who Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks tapped in a Sept. 30 memo to serve as OSD’s CIO -- a role that’s responsible for modernizing OSD’s digital landscape while serving as the point person for cybersecurity issues within the office.

The changes come amid broader “cost-driven IT consolidation efforts,” Hicks noted in her memo, in addition to the continued need for remote work environments and quick technology advancements in this space, necessitating “strengthened oversight of OSD IT resources.”

“This includes identifying and integrating IT requirements across Principal Staff Assistants, speaking with a unified voice in coordinating OSD IT requirements with the Joint Service Provider, and providing for regular cybersecurity and technology updates,” the memo continues.

The document directs the director of administration and management to finalize an implementation plan within two months outlining the steps required to reach “an effective, efficient, and enhanced OSD IT Enterprise.”

By John Liang
October 13, 2022 at 1:45 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy shipboard preservation, the Defense Department's cloud environment, the role of Army Futures Command and more.

Inside Defense interviewed the commanding officer of a Navy destroyer recently returned from a months-long deployment to the Indo-Pacific region:

Inside one destroyer's preservation efforts after its 7th Fleet deployment

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, CA -- As one of the first ships back from a routine, post-pandemic deployment to the Indo-Pacific, the guided-missile destroyer Spruance (DDG-111) conducted shipboard preservation as part of its readiness, akin to its warfighting mission, amidst a tremendous amount of underway time.

Officials are in the midst of identifying a location for OCONUS Stratus, the replacement of the now-sunsetted milCloud 2.0, as they seek to lay the early groundwork for determining the viability of the capability:

DISA rolls out further Stratus capabilities following milCloud 2.0 sunset

The Defense Information Systems Agency is "looking really hard at" the potential for deploying the new on-premise cloud environment outside the contiguous United States, a key official said today, a move she noted would help bolster resiliency for combatant command users.

Gen. James Rainey, who is just days into his tenure as the leader of Army Futures Command, spoke this week at the annual AUSA conference:

Army leaders discuss role of AFC as new commander takes over

The new head of Army Futures Command on Tuesday defined the role of his command in the Army's modernization push as service leaders continue to place emphasis on a modernization strategy that pushes the Army beyond its current modernization programs.

The Army's latest FM-3 operations manual "describes how Army forces contribute landpower to the joint force and integrate joint capabilities into operations on land to achieve military objectives and fulfill policy aims":

Army releases MDO field manual

The Army on Tuesday released its combat operations capstone doctrine, formally pivoting the force toward multidomain operations and preparing it for great power conflict.

Document: Army FM 3-0 operations manual

The Biden administration -- after a delay due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- has released its long-awaited National Security Strategy:

New National Security Strategy targets defense industrial cooperation

The White House today released a National Security Strategy that seeks "deeper collaboration" with foreign allies when it comes to developing and producing weapon systems and military technology, a vision made more urgent by the war in Ukraine.

Document: White House national security strategy

By Briana Reilly
October 13, 2022 at 9:34 AM

The Pentagon's Defense Business Board will be briefed on the streamlining of military intelligence processes when members convene for their meeting next month, a Federal Register notice states.

That presentation, from Ronald Moultrie, the under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, is slated to occur on Nov. 9, the first of the DBB’s two-day meeting.

Other presenters will brief members on defense industrial base resiliency, Defense Department events, preparation for future conflicts, recommendations to improve DOD business health metrics and more.

By John Liang
October 12, 2022 at 2:15 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the National Security Strategy, the Army replacing personnel carriers it sent to Ukraine and more.

The Biden administration -- after a delay due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- has released its long-awaited National Security Strategy:

New National Security Strategy targets defense industrial cooperation

The White House today released a National Security Strategy that seeks "deeper collaboration" with foreign allies when it comes to developing and producing weapon systems and military technology, a vision made more urgent by the war in Ukraine.

Document: White House national security strategy

More coverage of the annual AUSA conference:

Army expects to replace legacy troop carriers sent to Ukraine with AMPVs

The Army has support from Congress to buy 200 new armored personnel carriers in a one-for-one replacement of legacy troop carriers it sent to Ukraine, a top ground vehicle official said Tuesday.

Humvee maker pitches new light vehicle for drone warfare; highly mobile tank killer

AM General is proposing a tank-killing light tactical vehicle at the Association of the U.S. Army annual convention -- offering a seminal example of how the Russia-Ukraine war is changing modern combat by outfitting a next-generation Humvee with a fleet of tube-launched, anti-armor loitering drones with a defensive suite to destroy enemy uncrewed air systems.

Wormuth: Extended CR would delay some modernization priorities

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Monday that a long-term continuing resolution could push back the development and procurement schedules of some of the service's modernization programs.

The fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill is now under consideration by the full Senate:

Senate tees up defense authorization bill

The annual defense authorization bill was introduced on the Senate floor today with 75 bipartisan amendments attached to it, including six other major authorization bills, though a final vote is not expected until after November's mid-term elections.

By Briana Reilly
October 12, 2022 at 1:01 PM

The Defense Innovation Board is poised to hold its first meeting in two years next week after it and other advisory committees saw its operations paused amid a so-called "zero-based review" of the Pentagon's panels.

The review, directed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in winter 2021, culminated with the DIB’s reinstatement and the selection of former New York Mayor and one-time presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as chairman earlier this year.

Bloomberg will oversee the board’s first gathering post re-start on Oct. 17, according to a recent LinkedIn post regarding the upcoming fall meeting. Members of the board still haven’t been publicly announced.

The panel, formerly chaired by Eric Schmidt, the past chief executive officer of Google, is tasked with providing “strategic insights and recommendations on technology and innovation to address the Department’s highest national security priorities,” the Pentagon previously noted.

The public portion of the board’s Oct. 17 meeting will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, per the LinkedIn event notice.

By Michael Marrow
October 12, 2022 at 12:31 PM

President Biden has tapped Space Force Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt to serve as the new deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber and nuclear, according to a press release from the Defense Department, an appointment that would include promotion to lieutenant general.

The position was left vacant by the nomination of Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman on July 27 to serve as the next chief of space operations. Following a Sept. 13 confirmation hearing, the Senate voted to confirm Saltzman to the post by unanimous consent on Sept. 29.

Burt currently serves as vice commander of Space Operations Command and oversees the combined force space component command at U.S. Space Command, according to her service biography. Prior to her current role, she served as director of operations and communications at SPACECOM headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base, CO.

By Michael Marrow
October 12, 2022 at 12:06 PM

The Air Force declared initial operational capability for the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter, according to a press release from Lockheed Martin, achieving a major milestone for a program that officials are seeking to truncate.

Built by Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky, the HH-60W is planned to recapitalize the aging HH-60G Pave Hawk. The Air Force originally planned to procure up to 113 of the helicopters when it inked a deal with Sikorsky in 2014, but the service’s fiscal year 2023 budget request revised the program’s total estimated acquisition to just 75.

Officials cited potential engagements in Europe or the Pacific, rather than traditional counterinsurgencies, as a reason for completing the buy of the helicopter in FY-23 and searching for alternative solutions for combat rescue in more contested environments.

Congress has since pushed back against the Air Force’s plans, with Senate authorizers and appropriators both indicating they would double procurement of the helicopter to 20 in FY-23. House authorizers would keep the production line for the helicopter open and lawmakers would mandate as well that the Air Force provide a report on the aircraft’s acquisition strategy to the relevant defense committees.

The drop in procurement has also forced officials to& confront a cost breach for the program, since the total development cost will now be spread over a much smaller number of aircraft. A Selected Acquisition Report on the HH-60W released by the Defense Department last month indicated that the unit cost climbed 19% above the FY-19 objective, triggering a Nunn-McCurdy cost breach whose threshold was 15%.

The helicopter first entered initial operational test and evaluation in March after delaying a start to the phase in summer 2021. The IOC milestone will now give officials leeway to move toward a full-rate production decision, which the HH-60W SAR says is planned for next month, and eventually reach full operational capability.

Sikorsky has so far delivered 24 of the helicopters to the Air Force, according to the press release. The Lot 4 contract awarded in February 2022 covers 14 of the aircraft, the statement adds, and the Air Force is expected to award the Lot 5 contract for 10 or more helicopters in 2023.

By John Liang
October 11, 2022 at 2:08 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from this week's Association of the United States Army annual conference plus delays to a hypersonic missile flight test and more.

The Army's top civilian spoke at this week's annual AUSA conference:

Wormuth: Extended CR would delay some modernization priorities

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Monday that a long-term continuing resolution could push back the development and procurement schedules of some of the service's modernization programs.

(Follow our AUSA coverage here.)

A big hypersonic flight test has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2023:

Pentagon delays major hypersonic flight test; assessing root cause of June failure

The Pentagon has delayed a high-stakes flight test of a long-range hypersonic weapon that was originally to be executed no later than last month, a change of plans that eats away at the timetable of a project with little schedule margin in the U.S. military's effort to field its first conventional hypersonic strike weapon by next September.

The Air Force KC-46 refueling tanker has suffered another delay to its Remote Vision System:

Air Force admits another RVS 2.0 delay

A fix for the KC-46A's long-troubled Remote Vision System has been delayed 19 months to October 2025 due to subcontractor negotiations and additional time needed to achieve airworthiness certification, according to a statement from the Air Force's acquisition office.

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Defense Department inspector general to audit the Pentagon "to determine the extent to which the Department of Defense (DOD) developed guidance, conducted training, and oversaw the implementation of the DOD Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Program":

Watchdog to audit DOD's use of 'controlled unclassified' markings to restrict information

The Pentagon inspector general's office intends to begin an audit this month looking into the Defense Department's use of "controlled unclassified information" as a justification for restricting information, like what was seen when an annual weapons testing performance report was submitted to Congress earlier this year.

Document: DOD IG memo on CUI audit

In recent letters to the Defense Department and National Defense Industrial Association, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions the reasons for providing inflation relief to military contractors:

Warren questions DOD, industry associations over inflation relief proposals

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is questioning the Defense Department's push to provide inflation relief to defense contractors, sending a new letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante voicing concern that DOD may be preparing to dish out "corporate welfare" without sufficient data to justify the cost.

Document: Warren letters to DOD, industry associations over inflation relief proposals

By Shelley K. Mesch
October 11, 2022 at 11:32 AM

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board will hold a closed meeting Oct. 20 to discuss capabilities relating to artificial intelligence and the Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems, according to a Defense Department notice.

At the meeting, the Parent Board will receive final outbriefs on fiscal year 2022 studies on Responsible Artificial Intelligence for supporting combat engagements and Collaborative Combat Aircraft for NGAD, the notice states.

The meeting will be held at the MITRE Corp. from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. It will be closed to the public because classified material will be discussed, but the public can send written statements ahead of the meeting, according to the notice.

By John Liang
October 11, 2022 at 10:57 AM

Raytheon Technologies announced today its venture capital arm RTX Ventures has made a minority investment in Swiss company H55 to help develop electric aviation solutions.

"The investment in H55 aligns with Raytheon Technologies' longstanding leadership in the development of innovative and sustainable propulsion technologies," Raytheon said in a statement.

H55 is a leading enabler of electric propulsion solutions and battery systems, according to Raytheon, including Solar Impulse, the first solar-powered electric airplane to fly around the world.

"H55 is a key collaborator in our strategy for demonstrating the potential of hybrid-electric propulsion technology, which will be enhanced by this investment from RTX Ventures," said Graham Webb, chief sustainability officer at Raytheon subsidiary Pratt & Whitney. "Together, H55 and Raytheon Technologies are advancing new technologies that will help achieve the aviation industry's goal of reaching net zero CO2 emissions by 2050."

By Briana Reilly
October 11, 2022 at 9:51 AM

The Pentagon is poised to resume accepting deliveries of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter following a weeks-long stall stemming from the recent detection of a Chinese-sourced alloy within the jet's turbomachine.

The restart, OK’d by Defense Department acquisition chief William LaPlante late last week, gives DOD the all-clear to welcome a total of 126 Lot 13 and Lot 14 fighters from airframe vendor Lockheed Martin, according to an Oct. 8 statement.

The pause, announced last month, came after the F-35 Joint Program Office was notified of the sourced alloy used in a magnet on the Honeywell-built turbomachine. In the interim, officials initiated an investigation surrounding the alloy’s non-compliance with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement and determined a National Security Waiver would be needed to again begin shipments of the aircraft.

Politico first reported Oct. 7 that LaPlante’s waiver had been sent to Capitol Hill.

The resumption covers the F-35s under the Lot 12-14 production contract, and the last of those aircraft is projected to be delivered Oct. 31, per DOD’s statement. No flight safety issues have been detected stemming from the alloy’s discovery.

Lockheed spokeswoman Laura Siebert said the company expects deliveries to begin in the coming days. In all, 18 production aircraft were held as part of the pause, she added, and the company has delivered 88 jets thus far.

“We are resuming delivery of F-35 aircraft and remain committed to our supplier standards and contractual requirements in delivering the most advanced fighter jet in the world,” she said.

The F-35 is made up of 300,000 parts from more than 1,700 suppliers. All supplier parts on the F-35 are inspected at every stage of production to ensure they meet strict program standards before delivery and present no risks to the F-35 aircraft. The company says it was notified by Honeywell in late August of the sourcing issue, while Honeywell was first informed of the issue by its lube pump supplier for the turbomachine.

In media briefings since the issue was first reported, LaPlante has emphasized DOD officials’ efforts to gain “supply chain illumination” -- essentially enhance prime contractors’ understanding of the scope of their suppliers.

“And so what this is becoming is -- and it's been recognized for some time -- almost a real-time issue of tracking and making sure that there's integrity in your supply chain,” he said in a Sept. 9 briefing. “The good news is there are tools coming out using artificial intelligence and open source that can dive in and maybe find some of these things, but I think it's going to be a constant issue for us is understanding our supply chain.”

By Tony Bertuca
October 10, 2022 at 5:00 AM

The Association of the United States Army holds its annual conference in Washington this week.

Monday

AUSA holds its annual conference featuring a number of senior defense officials. The event runs through Wednesday.

Wednesday

The National Defense Industrial Association hosts a webinar on “enabling the joint warfight.”

Thursday

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion with the Army’s senior climate adviser.

Friday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the chief of U.S. Space Operations command.

CSIS also hosts the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

By Briana Reilly
October 7, 2022 at 5:02 PM

A bipartisan letter calling on the Defense Department to continue investing in adaptive propulsion technology in fiscal year 2024 has won support from 49 lawmakers, according to a final copy shared today with Inside Defense.

The effort, which Inside Defense reported on earlier this week after obtaining a draft copy, advocates for the quick delivery of those next-generation engines to the military services’ fighter fleets, with lawmakers arguing that failing to do so would “risk opening the door for U.S. adversaries to overtake our advantages in fielded engine technology.”

“We must make strategic funding decisions that bring us the technological leaps that will enable us to maintain our competitive edge,” reads the letter, which is dated Oct. 7 and addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Among the signatories of the letter, led by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), are 10 other senators, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is retiring at the end of the year.

Though the letter does not name a specific program or airframe, the call comes as Air Force officials are weighing next steps for their Adaptive Engine Transition Program, under which propulsion vendors Pratt & Whitney and General Electric are maturing prototypes compatible with an F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant.

AETP is nearing a potential engineering and manufacturing development stage, though it’s unclear whether the service will move forward with it, as such a decision is entangled with broader enterprise-level plans for F-35 re-engining. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are facing a looming engine modernization decision that boils down to two options: incrementally upgrade the existing Pratt-manufactured F135 propulsion system, a path Pratt supports, or fund a full engine replacement using an offering developed through AETP, an alternative GE backs.

The letter pushes DOD “to capitalize on the investments made over the last 15 years” and fund an EMD phase for next-generation propulsion in the FY-24 budget proposal while swiftly working to “deliver adaptive technology to the services.”

The message comes in the months after a group of three-dozen lawmakers, led by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), penned a letter opposing “a complete engine replacement program” for the F-35. The Joint Strike Fighter fleet has need for an upgraded engine with more power and cooling due to forthcoming capabilities, with those features expected to result in more bleed air extraction than the level that was originally planned.