The Insider

By Sara Friedman
July 5, 2022 at 3:42 PM

MxD, a public-private partnership funded by the Defense Department, has published a CMMC playbook to help manufacturing companies meet level one requirements in the Pentagon’s cyber certification program.

The playbook walks through how MxD was able to achieve the 17 security practices at level one. The Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Model Maturity Certification program has three levels and the first one focuses on the federal contract information (FCI) held by defense contractors.

“With this Playbook, MxD delivers a quick-start guide for Level 1, labeling the security practices by degree of difficulty; clarifying instructions; and providing tips from lessons we learned as we implemented these same security practices. A glossary defines some of the terms you will come across as you navigate this process and includes a link to the full National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) list of cybersecurity words and acronyms,” the playbook says. It was published June 28.

Laura Elan, MxD’s senior director of cybersecurity, said, “MxD completed Level 1 and saw firsthand the challenges an organization might face with a self-assessment. As the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing, we wanted to be an early adopter of the CMMC 2.0 requirements and use our experience as a guide to assist other organizations who will complete a self-assessment.”

MxD is part of the Manufacturing USA network of 16 innovation institutes. It focuses on “the digital transformation of U.S. manufacturing, upskilling of our workforce, and cybersecurity” and is funded by the DOD Office of Small Business Programs.

The playbook says, “For manufacturers just starting with CMMC 2.0, MxD recommends looking first at the security practices labeled ‘easy.’ Most organizations will find that they already are implementing at least a portion of them. As you continue on your path, tackle security practices we have identified as ‘medium,’ turning last to those labeled ‘hard.’”

The playbook is intended to complement the MxD Cyber Marketplace, which provides cybersecurity assessments to help organizations understand their security postures. The assessments focus on the NIST cybersecurity framework, NIST Special Publication 800-171 and CMMC.

“Of our nation’s approximately 250,000 manufacturers, 98.5% are considered small- or mid-sized with less than 500 employees; 75% of manufacturers have less than 20 employees,” said Berardino Baratta, vice president of projects and engineering and incoming CEO of MxD. “The Playbook helps these smaller organizations to assess their CMMC compliance in manageable segments to ensure they remain competitive for work with the DOD.”

By Audrey Decker
July 5, 2022 at 3:25 PM

The Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman $248 million for two MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft systems.

Naval Air Systems Command authorized the production and delivery of Tritons for the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force in a justification and approval document released today.

The advanced acquisition contract also procures long lead items in order to maintain planned production schedules, according to the service.

“The [low-rate initial production] Lot 5 and LRIP Lot 6 contracts will provide for the procurement of aircraft, main operating bases, forward operating bases and related supplies and support. Additional UASs may be procured within LRIP Lot 5 and/ or LRIP Lot 6 as subsequently authorized and appropriated by Congress and/or to provide for international agreement requirements within these lots,” the document states. 

The total estimated value of all contract actions is $1.3 billion, according to the Navy.

The two MQ-4Cs will be procured using fiscal year 2022 Navy aircraft funds and work is expected to be completed in February 2027, according to a June 22 Defense Department contract listing

In its FY-23 budget request, the Navy would procure three MQ-4Cs, four in FY-24 and zero for the rest of the future years defense program. The service is requesting $663 million in FY-23 for the program.

By John Liang
July 5, 2022 at 1:40 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Air Force's T-7A trainer aircraft and more.

General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are drawing from their work tied to the F-35 Adaptive Engine Transition Program to "augment" a broader business case assessment that will review proposed engine, power and thermal management system modernization options:

DOD assessing 'tri-variant viability' of adaptive engines for F-35 fleet

Defense Department officials are gauging the potential for leveraging two engine makers' adaptive propulsion system offerings into a "tri-variant" solution that would be viable across the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet.

News on the Air Force's T-7A trainer aircraft program:

Air Force signs ROD for Joint Base San Antonio T-7A recapitalization

Joint Base San Antonio, TX will receive up to 72 T-7A Red Hawk training aircraft to recapitalize the aging T-38C Talon, according to a record of decision signed by Air Force officials and announced in today's Federal Register.

The company manufacturing microchips for the Air Force's Small Diameter II bomb had planned to halt production in August, but has since pushed back that end date to December:

Air Force negotiating with microchip producer for SDB II

The microchip producer for the Air Force's Small Diameter Bomb II extended its manufacturing end date by four months as the service continues negotiating to obtain all of the needed chips that will integrate military-code GPS onto the bomb.

The Army has released the final request for proposals for the detailed design and prototype manufacturing phases of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program:

Army opens next OMFV competition, bids due Nov. 1

The next round of competition for companies that want to build the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle officially began today, as the Army released the request for proposals for the next two phases of the program to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Document: Army RFP for OMFV detailed design, prototype manufacturing phases

The U.S. military's Common-Hypersonic Glide Body program suffered another test failure last week:

Major Pentagon hypersonic weapon fails in inaugural test flight of prototype missile

The initial prototype of the U.S. military's marquee hypersonic strike weapon failed during a major test over the Pacific Ocean on June 29 in an event that featured the inaugural flight of a new, two-stage rocket built by Lockheed Martin paired with a Common-Hypersonic Glide Body manufactured by Sandia National Laboratories.

By Briana Reilly
July 5, 2022 at 1:36 PM

Defense industrial leaders are calling on lawmakers to use legislation aiming to bolster microelectronics production as a vehicle for delaying a research and development tax change that executives say "will stifle American manufacturing and innovation investment."

Led by the Aerospace Industries Association and endorsed by 19 company leaders from L3Harris Technologies, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies and others, the letter targets a provision stemming from the 2017 tax law approved under then-President Trump that requires firms to deduct their R&D expenses over a five-year period rather than immediately.

The language has been a target of companies since before it went into effect earlier this year, though lawmakers have also signaled a willingness to postpone it or roll it back. 

“Reversing the R&D amortization requirement is not just sound tax policy but will also provide direct benefits to maintaining our competitive edge against China and supporting our manufacturing workforce,” company executives wrote in the June 30 letter addressed to House and Senate leaders. 

The letter specifically asks that such a change be included in legislation that aims to enhance U.S. technological competitiveness. Currently sitting in conference committee as a group of bipartisan members work to reach consensus, that bill has been inching its way through Congress over the last year. 

Included in the legislation is financial backing for chips research programs that have gone unfunded since their creation under the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. With the microelectronics supply chain centralized in the Asia-Pacific region, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said last month that passing the measure and bringing production onshore is "the most important thing that can be done right now" to address semiconductor supply issues.

As part of a series of nonbinding instructions to the conference committee that senators approved in early May, Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN) proposed directing the panel to push for “immediate expensing” of R&D investments. Young had previously been named as a member of the committee. 

Last week’s letter referenced the “overwhelmingly strong” 90-5 vote backing that motion, with executives noting the “bipartisan and bicameral support for restoring the ability to immediately expense R&D costs in the Bipartisan Innovation Act.” 

“American companies have always played a leading role in advancing the technology we need to maintain our competitive edge, notably in the defense sector,” the letter adds. “Similarly, we must use every tool at our disposal to emphasize and encourage research and development like China does.”

The Senate first passed its version of the competitiveness bill in June 2021, and the House approved its own the following February. Senators then signed off on the House’s version in March, clearing the measure’s path to conference for negotiations. 

The portion of the House’s version of the legislation relating to microelectronics, known as the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Fund, includes $52 billion in spending for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office cost estimate. Reuters reported last month that Democratic leaders in the Senate and House indicated they could see the semiconductor language making its way through Congress in July.

Beyond AIA, L3Harris, Northrop and Raytheon, the following companies signed onto the letter: Aero-Mark; Click Bond; Kratos; Mercury Systems; Verify; Huntington Ingalls Industries; Andrews Tool Co.; General Dynamics; Norsk Titanium; Sierra Nevada Corp.; IgniteLI, the Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island; Spirit AeroSystems; BAE Systems; GSE Dynamics; Leidos; and Textron. 

By Michael Marrow
July 5, 2022 at 9:30 AM

Airbus U.S. Space & Defense will deliver 42 satellite platforms to Northrop Grumman for the Space Development Agency's Tranche 1 Transport Layer project, the two companies announced today.

SDA awarded a $692 million contract to Northrop Grumman in February as one of three contractors to build out architecture for the agency’s planned mesh constellation of variously sized, low-earth orbit satellites. 

Lockheed Martin and York Space systems were also separately tapped by SDA to manufacture 42 satellites each for a total constellation of 126 that would support the National Defense Space Architecture and serve as the backbone for the Joint All Domain Command and Control initiative. 

Northrop Grumman previously announced it successfully tested a laser communication system for its Tranche 1 satellites, a ground-based demonstration that replicated how terminals will communicate in space. The company selected Mynaric and Innoflight as suppliers for the laser communication and encryption capabilities.

“We are pleased to have Airbus U.S. as one of our key commercial suppliers for this significant national security mission,” Blake Bullock, Northrop Grumman vice president for communication systems and strategic space systems wrote in a statement. “Airbus U.S. brings best-in-class satellite design for manufacturing and scalability, providing a perfect complement to our end-to-end satellite system integration and heritage communication mission expertise.”

The Airbus satellites will be assembled at the company’s Merritt Island, FL joint production line with OneWeb, according to Airbus’ release.  

The Tranche 1 project will follow the agency’s planned Tranche 0 launches, which will establish an initial capacity of 20 space vehicles. The first Tranche 0 launch is scheduled for this fall. 

The task of integrating the complex satellite architecture into a unified environment will be left to General Dynamics, which secured a $324.5 million operations and integration contract from SDA in May.

By Tony Bertuca
July 5, 2022 at 5:05 AM

Few events are scheduled for the week ahead in Washington.

Monday

Independence Day.

Thursday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

By Tony Bertuca
July 1, 2022 at 3:03 PM

The Defense Department has announced a new $820 million military aid package for Ukraine to defend itself against an ongoing Russian invasion, including two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems from Norway and additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems that have already been sent from the United States.

The package is composed of $770 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which allows DOD to award money directly to contractors to provide weapons for Ukraine, and $50 million in presidential “drawdown authority,” which allows for the transfer of weapons from U.S. stocks.

Along with the two NASAMS designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for the Norwegian Air Force, the USAI funds will also cover up to 150,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, and four additional counter-artillery radars. 

A senior defense official told reporters the NASAMS is used to protect the airspace above Washington D.C.

“This system, co-produced by Norway and the U.S., is a NATO system, so for us it’s important to start to help the Ukrainians transition their air defense systems from what is a now a Soviet-type system, to introduce some of this modern technology,” the official said.

The Pentagon said it wanted to recognize “Norway’s cooperation to enable the historic provision by the United States of modern air defense systems that will help Ukraine defend against Russia’s brutal air attacks.”

“Unlike Presidential Drawdown, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry rather than delivering equipment that is drawn down from DOD stocks,” DOD said. “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine's Armed Forces.”

The drawdown, which is the 14th such transfer from U.S. stocks since August 2021, includes funds to pay for additional HIMARS ammunition.

Meanwhile, DOD said the United States has now committed approximately $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including approximately $6.9 billion since the beginning of the ongoing Russian invasion.

“The United States continues to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its evolving battlefield requirements,” DOD said.

By John Liang
July 1, 2022 at 1:11 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy fuel facilities, the Government Accountability Office's latest report on missile defense, Army future reconnaissance helicopters and more.

We start off with the latest on the status of the Navy fuel facility in Hawaii that suffered a pair of major leakages in recent years:

Aquilino: Navy will still meet operational requirements after Red Hill defueling

The Navy will use existing facilities, potential new facilities and afloat capabilities to store fuel after the service defuels the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility in Hawaii, which was permanently closed due to a petroleum leak.

More coverage of the Government Accountability Office's latest report on missile defense:

MDA extends streak of 'fundamental disconnect' between annual test planning and execution

The Missile Defense Agency's testing program barely conducted half of its planned flight, ground and cybersecurity tests in 2021 -- extending a long-running pattern of under-executing assessments necessary to demonstrate new capabilities U.S. commanders depend on to protect the U.S. public, allies and armed forces from advanced missile threats.

MDA missed mark for advanced Aegis interceptor deliveries, including No. 1 unfunded priority

The Missile Defense Agency failed to deliver one-third of the most advanced guided missiles the Navy requires to defend ships and allies from ballistic missiles around the world, with particular difficulty producing the newest and most powerful Aegis interceptor -- the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA -- slated for Japan, U.S. destroyers and land sites to defend against Iranian threats.

Despite possible budget restrictions, Army and industry officials still think the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft program has a future with the service:

Army, industry continue to express confidence in FARA, but some are skeptical

Company leaders and Army officials continue to express confidence in the service's next-generation forward reconnaissance helicopter, even as analysts and experts cast doubt on the program's future, citing potential budget constraints and other capabilities that could fulfill the aircraft's roles.

The Navy is learning that climate change will have an increasing role to play in its activities in the Indo-Pacific region:

Navy simulates Pacific typhoon in climate war game

The Navy conducted a tabletop exercise in a fictionalized area of the Western Pacific to simulate the impact of climate change on its operations.

Last but by no means least, the latest defense cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD plans to finalize rulemaking in December allowing officials to assess compliance with NIST standard

The Pentagon is planning to issue a final rule in December establishing a regime for Defense Department acquisition officials to conduct assessments of a contractor's compliance with NIST Special Publication 800-171.

By Evan Ochsner
July 1, 2022 at 12:23 PM

The Korea Rotational Force will become a Stryker brigade combat team, transitioning from an armored brigade combat team starting this fall, the Army announced Thursday.

SBCTs, using the Stryker ground vehicle, offer speed and mobility and have more than 4,400 soldiers, the Army said. 

The Army will maintain its existing ABCT equipment on the Korean peninsula, including M-1 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, according to the announcement. 

The Army last year announced that the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, from Ft. Bliss, TX, would replace that division’s 3rd ABCT in South Korea, in the second quarter of fiscal year 2022.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 1, 2022 at 11:38 AM

BAE Systems has won a $299 million contract modification to continue upgrading the Army's self-propelled howitzers, according to a June 30 Pentagon announcement.

This order includes the production and delivery of 40 vehicle sets for the M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management 155 mm howitzer, a BAE spokeswoman told Inside Defense. Each howitzer is delivered in a set with one M992A3 ammunition supply vehicle.

BAE will build the vehicles through December 2024 under this contract modification, according to the Pentagon announcement. Army procurement funding from fiscal years 2020 and 2021 will fund the upgrades, which bring mobility improvements to existing howitzers.

M109 upgrades would receive $493 million under the Army’s FY-23 budget request, a cut from the $663 million Congress appropriated for FY-22. But the House and Senate Armed Services committees have proposed authorizing funding above the budget request.

Two other ground vehicle contracts were announced June 30, as the third quarter of the fiscal year drew to a close.

A $217 million contract modification for Oshkosh Defense will support fielding of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, according to the contract announcement. Funding will come from a variety of accounts across the Army, Army Reserve, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, along with sales to Brazil, Lithuania and Montenegro.

This order includes 513 JLTVs and 1,152 trailers, according to an Oshkosh press release.

Oshkosh is expected to place a bid next month to continue producing the JLTV for another five to 10 years. The re-compete for the vehicle, which will partially replace the humvee in the U.S. military, was delayed earlier this year, and a winner will be announced in late December.

Bukkehave, a company based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will sell the Army “Toyota Land Cruiser truck variants and common spare parts,” under a $92 million contract that runs through June 29, 2027, according to the announcement. According to its website, Bukkehave specializes in selling trucks and heavy commercial vehicles to governments and extractive industries in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

By Evan Ochsner
June 30, 2022 at 3:13 PM

The Army's Aviation Center of Excellence will host industry days at Ft. Rucker, AL in early August to provide information about current priorities and allow industry showcase capabilities, according to a June 30 announcement.

The event will take place Aug. 2-4 and include information about readiness and modernization priorities, including the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, among others.

An Aug. 2 session about Army Aviation in support of large-scale combat operations requires a security clearance to attend. Sessions on Aug. 3 and 4 do not require security clearances, according to the announcement.

Registration for the event is now open.

By Shelley K. Mesch
June 30, 2022 at 2:44 PM

The Air Force's Rapid Sustainment Office is seeking industry feedback for advanced manufacturing to reduce sustainment and operational costs along with improving mission readiness.

RSO’s Advanced Manufacturing Program Office, which posted the request online today, is sourcing market research, asking companies to describe their work with advanced manufacturing and what their core technical capabilities are.

The AMPO wants to know how these companies work with systems such as additive manufacturing, directed-energy deposition, cold spray, reverse engineering and inspection technologies.

It’s asking companies to describe their processes for development and operation and how they approach acquiring new capabilities. Companies should also describe their abilities to develop or maintain applications relating to Platform as a Service and Agile methodologies.

Responses should be submitted by July 29.

By John Liang
June 30, 2022 at 2:21 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Aegis interceptors, Air Force aircraft upgrades, the Army's European posture and more.

The Government Accountability Office found new issues with Aegis interceptor deliveries:

MDA missed mark for advanced Aegis interceptor deliveries, including No. 1 unfunded priority

The Missile Defense Agency failed to deliver one-third of the most advanced guided missiles the Navy requires to defend ships and allies from ballistic missiles around the world, with particular difficulty producing the newest and most powerful Aegis interceptor -- the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA -- slated for Japan, U.S. destroyers and land sites to defend against Iranian threats.

The Air Force recently issued a request for information seeking industry input on certain aircraft upgrades:

Air Force seeks KC-46A, KC-135 upgrades

The Air Force is looking to enhance its current tanker fleet with a suite of upgrades for the KC-46A Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker, according to a request for information recently posted by the service.

Many of the stepped-up rotations to Europe the U.S. Army has implemented during the war in Ukraine will continue:

Army expanding European posture, not adding permanent BCTs

The Army will station more support elements in Europe but will not increase the number of brigade combat teams permanently based there, the Defense Department announced this week.

Some more cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon considers creating cyber framework for industrial base partners modeled on CSF guidance from NIST

Pentagon cyber chief David McKeown says there are ongoing discussions to create a "cyber secure framework" for the defense industrial base that will go beyond the CMMC program and be based on the NIST cybersecurity framework.

DOD memo directs AQ officials to ensure contractor compliance with cyber standard

The Pentagon's acquisition office has issued a memorandum reminding acquisition officials of the Defense Department's current standard for the handling of controlled unclassified information and potential remedies for non-compliance.

Document: DOD memo on handling CUI

By approaching AI development through a new lens, said Margaret Palmieri, the deputy chief digital and AI officer, the Defense Department then "opens up the potential to innovate across the whole problem space":

DOD seeks to leverage existing AI tech, explore new ways to boost development

Top officials within the Pentagon's newly stood up artificial intelligence outfit want to see the capability discussed not just as a technology but as a "solution to a mission problem" -- a framing they hope would allow experts to be part of early development talks and ensure late-stage requests to "sprinkle some AI on" a given program are minimized.

The Marine Corps has released "Doctrinal Publication 8, Information," to elevate information as a warfighting function:

Marine Corps releases new doctrine making information a warfighting function

As information warfare takes shape on the battlespace, the Marine Corps has released a framework, informed by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, to elevate information as a warfighting function.

Document: Marine Corps' information doctrine document

By Tony Bertuca
June 30, 2022 at 12:47 PM

The House Rules Committee has given lawmakers until July 5 to file amendments to the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill, scheduled to be debated when Congress returns from recess the week of July 11.

At this time, approximately 35 amendments have been filed for consideration by the committee, but dozens more are expected, and many are often submitted late.

The current version of the bill, which ended up being $37 billion larger than what President Biden has requested, was advanced by the House Armed Services Committee on June 23 by a vote of 57-1.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, has also passed its version of the bill, which is $45 billion larger than what Biden has requested, though committee leaders have not yet sent the full measure to the floor for consideration.

The toplines for both bills, however, are at odds with one passed by the House Appropriations Committee, which is aligned with Biden’s requested defense topline of $813 billion.

By Audrey Decker
June 30, 2022 at 11:52 AM

The Navy will award a contract in the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 as part of an effort to protect aircraft carriers and amphibious vessels from anti-ship cruise missiles.

The contract would provide Ship Self Defense System Combat System Ship Integration and Test for Nimitz and Ford-class aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious ships, according to a June 13 updated notice.

This would support the integration, testing and sustainment of combat systems and command, control, communications, computers, combat systems and intelligence equipment installations on new construction and in-service carriers and amphibious ships, the Navy states.

The service canceled an $800 million research and development program for a surface ship torpedo defense program in FY-20.

The SSDS program received a total of $159.4 million for R&D funding in the Navy’s FY-23 budget request, according to budget documents.