The Insider

By John Liang
January 30, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Industry organizations around the Washington area are scheduled to host several national security discussions this week, while the Defense Innovation and Business boards are set to meet as well.


The American Society of Naval Engineers holds its Technology, Systems & Ships and Combat Systems Symposium through Thursday.


Oshkosh Corp. holds its quarterly earnings call.

The Defense Innovation Board holds a session through Wednesday.


The Defense Business Board holds a session through Thursday.


The RAND Corp.'s Project Air Force will host a virtual event exploring the potential security, strategic and geopolitical implications of climate change.

By John Liang
January 27, 2023 at 2:11 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman's quarterly earnings calls plus the status of the Army's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead, the Air Force's F-15EX lot 1 contract and a secret SM-3 Block IIA interceptor test launch.

L3Harris Technologies executives talked about the company's quarterly earnings this morning:

L3Harris CEO says hypersonics could be 'crown jewel' of Aerojet Rocketdyne acquisition

L3Harris Technologies' proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne is a way to branch into the missiles market, L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said Friday, adding that hypersonic missile technology could be the "crown jewel" of the acquisition, L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik said Friday.

We have a status update on the Army's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead:

Preliminary design review for GMLRS' Enhanced Alternative Warhead scheduled for current fiscal year

A preliminary design review for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System's Enhanced Alternative Warhead (EAW) is scheduled for fiscal year 2023, and operational testing for the full system is to take place in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, according to Army officials.

. . . along with a scoop on the Air Force's F-15EX lot 1 contract:

Air Force, Boeing definitize F-15EX lot 1 contract

The Air Force and Boeing have definitized the F-15EX lot 1 contract, setting the flyaway price of six remaining fighters in the lot at $80.5 million each, Inside Defense has learned.

The Missile Defense Agency secretly launched a Standard Missile Block IIA interceptor last year:

MDA acknowledges clandestine SM-3 Block IIA experiment of classified capability

The Missile Defense Agency executed a covert launch of the nation's most advanced Aegis guided missile interceptor over the Pacific Ocean, keeping under wraps until now an experiment -- which one senior Pentagon official also called a developmental test -- of a highly classified potential new capability for the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA.

Northrop Grumman executives also talked about their company's earnings this week:

Northrop Grumman shares B-21 roadmap during year-end earnings call

Northrop Grumman remains on track for a flight test of the Air Force's B-21 Raider later this year and is anticipating a low-rate initial production purchase of five of the bombers, executives said during the company's year-end earnings call Thursday.

By Audrey Decker
January 27, 2023 at 10:40 AM

Next week, the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Board and Defense Business Board will convene for their first meetings of 2023.

In partially closed sessions, DIB will meet on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and DBB will meet on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, according to notices posted in the Federal Register. Historically, both groups have met on a quarterly basis.

The current DIB panel, which met for the first time last October, is a fraction of the size when compared to the 20 representatives it had at its start in 2016. Now the board has seven members, not including Chairman Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and one-time presidential candidate.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed DIB to tackle two main objectives: assess the Pentagon’s ties to investment capital and help shape the military’s science and technology strategy.

The innovation board will discuss and listen to classified briefs on S&T threats posed by adversaries and innovation “pain points” for the Pentagon.

The mission of the DOD’s business board is to advise the defense secretary on overall management and governance, and DBB will be briefed on topics such as how the department is avoiding the acquisition “valley of death” and challenges impacting DOD supply chains.

“[DBB] provides independent, strategic-level, private-sector and academic advice and counsel on enterprise-wide business management approaches and best practices for business operations and achieving National Defense goals,” the notice states.

By Dan Schere
January 27, 2023 at 9:30 AM

The Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation conducted a test this week at Ft. Irwin, CA that simulated various direct-fire scenarios involving small arms, officials said during a media briefing Thursday.

The PEO STRI’s Agile Acquisition Response, or STAAR, team has recently been conducting a series of soldier touchpoints for scenarios including direct and indirect fires, counter defilade target engagement, thrown grenades, placed munitions, guided missiles and attack drones.

STAAR was created in 2021 as a way to bring subject-matter expects together in order to field new technologies two and a half years earlier than expected, Tim Bishop, the deputy program executive officer for STRI said Thursday.

Currently, the office can support 60% of engagement on the battlefield in a direct-fire capacity, Bishop said.

“What we were challenged by the chief of staff of the Army to do was to get after filling the void of that 40%,” he said.

Curtis Leslie, the director of the STAAR team, said Thursday the Army is currently conducting a series of six soldier touchpoints that will help address current training capability gaps for new weapon systems that are to be introduced.

The test conducted Wednesday involved soldiers shooting at various targets from different distances to determine the accuracy of transmitters, Leslie said. The prototype system that was tested, he said, received positive feedback from soldiers during an after-action review.

“They really liked the fact that we developed some capabilities that are much lighter and smaller and compact,” he said. “So the goal here is to provide them with systems that don’t weigh them down, that increases probability of safety and lowers risk across the board, and allows them to maneuver more effectively as if they were in a real fight.”

By John Liang
January 26, 2023 at 1:55 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a Pentagon directive on autonomy in weapon systems, Army multiyear contracts and more.

An updated Pentagon directive "establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for developing and using autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including armed platforms that are remotely operated or operated by onboard personnel":

Pentagon releases long-awaited refresh to policy for autonomy in weapon systems

The Defense Department has released its updated autonomous weapon systems policy, accounting for the "dramatic, expanded" vision for artificial intelligence in the future of the U.S. military and clarifying the previous iteration of the document.

Document: DOD directive on autonomy in weapon systems

The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act gave the Defense Department permission to use multiyear contracts for munitions such as Stingers, Javelins, Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors and 155mm Excalibur rounds, among others:

Army contracts lasting multiple years will be part of ramped-up production efforts for Ukraine

As part of the Army's efforts to ramp up production of weapons and equipment in Ukraine, the service will utilize contracts that last multiple years, approval for which came in this year's defense authorization legislation, according to the Army's top acquisition official.

Boeing and General Dynamics discussed their quarterly earnings this week:

Boeing starts to stanch bleeding in defense sector; records fresh losses in Q4

A rebound in commercial jet deliveries boosted Boeing’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2022 but lingering supply chain woes and a struggling defense business unit led the company to record a net loss of $663 million.

GD reports strong growth but continued challenges in submarine production

General Dynamics executives recorded a "good year in a difficult environment," with record growth in the company's Marine Systems sector, but said labor and supply chain problems remain a significant challenge for submarine production.

In case you missed it, the United States has reversed its policy and will now send main battle tanks to Ukraine:

U.S. sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Following Germany's decision to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Biden administration has announced it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to aid the fight against Russia.

By Nick Wilson
January 26, 2023 at 1:02 PM

The Marine Corps reactivated a base on the island of Guam Thursday in an effort to establish an increased forward presence in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen ties with Japan and other allies in the region.

Known as Camp Blaz, the base is located on Guam’s northern plateau where it will serve as a “strategic hub as the Department of Defense realizes the vision of the 2022 National Defense Strategy,” according to a service announcement.

The location was selected during the 2012 Bilateral Agreement between the U.S. and Japan under the Defense Policy Review Initiative which established a framework for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, the release states.

According to a Friday statement from Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh, the Defense Policy Review Initiative Realignment Plan includes the relocation of 9,000 Marines from Okinawa beginning in 2024.

“No new units will be added to Okinawa under the agreement. 12th Marine Regiment, an existing unit on Okinawa, will undergo a transition to 12th Marine Littoral Regiment, in accordance with Marine Corps modernization efforts,” Singh stated.

“To maintain the number at the agreed upon troop levels, units identified to remain in Okinawa per the previous agreement will be strategically dispersed throughout the Indo-Pacific Theater, with Guam to serve as an important logistics hub in the future,” she continued.

Approximately 5,000 Marines will eventually be housed at Camp Blaz. They will begin relocating from Okinawa to Guam in the first half of the 2020s, according to Singh.

Camp Blaz is the first newly constructed Marine Corps base in almost 70 years. This construction is partially funded by the government of Japan, which will contribute $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2012 dollars to the effort.

The base is intended to act as a strategic outpost to promote collective defense in the region, and as a training ground for U.S. and allied forces.

“Forward, persistent presence is key to the regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz is a critical part of that. More than that, it shows our undivided relationship with the Government of Japan,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said in a statement included in the service’s release.

The Marine Corps first established a Guam presence in 1899 with Marine Barracks Guam. The base was reactivated in 1946 after World War II, and operated until it was deactivated again in 1992, according to the release.

“The realignment of Japan-based Marine Corps forces is the result of nearly 20 years of bilateral policy negotiation reflected in eight international agreements and arrangements. The realignment aims to secure a Marine Corps posture in the Indo-Pacific region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,” Singh’s statement added.

“The current program of record (POR) develops Guam as a strategic hub in the region and eases the impact of hosting Marine Corps units on the Okinawan people. The initiative also includes the relocation of Marines to Australia, Hawaii, and the continental United States,” she continued.

By Audrey Decker
January 26, 2023 at 11:29 AM

As industry invests in various cloud solutions to support the U.S. military, Microsoft announced yesterday that its Office 365 applications are available in the secret domain.

Microsoft, which is one of the four vendors that received a contract for the Defense Department’s up-to-$9-billion multicloud environment, Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, already has secret and top-secret classification for its Azure Government cloud solution.

Cloud service offerings from all four JWCC vendors have won DOD provisional authorization for data categorized as the Impact Level 5 security requirement, which protects data for controlled unclassified information, national security systems and more. A subset has clearance for the top classification level, IL6, which is reserved for information up to the secret level.

Office 365 Government Secret is the only cloud-based set of productivity and collaboration tools to have achieved IL6, Microsoft said, which allows “national security mission leaders to, for the first time, leverage a full cloud experience to not only collect, process and operationalize data, but to enable cloud-based collaboration and communication in the classified environment as well.”

This release of Office 365 Secret capabilities includes Exchange, Outlook and Microsoft 365 apps.

By Michael Marrow
January 26, 2023 at 11:05 AM

Ahead of a planned transfer of civil space traffic management services from U.S. Space Command to the Commerce Department, officials are asking industry for further feedback to help define the scope of space situational awareness (SSA) services, according to a request for information posted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today.

The Office of Space Commerce (OSC) plans to offer basic space situational awareness services free of charge through a new space traffic system but is still struggling to delineate between basic and more advanced services that would be excluded. The RFI asks the space community -- such as industry, academia and legal experts -- for input on how to define the scope for that space safety system, called the Traffic Management System for Space (TraCSS).

“Basic SSA safety services can include additional services that significantly increase the safety, stability and sustainability of the space environment. However, OSC will also consider whether the provision of such services will negatively impact the U.S. SSA industry,” the RFI says.

“The precise demarcation between these basic SSA safety services and other advanced services is driven by present SSA needs and market dynamics,” it continues. “Given the rapid acceleration of technological advances, OSC is committed to continue to observe changes in the marketplace and its underlying technologies, and consider how these developments, along with SSA service needs, might shift the demarcation between basic and advanced services as time goes on.”

The RFI then lists 14 services that are under consideration for inclusion in TraCSS, ranging from access to a database of satellite attributes to warnings about space weather. Nine other identified services would be excluded, such as optimized recommendations for satellite maneuvers.

The RFI says responses are due Feb. 27 and was first reported by Breaking Defense.

Mandated by a 2018 presidential decree known as Space Policy Directive 3, the transition comes as the number of commercial and military orbital hardware is expected to skyrocket, with the directive instructing Commerce to adopt civil space duties and DOD to retain focus on military systems.

The two departments have since struck a memorandum of agreement laying out a transition framework, which created two working groups that are respectively working to clarify responsibilities and craft a data sharing agreement. OSC Director Richard DalBello previously said that work is expected to conclude this spring.

By John Liang
January 25, 2023 at 4:14 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) has announced the Republicans that will sit on the panel as well as those who will chair subcommittees.

"Our committee has the crucial task of improving our national defense at a time when our nation is faced with unprecedented threats from our adversaries -- including an increasingly aggressive China," Rogers said in a statement. "Our members bring valuable insights and knowledge to the critical decisions made by our committee."

The subcommittee chairmen will be:

  • Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) -- committee vice chairman and tactical air and land forces subcommittee chairman
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) -- strategic forces
  • Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) -- seapower and projection forces
  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) -- cyber, innovative technologies and information systems
  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) -- military personnel
  • Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) -- intelligence and special operations
  • Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) -- readiness

The new Republicans on the committee include:

  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)
  • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)
  • Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN)
  • Rep. Dale Strong (R-AL)
  • Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX)
  • Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-VA)
  • Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY)
  • Del. James Moylan (R-Guam)
  • Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO)
  • Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL)
  • Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA)

Rogers also said he intends "to create a special panel to oversee servicemember quality of life which will be led by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE). We are committed to supporting our servicemembers and their families."

By John Liang
January 25, 2023 at 2:29 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on U.S. Abrams tanks being shipped to Ukraine, Lockheed Martin's quarterly earnings and more.

The U.S. government's decision to send tanks to Ukraine marks a sharp change in attitude, as just last week the Pentagon said it didn't want to send Ukraine a system the Ukrainians can't repair or sustain:

U.S. sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Following Germany's decision to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Biden administration has announced it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to aid the fight against Russia.

Lockheed Martin held its quarterly earnings call this week:

Lockheed Martin touts strong finish to 2022 in earnings call

Lockheed Martin executives touted a strong fourth quarter during a year-end earnings call Tuesday, claiming each of the company's business areas met or exceeded expectations set for 2022.

. . . as did Textron:

Textron executives confident in profitability of FLRAA despite looming protest

In spite of a recent bid protest, Textron executives said during a fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday that they believe the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft contract award will be a "terrific boon for the business" over the next few years.

The Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit released its annual report today:

Pentagon's Silicon Valley outreach team highlights increased transitions in FY-22

More than doubling the number of transitioned programs from last year, the Defense Innovation Unit touts its success in switching commercial, emerging technology prototypes to full production deals for the Defense Department in a new report.

Document: DIU's annual report

The Government Accountability Office released a new report on the Navy's Columbia-class submarine program this week:

Navy to improve Columbia schedule monitoring as auditors warn of potential delays

The Navy will take steps to improve its schedule risk oversight of the Columbia-class submarine program and the resulting risks to the nuclear shipbuilding enterprise, in line with advice from government auditors who warn that no risk analysis has been performed on the lead submarine's construction schedule.

Document: GAO report on the Columbia-class submarine program

The Pentagon's top weapons tester disclosed an unreported test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system last year:

MDA conducted non-intercept GMD test in 2022 to assess addition of new capabilities

The Missile Defense Agency last year conducted a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, not previously reported, that was designed to assess capabilities to defend against threats to the United States from a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile.

Document: DOT&E's 2022 annual report

By Nick Wilson
January 24, 2023 at 1:19 PM

The Navy League of the United States is encouraging increased investment in shipbuilding, marking the procurement of Columbia-class submarines and Light Amphibious Warships top priorities for the Navy and Marine Corps.

The maritime security-focused non-profit held an event on Tuesday discussing its annual Maritime Policy Statement for 2023-2024, which provides recommendations to the Navy and Marine Corps as well as the U.S. Merchant Marine and Coast Guard.

Speaking at the event, retired Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris outlined the report’s top recommendations for the Navy as fielding the next generation of ballistic missile submarines to replace the ageing Ohio class, followed by maintaining fleet readiness and lethality and increasing the Navy’s budget to fund an “aggressive shipbuilding plan.”

For the Marine Corps, the document recommends prioritizing the fielding of Light Amphibious Warships (LAWs), long-range precision fires including Tomahawk and Ground-Based Anti-Ship Missiles (GBASM), and developing resilient command, control, communications and computers (C4) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

The report supports the Navy’s force readiness goals and Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 initiative, and acknowledges the growing threat posed by China and challenges including climate change, labor shortages and delivery and maintenance delays.

Panelists at the event also discussed the importance of providing a “stable budget” to communicate enduring demand for ships and weaponry to industry.

By John Liang
January 24, 2023 at 12:45 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from Raytheon Technologies' quarterly earnings call, a new Space Force "watch list" for wayward contractors and more.

We start off with news from today's Raytheon Technologies earnings call:

Raytheon announces realignment of business units

Raytheon Technologies announced in an earnings call this morning that it is reorganizing its business units -- promising to relieve "friction" in the company.

The head of Space Force acquisition spoke this morning at the 2023 Defense and Intelligence Space Conference:

Calvelli calls for stepped-up use of contractor watch list

CHANTILLY, VA -- In a warning to industry, Space Force acquisition chief Frank Calvelli said today that he would resurrect a years-old contractor watch list to drive discipline in acquisitions and name companies that are performing poorly.

On Jan. 13, Lockheed Martin "achieved first light" from the Directed Energy Interceptor for Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense System, an event designed to measure the laser's optical performance against the system design parameters:

Lockheed advances project to proffer 50-kilowatt laser alternative for M-SHORAD

Lockheed Martin has activated a 50-kilowatt high-energy laser designed for ground forces air defense, a key developmental milestone in the company's prototype design of a directed energy weapon for the Army's Stryker vehicle and an important step toward giving the government a viable alternative for a planned competition against incumbent Raytheon.

More news from the latest annual operational test and evaluation report:

Pentagon tester calls MPF progress 'satisfactory,' cites 'vulnerabilities'

The Pentagon’s top weapons tester has recommended fixes to the Army's Mobile Protected Firepower system -- including mitigating toxic fumes inside the light tank -- which is making "satisfactory" progress toward operational effectiveness.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity interviewed a top Pentagon cyber official last week:

Bostjanick: CMMC program moves forward as 'deliberative' process for rulemaking continues

Companies should continue preparing for the launch of the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program as the process to finalize rulemaking continues, according to program director Stacy Bostjanick, who spoke with Inside Cybersecurity in a wide-ranging interview.

By John Liang
January 24, 2023 at 9:28 AM

Mercury Systems announced this week it has hired Vivek Upadhyaya to be the company's vice president of finance.

Upadhyaya will "lead the corporate finance team and be responsible for forecasting and analysis as well as internal management reporting," according to a company statement.

Upadhyaya was most recently chief financial officer, treasurer and chief information officer of Leonardo Electronics U.S., a subsidiary of Leonardo. Before that, he was CFO and interim president and CEO of IAI North America, the U.S. subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

From 2012 to 2019, Upadhyaya was vice president of financial planning at Orbital ATK, which was acquired by Northrop Grumman during that time. He has also held finance roles with Honeywell International, Medtronic and Amgen, according to Mercury.

By Nick Wilson
January 23, 2023 at 3:37 PM

The Navy will hold an industry day next month to explore the use of unmanned aircraft systems that are contractor owned and operated for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

According to a notice released Monday, the Navy wants to expand industry partnerships, using Contractor Owned Contractor Operated (COCO) services for present and future UAS combat and contingency missions.

The Navy plans to release a request for information following the virtual industry day, which will take place on Feb. 23.

The Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office will use the industry day to “present plans for current or future procurements to representatives from industry seeking to provide COCO ISR services in support of DOD, [Other Government Agencies] and combat and contingency operational requirements,” the release states.

“This Special Notice is related to support activities for land-based and ship-based operations to provide reliable delivery of sensor data,” the announcement continues, adding that prospective contractors would be responsible for all inputs needed to produce around-the-clock ISR data, including personnel, non-developmental UAS equipment, operations, maintenance and spares.

A list of current UAS ISR performance requirements includes National Defense Authorization Act compliance, an operational range of up to 75 nautical miles with a single air vehicle and full-motion video and electronic warfare sensors.

By Ben Dupont
January 23, 2023 at 2:36 PM

The Pentagon's top business management advisory group will meet early next month with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to discuss several defense and national security strategies.

According to a Jan. 20 Federal Register notice, the Defense Business Board meeting, taking place on Feb. 1, will include briefings from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley who will discuss "Current Events in National Security" and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth will talk about "Key Challenges to Recruiting, Retention and Readiness."

The meeting will also include sections on "What the Department is doing to Speed the Transition of Cutting-edge Technology to the Battlefield" and "Building the Fleet of the Future Despite the Industrial Challenges."

In addition to the Feb. 1 proceedings, which are classified, "The Board will begin in open session on Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 12:35 p.m."