The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
May 24, 2023 at 1:00 PM

The Defense Department is investing $10 million to bolster the production line of Six Sigma Services, a California-based microelectronics component specialist company.

The funding, provided via Defense Production Act Title III authorities, will be used to increase Six Sigma’s production capacity for both its “copper solder column manufacturing and column attach processes to enable the production of high-reliability Column Grid Array components (such as Field Programmable Gate Arrays and Application Specific Integrated Circuits) for military and aerospace applications,” DOD said.

The project is scheduled to run for 51 months and will be performed at Six Sigma’s facility in Milpitas, CA.

"This investment ensures critical DOD military and space programs operating in extreme thermal and vibration environments are available to meet the needs of American strategic interests," said Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

The department noted the action is being taken in alignment with President Biden’s February 2021 executive order to strengthen U.S. supply chains for microelectronics manufacturing capability, much of which currently resides in Asia and is prone to potential disruption by China.

By Dan Schere
May 24, 2023 at 11:27 AM

Former congresswoman and retired Navy Cmdr. Elaine Luria has been appointed to BAE Systems' board of directors, the company announced on Wednesday.

Luria, a two-term Democratic representative from Virginia, had served as vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security committees. In her quest for re-election, she was defeated by Republican challenger Jen Kiggans in last November’s midterm elections.

Luria spent 20 years on active duty in the Navy, which included serving as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, according to a press release from BAE. It included six deployments to the Middle East and Western Pacific.

Kelly Ayotte, chair of BAE’s board and a former Republican U.S. senator from New Hampshire, said in a statement Wednesday that Luria’s “knowledge of national security and our industry is rooted in decades of experience serving on active duty in the U.S. Navy, as well as her time serving in Congress.”

“We are fortunate to have her leadership to help position our company for the future,” Ayotte said.

By Tony Bertuca
May 24, 2023 at 11:15 AM

The Defense Department today announced more than $140 million in contracts for the latest batch of "Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies" programs, or APFIT, ranging from new unmanned capabilities to training simulators to commercial weather satellites.

The purpose of the pilot APFIT program, which Congress established in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, is to “expeditiously transition technologies from development into production, and to accelerate the fielding of those technologies to the warfighter,” according to DOD.

"I am thrilled to see the increased support from Congress for the APFIT program," said Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu. "This flexible funding is helping to transform the way the department quickly pivots to procure and field warfighting capability across the military services and defense agencies.”

DOD said APFIT funding is helping to deliver capabilities one to two years earlier than scheduled.

Shyu said the program will be key to helping small companies bridge the “valley of death” between development and production.

"The companies being funded will fill crucial capability gaps,” she said. “Without APFIT funding, these capabilities could take years longer to field.”

APFIT awards must be between $10 million and $50 million. The new awards include:

  • Commercial Satellite Communications Terminals, U.S. Marine Corps, $15 million, Bascom Hunter Technologies, Louisiana
  • Establishes a fully automated production line and initial procurement of transportable satellite terminals to provide assured Naval capability to leverage the latest Low Earth Orbit and Mid Earth Orbit satellite communication constellations
  • Common Air-Launched Munitions Radio, U.S. Air Force, $10 million, Integrated Solutions for Systems, Inc., Alabama
  • Initial low-rate procurement of software defined munitions radios and Technical Data Package to support integration of weapons data links in future Air Force weapons
  • Integrated Air Defense Cameras, Defense Innovation Unit, $16.77 million, Teleidoscope, California
  • Procurement of initial upgraded electro optical/infrared cameras with enhanced capabilities to improve airspace awareness.
  • Minuteman III Code Wheel Replacement, Defense Logistics Agency, $10 million, BC Engineering Products, New Jersey
  • Procurement of new code wheels for replacement of units in the Minuteman III Missile that are more than 40 years beyond planned service life using advanced manufacturing techniques and processes to retain form, fit, and function
  • Mixed Reality Pilot Training Devices, U.S. Marine Corps, $10 million, Bowhead Professional & Technical Solutions, LLC, Virginia
  • Procurement of affordable, smaller, mixed-reality T-45C flight training simulators to augment legacy full-size flight simulators
  • Modern Commercial Weather Satellites, U.S. Space Force, $10.3 million,, Massachusetts
  • Procurement and launch of two affordable commercial weather sensing satellites to augment the existing commercially owned, managed, and sustained weather constellation to support weather data-as-a-service use by the military.
  • Multi-Platform Anti-Jam Global Positioning System Antennas, U.S. Army, $19.97 million, Mayflower Communications, Inc., Massachusetts
  • Accelerated procurement of sufficient quantities to achieve optimum price break of anti-jam antennas for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.
  • Network Enhancements for Contested Environments, U.S. Navy, $10 million, Adaptive Dynamics Inc, California and Caliola Engineering, Colorado
  • Procurement and integration of software into existing joint tactical radio systems that leverage modified software techniques for enhancing communications in contested environments
  • Tactical Passive Radar for Counter Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), U.S. Army, $10 million, Hidden Level, Inc., New York
  • Procurement of platform agnostic, day/night, modular passive radar capability for small UAS detection and tracking
  • Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Range Extension using Beyond-Line-of-Sight Communications, U.S. Navy, $10 million, Maritime Applied Physics Corp., Maryland
  • Initial low-rate procurement of USVs and supporting communication systems to enable beyond-line-of-site operations
  • Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Capable Fixed-Wing Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Small UAS, U.S. Special Operations Command, $20 million, Quantum-Systems Inc., California
  • Accelerated procurement of Fixed-Wing Small UAS with integrated VTOL capabilities
By Tony Bertuca
May 23, 2023 at 3:41 PM

Rexon Ryu, president of The Asia Group, has been named to the Defense Policy Board, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Ryu is also board chair of The Asia Group Foundation and co-host of the Tea Leaves Podcast.

“He has more than 25 years of experience working in global diplomacy, national policymaking, and executive leadership,” the Pentagon said. “Over his career, Mr. Ryu served three presidents at the highest levels, working extensively with Congress on foreign policy and national security challenges. Notably, he worked to expand strategic alliances and relationships, project influence globally, employ U.S. power against adversaries, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and plan for future challenges and opportunities in Asia and the Middle East.”

Ryu’s appointment comes ahead of a classified June 13-14 DPB meeting where members will “explore and evaluate aggressive action and territorial dispute scenarios in the Indo-Pacific, exploring long-term impacts on regional and global strategic interests and implications for U.S. alliances around the world,” according to the Pentagon.

By John Liang
May 23, 2023 at 1:57 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the military's use of artificial intelligence, a multibillion-dollar hypersonic engine contract and more.

A new Government Accountability Office report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program issued today finds the Defense Department "needs better accountability for global spare parts and reporting of losses worth millions":

GAO: F-35 JPO needs more control over spare parts management

The Defense Department doesn't oversee or account for spare parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and doesn't know the total value or quantity of spares held on non-prime contractor facilities, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

Document: GAO report on F-35 spare parts

The Navy's top uniformed officer spoke this week at the Council on Foreign Relations:

Gilday: AI needs 'more governance' for assuming risks, applying capabilities

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday cautioned Monday that more governance is needed for deploying artificial intelligence to manage risk, guide capabilities and inform decision-making.

Under a new 12-month, "eight-figure" contract, Ursa Major says it will build and test a prototype of its new 4,000-pound "Draper" engine for hypersonics and further develop its 200,000-pound thrust "Arroway" engine for space launch:

Ursa Major wins hypersonics engine prototype contract

The Air Force Research Lab has awarded Ursa Major a contract to build a prototype storable engine for hypersonic and space launch missions.

Lockheed Martin is self-funding an effort to adapt the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement as a lower-tier, hit-to-kill capability for Navy surface combatants:

Navy ships lack 'capability and capacity' to defeat complex raids; Lockheed offering PAC-3 MSE

Lockheed Martin is offering the most advanced variant of the Patriot interceptor -- the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement -- to bolster ship defense in the wake of a newly revealed lack of "capability and capacity" to defeat complex raids of hypersonic and cruise missiles.

A Government Accountability Office report issue late last week finds that the Air Force "has yet to resolve significant issues with the Advanced Pilot Trainer, including with its escape system and other components critical to achieving requirements":

Advanced Trainer Jet 10 years behind its initial plans, GAO reports

The Air Force is working toward creating a new system of modern training jets and simulators but is nearly a decade behind initial plans, according to a May 18 Government Accountability Office report.

Document: GAO report on advanced trainer jet

By Linda Hersey
May 23, 2023 at 1:46 PM

An Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) Consortium Quarterly Industry Day, scheduled for June 22 in San Diego, CA, will focus on topics to be addressed in upcoming requests for prototype projects.

The government expects to solicit six RPPs for white papers, enhanced white papers or full proposals.

Sponsored by Naval Information Warfare Systems Command and Naval Information Warfare Centers Atlantic and Pacific, the industry day will feature William Luebke, director of PEO C4I, as keynote speaker.

The members-only industry day will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis, 330 West Harbor.

Technical briefs presented and one-on-one breakout sessions will focus on the upcoming RPP topics of interest and cover the following:

  • Half-Duplexed Transmit/Receive Phased Array for low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
  • Own Force Monitoring (OFM) next generation.
  • Distributed Common Ground/Surface System – Marine Corps (DCGS-MC).
  • Discretized geospatial state space reduction.
  • Navy Enterprise Business Solution, Financial Foundation Prototype.
  • High-capacity Wireless Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Network.
By John Liang
May 22, 2023 at 2:03 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's Next Generation Air Dominance fighter aircraft, missile defense radars, the disputed headquarters of U.S. Space Command and more.

The Air Force's top civilian spoke to the media during a Defense Writers Group breakfast this morning:

Kendall: NGAD will avoid 'acquisition malpractice' of F-35

As the Next Generation Air Dominance platform moves toward the engineering and manufacturing development phase, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday the service will refine the acquisition process to avoid the "malpractice" of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

A recent Government Accountability Office report "addresses the extent to which [the Missile Defense Agency] (1) achieved its fiscal year 2022 baseline delivery goals and (2) completed its testing planned for fiscal year 2022":

GAO: DOD at risk of accepting huge, new homeland defense radar before verifying it works

The U.S. military is at risk of taking ownership of the Long Range Discrimination Radar -- a massive new sensor in the middle of Alaska intended to strengthen defenses against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile strike -- before fully validating its detection capabilities with target flight tests over the Pacific Ocean.

Document: GAO report on missile defense deliveries and testing

The Air Force's decision on where to locate U.S. Space Command's headquarters has drawn increasing congressional concern:

Rogers wants records preserved in SPACECOM HQ decision

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) wants the Pentagon to preserve all documentation concerning the selection of a location for U.S. Space Command headquarters, a controversial issue dating to the final days of the Trump administration that has now become a high-profile political battle.

Document: Rogers letter on SPACECOM HQ

A Pentagon legislative proposal submitted late last week seeks congressional permission for multiyear procurement of Virginia-class submarines:

Citing essential cost savings, DOD seeks multiyear authority for block VI Virginia submarines

The Defense Department is asking Congress to authorize the use of multiyear procurement for 10 block VI Virginia-class submarines, indicating the resulting cost savings are necessary to meeting the Navy's budget estimates.

Document: DOD's fourth to 11th FY-24 legislative proposal packages

In a recent letter to congressional appropriators, a bipartisan group of lawmakers calls for fully funding several Marine Corps weapon system programs:

Key lawmakers urge funding support for Marine Corps

A bipartisan group of 14 lawmakers who are members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees urged congressional defense appropriators this week to fully fund critical Marine Corps programs spanning the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar and a 31-minimum for amphibious vessels that include medium landing ships (LSMs).

Document: Lawmakers' letter on Marine Corps funding

By Tony Bertuca
May 22, 2023 at 9:57 AM

The Defense Department on Sunday announced a $375 million aid package for Ukraine.

The package, being funded via presidential “drawdown” authority that will directly transfer weapons from U.S. stocks includes:

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Laser-guided rocket system munitions;
  • Demolition munitions;
  • Armored bridging systems;
  • Armored medical treatment vehicles;
  • Trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment;
  • Logistics support equipment;
  • Thermal imagery systems;
  • Spare parts and other field equipment.

The action is the 38th drawdown from U.S. inventories being sent to Ukraine since August 2021.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that, due to a significant accounting error, it had overvalued $3 billion more for Ukraine than it originally projected.

By Tony Bertuca
May 22, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several public events this week.


FedScoop hosts its UiPath Together event in Washington.

The Brookings Institution hosts Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.


The Middle East Institute hosts the assistant defense secretary for strategic plans and capabilities.

The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute hosts a conversation with the chief of U.S. Space Command.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee hosts a hearing on modernizing U.S. arms exports and strengthening the AUKUS alliance between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.


Washington Technology hosts a breakfast with the deputy director of the Defense Innovation Unit.

The Army Network Technical Exchange Meeting X event is held in Philadelphia, PA.

By Linda Hersey
May 19, 2023 at 2:46 PM

The Coast Guard released its strategic plan this week for unmanned systems with goals that include working with the Navy to implement uncrewed platforms to "fulfill defense capabilities" aboard cutters.

In the Coast Guard’s “Unmanned Systems Strategic Plan,” Vice Adm. Peter Gautier, deputy commandant for operations, outlined objectives that include building and sustaining partnerships across the Defense and Homeland Security departments to “ensure interoperability and realize efficiencies” for implementing uncrewed systems and capabilities.

Efforts and initiatives are to include exchanges with the Navy and other defense partners for evaluating uncrewed systems and capabilities.

The Coast Guard said it will work with partners to “leverage parallel efforts, ensure interoperability and realize efficiencies for deployment.”

The service intends to leverage expertise through its partners for developing, certifying and transitioning uncrewed systems.

It also plans to seek opportunities to engage with DHS and other departments for acquisitions, contracting and sustainability of uncrewed systems.

By John Liang
May 19, 2023 at 2:28 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the cost of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the State Department revamping the foreign military sales process and more.

GOP lawmakers aren't exactly happy about a multibillion-dollar accounting error that has to do with U.S. military aid to Ukraine:

Senior Republicans whack DOD over 'extremely problematic' $3B accounting error

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) released a joint statement today criticizing the Defense Department for making an "extremely problematic" $3 billion accounting error related to the value of U.S. weapons transfers to Ukraine.

A new State Department foreign military sales fact sheet states that key reforms are focused on everything from strategic planning to case adjudication to administering implementation of current and future FMS cases:

State Department 'retooling' foreign military sales process to accelerate weapons deliveries

The State Department, citing "shifting global security conditions" related to Russia's war in Ukraine and U.S. competition with China in the Indo-Pacific region, has unveiled a new 10-point plan to streamline the U.S. foreign military sales process.

The Pentagon has submitted a legislative proposal to Congress dealing with innovation at NATO:

DOD wants to contribute to NATO defense innovation accelerator

The Defense Department is seeking congressional authority to contribute funds to NATO's burgeoning Defense Innovation Accelerator of the North Atlantic (DIANA), according to a new legislative proposal.

Naval Sea Systems Command is undertaking a market survey for the design and construction of amphibious ships, according to a request for information issued this week:

Navy's market survey charts course for acquiring new amphibs

The Navy is undertaking initial steps to acquire at least a half-dozen medium landing ships (LSMs) -- formerly known as Light Amphibious Warships -- through fiscal year 2028.

In 2020, the Defense Department announced $600 million in contract awards for 5G experimentation and testing at five military sites, including the development of smart warehouses at the Marine Corps’ Albany base and Naval Base San Diego, CA:

KPMG demonstrates 'smart' warehouse prototype at Marine Corps Logistics Command

Contractor KPMG completed a successful live demonstration of its 5G-enabled "smart" warehouse prototype at Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, GA, showcasing a prototype designed to improve the efficiency and speed of warehousing logistics.

The Air Force this week issued a classified solicitation to industry which formally begins the source-selection process for the service's next-generation fighter aircraft:

Air Force begins NGAD source selection

The Air Force plans to award an engineering and manufacturing development contract for its Next Generation Air Dominance platform next year, according to a Thursday news release from the service.

The Air Force is conducting market research as part of its effort to compete the Cloud One follow-on contract, Cloud One Next:

USAF issues presolicitation for Cloud One Next contract

The Air Force is seeking information for data modernization and migration into commercial cloud environments, the service said in a May 18 notice.

By John Liang
May 18, 2023 at 2:17 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on missile defense, the Air Force's B-1 bomber program, several recent Defense Department legislative proposals and more.

A new Government Accountability Office report issued today "addresses the extent to which [the Missile Defense Agency] (1) achieved its fiscal year 2022 baseline delivery goals and (2) completed its testing planned for fiscal year 2022":

MDA, in response to audit, raises technical bar in NGI contest; aims to promote design stability

The Missile Defense Agency has raised the bar in the $17 billion Next Generation Interceptor competition, requiring Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team to demonstrate critical technologies in their respective guided-missile designs at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher, a change from the initial requirement of TRL 5 or higher.

Document: GAO report on missile defense deliveries and testing

Boeing flew members of the media out to its bomber engineering facility in Oklahoma City:

Air Force testing Boeing-developed pylons for B-1

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- The Air Force is conducting tests through the summer on pylons developed by Boeing to add payload capacity to the B-1 Lancer, a Boeing executive said Wednesday.

The Pentagon has submitted a legislative proposal to Congress regarding allowing U.S. investment in British and Australian military suppliers:

DOD wants to include UK, Australia in new Defense Production Act investments

The Pentagon is asking Congress to expand its authority under the Defense Production Act to include investments in military suppliers based in the United Kingdom and Australia, according to a new legislative proposal.

More U.K.-Australia-U.S. news:

DOD asks Congress for AUKUS provisions in FY-24 defense authorization bill

The Defense Department is asking Congress to include legislative language supporting AUKUS in its upcoming defense authorization bill, including provisions that would enable the transfer of Virginia-class submarines to Australia and allow the United States to expand its submarine industrial base using Australian funding.

Another recent legislative proposal focused on joint warfighting operations:

Pilot program would improve funding access in joint operations

A legislative proposal in the fiscal year 2024 budget would jumpstart a mission management pilot program for selective joint warfighting operations established in FY-22 without funding.

Inside Defense recently interviewed the chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee:

Lamborn cites 'strong suspicions' Trump played favorites with SPACECOM choice

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) says he would like the debate over where to station U.S. Space Command to be kept separate from politics, but he acknowledges that just isn't the reality of the current situation, which has pitted Republicans from Alabama against those from his home state of Colorado based off a decision former President Trump announced during his final days in office.

Working hand-in-hand with industry partners, Space Systems Command will collect and integrate MEO data into the existing missile warning architecture:

SSC awards Parsons MEO MW/MT contract

Space Systems Command awarded an operations and integration contract to Parsons Corp., the command announced on May 16. The contract is worth $55 million and is for resilient missile warning, missile tracking and missile defense mission set.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 18, 2023 at 1:49 PM

The Air Force is seeking technical support for its Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile in a contract worth up to $25.5 million, according to a solicitation posted Thursday.

Engineering, technical, test and logistical task support will also be needed through HACM’s Middle Tier Acquisition contract, the listing states. This would include engineering and exportability studies, weapon analysis, aircraft integration, software updates, simulation, modeling and analyses relating to the program’s roadmap, it states.

HACM is the service’s scramjet-powered hypersonic effort. It is a focus for the Air Force after the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon program has suffered inconsistent testing results, service Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress in March.

The Air Force awarded Raytheon nearly $1 billion in September to develop HACM.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 17, 2023 at 4:15 PM

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to prevent the Air National Guard from closing any fighter squadrons.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) has authored a bill with Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO), John James (R-MI), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) that would require the Air Force to maintain 25 Air Guard squadrons.

The bill, which would be called the Fighter Force Preservation and Recapitalization Act, would ensure Air National Guard fighter squadrons “continue to support the Total Force as the Air Force undertakes a massive modernization and recapitalization effort,” a media release from Bacon’s office states.

“The Air National Guard represents 30 percent of the Air Force fighter force and is responsible for 94 percent of homeland defense missions,” the release states. “On average, the pilots and maintainers are twice as experienced as their active duty counterparts. The Air Force must retain these valuable service members as it seeks to divest legacy equipment predominately found in the Air National Guard.”

By Tony Bertuca
May 17, 2023 at 3:14 PM

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl is slated to leave his post in mid-July after two years in office, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement he is grateful for Kahl’s service.

“Our department is stronger and better prepared for future security challenges because of Colin’s distinguished service,” Austin said. “Under his leadership, the department rolled out its National Defense Strategy, focusing on the pacing challenge of the People’s Republic of China, the acute threat of Russian aggression, and other dangers. And he has helped ensure steadfast U.S. support for Ukraine through billions of dollars of security assistance since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war of choice.”

Kahl, whose planned departure was first reported by NBC News, intends to return to Stanford University where he was given a two-year leave of absence to serve at the Pentagon, according to a person familiar with his plans.

“As the two-year mark approached in April 2023, Dr. Kahl secured agreement from Stanford to extend his timeline through mid-July so that he can support the secretary of defense and the president in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Vilnius,” the person said.

Kahl was confirmed in April 2021 following a bruising confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans voted against him over what they deemed “hyper-partisan” tweets ;prior to joining the Biden administration.

Kahl’s announced exit comes amid gridlock on Capitol Hill, where Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has issued a blanket hold on all civilian and military nominees that would force the Senate to consider each one separately amid a crowded legislative schedule already burdened by partisan fights over the national debt, the budget and judicial nominees.

Tuberville, citing what he says is a violation of federal law, is holding the nominees over his opposition to the Pentagon’s travel policies regarding servicemembers seeking abortion services.

Austin, meanwhile, has said the hold, which is blocking nearly 200 military nominees, risks “every domain” of national security.