The Insider

By John Liang
July 11, 2022 at 10:22 AM

Valiant Integrated Services announced today that Sarah Lynn has been named the company's general counsel and secretary.

Lynn joins Valiant from Peraton, where she was vice president and deputy general counsel, according to a Valiant statement.

She has also worked for Perspecta, Hewlett-Packard and DXC Technology, and was involved in the 2017 merger to create DXC, the 2018 merger to create Perspecta as well as Perspecta's 2021 sale to Peraton.

By Tony Bertuca
July 11, 2022 at 5:00 AM

The House is set to debate its version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill this week.

Monday

Senior Air Force and Space Force officials speak at the virtual Space Innovation Summit that runs through Tuesday.

The National Defense Industrial Association holds a JADC2 All Domain Warfare Symposium.

Tuesday

The House Rules Committee convenes to consider amendments to the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Chidi Blyden testifies at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Instability and the State of Democracy in the Sahel and the U.S. Policy Response."

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on maritime security.

Thursday

CSIS hosts a discussion on cruise missile defense.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with former defense secretary Mark Esper.

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on "regaining the high ground against China."

By Jason Sherman
July 11, 2022 at 12:01 AM

The Air Force Research Laboratory took delivery earlier this year of a compact, ruggedized laser developed for potential use as a defensive weapon on fighter aircraft, according to Lockheed Martin which claims the new airborne laser is the smallest, lightest, high-energy laser of its power level built to date.

The company, in an announcement timed to generate interest in advance of the Farnborough Air Show, said it had completed factory acceptance testing and delivered its low-SWaP (size, weight and power) airborne laser to the government during the first quarter of 2022.

“It is the smallest lightest, high-energy laser of its power class that Lockheed Martin has built to date,” Tyler Griffin, the company’s director of Advanced Product Solutions strategy and business development, told reporters. “It is a critical benchmark in developing operational laser weapon systems in the airborne domain.”

The work was completed as part of the Air Force Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE) high-energy laser effort which aims to achieve systems in the 5- to 10-kilogram-per-kilowatt range in the near future to enable employment on tactical aircrafts.

“It is a critical benchmark in developing operational laser weapon systems in the airborne domain and power density and the ruggedization designed to fly on tactical platforms and to take all the weight all the volume out,” Griffin said.

By John Liang
July 8, 2022 at 1:48 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has a deep dive into the future of the U.S. military rotorcraft industry, the Marine Corps' stand-in force and more.

We start off with a deep dive into the future of the U.S. military rotorcraft industry:

Army's FLRAA decision set to shake up rotorcraft industry

The Army's upcoming choice on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft is poised to create cascading effects throughout the U.S. defense business, shaping the futures of three industry titans and thousands of suppliers at a time when close observers of the industrial base are raising alarms about its health.

The Marine Corps' top uniformed officer spoke this week at a Hudson Institute event:

Berger: Value of stand-in force is more than just lethality

The Marine Corps' stand-in force is a forward presence that constantly collects information, watches the enemy and stays "in their face the whole time," according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

Coverage of some of the amendments lawmakers are proposing to be added to this year's defense policy bill:

Lawmakers propose defense policy changes to boost innovation, commercial partnerships

Ahead of the House debate next week on the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill, lawmakers have proposed a series of bipartisan amendments designed to bolster innovation and partnerships with nontraditional defense contractors.

The Missile Defense Agency's estimated $13 billion project to develop a follow-on weapon to the current Ground-based Interceptor is scheduled to pivot to initial production in fiscal year 2025 after selecting a winning design:

NGI 'fly-before-you-buy' package is 11 developmental interceptors; at least six flight birds

The Pentagon's "fly-before-you-buy" plan for the Next Generation Interceptor calls for procuring 11 prototype guided missiles, flying six against ballistic missile targets and utilizing the remaining five for ground tests as well as possible do-over launches in an effort to field by 2027 an improved homeland defense shield against a potential North Korean nuclear strike.

Pentagon officials are looking at artificial intelligence and machine learning as "another tool to enhance speed, scale unity of effort with partners in support of cyber defense" as cyber threats evolve:

CYBERCOM explores additional avenues for leveraging AI/ML

U.S. Cyber Command officials are assessing the potential for further using artificial intelligence and machine learning via an ongoing survey set to wrap up this month.

By Tony Bertuca
July 8, 2022 at 1:35 PM

The United States is sending a new $400 million military aid package to Ukraine that includes another batch of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, along with new munitions to allow for "more precise targeting" of invading Russian forces, according to a senior defense official.

The official said the new package will include four HIMARS being transferred from U.S. stocks, while eight systems have already been delivered to Ukraine.

The official declined to comment on whether the new precision munitions being offered to Ukraine are M982 Excalibur 155 mm rounds, which are known for their extended range and GPS guidance. Another possible candidate for the munition being sent is the M1156 Precision Guidance Kit.

The official said the new munition being offered is a “capability the United States has” and “has greater precision” than the 155mm artillery round the United States has previously provided.

“I can't get into the specifics here,” the official said. “These are precise. We expect the Ukrainians to use them to great effect.”

The official also denied Russian claims that it had destroyed Ukrainian HIMARS units.

“Russia has not destroyed any HIMARS,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the official said the United States believes Ukraine has significantly slowed Russia’s military advance in the east, despite Russian gains.

“We don't see this at all as Russia winning this battle,” the official said. “They've been very much thwarted . . . but the fighting is hard. . . .We're seeing that in the slowness of the Russian advance.”

By Briana Reilly
July 8, 2022 at 12:41 PM

The Pentagon's chief technology officer has stood up a new Defense Science Board task force to review the potential for leveraging emerging technologies and approaches to "rebalance intervention cost and benefit" and restore the U.S. military's "operational dominance," a recently posted memo states.

Called the strategic options task force, the panel was established under a June 24 directive that was posted publicly this week from Heidi Shyu, the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

“The goal is to deter local conflict involving allies or treaty partners, and to prevail at the lowest ‘cost’ should deterrence fail,” Shyu wrote in the memo.

Among the areas the new task force should consider, the document states, are advanced undersea assets, new uses for space-based capabilities, countermeasures for electronic warfare technologies, methods for leveraging cyber weapons and more. The directive states such approaches can also include “improvements in training and doctrine, alliance building, or exploitation of inherent asymmetric vulnerabilities of adversaries.”

The memo doesn’t call out specific nations or actions that prompted its issuance, only stating that “several countries aspire to greater regional power, threatening to employ military force to prey on their neighbors.”

The task force’s work is slated to begin within 30 days of its members’ appointment to the body, the memo states. Following the panel's completion of its work, members will present their conclusions to the full DSB as well as to Shyu herself, per the document.

By Evan Ochsner
July 7, 2022 at 4:00 PM

The Army has concluded First Engine to Test of the engine it says will power Black Hawk, Apache and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft helicopters, the program executive office for aviation announced Thursday.

The Army powered on the first GE-built T901 engine in late March and ran it for more than 100 hours of flight time ending on June 28, the Army said. The engine is being developed through the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program.

“The event successfully verified and validated performance models on the Army’s next-generation rotorcraft engine,” the Army announced.

The engine will now undergo a multiyear testing process to reach full Army qualification.

Preliminary Flight Rating testing will begin this fall with eight T901 engines, according to the Army announcement. The T901 will go through almost 5,000 hours of testing to achieve full engine qualification, the Army said.

The engine is designed to fit in the existing structures of Black Hawk and Apache helicopters and provide greater power, reliability and fuel efficiency over existing engines.

Testing of the engine had been pushed back due to supply chain snarls and coronavirus-related delays, the Government Accountability Office said last month. Those delays pushed back the development timeline for the FARA program.

By John Liang
July 7, 2022 at 2:01 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program and more.

Army Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, spoke this week about the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program:

First version of OMFV won't be 'completely' autonomous while fighting

The first version of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle won't be "completely" autonomous while it fights when it's fielded around the end of this decade, Army officials told reporters on a July 5 call.

A major Defense Department reprogramming request -- obtained by Inside Defense -- has been submitted to Congress:

DOD seeks congressional support to shift nearly $3B in spending

The Defense Department wants congressional approval to shift nearly $3 billion in unspent funds toward a host of areas, including priority weapons programs like systems to counter small, unmanned drones as well as "must-pay bills" brought on by "inflationary pressure," according to a Pentagon "omnibus" reprogramming document obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: DOD's omnibus 2022 reprogramming request

The Army has awarded $5.9 million to Cole Engineering Services and $2.9 million to CAE USA to develop prototypes for the Soldier Virtual Trainer, which is part of the Synthetic Training Environment:

Army awards contracts for virtual trainer prototypes

The Army has awarded other transaction agreements to two companies to develop prototypes for its new virtual training capability for soldiers, according to a Tuesday announcement.

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

DOD memo to kick off voluntary assessments under upcoming cyber certification program

The Defense Department is getting closer to finalizing details on the process for contractors to obtain a cyber certification ahead of the effort's formal launch in May 2023, which will include a memo from Pentagon officials to establish a "joint surveillance program" where assessment organizations and DOD officials work together to complete voluntary examinations.

Last but by no means least, the latest on the Missile Defense Agency's effort to defend Guam against ballistic missile attack:

MDA readying sole-source contract to Lockheed to launch 'Aegis Guam' weapon system

The Missile Defense Agency is targeting 2024 for initial delivery of a key building block of a new air and missile defense system for Guam, announcing plans to award Lockheed Martin a sole-source contract for the Aegis weapon system portion of the new capability as well as a new mobile launcher.

By Tony Bertuca
July 7, 2022 at 11:55 AM

Congress has given the Defense Department approval to reprogram $969 million toward the Defense Logistics Agency to cover the rising cost of fuel, according to a Pentagon document.

“The Defense Logistics Agency has experienced cash losses caused by significant increases in prices for refined fuel products above the Standard Fuel Price budgeted for these products,” the June 2 Pentagon reprogramming notice states.

Congress has agreed to allow DOD to reprogram $969 million from the department’s foreign currency fluctuations fund to address the shortfall.

The Pentagon’s unplanned fuel costs are expected to grow even larger.

Mike McCord, DOD comptroller, told Congress in April he expected the department would need an additional $1.8 billion funding increase in fiscal year 2022 to address the ongoing spike in global fuel prices, despite having already been provided with an additional $1.5 billion to cover the bill.

“Fuel is our most volatile and the most easily recognizable price increase when prices change,” he told the House Budget Committee on April 27.

Meanwhile, DOD also wants congressional approval to shift nearly $3 billion in unspent funds toward a host of areas, including priority weapons programs like systems to counter small, unmanned drones as well as "must-pay bills" brought on by "inflationary pressure," according to a Pentagon "omnibus" reprogramming document obtained by Inside Defense.

By John Liang
July 6, 2022 at 1:55 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has a scoop on the Pentagon's latest "omnibus" reprogramming request and more.

We start off with an Inside Defense scoop on the Pentagon's request to shift up to $3 billion in its latest "omnibus" reprogramming document:

DOD seeks congressional support to shift nearly $3B in spending

The Defense Department wants congressional approval to shift nearly $3 billion in unspent funds toward a host of areas, including priority weapons programs like systems to counter small, unmanned drones as well as "must-pay bills" brought on by "inflationary pressure," according to a Pentagon "omnibus" reprogramming document obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: DOD's omnibus 2022 reprogramming request

The Army has awarded $5.9 million to Cole Engineering Services and $2.9 million to CAE USA to develop prototypes for the Soldier Virtual Trainer, which is part of the Synthetic Training Environment:

Army awards contracts for virtual trainer prototypes

The Army has awarded other transaction agreements to two companies to develop prototypes for its new virtual training capability for soldiers, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The latest on the Missile Defense Agency's effort to defend Guam against ballistic missile attack:

MDA readying sole-source contract to Lockheed to launch 'Aegis Guam' weapon system

The Missile Defense Agency is targeting 2024 for initial delivery of a key building block of a new air and missile defense system for Guam, announcing plans to award Lockheed Martin a sole-source contract for the Aegis weapon system portion of the new capability as well as a new mobile launcher.

The head of the Army's ground combat systems spoke this week about the service's recent launch of its competition for contractors to participate in the detailed design and prototyping phases of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program:

OMFV prototype deliveries lower thanks to digital design

Advances in digital design and simulation enabled the Army to shrink the number of prototypes it will buy during Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle development, according to Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems.

A military base in San Antonio, TX will get up to 72 T-7 training aircraft:

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 the Federal Register.

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

DOD memo to kick off voluntary assessments under upcoming cyber certification program

The Defense Department is getting closer to finalizing details on the process for contractors to obtain a cyber certification ahead of the effort's formal launch in May 2023, which will include a memo from Pentagon officials to establish a "joint surveillance program" where assessment organizations and DOD officials work together to complete voluntary examinations.

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.