The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
May 19, 2022 at 1:42 PM

The Senate has followed the House's lead and voted to pass a $40 billion emergency supplemental bill to aid Ukraine amid a Russian military invasion, sending the measure to President Biden's desk for his signature.

The Senate voted today to pass the package 86-11. The House last week passed the bill, which contains about $20 billion in defense-related spending -- $7 billion more than the White House initially sought.

The supplemental funding brings the total U.S. investment in Ukrainian military and humanitarian aid to around $54 billion in the past two months.

The bill would provide $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows the Defense Department to purchase weapons and other military services for Ukraine directly from defense contractors. The bill would also direct $8.7 billion -- Biden had requested $5.4 billion -- to replenish U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine through presidential “drawdown authority.”

Additionally, the bill would provide $3.9 billion for “European Command Operations,” which covers mission and intelligence support, hardship pay for troops deployed to the region as well as equipment including a Patriot battery.

The bill also seeks to increase the cap on assistance that can be provided to U.S. allies from $450 million to $950 million.

Another $600 million would be provided to DOD to accelerate missile production and expand domestic sources of critical minerals.

The bill also authorizes $500 million to procure critical munitions to increase DOD’s stocks and $50 million to develop programs for possible future export.

Additionally, the DOD inspector general would be required to report on the execution of the funds and “measures taken to require enhanced end-use monitoring of equipment provided to Ukraine.”

The remainder of the funds in the emergency supplemental package are slated for humanitarian aid, including nearly $14 billion for the State Department and nearly $4.4 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

By Michael Marrow
May 18, 2022 at 4:07 PM

The boom system for the LMXT air refueling tanker would be manufactured at an unspecified location in western Arkansas if the LMXT wins a potential bridge tanker competition, according to a Lockheed Martin press release.

The LMXT, designed by a joint Lockheed-Airbus team, is being offered by the two companies as a candidate for the KC-Y program floated by the Air Force that will field a bridge tanker after the delivery of the KC-46 Pegasus. Under current plans, the KC-Y will be followed by a futuristic KC-Z tanker that has yet to be defined by the service.

The Air Force plans to recapitalize the air refueling fleet, composed largely of the aging KC-135 Stratotanker, over the next 30 years, according to the service’s fiscal year 2023 budget justification documents. The service is requesting $11 million in FY-23 to support market research and pre-production analysis for the KC-Y, the documents say.

A business case analysis for the KC-Y is currently underway and is expected to conclude in mid-FY-23. Results from the analysis will then inform an acquisition strategy that will be announced by the service, according to Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Samantha Morrison.

The business case analysis is being pursued parallel to a formal joint requirements approval process that will commence in the third quarter of FY-22, Morrison added.

Lawmakers, many of whom have been frustrated by delays and defects with delivery of the KC-46, have recently pushed for a competition for the KC-Y contract in interviews with Inside Defense.

However, a future LMXT program may be in question after Air Force officials indicated the service may not pursue a competition, opting instead to modify the KC-46. “As we look at the requirements, it doesn’t look as necessary or cost-effective as it once did to introduce another aircraft, this KC-Y,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month. “So, we’re not sure what we’re going to do about that yet.”

Initial delivery for the KC-Y is expected in FY-27, according to the justification documents.

By John Liang
May 18, 2022 at 1:24 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Air Force aircraft divestments, updated Javelin and Stinger contracts, unmanned systems deploying to Hawaii and more.

Senators this week had questions about the Air Force's plan to divest nearly half of the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System fleet:

Lawmakers press Air Force officials on planned divestments

The Air Force's goal of divesting several platforms raised concerns among lawmakers during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee today, who are wary that the divestments will leave the service with critical capability gaps that will take years to close.

Funding for the service to replace weapons sent to Ukraine was approved by Congress earlier this month:

Bush: Javelin, Stinger contracts ready by the end of this week

The Army plans to have contracts in place by the end of the week to replace the Javelins and Stingers that have been sent to Ukraine, and to accelerate production through "different targeted authorities," according to Doug Bush, the Army acquisition executive.

An order for the first eight aircraft in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Unmanned Expeditionary program will go through in the next month or two:

GA-ASI to deliver two MQ-9As to 3rd MRL in Hawaii next summer

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will deliver two MQ-9A unmanned aircraft to the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment next summer, a company official said.

The Missile Defense Agency is working on a project called Cruise Missile Defense of the Homeland:

MDA working on simulated domestic cruise missile defense, hopes for FY-23 plus-up

The Missile Defense Agency has launched a project that aims to set the technical groundwork for a potential live-fire demonstration of a domestic cruise missile defense architecture by working first to execute simulated events connecting Army and Navy battle management tools with the guided-missile launcher system used to defend Washington, DC, 24/7.

The Defense Innovation Unit is asking for 60% more funding in fiscal year 2023:

DIU seeks $15M in FY-23 for new battery storage effort

The Defense Innovation Unit wants $15 million in fiscal year 2023 to kick-start a new research effort centered on the prototyping and deployment of commercial battery technologies for military purposes.

By Michael Marrow
May 18, 2022 at 12:11 PM

The Air Force is hosting an industry day on June 3 to explore upgrades for the KC-135 COMM 2 Video Data Link-2000 communications system, according to a notice posted by the service today.

Plans for the upgrades are detailed in the service’s fiscal year 2023 research, development, test and evaluation budget justification documents. According to the documents, the Air Force is seeking a suite of four enhancements that will improve the aircraft’s fuel management, flight display and communications systems.

The COMM 2 modernization will replace the ARC-210 radios onboard the aircraft that are slated to become obsolete in October 2023. Updates for the radios, which first entered service in the 1990s, are being sought due to new requirements for encryption and anti-jam capabilities, according to the justification documents.

The oldest in the air refueling fleet, the KC-135 Stratotanker first entered service in 1956. Air Force officials plan to continue flying the aircraft until the 2050s as the aircraft is gradually divested alongside deliveries of the KC-46. According to legislative proposals recently released by the department, the Air Force is seeking to accelerate its divestment of the aircraft by retiring a total of 31 in FY-23.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 17, 2022 at 5:01 PM

The Air Force Research Laboratory is seeking information from industry on the capability and capacity for domestic production of position, navigation and guidance components for hypersonic systems, according to an online solicitation posted this month.

The PNG components, subcomponents and their constituent materials must be designed for the “unique, harsh environment” of hypersonic flight, according to the request for information. Scaling production of these components could be “critical” to the success of the hypersonic missile strategy, which the RFI called “essential to the national defense.”

“To date, the [Defense Department] has supported proof of concept and prototyping efforts in this area, however the expansion of the industrial base capacity is required to meet expected future demand,” the RFI stated.

The Defense Production Act Title III Program Office is seeking information to reach a goal of initial production capacity of 48 all-up-rounds and up to 72 all-up-rounds per year.

By John Liang
May 17, 2022 at 2:29 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on funding for the Defense Innovation Unit, an upcoming hypersonic target intercept test and more.

The Defense Innovation Unit is asking for 60% more funding in fiscal year 2023:

DIU seeks $15M in FY-23 for new battery storage effort

The Defense Innovation Unit wants $15 million in fiscal year 2023 to kick-start a new research effort centered on the prototyping and deployment of commercial battery technologies for military purposes.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill revealed new details about planned tests of the Standard Missile-6 and the Aegis weapon system in written testimony prepared for the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee on May 11:

U.S. military sets plan for high-stakes, shoot-down attempt of hypersonic glide vehicle

The U.S. military will attempt to shoot down a hypersonic glide vehicle in a high-stakes test that will inform plans for a next-generation guided-missile interceptor as well as assess the efficacy of currently deployed systems that are supposed to provide a last line of defense for aircraft carrier strike groups against Russian and Chinese ultrafast maneuvering weapons.

Document: House hearing on missile defense

The Navy has a new unmanned surface vessel command:

Navy will have seven USVs operating out of new unmanned vessel command

The Navy will have seven unmanned surface vessels operating out of a new West Coast-based command established on Friday.

Some Army network news:

Network officials emphasize simplicity, outline UNO acquisition strategy, during meeting with industry

PHILADELPHIA -- Army officials say their plan to create a simplified network is designed to fix a central problem: The network has too many tools.

At least one lawmaker is OK with the Air Force reaching the number of A-10 Warthog ground-attack aircraft:

McCollum signals support for A-10 divestment

House Appropriations defense subcommittee Chairwoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) will support the Air Force's planned divestment of 21 A-10 aircraft, according to a statement provided to Inside Defense.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 17, 2022 at 2:12 PM

The Army's prototype air defense laser system shot down 60 mm mortar rounds and drones during a recent four-week-long exercise, Raytheon Technologies announced May 16.

Raytheon's Intelligence & Space business unit makes the 50-kilowatt laser on the Directed Energy Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense, which mounts a laser on a Stryker combat vehicle and will work in tandem with other M-SHORAD vehicles that use kinetic interceptors. Kord, a KBR subsidiary, is the prime contractor on the directed energy variant.

During the testing at White Sands Missile Range, NM, the DE M-SHORAD “acquired, tracked, targeted and defeated multiple mortars and successfully accomplished multiple tests simulating real-world scenarios,” according to a Raytheon press release.

A Raytheon spokeswoman declined to comment on exactly how many mortars the laser shot down, or whether it failed any attempts.

“The Army designed very clear vignettes that they wanted the system to perform against, and we successfully met all their objectives,” the spokeswoman wrote in an email to Inside Defense. “In the vignettes, the DE M-SHORAD system shot down multiple mortars, demonstrating repeatable success with a high-energy laser in combat-realistic scenarios.”

The laser also defeated “several small, medium and large drones,” according to the press release, that included “fixed-wing and quadcopter-type UAS in Groups 1, 2 and 3,” according to the spokeswoman.

DE M-SHORAD tracked targets with both its built-in radar and off-board radar, according to the scenarios set up by the Army, the spokeswoman added.

“With an effectively infinite magazine and near-zero cost per shot, [high-energy laser] is now the proven answer to asymmetric threats like drones and mortars,” Byron Bright, president of KBR Government Solutions, said in the press release.

Operational Army units will receive four DE M-SHORAD systems this year, according to the press release.

By Briana Reilly
May 17, 2022 at 12:22 PM

The Defense Department's first emerging capabilities policy director is calling on the military to move with "responsible speed" as it works to quicken the pace of development, experimentation and integration of new technologies.

That responsibility element, Michael Horowitz said during the Nexus 22 symposium today, is particularly important when it comes to artificial intelligence initiatives and “the need for sufficient safety and testing of systems.”

“Everybody wants us to go faster . . . and that’s right, and the top priority of our office is ensuring that emerging capabilities are more clearly, more effectively integrated into what the department does and policy’s role in strategy and plans and budgets, but the responsibility part of that is really important,” he said.

As the head of the newly created office, Horowitz, who began in the role last month, reports to Mara Karlin, the assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities. Through the post, Horowitz said officials aim to lead the Office of the Secretary Defense’s policy work on emerging technology diplomacy and capability strategic development in areas ranging from AI to hypersonics and directed energy.

That work includes bolstering diplomatic ties surrounding the development and deployment of new technologies and working to advance those capabilities in promotion of the National Defense Strategy, he said, all while keeping in mind “ethical questions, strategic stability questions associated with emerging technologies.”

Moving forward, Horowitz said his office is poised to ensure that AI and autonomous systems “especially” are reflected in the Pentagon’s policy and not just “the technical parts of the department” as DOD moves toward implementing its National Defense Strategy.

Asked about whether AI is receiving the appropriate level of emphasis from DOD, Horowitz said he’s hopeful given the interest in emerging technologies, the creation of his office and the stand-up of the new chief digital and AI officer in late 2021.

“I think all of those things make me optimistic that as we enter the [fiscal year 2024] budget cycle, that we’re going to start seeing that payoff as the department becomes -- it’s not a question of just more, but smarter, at thinking about AI and autonomous systems and investments in a way that really pays off for the joint force,” he said.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 17, 2022 at 9:20 AM

The Air Force successfully tested its Air-launched Rapid Response hypersonic missile Saturday, the service announced this week.

Released from the B-52H Stratofortress off the coast of Southern California, the ARRW’s booster ignited and reached speeds five times the speed of sound, according to a statement released Monday evening.

“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, program executive officer for weapons. “The team's tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year's challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we've learned and continue moving hypersonics forward.”

This is the first successful test of the embattled ARRW program, following three failed tests last year. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has signaled caution with the program, and the service announced with its fiscal year 2023 budget that it would not seek any procurement funding, as had been expected.

“We want to see proof of success before we commit to production,” Kendall told members of the House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee just last week.

ARRW is designed to threaten fixed, high-value and time-sensitive targets from stand-off distances and to expand precision-strike capabilities, according to the news release.

Kendall has on several occasions stressed the importance of designing weapons, including hypersonics, to meet U.S. needs, rather than “mirroring” the capabilities of adversaries like China. He told the House Armed Services Committee last month that hypersonics have a role in the Air Force arsenal but they are not a “panacea.”

By John Liang
May 16, 2022 at 1:37 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on space intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor and more.

Space Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting spoke at a Mitchell Institute event this morning:

Space Force to stand up new squadrons for space ISR

The Space Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Delta 7 wing will stand up three new squadrons to expand ISR capabilities in the next two years, according to Space Operations Command's top official.

The latest CMMC news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC early adoption program could be delayed due to rulemaking efforts

The Defense Department faces a calculated risk in terms of starting up third-party assessments under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program for early adopters, according to contracting attorney Robert Metzger, who sees ongoing work to finalize changes to the Pentagon's acquisition rules as one barrier for the delayed interim launch.

International demand for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor is "very strong," according to a Raytheon Technologies executive:

Raytheon aims to lock in foreign LTAMDS orders in tandem with Army's first production run

Raytheon Technologies is hoping to secure an overseas buyer for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor in tandem with planned orders for the Army's initial production run in a bid to lower the current $130 million radar price tag, realize economies of scale and give a foreign military immediate parity with the service's newest and most sophisticated ground radar.

The Army is looking to set up a bunch of new maintenance teams for armored units:

Army plans nine platoon-sized maintenance surge teams by FY-26

The Army plans to create nine platoon-sized maintenance surge teams in echelon-above-brigade formations by fiscal year 2026, at least some of which will use armored recovery vehicles divested from the Marine Corps, according to an Army spokesman.

In case you missed it last week, Inside Defense obtained the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar unfunded priorities list for Defense Department labs and testing facilities:

Shyu sends Congress $5.7B unfunded priorities list for DOD labs

Heidi Shyu, the Pentagon's chief technology officer, has sent Congress a $5.7 billion unfunded priorities list containing 126 military construction items related to Defense Department labs and testing facilities, according to documents obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Shyu's FY-23 MILCON, DOD lab unfunded priorities list

By Tony Bertuca
May 16, 2022 at 12:29 PM

President Biden intends to nominate Laura Taylor-Kale to be assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, according to the White House.

Taylor-Kale is currently the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations. She previously served in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.

If confirmed, Taylor-Kale will succeed Deborah Rosenblum, assistant defense secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, who has been performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks released a memo in February formally establishing the position.

The job’s duties include ensuring supply chain security, providing analysis on the health of the industrial base, reviewing acquisition investments, coordinating antitrust reviews, overseeing the director of small business programs and overseeing matters pertaining to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 16, 2022 at 12:07 PM

The Defense Department announced today it has renewed the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

The board independently advises the defense secretary and deputy defense secretary on matters relating to the Air Force’s science and technology efforts by conducting studies on topics chosen by the Air Force secretary, recommending applications of technology to enhance capabilities and providing independent reviews of the quality and relevance of service S&T programs.

The board is made up of up to 20 members with backgrounds including science, technology, manufacturing, acquisition, logistics, business management, research and development centers, national laboratories and academia.

Members serve one- to four-year terms and may not serve more than two consecutive terms unless approved through DOD procedures, according to the announcement. Members can be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses, but otherwise serve on the board without compensation.

By John Liang
May 16, 2022 at 10:27 AM

Private-equity firm the Carlyle Group has purchased ManTech International in a deal worth $4.2 billion, both companies announced today.

Under the terms of the transaction, ManTech shareholders will receive $96 per share in cash, the two companies said.

"We have always admired ManTech's unwavering commitment to support national security customers and their critical missions through differentiated capabilities and technology solutions. ManTech’s talented employees and leadership team have built a remarkable Company with strong market positions across the federal government," said Dayne Baird, a managing director on Carlyle's Aerospace & Government Services unit. "Through this partnership, we look forward to leveraging our sector expertise and resources to accelerate growth and innovation and to drive greater value for customers and employees."

"This announcement is an important milestone for ManTech and a testament to our growth and the leadership position we have built since our founding by George Pedersen more than 50 years ago," said ManTech Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Kevin Phillips. "Following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, our Board determined that this transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders and provides them with the most compelling value maximization outcome, offering liquidity at a significant premium. We look forward to leveraging Carlyle's deep knowledge and experience investing in and growing companies, as we deliver stronger outcomes for our customers and increased opportunities for our employees."

ManTech last November agreed to buy Washington, DC-based Gryphon Technologies from AE Industrial Partners for $350 million.

By Tony Bertuca
May 16, 2022 at 5:00 AM

The week ahead is filled with congressional hearings and other events featuring senior Pentagon officials.

Monday

The Air Force Association hosts the chief of Space Operations Command.

Tuesday

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Army modernization.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on the budget for nuclear forces and atomic energy defense activities.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds an Air Force budget and modernization hearing.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds an Army budget hearing.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Air Force and Space Force budgets.

The annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference takes place in Tampa, FL.

The Atlantic Council hosts its Nexus22 conference in Washington.

The Association of the United States Army hosts its annual LANPAC conference in Honolulu, HI.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee holds a budget hearing with Navy officials.

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on professional education and the National Defense Strategy.

The Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on missile defense strategy.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Navy and Marine Corps budgets.

The Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee holds a hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the chief of Space Systems Command.

Thursday

The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Air Force projection forces and aviation programs.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on nuclear forces and atomic energy defense activities.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on climate change and how it is addressed in the defense budget.

Friday

The Truman Center for National Policy hosts TruCon2022 in Washington, featuring a panel discussion with the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 13, 2022 at 3:10 PM

The Army will rotate two brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade into Europe to replace units that have deployed there to support U.S. allies amid the war in Ukraine, the service announced today.

“These deployments are a one-for-one unit replacement which leaves our overall force posture in the region unchanged,” the announcement stated. “The units being replaced will return to their home station.”

The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division will replace the 82 Airborne Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, according to the announcement. A 500-soldier headquarters complement from the 101st Airborne will also replace the 82nd Airborne’s headquarters on the continent.

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division will replace the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, according to the announcement.

The 1st Armored Division’s combat aviation brigade will replace the 1st Cavalry Division’s brigade, to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, according to the announcement.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said May 12 that the cost of the deployments could grow, and more supplemental funding could be necessary, if the war in Ukraine continues.

“The supplementals . . . have been very helpful in terms of allowing us to fund the operations,” Wormuth told the House Armed Services Committee. “This conflict could be protracted -- it doesn’t appear that Putin is changing his objectives. So I think that we have to prepared to expect that this conflict may go on, and the costs, would then continue as well.”