The Insider

By John Liang
November 11, 2019 at 2:05 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has a deep dive into the Pentagon's upcoming contract financing review, plus the latest draft of the Defense Department's Cybersecurity Certification Maturity Model and more.

An upcoming contract financing review is "in the final planning stages," according to a Pentagon spokesman:

A year after aborted progress payments proposal, DOD to launch new contract financing review

The Defense Department is preparing to review its decades-old policy for paying contractors, including a look at how potential changes might impact the profits of defense companies.

DOD recently released the latest draft of its Cybersecurity Certification Maturity Model:

Pentagon issues draft cyber certification plan, delays input on controls for 'advanced' threats

The Defense Department's acquisition office has released its much-anticipated latest draft of a cybersecurity certification program for contractors, focusing on the most basic security controls while work continues on requirements for securing the most critical data and systems from "advanced persistent threats."

Document: DOD's draft cybersecurity certification maturity model

Boeing, the KC-46 airborne refueling tanker prime contractor, has presented a design with an "improved" cargo locking system:

Air Force slated to incorporate KC-46 cargo lock fix by March 2020

The Air Force expects to complete fleetwide retrofits to the KC-46 tanker's cargo locking system by March 2020, the program office confirmed last week.

Inside Defense has news from a recently completed Air Force Scientific Advisory Board study:

Air Force panel sees data-fusion as potential tool for targeting in anti-access environments

An influential Air Force advisory panel has concluded that an alternative intelligence enterprise derived in part from data fused from open sources could provide a new way to locate, identify and attack targets in highly contested environments, according to an abstract of a new study by the group.

Document: AFSAB summary of 'multi-source data fusion for target location and identification'

. . . plus more information on the Army's future Battle Management Command and Communication system:

Army CFT planning to develop system for multidomain sensor integration

The Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team is looking to bring a new "deep-sensing" capability to the force to aid multidomain operations and long-range precision fires.

By Tony Bertuca
November 11, 2019 at 5:05 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area this week, including at a congressional hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


Veterans Day observed.


Senior Pentagon officials are slated to speak at CyberCon 2019.

The FedScoop Red Hat Cyber Symposium features several DOD officials.


The House Armed Services readiness and tactical air and land forces subcommittees hold a joint hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The National Bureau of Asian Research hosts a conference featuring remarks by the deputy assistant secretary of defense for China policy.

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association hosts a discussion with DOD officials.

Perspecta executives are set to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.


The Association of the United States Army hosts a breakfast with the director of the Army Talent Management Task Force.

The FedScoop Workforce Summit hosts DOD officials.


The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the chief of Air Force Space Command and the deputy joint force space component commander at U.S. Strategic Command.

By Sara Sirota
November 8, 2019 at 5:01 PM

Two HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters have arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, to begin developmental testing with the 413th Flight Test Squadron, according to an Air Force press release.

The HH-60W is the Air Force’s replacement to the legacy HH-60G, which supports personnel recovery. The service declared milestone C for the program Sept. 24, allowing it to enter low-rate initial production, and intends to procure 113 helicopters through 2026.

The Air Force has already bought 10 HH-60Ws in Lot 1 and plans to purchase another 12 in Lot 2 next spring, Leah Garton, an Air Combat Command spokeswoman, told Inside Defense in a Nov. 1 email.

If the federal government is constrained to fiscal year 2019 production quantities under a year-long continuing resolution, the service will only buy 10 helicopters during this next purchase. A CR that went into effect Oct. 1 is set to expire Nov. 21, and lawmakers anticipate passing another.

Meanwhile, the current HH-60W program schedule projects initial operational test and evaluation to begin during the second quarter of FY-21 at Moody AFB, GA, Garton said. That will not occur until “ACC’s approval that all required aircraft, trainers, spares and support equipment are available, as well as trained pilots and maintainers to fly and maintain the aircraft.”

By John Liang
November 8, 2019 at 2:20 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team, an Air Force effort to communicate between F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft via a secure data link, Navy Virginia-class submarine cost savings and more.

Inside Defense has more information on the Army's future Battle Management Command and Communication system:

Army CFT planning to develop system for multidomain sensor integration

The Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team is looking to bring a new "deep-sensing" capability to the force to aid multidomain operations and long-range precision fires.

Preston Dunlap, the Air Force's chief architect, spoke this week at the Defense One Outlook 2020 conference:

Air Force to demo secure communications between F-22, F-35 next month

The Air Force will test whether an F-22 and F-35 can communicate via a secure data link during a demonstration that’s expected to occur in December, according to a senior official.

Pentagon acquisition executive Ellen Lord has notified lawmakers that the office of cost assessment and program evaluation has estimated a savings of 6.8% for the nine-ship, Block V multiyear procurement contract to acquire new Virginia-class submarines:

Savings in Virginia-class Block V deal fall to 6.8% compared to 15% for Block IV

The Pentagon's independent cost estimators have pared back forecasted savings the Navy can expect to realize under a multiyear procurement of Virginia-class submarines from $2.5 billion to $1.8 billion, giving the planned 2019 deal the most anemic cost avoidance package achieved through a block buy in the program's two decades of consolidated purchases.

The Professional Services Council will host a meeting next week on behalf of the office of the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment:

DOD to hold closed-door meeting on accreditation for upcoming cyber certification program

The Pentagon's acquisition office is seeking industry input on establishing an accreditation body for third-party auditors as part of a cybersecurity certification program for contractors, expected to be rolled out in some form next year.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the Energy Department's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, spoke at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this week:

NNSA rebalancing modernization, workforce efforts as result of continuing resolution

The National Nuclear Security Administration has already begun rebalancing its internal projects in response to the ongoing continuing resolution that keeps federal funding at fiscal year 2019 levels, according to a senior Energy Department official.

By Jaspreet Gill
November 8, 2019 at 12:27 PM

The Army Futures Command Maneuver Battle Lab is testing four new rifle scopes for the service's M4A1 Carbine.

The effort is a part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, a months-long annual assessment where soldiers at Ft. Benning, GA test out "60 to 70" new technologies from industry, according to lab Director Ed Davis.

"In the next few days, we're looking at optics for some of our weapons that have been around for a while [that] we need to upgrade," Davis told Inside Defense in a Nov. 7 interview. "This gives us a way of looking at what industry nominates to us and see what's possible. . . . We can figure out how to go forward."

Talon Expeditionary Services, FN America, LLC and Smart Shooter Inc. were chosen to produce four prototypes for soldiers to test during AEWE, according to an Army press release. Soldiers currently use the M68 close combat scope and M50 rifle combat scope.

Staff Sergeant Michael Kennett, who tested the new optics, told Inside Defense that an extended shooting range is one of the biggest improvements with the new prototypes.

The Army is looking for scopes that will allow soldiers to shoot up to 600 meters, according to Davis. Current optics allow for engagements under 300 meters. He added the service is in the process of collecting data from soldiers who have tested out the prototypes.

Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, lethality branch chief of the Maneuver Center of Excellence's Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate soldier division, said in an email the information gathered during the assessment will inform the Army's weapon enabler requirements.

"There is no single requirements document this effort is linked to, but it will inform the entire [Small Arms Strategy]," Kennedy said. "We can learn things about rail space, shock profile, zero retention and increased accuracy. All this knowledge is blended into our strategy and into future requirements."

By Justin Katz
November 7, 2019 at 3:08 PM

The Navy last week declared its new satellite constellation "fully operationally capable" following the completion of a successful multiservice test event conducted in October.

Navy spokesman Steven Davis confirmed to Inside Defense in a written statement today that Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, greenlit the program Oct. 28 to clear the acquisition milestone.

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is a narrowband military satellite communications system and is expected to provide 10 times the system capacity of the Pentagon's legacy Ultra High Frequency constellation.

The Navy announced in October that the satellite constellation completed a test and evaluation event with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

Each of MUOS' satellites carry two payloads: One uses legacy technology to maintain communications during the military’s upcoming transition; the other uses MUOS' new wideband code division multiple access capability.

"The MUOS WCDMA payload interfaces with the MUOS ground system through the MUOS WCDMA waveform that is integrated into end-user radios, adapting commercial cellular technology," according to the service's October statement.

By John Liang
November 7, 2019 at 2:19 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's satellite communications efforts, the Army's take on extending the continuing resolution, Navy unmanned undersea vehicles and more.

DARPA is looking to demonstrate that a LEO constellation of many small satellites could offer a more resilient and affordable alternative -- or supplement -- to the Pentagon's current practice of buying expensive, monolithic and often vulnerable satellites:

DARPA's Blackjack program preparing for end-to-end testing next spring

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is preparing to kick off a key end-to-end simulation phase for its Blackjack program next spring, aiming to retire risk on the path to demonstrating the utility of a proliferated low-earth orbit satellite constellation equipped with an autonomous data processing capability.

The Air Force has been impressed with the download speeds of satellite communications with certain aircraft:

AFRL positioning Pentagon to tap into commercial space internet constellations

The Air Force Research Lab has seen early success testing the operational utility of the growing market for commercial space internet services and is planning to expand its test slate next week to the AC-130.

We have the Army's take on the effects of continuing the stopgap spending legislation:

Army says yearlong CR would block OMFV award, delay all modernization priorities

A yearlong stopgap continuing resolution would prevent the Army from using $3.5 billion in procurement and research, development, test and evaluation funding and block it from awarding contracts for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, according to a fact sheet provided to Inside Defense.

Document: Army fact sheet on effects of six-month, yearlong CR

Navy Adm. Chas Richard, commander of submarine forces, spoke this week at the 2019 Naval Submarine League Symposium:

Richard: Navy establishing second unmanned undersea vehicle development squadron

The Navy plans to stand up a second developmental squadron for unmanned underwater vehicles and turn its current squadron into a major command, according to the service's admiral overseeing submarine forces.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, DOE's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, spoke at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this morning:

NNSA rebalancing modernization, workforce efforts as result of continuing resolution

The National Nuclear Security Administration has already begun rebalancing its internal projects in response to the ongoing continuing resolution that keeps federal funding at fiscal year 2019 levels, according to a senior Energy Department official.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence's interim report released this week contains numerous criticisms of the defense acquisition system in describing how DOD struggles to scale AI projects and work with the best commercial AI companies:

AI commission flags DOD's acquisition processes as major barrier to tech adoption

The Pentagon's policies and processes serve as major impediments in the U.S. military's adoption of artificial intelligence technologies, according to a new report, as another panel takes aim at the Defense Department's acquisition system.

Document: NSCAI interim report on artificial intelligence

Last but certainly not least, here's some news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD to hold closed-door meeting on accreditation for upcoming cyber certification program

The Pentagon's acquisition office is seeking industry input on establishing an accreditation body for third-party auditors as part of a cybersecurity certification program for contractors, expected to be rolled out in some form next year.

Huawei counters U.S. arguments, urges court to reject purchasing ban as violation of due process

Tech giant Huawei is rejecting the U.S. government's claim that the Constitution's Bill of Attainder Clause -- which prohibits legislative action declaring guilt -- does not apply to companies, in urging a federal court to strike down a ban on federal purchases of its products and components as part of the build-out of next-generation 5G networks.

By Courtney Albon
November 7, 2019 at 12:49 PM

Norwegian Air Chief Brig. Geb. Tonje Skinnarland announced Wednesday the country had reached initial operational capability for the F-35.

The milestone validates Norway's ability to operate the F-35A out of its primary base at Orland Main Air Station. The country plans to buy 52 jets and is the third European country to declare IOC for the F-35.

The Norwegian Air Force has been conducting its own operational test and evaluation of the F-35A over the past two years and plans to deploy the jet to Iceland for a NATO air-policing mission. The service is aiming to train enough Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers by 2022 to let the aircraft assume the quick reaction alert mission, according to a press release.

By Marjorie Censer
November 7, 2019 at 12:47 PM

The Government Accountability Office received 2,198 bid protest cases in fiscal year 2019, down 16% from the prior year, according to a new report sent to Congress this week.

The report, dated Nov. 5, notes that protest numbers in recent years peaked in FY-16, when 2,789 cases were filed.

In FY-19, 77 cases, or 13%, were sustained. The effectiveness rate, which measures cases in which the protester received "some form of relief" through agency corrective action or a sustain decision, was 44%, the same as FY-18.

The report notes that the top reason protests were sustained was "unreasonable technical evaluation." The second most prevalent reason was "inadequate documentation of the record."

By Marjorie Censer
November 7, 2019 at 12:27 PM

Forcepoint, Raytheon's cyber business, will not a be a "long-term part of the [Raytheon Technologies] portfolio," according to Tom Kennedy, the chief executive of Raytheon.

Raytheon is in the process of merging with United Technologies to become Raytheon Technologies.

Raytheon executives said last month the company is in negotiations with Vista Equity Partners about the value of Forcepoint. The two created the company in 2015 through a joint venture.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Baird today, Kennedy said "there's no specific time frame" for Forcepoint's divestiture.

"I wouldn't think of them as a long-term part of the RTX portfolio," he said. "They're doing some good things . . . and I think we'll go to market at the right time, relatively speaking, from a position of strength."

By Marjorie Censer
November 7, 2019 at 12:16 PM

Lockheed Martin said today it has appointed Andy Adams to oversee its Future Vertical Lift work, effective Nov. 18.

"This appointment emphasizes that Lockheed Martin is bringing the full strength of its portfolio to FVL and demonstrates that the corporation is prepared to support accelerated fielding of these capabilities," the company said.

Adams previously was vice president and deputy general manager of the F-35 Lightning II program. He has spent 31 years at the company, including 29 at Skunk Works, Lockheed’s advanced development programs office.

By Marjorie Censer
November 7, 2019 at 11:13 AM

The chief executive of Huntington Ingalls Industries said today the company is working closely with the Navy on the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78), which has come under fire from Congress and top Navy officials in recent weeks.

Mike Petters told analysts during a call this morning that he has "spoken directly" with Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and the service's top procurement official, Hondo Geurts, about the ship.

The three "are aligned on the plan to get the ship ready for deployment as soon as possible," he said.

Petters told analysts the lead ship of a program marks a significant technological jump.

"A lead ship is not . . . an incremental change in technology; it's usually three or four generations of change in technology," he said.

Petters said the company has to be "agile and flexible" in how it makes improvements or fixes and "balance that with the need for the Navy to operate the ship."

"So that's the way we have proceeded with the whole range of technologies that we have out there," he added.

Petters said some improvements will be made under existing contracts, some will be covered under a warranty and others will become "new scope."

He also said the company is "at the point now where we really need to go to contract" on Block V of the Virginia-class submarine program.

"I think we're on track for that, and we're heading to get to a contract by the end of the year," he added.

Meanwhile, HII said today sales in its most recent quarter totaled $2.2 billion, up almost 7% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The contractor was buoyed by sales growth in its Newport News Shipbuilding and technical solutions businesses. The technical solutions unit reported a 42% sales increase in the quarter.

HII recorded quarterly profit of $154 million, down 33% from the prior year.

By Tony Bertuca
November 7, 2019 at 9:48 AM

President Trump intends to nominate Elaine McCusker to be Defense Department comptroller, according to a White House announcement.

McCusker has been acting comptroller since July when David Norquist, the previous comptroller, was confirmed as deputy defense secretary. Prior to that, McCusker had been performing many of the role's duties as Norquist had been acting deputy defense secretary since January.

She previously served as the director of resources and analysis at U.S. Central Command, as deputy director of operations in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller and as a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

By Justin Katz
November 7, 2019 at 8:49 AM

The Pentagon's independent cost assessment office says the Navy will save $1.8 billion using a multiyear procurement contract to buy Block V Virginia-class submarines from General Dynamics Electric Boat, according to documents viewed by Inside Defense.

The cost savings estimate was sent to lawmakers Oct. 30 by Pentagon officials. It was sent with other documents that provided Congress the statutory 30-day notification prior to awarding the multibillion-dollar contract.

The dollar figure was first reported by Bloomberg.

The Navy has not awarded the Block V contract yet and in an email to Inside Defense a service spokesman declined to elaborate on the deal but said the contract will be awarded by the end of this calendar year.

The determination "was made following completion of a cost analysis conducted by the director [of] cost assessment and program evaluation . . . and the CAPE estimate of 6.8% MYP savings ($1.8 billion) supports the determination," Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord wrote in the documents provided to lawmakers.

Independent offices like CAPE provide third-party assessments of the Pentagon's budgetary and programmatic projections. Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts and Naval Sea Systems Command chief Vice Adm. Thomas Moore also sent letters to Congress in which they repeat CAPE's figures but do not offer a separate Navy estimate.

While the Navy has not announced the contents of its deal with Electric Boat, lawmakers earlier this week confirmed the contract includes nine submarines with an option for a tenth vessel.

By John Liang
November 6, 2019 at 2:07 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the possible ramifications of extending current stopgap spending legislation for up to a year, plus defense acquisition officials meeting with industry and more.

We start off with a look at the Navy's spending projections if a continuing resolution is extended for six months to a year:

Navy says six-month CR would postpone carrier refueling, Virginia-class procurement

A six-month stopgap continuing resolution would postpone the Navy's ability to refuel one of its Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and purchase one Virginia-class submarine, according to a fact sheet obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Navy fact sheet on effects of six-month, yearlong CR

The Air Force's top uniformed officer also spoke this morning about the effects of a CR on his service:

Goldfein identifies risks to Air Force projects amid continuing resolution talks

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein is warning about the risks that a potential six-month or yearlong continuing resolution could pose to planned new-start programs, production increases and military construction projects.

Document: Air Force fact sheet on effects of a six-month or yearlong CR

Goldfein, who spoke at an Air Force Association event, also discussed his service's efforts to build a "digital Air Force":

Goldfein: Air Force to shift $30B over FYDP to build 'irreversible momentum' for digital architecture

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said today the service's fiscal year 2021 budget submission aims to shift about $30 billion over the next five years from legacy programs into efforts that will help build the foundation for a "digital Air Force."

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Kevin Fahey, along with 10 other defense officials, will meet today with the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council:

Pentagon acquisition officials to huddle with defense industry

The top three defense industry associations are scheduled to meet with a team of Pentagon acquisition officials today amid the finalization of significant changes to procurement policy.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave a speech this week at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference:

China exporting lethal, autonomous weapons to Middle East, Esper warns

The Chinese government is exporting armed drones advertised as being capable of "full autonomy," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday in a speech aimed at drawing distinctions between the United States and China's competing approaches to artificial intelligence.