The Insider

By Justin Katz
September 18, 2019 at 12:14 PM

BAE Systems said today it will "simultaneously" dry-dock two Navy destroyers during upcoming maintenance availabilities at its San Diego facility.

The company yesterday received $170 million in maintenance contracts for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Decatur (DDG-73) and Stethem (DDG-63), according to a Defense Department announcement.

"Positioned end to end" the ships will be "lifted together" inside the company's 950-foot-long dry dock, according to a company statement. The work on both ships is expected to be completed by October 2020, according to the Pentagon.

The contract award comes as the Navy struggles with its number of available dry docks. The service acknowledged the problem in its fiscal year 2020 maintenance and modernization plan and has solicited industry to identify unused facilities.

Top Navy shipbuilding officials told reporters at the Pentagon last week that certifying new dry docks could be part of a private shipyard investment plan the service is creating.

By Ashley Tressel
September 18, 2019 at 10:45 AM

The Army may have to do without the money it was expecting to save by cutting the CH-47 Chinook Block II upgrade in favor of modernizing other priority programs, according to the service's deputy chief of staff (G-8).

Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette at an Association of the United States Army event today said Congress' plan for the program is "not what we asked for."

His comments come after the Senate authorizers were the only congressional defense committee to support the Block II cut.

"I went with [Army Under] Secretary McCarthy and talked to all the staffers before we rolled [the budget request] out and after -- [there was] a broad consensus that what the Army was doing was the right thing, because it was based on the National Defense Strategy. Regardless of political party, or House or Senate, or whatever, there was not pushback on the rationale of what we were doing. And CH-47 . . . I flew up to the [Boeing] plant in Philadelphia with [Army acquisition executive Bruce] Jette and met with Congress and the plant folks on that one. That's an example of one that we're continuing to work. I think we're going to land in a place where everybody's comfortable with that too."

Pasquarette reiterated there would be changes to what the Army originally asked for in fiscal year 2020 as the service works things out with Congress.

"We're going through the marks right now on that, and there are adds in some places, reductions in others, and we're in the process of working with the staff up there on things we'd like them to reconsider and what we're OK with," he said.

Pasquarette told Inside Defense this summer cuts to the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program would also get a second look.

By Tony Bertuca
September 18, 2019 at 8:40 AM

The House voted Tuesday to enter conference committee negotiations with the Senate for the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill.

The Senate must now do the same.

Staffers said preliminary negotiations have already begun.

House majority Democrats and Senate majority Republicans remains at odds over a range of policy areas, including funding President Trump's southern border wall and proposed cuts to nuclear weapons spending.

Majority conferees are:

  • Rep. Adam Smith (WA), Chairman
  • Rep. Susan Davis (CA)
  • Rep. James Langevin (RI)
  • Rep. Rick Larsen (WA)
  • Rep. Jim Cooper (TN)
  • Rep. Joe Courtney (CT)
  • Rep. John Garamendi (CA)
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (CA)
  • Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ)
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ)
  • Rep. Seth Moulton (MA)
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA)
  • Rep. Anthony Brown (MD)
  • Rep. Ro Khanna (CA)
  • Rep. William Keating (MA)
  • Rep. Filemon Vela (TX)
  • Rep. Andy Kim (NJ)
  • Rep. Kendra Horn (OK)
  • Rep. Gil Cisneros (CA)

Minority conferees are:

  • Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX), Ranking Member
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (SC)
  • Rep. Michael Turner (OH)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (AL)
  • Rep. Michael Conaway (TX)
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO)
  • Rep. Robert Wittman (VA)
  • Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY)
  • Rep. Trent Kelly (MS)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (NE)
  • Rep. Jim Banks (IN)
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (WY)
By Marjorie Censer
September 17, 2019 at 3:17 PM

CACI International said today it is establishing a new office in San Antonio, TX, and expanding its office in Austin, TX.

The company will this week formally open its office in Port San Antonio, a technology campus. CACI said today it expects to hire cyber professionals, from engineers to intelligence analysts, in San Antonio to meet demand.

"The facility will also assist CACI’s continued participation in the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) National Security Collaboration Center," the company said.

In Austin, CACI said it has 200 employees working on Army, Navy and intelligence contracts in a 55,000-square-foot facility. CACI said it has also established an office in the Capital Factory, an Austin hub for startups and entrepreneurs.

By Jaspreet Gill
September 17, 2019 at 2:22 PM

The Army’s Synthetic Training Environment cross-functional team is holding an industry day next month for the Soldier/Squad Virtual Trainer. 

The industry day will be held in Monti Hall at Ft. Sill, OK, on Oct. 29, to provide details of the S/SVT requirements and demonstrations of current legacy capabilities. One-on-one vendor engagements will follow on Oct. 30. 

According to an announcement posted on the National Security Technology Accelerator website, the Army is looking for an S/SVT prototype that will give units the ability to demonstrate use of force, weapons skill development and joint fires training at the point of need. The Training Management Tool, Training Simulation Software and One World Terrain will enable the S/SVT to support soldier skill acquisition. 

The service will award an other transaction agreement for the S/SVT and will release a draft statement of need by the end of this month. The Army is seeking industry feedback by October and a request for solutions is anticipated to be released next January. 

By John Liang
September 17, 2019 at 1:49 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the annual Air Force Association conference plus Navy hypersonic weapons development, Navistar's dispute with the Army over the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles program and more.

We start off with coverage from the Air Force Association's annual conference:

Fighter PEO: Air Force finalizing F-15EX AQ strategy, considering EPAWSS capability

The Air Force is in the final stages of completing an acquisition strategy for the F-15EX, and is mapping out options for future capability upgrades, the program executive officer for fighters and bombers told Inside Defense.

Air Force to compete programs to demo ABMS effects, taps Skyborg

The Air Force is considering the Skyborg autonomous drone research effort as the first program to demonstrate effects for the Advanced Battle Management System.

(Check out our complete coverage of the AFA conference here.)

In a complaint filed this week with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Navistar contends the Army did not suspend performance of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles contract, awarded to Oshkosh Defense, in response to a July 8 protest Navistar filed with the Government Accountability Office:

Navistar takes Army to federal court over ongoing FMTV dispute

Navistar Defense is taking the Army to court for violating the "automatic stay" requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act in procuring vehicles as part of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles program.

Document: Navistar Defense's FMTV court filings

The Senate Appropriations Committee in a report accompanying its version of the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill said the Navy's acquisition executive approved using Section 804 rules as the CPS program's acquisition strategy, a detail not included in the service's latest budget justification documents:

Senate appropriators: Navy acquisition executive approved rapid prototyping for hypersonic weapon program

The Navy plans to use rapid prototyping authorities to develop its submarine-launched hypersonic strike weapon through the Conventional Prompt Strike program, a Senate panel revealed last week.

Navy Under Secretary Thomas Modly gave a speech at a Professional Services Council conference this week:

Modly acknowledges 355 ships won't happen in 'reasonable' amount of time

The Navy's second most senior civilian today acknowledged the service will not achieve its 355-ship goal in a "reasonable" amount of time and that without a $20 billion to $30 billion increase in annual funding, the Navy could only maintain between 305 and 308 ships.

Brig. Gen. Richard Angle, Army Cyber Command deputy commanding general for operations, spoke this week at an Association of the U.S. Army event:

Army Cyber Command building 'strategic framework' for multidomain operations

Army Cyber Command is working with U.S. Special Operations Command to build a "strategic framework" for multidomain operations, according to an Army official.

By Courtney Albon
September 17, 2019 at 11:50 AM

The Defense Department inspector general has ordered a review of the Air Force's KC-46 boom design and development process to determine whether the program "adhered to DOD and Air Force systems engineering processes."

The IG announced the review Sept. 16, and said it expects to begin this month.

The announcement does not detail a reason for the review, but it comes as the service is working with KC-46 prime contractor Boeing to redesign the tanker’s boom. The Air Force is footing the bill for the new design and awarded the company a $55.5 million contract modification in August to begin work on the effort.

The Air Force has said the tanker's current boom is too stiff to refuel some lighter aircraft, and the issue has been classified as a category 1 deficiency. The service expects Boeing to complete a redesign of the boom telescope actuator by February 2021.

By Sara Sirota
September 17, 2019 at 11:45 AM

Raytheon is developing a new medium-range, air-to-air missile called Peregrine that will have reduced size and cost, the company announced in a press release yesterday.

"Developed to strengthen the capabilities of current fighter aircraft, the new, smaller Peregrine missile is faster and more maneuverable than legacy medium-range, air-to-air missiles, and doubles the weapons loadout on a variety of fighter platforms," the release states.

The weapon will also have a miniaturized guidance system that can function in any weather condition. Raytheon says its engineering approach will allow for lower costs than other air-to-air missiles, too.

Peregrine "benefits from military off-the-shelf components, additive manufacturing processes and readily available materials to offer an affordable solution for countering current and emerging airborne threats," according to the press release.

The statement did not suggest any potential customers for the weapon.

By John Liang
September 16, 2019 at 2:13 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the Senate Appropriations Committee's latest defense spending bill, plus the Israeli Iron Dome air and missile defense system and more.

We start off with more coverage of Senate appropriators' FY-20 defense spending bill:

Senate looks to rescind $4.7B from DOD programs

The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed rescinding $4.7 billion in Defense Department funding allocated in previous years, with the steepest cuts hitting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, missile defense programs and an aid fund used to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgents.

Lawmakers want Pentagon's grand strategy for defense industrial base vulnerabilities

Senate appropriators want a holistic Pentagon strategy for shoring up critical vulnerabilities in the defense industrial base, as lawmakers are concerned Office of the Secretary of Defense leadership and the military services aren't all on the same page in addressing challenges to the supply chain.

Lawmakers push USAF for adaptive engine transition plan, propose $270M cut

The Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing a $270 million cut to the Air Force's Adaptive Engine Transition Program and are calling on the service to deliver details on plans to transition the new engine technology into major programs like the F-35.

Even though Harris' night vision business now belongs to Elbit Systems of America, Erik Fox will continue to run that business:

Elbit retains head of Harris' night vision business after acquisition

Elbit Systems of America, which closed on its purchase of Harris' night vision business over the weekend, said Erik Fox, who has led the business for five years, will remain its chief.

Parts of Israel's Iron Dome air and missile defense system can now be integrated with the Marine Corps' AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) and Common Aviation Command and Control System:

Marine Corps 'successfully' demos Iron Dome integration with G/ATOR, CAC2S

The Marine Corps successfully integrated elements of the Israeli-designed Iron Dome air and missile defense system with the service's existing radar and command and control system during a live-fire event last month, according to a government spokeswoman.

A senior Boeing executive is arguing an integrated team approach could shorten the GBSD program's schedule by at least two years and reduce the acquisition cost by about 10%:

Northrop rejects GBSD teaming proposal; Boeing requests Air Force involvement

Boeing is asking the Air Force to facilitate an integrated team approach for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program now that Northrop Grumman has turned down its pitch to collaborate.

The Army is drafting a "laboratory master plan" set to be completed in six to eight months:

Army Research Laboratory to fill infrastructure gaps with 'master plan'

The Army Research Laboratory is looking to modernize infrastructure at three of its facilities to support the service's modernization efforts.

Vice Adm. Tom Moore, Naval Sea Systems Command chief, recently spoke to reporters at the Pentagon:

Moore: Navy's private shipyard investment plan will mirror SIOP

With its public shipyard improvement efforts in full swing, the Navy is now developing a plan that would "mirror" those efforts for private shipyards, according to top Navy officials overseeing shipbuilding.

By Jaspreet Gill
September 16, 2019 at 11:24 AM

The head of U.S. Cyber Command says he is pleased with the progress the Army's direct commissioning program for cyber officers has made in recruiting talent.

Gen. Paul Nakasone at an Association of the U.S. Army event today said, "We have built it under the leadership of [Lt. Gen. Stephen] Fogarty and [Maj. Gen. John] Morrison, and now [Mag. Gen. Neil] Hersey, and a tremendous amount of capability brought in by [Training and Doctrine Command] to go from 16 officers to well over 300, and we're looking at 400 officers a year in the near future," Nakasone said. "But it's not only commissioned officers. Take a look at the warrant officers -- over 100 have been trained since 2015, and now we're on a pathway to 50 a year as we move out."

The Army has trained more than 322 officers at Ft. Gordon, GA, since 2015 and is looking to increase the number in the next year, Nakasone said.

Col. Paul Craft, chief of cyber and commandant of the Army Cyber School at Ft. Gordon, GA, told Inside Defense in August Army Cyber Command is considering expanding its direct commissioning program to other military specialties following the initial success.

By Sara Sirota
September 16, 2019 at 10:07 AM

Northrop Grumman has identified the companies included in its nationwide team as part of its proposal to develop the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

The team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, BRPH, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, Honeywell, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Parsons, Textron Systems and hundreds of other companies, according to a Northrop press release.

"Northrop Grumman has assembled a nationwide team of partners from across the defense, construction and engineering industries -- rich in ICBM missile systems expertise -- that is ready now to design, build and deliver a modernized strategic deterrence capability for our nation and its allies," Greg Manuel, Northrop vice president and GBSD enterprise leader, said in the notice.

Boeing, the other prime contractor in the program's ongoing technology-maturation and risk-reduction phase, announced on Friday that Northrop rejected its proposal to form a partnership, attributing its decision to a desire to preserve the team it prepared for competition. Boeing informed the Air Force in July it would not submit a bid to be the prime contractor for engineering and manufacturing development.

GBSD will replace the legacy Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system starting in the late 2020s.

By Sara Sirota
September 16, 2019 at 9:31 AM

The Senate Appropriations Committee is “dismayed” with the Air Force’s fiscal year 2020 acquisition plan for MQ-9 Reapers, recommending additional funding so the service can buy four more aircraft than proposed.

In its FY-20 budget request, the service asked for $361 million to purchase 12 Reapers, ground control stations, training equipment and other support items -- with an average aircraft unit cost of $20 million.

This price tag is 25% higher than in FY-19, when the Air Force estimated a $16 million price per aircraft for 24 Reapers in total.

In justification documents submitted to Congress with its FY-20 budget request, the Air Force acknowledged the higher unit cost and said 12 aircraft are the minimum sustaining rate for MQ-9s.

But Senate appropriators say this is still lower than the optimized production rate of 16 aircraft, resulting in a 20% penalty, according to a report accompanying their FY-20 defense spending bill, which passed through the committee last week.

The lawmakers scrutinize the Air Force’s future years defense program further, saying the service “is not appropriately budgeting for attrition reserve requirements” and recommending an additional $27 million on top of the proposed $361 million for FY-20.

Their report calls for the Air Force to use this sum, along with funds the service saves on the 12 budgeted aircraft by reaching the optimized rate, to purchase the four extra aircraft.

By Marjorie Censer
September 16, 2019 at 9:07 AM

General Dynamics said this month it has named Kevin Graney, who currently heads General Dynamics NASSCO, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat, effective Oct. 1.

David Carver, NASSCO’s vice president and general manager of repair, will succeed Graney. Jeffrey Geiger, who has led Electric Boat since 2013, will retire Sept. 30, according to the company.

By Tony Bertuca
September 16, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area this week as lawmakers look to begin conference negotiations on the defense authorization bill. The House is expected to vote on a stopgap continuing resolution, while the Senate continues deliberations on spending bills.

Monday

The Air Force Association hosts the Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, MD.

The Professional Services Council hosts its Tech Trends conference in Washington.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on cyber operations in Washington.

The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion on cyber and network topics in Arlington, VA.

Tuesday

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance hosts an event with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the situation in southeastern Europe.

CACI International holds an investor day in New York.

Wednesday

The Association of the United States Army hosts a breakfast with the service's top budget programmer in Arlington, VA.

By Mallory Shelbourne
September 13, 2019 at 5:00 PM

The Navy is establishing a new deputy assistant secretary role that will focus on sustainment, according to a top service official.

Navy acquisition chief Hondo Geurts during a roundtable at the Pentagon today told reporters the service will officially stand up the position Oct. 1. The individual will report to Geurts.

He or she will "have oversight of that function from a policy and oversight activity much like we do for acquisition programs," Geurts told reporters.

"That won't fundamentally change . . . [where] the work [is] getting done in the case of ship depot maintenance -- largely through [Naval Sea Systems Command chief Adm. Tom Moore]'s team," he continued.

Geurts noted the new role's creation follows a provision in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill that places sustainment under his purview as the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

While Geurts did not disclose who would fill the deputy assistant secretary job, he said work establishing the new post is ongoing.

"What's particularly I think encouraging from my perspective is it will also let us continue to draw the research and development functions, the acquisition functions, and the sustainment functions closer together and so that we can ensure we're fully leveraging all the things we're doing in science and technology and [research and development] to help sustainment," he said.

The Navy will be "taking lessons learned from sustainment into new construction and then more closely linking new construction to the sustainment through life-support activities, so we don't get a handoff or issues there," Geurts added.

The Navy's decision to form the new deputy assistant secretary role also comes as the service grapples with ship maintenance issues like a submarine maintenance logjam that has caught lawmakers' attention.

House appropriators earlier this year directed the Navy to shift $653 million from its Virginia-class submarine account to operations and maintenance. The Navy in its annual unfunded priorities list estimated the cost to service three of its Los Angeles-class submarines awaiting maintenance availabilities at $653 million.