The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
December 9, 2019 at 4:20 PM

General Dynamics said today Gary Whited, the president of General Dynamics Land Systems, plans to retire on April 1.

He will be succeeded by Danny Deep, GDLS' chief operating officer.

By John Liang
December 9, 2019 at 1:57 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's ongoing force structure assessment, the JEDI cloud contract battle, plus coverage from this weekend's Reagan Forum in California.

The Navy's top civilian plans to "become involved" in the service's force structure assessment, which has been ongoing for more than a year, and will require regular briefings:

Modly sets Jan. 15 as deadline to publish new Navy force structure assessment

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly recently outlined his priorities as the service's interim top civilian and for the first time set a deadline, Jan. 15, 2020, to unveil the results of the latest force structure assessment that could affect the Navy's stated goal of 355 ships, according to a new memo obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Modly 'vector' memo on Navy force structure assessments

Amazon contends the Pentagon's decision to award the potential 10-year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract to Microsoft in October included "egregious errors":

Amazon alleges DOD moved JEDI cloud goalposts to accommodate Trump's feud with Bezos

Amazon Web Services is arguing Defense Department officials "took numerous actions to systematically remove" the company's edge in the race to win a massive cloud contract after President Trump publicly criticized Amazon and its chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Amazon's CEO also spoke at this weekend's Reagan Forum in California:

Bezos calls on U.S. 'big tech' to not turn its back on the Defense Department

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, called on leaders of U.S. big technology firms to not "turn their backs" on the Defense Department, even if some employees have misgivings about developing new technology for the U.S. military.

Here's more of our coverage from the Reagan Forum:

Service chiefs outline challenges of great power competition

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The U.S. military service chiefs said today China and Russia's rise as great military powers pose significant and varied challenges to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Esper calls for 'tough choices' as DOD develops latest budget request

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Defense Secretary Mark Esper called on Defense Department leaders to make "tough choices" in cutting legacy systems and investing in new technologies as DOD eyes the end-game in building its fiscal year 2021 budget request.

Smith, Rogers confirm Space Force deal, decline to offer details

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- House lawmakers confirmed Saturday the conference committee has reached an agreement on language to authorize a new military service for space, but declined to offer details on the proposed language.

(Related: USAF identifies forces, budget allocation to launch Space Force in FY-21)

Barrett: SPACECOM basing process may 'take a little more time'

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The Air Force is working to assure it recommends a U.S. Space Command headquarters location that is defensible and its site selection process is not vulnerable to legal challenges, according to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.

A group of approximately 35 investors, referred to as the "defense investor network," is following promising commercial technologies with potential military applications:

Network of U.S. defense investors eyeing dual-use technologies

An informal group of U.S. investors tracking dual-use technologies of interest to the Pentagon has emerged over the past year.

By Justin Doubleday
December 9, 2019 at 12:44 PM

The National Spectrum Consortium today released a second pair of draft requests for prototype proposals detailing how the Defense Department wants to collaborate with industry on fifth-generation telecommunications technologies.

The draft RPPs released today include an effort to use 5G technologies at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, for augmented reality and virtual reality "to allow combat-like training in combat training locations enhanced by 5G communications technologies," according to a special notice by DOD. The actual draft RPP documents are only available to NSC members.

"The purpose of this effort is to demonstrate how 5G communications technologies can support realistic distributed training and develop fieldable equipment and systems to integrate these technologies into ongoing training operations," the notice states.

The technology is of particular interest to the Army, according to the notice. The Army's First Corps is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where the three-star command is especially focused on the Indo-Pacific region.

The other draft RPP released today is for "smart warehouse and asset management" at the Naval Supply Systems Command's Fleet Logistics Center in San Diego, CA, according to the notice.

"This project will leverage 5G networking in a Naval Base warehouse environment to identify, test, validate, and transition into operational use the 5G enabled warehouse and logistics improvements that improve the efficiency, accuracy, security, and safety of materiel and supply handling, management, storage, and distribution (delivery or shipping)," the notice states.

The project is intended to support a "Warehouse Management System" capable of interfacing with the existing Navy Enterprise Resource Planning Accountable Property System of Record, the notice continues. "The warehouse management system will optimize warehouse operation for receipt, putaway, replenishment, pick, pack, and ship operations," according to the notice.

The NSC is accepting responses to these latest draft RPPs from its members through Dec. 23, according to the notice. Late last month, the NSC released the first two draft 5G RPPs. Responses to those drafts are due by Dec. 16.

By Tony Bertuca
December 9, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill this week. Other senior Pentagon leaders are slated to appear at events around the Washington area.

Tuesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Kevin Fahey on the U.S. industrial partnership with South Korea.

The House Armed Services personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on diversity in recruiting and retention.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on U.S. policy in Syria and the broader region.

The House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on "climate change in the era of strategic competition."

Thursday

DOD Chief Information Office Dana Deasy speaks at the annual AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day conference in Arlington, VA.

George Washington University and MITRE Corp. host a nuclear weapons modernization seminar featuring senior government officials.

Friday

The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

By Jason Sherman
December 7, 2019 at 12:00 PM

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- House and Senate lawmakers have concluded prolonged negotiations over a fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill, paving the way for votes in both chambers beginning as soon as this week, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry (R-TX) announced here today.

“We have reached agreement on this year's defense authorization bill,” Thornberry said in remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum here, eliciting vigorous applause from the audience here of defense industry and national security experts. “The House will vote on a Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act as soon as Wednesday and in the Senate shortly thereafter.”

“My request to you is: Whatever your role, whatever levers of influence you have use them and help the [House] appropriators get the appropriations bill passed before Dec. 21,” Thornberry said.

The federal government is currently operating on a stopgap spending measure that expires on Dec. 20.

By Jaspreet Gill
December 6, 2019 at 4:15 PM

The Army is looking for technology to develop a "Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node."

According to a Dec. 4 Army notice, the service wants "a future mobile intelligence ground station architecture to operate at brigade, division, corps and field Army echelons, in vehicles and shelters organic to the formation."

Led by the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, TITAN will be the Army's intelligence ground system and provide access to low-earth orbit satellites.

The system is a part of the future Battle Management Command and Communication program, a new-start in fiscal year 2020 estimated to cost the Army $93.5 million. The Senate Armed Services Committee recently approved a $7.5 million reprogramming request to meet prototyping and procurement benchmarks for BMCC, according to a statement provided to Inside Defense by the Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team.

TITAN would reduce the footprint of existing radio frequency receiving and transmitting equipment, leverage content delivery network technology and support situational awareness and understanding, the notice says.

Examples of existing technologies include artificial intelligence algorithms; hyper-converged architecture solutions; cloud gateways and "integrated Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Modular Open Suite of Standards solutions."

TITAN is planned to replace the current Tactical-Intelligence Ground Station, Operational-Intelligence Ground Station, Advanced Miniaturized Data Acquisition System Dissemination Vehicle and Remote Ground Terminal, according to the notice.

The Army is considering using other transaction authority for prototyping efforts. Responses are due Dec. 20.

By Marjorie Censer
December 6, 2019 at 2:23 PM

The chief executive of Science Applications International Corp. said this week the company is seeing only minor effects from the continuing resolution in place.

During a call with analysts, Nazzic Keene said there are "a couple of specific cases where the customer cannot expand the work based on the CR situation."

"But it's very minor," she continued. "We don't see a significant impact to the portfolio, and we'll continue to navigate it. We have navigated CRs many times in the past."

Asked about significant recompetitions ahead for SAIC, Keene said the company is preparing to defend its work for Army Aviation and Missile Command.

"It is not a single task order or a single contract; it's bundled around several," Keene said. "But over the course of the next 12 months to 18 months, that portfolio will go through a recompete cycle."

Keene said SAIC sees an upside, however, because as the Army continues "to refine [its] acquisition strategy, the opportunity actually exists for SAIC to expand its footprint and its work with this particular customer."

Meanwhile, SAIC said this week sales in its most recent quarter reached $1.6 billion, up 38% from the same three-month period a year earlier. The company reported quarterly profit of $55 million, up almost 15% from a year earlier.

By John Liang
December 6, 2019 at 2:12 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy force structure assessments and Air Force nuclear cruise missile designs, along with coverage of the effects of the ongoing continuing resolution.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities Vice Adm. James Kilby detailed the service's view of future force-structure assessments at this week's U.S. Naval Institute Defense Forum:

Navy eyeing 'ongoing process' for force structure assessments

The Navy plans to continue the analysis work for its force structure assessments on an ongoing basis to ensure the service's investment priorities remain relevant.

The Air Force recently achieved a new milestone for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon:

Air Force approves Lockheed, Raytheon to proceed with nuclear cruise missile designs

The Air Force has completed system-level reviews of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon's respective designs for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon and has given its stamp of approval for both contractors to continue with their plans.

We also have coverage of the effects of the ongoing continuing resolution on the Missile Defense Agency, Marine Corps and Air Force:

MDA: Yearlong CR puts key FY-20 missile defense priorities at risk

High-priority Missile Defense Agency projects slated for fiscal year 2020 are at risk of being hamstrung beginning this month if Congress and the White House do not agree to a spending bill, with a Standard Missile-3 Block IB multiyear procurement deal, launch of the Next Generation Interceptor program and more at risk in the event of a yearlong continuing resolution.

Marine Corps general says program waivers under CR are 'very unlikely'

A Marine Corps general overseeing weapons acquisition said today he is skeptical his service would receive program waivers under the current continuing resolution.

Air Force sent OSD a CR anomalies list in October

The Air Force has sent the Office of the Secretary of Defense a list of priority programs for potential waivers from Congress under the ongoing continuing resolution.

By John Liang
December 5, 2019 at 3:36 PM

The Defense Department this week announced it met its small business contracting goal in fiscal year 2018, marking the fifth consecutive year DOD has reached its target.

The department "awarded 24% of federal contract dollars -- or $72 billion -- to small businesses, an increase of almost $11 billion over the previous year," according to a statement posted on the Pentagon's industrial policy office website. FY-18 "marks the first time the department awarded more than $70 billion in prime contracts to small businesses. The department also awarded $49 billion in subcontracts to small businesses -- a $7 billion increase over FY 2017."

Additionally, DOD prime and subcontracts awarded to small businesses in FY-18 exceeded $120 billion for the first time, according to Scott Baum, acting director of small business programs within the office of industrial policy.

In FY-18, the department exceeded the prime contract goals for small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and small disadvantaged businesses, according to the industrial policy office. "DOD prime contract awards to small businesses represented 59% of all federal contract awards to small businesses. Additionally, the department represented 61% of federal subcontract awards to small businesses and surpassed the subcontract goal for women-owned small businesses."

By Marjorie Censer
December 5, 2019 at 2:29 PM

Early hypersonics efforts will likely "get necked down" into one or two production programs in future years, the chief financial officer of Lockheed Martin said today.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse conference, Ken Possenriede praised his company's focus on "attacking" hypersonics work as a corporation.

"We've done a nice job of mainly the space business, aeronautics, missiles and fire control, working in an integrated fashion," he said. "In parallel, you've had the customer set work more in alliance than you've normally seen."

Possenriede touted Lockheed’s awards in the Tactical Boost Glide and Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon programs, among others.

"This is all programs that are in development, prototype," he said, noting some of these programs will soon do first launches.

"Then I think what you’ll see is a lot of these programs will get necked down, morph into one or two programs and then become production programs," Possenriede added, noting that Lockheed speculates there could be production programs worth $5 billion over the next couple of years.

By John Liang
December 5, 2019 at 1:49 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the FY-20 defense policy bill, the continuing resolution, the Joint Strike Fighter program and more.

Negotiations on the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill could be nearing completion:

Smith sheds light on negotiations as defense policy bill potentially nears finish line

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today "it is very much possible" that by the end of the day lawmakers could agree on a bipartisan path for the stalled fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill.

Related policy bill news:

Trump's wall punted from defense policy bill to appropriators

Lawmakers negotiating the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill have decided it would be best for congressional appropriators to address President Trump's use of Pentagon funds to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without the consent of Congress, though the authorization bill remains stalled over other issues.

More coverage of the continuing resolution, which expires on Dec. 20:

Air Force sent OSD a CR anomalies list in October

The Air Force has sent the Office of the Secretary of Defense a list of priority programs for potential waivers from Congress under the ongoing continuing resolution.

Joint Strike Fighter news:

Lockheed targeting spring 2020 for F-35 Distributed Mission Training delivery

F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin hopes to begin deliveries next spring of a Distributed Mission Training capability that will allow Air Force aircraft to connect in virtual environments.

Vice Adm. Thomas Moore, the head of Naval Sea Systems Command, spoke to the media this week about the Navy's shipyards:

Navy to issue RFP for shipyard sustainment program management

The Navy in February plans to issue a request for proposals to manage its naval sustainment effort for shipyards.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin spoke at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on space this week:

Griffin: SDA a 'casualty' of ongoing continuing resolution

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin said this week the fledgling Space Development Agency has had to slow down or pause some early architecture work as the Pentagon awaits congressional action on fiscal year 2020 defense spending legislation.

John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, spoke at a recent Defense Writers Group breakfast:

Top DOD policy official wants export control reform to allow greater tech transfer with U.S. allies

The Pentagon's top policy official said today he favors some of the proposals being promoted by current and former government officials who seek to establish a new technology transfer oversight regime for the United States and its most trusted allies.

By Ashley Tressel
December 5, 2019 at 11:17 AM

President Trump announced today he plans to nominate Jim McPherson as the new Army under secretary, a position he has occupied since June in an "acting" capacity.

If confirmed by the Senate, McPherson would succeed current Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who previously held the post.

McPherson previously served as the general counsel of the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity.

"A retired rear admiral, Mr. McPherson's final assignment was as the 39th Judge Advocate General of the Navy," according to the White House. "He first gained military experience as an enlisted member of the United States Army, later being commissioned as an ensign in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps."

By Justin Doubleday
December 4, 2019 at 3:56 PM

Google's cloud services arm today announced it achieved a "high impact" federal security authorization, clearing the way for the company to host the government’s most sensitive unclassified data.

Google Cloud Platform received a "High" authorization to operate for 17 products in five cloud regions under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), Google vice president for public sector Mike Daniels wrote in a blog post today. GCP also recently expanded its existing FedRAMP Moderate authorization to 64 products in 17 cloud regions, according to Daniels.

The new security authorization comes as Google looks to ramp up its enterprise services business, especially for public-sector customers.

"These new certifications reflect our continued investment and support for customers in the U.S. public sector, and is another example of momentum we’re seeing as government agencies move to the cloud," Daniels wrote.

Under FedRAMP, "High impact data" usually involves law enforcement and emergency services systems, financial systems, health systems, and any other system "where loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability could be expected to have a severe or catastrophic adverse effect on organizational operations, organizational assets, or individuals," according to FedRAMP's website.

Google still lags behind cloud computing giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in its federal security certifications. Its lack of FedRAMP authorizations is one reason the company cited in its decision to forego bidding on the Defense Department’s potential 10-year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud services contract.

Last month, the Pentagon announced Microsoft as the winner of the JEDI contract, although Amazon is challenging the decision in court.

Google has also faced questions about its willingness to work with the federal government and DOD after it pulled out of the Pentagon's "Project Maven" artificial intelligence project last year.

In November, Google senior vice president for public affairs Kent Walker attempted to assuage concerns about whether the company is willing to engage with DOD and the broader national security apparatus. He said Google is still working with DOD on a number of initiatives, including cybersecurity, business process automation and healthcare.

"It is an area where it's right that we decided to press the reset button until we had an opportunity to develop our own set of AI principles, our own work with regard to internal standards and review processes," Walker said about the Project Maven contract.

"But that was a decision focused on a discrete contract, not a broader statement about our willingness or our history of working with the Department of Defense and the national security administration," he added.

By Sara Sirota
December 4, 2019 at 3:46 PM

The Air Force will hold an event with industry to discuss pre-engineering activities for a new command-and-control aircraft system that's intended to replace the aging E-4B National Airborne Operations Center.

The Survivable Airborne Operations Center will feature modern communications, networks and advanced C2 subsystems aboard a new, commercial derivative aircraft, according to a notice the service released today. The legacy E-4B fleet consists of four 1970s-era Boeing aircraft that are nearing the end of their service lives.

The SAOC program office will host the industry day next February at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. Responses are due Dec. 20.

Meanwhile, the Air Force's fiscal year 2020 budget documents show the service anticipates needing more than $535 million in research and development funding over the next five years for the NAOC recapitalization effort. They describe SAOC as an optimized fleet that has the airborne command center capabilities provided by both the E-4B and Navy's E-6B.

By Marjorie Censer
December 4, 2019 at 2:15 PM

AeroVironment's chief executive said this week the company has submitted its proposal for a three-year, sole-source contract for the Army's Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System.

"This hardware production contract to AeroVironment would cover government fiscal years 2020 through 2022," Wahid Nawabi said in a call with analysts. "We anticipate this award would be worth up to $160 million over that time period."

Nawabi said the award would be the "single largest sole-source, multiyear award ever for our innovative Switchblade solution."

Additionally, he told analysts the company has seen "significant progress" working with U.S. export authorities on exporting Switchblade.

"Multiple allies have expressed strong interest in Switchblade," Nawabi added.

Meanwhile, AeroVironment said sales in its most recent quarter totaled $83 million, up 14% from the same three-month period a year earlier. The company attributed the increase to product sales growth.

AeroVironment's quarterly profit reached $7.5 million, up 24% from the prior year.