The Insider

Tony Bertuca | August 7, 2018 at 12:54 PM

The United Kingdom's top defense official today stressed military relations with the United States remain strong thanks partly to robust industrial partnerships and foreign military sales, though he noted that "some" are quick to discount the UK's contributions to global stability.

"Some mistakenly believe that only America can develop cutting edge technologies and capabilities," UK Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

"That has never been and never will be the case," he continued. "The UK has always brought something special to the table."

Williamson said the UK is a top partner on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and is today procuring more than 50 types of defense equipment from the United States, including P-8 maritime aircraft, Apache attack helicopters and Reaper drones.

"All the while, UK industry is creating U.S. jobs," he said. "UK defense companies employ more than 56,000 staff in the United States, with UK business employing more than 1 million U.S. employees. We're helping fund programs collectively supporting the livelihoods of 160,000 Americans."

Williamson said the defense relationship between both nations is a "two-way street -- you invest in us and we invest in you."

"Why reinvent the wheel when you can buy from a trusted partner?" he said.

Meanwhile, President Trump made headlines last month when he was quoted criticizing UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a British tabloid, though he attempted to walk the comments back in a joint press conference.

"I said very good things about Theresa May," Trump said. I don't think they put it in, but that's all right."

At the press conference, Trump also criticized NATO for being a security burden on the United States.

"NATO is really there for Europe, much more so than us," he said. "It helps Europe. No matter what our military people or your military people say, it helps Europe more than it helps us."

Speaking in Washington today, Williamson pointed out that the only time NATO's collective defense provision -- Article V -- has been invoked was after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.

"We will always be the most natural of partners together," he said. "Never, never underestimate my nation."

Williamson said the UK expects to announce a new defense modernization program in the coming months that will ensure the U.S. can "continue to rely on us far into the future."

"We will continue seeking the views of our close Pentagon colleagues," he said of the planned program, though he declined to discuss specifics, including how much the UK will spend.

"Our program will transform our defense business," he said. "The next phase is all about delivery."

Marjorie Censer | August 7, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Boeing today said it has invested in Burlington, MA-based Digital Alloys, which is developing high-speed, multimetal additive manufacturing systems.

The company's "technology can rapidly combine multiple metals into each part, which enhances thermal, electrical, magnetic and mechanical properties," Boeing said. "The process allows metals like titanium and high-temperature alloys to be 3D-printed for parts that could be used on Boeing products."

Boeing said it already has more than 60,000 3D-printed parts in its space, commercial and defense products.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the contractor's innovation cell, participated in Digital Alloys' series B funding round, which was led by G20 Ventures.

Justin Doubleday | August 7, 2018 at 11:40 AM

Oracle America filed a pre-award protest this week against the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure solicitation, as the company argues the contract will lock DOD into a “legacy cloud” for the next decade.

The bid protest, filed Aug. 6, comes less than two weeks after the Defense Department issued the formal request for proposals for the JEDI cloud program. The Government Accountability Office has until Nov. 14 to decide on the case.

"The technology industry is innovating around next-generation cloud at an unprecedented pace and JEDI virtually assures DOD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more," Oracle said in a statement. "The single-award approach is contrary to industry’s multi-cloud strategy, which promotes constant competition, fosters innovation and lowers prices. The DOD seeks to procure so-called 'commercial services' that are wholly inconsistent with the commercial sector and the [determination and findings] falls far from meeting the rigorous legal standards required for a single award contract."

The statement refers to a "determination and findings" document signed by Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord authorizing the JEDI program to award such a large indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to a single source.

Since late last year, controversy has swirled around DOD's plan to make one award for the JEDI program. Despite strong push back from some quarters of industry, DOD stuck with the single-award strategy in the final RFP. Amazon Web Services is seen as the front-runner in the winner-takes-all competition due to its past work with the CIA in deploying classified data to its commercial cloud services.

In a letter released alongside the RFP, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy wrote the department "will always have a multiple cloud environment, but we need to do better in applying an enterprise approach to that environment."

"To successfully accomplish this, we are looking for an industry partner who will learn with us and help us find the best ways to bring foundational commercial capabilities to our warfighters," he added.

Oracle has been quietly leading the push back against JEDI and other recent DOD cloud plans linked to Amazon. Earlier this year, when the Pentagon inked an award with a ceiling of $950 million for cloud migration services with REAN Cloud, which touts itself as an AWS “premier partner,” Oracle protested.

Even after the Pentagon dialed back the contract ceiling to $65 million, GAO upheld Oracle's protest.

The JEDI contract could last up to 10 years and be worth upwards of $10 billion. DOD officials say it should help warfighters by pooling and sharing information across units, from bases in the United States down to deployed troops in austere environments abroad.

Industry has until Aug. 16 to ask questions about the RFP. Companies have until Sept. 17 to submit their proposals. The RFP shows the contract's base period starting in April 2019.

Marjorie Censer | August 7, 2018 at 9:31 AM

BWX Technologies, which builds the nuclear reactors used on Navy aircraft carriers and submarines, said this week sales in its most recent quarter reached $439 million, up 7 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company's quarterly profit hit $60.7 million, essentially flat from the prior year.

BWXT's nuclear operations group, which includes its naval work, reported quarterly sales of $332 million, up 6 percent from a year earlier as a result of “higher missile tube volume and more fuel activity.”

Marjorie Censer | August 6, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Leidos said today it has named Randy Phillips senior vice president for corporate development, tasked with leading "the strategic development and execution of Leidos' growth strategy through mergers, acquisitions, and related activities."

Phillips most recently held the same role at Ellucian. He was also an executive at Boeing, Computer Sciences Corp., Alcoa and TRW and has been an adviser to private equity firms, public and private companies and investment management and advisory firms.

John Liang | August 6, 2018 at 2:52 PM

A new DSB report on weapons of mass destruction, the Air Force's light-attack aircraft effort and more highlight this Monday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The unclassified executive summary of a new Defense Science Board report is out:

DSB recommends new roadmap to bolster defense against weapons of mass destruction

A Pentagon advisory panel is advancing two dozen recommendations for changes in policy, organization, personnel and technology that collectively aim to improve the U.S. military's ability to deter, prevent the threat from -- and deal with the aftermath of an attack of -- chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, according to a summary of a three-volume, classified report.

Document: Executive summary of DSB report on countering WMDs


In related news, the DSB is meeting this week to discuss a summer study on "strategic surprise":

DSB to brief senior leaders on 'strategic surprise' study this week

The Defense Science Board will hold a series of closed-to-the-public meetings this week to discuss "potential technical gaps in Department of Defense capabilities that may affect subsequent decisions and actions of U.S. commanders and warfighters in the next decade," according to an Aug. 3 Federal Register notice.

The Air Force only has two companies in mind to build a light-attack aircraft:

Air Force to award light-attack contract in late FY-19

The Air Force plans to choose a light-attack aircraft by the end of fiscal year 2019, and is only considering bids from Textron and Sierra Nevada, according to a recent presolicitation notice.

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Army cyber news:

Army Cyber commander calls cyber-only mindset 'limiting'

When it comes to the plethora of threats in cyberspace, the Army should consider a host of options --  not just cyber -- to counter them, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, head of Army Cyber Command.

Related news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Defense policy bill includes rejection of low-cost considerations praised as cybersecurity win by industry

Buried in the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill awaiting President Trump's signature is a provision that discourages the use of cost as the primary concern when procuring certain services across all federal agencies, which industry groups are celebrating as big win for cybersecurity.

Tony Bertuca | August 6, 2018 at 12:36 PM

The Pentagon has banned Defense Department personnel from using geolocation features -- like smartphone fitness trackers -- on all personal electronic devices used in operational areas.

“Effective immediately, DOD personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on both non-government and government-issued devices, applications, and services while in locations designated as operational areas,” according to an Aug. 3 memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

For non-operational areas, DOD leaders are advised to “consider the inherent risks” associated with using electronic devices with geolocation capabilities.

“The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications, and services with geolocation capabilities (e.g., fitness trackers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and related software applications) presents significant risk to Department of Defense (DOD) personnel both on and off duty, and to our military operations globally,” Shanahan writes. “These geolocation capabilities can expose personal information, locations, routines, and numbers of DOD personnel, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.”

Shanahan has directed the Pentagon's chief information officer and the under secretary of defense for intelligence to develop joint geolocation risk management guidance and training to inform commanders and other DOD leaders.

“DOD CIO, in collaboration with USD(I), will update the annual Cybersecurity Awareness training to assist DOD personnel in identifying and understanding risks posed by geolocation capabilities embedded in devices and applications,” the memo states.

In developing the policy, officials wanted to give commanders "latitude" and "some type of space to make decisions on the ground," DOD spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters at the Pentagon today. 

"When it comes to the punishment provided in the policy, I would say right now that that has to be determined on a case-by-case basis for what echelon of command was responsible for punishing any violations of it, depending on how egregious the violation was obviously," Manning said.

Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ordered a review of the use of personal electronic devices after U.S. troops inadvertently revealed sensitive information via a popular fitness app.

Additional reporting by Justin Doubleday

Marjorie Censer | August 6, 2018 at 5:15 AM

The Space and Missile Defense Symposium and several defense industry events are on the docket for this week.

Tuesday

U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten and Army Space and Missile Defense Command chief Lt. Gen. James Dickinson both speak at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, AL.

The Atlantic Council hosts an event with Gavin Williamson, the United Kingdom's defense secretary.

NextGov hosts an event on insider threats, featuring Charlie Phalan, director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, among others.

Leidos will participate in the Jefferies 2018 Global Industrials conference in New York City.

Wednesday

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves and Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin speak at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

Army Training and Doctrine Command hosts a two-day Mad Scientist Conference at Georgetown University.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions will participate in the Jefferies 2018 Global Industrials conference in New York City.

Thursday

Kratos will also participate in the Canaccord Genuity 38th Annual Growth Conference in Boston.

Friday

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva speaks at a Mitchell Institute breakfast on "Nuclear Deterrence, Missile Defense, and Space: Paths Forward."

John Liang | August 6, 2018 at 5:10 AM

Some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Navy:

1. The Navy aims to reduce its strike fighter inventory shortfall from an anticipated 61 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in fiscal year 2020 to a "new single-digit norm" by FY-24, according to documents viewed by Inside the Navy.

Full story: Strike fighter shortfall to reach 'single-digit norm' in FY-24

2. The Defense Department is asking congressional permission to shift $85 million between fiscal year 2018 war spending accounts to immediately launch more than a dozen new-start intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs across all four services in support of combatant commander needs.

Full story: DOD seeks OK to launch ISR new-starts with $85M reprogramming

3. The Navy prematurely declared initial operational capability for three Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasure mission packages, according to a government watchdog.

Full story: DOD IG: Navy prematurely declared IOC on three LCS MCM mission packages

4. House and Senate lawmakers have agreed the Pentagon needs to conduct a major review of its roles and missions, but decided to forgo measures that would have mandated revalidations of several key weapon systems and prohibited increases in the number of U.S. troops.

Full story: Lawmakers tone down push for broad DOD roles and mission review

John Liang | August 6, 2018 at 5:05 AM

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. An influential Army advisory panel is preparing an independent assessment of the service's realignment of its science and technology portfolio to recommend any further recalibration in response to evolving threats while sticking to the service's $2.4 billion annual S&T budget.

Full story: Panel readying study of Army's $2.4B S&T investment plan

2. The Army is inviting industry to get in on the ground floor of experimentation to develop more sophisticated systems to operate on the future tactical network.

Full story: Army pursuing satellites, more bandwidth for integrated tactical network

3. The latest defense policy bill agreed to by congressional authorizers doesn't alter the Pentagon's ability to award other transaction agreements, despite controversy surrounding a nearly $1 billion OTA made earlier this year.

Full story: Authorizers leave OTA untouched; DOD heeds 'warning shot'

4. Lawmakers have rolled back a Pentagon gambit to classify missile defense flight test plans by including a provision in the final version of the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill explicitly requiring the Missile Defense Agency to annually make public a version of scheduled test events for the $180 billion Ballistic Missile Defense System.

Full story: Lawmakers override Pentagon on classifying missile defense test plans

John Liang | August 3, 2018 at 2:14 PM

A pending Army Science Board study, the Air Force's Next-Generation ISR Flight Plan and more highlight this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Army Science Board is slated this month to present findings of a new science and technology study:

Panel readying independent assessment of Army's $2.4B S&T investment plan

An influential Army advisory panel is preparing an independent assessment of the service's realignment of its science and technology portfolio to recommend any further recalibration in response to evolving threats while sticking to the service's $2.4 billion annual S&T budget.

Senior Air Force intelligence officials recently outlined the broad strokes of the service's Next-Generation ISR Flight Plan:

Air Force launches new ISR flight plan to shape next-gen enterprise

Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance leaders this week offered a peek into their newly approved Next-Generation ISR Flight Plan, which aims to boost the service's capabilities in space and cyberspace and position the enterprise for data-driven, high-end combat over the next decade.

The Army's program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical spoke this week at an AUSA event:

Army pursuing satellites, more bandwidth for integrated tactical network

The Army is inviting industry to get in on the ground floor of experimentation to develop more sophisticated systems to operate on the future tactical network.

Senior DOD officials are working to come up with an "affordable construct" for a space-based sensor layer, according to Gen. John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command:

STRATCOM chief says space-based missile defense sensor layer can be 'quite affordable'

The head of U.S. Strategic Command says developing and deploying space-based sensors to track ballistic missiles can be "quite affordable," in part due to new "commercial elements," despite cost concerns quashing past efforts to develop such a capability.

Related STRATCOM news, in case you missed it:

STRATCOM chief: Nuclear programs may need 'work-arounds' to stay on schedule

U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten said this week he is willing to be flexible on accuracy and other aspects of new nuclear weapons programs if an "operational work-around" would save time and money.

Marjorie Censer | August 3, 2018 at 1:47 PM

Cubic said this week it has named Bradford Powell vice president and general manager of the command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- or C2ISR -- solutions business within Cubic Mission Solutions.

Powell "will be responsible for the continued and successful execution of the C2ISR business portfolio of programs and will also lead the development and execution of the C2ISR business growth strategy," the company said.

Powell previously was an executive at Northrop Grumman, where he oversaw the Global Combat Support System-Army program, among others, according to Cubic.

He also was an Air Force acquisition officer, serving as program manager for a portfolio of tactical data link integration programs.

John Liang | August 3, 2018 at 10:17 AM

The Defense Science Board will hold a series of closed-to-the-public meetings next week to discuss "potential technical gaps in Department of Defense capabilities that may affect subsequent decisions and actions of U.S. commanders and warfighters in the next decade," according to a notice posted in today's Federal Register.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin this past spring tasked the DSB to conduct a "2018 Summer Study on Strategic Surprise."

Griffin wrote in an April 20 memo that the study's objective "is to consider what potential technical capabilities may not be sufficiently acted upon by the Department of Defense in the decade to come, that will lead to U.S. regrets in 2028 and, in broad terms, what those actions might be."

Meetings will take place throughout the week beginning Monday, with a final one being held next Friday consisting of "a classified briefing to invited senior DOD leaders to provide the DSB's advice and recommendations."

Justin Katz | August 3, 2018 at 9:55 AM

The Pentagon yesterday awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries a $165 million contract for procuring long-lead-time materials and non-recurring engineering activities for the first San Antonio-class Flight II ship (LPD-30), according to a Defense Department statement.

"This is a significant milestone as we embark toward a new flight of LPDs," Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said in a company statement issued this morning. "The Flight II LPDs will be highly capable ships meeting the requirements and needs of our Navy-Marine Corps team. We look forward to delivering this series of affordable LPDs to our nation's fleet of amphibious ships."

Construction of LPD-30 is scheduled for 2020, according to the HII statement.

In April, the Navy announced it had selected HII to build the service's newest amphibious transport docks, previously known as LX(R). Flight II will replace the Navy's aging Whidbey Island-class and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships. (LSD-41/49).

The main change between San Antonio-class Flight I and Flight II is the "boat valley" will be closed for "stealth-type reasons" and it will become a storage area. The new design will be outfitted with the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, can accommodate the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter and will have lithium-ion battery charging and storage, Steve Sloan, LPD/LX(R) program manager at Ingalls told Inside the Navy in April.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and the Pentagon will have to consider what acquisition strategy the Navy should take for procuring the rest of Flight II. While there is some consensus that the Navy should use a block-buy strategy or a multiyear procurement, the final details are still being discussed, Maj. Gen. David Coffman, the Navy's expeditionary warfare director (N95), told reporters last month.

The Navy selected Ingalls over General Dynamics NASSCO to build the LPD-30.

"As the designer, builder, and life-cycle engineering and support provider of the entire San Antonio Class Flight I, HII is the only source with requisite knowledge and experience required to construct the lead ship of the San Antonio Class Flight II and provide the required [life cycle engineering and support]," according to an April 6 presolicitation notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

Marjorie Censer | August 3, 2018 at 9:35 AM

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said this week sales in its most recent quarter hit $151 million, up 2 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The contractor lost $7.7 million in the quarter, more than the $6.2 million it lost the prior year.

In a call with analysts Thursday, Eric DeMarco, Kratos' chief executive, expressed optimism that fiscal year 2019 won't start with a lengthy continuing resolution.

"The [Sub-Sonic Aerial Target] program -- under a continuing resolution, there's no increase in production," he said. "So the sooner a 2019 budget is authorized and in place, the sooner we would receive the increased production quantity funding, which would drive our funding."