The Insider

By Michael Marrow
September 27, 2022 at 10:04 AM

The Defense Department inspector general plans to launch a review next month of critical technologies associated with the Air Force's Next Generation Air Dominance platform.

Officials will convene an entrance conference the week of Oct. 17 to start coordinating the evaluation, according to a memo released yesterday. The process will assess whether key technologies associated with NGAD “were mature enough to support entry into the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the NGAD program’s acquisition timeline.

“We may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds, and we will also consider suggestions from management for additional or revised objectives,” the memo adds.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said earlier this year that the program had entered EMD but has since clarified NGAD has not formally conducted preliminary design review, which paves the way to approval for milestone B and formally launches the EMD phase.

“We are working on the actual design of the aircraft. So for me that means we are in engineering and manufacturing development,” Kendall said during a media roundtable at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space and Cyber conference last week.

He then reiterated the program intends to deliver a capability by the end of the decade.

By John Liang
September 26, 2022 at 4:02 PM

HII announced today that Todd Borkey has been promoted to be the company's next executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Borkey has been CTO of HII’s Mission Technologies division since 2021, according to a company statement.

"In his new role, Borkey will oversee the company’s technology strategy, including research and development, to enhance HII’s existing products and services and to develop new capabilities to drive market growth," the statement reads.

Prior to joining HII, Borkey worked as a CTO at Alion Science and Technology, Thales Defense and Security, and DRS Defense Solutions. He also previously worked for Northrop Grumman and AT&T Bell Labs.

By John Liang
September 26, 2022 at 1:55 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's latest Selected Acquisition Reports, a new Defense Science Board "tabletop exercise" and more.

The Pentagon's most recent Selected Acquisition Reports are out, about five months after they were required by law. We have a story on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and be on the lookout in the coming days for more coverage:

Revised F-35 price tag now $416 billion; O&S cost estimate worsens from $1.1T to $1.2T

The estimated price tag for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program pierced the $400 billion mark in a new report to Congress, an upward revision that accounts for related funding previously not tallied in the acquisition cost and a reminder of how far the project has strayed from the original 2002 promise to deliver the stealth fleet for $199 billion.

Document: DOD's FY-23 SARs

A new Defense Science Board effort is underway:

Shyu commissions new 'tabletop exercise' focused on Asia-Pacific region

The Pentagon's chief technology officer has directed an influential science advisory board to conduct a "tabletop exercise" focused on strategic, operational and budgetary recommendations to bolster the U.S. military in the Asia-Pacific region.

Document: DSB terms of reference memo for Asia-Pacific 'tabletop exercise'

The Army has awarded Oshkosh Defense a multimillion-dollar contract to provide the enhanced Heavy Equipment Transporter System trailer through 2027:

Oshkosh wins contract to provide upgraded tank trailers

Oshkosh Defense won a $260 million contract to provide the Army with an enhanced heavy transport trailer capable of hauling Abrams tanks, which have grown increasingly heavy in recent years as they have been upgraded.

We also have the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Defense groups seek flexibility, mappings to other NIST publications in CUI series update

Two large defense groups are urging NIST to consider how to align its four-part publication series on controlled unclassified information to other frameworks, while also suggesting potential changes related to the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.

Solarium leaders: Changes are expected to 'systemically important entities' bill following industry pushback

Lawmakers are preparing to make changes to the "systemically important entities" proposal in the House version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote next month, according to Cyberspace Solarium Commission leaders who responded to significant industry criticism at a recent event.

By Briana Reilly
September 26, 2022 at 12:15 PM

U.S. Strategic Command's advisory panel is poised to meet next month to assess the nuclear stockpile, discuss the mission surety of legacy nuclear triad systems and more, a notice posted to the Federal Register today states.

The listing shows members are also planning to cover dual near-peer threat assessment and integrated deterrence; a next-generation technology survey tied to nuclear command, control and communications; and the ties between STRATCOM and the intelligence community.

The closed-to-the-public meeting, slated for Oct. 19 and 20, is held to share advice with the STRATCOM commander “on scientific, technical, intelligence, and policy-related issues” amid “the development of the nation’s strategic war plans,” the notice adds.

By Tony Bertuca
September 26, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to speak at several events this week. Meanwhile, Congress must pass a stopgap continuing resolution to ensure federal funding or the government will shut down after Friday.

Tuesday

Senior defense officials speak at the ComDef: Integrated Deterrence conference in Washington.

Defense One hosts senior Air Force officials at a "State of Defense" event.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Christopher Cavoli and various senators speak at the virtual Center for European Policy Analysis Forum that runs through Thursday.

Wednesday

Defense One hosts senior Space Force officials at a "State of Defense" event.

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on establishing and fortifying U.S. national security supply chains.

Thursday

The Center for American Progress hosts a discussion with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

By Tony Bertuca
September 23, 2022 at 5:08 PM

The Pentagon has sent Congress its annual collection of selected acquisition reports summarizing the cost, schedule and performance status for dozens of major weapon systems.

The reports cover the performance of 79 major defense acquisition programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The list includes 19 Middle Tier Acquisition programs that meet the MDAP cost threshold.

The reports are intended for Congress to provide oversight of the Pentagon’s acquisition process, which often faces cost, schedule and performance challenges. For instance, the reports are used to monitor any “Nunn-McCurdy” cost breaches DOD programs might experience.

The Defense Department, however, did not submit SARs to Congress last year.

“SARs are prepared annually in conjunction with submission of the President’s Budget,” DOD said in a press release announcing the SARs submission.

“The President’s Budget 2022 only included one year of funding and therefore DOD did not produce SARs last year,” the statement continued.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for further information.

Read the SARs here and watch Inside Defense for further in-depth reporting on the Pentagon’s SARs submission.

By John Liang
September 23, 2022 at 1:29 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on hypersonic weapons, naval exercises being too predictable and more.

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon Technologies a multimillion-dollar contract to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile:

DOD catapults forward new class of weapon for U.S. inventory: hypersonic cruise missile

The Defense Department today marked a major milestone in the race against China and Russia to field hypersonic weapons, furnishing Raytheon with a nearly $1 billion commitment to design, develop and deliver a new class of ultra-fast, maneuvering munition for U.S. fighter aircraft: a hypersonic cruise missile.

Navy fleet exercises tend to be "heavily scripted" and often warfighters go into the exercise knowing the outcome, according to analysts:

Analysts say Navy exercises are heavily scripted, need to include risk

Naval analysts argue that the Navy's fleet exercises are predictable and if the service wants to win against China, it needs to change how it learns at sea.

Check out the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Solarium Commission releases report evaluating 2022 implementation progress for key proposals

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission has released its second annual report evaluating how Congress, agencies and the White House are implementing recommendations from the 2020 landmark report and subsequent white papers on important cyber topics.

Solarium leaders: Changes are expected to 'systemically important entities' bill following industry pushback

Lawmakers are preparing to make changes to the "systemically important entities" proposal in the House version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote next month, according to Cyberspace Solarium Commission leaders who responded to significant industry criticism at a recent event.

'Know the opponent': CISA-NSA advisory addresses industrial control system challenges

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Security Agency have put out a new advisory on evolving threats to "operational technology/industrial control system assets," saying "traditional approaches" are insufficient against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and offering an array of mitigations.

By Nick Wilson
September 23, 2022 at 12:34 PM

The Marine Corps authorized its Amphibious Combat Vehicles to resume operations in the open ocean after establishing guidance to improve safety during ACV training, the service announced Thursday.

Waterborne ACV operations were paused in July, after two ACVs capsized during a training exercise off the coast of California. The accident did not result in any injuries.

After this incident, the service performed an internal review of ACV practices and procedures, and updated its rules for surf conditions.

“The interim maximum surf conditions identified include a significant breaker height of 4 feet, which allows the ACV to operate safely while maintaining a high-state of readiness for the ACV community,” the release states.

“We remain steadfast to the safety of our Marines who conduct amphibious operations, and expect strict adherence to established standards that allows our ACVs to return to waterborne operations,” said Lt. Gen. David Furness, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations, in a statement included in the release.

ACV waterborne operations were previously suspended in September 2021 due to an issue with the vehicle’s towing mechanism.

The ACV is expected to replace the Amphibious Assault Vehicle and outperformed the legacy system “across all mission profiles” during initial operational testing and evaluation in 2020.

AAVs were permanently banned from waterborne operations in December, but continued to operate on land. In 2020, eight Marines and one sailor were killed when an AAV sank during a training exercise.

In its fiscal year 2023 budget, the Navy requested $536.6 million to procure 74 ACVs, after acquiring 83 in FY-22.

By Evan Ochsner
September 22, 2022 at 4:54 PM

The Army on Thursday announced the appointment of 20 new members to a volunteer board that advises the service's leadership on technological advances.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth nominated the new members, and the nominations were approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last month.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Katharina McFarland will lead the board as chair and vice chair, according to the Army.

The other new members are: Gisele Bennett, Peter Chiarelli, Kathryn Condon, Mackenzie Eaglen, Charlotte Farmer, Kimberly Field, William Guyton, Rhett Hernandez, Terri Hogue, Andrew Krepinevich, Robert Lennox, Marcel Lettre II, Sean Macfarland, Thomas Mahnken, Terry Mitchell, Venkat Mummalaneni, Susan Myers and William Neal.

The board, which traces its origins to the Korean War, works closely with Army acquisition executive Doug Bush.

“I want to welcome the new members of the board, and to thank the current members of the board for their volunteer service to the men and women of the United States Army,” Bush said in the announcement. “We are embarking on the most ambitious Army modernization effort in more than 40 years, so their knowledge and experience could not come at a better time.”

By John Liang
September 22, 2022 at 1:27 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile replacement effort, the Next Generation Overheard Persistent Infrared satellite program, Navy submarine maintenance and more.

Inside Defense interviewed Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Strategic Deterrent Systems Division, during this week's Air and Space Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber conference:

Northrop runs first wind-tunnel test of Sentinel nuclear missile system

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Air Force's replacement for the ground-based nuclear missile underwent its first wind-tunnel test and is on track to conduct its first flight tests in 2024, according to Northrop Grumman's program manager.

Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear also spoke at the same conference this week:

SDA director: Next Gen OPIR will be final missile warning satellites in GEO

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Next Generation Overheard Persistent Infrared satellites planned for launch to geosynchronous orbit will be the Space Force's final missile warning and tracking satellites deployed to that layer, according to the director of the Space Development Agency.

. . . as did Space Force acquisition chief Frank Calvelli:

Space Force should 'stop' long-term, cost-plus contracts, Calvelli says

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Space Development Agency’s model of rapid satellite acquisitions is poised to shake up the Space Force's procurement strategy, the service's top acquisition official said today, who heralded SDA's operations ahead of the agency's planned transition into the Space Force next month.

(Read our full coverage of the conference.)

Vice Adm. William Galinis, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, spoke this week at the American Society of Naval Engineers' Fleet Maintenance & Modernization Symposium:

Navy still 'really struggling' with on-time maintenance for Virginia

The Navy continues to be plagued by submarine maintenance delays -- experiencing a "significant growth" in the number of days needed to complete a Virginia-class submarine availability, according to a top service official.

A new Government Accountability Office report discusses the Defense Department's use of other transaction agreements:

Audit finds lack of 'systemic approach' for tracking tens of billions of dollars of OTA awards

A congressional audit of more than $24 billion contracted by the Defense Department using other transaction authorities (OTA) found the Pentagon does not have a systematic approach for tracking which consortia receive awards, limiting the ability of contracting personnel to make informed decisions on how and whether to use consortia-based OTAs.

Document: GAO report on DOD and OTAs

By Nick Wilson
September 22, 2022 at 11:49 AM

The Marine Corps deployed its new heavy-lift helicopter, the CH-53K King Stallion, in its first fleet exercise last month, according to a Tuesday announcement from the service.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (HMH-461) completed training exercises, including external lifts with a Light Armored Vehicle, using three CH-53Ks over mountainous terrain in Idaho.

The CH-53K will replace the legacy CH-53E Super Stallion as the Marine Corps’ primary heavy-lift helicopter. It achieved initial operational capability in April.

Its intended use is transporting armored vehicles, equipment and personnel to locations that are far inland from a sea-based center of operation.

The King Stallion boasts three times the lift capability of the previous model, and can fly at higher altitudes for longer distances in hotter conditions, according to the service’s news release.

“The CH-53K is more powerful, safer and an easier-to-maintain helicopter. That’ll allow each wing commander more capacity to sustain the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in an austere environment,” said HMH-461 commanding officer Lt. Col. Adam Horne in a statement included in the announcement.

Inside Defense previously reported that the Defense Department’s legislative proposal package for the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill requested the Navy enter a block-buy contract for 30 CH-53Ks in FY-23 and FY-24.

The Marine Corps included 10 CH-53Ks in its FY-23 budget request. The service’s unfunded priorities list contained $250 million for two more of the aircraft.

By John Liang
September 22, 2022 at 11:45 AM

Northrop Grumman announced today that Roshan Roeder has been promoted to corporate vice president and president of the company's Defense Systems sector, effective Oct. 17.

Roeder succeeds Mary Petryszyn, who has announced her intent to retire beginning next January.

Petryszyn will continue as corporate vice president, reporting to CEO Kathy Warden to support the transition until her retirement, according to a company statement.

Roeder is currently vice president and general manager of the Airborne Multifunction Sensors Division in Northrop's Mission Systems sector, which delivers C4ISR systems and hardware and software products for airborne platforms. She has worked for the company for more than 20 years.

By Tony Bertuca
September 22, 2022 at 10:43 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee today voted to advance several nominees for senior Defense Department positions, including a new chief of space operations and a new head of U.S. Strategic Command.

The committee by voice vote moved to favorably report to the full Senate the nominations of Lt. Gen. Bradley Saltzman to be chief of space operations and Gen. Anthony Cotton to be chief of STRATCOM.

Additionally, the committee voted to advance Milancy Harris, nominated to be deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and security; Brendan Owens to be assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations, and environment; and Laura Taylor-Kale to be assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

The nominations will now move to the full Senate for confirmation votes.

By Nick Wilson
September 21, 2022 at 3:05 PM

The Navy has completed test launches of the StormBreaker small diameter bomb from an F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

The successful test opens the door for SDB II to begin the weapon capability testing phase and brings it one step closer to integration with the Navy’s F-35 fleet, according to a Monday press release from Raytheon.

During the test, two SDB II weapons were dropped within half an hour of each other, and “successfully released and performed the required flight behaviors.” The releases clocked in at .9 Mach, making them the fastest from an F-35 to date, according to the announcement.

The air-to-surface bomb can strike stationary and mobile targets from over 45 miles away using a combination of GPS, laser and radar technologies for precision guidance. The weapon can operate at night and in adverse weather conditions.

The Air Force established initial operational capability of SDB II on its F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft earlier this year, but the program has faced delays in integrating with the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Navy requested $108 million to procure 481 SDB II units in its fiscal year 2023 budget, after receiving $33.8 million for the program in FY-22.

“The program’s integration roadmap includes further expansion to additional manned and unmanned platforms, including the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet,” Raytheon’s announcement states.

By John Liang
September 21, 2022 at 1:04 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Space Force acquisition, directed energy for missile defense, Navy ship maintenance and more.

Space Force acquisition chief Frank Calvelli spoke this week at the annual Air and Space Forces Association's Air, Space & Cyber conference:

Space Force should 'stop' long-term, cost-plus contracts, Calvelli says

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Space Development Agency’s model of rapid satellite acquisitions is poised to shake up the Space Force's procurement strategy, the service's top acquisition official said today, who heralded SDA's operations ahead of the agency's planned transition into the Space Force next month.

The Missile Defense Agency this week awarded Lockheed Martin a nearly $2 million contract for a study on "Directed Energy Lethality for Fast Threats" to explore an idea the company proposed in response to the agency’s 2021 innovation, science and technology solicitation:

MDA taps Lockheed for new study on feasibility of laser integration into Missile Defense System

The Missile Defense Agency has tapped Lockheed Martin to conduct a study that aims to explore whether directed-energy weapons can be integrated into the Missile Defense System, a project that comes as a company leader voiced optimism about the potential for speed-of-light technology to scale up to power levels needed to defeat intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Navy currently has 41 surface ships available for maintenance -- with over 100 in planning, according to Rear Adm. William Greene, the Navy's fleet maintenance officer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command:

Navy heading in 'wrong direction' with on-time shipyard repair

A top Navy official said fewer ships are being delivered on time out of maintenance availabilities -- citing workforce shortages as a "national crisis."

The Senate this week quietly approved a bipartisan plan to extend the Small Business Innovation Research and complementary Small Business Technology Transfer programs by three years, teeing up a possible House vote in the coming days:

SBIR reauthorization bill includes three-year extension, multiple programmatic changes

Lawmakers are looking to move forward with a standalone, three-year extension for a key, decades-old program that administers small business grants across nearly a dozen federal agencies, including the Defense Department, according to a bill draft and summary.

Air Force Central Command's Detachment 99 is a team of "super empowered" airmen who will rapidly innovate digital capabilities, uncrewed aircraft and artificial intelligence and machine learning programs, according to AFCENT Commander Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich:

AFCENT Detachment 99 to tackle C-UAS, digital innovation

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Air Force Central Command has launched a new group charged with experimenting with off-the-shelf technologies to identify capabilities that can be used in the Middle East theater.