The Insider

By Jaspreet Gill
October 6, 2021 at 11:24 AM

The Defense Information Systems Agency has created a new, centralized organization for its cloud and enterprise service offices, a DISA official said yesterday.

Sharon Woods, executive director for DISA’s Cloud Computing Program Office, took over as acting director of the Hosting and Compute Center Oct 1.

She said Tuesday during the FCW IT Modernization Summit the new unified office is going to “make a really significant difference” for the Defense Department moving forward.

“So the DISA data centers -- and those have a global footprint -- that is now compute operations within the Hosting and Compute Center, and then on the other side is all the different cloud initiatives to include milCloud or [the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability] . . . so now they’re all together as one center in this unified hosting and compute universe where the idea is, you know, let’s make sure that global fabric is in place that’s multilayered with optionality that has both on-[premise] and off-[premise] capabilities so that mission owners have the diversity and optionality that they need,” Woods said.

The Pentagon this month plans to release a solicitation for proposals for the multivendor Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, the successor to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud contract.

DOD is seeking a “limited number of sources,” namely Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, for the new effort. John Sherman, acting DOD chief information officer, told reporters in July the department planned to also talk to Google, Oracle and IBM.

The Pentagon plans to make the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity awards by April 2022.

By Aidan Quigley
October 6, 2021 at 11:02 AM

The Navy awarded Austal USA a $144 million contract for two towing, salvage and rescue ships (T-ATS), marking the shipyard’s first new steel ship construction.

The Navy announced the detail design and construction contract, awarded Sept. 30, on Tuesday. A majority of the work will be performed at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, AL, and the contract includes an option for up to three additional ships that will bring the total cumulative value up to $385 million.

Austal announced this spring that it is transitioning one of its aluminum production lines into a steel line as part of a $110 million shipyard construction project. The company is set to complete construction of the steel line in April 2022.

With its new steel line, the company is planning on competing for the Navy and Marine Corps’ Light Amphibious Warship program and to be the follow-on shipyard for the Navy’s frigate program.

The Navy awarded Austal a $3.6 million T-ATS functional design contract in June.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
October 6, 2021 at 10:54 AM

Palantir Technologies won the competition to provide the Distributed Common Ground System-Army Capability Drop 2, which is expected to be worth $823 million, the Army announced Oct. 6.

“The Delivery Order enables the operational testing of Distributed Common Ground System-Army Capability Drop 2,” according to a press release from the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. “This award is the culmination of a year’s worth of intense vendor competition that included multiple tests with Soldiers.”

Palantir competed against BAE Systems for Capability Drop 2 orders, which will add new data about terrain, weather and threats to the DCGS, a system for collecting and disseminating intelligence among commanders at various echelons.

The upgrades will take existing data from different sources and present them in a single platform, according to a Palantir press release. Existing Army intelligence data platforms will also migrate to the platform provided in Capability Drop 2.

Palantir’s platform for Capability Drop 2 “is an operating system for defense decision making and is specifically designed to connect the dots between disparate sources,” the Palantir press release stated. “The Army Intelligence community will use this capability to modernize their data foundation by migrating legacy programs to CD-2.”

By Ethan Sterenfeld
October 5, 2021 at 2:44 PM

Officials from Army Futures Command will meet with industry on Oct. 21 to discuss Project Convergence 22, which will include British and Australian army participation, according to an Oct. 5 Army notice.

Futures Command officials will discuss the plan for PC 22 and the capabilities that will be required, according to the notice. There will also be a chance for industry to ask questions.

PC 22 will feature a division or brigade headquarters at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA, which will compete against an opposing force at White Sands Missile Range, NM, according to the notice.

A Multi-Domain Task Force will participate in the exercise, which will demonstrate areas of interoperability between the different branches of the U.S. military and foreign partners, according to the notice. The exercise will include a denied or degraded electromagnetic environment, as well as new technologies and tactics that are designed around those situations.

This year’s Project Convergence exercise begins this week, and will run for six weeks.

By John Liang
October 5, 2021 at 1:26 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Air Force acquisition, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program and more.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing this morning on several presidential nominations, including Andrew Hunter to be Air Force acquisition chief:

Hunter would seek to lower sustainment costs, leverage software acquisition pathways

Andrew Hunter, President Biden's nominee to serve as the Air Force's next acquisition executive, told senators today that if confirmed, he'd work to leverage different avenues to acquire software, "bake in sustainability on the front end" for systems in development and seek to focus the acquisition process on delivering operational capabilities.

Document: Senate hearing on Camarillo, Hunter, Jacobson, Wagner nominations

Inside Defense interviewed the head of GM Defense this week about the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program:

GM Defense watching cuts to JLTV follow-on contract

GM Defense remains interested in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on contract after the Army announced it would buy 40% fewer vehicles than initially planned, but the company is paying attention to the changing economics of producing the vehicle, according to Steve duMont, GM Defense's president.

The Senate Armed Services Committee's mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill includes a number of provisions related to Taiwan:

Senate bill would require Pentagon to help Taiwan beef up defenses, defend self-governing island

The Pentagon would be required in fiscal year 2022 to draft a plan to help Taiwan improve its defenses against mainland China as well as adopt measures -- in accordance with a proposed new explicit policy -- ensuring U.S. forces can deny Beijing a fait accompli that would unilaterally alter the status quo with the self-governing island.

The Defense Department recently sought congressional permission to shift $504.4 million among various accounts:

DOD reprograms $400M in spending

The Defense Department is reprograming nearly $400 million in spending to cover shortfalls in several areas, including the operation of Air Force and Space Force installations and mobility aircraft, according to a new notice from the Pentagon comptroller.

Document: DOD's $504M reprogramming request

The Navy has transferred custody of the Surface Ship Support Barge to APTIM Federal Services in Mobile, AL:

Navy expects Surface Ship Support Barge dismantlement to start this fall

The Navy expects the dismantlement of the Surface Ship Support Barge to start this fall, a process which could help the service determine how it will discard its first retired nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65).

By Tony Bertuca
October 5, 2021 at 11:52 AM

The Defense Department is mandating all civilian employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22.

“Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said in a new DOD-wide memo.

The Pentagon earlier this year mandated the vaccine for all members of the U.S. military and each service has set its own deadline, with none going beyond late December, except for Army reservists and National Guard members, who have until June 30, 2022.

Hicks’ memo notes a previous COVID-19 infection does not exempt DOD civilians from mandatory vaccination.

“To defend the nation and protect the American people, we need a healthy and ready Total Force,” the memo states. “Vaccinating DOD civilian employees against COVID-19 will save lives and allow for the defense of our nation.”

By Audrey Decker
October 5, 2021 at 10:55 AM

The Navy is holding an industry meeting today to discuss a new cyber framework that would assess and enhance the cybersecurity of the defense industrial base.

The industry day will provide an overview of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework to better understand controlled unclassified information, according to a notice released late last month.

“CMMC measures a company’s maturity and institutionalization of cybersecurity practices and processes,” according to the notice.

The majority of lost or stolen technology occurs on unclassified systems -- an estimated $600 billion in annual losses, according to an industry day document.

The CUI program is “intended to establish an open and uniform program for managing information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls,” the document states.

The new framework will serve as a verification mechanism to ensure companies in the defense industrial base protect CUI within their unclassified networks.

By Jason Sherman
October 4, 2021 at 4:21 PM

Lockheed Martin last week awarded Boeing a $1.1 billion contract to supply seekers for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors.

The deal, definitized by the two companies late last week and announced today by Boeing, is part of a $6 billion firm-fixed priced contract the Army awarded Lockheed in April 2020 for incidental services, hardware, facilities, equipment and all technical, planning, management, manufacturing and testing efforts to produce PAC-3 MSE interceptors, associated ground support equipment and spares.

That contract included 954 PAC-3 MSE missiles to fulfill existing foreign military sales partner agreements and had option pricing to support 2021 to 2023 requirements and future foreign purchases, an official in the Lower Tier Project Office in the Army’s program executive office for missiles and space said in 2020.

Today, Boeing said under the contract it will produce approximately 1,500 additional seekers in Huntsville, AL, as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin beginning in 2023. Boeing says it has produced more than 4,300 PAC-3 missile seekers since 2000 and recently completed a facilities expansion in Huntsville to accommodate future production growth.

By John Liang
October 4, 2021 at 1:19 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of Defense Department inspector general reports on middle tier acquisition pathways and Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet anti-corrosion efforts.

We start off with coverage of a new Defense Department inspector general report on middle tier acquisition pathways:

Pentagon increasing use of MTA pathways to streamline acquisition efforts

Defense Department acquisition personnel effectively leveraged and increased the use of middle tier acquisition pathways to execute more agile acquisition efforts, a new report from the Pentagon's inspector general found.

Document: DOD IG audit of MTA rapid prototyping, rapid fielding programs

Senate authorizers want a new commission to look into planning, programming, budgeting and execution reform:

Congress wants commission to review, reform Kennedy-era PPBE system

Lawmakers want an independent critique of the Defense Department's system for creating annual budgets and future years spending plans, seeking an assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of processes introduced during the Kennedy administration to meet the needs of today's rapid technology acquisition in formulating and executing U.S. military expenditures.

Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet fighter aircraft need more inspections, according to the Pentagon's inspector general:

DOD IG finds Navy and Marine Corps lacking required inspections of Super Hornets

Navy and Marine Corps maintainers did not perform required inspections to address corrosion in the F/A-18C-G Super Hornet and gave no adequate reason why, according to a new Defense Department inspector general's report.

Document: DOD IG audit of Navy, Marine Corps Super Hornet anti-corrosion efforts

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks recently spoke virtually with the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Hicks highlights new U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal as DOD sharpens focus on China

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said a new defense pact between the United States, the U.K. and Australia, which, among other things, will allow access to sensitive U.S. submarine technology, demonstrates how global opinion is “shifting” regarding the perceived need to deter China's activities in the Indo-Pacific region, especially when it comes to undersea capabilities.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program:

CMMC accreditation body approves first content for official assessor training

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program has approved the first content created by a third-party partner publisher that will be used to teach assessors as part of the CMMC official assessor training program.

By Aidan Quigley
October 4, 2021 at 12:48 PM

The Navy has established a new helicopter squadron that will be equipped with MH-60Rs to provide support for Littoral Combat Ships.

The service established Maritime Strike Squadron 50 at Naval Air Station Mayport, FL on Friday. HSM-50 will fall under Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic.

Cmdr. Carolyn Peterson, who has served as a Carrier Air Wing MH-60R operational squadron department head and a joint planning officer in Alaska, will lead the command.

The Navy also announced Friday that it has realigned the LCS Fleet Introduction and Sustainment Program Office to the Naval Sea System Command’s Surface Ship Maintenance, Modernization and Sustainment directorate.

The LCS Fleet Introduction and Sustainment Program Office had been under the purview of PEO Unmanned and Small Combatants.

“This transition will ensure LCS sustainment plans remain aligned with all other surface ship classes as we serve the fleet,” Rear. Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center and director of surface ship maintenance and modernization, said in a Navy press release announcing the change.

By Tony Bertuca
October 4, 2021 at 12:09 PM

The National Defense Industrial Association has elected 16 new board members.

NDIA President Arnold Punaro said in a statement the new electees “were based on nomination committee recommendation, then approved and submitted by the executive committee to the electors, including the full board and chapter presidents.”

The new members are:

• David Caswell, head of critical infrastructure engineering, Microsoft

• Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of vertical lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

• Malissia Clinton, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, The Aerospace Corp.

• Air Force Reserve Col. Kenny Cushing, senior vice president of the defense division, Avantus Federal

• Jaymie Durnan, deputy assistant to the director of strategic initiatives, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

• Retired Navy Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, president, Fincantieri Marinette Marine

• Retired Army Col. Armando “Mandy” Lopez, vice president, Tex-Shield

• ML Mackey, co-founder and CEO, Beacon Interactive Systems

• Kris McGuire, founder and CEO, Victory Solutions

• Megan Milam, head of government relations, Anduril Industries

• Retired Air Force Gen. Terrence “Shags” O’Shaughnessy, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX

• Brian Perry, senior vice president and general manager of the processing division, Mercury Systems

• Retired Air Force Col. Reginald Robinson, vice president for executive branch and international government relations, BAE Systems

• Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, executive director, The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University

• Mary Springer, director of legislative affairs, Lockheed Martin

• Jen Stewart, senior vice president, WestExec Advisors LLC

Tony Mathis, president and CEO of military systems at GE Aviation will also be joining NDIA’s executive committee.

By John Liang
October 4, 2021 at 11:24 AM

Lockheed Martin announced this week it has opened a new facility in Courtland, AL dedicated to hypersonic strike missile production.

The new facility "represents Lockheed Martin's commitment to establishing northern Alabama as the base of the company's hypersonic strike programs," the company said in a statement. "The 65,000-square-foot Hypersonic Missile Assembly Building 4 (MAB 4) is built on the digital foundation that Lockheed Martin has prioritized through mission-driven transformation efforts across the enterprise to meet customer needs with speed and agility while bolstering U.S. manufacturing capability."

The new building is the second Conventional Prompt Strike production facility onsite, according to Lockheed, and "integrates critical digital transformation advancements such as robotic thermal protection application capabilities, smart torque tools and mixed-reality capabilities for training and virtual inspections. The machines in this facility also will connect to the company's Intelligent Factory Framework early next year, which digitally links production facilities and assets across the Lockheed Martin enterprise to help enable unprecedented insights into the health, status and optimization of operations."

The Courtland site houses one of four transformational manufacturing facilities the company says it is opening in the United States within one year.

By Tony Bertuca
October 4, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Lawmakers this week will consider nominees for several senior Pentagon positions.

Monday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on preserving peace in the Taiwan Strait.

Tuesday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing for several key Pentagon nominees.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg.

Gen. Charles Flynn, head of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks at the Modern War Institute's online War Studies Conference.

Wednesday

Senior DOD cybersecurity officials speak at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit through Friday.

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on the upcoming Missile Defense Review.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing for three key Pentagon nominees.

By John Liang
October 1, 2021 at 2:20 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on possible changes to the Pentagon's budget planning system, Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet aircraft, the Navy's second frigate yard competition and more.

Senate authorizers want a 10-member commission to look into planning, programming, budgeting and execution reform:

Congress wants commission to review, reform Kennedy-era PPBE system

Lawmakers want an independent critique of the Defense Department's system for creating annual budgets and future years spending plans, seeking an assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of processes introduced during the Kennedy administration to meet the needs of today's rapid technology acquisition in formulating and executing U.S. military expenditures.

Navy and Marine Corps Super Hornet fighter aircraft need more inspections:

DOD IG finds Navy and Marine Corps lacking required inspections of Super Hornets

Navy and Marine Corps maintainers did not perform required inspections to address corrosion in the F/A-18C-G Super Hornet and gave no adequate reason why, according to a Defense Department inspector general's report released today.

More Super Hornet news:

Raytheon forecasts SDB II Super Hornet fielding in coming months; approval for F-35 operational use next year

Raytheon Technologies expects its Small Diameter Bomb II will be fielded on the Navy's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet within the next few months, while approval for operational use on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is projected to follow in calendar year 2022.

The Navy's proposed second shipyard meant to build new frigates could help the industrial base, according to analysts:

Navy's second frigate yard competition could shore up industrial base, increase production

As Fincantieri Marinette Marine prepares to start construction on the first Constellation-class frigate next spring, analysts and lawmakers say the Navy’s planned second frigate yard could both expedite the production of frigates and bolster the nation’s shipbuilding industrial base.

The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian spoke this week about the new pact between the United States, Great Britain and Australia:

Hicks highlights new U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal as DOD sharpens focus on China

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said a new defense pact between the United States, the U.K. and Australia, which, among other things, will allow access to sensitive U.S. submarine technology, demonstrates how global opinion is "shifting" regarding the perceived need to deter China's activities in the Indo-Pacific region, especially when it comes to undersea capabilities.

Keep an eye out for the results of testing of Navy unmanned units in the Middle East:

Navy's unmanned task force to conduct testing within next five months

The Navy's Mideast-based unmanned task force will conduct testing within the next few months using command-and-control infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

The Army's Precision Strike Missile has passed an important milestone:

Precision Strike Missile passes milestone B

The Precision Strike Missile, one of the Army's top long-range fires modernization programs, passed a milestone B review Sept. 27, according to Col. Guy Yelverton, the service's product manager for strategic operational rockets and missiles.

U.S. and Indonesian Army personnel cooperated during a recent exercise in the region:

SFAB officers support Indonesian, U.S. forces at Garuda Shield

Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade embedded with Indonesian army units during the Garuda Shield exercise in Indonesia in August and served as communications liaisons between the two armies.

Last but by no means least, the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model program from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC accreditation body approves first content for official assessor training

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program has approved the first content created by a third-party partner publisher that will be used to teach assessors as part of the CMMC official assessor training program.

By Aidan Quigley
October 1, 2021 at 11:26 AM

The Navy is adjusting its training and testing in the northwestern United States following an environmental review.

The service completed an environmental impact statement for air and sea space training in the eastern north Pacific Ocean region, which covers areas around Washington and Alaska.

The service chose to conduct a “representative level of training activity rather than a maximum level of training activity,” which was the “environmentally preferred action alternative,” according to the Sept. 23 record of decision.

Under the plan, the Navy will conduct military readiness activities as necessary to meet readiness requirements, the record of decision states. Some unit-level training would be conducted using simulators, and some active sonar training will be completed outside of the study area.

“The majority of testing activities that would be conducted under this alternative are the same as or similar to those conducted currently or in the past,” the decision states.