The Insider

July 12, 2018 at 10:57 AM | John Liang

Out of the four national security-related departments -- Defense, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security -- the Pentagon has made "the most progress" in addressing supply chain vulnerabilities, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Gregory Wilshusen, GAO's information security issues director, said in prepared testimony this morning at a joint hearing of the House Homeland Security counterterrorism and intelligence and oversight and management efficiency subcommittees that in March 2012, the Defense, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security departments "had acknowledged the risks presented by supply chain vulnerabilities. However, the agencies varied in the extent to which they had addressed these risks by (1) defining supply chain protection measures for department information systems, (2) developing implementing procedures for these measures, and (3) establishing capabilities for monitoring compliance with, and the effectiveness of, such measures."

Of those four agencies, the Defense Department "had made the most progress addressing the risks," Wilshusen's testimony states. "Specifically, the department's supply chain risk management efforts began in 2003 and included:

• "a policy requiring supply chain risk to be addressed early and across a system’s entire life cycle and calling for an incremental implementation of supply chain risk management through a series of pilot projects;

• "a requirement that every acquisition program submit and update a "program protection plan" that was to, among other things, help manage risks from supply chain exploits or design vulnerabilities;

• "procedures for implementing supply chain protection measures, such as an implementation guide describing 32 specific measures for enhancing supply chain protection and procedures for program protection plans identifying ways in which programs should manage supply chain risk; and

• "a monitoring mechanism to determine the status and effectiveness of supply chain protection pilot projects, as well as monitoring compliance with and effectiveness of program protection policies and procedures for several acquisition programs."

Read his complete prepared testimony.

July 12, 2018 at 10:27 AM | John Liang

The White House Office of Management and Budget is objecting to a requirement in the House Select Intelligence Committee's version of the fiscal year 2019 intelligence policy bill that would require the intelligence community's chief financial officer and chief information officer to report directly to the director of national intelligence.

"As briefed to the committee, the DNI and Principal Deputy DNI are implementing an ODNI transformation plan that will leverage a leadership structure based on deputy directors," according to a July 11 statement of administration policy. "Specifically, ODNI's transformation will improve the collaboration and efficiency of five components that focus strategically on the IC's resources, workforce, systems, technology, and infrastructure by bringing them together under a deputy director for enterprise capacity.

"If ODNI is required to use a separate reporting process for two out of the five components, it will erode the purpose of the reorganized structure," OMB continues. "Within the reorganized structure, these two positions will continue to serve their statutory roles as the DNI's principal advisers within their areas of expertise. As such, they will continue to have direct access to the DNI and principal deputy DNI to execute these responsibilities."

Read the full statement of administration policy.

July 12, 2018 at 9:57 AM | Justin Katz

The Navy intends to seek unmanned vehicle sensing technology from industry through the use of other transaction agreements, according to a July 10 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

Other transaction authority (OTA) allows the Defense Department to prototype new technologies quicker than the traditional acquisition process permits. It's largely seen as the Defense Department's way to reach out to "non-traditional defense contractors" in places such as Silicon Valley through projects like the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental.

The notice, published on behalf of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI, states the Navy will seek "innovative technological solutions to address current and future security threats in the undersea and maritime environment." Further, the solicitation is expected to be published "on or about" July 25.

Topics the service is interested in include unmanned underwater or surface vehicles for environmental sensing, monitoring and prediction; submarine torpedo defense; torpedo operational software algorithm development and distributed sensors for environmental sensing, monitoring and prediction.

To respond to the solicitation, organizations must be members of the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium, a cooperative research group focused on undersea and maritime technolgy, the notice said.

July 12, 2018 at 9:51 AM | Marjorie Censer

CACI International this week formally opened its shared services center in Oklahoma City, OK.

The facility "provides CACI with a centralized, state-of-the-art resource to enhance its business operations support" and "will optimize the delivery of cost-effective, high-quality support services with greater reliability and consistency across the company," CACI said in a statement.

CACI has hired 280 employees from the region so far, it said.

July 12, 2018 at 5:00 AM | John Liang

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

1. The Pentagon chief information officer says his office is reviewing the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure acquisition strategy, but he declined to set a new date for releasing the final solicitation.

Full story: Defense Department CIO reviewing JEDI cloud strategy

2. There appears to be a "significant" geographic shift underway in where the Pentagon obligates its contracting dollars, with spending in the region of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command trending especially upward, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Full story: CRS sees 'significant' geographic shift in DOD contracting dollars

3. The Senate Appropriations Committee remains concerned the Defense Department does not have adequate policies and controls in place to enforce limitations on its annual amount of contracted services and is urging the Pentagon comptroller to review the matter.

Full story: Senate appropriators still seek transparency in DOD services contracts

4. The "Big Four" House and Senate defense authorizers agree that a conference committee should be able to finalize a compromise version of the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill by the end of this month, despite several differences between them.

Full story: Defense authorizers aim for rapid completion of final bill, despite differences

July 11, 2018 at 1:59 PM | John Liang

The Pentagon's cloud computing strategy leads off this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

DOD CIO Dana Deasy spoke today at the Defense Systems Summit in Arlington, VA:

Pentagon CIO reviewing JEDI cloud strategy

The Pentagon chief information officer says his office is reviewing the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure acquisition strategy, but he declined to set a new date for releasing the final solicitation.

The Defense Science Board is ramping its activities back up again, now that certain Pentagon positions have been filled:

Presidential transition delayed Defense Science Board projects by more than a year

The Pentagon's influential Defense Science Board was tasked to study five key areas in emerging military technology in May 2017, but those efforts were paused following governmental reorganization from the presidential transition. The studies, which have been delayed by more than a year, are now being re-ordered.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing and DARPA held a a media briefing this week on the Experimental Spaceplane:

Aerojet completes key engine demonstration for DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane

As the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Experimental Spaceplane program approaches its first subsystem-level critical design review next month, the program's propulsion provider last week completed a key testing demonstration, proving the engine can support the reusable spaceplane's anticipated fast-paced operational tempo.

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance held an event on Capitol Hill this week. Here's our coverage:

MDA working with space community on hypersonic defense

The Missile Defense Agency is working to better integrate its sensors with those owned by the broader national security space community to track hypersonic missiles, according to an MDA official.

Army considers its place in joint missile defense

The Army's Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system is one of the service's first steps to bring back systems it has allowed to "atrophy," according to the deputy chief of staff (G-9).

Could old F-16s be flown without pilots? Researchers at the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute think so:

Mitchell Institute suggests using old F-16s as autonomous teammates, but AFRL chief raises questions

The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute this week proposed the service consider pulling Lockheed Martin F-16 jets from the boneyard to repurpose them as autonomous aircraft that can fight in tandem with other platforms like the B-21 and F-35, arguing fleets of autonomous aircraft are a cost-effective way to bolster combat capacity.

July 11, 2018 at 12:37 PM | Tony Bertuca

The Senate has appointed the conferees who will meet with House lawmakers today and begin discussing a final fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill.

Senate Republican conferees are: John McCain (R-AZ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), David Perdue (R-GA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

Senate Democrat conferees are: Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Nelson (D-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Angus King (I-ME).

July 11, 2018 at 12:34 PM | Marjorie Censer

CACI Technologies has agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.5 million to settle an allegation that it breached a contract with the National Security Agency, the Justice Department announced earlier this month.

CACI was alleged to have billed and accepted payment from NSA for work performed by CACI employees who did not meet required qualifications, according to the Justice Department.

"The United States alleged that between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2014, certain CACI employees who provided services under the Delivery Orders issued under the Contract did not meet all the qualifications described in the labor categories corresponding to the rates billed to and paid by the NSA for those CACI employees," DOJ said. "According to the civil settlement agreement, the settlement resolves these allegations."

CACI has already paid NSA nearly $740,000 and is set to pay about $793,000 more within 30 days, the Justice Department added.

Under the settlement, CACI does not admit liability and the claim resolved by the settlement remains an allegation. The company declined to comment.

July 11, 2018 at 11:25 AM | Justin Katz

The Navy's second Zumwalt-class destroyer Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) suffered engine damage that has prompted the service to replace that engine before the ship proceeds to San Diego next year, according to an admiral overseeing the ship class.

"Regrettably coming off of her acceptance trial, we found a problem with one of the main turbine engines that drives one of the main generators [and] we're having to change this out," Rear Adm. William Galinis, program executive officer for ships, said during a Navy League event today.

The Navy does not yet know the cause of the damage and won't know until the service conducts a root-cause analysis, he said.

Bath Iron Works is the prime contractor for the Monsoor and Rolls Royce provides the ship's two MT30 Main Turbine Generator Sets.

"The turbine blades -- think of the jet engine on the side of the airplane, the blades that you see -- we actually had some dings, some damage to those turbine blades," Galinis told reporters following the event. "We found that after the sea trial through an [inspection] where you put an optical device inside the turbine to look at" the blades.

Asked whether similar damage occurred on the Zumwalt (DDG-1000), Galinis said the Navy checked and did not find anything.

The service will pay for the removal and repair because the engine is government-furnished equipment, Galinis said.

Following the repairs, the Monsoor is expected in San Diego next year for combat system activation. The Zumwalt is finishing its combat system activation in San Diego right now and is expected back at sea by the end of August, according to Galinis. The Lyndon Johnson (DDG-1002) will start sea trials toward the end of 2019, he said.

Late last year, the Monsoor was forced to return to Bath after experiencing an "equipment failure to a harmonic filter after loss of an induction coil" that prevented the ship from testing propulsion and electrical systems at full power, multiple media outlets reported.

July 11, 2018 at 11:23 AM | Marjorie Censer

L3 Technologies said today it has entered into an agreement to buy Azimuth Security and Linchpin Labs to bolster its cyber and intelligence capabilities.

L3 said it has agreed to pay a combined price of about $200 million, subject to an upward adjustment of up to about $32 million, payable in L3 stock based on the combined companies' post-acquisition sales.

Ottawa, Canada-based Linchpin Labs is a software development company specializing in computer network operations, cross-platform and low-level systems development and IT security services. Sydney, Australia-based Azimuth Security is an information security consultancy focused on analyzing software systems, including threat modeling and design, configuration and source code review, L3 said.

The acquired companies will be known as L3 Trenchant once acquired "and will help deliver advanced capabilities integral to a variety of complex [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and classified missions," L3 said.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. Next year, Trenchant is slated to add about $65 million to sales.

July 11, 2018 at 10:33 AM | Maximilian Kwiatkowski

The Army Science Board will have a closed meting on July 19 to discuss two 2018 studies, according to a Federal Register announcement posted on Wednesday. 

"The purpose of the meeting is for ASB members to review, deliberate, and vote on the findings and recommendations presented for two Fiscal Year 2018 ASB Studies," according to the notice.

The two classified studies, Multi-Domain Battle II and Manned Unmanned Teaming, are to be presented, discussed and voted on during the meeting.

This meeting will replace a previously scheduled board meeting on the same date announced back in June.

July 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Ashley Tressel

Oshkosh Defense has received a $49 million contract to integrate scalable autonomous technology onto Palletized Load System vehicles as part of the Expedient Leader Follower program.

Oshkosh collaborated on the program with Maryland-based Robotics Research, who provides the autonomy kit housing the system's computing and sensing hardware.

The Army will use the ExLF autonomy kit for supply transport demonstrations. The program has a directed requirement to issue 150 PLS trucks to soldiers for a one-year operational technology demonstration.

ExLF will undergo three incremental upgrades slowly building on autonomous capability through open-architecture software that is being looked at for possible implementation onto the Next Generation Combat Vehicle, an Army official said in April.

Oshkosh will integrate an initial 70 autonomy kits for program development and operational technical demonstrations under the contract awarded June 26, with the option to procure up to 150 autonomy kits.

The contract term ends in March 2021, Oshkosh said.

July 10, 2018 at 3:22 PM | John Liang

The White House is opposing Senate appropriators' proposed efforts to restrict the transfer of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Turkey.

In a July 9 letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney discusses the committee's June 21 mark-up of the fiscal year 2019 State Department and Foreign Operations spending bill.

Part of the language in that bill, if enacted, would restrict the use of funding for the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey.

The committee states that such transfers should not be allowed "until the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the government of Turkey is not purchasing the S-400 missile defense system from Russia and will not accept the delivery of such system."

In his letter, however, Mulvaney argues that "Turkey is an important NATO ally, and has been an international participant with the F-35 program since 2002. The administration shares the Congress's concerns over recent Turkish actions but opposes language that preemptively restricts its ability to work with Turkey to address those concerns."

Separately, Mulvaney's letter also notes that the administration's FY-19 budget request reflects its "desire to bring more federal spending under the caps reached in the 2018 [Balanced Budget Agreement] by eliminating the use of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for Function 150 [international affairs] programs.

"The administration encourages the committee to achieve its discretionary topline while eliminating the use of OCO for Function 150 programs as a means of evading the budget caps," the letter continues.

July 10, 2018 at 2:10 PM | John Liang

Services contracting, a new CRS report, large unmanned undersea vehicles and more highlight this Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Senate appropriators think the Pentagon "does not deliberately plan for most contracted services":

Senate appropriators still seek transparency in DOD services contracts

The Senate Appropriations Committee remains concerned the Defense Department does not have adequate policies and controls in place to enforce limitations on its annual amount of contracted services and is urging the Pentagon comptroller to review the matter.

A new Congressional Research Service report on how and where DOD spends its contracting dollars is out:

Congressional analysts see 'significant' geographic shift in Pentagon contracting dollars

There appears to be a "significant" geographic shift underway in where the Pentagon obligates its contracting dollars, with spending in the region of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command trending especially upward, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Document: CRS report on DOD contracting

The design of the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle could be getting to industry sooner than expected:

Navy plans to accelerate LDUUV design transition by five years

The Navy intends to accelerate a large unmanned undersea vehicle program by bringing the government's design to industry five years earlier than planned, a plan Senate appropriators are supporting in their version of the fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill.

News on a related large UUV program:

Senate appropriators: Navy will retain both contractors for XLUUV phase 2

The Navy appears to have quietly decided to retain both contractors for the second phase of a large unmanned underwater vehicle program, according to Senate appropriators.

Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for strategic integration under installations, energy and environment, spoke to reporters this week about his service's installations:

Army exploring the changing role of installations

Domestic military installations are now "part of the battlespace" and should be thought of as weapon systems -- necessitating a drastic change in the institutional perspective, according to an Army official.

Some cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Ex-official: NATO cyber ties still strong, though U.S. dials back high-level role

As President Trump meets this week with fellow NATO leaders in Brussels, former State Department cybersecurity coordinator Christopher Painter says the alliance continues to work well together on cybersecurity amid larger political tensions and a general scaling back of U.S. initiatives on the issue.

July 10, 2018 at 1:53 PM | Justin Katz

The Marine Corps published a request for quotes for an anonymous hotline designed for aviators to report unsafe conditions during missions, according to a July 9 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

Called the Aviation Safety Awareness Program, the service has already been experimenting with prototypes of the "hotline," Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation, told reporters last month.

The RFQ elaborates on the software behind the new system, stating it must integrate with the Navy's existing system which has averaged 11,000 reports per month and received more than 1 million reports since its inception.

The program's goal is to encourage "voluntary reporting of safety issues and events that would otherwise go unreported," the notice states. Information reported will be "totally de-identified upon data entry" with the aim of gathering information to fix problems while not assigning blame.

The software must be able to "immediately gather critical or time-sensitive safety/operational information using questions that can be entered directly into the ASAP data collection tool by the Marine Corps’ ASAP administrator without contract programming assistance," the notice states.

Further, the software must have a "search capability that reduces the delays normally associated with 'man-in-the-loop' analysis," the notice states.