The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
April 7, 2021 at 2:47 PM

The White House will be releasing toplines for President Biden's discretionary funding request for fiscal year 2022 on Friday, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

A more detailed budget request is expected later this spring.

The total FY-22 amount for U.S. defense, which includes DOD and the Energy Department, and other agencies, is expected to be flat when compared to the $740.5 billion requested for FY-21.

Government officials and analysts for weeks have anticipated the Pentagon's individual FY-22 topline will be between $704 billion and $708 billion, or a decrease of about 2% when adjusted for inflation. However, the topline is subject to change as OMB and DOD have been negotiating for several weeks.

Republicans have been calling for a total FY-22 defense increase of 3% to 5% above the rate of inflation, while some liberal Democrats are arguing for a 10% cut.

By Marjorie Censer
April 7, 2021 at 2:40 PM

The chief executive of Raytheon Technologies said today he does not expect the defense budget to grow or decline, but there will be some shifted investments.

Speaking at an Economic Club of Washington, DC event today, Greg Hayes said the company has tried to align itself with the National Defense Strategy as it readies for an anticipated flat defense budget.

"The key is, of course, some programs will not survive," Hayes said of how DOD will approach its budget. "We're going to have to invest in new technologies . . . and we're going to have to sacrifice some other programs."

As a result, he added, "the defense industry itself, I think, has to rethink how procurement works and how we're going to work with the Department of Defense."

Meanwhile, Hayes said he also expects a different approach to work following the pandemic.

"I think fundamentally the office has changed," he said, adding that he expects a hybrid working environment in the future.

Hayes said Raytheon is offering employees "a small financial reward" to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Our hope is to get at least 80% of our people vaccinated," Hayes added. If employees don't want to be vaccinated for religious or medical reasons, "we're going to have to respect that, but we're also going to have to make sure we can keep the rest of the employee base safe."

Hayes also spoke out against proposed increases to the corporate tax rate, arguing that a higher tax rate will cut investments in innovation.

"I spend about $5 billion a year . . . on capital and [research and development] that I self-fund," he said, adding that President Biden's proposal would cost the company about $1 billion per year in cash taxes.

As a result, Hayes said, Raytheon might need to reduce its investment budget by 20%. "I'm not sure that's exactly what the president wants to have us do," he said.

By Sara Sirota
April 7, 2021 at 1:51 PM

The Air Force's Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program has completed an integrated baseline review, establishing key cost and milestone dates as the program moves forward, according to a press release issued today by GBSD prime contractor Northrop Grumman.

The review occurred in early March, about six months after Northrop won an award to develop the new intercontinental ballistic missile system, company spokesman Nathan Drevna told Inside Defense today.

“Given the sheer size and importance of schedule integration, we had to be agile in meeting this critical milestone, there is no margin for delay,” Steve Lunny, vice president of the GBSD program at Northrop, said in the release. “Early on, we worked with the Air Force shoulder-to-shoulder in a virtual setting to engage at a deeper level and share critical insights throughout IBR to mitigate risks, arrive at a common baseline and ultimately save time.”

The program, which is intended to replace the legacy Minuteman III ICBM system, is on track to reach initial operational capability in 2029, the notice adds.

By John Liang
April 7, 2021 at 1:43 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on using controlled unclassified information, the Defense Department's Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy and more.

The Pentagon recently released a controlled unclassified information "Quick Reference Guide" brochure, as well as an associated slide deck:

Pentagon releases guides for marking controlled unclassified information ahead of CMMC program launch

The Defense Department has issued two new resources for contracting officials regarding the identification of controlled unclassified information and how it should be identified on government documents.

The deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare spoke this week at a Navy League event:

Final DOD approval of JADC2 strategy is 'imminent,' Trussler says

The Defense Department's Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy is "very close" to gaining final Pentagon approval, according to Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare.

The Marine Corps has a vision for increased long-range precision capability to sink Chinese ships in the event of a conflict in the Asia-Pacific region:

Successful test firing last November clears way for USMC to advance development of Chinese ship-killing vehicle

The Marine Corps last November notched a successful demonstration of the planned Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, firing a Naval Strike Missile from a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in an event that validated the basic design concept and supports continued development of the Remote Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary -- or ROGUE -- vehicle, according to service officials.

The nominee to become the Pentagon's next acquisition chief has received endorsements from both sides of the political aisle:

Nominee for DOD acquisition chief brings background in Silicon Valley, counter-China

Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, has been picked to become the Pentagon's acquisition chief, putting a new spotlight on a career previously spent in Silicon Valley and a public profile focused on countering Chinese technology.

The Navy's top uniformed officer spoke with reporters at a Defense Writers Group event this week:

Gilday: Project Overmatch to test communications networks this year

The Navy's Project Overmatch will test four increasingly complex spirals in its attempt to tie together more networks and applications this year, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said Monday.

By Courtney Albon
April 7, 2021 at 12:43 PM

The Air Force today unveiled the F-15EX as the Eagle II in a rollout ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, FL.

Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, the service's military deputy for acquisition, said today that using Mid-Tier Acquisition authorities, the Air Force and Boeing were able to deliver the first F-15EX aircraft within nine months of the initial contract award -- a process that typically takes more than three years.

"I'm pleased to say we've responded boldly and decisively with a proven platform that's modernized and optimized to maintain air superiority now and into the future," Richardson said.

The Air Force plans to buy at least 144 Eagle II aircraft to replace its F-15 C and D fleets. Richardson noted today that 75% of the two older variants are flying beyond their certified service life and 10% are grounded due to structural integrity issues.

The F-15EX leverages investments Boeing and international partners have made in recent years and includes survivability upgrades, a digital cockpit, fly-by-wire flight controls and an open mission systems architecture.

Richardson noted that the Air Force expects to save $3 billion operation and maintenance costs over the future years defense program as it transitions to the F-15EX.

The Air Force awarded Boeing a $1.2 billion contract last July for the first lot of eight aircraft. The company delivered the first aircraft in March and expects to deliver the second by the end of this month. The second production lot is expected to begin delivery in fiscal year 2024 and the third lot in FY-25.

By Jaspreet Gill
April 6, 2021 at 3:23 PM

The Army prior to an advance planning briefing set for later this month has released information on potential contracting opportunities focusing on fiscal years 2022 to 2023, according to an updated service notice.

The virtual briefing will be held from April 20 to 22 and address contracting opportunities for mission areas that focus on command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR); research and development; test and evaluation; chemical and biological defense; and Aberdeen Proving Ground Garrison.

No advance registration is required for the event, but questions can be submitted until April 12.

"In addition to the traditional contract opportunity briefings and small business highlights, this year's APBI will include breakout and special interest sessions," according to an April 6 Army notice. "These sessions will start on day [one] with a State of APG round table with senior leaders from the APG Centers of Excellence: R&D, test and evaluation, C5ISR, public health sciences and CBRND as well as the APG Garrison."

Breakout sessions during the first two days will also include total asset visibility contractor (CECOM); the project manager for electronic warfare and cyber strategic planning guidance; the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors integration directorate; the position, navigation and timing open integration lab and an overview of xTechSearch.

Day three will include sessions on the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical's integrated tactical network capability sets 23 and 25, command post modernization increment 1 and common hardware systems 6.

PowerPoint slides accompanying the March 6 notice outline a path ahead this year for PEO C3T, which include supporting Project Convergence 21 sensor-to-shooter network integration, operational tests with the Integrated Visual Augmentation System and Command Post Computing Environment and a Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) radios production decision.

The organization this month will also conduct a preliminary design review for Capability Set 23, the second integrated tactical network set in a series of two-year sets being fielded until fiscal year 2027.

Anticipated solicitation release dates for several PEO C3T efforts are also included in the PowerPoint slides, including the Combat Net Radio. The single-channel ground and airborne radio system for fire and air defense control will replace the SINCGARS radio and a solicitation release is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of FY-21.

The slides also lay out FY-21 to FY-24 PEO IEW&S contracting opportunities, including for the Common Infrared Countermeasure System, a laser-based system intended to protect aircraft from incoming missiles. The system, which will replace the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures System, was deemed ready by the service for full-rate production in March.

CIRCM consists of A-Kits and B-Kits and a solicitation for the A-Kits is estimated to be released in the third quarter of FY-21, according to the slides. The estimated value of that contract is between $9 million and $19 million.

By Sara Friedman
April 6, 2021 at 2:59 PM

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program is creating an Industry Advisory Council composed of private-sector leaders from organizations that will be seeking to get certified to compete for DOD contracts.

"The CMMC-AB IAC mission is to provide a unified voice as representatives of Organizations Seeking Certification (OSCs) to supply key feedback, input and recommendations for implementing CMMC back to the DOD and the CMMC-AB," the accreditation body said in an announcement today, calling the new group "one of the strongest and most important Industry Advisory Councils (IAC) ever assembled in cybersecurity."

The task force will be chaired by current CMMC-AB board treasurer Yong-Gon Chon, who "was previously CEO of Focal Point Data Risk and currently sat on the boards of RiskRecon (acquired by MasterCard) & Cloudentity and fellow at the Culinary Institute of America. Mr. Chon also led the cyber division of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions after its acquisition of SecureInfo," according to the accreditation body's website.

The task force includes Accenture Federal CISO Nicole Dean, who left the CMMC-AB board last month. All of the CMMC-AB board members are volunteers. The accreditation body announced the hiring of Matthew Travis, a former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency deputy director, as its first CEO last month.

The other IAC members are:

  • Ted Steffan, Sr. Security Partner Strategist Amazon Web Services
  • Darren Death, CISO, ASRC Federal
  • Jeffrey Dodson, CSO, BAE Systems
  • Timothy Trickett, CTO, BDO
  • Jake Williams, IT Security Manager, Doncasters Group
  • Michael Baker, CISO, General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT)
  • Adam McNair, COO, Highlight Technologies
  • Neil Brink, Cybersecurity Specialist, Rolls-Royce
  • Brian Thompson, Director of GovCloud Security & Compliance, Salesforce
  • Michael Rohde, Deputy CISO - Federal, ServiceNow
  • Allison Krache Giddens, President, Win-Tech, Inc.

"The IAC will serve as a crucible for industry dialogue, bringing the best and brightest together to address cyber readiness challenges in the DIB and strengthen CMMC to it maximum potential," CMMC-AB board chair Karlton Johnson said in a statement. "And just like the volunteer professionals in the AB, the IAC volunteers have chosen to serve a higher cause. Their leadership, skill, and professional expertise will greatly contribute to the overall success of the CMMC program."

By Ethan Sterenfeld
April 6, 2021 at 2:26 PM

The Army has awarded two contracts to build prototypes of its new ground vehicle for the Arctic, the Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle, which will be tested this year at the Cold Regions Test Center in Alaska.

Oshkosh Defense will supply prototypes based on the Bronco 3 from ST Engineering, a Singaporean firm, according to an Oshkosh press release. Two BAE Systems divisions, Land and Armaments and BAE Hagglunds, will collaborate on the other prototypes, according to an Army spokeswoman.

Prototype deliveries are scheduled for June 14, Timothy Goddette, Army program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, wrote in a statement.

The vehicles will be tested in Alaska from August to December, before the Army chooses one of them for production in the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, Goddette wrote.

The CATV will replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle, which has been in service since the 1980s, and is based on technology from the 1960s, he wrote, adding the SUSV is "no longer sustainable," and that it "reaches obsolescence" in FY-23.

In December, the commander of U.S. Army Alaska said that about 50 SUSVs remain in service, down from 700 at the fleet's peak.

The Army procurement objective for the CATV is 110 vehicles, while the acquisition objective is 163, Goddette wrote.

Congress has shown support for the vehicle, such as when it appropriated more than nine times the procurement funding the Army requested in the FY-21 spending bill.

Last month, the Army released its new Arctic strategy, which detailed the steps the service will take to confront increasing competition in the region.

Oshkosh and ST Engineering will deliver two prototypes of their vehicle, one general-purpose variant and one cargo variant, according to an Oshkosh press release.

BAE has previously said it would submit its Beowulf platform for the CATV program.

By Sara Sirota
April 6, 2021 at 2:24 PM

The Air Force has selected Victoria Coleman, former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as its new chief scientist.

Coleman began her new position last week, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews confirmed in an email to Inside Defense today. She served as DARPA's director between September 2020 and January 2021.

Coleman has more than 35 years of experience in computer science and technology, according to her biography on the Air Force's website. Prior to DARPA, she was chief executive officer of Atlas AI, a Silicon Valley startup focused on machine learning and software development, and chief technology officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit that supports Wikipedia.

Coleman has also been an advisory board member at defense contractors LookingGlass Cyber Solutions and Lockheed Martin, as well as the Defense Science Board.

She takes over as Air Force chief scientist from physicist Richard Joseph, who had been serving in the role since 2018.

By Justin Doubleday
April 6, 2021 at 2:22 PM

The Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office is planning a meeting this year with select companies to discuss potential prototyping plans for technologies that fall under the broad auspices of DOD's modernization priorities, including artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and microelectronics.

The "virtual solutions meeting" will be conducted this fall, according to a federal notice released late last month.

"The meeting provides selected innovative companies with an opportunity to make short technical presentations to Government representatives about their technologies," the notice states. "There is a potential for companies to be selected for pilot prototyping, demonstration, or experimentation for the most compelling solutions."

Responses are due by April 21.

The RRTO is specifically focused on "highly innovative technologies that have the potential to provide leap-ahead capabilities against near-peer adversaries and fill gaps in critical joint mission needs no later than 2028," according to the notice.

DOD’s modernization areas, as listed in the notice, are artificial intelligence/machine learning; autonomy; biotechnology; cyber; directed energy; fully networked command, communication, and control (FNC3); hypersonics; microelectronics; quantum; space; 5G; and "other disruptive technologies."

"Solutions are expected to derive from companies' internal research and development (IR&D) or other research efforts and suitable for maturation through DOD prototyping funding, but not mature enough to be Commercial-Off-the-Shelf products," the notice states.

The office will consider technologies between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3, or a "demonstrated proof of concept," and TRL 4, which is the "laboratory validation" stage, with the goal of advancing prototypes to TRL-6, a "relevant environment demonstration," or above. The details will be negotiated in a "transition agreement" with an interested military service or defense agency, which will be sponsored by the RRTO, according to the notice.

By John Liang
April 6, 2021 at 1:11 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the president's nominee to become the Pentagon's next acquisition chief, plus the Defense Department's Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy and more.

The nominee to become the Pentagon's next acquisition chief has received endorsements from both sides of the political aisle:

Nominee for DOD acquisition chief brings background in Silicon Valley, counter-China

Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, has been picked to become the Pentagon's acquisition chief, putting a new spotlight on a career previously spent in Silicon Valley and a public profile focused on countering Chinese technology.

The deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare spoke this morning at a Navy League event:

Final DOD approval of JADC2 strategy is 'imminent,' Trussler says

The Defense Department's Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy is "very close" to gaining final Pentagon approval, according to Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare.

The NMESIS is the Marine Corps' vision for increased long-range precision capability to sink Chinese ships in the event of a conflict in the Asia-Pacific region:

Successful test firing last November clears way for USMC to advance development of Chinese ship-killing vehicle

The Marine Corps last November notched a successful demonstration of the planned Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, firing a Naval Strike Missile from a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in an event that validated the basic design concept and supports continued development of the Remote Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary -- or ROGUE -- vehicle, according to service officials.

The Navy's top uniformed officer spoke with reporters at a Defense Writers Group event this week:

Gilday: Project Overmatch to test communications networks this year

The Navy's Project Overmatch will test four increasingly complex spirals in its attempt to tie together more networks and applications this year, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday.

In case you missed it, here's our deep dive into the Pentagon's challenges in buying up-to-date microelectronics:

'Long, complicated and painful': Washington wrestles with strategy to boost computer chip production

When Mark Lewis walked into the Pentagon in late 2019, he thought his most important job as a leading research official would be overseeing the development of new, high-speed missiles.

By Sara Sirota
April 6, 2021 at 12:19 PM

The Air Force's flagship boost-glide hypersonic vehicle -- the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon -- encountered a problem during a flight demonstration Monday and failed to launch from a B-52.

The flight over Point Mugu Sea Range, CA, was supposed to be the first time the Air Force released ARRW from a host aircraft, but the weapon was unable to complete its launch sequence and safely returned with the B-52 to Edwards Air Force Base, CA, according to a statement Air Force spokesman Capt. Jacob Bailey sent to Inside Defense today.

"The ARRW program has been pushing boundaries since its inception and taking calculated risks to move this important capability forward," Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, program executive officer of the Air Force's armament directorate, said in the statement. "While not launching was disappointing, the recent test provided invaluable information to learn from and continue ahead. This is why we test."

In addition to demonstrating safe release, the Air Force had hoped to assess booster performance, booster-shroud separation and simulated glider separation. Engineers will now evaluate the malfunction and return the weapon for another test, though the statement does not indicate how long that process may last.

ARRW prime contractor Lockheed Martin referred questions about the program to the Air Force.

Meanwhile, the defect sets flight testing back even further after the Air Force delayed the initial launch demonstration from December. The service has already conducted seven captive-carriage tests, the last of which occurred in August 2020.

The statement does not provide details about how the malfunction may affect ARRW's anticipated production schedule. Former Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper said in December he hoped production would begin this year.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
April 6, 2021 at 11:26 AM

The Army plans to issue a request for prototype proposals for the third increment of the Combat Vehicle Robotics program, according to an April 5 announcement.

"The intent of the CoVeR Inc 3 program is to develop and integrate technologies that enable scalable integration of multi-domain robotic and autonomous systems," the announcement states. "These capabilities will be teamed with Army formations and support all combat warfighting functions, such as close combat, reconnaissance, targeting and acquisition."

The prototype acquisition process will include two different stages, according to the announcement. A request for technical paper and a rough order of magnitude will come first, followed by a virtual pitch day that is "tentatively" scheduled for June.

Members of the National Advanced Mobility Consortium will be eligible for the program, which is being funded through a 2017 other transaction authority contract between the NAMC and the Army.

The period of performance for the program will last three years, according to the announcement. The announcement states there are no plans to pursue production efforts after this prototyping program.

By Jordan Wolman
April 6, 2021 at 11:16 AM

The Navy will be experimenting with a variety of unmanned systems to better understand how these platforms could potentially contribute to naval operations, two Pacific Fleet public affairs officers confirmed to Inside Defense.

Lt. Janice Leister told Inside Defense the test, known as Integrated Battle Problem 21, will take place between April 19 and 26 off the coast of San Diego. IBP 21 comes just about one month after the Navy released its unmanned campaign framework on March 16, which seeks to integrate unmanned systems into naval and joint operations.

Commander Sean Robertson of the U.S. Third Fleet told Inside Defense that IBP 21 will integrate unmanned and manned systems "above the sea, on the sea and below the sea."

Robertson said IBP 21 will feature the MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicle, the MQ-8 Fire Scout UAV, the prototype medium displacement unmanned surface vessels Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk, the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), and other air, surface and submarine forces.

The Pacific Fleet's IBP 21 is a "major experiment," acting Assistant Navy Secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition Jay Stefany, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities (OPNAV N9) Vice Adm. James Kilby and Marine Corps Combat Development Command chief Lt. Gen. Eric Smith wrote in March 18 prepared joint testimony before the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee.

Stefany, Kilby and Smith also wrote the experiment "will focus on maneuver in a contested space using manned/unmanned teaming in all domains."

By Sara Sirota
April 5, 2021 at 4:07 PM

The Air Force Research Laboratory has demonstrated the first release of an ALTIUS-600 small drone from an XQ-58A Valkyrie's internal weapons bay, according to a notice AFRL issued today.

The March 26th flight test was the Kratos-built Valkyrie's sixth overall and occurred at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. The aircraft flew higher and faster than in previous flights, demonstration program manager Alyson Turri said in the notice.

The ALTIUS-600 is made by AREA-I, which defense contractor Anduril Industries recently acquired.