The Insider

By Briana Reilly
May 17, 2022 at 12:22 PM

The Defense Department's first emerging capabilities policy director is calling on the military to move with "responsible speed" as it works to quicken the pace of development, experimentation and integration of new technologies.

That responsibility element, Michael Horowitz said during the Nexus 22 symposium today, is particularly important when it comes to artificial intelligence initiatives and “the need for sufficient safety and testing of systems.”

“Everybody wants us to go faster . . . and that’s right, and the top priority of our office is ensuring that emerging capabilities are more clearly, more effectively integrated into what the department does and policy’s role in strategy and plans and budgets, but the responsibility part of that is really important,” he said.

As the head of the newly created office, Horowitz, who began in the role last month, reports to Mara Karlin, the assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities. Through the post, Horowitz said officials aim to lead the Office of the Secretary Defense’s policy work on emerging technology diplomacy and capability strategic development in areas ranging from AI to hypersonics and directed energy.

That work includes bolstering diplomatic ties surrounding the development and deployment of new technologies and working to advance those capabilities in promotion of the National Defense Strategy, he said, all while keeping in mind “ethical questions, strategic stability questions associated with emerging technologies.”

Moving forward, Horowitz said his office is poised to ensure that AI and autonomous systems “especially” are reflected in the Pentagon’s policy and not just “the technical parts of the department” as DOD moves toward implementing its National Defense Strategy.

Asked about whether AI is receiving the appropriate level of emphasis from DOD, Horowitz said he’s hopeful given the interest in emerging technologies, the creation of his office and the stand-up of the new chief digital and AI officer in late 2021.

“I think all of those things make me optimistic that as we enter the [fiscal year 2024] budget cycle, that we’re going to start seeing that payoff as the department becomes -- it’s not a question of just more, but smarter, at thinking about AI and autonomous systems and investments in a way that really pays off for the joint force,” he said.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 17, 2022 at 9:20 AM

The Air Force successfully tested its Air-launched Rapid Response hypersonic missile Saturday, the service announced this week.

Released from the B-52H Stratofortress off the coast of Southern California, the ARRW’s booster ignited and reached speeds five times the speed of sound, according to a statement released Monday evening.

“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, program executive officer for weapons. “The team's tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year's challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we've learned and continue moving hypersonics forward.”

This is the first successful test of the embattled ARRW program, following three failed tests last year. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has signaled caution with the program, and the service announced with its fiscal year 2023 budget that it would not seek any procurement funding, as had been expected.

“We want to see proof of success before we commit to production,” Kendall told members of the House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee just last week.

ARRW is designed to threaten fixed, high-value and time-sensitive targets from stand-off distances and to expand precision-strike capabilities, according to the news release.

Kendall has on several occasions stressed the importance of designing weapons, including hypersonics, to meet U.S. needs, rather than “mirroring” the capabilities of adversaries like China. He told the House Armed Services Committee last month that hypersonics have a role in the Air Force arsenal but they are not a “panacea.”

By John Liang
May 16, 2022 at 1:37 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on space intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor and more.

Space Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting spoke at a Mitchell Institute event this morning:

Space Force to stand up new squadrons for space ISR

The Space Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Delta 7 wing will stand up three new squadrons to expand ISR capabilities in the next two years, according to Space Operations Command's top official.

The latest CMMC news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC early adoption program could be delayed due to rulemaking efforts

The Defense Department faces a calculated risk in terms of starting up third-party assessments under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program for early adopters, according to contracting attorney Robert Metzger, who sees ongoing work to finalize changes to the Pentagon's acquisition rules as one barrier for the delayed interim launch.

International demand for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor is "very strong," according to a Raytheon Technologies executive:

Raytheon aims to lock in foreign LTAMDS orders in tandem with Army's first production run

Raytheon Technologies is hoping to secure an overseas buyer for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor in tandem with planned orders for the Army's initial production run in a bid to lower the current $130 million radar price tag, realize economies of scale and give a foreign military immediate parity with the service's newest and most sophisticated ground radar.

The Army is looking to set up a bunch of new maintenance teams for armored units:

Army plans nine platoon-sized maintenance surge teams by FY-26

The Army plans to create nine platoon-sized maintenance surge teams in echelon-above-brigade formations by fiscal year 2026, at least some of which will use armored recovery vehicles divested from the Marine Corps, according to an Army spokesman.

In case you missed it last week, Inside Defense obtained the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar unfunded priorities list for Defense Department labs and testing facilities:

Shyu sends Congress $5.7B unfunded priorities list for DOD labs

Heidi Shyu, the Pentagon's chief technology officer, has sent Congress a $5.7 billion unfunded priorities list containing 126 military construction items related to Defense Department labs and testing facilities, according to documents obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Shyu's FY-23 MILCON, DOD lab unfunded priorities list

By Tony Bertuca
May 16, 2022 at 12:29 PM

President Biden intends to nominate Laura Taylor-Kale to be assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, according to the White House.

Taylor-Kale is currently the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations. She previously served in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.

If confirmed, Taylor-Kale will succeed Deborah Rosenblum, assistant defense secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, who has been performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks released a memo in February formally establishing the position.

The job’s duties include ensuring supply chain security, providing analysis on the health of the industrial base, reviewing acquisition investments, coordinating antitrust reviews, overseeing the director of small business programs and overseeing matters pertaining to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 16, 2022 at 12:07 PM

The Defense Department announced today it has renewed the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

The board independently advises the defense secretary and deputy defense secretary on matters relating to the Air Force’s science and technology efforts by conducting studies on topics chosen by the Air Force secretary, recommending applications of technology to enhance capabilities and providing independent reviews of the quality and relevance of service S&T programs.

The board is made up of up to 20 members with backgrounds including science, technology, manufacturing, acquisition, logistics, business management, research and development centers, national laboratories and academia.

Members serve one- to four-year terms and may not serve more than two consecutive terms unless approved through DOD procedures, according to the announcement. Members can be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses, but otherwise serve on the board without compensation.

By John Liang
May 16, 2022 at 10:27 AM

Private-equity firm the Carlyle Group has purchased ManTech International in a deal worth $4.2 billion, both companies announced today.

Under the terms of the transaction, ManTech shareholders will receive $96 per share in cash, the two companies said.

"We have always admired ManTech's unwavering commitment to support national security customers and their critical missions through differentiated capabilities and technology solutions. ManTech’s talented employees and leadership team have built a remarkable Company with strong market positions across the federal government," said Dayne Baird, a managing director on Carlyle's Aerospace & Government Services unit. "Through this partnership, we look forward to leveraging our sector expertise and resources to accelerate growth and innovation and to drive greater value for customers and employees."

"This announcement is an important milestone for ManTech and a testament to our growth and the leadership position we have built since our founding by George Pedersen more than 50 years ago," said ManTech Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Kevin Phillips. "Following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, our Board determined that this transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders and provides them with the most compelling value maximization outcome, offering liquidity at a significant premium. We look forward to leveraging Carlyle's deep knowledge and experience investing in and growing companies, as we deliver stronger outcomes for our customers and increased opportunities for our employees."

ManTech last November agreed to buy Washington, DC-based Gryphon Technologies from AE Industrial Partners for $350 million.

By Tony Bertuca
May 16, 2022 at 5:00 AM

The week ahead is filled with congressional hearings and other events featuring senior Pentagon officials.

Monday

The Air Force Association hosts the chief of Space Operations Command.

Tuesday

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Army modernization.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on the budget for nuclear forces and atomic energy defense activities.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds an Air Force budget and modernization hearing.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds an Army budget hearing.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Air Force and Space Force budgets.

The annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference takes place in Tampa, FL.

The Atlantic Council hosts its Nexus22 conference in Washington.

The Association of the United States Army hosts its annual LANPAC conference in Honolulu, HI.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee holds a budget hearing with Navy officials.

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on professional education and the National Defense Strategy.

The Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on missile defense strategy.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Navy and Marine Corps budgets.

The Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee holds a hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the chief of Space Systems Command.

Thursday

The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Air Force projection forces and aviation programs.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on nuclear forces and atomic energy defense activities.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on climate change and how it is addressed in the defense budget.

Friday

The Truman Center for National Policy hosts TruCon2022 in Washington, featuring a panel discussion with the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 13, 2022 at 3:10 PM

The Army will rotate two brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade into Europe to replace units that have deployed there to support U.S. allies amid the war in Ukraine, the service announced today.

“These deployments are a one-for-one unit replacement which leaves our overall force posture in the region unchanged,” the announcement stated. “The units being replaced will return to their home station.”

The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division will replace the 82 Airborne Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, according to the announcement. A 500-soldier headquarters complement from the 101st Airborne will also replace the 82nd Airborne’s headquarters on the continent.

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division will replace the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, according to the announcement.

The 1st Armored Division’s combat aviation brigade will replace the 1st Cavalry Division’s brigade, to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, according to the announcement.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said May 12 that the cost of the deployments could grow, and more supplemental funding could be necessary, if the war in Ukraine continues.

“The supplementals . . . have been very helpful in terms of allowing us to fund the operations,” Wormuth told the House Armed Services Committee. “This conflict could be protracted -- it doesn’t appear that Putin is changing his objectives. So I think that we have to prepared to expect that this conflict may go on, and the costs, would then continue as well.”

By John Liang
May 13, 2022 at 1:55 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's unfunded priorities list for military labs and testing facilities, plus the Army's Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor program and more.

Inside Defense obtained the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar unfunded priorities list for Defense Department labs and testing facilities:

Shyu sends Congress $5.7B unfunded priorities list for DOD labs

Heidi Shyu, the Pentagon's chief technology officer, has sent Congress a $5.7 billion unfunded priorities list containing 126 military construction items related to Defense Department labs and testing facilities, according to documents obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Shyu's FY-23 MILCON, DOD lab unfunded priorities list

Some counter-unmanned aerial systems news:

Counter-UAS systems show progress at Pentagon demonstration

The Pentagon last month evaluated systems intended to provide a full suite of capabilities to target and defeat small unmanned aircraft systems, officials told reporters Wednesday.

As Raytheon continues to manufacture prototype Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensors, the company is simultaneously working with the Army on an upgrade:

Army eyes $3 billion package for improved LTAMDS to equip first battalion by FY-29

The Army has earmarked nearly $3 billion in its five-year spending plan for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, an investment that aims to forge a new package of capability improvements to fold into the first production batch of the Patriot radar replacement slated be operational at full-battalion strength with a first unit by 2029.

A Navy amphibious ship study is set to be delivered to Congress in the next few weeks:

As Congress awaits amphibious study results, service chiefs emphasize floor of 31 ships

Congressional lawmakers expressed frustration today as the Navy and Marine Corps have yet to confirm the number of amphibious ships needed for the future battlespace.

More coverage from this year's Modern Day Marine Expo:

Marine Corps' stand-in force concept to provide 'layered defense' in Pacific

The Marine Corps' stand-in force concept will not only deliver traditional amphibious assault -- but organic sensing and strike capability as well, according to a service official.

Marine Corps' G/ATOR radar operating in Europe

The Marine Corps' Ground/Air Task-Orientated Radar is around the world observing the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and operating in the Indo-Pacific with the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment.

By Evan Ochsner
May 13, 2022 at 12:42 PM

The Army next month will host an industry day on its intelligence and security enterprise, according to an announcement posted Friday.

The event, scheduled for June 16, will be held in-person and virtually. The in-person portion of the event will be held at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Campus East in Springfield, VA.

It will include panels on modernization priorities for Army intelligence and security enterprise and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Army officials will also provide industry with information about technologies needed and anticipated contract solicitations, according to the announcement.

Representatives from several program executive offices and cross-functional teams will be present, according to the announcement.

The registration deadline is June 2.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 13, 2022 at 9:11 AM

Rafael's U.S. subsidiary demonstrated a small loitering munition for the Army at a recent exercise, the company announced this week.

Loitering munitions, which have also been called kamikaze drones, have received more attention in recent weeks after the Pentagon sent Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost systems to Ukraine. Last week, the Army released a sources-source notice for an antitank variant of the Switchblade, which is larger than the anti-personnel variant the service has previously purchased.

Infantry squads trained with Rafael’s loitering munition, the Spike Firefly, for two days at the recent Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, according to a company press release. Squads also tested the weapon’s utility in urban areas.

“As part of the assessment the operators fired a live inert FIRELFY munition intercepting an enemy sniper position in an upper floor of a structure simulating a scenario in which the whole platoon is under suppressive fire with the need to detect and engage the threat while the force is taking cover,” according to the press release.

Rafael’s loitering munition, the Spike Firefly, weighs 3 kilograms and is designed to locate, surveil and attack targets up to 1,000 meters from the soldiers who control the weapon, according to the company’s website. Firefly can return to the launcher and re-arm itself, which also allows the munition to act as a sensor-carrying drone without any payload.

By Evan Ochsner
May 12, 2022 at 2:18 PM

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on Thursday said her new directive outlining the role of Army Futures Command alongside Army acquisition authorities is not intended to downgrade the influence of AFC.

“That directive in no way downgrades Army Futures Command or diminishes its role,” Wormuth told members of the House Armed Services Committee. “It still remains an incredibly important part of our acquisition enterprise.”

Multiple members of the committee asked Wormuth about the directive, which among other things removed language from earlier guidance that said “AFC leads the Army’s future force modernization enterprise.”

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) said he was concerned the directive was shifting funding authority from AFC, a military command, and giving it to the Army assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, a civilian office.

“Why are you taking authority away from warfighters and essentially giving it back to the bureaucracy?” he asked.

Wormuth said the intent of the directive was to clear up ambiguities about the statutory role of the ASA(ALT) and said it “was not our intent” to pull authority into the bureaucracy.

By John Liang
May 12, 2022 at 1:31 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army data centricity, military leaders testifying before House and Senate appropriators and more.

During a two-day meeting with industry this week, Army officials emphasized the importance of being transport-agnostic in its use of data:

Army network leaders delve into data centricity as next step

PHILADELPHIA -- The Army is seeking to achieve data-centric operations in the coming years as it continues to develop and modernize its network capabilities, service leaders told industry early this week.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified this week before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on his department's fiscal year 2023 budget request:

House appropriators debate quantity vs. quality; chair teases upcoming BRAC discussions

Pentagon leaders on Capitol Hill today again tried to sell skeptical lawmakers on their proposed divest-to-invest strategy that would cut ships, aircraft and military end strength as part of an overall fiscal year 2023 budget proposal that does not keep pace with historic inflation.

Document: Austin's testimony on the FY-23 budget

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth testified before Senate appropriators this week:

Army could divest Strykers under Alaska reorganization

The Army might divest the Stryker combat vehicles that its forces in Alaska currently use and raid them for spare parts, if the Stryker brigade in the state becomes an infantry brigade, service Secretary Christine Wormuth said May 10.

Document: Army's testimony on FY-23 budget request

More news from the Modern Day Marine 2022 conference:

Marine Corps to bring organic sensing capabilities to tactical edge soon

The Marine Corps will leverage organic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities "in the near term," according to a service official.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will begin reviewing industry proposals in July for Glide Breaker Phase 2, a project that aims to mature a new divert-and-attitude-control-system-propelled kill vehicle technology for integration on a future hypersonic defense weapon system:

Northrop, Aerojet square off in contest for next-generation, hypersonic-slaying kill vehicle

An expected two-way contest to build a next-generation kill vehicle -- one optimized to counter hypersonic glide vehicles -- is coming to a head, pitting Northrop Grumman and Aerojet Rocketdyne for the chance to progress to the second and final phase of the Glide Breaker program.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
May 11, 2022 at 2:22 PM

The former director of an Army Futures Command Cross-Function Team will help the service's acquisition executive ensure that new technology survives the process from development to production, Army acquisition chief Doug Bush said May 10.

Bush told the Senate Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee that he has made it a priority to “improve our batting average” at moving new capabilities from the science and technology portfolio into programs of record.

Pentagon acquisition officials and department leadership have said they are committed to bridging the “valley of death,” a budgetary and regulatory gap where technology is too advanced for more research but not ready enough for acquisition through traditional pathways.

Willie Nelson, previously director of the Assured Position, Navigation and Timing CFT, will now serve as the Army deputy assistant secretary for research and technology, Bush told Inside Defense after the hearing.

A directive last week from the Army secretary clarified the civilian-led acquisition executive’s primary role in acquisition policy. There had been confusion and occasional tension between the acquisition executive and the military-led Futures Command since the command’s 2018 creation.

“Building those bridges between the organizations to make sure things work better is one of the things I’m committed to,” Bush told the subcommittee.

Nelson will also serve as the acquisition executive’s chief scientist, according to a May 5 Army press release.

By John Liang
May 11, 2022 at 12:49 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Marine Corps' Force Design 2030 effort, weapons funding for Ukraine and more.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger laid out his vision for the Marines and infantry battalions of 2030 at this week's Modern Day Marine 2022 conference:

Berger: Marines of 2030 will be multifaceted digital natives

The future Marine will not be a "starship trooper-looking person," but rather a digital native capable of operating multiple weapon systems, according to the service's top official.

House appropriators want to add $7 billion to the latest funding package for Ukraine:

House bill would increase Biden's Ukraine supplemental by $7B

The House Appropriations Committee has teed up a version of the Ukraine emergency supplemental funding bill that would increase President Biden's request by $7 billion, taking the final amount to $40 billion.

Initial operational testing on the Army's base Precision Strike Missile is planned for the first quarter of fiscal year 2025, and the missile could reach initial operational capability by the fourth quarter of that year:

Army has tested ramjet for future PrSM variant

The Army has already tested a ramjet that could power a future extended-range version of the Precision Strike Missile, according to senior service officials.

The Defense Department recently submitted its fourth package of legislative proposals for the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill:

Air Force asks Congress for A-10, KC-135 divestments in legislative proposals

A new batch of fiscal year 2023 legislative proposals released by the Defense Department last week is seeking congressional approval to retire several A-10 and KC-135 aircraft, a move which Air Force officials have described as necessary to modernize the force.

Document: Pentagon's fourth FY-23 legislative proposals package

The Joint Requirements Oversight Council has approved an "enduring" capability development document for the B-21 bomber program:

DOD sets $29 billion plan to develop new B-21 capabilities in tandem with production

Pentagon brass have approved plans to commence new upgrades for the B-21 Raider once the next-generation bomber begins low-rate production as part of marking cost and capability parameters, setting the stage for the Air Force to commit more than $29 billion in planned investment for the long-range strike project over the next five years.

Last but by no means least, the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon moves up timeline for release of interim final rules to implement CMMC program

The Defense Department is accelerating by two months its plans to implement changes to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, with the release of two interim final rules now expected in March 2023 and requirements to start showing up in contracts 60 days after the rules are published under a three-year rollout plan.

NIST plans to release 'pre-call' for comments on controlled unclassified information publications in 2022

The National Institute of Standards and Technology this year will issue a "pre-call" for public comments on updates to four publications concerning the security of controlled unclassified information.