The Insider

May 17, 2018 at 10:23 AM | John Liang

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

1. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said Tuesday his top priority is to ensure the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill is signed into law before Oct. 1 and is accompanied by timely appropriations legislation.

Full story: Thornberry trying to keep defense authorization bill on track

2. The Pentagon's new weapon system technology chief is poised to shake up the U.S. military's research and development investment portfolio this summer with recommendations for likely increasing funding across 10 priority areas between fiscal years 2020 and 2024 in an effort to produce potentially game-changing capabilities within a decade.

Full story: Griffin's tech 'roadmaps' aim to shape FY-20 POM

3. The Defense Department recently submitted an interim report to Congress on the organization and management of the military space enterprise, and while it doesn't include any evaluation of the proposal to create a separate Space Corps, it does reveal several ongoing efforts to improve space acquisition, budgeting and warfighting.

Full story: DOD's interim 'Space Corps' report highlights ongoing reforms

4. The Pentagon says managing multiple commercial cloud providers would be too complex and slow down cloud migration in a new report justifying the Defense Department's plan to make a single award for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program.

Full story: Pentagon justifies single-award approach to JEDI cloud

May 17, 2018 at 9:51 AM | Marjorie Censer

Endeavor Robotics said this week it has named David Adams chief financial officer, effective immediately.

Adams previously served as CFO at Tribalco and QinetiQ North America's services and solutions group. He was also an executive at Science Applications International Corp.

"Adams will oversee all financial activity at Endeavor, including strategic financial planning and analysis," Endeavor said.

May 16, 2018 at 3:51 PM | Justin Katz

The Marine Corps today received the first CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC, according to a service statement.

The service will begin an assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the aircraft in a supportability test plan, the statement said.

Designated System Demonstration Test Article 3, the aircraft will not fly for the government as a regular asset until summer 2019.

CH-53K prime contract Sikorsky expects to deliver the second helicopter in early 2019, according to a company statement.

The King Stallion is the replacement for the CH-53E Super Stallion and is expected to carry three times the load of its predecessor. The first eight aircraft of the program of record -- which will purchase 200 helicopters -- are under contract with some of those aircraft scheduled to be delivered this year. The service will transition to eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

"I am very proud of the work accomplished to deliver the most powerful helicopter ever designed into the hands of our Marines," said Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation. "And confident in the teamwork and dedication in this program which will carry us to [initial operational capability]."

The Marine Corps expects the CH-53K to reach initial operational capability in December 2019.

May 16, 2018 at 3:33 PM | Rachel Karas

The Air Force will hold a teleconference May 30-31 with companies interested in building a new aircraft to monitor other countries' domestic military operations under the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, according to a notice posted this week.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's industry day aims to "identify potential business sources with the expertise, capabilities and experience for qualification and production of aircraft and integration of digital visual imaging systems" to replace the pair of Boeing OC-135Bs with antiquated film cameras, according to a May 16 notice. The current fleet is nearly 60 years old.

Inside Defense recently reported Bombardier and Boeing are considering whether to bid on the program, while Embraer will not compete. Textron, Gulfstream and Airbus did not respond to a request for comment. At least seven companies were interested in the competition last year.

A House staffer suggested May 4 other Air Force platforms could perform the OC-135's mission instead of purchasing newer aircraft, but the service wants to switch to two small, commercial planes that are available to other treaty signatories.

Holding an industry day signals the Air Force is moving ahead with its Open Skies fleet recapitalization program despite lawmakers' push to restrict funding for the program until the Trump administration takes steps to rebuke Russia for violating the treaty, among other related proposals included in the House Armed Services Committee's version of the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill.

In April, the State Department told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was penalizing Russia's Open Skies program by declining to waive air traffic control rules and regulations, disallowing them to stay overnight at refueling airfields and limiting missions near Hawaii to 900 kilometers around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, according to documents Inside Defense reviewed this week.

A State Department official also told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) that while Russia plans to certify the Tu-214 reconnaissance aircraft with a digital electro-optical sensor for Open Skies flights, treaty signatories can't certify it before July because Russia still needs to submit certain technical documents.

May 16, 2018 at 2:47 PM | Lee Hudson

The Navy has disestablished the office of the deputy assistant secretary for unmanned systems and the service will transfer the portfolio to the "appropriate" deputy assistant secretary offices, Inside Defense has learned.

"The successful completion and submission of the Department of the Navy's comprehensive Unmanned Systems Roadmap to Congress signifies the completion of the tasking received via Secretary of the Navy's November 13, 2015 memorandum titled 'Treat Unmanned as Unmanned (TUAU),'" according to an April 30 memo issued by Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts. The disestablishment is effective May 7, the memo adds.

The service will continue to integrate unmanned systems into every facet of the organization, he wrote.

"This is a logical point to move forward as expressed in our Goals and Roadmap,” Geurts wrote. “Both documents state that the integration of manned and unmanned systems into a seamless fighting force is an objective of our unmanned systems strategy and critical to our future naval force.”

In February 2017, the Navy eliminated the directorate for unmanned systems on the chief of naval operations' staff (N99). At the time, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran told reporters dissolving N99 would help the integration of unmanned and manned systems, as well as save billets and manpower.

May 16, 2018 at 2:13 PM | John Liang

The Pentagon's interim "Space Corps" report to Congress leads off this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside Defense obtained the Pentagon's interim "Space Corps" report to Congress:

DOD's interim 'Space Corps' report highlights ongoing reforms

The Defense Department recently submitted an interim report to Congress on the organization and management of the military space enterprise, and while it doesn't include any evaluation of the proposal to create a separate Space Corps, it does reveal several ongoing efforts to improve space acquisition, budgeting and warfighting.

Document: DOD's interim 'Space Corps' report


Senior Army leaders testified before Senate appropriators this week:

Appropriators seek assurances on Army spending in FY-19

During a May 15 hearing of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, lawmakers queried Army senior leaders about the service’s plans to modernize and called for disciplined execution of its increased funding.

Overseas Contingency Operations money has been shifted to pay for the Army to pre-position equipment in Europe:

House authorizers to move prepositioned stocks for Europe to base budget

Lawmakers aim to support the Army's effort to build a division-sized prepositioned set of equipment in Europe, but would not categorize the move as a wartime expense.

Anti-submarine warfare was a recent area of focus for House authorizers:

House mark-up spotlighted Navy's ASW capability gaps

House lawmakers called attention to a variety of anti-submarine warfare technologies last week in their mark-up of the defense policy bill, and want the Navy secretary to address their concerns in reports and briefings in the future.

The Air Force disagreed with congressional appropriators' decision to add the extra funding for WGS satellites:

Thompson: Air Force may apply innovative acquisition approaches to WGS 11 and 12

The new Pentagon-based vice commander of Air Force Space Command said Tuesday that although the last-minute $600 million plus-up provided in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act to buy two more legacy Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft was not something the service asked for, the Air Force may be able to apply some "innovative approaches" the way it buys the satellites.

News from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DHS releases cyber strategy mandated under 2017 defense act

The Department of Homeland Security today released its "Cybersecurity Strategy," a document required by Congress that addresses issues ranging from risk assessment to threat reduction, which comes amid various calls from Capitol Hill for a detailed explanation of the Trump administration's overall cyber approach.

Document: DHS cybersecurity strategy


More cyber news:

Walls: Commanders key to successful cyber defense

Securing the Army's networks must be solely the commander's responsibility, according to an Army cyber directorate official.

The Air Force is looking for savings in the C-130J program:

Air Force says C-130J multiyear buy will save $572 million

The Air Force estimates its planned multiyear procurement of 52 C-130J variants between fiscal years 2019 and 2023 will save about $572 million compared to an annual procurement approach.

May 16, 2018 at 12:59 PM | John Liang

The House Appropriations military construction and veterans affairs subcommittee is getting a new leader, according to the chairman of the full committee.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) today announced that Rep. John Carter (R-TX) would take over the gavel previously held by the retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA).

"We are in the midst of a very aggressive and busy appropriations season," Frelinghuysen said in a statement. "With the retirement of one of our great subcommittee chairmen, Charlie Dent, we needed to bring a new member on board, and have made additional changes in subcommittee leadership as well."

Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) will take Dent's place on the committee, according to the statement. Additional changes include Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) replacing Rep. John Carter (R-TX) as homeland security subcommittee chairman and Frelinghuysen replacing Yoder as legislative branch subcommittee chairman.

May 16, 2018 at 10:17 AM | Tony Bertuca

The United States spent $2.8 trillion on counterterrorism between 2002 and 2017, according to a new report authored by former Pentagon comptrollers, Washington think tankers and government analysts.

Counterterrorism spending peaked in 2008 at $260 billion, according to the report released by the Stimson Center.

"For over 17 years, policymakers and the public have been unable to determine how much we spend on counterterrorism," said Laicie Heeley, a Stimson Center analyst who directed the study group.

"Now for the first time, we can point to a figure and say, 'We think we have spent this much on counterterrorism since 9/11,'" she said. "With the important first steps taken by this study group, and as the Pentagon shifts its strategic objectives, we can begin to have an honest conversation about how to protect America while upholding our values and being mindful of taxpayer dollars."

Along with Heeley, the report was authored by former Pentagon comptrollers Mike McCord and Tina Jonas; Amy Belasco, formerly with the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office; Mackenzie Eaglen of American Enterprise Institute; Luke Hartig, executive director of the Network Science Initiative and former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council; and John Mueller, an analyst at the Cato Institute.

The report points out that terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists or jihadis have killed 100 people in the United States, or about six per year, since 9/11.

"In comparison, the opioid fentanyl was responsible for more than 20,000 deaths in the United States during 2016 alone," the report states. "Some analysts conclude that spending $2.8 trillion to counter a terrorism threat that has resulted in comparatively few fatalities is a waste of increasingly scarce government resources that are better spent elsewhere. Others may contend that terrorism’s impact is more psychological than physical, or that the low fatality count from terrorism and the lack of another 9/11-scale attack are indicators of successful preventive campaigns thanks to ample government funding."

The authors write that while they do not take a position in the debate, they do conclude that "arguing either case successfully -- that is, determining whether CT expenditures have generated enough benefit to justify their cost -- is difficult without accurate information about CT spending."

The report makes five recommendations for OMB and Congress to make counterterrorism funding more transparent: Create a clear and transparent counterterrorism funding report; adopt a detailed agency-wide definition for counterterrorism spending; build on current accounting structures to anticipate future budget pressures; tie the definition of war spending to specific activities; and require Congress to separately approve emergency or wartime spending.

"Accountability and transparency are critical elements of our democracy. They are fundamental to maintaining trust between the government and the public," said Jonas, who was Pentagon comptroller during President George W. Bush's administration.

McCord, who served as Pentagon comptroller under President Obama, said the government needs clearer definitions and reporting standards for counterterrorism spending.

"Neither our leaders nor our citizens can properly assess the cost of our counterterrorism efforts if we don’t measure and present those costs clearly," he said. "Doing so is a necessary first step toward judging the efficiency or effectiveness of these efforts."

May 15, 2018 at 6:06 PM | Lee Hudson

The Navy recently completed the first phase of developmental testing for the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module after conducting a live-fire exercise from a Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship.

The Milwaukee (LCS-5) fired four Longbow Hellfire missiles that struck fast inshore attack craft and targets, according to a service statement.

"This was the first integrated firing of the SSMM from an LCS," the statement reads. "Additionally, this was the second at-sea launch of SSMM missiles from an LCS."

SSMM uses the Army's Longbow Hellfire missile in a vertical-launch capability to counter small boat threats. The service anticipates fielding the new LCS capability in 2019.

May 15, 2018 at 3:54 PM | Rachel Karas

House lawmakers propose giving the Air Force money to buy two more MQ-9 Reapers in their version of the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill, which passed to the full chamber May 10.

The House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) to offer the Air Force $42.8 million for another pair of General Atomics' Reapers. The Air Force for FY-19 requested $561.4 million for eight of the remotely piloted aircraft under the base budget and 21 under the Overseas Contingency Operations account. However, the chairman's mark of the bill would cut $192.7 million needed for “excess attrition aircraft” from the Air Force's $339.7 million request for MQ-9 procurement through OCO.

Inside Defense previously reported the Air Force is requesting new MQ-9s to replace aircraft lost in combat or those the Air Force expects will no longer be able to fly.

Representatives of Graves and the committee did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The committee also approved an amendment by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) directing the Missile Defense Agency and the commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command to brief lawmakers by the end of the year on "the addition of an operational fleet of advanced sensors deployed on MQ-9 Reaper systems to the ballistic missile defense system." The briefing should explore integration and test efforts, basing options, the operational value of using MQ-9s for missile defense, concepts of operation and the total development, operations and sustainment costs of deploying those MQ-9s in PACOM and CENTCOM.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee's mark of the FY-19 legislation requires an independent assessment of the possibility of arming MQ-9s with guided missiles to shoot down North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles in the boost phase, Inside Defense reported earlier this month.

In a 30-year aviation plan submitted to Capitol Hill last month, the Defense Department noted the Air Force is pursuing an analysis of alternatives for a next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike aircraft, "to begin the effort of adapting the current ISR inventory to the competitive environment outlined in the new National Defense Strategy."

Air Force Air Combat Command will include wide-area motion imagery capabilities and requirements in an AOA for airborne ISR sensors this year to help the service flesh out acquisition programs for new sensors, Inside Defense previously reported. That AOA is the first study resulting from an ACC-led effort to formally document future airborne ISR requirements.

May 15, 2018 at 3:40 PM | Tony Bertuca

Senate Republican and Democratic leaders said today they are optimistic Congress will rise above the partisan gridlock of previous years and pass appropriations bills on time for fiscal year 2019.

"I'm somewhat optimistic based on conversations I've had with the Democratic leader about the appropriations process that we're going to have a higher level of cooperation than we've had," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said during a Capitol Hill press conference.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters he too believed the appropriations process could be concluded before the beginning of the fiscal year Oct. 1 "if everybody cooperates."

"We hope to get the appropriations bills done for the first time, to come to the floor on a bipartisan basis, to not block them and to move forward," he said. "I think we can get all the bills done by the time we have to, which is in September."

However, Schumer said a recent GOP push to rescind non-defense spending granted in previous years could threaten passage of timely appropriations bills.

"To go forward with these rescissions, to bow to the right wing after they voted for a $1.5 trillion deficit-causing tax increase will hurt the ability of the appropriations process to move forward," he said.

Earlier this month, the White House Office of Management and Budget sent Congress a proposal to rescind $15 billion in non-defense spending that was appropriated in previous years. White House officials said the package was the first in a series.

Schumer said some of the spending the White House has proposed rescinding can also be used to ease the passage of upcoming appropriations bills "because often the money that's not spent in previous years is used for pay-fors."

The White House rescission proposal was released following criticism from fiscal conservatives who were angered that President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion FY-18 omnibus spending bill into law.

Analysts have offered opposing takes on whether Congress would move its spending bills through regular order in an election year.

Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said upcoming midterm elections mean there is "zero chance" that FY-19 will start under anything other than a stopgap continuing resolution.

"Midterms are midterms," she said.

But Mark Cancian, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said there is reason for optimism because an existing two-year deal has taken the question of spending toplines off the table.

"If Congress is ever going to get the defense bills done on time, this is the year for it," he said. "There's a budget agreement in place that sets the topline and few policy issues that could derail the process."

May 15, 2018 at 2:33 PM | John Liang

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest leads off with coverage of the FY-19 defense authorization bill.

Continuing coverage of the FY-19 defense policy bill:

Thornberry trying to keep defense authorization bill on track

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said today his top priority is to ensure the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill is signed into law before Oct. 1 and is accompanied by timely appropriations legislation.

Lawmakers impose specifications on LTAMDS

The House Armed Services Committee last week adopted an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill imposing performance specifications on the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor.

House lawmakers direct SECNAV to present long-range strike options

Members of the House Armed Services Committee are concerned the Navy's carrier air wing is not configured to support long-range strikes required by the current and future threat and requests the service secretary brief Congress on options that include manned and unmanned capabilities to fulfill the requirement.

Lawmakers urge DOD to address small UAS threats to maneuver units

The version of the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill passed by the House Armed Services Committee last week includes a provision that would require the Defense Department to provide information on its efforts to protect Army maneuver forces from low-cost unmanned aircraft systems.

The number of contractors that could bid on a new strategic ballistic missile program could go as high as five:

USAF: Five companies could compete as primes for $3B GBSD reentry vehicle program

Designing and buying a new reentry vehicle for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent is expected to cost around $3 billion, although the Air Force isn't sure whether it will choose one or more contractors for the first development phase, a service spokeswoman said this week.

On the other hand, don't expect the Defense Department to willingly hire more than one commercial cloud provider anytime soon:

Pentagon justifies single-award approach to JEDI cloud

The Pentagon says managing multiple commercial cloud providers would be too complex and slow down cloud migration in a new report justifying the Defense Department's plan to make a single award for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program.

Document: DOD report to Congress on JEDI cloud services

GAO has a new report out on the Defense Security Service:

Watchdog: DSS could face 'disruptions' over security clearances amid shift to more aggressive oversight

The Defense Security Service is in the midst of transitioning to a more aggressive posture to protect classified information, but it has yet to finalize a detailed strategy and will likely be pressed for resources as it prepares to assume responsibility for the Pentagon's massive backlog of security clearances, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Document: GAO report on protecting classfied info

House authorizers want an annual science and technology strategy:

House panel directs new National Security Science and Technology Strategy for $15B portfolio

A house panel has adopted legislation that would require the Defense Department to prepare a National Security Science and Technology Strategy annually, an assessment to be provided to Congress that explicitly prioritizes investments across a $15 billion research portfolio that aims to provide the building blocks for potential new weapons.

Marine Corps maintainers who are transitioning from older aircraft have the required skillset and do not need to be retrained on every qualification to work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

Marines revise qualification standards for maintenance as new aircraft come online

As new aircraft come online like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, CH-53K King Stallion and a slew of unmanned aerial systems, the Marine Corps is revising its maintenance qualification standards to make the transition easier for mechanics and other personnel.

May 15, 2018 at 1:05 PM | Justin Doubleday

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction continues to have issues with data reported by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, as end-strength figures for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces provided for SIGAR's latest quarterly report were inaccurate.

In an addendum to the April quarterly report published today, SIGAR John Sopko reports that his organization received a letter May 10 from USFOR-A informing the inspector general that the reported end-strength figure for the Afghan forces of 296,409 personnel was incorrect.

The actual end strength for the ANDSF was 313,728 personnel as of Jan. 31, 2018, according to the addendum. U.S. Forces told SIGAR the error was due to their failure to account for the transfer of most of the Afghan Border Force element from the Afghan National Police to the Afghan National Army, the document states.

While the corrected figures show ANDSF end strength has declined by 17,980 personnel between January 2017 and January 2018, the erroneous figures included in the April quarterly report inaccurately presented a more drastic decline.

"This is the latest in a series of problems SIGAR has faced over the last three quarters with DOD's responses to our requests for ANDSF information," Sopko writes in the addendum.

Since it was established in 2008, SIGAR has usually received timely and accurate information from the Defense Department, according to Sopko. But over the past three quarters, NATO's Resolute Support mission and USFOR-A have classified and restricted information from public reporting "in a seemingly haphazard fashion," Sopko writes.

For instance, SIGAR stated in its January quarterly report that the Resolute Support campaign restricted the watchdog from reporting land, population and district control data in Afghanistan for the first time. Resolute Support later said the restriction was a "human error," and allowed SIGAR to publicly report the data, which showed record gains by the Taliban.

In the most recent addendum, Sopko states a SIGAR team recently met with Resolute Support and USFOR-A Commander Gen. John Nicholson to share concerns about the data-call process. Nicholson's staff shared a letter with SIGAR showing the four-star had recently requested the ANDSF classify less of its data, and in the April quarterly report, less data was classified than had been done for the previous two quarters, according to Sopko.

Additionally, Sopko states SIGAR has told USFOR-A that it will be the principal point of contact for what data DOD wants to restrict in the future.

"Nevertheless, in light of the problems described above, SIGAR respectfully requests the appropriate congressional committees and the secretary of defense to remind all DOD components of their statutory duty to provide accurate and timely data concerning the ANDSF for SIGAR’s quarterly reports," Sopko concludes.

May 14, 2018 at 5:14 PM | Lee Hudson

The Marine Corps will transition to a new infantry rifle squad configuration beginning in fiscal year 2020, service Commandant Gen. Robert Neller announced today.

The new 12-Marine rifle squad will have two new positions -- an assistant squad leader and a squad systems operator. Currently, the Marine rifle squad is composed of 13 Marines, but the new configuration will have 300 percent more fire power, Neller said in a video posted on Twitter.

The firepower increase is due to every Marine in the rifle squad having an automatic weapon. In the current configuration only three Marines have automatic weapons, he said.

Inside the Navy reported in February the service decided to change the fifth-generation rifle squad configuration after completing the first phase of Sea Dragon 2025. The Marine Corps considered a 14-Marine rifle squad, an 11-Marine rifle squad or a 12-Marine rifle squad.

May 14, 2018 at 3:09 PM | John Liang

The Defense Policy Board will hold a two-day, classified meeting at the Pentagon next week to talk about the "Space and Ballistic Missile Defense Review," according to a Federal Register notice issued this morning.

The meeting will take place May 24 and 25, the notice states, with topics and speakers including:

* Space Intelligence Brief, Larry Gresham;

* Warfighting 2025, Andrew Cox;

* OSD Space Policy Perspectives, Honorable Kenneth Rapuano & Steven Kitay;

* Warfighter Perspectives, General John W. Raymond;

* Space Panel, General (Retired) Robert Kehler, Douglas Lovero and Marc Berkowitz; [and]

* Ballistic Missile Defense Review, Honorable John Rood.

Senior Pentagon officials had told lawmakers in recent months that the Defense Department expected to wrap up its assessment of U.S. missile defenses this spring as they ironed out internal disagreements regarding several elements of the review.

"Right now we still have some internal discussions in the department to work through -- different opinions, as you'd expect, on certain questions," Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee March 22.