The Insider

By Ashley Tressel
September 11, 2019 at 11:33 AM

The Army next month will hold the first assessment of Infantry Squad Vehicle prototypes provided by three contractors chosen for the initial phase of the program -- Oshkosh Defense with Flyer, GM Defense, and Science Applications International Corp. with Polaris.

"The modernized vehicles will provide enhanced tactical mobility for an infantry brigade combat team to move quickly around the battlefield," Steven Herrick, Ground Mobility Vehicle product lead, said in an Army news release. He adds the vehicles will be used for "repositioning operations to provide commanders greater freedom of movement and action."

The release says the Army awarded a "$1 million mock-up contract" on Aug. 23.

The ISV is intended for use by a nine-soldier infantry squad moving within "the close battle area" and is expected to be lightweight and air-transportable.

The Army plans to acquire 651 vehicles over the next five fiscal years: 17 in FY-20, 118 in FY-21, 177 in FY-22, 177 in FY-23 and 162 in FY-24, according to a February industry notice.

The service informed industry in September it had a potential acquisition objective of 2,065 vehicles.

The three contractor teams will deliver their prototypes to Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland on Nov. 13, according to the Army.

"Upon their arrival at the Maryland proving ground, all designs will compete in several performance, operational, and characteristics tests. Evaluations are scheduled to run through December," Herrick said in the release.

The ISVs will then undergo a second round of testing at Ft. Bragg, NC, focused more on operational use.

The Army plans to choose one contractor in the second quarter of FY-20 who will go on to produce the ISVs, according to Herrick.

By Justin Katz
September 11, 2019 at 9:32 AM

The Navy announced yesterday it hired former enlisted Marine John Kroger as its first "chief learning officer" to oversee the service's educational programs, following one of the recommendations from a study completed last year by Navy Under Secretary Thomas Modly.

As the Navy secretary's assistant, he’ll oversee efforts across the United States Naval Academy, Naval War College, Marine Corps University and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Kroger was previously a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, president of Reed College in Portland, OR, and Oregon attorney general.

By Jaspreet Gill
September 10, 2019 at 3:53 PM

The Army is looking for a long-range precision munition system for rotary and unmanned aircraft systems capable of engaging targets in adverse conditions.

A Federal Business Opportunities notice states the service is looking for information on LRPM weapons systems "ready for qualification, production, and suitable for integration" on the aircraft systems, which will also be used to inform Air-Launched Effects "lethal requirements."

Air-Launched Effects, part of the Army's Future Vertical Lift modernization priority, will make aerial relays capable of being launched from aerial platforms. According to a March 2019 Army press release, Air-Launched Effects would be launched from current platforms or platforms still in development, such as the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.

The LRPM weapon system requirements include integrated air defense systems, survivability against air defense and counter precision guided munition systems, range greater than 30 kilometers and adaptability to various network types.

Additionally, the system "should be able to engage stationary and moving targets in day and night conditions in adverse weather and GPS-denied environments with low collateral damage."

Responses are due Nov. 12 to the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL.

By Marjorie Censer
September 10, 2019 at 3:15 PM

The Government Accountability Office will now have until Sept. 18 to submit its "advisory opinion" on the LOGCAP V program.

According to an order filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims earlier this month, GAO on Sept. 3 contacted the court to seek an extension.

"For good cause shown, the Court hereby grants the extension of time," the order reads. "Accordingly, GAO shall file its Advisory Opinion on or before September 18, 2019."

GAO was previously told to file its advisory opinion by Sept. 4.

The opinion was sought by AECOM, which unsuccessfully bid on the Army's LOGCAP V initiative. AECOM's protest with GAO was dismissed last month after DynCorp, whose protest had been unsuccessful, took the case to federal court.

By John Liang
September 10, 2019 at 2:15 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the FY-20 defense spending bill, missile defense, the Combat Rescue Helicopter program and more.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee has marked up its portion of the FY-20 defense spending bill. Here are the details:

Senate appropriators draft defense spending bill

A Senate panel today marked up its version of the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill in accordance with a bipartisan budget deal, appropriating $622 billion in base spending, $70.7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations and $1.7 billion in emergency funding.

Senate appropriators recommend $536M plus-up for Next-Gen OPIR

As the Air Force seeks additional funds to keep the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared System on schedule, Senate appropriators are proposing a $536 million plus-up for the program that could fill a significant early funding gap.

The Office of Management and Budget says the administration isn't quite ready to transfer space sensor oversight to the Missile Defense Agency:

OMB pushes back on Senate plan to give MDA oversight of space sensor architecture

The White House objects to a provision in the Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill that would give the Missile Defense Agency responsibility for a new hypersonic and ballistic missile space-based sensor constellation, saying the move could "restrict DOD's ability to design the most cost-effective solution."

. . . nor is OMB ready to transfer the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program from MDA to the Army:

OMB appeals Senate move to transfer THAAD procurement from MDA to Army

The White House Office of Management and Budget is asking Senate lawmakers to reconsider legislation that would transfer procurement funding for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program from the Missile Defense Agency to the Army, a move lawmakers have long sought and which the Pentagon has resisted.

Keep an eye on the Air Force for an upcoming decision to move the Combat Rescue Helicopter program to low-rate initial production:

Sikorsky gears up for combat rescue helicopter production decision this month

Once marred by technical deficiencies that led to a schedule adjustment, the Air Force's multibillion-dollar Combat Rescue Helicopter program is on track for a decision to approve low-rate initial production during a meeting at the end of the month.

Inside Defense recently chatted with Col. Brian Lyttle, chief of the Army's Cyber Security and Information Assurance division:

Autonomous cyber defenses coming to the Army

The Army is leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning into new autonomous cyber defenses, according to service officials in the C5ISR Center's Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate.

A Navy "combat system engineering support" of the Ship Self-Defense System contract award is under protest by Raytheon:

Raytheon protesting Ship Self-Defense System award to Lockheed Martin

Raytheon last week filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office over a recent contract award to Lockheed Martin for a combat system outfitted on Navy ships.

By Justin Doubleday
September 10, 2019 at 1:11 PM

Perspecta is protesting the Defense Department and General Services Administration's decision to award General Dynamics Information Technology a potential $7.6 billion cloud services contract.

On Sept. 9, Perspecta filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office challenging the award of the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions Blanket Purchasing Agreement to GDIT, according to a notice on GAO's protest docket website. Perspecta did not immediately return emails asking for more information regarding its protest.

GAO has until Dec. 18 to come to a decision.

The Pentagon and GSA awarded General Dynamics the DEOS contract in late August. The BPA provides for collaboration and productivity tools like email, messaging, word processing, file sharing and storage across the DOD enterprise. The Pentagon wants to use the services provided under the DEOS contract to replace legacy office technologies with a "standard cloud-based solution across all military services," according to the government's announcement.

The agreement could last up to 10 years and is worth a maximum of $7.6 billion.

The award is also a boon for Microsoft, as the BPA is "built on" the Microsoft Office 365 platform, according to the announcement.

Microsoft is one of two companies in contention for another massive Pentagon cloud contract, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. Amazon Web Services is the other company eligible to win the potential 10-year, $10 billion cloud contract.

However, the JEDI award is being held up by Defense Secretary Mark Esper's review of the contract, as well as a DOD inspector general’s investigation into the program. The JEDI initiative has been plagued by protests and allegations of ethical conflicts.

By Tony Bertuca
September 10, 2019 at 11:13 AM

As Congress again nears a shutdown deadline, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, today beseeched committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) to help forge a compromise to pass an on-time defense spending bill, earlier noting Democrats' continued objections to President Trump's use of Pentagon funds to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"You and I are really doing good work together," Durbin told Shelby in an exchange heard on a "hot mic" after the conclusion of a brief subcommittee hearing. "I don't want to jeopardize this."

Shelby told Durbin he is doing everything he can to move the bill forward.

"You know it ain't me," he said.

Durbin continued: "If there's a way you and I can do something on this, let me know, buddy."

Shelby said he would speak with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and suggested Durbin speak with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

"Let's see if we can get together," Shelby said.

"Let’s not waste any time," Durbin said.

Earlier in the hearing, Durbin said he and fellow Democrats continue to oppose the president's emergency declaration, which cleared the way for the administration to divert $6.1 billion of Defense Department spending toward new border barriers without congressional approval.

About $3.6 billion is planned to come from 127 military construction projects being "deferred" inside and outside the United States. Another $2.5 billion has been reprogrammed to the wall effort from other Pentagon priorities.

"Congress cannot and should not be silent when the power of the purse is undermined in this way," Durbin said during the hearing. "Why are we here? Why do we have an appropriations committee if this president can ask for money for certain purposes, we appropriate it and then he ignores us and takes the money for his own political agenda? If all the work of hearings, investigations, debate and votes in this committee can be swept away by a signature on a reprogramming then why are we here?"

The new wall money, meanwhile, is being diverted in the hopes it will be "backfilled" by Congress, over the objections of Democrats and some Republicans.

The Democrat-run House’s defense appropriations and authorization bills would block all future use of DOD money to build the wall without first obtaining the consent of Congress.

Additionally, the House bills would restrict DOD's ability to reprogram money, something lawmakers warned of when the department, overturning decades of precedent, transferred $2.5 billion in funding to build border barriers without the approval of Congress.

The House sets the limit for DOD's total annual reprogramming authority at $1 billion, compared to the $5 billion requested for FY-20 and the current level of $4 billion. The bills also limit annual Overseas Contingency Operations reprogramming to $500 million, compared to $4.5 billion in the budget request and the current level of $2 billion.

Durbin said Democrats would come to the full committee hearing on Thursday seeking amendments to the defense appropriations bill related to the wall and DOD's reprogramming authority.

"I am certain my colleagues and I will be ready on Thursday in full committee to ask this subcommittee and all the members of the appropriations committee to stand up for our own constitutional responsibility," he said.

By Marjorie Censer
September 10, 2019 at 9:37 AM

Cubic said today its mission solutions unit has named retired Rear Adm. Brian LaRoche chief operating officer.

“In this role, he will oversee the daily operations of the [mission solutions] business to ensure effective execution performance,” the company said. “This includes implementation of business strategies, plans and procedures to set comprehensive goals for the company’s growth and success.”

LaRoche, who retired from the Navy in 2016, has previously worked at Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, according to Cubic.

By John Liang
September 9, 2019 at 1:48 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of the upcoming defense budget, Army aviation, Air Force directed-energy efforts and more.

Using military funds to pay for President Trump's proposed border wall is not going to make passing the fiscal year 2020 defense policy and spending bills any easier:

Fight over wall funding threatens to disrupt defense bills

A partisan battle over President Trump’s efforts to divert Defense Department money to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is poised to snarl House and Senate negotiations over upcoming defense policy and spending bills, despite lawmakers having already reached a broad budget agreement.

. . . And missile defense funding will not be immune:

DOD eyes $8M for Trump's border wall from GBI silo project MDA deemed urgent

The Defense Department plans to divert $8 million to help finance President Trump's controversial border wall from a Missile Defense Agency project deemed urgent for homeland defense.

Col. John Ferrell, director of simulation for the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Ft. Rucker, AL, recently spoke at an Association of the U.S. Army event:

Platform replication remains a challenge for Army aviation

Replicating platforms accurately in simulations remains one of the biggest challenges for the Army, according to a service official.

Inside Defense recently spoke with Michael Jirjis, who oversees the directed-energy campaign within the Air Force's strategic development planning and experimentation office:

DE experimentation for precision strike, aircraft self-protect expected in 2021-2023

An Air Force official anticipates an emphasis on testing prototypes for precision strike and aircraft self-protect capabilities in the 2021-2023 time frame.

Jirjis also discussed directed-energy, counter UAS programs:

Air Force looking to establish directed-energy, counter-UAS programs of record in near-term

The Air Force's directed-energy researchers are engaging with acquisition officials about establishing programs of record for DE weapons and counter-unmanned aerial systems in the near future.

The federal government is still struggling to grapple with the "complexity" of its cybersecurity and supply chain problems, according to Ron Ross, a computer scientist and fellow at the National Institute for Standards and Technology who leads the development of cybersecurity standards and spoke at the recent Billington Cybersecurity Conference:

New Pentagon initiatives seek to overcome entrenched supply chain security concerns

Federal officials are injecting a sense of urgency into multiple initiatives to more effectively secure the Defense Department’s expansive supply chain from cyber threats, as one official warned the issue is nearing a "tipping point."

By Marjorie Censer
September 9, 2019 at 11:43 AM

Consulting firm the Cohen Group announced this week that retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis will join as a senior counselor next month.

Mattis previously was defense secretary.

The Cohen Group is headed by chairman Bill Cohen, also a former defense secretary. The firm was established in 2001 and has more than 70 employees.

By Sara Sirota
September 9, 2019 at 11:27 AM

Tyndall Air Force Base, FL, will host its third industry day Sept. 12 to update partners and local community members about ongoing reconstruction efforts.

The event will be held at the Holley Center at Florida State University's Panama City campus, according to a Sept. 6 media advisory. More than 450 industry representatives are expected to attend.

Several Air Force officials, including Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon, executive director of the Tyndall program management office, and Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th fighter wing commander, are scheduled to provide briefings.

Tyndall is undergoing a $4.25 billion recovery program to repair severe damages caused by Hurricane Michael last fall.

By Tony Bertuca
September 9, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Congress returns to session this week and senior defense officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area.

Tuesday

The House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats and oversight and reform subcommittees hold a joint hearing on securing the nation’s internet infrastructure.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing to mark up the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill.

The Air Force Association hosts a discussion with defense officials on restoring U.S. military competitiveness.

Wednesday

The Air Force Association hosts a discussion with lawmakers and foreign defense officials on light attack aviation.

Boeing, Leidos and Parsons executives are slated to present at Morgan Stanley's conference in Laguna Niguel, CA.

Thursday

The Senate Appropriations Committee marks up the FY-20 defense spending bill.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for Ryan McCarthy to become Army secretary and Barbara Barrett to become Air Force secretary.

Maxar Technologies, Raytheon and United Technologies executives are set to present at the Morgan Stanley conference.

By Marjorie Censer
September 6, 2019 at 3:03 PM

Today’s INSIDER Daily Digest has the latest on an Air Force official’s concern about space acquisition efforts as well as a potential increase to a major space contract.

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper said this week he sees some issues with a congressional plan for a separate space acquisition office:

Air Force concerned about integration, staffing of separate space AQ office

The Air Force's top civilian acquisition official said this week he's concerned a congressional proposal to create a separate acquisition executive for space could limit efforts to better integrate air and space capabilities.

Meanwhile, the service is awaiting a decision on a proposal to dramatically increase the ceiling for a key contract:

SMC expects approval this month for increased space consortium ceiling

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center expects a decision by the end of this month on a plan to nearly triple the ceiling of the Space Enterprise Consortium contract. It is also working separately to establish a follow-on effort that could be worth up to $12 billion.

In case you missed it, Inside Defense was at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit this week:

New NSA cyber directorate will focus on defense industrial base

The National Security Agency's new cybersecurity directorate will prioritize collaboration to create threat intelligence products that provide more context in an unclassified setting, as well as feature a special focus on the Defense Department's industrial base, according to the director of the office.

Pentagon seeks feedback on draft version of new contractor cybersecurity standards

The Pentagon is seeking feedback on a draft version of new cybersecurity standards defense contractors will have to start following next year.

Inside Defense is also closely tracking DOD’s plans to defer key programs to fund the president’s border wall:

Pentagon names military construction programs it will defer to pay for border wall

The Pentagon has sent Congress a list of military construction programs it intends to defer so $3.6 billion can be diverted to pay for barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

By Tony Bertuca
September 6, 2019 at 12:33 PM

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee is scheduled to mark up the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill Sept. 10.

The full committee, meanwhile, is scheduled to vote on the bill Sept. 12.

Partly because the Senate has yet to mark up any spending bills, the House has scheduled a vote for the week of Sept. 16 to pass a stopgap continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded past Sept. 30. Staffers say the CR could extend into late November.

Plans for the CR come despite a bipartisan budget agreement that has already set topline spending levels for both defense and non-defense for FY-20 and FY-21.

House and Senate authorizers are also preparing to go into conference with their opposing FY-20 defense policy bills when Congress returns from summer recess.

The appropriations and authorizations processes are expected to become entangled in debates on President Trump’s efforts to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
 

By Jaspreet Gill
September 6, 2019 at 11:32 AM

Editor’s Note: This story has been changed to reflect the fact that Army aviation has no armored cavalry squadrons.

The Army is “grappling” with the idea of bringing back cavalry squadrons for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, according to a service official.

Maj. Gen. David Francis, commander of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Ft. Rucker, AL, said at an Association of the U.S. Army event Sept. 5 that the service may replace the organic cavalry squadrons for reconnaissance and surveillance functions for the FARA, which is expected to be fielded in 2030.

Francis said the issue was first brought up during a recent reconnaissance and security summit at Ft. Hood, TX, that included the service's corps commanders and almost all division commanders who talked about future capabilities.

“The discussion has been, do we need that capability at those echelons, and, if so, then how are we going to fill it?,” he said. “But it is in fact an issue, it is being pursued. We don’t think there will be a cavalry squadron that is not an air-ground element or organization as we move into the future.”

Francis said the issue is in the “very front end of that discussion right now across the Army” and that it’s a high priority for the service’s leadership.