The Insider

By Ashley Tressel
July 1, 2020 at 2:20 PM

The Army has chosen Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace to provide a wireless fire control capability to support the Light and Medium variants of the future Robotic Combat Vehicle, the company announced today.

"This decision creates a common architecture across all current robotic lethality fire control for crew-served, medium caliber and anti-tank weapons," Kongsberg said in a press release.

The company demonstrated its capability in June 2019 by firing a Javelin anti-tank guided missile and 12.7 mm machine gun from a legacy Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station M153 mounted on an unmanned ground vehicle at Redstone Test Center in Alabama, according to the release.

The company also demonstrated "secure transmissions of video and fire-control data including command signals over radio from the weapon station and the missile."

Another government-sponsored test of the medium caliber wireless capability will take place later this year.

"This latest contract for wireless fire-control architecture augments previous awards to Kongsberg for the wireless fire-control architecture for the U.S. Army RCV-L program and the Multi-User, Multi-Station (MUMS) distributed fire-control architecture," the release states. "The MUMS architecture was developed against a U.S. Marine Corps requirement for 'one over many, many over one' control of RWS. The MUMS architecture is currently being applied to all Marine RWS deliveries including systems for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV)."

Additionally, Kongsberg's CROWS-J and MCT-30 remotely operated turret have been selected as government-furnished equipment for the Army's Phase 2 experimentation for the RCV.

By Jaspreet Gill
July 1, 2020 at 1:45 PM

The Army is seeking to reprogram $35 million to address critical capability gaps found in its counter-small unmanned aircraft systems effort, according to the Defense Department’s annual omnibus reprogramming request to Congress.

The Pentagon earlier this year designated the service as the lead on joint counter-drone technology efforts.

The request, obtained by Inside Defense, states the funding will be used to "comprehensively detect, track, identify and defeat" enemy lightweight, low-altitude UASs.

The increase will bring the total amount of air defense command, control and intelligence engineering and development funding for fiscal year 2020 to $68.7 million in the base budget.

"This effort includes funds for the establishment of a C-UAS common test range, consolidated UAS threat library repository and improvements to multi-service C-UAS efforts," the request states. "This is a new start. The estimated total cost of the effort is still being refined (FY 2020, $35.150 million.)"

Meanwhile, the service in its FY-21 unfunded priorities list is asking Congress for $27.9 million for the procurement of C-UAS systems to address gaps in currently fielded systems, support the development of joint solutions and establish an operational headquarters.

By Ashley Tressel
July 1, 2020 at 1:39 PM

The Army wants to shift $18.5 million from the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program into other programs, as the contractor, BAE Systems, is behind schedule by four to six months.

The decrease, included in the Defense Department's annual omnibus reprogramming request to Congress, results from a testing delay following "tooling and assembly line challenges" at BAE's plant in York, PA, cited in the director of operational test and evaluation's annual report from December.

Those issues, now resolved, also pushed back delivery of the first low-rate initial production vehicles and will apparently affect a full-rate production contract award, according to the reprogramming request.

The FRP award, previously expected in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022, is now scheduled for the third quarter of FY-22.

"To responsibly execute and ramp up Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), AMPV has chosen to smooth out the production profile to better maintain a predictable, steady production rate," the request states.

If approved, the AMPV program would see $426.3 million in European Defense Initiative funding for FY-20.

By Jaspreet Gill
July 1, 2020 at 12:58 PM

A key aviation effort under the Army's future vertical lift modernization priority is getting an $11 million increase for risk reduction as part of the Defense Department's annual omnibus reprogramming request to Congress.

The funding, part of a larger $75 million research, development, test and evaluation increase, will be used to reduce risks to the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft that were identified by an independent technical risk assessment conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"Funds are required for the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator test flight envelope expansion to reduce OSD Research and Engineering (R&E) Independent Technical Risk Assessment (ITRA) identified risk for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program of record," the request, obtained by Inside Defense, states. "The resources support continued flight test demonstration tasks focused on specific technical maturation. This is a base budget requirement."

FLRAA, one of the programs under the Army's future vertical lift modernization effort, is currently in a competitive demonstration and risk reduction phase which will last for two years. Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell were awarded CDRR contracts for the effort in March.

The total FY-20 funding for future vertical lift advanced technology development would be $185.9 million in the base budget after the requested increase.

By Ashley Tressel
July 1, 2020 at 12:22 PM

The Army has awarded Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control a $226 million modification to recapitalize its Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers, the Pentagon announced yesterday.

The contract includes 44 M270A2 launchers and has an estimated completion date of Aug. 30, 2023.

"Lockheed Martin, in partnership with the Red River Army Depot, will overhaul and upgrade the M270s as 'zero-time' launchers with brand new transmissions, Launcher-Loader Modules, improved armored cabs and the new Common Fire Control System (CFCS)," the company said in a press release yesterday.

Work will be done at Lockheed's Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden, AR.

"The complete restoration and upgrade to our combat-proven MLRS will return the system to a zero-time condition and ensure the M270-series launcher remains highly effective and reliable to serve our Army customer through 2050," Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in the release.

By Ashley Tressel
July 1, 2020 at 12:14 PM

The Army has $25.3 million available from the Joint Assault Bridge program that it wants to use for other purposes, according to the Defense Department's annual omnibus reprogramming request to Congress.

The service is delaying a full-rate production decision for one year following a fiscal year 2019 "reliability failure during initial operational test and evaluation," the request, obtained by Inside Defense, states.

The program's FY-20 funding after the requested decrease would be $180.2 million in the base budget.

"This is the JAB program's first delay requiring funding rephrasing," according to the request. "The root causes of the IOT&E failure were hydraulic systems failures and fuel system leaks."

The Army was planning to retest the JAB platform in June, but that testing has been postponed to September, with FRP scheduled for April 2021.

The retest was delayed due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Army acquisition executive Bruce Jette told reporters in April.

By Jaspreet Gill
June 30, 2020 at 5:03 PM

Leonardo DRS has been awarded a $104 million contract for the Mounted Family of Computer Systems II, the Army's next-generation mission command computing system.

The production delivery order contract was awarded by the Defense Information Systems Agency on behalf of the Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical and the program manager for Mission Command, the company announced today.

The MFoCS II system "consolidates a range of programs and military computing users" and will support the continued fielding and upgrades to the service's Joint Battle Command-Platform.

Leonardo DRS is currently in the second year of a five-year contract for MFoCS II.

The company was also awarded a $206 million contract on June 25 to deliver vehicle installation kits for MFoCS II, including "cables, brackets and other associated hardware to support installation of MFoCS II ware onto ground vehicle platforms."

By Jaspreet Gill
June 30, 2020 at 4:03 PM

The Army has completed the first of three "reliability growth tests" for the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular, the service's new night vision goggle, at Ft. Polk, LA, according to an Army press release.

Soldiers from the 89th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division tested the system this past month during the event, which included a week of classroom training, marksmanship training on the range, nighttime situational training exercises and culminated with a 72-hour field training exercise with an opposing force.

The system was first fielded last year as part of an initial directed requirement to soldiers at Ft. Riley, who have since deployed with the goggles to Korea.

During the reliability growth test, an iterative user evaluation known as a soldier touchpoint, 30 soldiers used the ENVG-Bs and compared the system to a PVS-14 Night Vision Monocular.

"In terms of target detection and clarity, the difference between the [ENVG-B] and the PVS-14 is night and day," Capt. Will Hess, C Troop commander, said in the press release. "The guys wearing the ENVG-Bs were taking targets out to 300 meters and even beyond, whereas our guys with 14s are having trouble seeing beyond 150. I can't say enough about the ENVG-Bs. There's really no comparison."

The ENVG-B also "includes augmented reality capabilities and a heads-up display that integrates wirelessly with weapon optics," according to the release. Soldiers said the ENVG-B provided more depth perception, clarity and overall situational awareness compared to the PVS-14.

The ENVG-B will be constantly evaluated through future reliability growth tests and soldier touchpoints to address any issues identified with the system.

Army spokeswoman Bridgett Siter told Inside Defense in a statement the next two reliability growth tests are scheduled no sooner than eight months from today, but official dates and locations have not yet been decided.

By John Liang
June 30, 2020 at 2:53 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on supplemental COVID-19 funding for the Pentagon, missile defense in Asia, a multibillion-dollar DOD household goods moving contract and more.

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee spoke with reporters this morning:

Smith opposes supplemental COVID-19 aid for DOD to reimburse contractors

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today he believes the Defense Department does not require supplemental funding to reimburse defense contractors for coronavirus-related hardships, despite the Pentagon acquisition chief's call for "low double-digit billions.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill recently spoke at an online Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance event, where he provided details on Aegis Ashore in Japan as well as the fate of the Pacific Radar:

MDA: Japan suspended Aegis Ashore plan due to local community 'sensitivities'

Japan's decision to halt plans for two Aegis Ashore systems is driven by concerns of local communities about the deployment of the land-based ballistic missile defense system and there are 'a number of options' to get the project back on track, according to a senior U.S. defense official.

Fate of Pacific Radar project in DEPSECDEF's hands after MDA completes mandated sensor study

The Defense Department has completed a study that will determine the fate of the Pacific Radar, a planned $1 billion, long-range, ground sensor project that was effectively defunded in the fiscal year 2021 budget request in order to bolster resources for space-based sensors, according to a senior official.

U.S. Transportation Command this week announced the results of a review of a multibillion-dollar household goods moving contract:

TRANSCOM confirms $7.2B award after investigation clears winner of allegations

U.S. Transportation Command confirmed the award of the $7.2 billion Global Household Goods contract to American Roll-on Roll-Off Carrier after clearing the company of improperly withholding information about its parent company.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Mark Lewis, director of defense research and engineering for modernization:

Microelectronics is DOD's new No. 1 technology priority, bumping hypersonics to No. 3

The Defense Department has reworked its weapons technology development priorities, elevating microelectronics to the No. 1 position -- a move that bumps maneuvering hypersonic technology development from the top to the No. 3 post, with 5G technology development pulling into the No. 2 billet between them, according to a senior Pentagon official.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a report accompanying its version of the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill, "commends" DOD for trying to find efficiencies, but wants to see a much different process during the next iteration of the Defense-Wide Review:

Senate lawmakers cite DOD for poor 'Fourth Estate' review

The Senate Armed Services Committee is displeased by the lack of transparency in the Pentagon's Defense-Wide Review, an internal efficiency initiative Defense Secretary Mark Esper says has freed up $5.7 billion to be invested in military modernization and readiness.

Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, spoke at an online Mitchell Institute event this week:

Air Force general eyes JADC2 on-ramp with European allies in spring 2021

An upcoming military exercise in Europe could give the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System team and industry suppliers another opportunity to demonstrate maturing technology and leave-behind capabilities for warfighters.

By Courtney Albon
June 30, 2020 at 1:32 PM

The Space Force today announced that its new organizational structure will include three field commands aimed at consolidating its mission and separating it from former Air Force space units: Space Operations Command, Space Systems Command and Space Training and Readiness Command.

The service said in a press release that Space Operations Command and Space Systems Command will be led by three-star generals whereas Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, will be led by a two-star general.

"This is a historic opportunity to launch the Space Force on the right trajectory to deliver the capabilities needed to ensure freedom of movement and deter aggression in, from and to space," Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said in the release. "How we organize the Space Force will have lasting impact on our ability to respond with speed and agility to emerging threats."

Space Systems Command (SSC) will oversee space capability development, acquisition and fielding and will include the Space and Missile Systems Center, Commercial Satellite Communications Office and space system program offices as its foundational "building blocks," the release states.

Space Operations Command (SpOC) will be the "primary force provider" in response to combatant commander, coalition partner and joint force needs, and will be comprised of the staff and operations elements currently housed at Air Force Space Command in Colorado.

STARCOM will be in charge of space training and education and is slated to be stood up in 2021. In the interim, the Space Force will establish a Space Training and Readiness Delta unit in July to serve as a "parent organization" for training, education and operational test and evaluation units that transfer to the Space Force this summer.

The release notes that there will be other delta units, which fall underneath each command and are organized around particular functions and comprised of squadrons focused on specific tactics.

By Marjorie Censer
June 30, 2020 at 12:59 PM

About a year after Jacobs' acquisition of KeyW, a top Jacobs executive says the company's new cyber business unit is benefiting from KeyW's expertise.

In an interview with Inside Defense earlier this month, Dawne Hickton, who leads Jacobs' critical mission solutions business, said Jacobs, before the acquisition, had been moving into additional cyber work.

But "KeyW accelerated that cyber opportunity," she said, noting that one of the company's early actions was creating a separate business unit for cyber.

In February, Jacobs announced it had hired Caesar Nieves to lead the cyber organization, providing "senior leadership, strategic vision and focus for Jacobs' cyber business as the company expands its cyber footprint across this rapidly growing sector."

Nieves previously held leadership roles at Engility, Unisys, Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. His most recent previous role was vice president of corporate growth and strategy at CALIBRE Systems.

Hickton said Jacobs' cyber unit benefited from the "critical mass that KeyW brought us."

Meanwhile, she said immediately after the acquisition some employees departed who didn't necessarily want to work in a larger company.

"Like any organization, when the acquisition first closed, we did see the loss of some employees," she said. "We had a very typical attrition rate immediately following the acquisition -- which we planned for."

But Hickton said Jacobs moved quickly to retain key employees. That effort included maintaining employees' existing healthcare benefits for the first year and sending top Jacobs executives to meet with employees.

"I don't know that you ever get 100% integrated, but I would say we're no longer focused on integration," Hickton said. KeyW employees are "part of the team, and we're now focused on growing."

By Tony Bertuca
June 30, 2020 at 12:20 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are slated to testify before the committee July 9 on the military's response to recent protests.

Controversy arose earlier this month when the military was called to quell mass protests sweeping the nation, some of them involving violent clashes with police and the National Guard. The unrest was sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who died in the custody of Minneapolis police officers who have been charged in connection with his death.

Meanwhile, Esper and Milley were personally criticized after accompanying President Trump to appear for a photo at a park across the street from the White House where peaceful protestors had been forcibly removed moments before. Milley subsequently apologized for his appearance.

Smith and other Democrats also criticized Esper and Milley for failing to appear before the committee sooner.

By Marjorie Censer
June 30, 2020 at 10:04 AM

Parsons said this week it has appointed retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew and former Raytheon executive David Wajsgras to its board of directors, effective immediately.

McDew served in the military for 36 years, including as commander of U.S. Transportation Command.

Wajsgras was president of Raytheon's intelligence, information and services business. Before that, he was chief financial officer at the company.

By Courtney Albon
June 29, 2020 at 2:10 PM

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office to develop a plan to prototype and experiment with stand-in/stand-off weapons delivery and recently released a technology survey seeking information from industry and academia about existing technologies that could help the service mature its Arsenal Plane concept.

Brig. Gen. Clinton Hinote, deputy director of the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability, told reporters last month the service is seriously exploring the prospect of developing an Arsenal Plane-like capability and has conducted successful tests with the C-17 and C-130. He said during a May 27 Mitchell Institute event the service was looking at options for prototyping and fielding the capability.

A new request for information released last week shows that SCO, in partnership with the Air Force, continues to make steps toward developing a prototyping plan.

The notice states that SCO is looking to "determine the maturity feasibility and operational utility of alternative solutions to deliver stand-off and stand-in type weapons en masse, from non-traditional delivery platforms," and notes they are particularly interested in solutions that could quickly move to experimentation and prototyping and be rapidly developed and fielded.

"Delivering stand-off and stand-in type weapons en masse, from non-traditional delivery platforms, is one potential option to deliver mass firepower and could prove pivotal in future conflicts," the RFI states. "There is a significant trade space between stand-in, stand-off solutions as well as capacity, range and cost at a system level. SCO would like to understand that trade space by comparing potential options."

The notice states that SCO is looking for high technology readiness level concepts that could be fielded at a relatively low cost. Responses are due July 21, but the RFI does not include information on a timeline for possible prototyping or experimentation.

By John Liang
June 29, 2020 at 2:04 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's Next Generation Logistics Ship, the Marine Corps' ongoing force design effort, the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program and more.

The Navy recently held an industry day for the Next Generation Logistics Ship:

Navy's new logistics ship program could falter early as Senate pushes to defund research

The Navy's next generation logistics ship program recently published its initial acquisition schedule, but the project may falter early as a Senate panel pushes to cut the service's research and development funding.

Document: NGLS industry day briefing slides

The Marine Corps is entering the wargaming and experimentation stage of its force design process to assess the potential scenarios Marines could face during a conflict in the Pacific theater:

Marine Corps moving into experimentation phase as force design work continues

After unveiling the initial results of its force design work, the Marine Corps is gearing up for the third phase of the effort, analyzing and preparing to begin testing what it needs for a fight in 2030.

The House and Senate Armed Services committees both moved $20 million from the Pentagon's FY-21 proposal for the Space Development Agency budget to the Missile Defense Agency for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program and then added $100 million for the new payload's development in their respective marks of the FY-21 defense policy bill:

House, Senate panels reject DOD gambit to shift HBTSS to Space Development Agency, add funds

Two congressional committees are again coming to the rescue of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program, each recommending a $120 million increase for an ostensible Pentagon priority that was not funded in the fiscal year 2021 budget request and rejecting the Defense Department's gambit to shift responsibility for the project from the Missile Defense Agency to the Space Development Agency.

The Air Force requested about $302 million in FY-21 to fund developmental efforts supporting the Advanced Battle Management System, but House lawmakers' version of the latest defense policy bill recommends a cut of over $85 million:

House lawmakers propose nearly 30% cut from ABMS funding in FY-21

The House Armed Services Committee is proposing a major reduction to the Air Force's desired fiscal year 2021 budget for the Advanced Battle Management System -- the service's flagship program to achieve joint all-domain command and control.

The Senate Armed Services Committee's report accompanying the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill includes a provision seeking a briefing from the Army on the tactical wheeled vehicle fleet's minimum sustaining rates and its plan to support those rates:

Senate panel looking at tactical wheeled vehicle supplier base

Senate authorizers are concerned about the Army's move to reduce funding across its tactical wheeled vehicle fleet in favor of developing next-generation systems, as they feel it could negatively impact the industrial base as well as readiness.