The Insider

By Justin Doubleday
January 10, 2019 at 12:44 PM

(This story has been updated after Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) withdrew his nomination of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and instead appointed Chris Darby to the commission)

Executives from major technology firms Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle will serve on the new National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, along with former national security officials and leading academics.

The commission was created by the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to review how advances in AI, machine learning and related technologies could affect U.S. national security. The commission will consider issues such as international developments and trends, how the United States can remain competitive in the AI field, and the risks associated with using such technologies in battle.

The panel is being established as U.S. officials increasingly worry about competitor nations like China surpassing the United States in AI. The Defense Department has established a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) to coordinate development across the services and accelerate the fielding of AI capabilities.

"Going forward, JAIC will benefit from and help bring into reality recommendations of the National Security Commission on AI," DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said during a Dec. 11 House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee hearing.

The commission has a mandate to deliver a "comprehensive report" to the White House in August.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the commission's membership and plans, but congressional records show who was appointed to the panel by the NDAA's Nov. 13 deadline.

The law authorized the Pentagon to select two people to serve on the commission, the Commerce Department to appoint one commissioner and various congressional leaders to fill out the remainder of the 15-member group. The appointments were made in the previous congressional session, when Republicans still controlled the House and some leadership positions were held by different lawmakers.

DOD appointed William Mark and Andrew Moore to the AI commission, while the Commerce Department selected Gilman Louie, according to notifications delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee in November.

Mark leads SRI International's Information and Computer Sciences Division. Moore just took over as the head of Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence this month. He stepped down as dean of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science in December.

Louie is the founder and former chief executive of the CIA-backed venture fund In-Q-Tel. He now works as a partner of venture capital firm Alsop Louie Partners. He also serves on various boards, including as chair of the Federation of American Scientists and as a member of both Google's and Lockheed Martin's respective Technical Advisory Boards.

In Congress, the previous chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg Walden (R-OR), tapped Amazon's Andy Jassy to serve on the commission. Jassy is chief executive of Amazon Web Services, the web giant's cloud services unit.

Jassy has been chosen to serve on the commission alongside Oracle chief executive Safra Catz, who was appointed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) when he was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Catz and Jassy's appointments come as their companies openly feud in court over the direction of a massive Pentagon cloud program. 

The former ranking member and now chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), appointed former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. The former ranking member and current chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), appointed Steve Chien to the commission. Chien is technical group supervisor of the artificial intelligence group at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

When he still held the gavel of the Senate's commerce panel, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) appointed Dakota State University president Jose-Marié Griffiths to the commission. Meanwhile, former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who was ranking member of the commerce committee before losing his seat in the November election, appointed Ken Ford, the founder and chief executive of the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) appointed former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Katharina McFarland, while Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) selected former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work.

In November, then-House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) announced he had appointed Eric Schmidt to the commission, while then-Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) said he had chosen Eric Horvitz.

Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, is already heavily involved in advising DOD on artificial intelligence matters as chairman of the Defense Innovation Board. Horvitz is director of Microsoft Research Labs and previously served as president of the Association for the Advancement of AI.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) selected Jason Matheny, former director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the vice chairman of the intelligence committee, had originally appointed Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to the commission, but the Senate Ethics Committee advised that Heinrich could not serve on the panel, a spokeswoman for Warner confirmed. 

Instead, Warner appointed Chris Darby, the head of In-Q-Tel.

By Ashley Tressel
January 9, 2019 at 6:01 PM

The Army's Synthetic Training Environment cross-functional team today announced it is launching a new effort to develop a live-training, force-on-force simulator for fire units called the Live Training Environment.

"The Army lacks the ability to simulate multi-domain operations training from Soldier through Brigade Combat Team (BCT) at Home Station (HS), Maneuver Combat Training Centers (MCTCs), and deployed locations in Live Training Environments (LTEs) realistically," reads a draft statement of need released this week.

The Live Training Environment seeks to execute "a light infantry platoon attack against a dismounted opposing force," focusing on direct and indirect fires while recording troop movements and conducting after-action reviews, the notice states.

The service's current Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System uses laser-based technology originally fielded in 1980 and is unable to accurately represent "half of the small arms and munitions currently issued to a light infantry platoon" during live force-on-force training.

The CFT, along with the National Security Technology Accelerator and Training and Readiness Accelerator, will host an industry day for the effort March 12 to 14 in Orlando, FL.

Industry is asked to provide information on non-laser based direct fires and short-range indirect fires in their possible offerings for training devices and simulators.

By John Liang
January 9, 2019 at 3:35 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's final FY-20 budget topline, new guidance for other transaction agreements and more.

It looks like the Defense Department has a final FY-20 budget topline:

Norquist says DOD has final budget topline; Thornberry supports $750B request

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said today the Defense Department has a final budget topline for fiscal year 2020, but would not say what it is amid comments from Pentagon sources saying it will likely be $750 billion.

The Pentagon has once again revised its other transaction agreement guidance:

Pentagon releases new 'other transaction' guidance, clarifies follow-on production

The Defense Department has released a new guide on using other transaction agreements to better define key milestones and terms after a production OTA was successfully protested last year.

Our continuing coverage of the nascent Army Futures Command:

Army Futures Command's concepts shop seeking more joint service involvement

As Army Futures Command's new Futures and Concepts Center prepares to craft over the next year the follow-up to its recent "multidomain operations 1.5" concept, the center's director says the Army hopes to "pull the other services in" to solve the "multidomain command-and-control problem."

Here's a look at the Air Force's Section 804 programs:

Air Force sends Congress Section 804 update, highlighting performance 'guard rails'

The Air Force sent Congress an update last month on the progress of programs approved for Section 804 authority, and included specific "guardrails" that will trigger congressional notification if the program isn't performing as planned.

Some business news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

M&A lawyers prepare for closer scrutiny from regulators concerned about cybersecurity

Lawyers navigating mergers and acquisitions are preparing for a greater focus by regulators on the cybersecurity implications of deals involving foreign parties and are grappling with efforts to determine whether certain foundational and emerging technologies qualify for government reviews.

The Navy recently released its formal solicitation for trade studies concerning a new common hull form for auxiliary ships:

Navy prioritizes 'extreme cost conscious acquisition,' sealift in CHAMP trade studies

The Navy's formal solicitation for trade studies concerning a new common hull form for auxiliary ships stresses the need for “the most extreme cost conscious acquisition approach” and prioritizes sealift as the most important mission set of the five requiring recapitalization.

Some news on the United Kingdom's military modernization efforts:

UK's new modernization program seeks efficiencies to boost space, cyber, innovation efforts

The United Kingdom's new modernization program puts increased importance on the cyber and space domains and launches a new transformation fund for innovative technologies, but paying for the effort will require finding efficiencies in existing programs, according to a Ministry of Defence official.

By Ashley Tressel
January 8, 2019 at 5:14 PM

The Army Science Board is seeking information from outside sources that may help it complete by the end of this year an analysis of potential uses for artificial intelligence on the battlefield.

The Army secretary has directed the ASB to undertake the study to be titled "Battlefield Uses of Artificial Intelligence," according to a notice posted this week on Federal Business Opportunities.

The objectives of the study are to: "identify battlefield functions into which AI can be inserted to improve operational and tactical performance, identify challenges and opportunities that will be unique to the Army's use of AI (e.g., technical, policy, culture, etc.) and recommend how the Army can leverage new technology and techniques in the application of AI by industry, laboratories and academia."

"While AI has been an area of active research for more than 50 years, and while some limited military and civilian applications of AI have been in use for several decades, recent advances in algorithms and computer processors, combined with the collection and availability of extremely large data sets, have dramatically expanded the investment by industry in and application of AI systems to problems as varied as Internet search, vehicle autonomy, natural language processing, business intelligence and e-commerce," the notice states.

By Justin Doubleday
January 8, 2019 at 4:23 PM

The Defense Innovation Board will convene the first public meeting to discuss artificial intelligence principles later this month at Harvard University's Belfer Center in Cambridge, MA.

The Jan. 23 "public listening session" is being convened to discuss "The Ethical and Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence for the Department of Defense," according to today's announcement from the Defense Innovation Board. The event is the first of three public listening sessions the board plans to convene as it embarks on a "yearlong" effort to develop and propose AI principles for the department. 

"The DIB recognizes that the increased use of AI comes with questions around trust, safety, security, explainability, and reliability," the announcement states. "Therefore, it is critical that the forthcoming DIB recommendation to DOD is consistent with an ethics-first approach and upholds existing legal norms around warfare and human rights, while continuing to carry out the department's enduring mission to keep the peace and deter war."

DOD CIO Dana Deasy tasked the board with recommending AI principles last summer, shortly after the Pentagon announced plans to establish a Joint AI Center. During the board's last quarterly meeting in October, members approved a plan to develop a proposal by hosting public listening sessions and convening expert roundtables.

By Tony Bertuca
January 8, 2019 at 4:11 PM

Eric Chewning is now the chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, according to a Pentagon announcement. Chewning previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy.

In his previous position, Chewning was one of the top officials who oversaw a massive defense industrial base review.

Chewning now replaces Kevin Sweeney, who resigned following the resignation of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Prior to joining DOD, Chewning was a partner at McKinsey & Co.

By John Liang
January 8, 2019 at 3:45 PM

Defense spending rose by $9 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 compared to the same quarter the previous year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"Spending for military programs of the Department of Defense rose by $9 billion (or 6 percent), mostly for operation and maintenance activities," CBO's "Monthly Budget Review for December 2018," released today, states.

The overall federal budget deficit was $317 billion for the first quarter of FY-19, according to the CBO report, "$92 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year. Revenues were about the same and outlays were $93 billion (9 percent) higher than during the first quarter of 2018."

Read the full report here.

By Mallory Shelbourne
January 8, 2019 at 2:59 PM

The Marine Corps’ acquisition arm is seeking information from industry on how the service could move data onto the cloud.

In a request for information posted Jan. 7 to Federal Business Opportunities, Marine Corps Systems Command asks industry to submit answers to a series of questions about potential practices for a cloud migration.

"The solution should include a framework for discovery and rationalization of applications," the notice reads.

"The rationalization framework should include methodologies, technical requirements, assessments, and processes to determine an application’s suitability for cloud hosting; to include cost estimates for re-factoring, re-hosting, re-platforming, or re-purchasing as necessary. The solution should identify current technologies for enabling automation and gaining efficiency within the migration process," it continues.

Moving data onto the cloud would incorporate "the closure of multiple on premises data centers that support multiple portfolios of applications," according to the notice.

Replies to the RFI are due Jan. 23 and members of industry should ask any questions about the RFI by Jan. 11.

By John Liang
January 8, 2019 at 1:56 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest features news on the tug-of-war between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over funding for a southern border wall, plus the future of arms control agreements and more.

We start off with the tug-of-war between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over funding for a southern border wall:

Trump could tap $20B in unobligated DOD funds to build wall

How much Pentagon money can President Trump potentially use to build an emergency wall on the southern border? The short answer is about $20 billion.

Democrats vow to fight Trump if he orders DOD to build border wall

Democrats have spent days pushing back against President Trump's claim that he can order the military to use emergency funds to build a wall along the southern border, the debate over which has driven the federal government into a partial 17-day shutdown.

The future of arms control agreements under the Trump administration isn't exactly clear:

Former diplomats, defense officials see challenges, opportunities in fraying nuclear security consensus

The potential for House Democrats to remove their support for a nuclear triad and uncertainty surrounding how the Trump administration will proceed on arms control agreements are among the top issues threatening a "fragile" consensus on nuclear security, according to former diplomats and defense officials.

The head of Army Training and Doctrine Command spoke at an industry event this week:

TRADOC chief: Leaders must take active approach to mission command

The Army needs to change the way its field-grade officers think about mission command before it is ready to compete with a near-peer threat, according to the leader of Training and Doctrine Command.

The Army and Marine Corps will be getting more Abrams tank Trophy active protection systems:

Army places additional $80M order for Trophy APSs

Leonardo DRS today announced they and Israeli partner Rafael have received a $79.6 million award to deliver additional Trophy active protection systems to the Army and Marine Corps for Abrams tanks.

By Marjorie Censer
January 8, 2019 at 1:24 PM

Parsons' acquisition of OGSystems is not meant to result in cost savings, the chief operating officer of Parsons told Inside Defense today.

Parsons intends to retain all of the company's employees, which number about 400, as well as Garrett Pagon, OGSystems' chief executive, according to Carey Smith.

Smith told Inside Defense Pagon will be reporting to her.

She said the acquisition will particularly bolster Parsons' presence at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Pagon told Inside Defense during the same call the acquisition will help OGSystems move into new agencies, pointing to the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Army.

By Justin Katz
January 8, 2019 at 9:08 AM

Huntington Ingalls Industries yesterday announced it hired retired Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo as its corporate vice president of program integration and assessment.

Tofalo's most recent billet prior to retirement was commanding the Navy's submarine forces. He is replacing Jay Donnelly who will become HII's corporate vice president of advanced technologies.

In partnership with General Dynamics, HII's subsidiary Newport News Shipbuilding produces the Navy's Columbia- and Virginia-class submarines.

By Marjorie Censer
January 7, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Parsons said tonight it has acquired OGSystems, which specializes in geospatial intelligence, big data analytics and threat mitigation.

The transactions is Parsons' third acquisition in the last 14 months.

OGSystems, which is based in Chantilly, VA, counts among its customers the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and Special Operations Command, according to Parsons. It has operations in Missouri, Oregon and California.

Carey Smith, Parsons' chief operating officer, said in a statement the deal will expand the company's work in space operations, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.

By John Liang
January 7, 2019 at 3:53 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest highlights news about the Integrated Air and Missile Defense system.

Col. Philip Rottenborn, project manager for Integrated Air and Missile Defense in the program executive office for missiles and space, answered questions about the Integrated Battle Command System -- the IAMD common integrated-fire control element that provides the functional capabilities to control and manage the IAMDS sensors and shooters:

Army, USMC exploring IBCS-G/ATOR integration; sign of new confidence in IAMD development

The Army is coordinating with the Marine Corps to integrate the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense program, a sign of new confidence by the Army that its $7.9 billion IAMD program -- beset two years ago by a string of serious developmental setbacks and schedule delays -- has turned a corner and is "on track" for fielding in 2022 or sooner.

Just in case you missed these stories from Friday:

Navy dodging worst-case scenario on faulty missile tube work, limiting delay to 10 months

The Navy last year braced for the prospect that faulty welding on a key Columbia-class submarine subsystem could devour 15 of the 23 months reserved for potential schedule delays in building the first missile tubes, but eventually crafted a "recovery" plan that aims to limit delays to 10 months -- a course that keeps construction plans for the new weapon system on track.

Warner, Rubio offer bill creating new White House office focused on Chinese, other supply-chain threats

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced a new bill that would establish an office within the White House aimed at galvanizing stakeholders to stem the threat of intellectual property theft from China through forced technology transfers, and to secure the supply chain for critical technologies.

Here are some recent documents of note:

Navy's TH-XX industry day briefing slides

On Jan. 3, 2019 the Navy released briefing slides of an industry day held the month before on its new TH-XX training helicopter.

Army's updated OMFV contractor list

On Jan. 4, 2019 the Army updated its list of prime and subcontractors interested in the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle development program.

Air Force FAB-T J&A document

The redacted Dec. 20, 2018 Air Force justification and approval document signed by acquisition executive Will Roper indicates the service will sole-source an effort to Raytheon to develop airborne satellite communication terminals as part of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line of Sight Terminals program.

DOD IG report on FY-19 top management challenges

The Oct. 15, 2018 Defense Department inspector general's report outlines DOD's top 10 management and performance challenges for fiscal year 2019.

DOD instruction on PNT, NAVWAR

The Dec. 27, 2018 Defense Department memo implements position, navigation and timing as well as navigation warfare policy.

Navy instruction on New START Treaty compliance

The Dec. 20, 2018 memo "implement[s] Department of the Navy (DON) requirements and procedures for readiness to comply with the U.S. Government's obligations under" the New START Treaty.

Navy instruction on Open Skies Treaty compliance

The Dec. 20, 2018 memo "assign[s] responsibilities and issue[s] guidance for Department of the Navy (DON) implementation and compliance of the Treaty on Open Skies, also known as the Open Skies (OS) Treaty."

By Marjorie Censer
January 7, 2019 at 3:46 PM

Science Applications International Corp. said the partial government shutdown has cost it $10 million per week in revenue during its first two weeks.

During an industry day in New York, Charlie Mathis, SAIC's chief financial officer, said that figure could increase if the shutdown continues.

Mathis said there has been “more of an impact” on SAIC's cash flow, noting the company is behind $40 million to $50 million in cash payments.

“If we get through this quickly, they can catch up on the cash side, and the revenue -- we think we can catch up there as well,” he said.

Nazzic Keene, SAIC's chief operating officer, said at the same event the company is also closely monitoring the effect of the shutdown on awards and submittals.

By Marjorie Censer
January 7, 2019 at 11:33 AM

Raytheon said today it has named Scott Weiner vice president for corporate development.

"He will oversee domestic and international transactions including: acquisitions, divestitures/spin-offs, minority investments and strategic alliances/joint ventures," the contractor said.

Weiner previously worked at Cobham, where he was senior vice president for corporate development. He has also worked at EDO Corp. and AIL Systems, Raytheon said.