The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
July 10, 2019 at 11:39 AM

The House Rules Committee voted 8-4 last night to allow debate and floor votes on 439 new amendments to the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill.

One amendment, offered by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), would cut $17 billion from the Defense Department's Overseas Contingency Operations account.

There will also be a vote on a bipartisan amendment offered by Khanna and Rep. Mat Gaetz (R-FL) that would block any U.S. military action against Iran unless approved by Congress.

Additionally, lawmakers will debate Khanna's amendment to halt U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Lawmakers will also vote on an amendment from Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) to remove a measure in the bill that prohibits funding to deploy low-yield nuclear warheads on U.S. submarines.

Additionally, there will be debate on an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to repeal the 2002 authorization for the U.S. war in Iraq.

The bill, which already contained provisions to block DOD funds from building barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, includes several proposed amendments on immigration, including prohibitions on using DOD facilities to house unaccompanied migrant children, as well as blocking deployments of U.S. troops to the southern border intended to enforce immigration law.

GOP lawmakers were unsuccessful in their efforts to remove provisions blocking DOD funds from being used to construct border barriers.

Republicans generally oppose the bill, with House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) saying the legislation has drifted from its tradition of "bipartisan consensus."

"Unfortunately, partisan provisions in this bill have robbed it of bipartisan support," he said in a statement. "Through this bill, House Democrats are forcing our troops to pay the price for their political disputes with the president. . . . This week, House Republicans will work to restore critical programs, and with them, the bipartisan support this critical legislation has traditionally enjoyed."

Though GOP staffers said Republicans are "keeping an open mind" on whether to vote for the bill, Democratic staffers said they expect the legislation to get little GOP support, if any.

The White House has also threatened a presidential veto.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) took issue with Thornberry's assertion that the bill is a partisan product, noting that the bill, at the committee level, including 150 GOP amendments and 190 amendments from Democrats.

"If you disagree with the policy that's fine and we'll have those discussions in just a minute but to claim that this was a partisan product is just wrong," he told the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.

By Marjorie Censer
July 10, 2019 at 10:06 AM

SOS International said today it has acquired Vykin, which provides communications, intelligence and IT support to the Defense Department and intelligence agencies.

"SOSi is now one of a handful of mid-tier companies certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) to integrate commercial network solutions in classified National Security Systems (NSS) environments," the company said, noting it now has prime slots on the Defense Intelligence Agency's Enhanced Solutions for the IT Enterprise contracts and a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency program.

The acquisition of Vykin also expands SOSi's work in the Pacific, Southwest Asia and Europe, the company said. Vykin marks the contractor's fourth acquisition in the past four years.

By John Liang
July 9, 2019 at 1:58 PM

A Pentagon inspector general's probe into TransDigm Group's defense contracting business practices is one of the highlights of this Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Defense Department's inspector general is complying with a congressional request to look into TransDigm Group's business practices with the Pentagon:

DOD IG to audit TransDigm's business model

The Pentagon inspector general announced it will start an audit this month to determine whether TransDigm Group's "business model affects the DOD's ability to pay fair and reasonable prices for spare parts."

Document: DOD IG memo on audit of TransDigm's business model

Here is our latest from the Pentagon's most recent omnibus reprogramming request:

DOD eyes Israeli-made loitering anti-tank munition for Special Ops

The Defense Department is eyeing an Israeli-made, tank-killing, loitering munition called the Hero-120 for U.S. Special Operations Command, seeking permission from Congress to shift $6.9 million between accounts in order to immediately procure an undisclosed number of the unmanned flying warheads.

More on the omnibus from our reporting yesterday, in case you missed it:

DOD seeks to reprogram $2.8 billion, boost new 'hit-to-kill' artillery and light-attack aircraft

The Pentagon is seeking congressional permission to shift $2.8 billion between budget accounts as part of an annual reallocation of funds the U.S. military has in hand, a move that seeks to launch a new hit-to-kill Army artillery round, kick start the Air Force's O/A-X light-attack aircraft program and inject additional funds into a project to develop a road-mobile hypersonic strike weapon.

Army seeking to reprogram $34M in FY-19 funding for squad rifle, network

The Army is seeking to reprogram $34.2 million in fiscal year 2019 research, development, testing and evaluation funding for two key modernization projects, the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle and the integrated tactical network.

DOD seeks $505 million boost to Air Force, transportation working capital funds

The Defense Department is requesting authority from Congress to shift more than $500 million into the Air Force Working Capital Fund and the Transportation Working Capital Fund to handle an increase in readiness needs and a growing demand for airlift support.

DOD looks to cut ICBM development program funding, procure testing assets

The Defense Department is seeking congressional approval to reduce $53 million in funding from the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile development efforts and add $33 million to purchase operational testing equipment for the programs.

Navy focuses on $280M in ship maintenance in annual reprogramming request

The Navy is seeking congressional permission to shift $280 million to fund maintenance availabilities for two destroyers and an amphibious ship, according to the Defense Department's annual omnibus reprogramming request.

By Marjorie Censer
July 9, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Alion Science and Technology this week said it has named Katie Selbe senior vice president and general manager of its cyber network solutions group.

Selbe previously worked at Northrop Grumman, where she was director of the national mission capabilities unit within the mission systems sector's cyber and intelligence mission solutions division.

In her new role, Selbe "will lead a portfolio of programs and capabilities delivering cross-domain network engineering, cyber hardening and operations; modeling and simulation; live, virtual and constructive training; and big data analysis, cloud architecture and integrated AI," Alion said.

By Marjorie Censer
July 9, 2019 at 9:36 AM

The U.S. defense and security arm of Thales said today it has appointed three new board members to "enhance the defense and security reach of Thales in the U.S. and abroad."

The company has added retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones; former Lockheed Martin executive Ray Johnson; and former Thales executive Alan Kessler.

Jones is president of Jones Group International. He previously was national security adviser in the Obama administration and commandant of the Marine Corps.

Johnson is an executive in residence at Bessemer Venture Partners. He previously worked as chief technology officer at Lockheed.

Kessler was chief executive of Thales’ cybersecurity business.

By John Liang
July 8, 2019 at 2:10 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of the Pentagon's latest omnibus reprogramming request to Congress, obtained by Inside Defense.

On June 25, acting Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker submitted a 62-page omnibus reprogramming request to Congress seeking permission to shift funds appropriated in fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 to higher-priority programs in FY-19:

DOD seeks to reprogram $2.8 billion, boost new 'hit-to-kill' artillery and light-attack aircraft

The Pentagon is seeking congressional permission to shift $2.8 billion between budget accounts as part of an annual reallocation of funds the U.S. military has in hand, a move that seeks to launch a new hit-to-kill Army artillery round, kick start the Air Force's O/A-X light-attack aircraft program and inject additional funds into a project to develop a road-mobile hypersonic strike weapon.

Here's what the Army wants to channel money to:

Army seeking to reprogram $34M in FY-19 funding for squad rifle, network

The Army is seeking to reprogram $34.2 million in fiscal year 2019 research, development, testing and evaluation funding for two key modernization projects, the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle and the integrated tactical network.

Here are the programs the Air Force wants to shift funds to:

DOD seeks $505 million boost to Air Force, transportation working capital funds

The Defense Department is requesting authority from Congress to shift more than $500 million into the Air Force Working Capital Fund and the Transportation Working Capital Fund to handle an increase in readiness needs and a growing demand for airlift support.

DOD looks to cut ICBM development program funding, procure testing assets

The Defense Department is seeking congressional approval to reduce $53 million in funding from the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile development efforts and add $33 million to purchase operational testing equipment for the programs.

And here's the Navy's ship maintenance request:

Navy focuses on $280M in ship maintenance in annual reprogramming request

The Navy is seeking congressional permission to shift $280 million to fund maintenance availabilities for two destroyers and an amphibious ship, according to the Defense Department's annual omnibus reprogramming request.

By Justin Katz
July 8, 2019 at 1:34 PM

The Navy late last month declared initial operational capability for the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, the service announced today.

The Northrop Grumman-built aircraft focuses on reconnaissance, situational awareness and precision targeting support. The company is expected to deliver a total of 38 aircraft, according to the Navy statement.

"The MQ-8C will be equipped with an upgraded radar that allows for a larger field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator," according to the statement. "It will deploy with [Littoral Combat Ship] in fiscal year 2021 while the MQ-8B conducts operations aboard LCS in 5th and 7th Fleets."

By Ashley Tressel
July 8, 2019 at 11:52 AM

The Army wants to shift $24.4 million in fiscal year 2018 base funding to demonstrate an anti-armor projectile that is part of an effort to replace the U.S. military’s cluster munitions stores.

"Funds are required to support the demonstration of a long-range [greater than 60 kilometers] hit-to-kill (HTK) munition to address the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program's Cannon Delivered Area Effects Munition (C-DAEM) Increment I initiative," according to a June 25 reprogramming request obtained by Inside Defense.

The Pentagon's cluster munition policy as of 2018 allows the services to retain their cluster munition stockpiles and acquire new ones resulting in no more than 1% unexploded ordnance.

The Army's project management office for combat ammunition systems held an industry day last fall to discuss C-DAEM Increments 1 and 2: 1 for mobile, armored threats and 2 for lightly armored, stationary targets, such as personnel, artillery, air defense and communications sites.

C-DAEM Increment 1 is intended to confront moving armored vehicles -- self-propelled howitzers, main-battle and light tanks, armored fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, air defense artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems.

The reprogramming request states the hit-to-kill munition is also a candidate for a "Multi-Domain Cannon Artillery" that addresses capabilities requested by U.S. Army Pacific.

"The hit-to-kill effort: (1) upgrades the mature Excalibur airframe with an armored target seeker, (2) is the quickest solution to address four extremely high risk gaps by defeating moving and imprecisely located armored targets at long ranges, (3) is fully compatible with current Army howitzers, and (4) is low risk for compatibility with future howitzers (ERCA and M777ER)," according to the request. "Also, the effort will significantly reduce the cost per kill and improves the stowed kills of cannon artillery compared to existing non policy-compliant cluster munitions against medium and heavy armor."

By Marjorie Censer
July 8, 2019 at 11:14 AM

ManTech International said today it has named former IBM executive John Boyle chief growth officer of its mission solutions and services group.

Effective today, Boyle will oversee sales and business development for the unit. He joins from IBM Global Business Services, where he worked in business development.

Boyle has also worked at Unisys and Science Applications International Corp., among other contractors.

By Marjorie Censer
July 8, 2019 at 9:53 AM

Airbus said last week it has named Chris Emerson president of Airbus Defense and Space.

He previously was president of Airbus Helicopters and head of the North America region. He will now be based in Herndon, VA.

"With this leadership change, Airbus Helicopters Inc.'s government and military programs including the UH-72A Lakota and business functional roles supporting them will move to Airbus Defense and Space Inc., reporting to Emerson," the company said. "The programs and employees transitioning to Airbus Defense and Space Inc. will continue operations in Grand Prairie, Texas."

Emerson had led Airbus Helicopters since 2015. He has also served as senior vice president of marketing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft and as chief financial officer of EADS North America/Airbus Group.

By Marjorie Censer
July 8, 2019 at 9:41 AM

Vectrus said today it has acquired Advantor Systems, which provides integrated electronic security systems to the federal government, for $44 million.

Orlando, FL-based Advantor, Vectrus said, is the sole-source provider of integrated command, control and communications networked services to U.S. Forces Korea and the security provider for Japan's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The company's sales reached $35 million in 2018.

More than 150 Advantor employees will join Vectrus, according to the contractor.

By Justin Katz
July 8, 2019 at 8:07 AM

Adm. William Moran, who was set to become chief of naval operations next month, has reportedly declined the position and opted to retire amid questions about his conduct.

"I made this difficult decision based on an open investigation into the nature of some of my personal email correspondence over the past couple of years and for continuing to maintain a professional relationship with a former staff officer, now retired, who had while in uniform been investigated and held accountable over allegations of inappropriate behavior," Moran told NBC News, which first reported the story last night.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer accepted Moran's request to retire, NBC News also reported.

By Tony Bertuca
July 8, 2019 at 5:00 AM

The House is scheduled to begin consideration of the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, while the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tuesday

The Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on the area of responsibility for U.S. Southern Command.

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan.

The Future Space Leaders conference is held in Washington.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for Gen. Mark Milley to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

By John Liang
July 5, 2019 at 1:40 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's new NavalX office, the Space Development Agency's first request for information and more.

NavalX officials are saying the key difference between their work and other Pentagon offices stood up with similar goals is a recognition that the military's top-down approach to change doesn't always work:

NavalX targeting how information is shared to improve Navy's way of business

A new Navy office stood up earlier this year is seeking to improve how the service does business both internally and with industry by changing how information between working-level staff is shared, Navy officials told Inside Defense.

A recent Space Development Agency request for information notes that the agency is seeking "comprehensive solutions" that could contribute to a future space architecture consisting of a notional seven space capability layers:

SDA releases first RFI, plans industry day for late July

The Space Development Agency has issued its first request for information, calling on industry to propose concepts for "an agile, responsive" next-generation space architecture.

Document: Space Development Agency RFI for next-generation space architecture

In May, the National Spectrum Consortium put out a call for "technical concepts related to 5G" on behalf of DOD. The concepts will help the Pentagon conduct market research for "rapidly innovating with 5G technologies":

Spectrum-sharing consortium helping U.S. military chart waters in 5G

A consortium of companies brought together more than four years ago to assist the Defense Department in managing electromagnetic spectrum access is now working to help DOD experiment with fifth-generation wireless technologies.

The Army is giving companies an extra week to refine their respective Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor prototype proposals:

Army extends LTAMDS proposal deadline

The Army is extending the deadline for Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and the Lockheed Martin-Elta team to complete their proposals for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor competition, pushing the delivery date from July 9 to July 16.

A potential yearlong continuing resolution "is not a realistic solution," a group of prominent Republican senators are telling the White House:

Top GOP senators warn White House against yearlong CR plan

Key Republican senators, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (OK), have sent a letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to abandon plans for a yearlong stopgap spending measure, or continuing resolution, should budget negotiations with Democrats fail.

Document: GOP senators' letter to White House on yearlong CR plan

Last but certainly not least, here's some news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

RAND researcher launches project on scoring and patching vulnerabilities by companies

A new project to expand and improve the ability of companies to rank and more effectively patch vulnerabilities threatening their systems will be a game changer, according to a RAND Corp. researcher and co-author of an open standard for scoring computer vulnerabilities, which the effort will build on.

By Sara Sirota
July 5, 2019 at 1:05 PM

The U.S. Air Force has awarded AAR Supply Chain a $210 million contract for C-130H contractor logistics support to the Afghan Air Force, according to a July 3 contract announcement.

A performance-based work statement posted on Federal Business Opportunities in April states the purpose is to sustain and provide maintenance training for the AAF's fleet of four (which could grow to six) C-130H aircraft. The contract supports a mission by NATO's Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air to develop C-130H airlift operational capability.

The notice calls for maintenance training to be provided to a total of 55 students over the life of the contract, stating: "The Contractor shall hire and integrate local Afghanistan nationals into the labor workforce. This may require recruiting and in-house training and managing the local hires as paid apprentices."

The contracting office at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center received one offer for the work, which will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan and is expected to be completed by January 2025.

TAAC-Air has struggled to maintain the number of qualified pilots and aircrew required for the C-130 program. An October 2018 investigation of TAAC-Air’s programs by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko found the C-130 team had the least maintenance staff compared to its authorization. The AAF had two of the required 15 personnel, or 13%.

According to a separate report by SIGAR published in January, a fully qualified maintenance force for the platform is expected to be achieved by 2024.