The Insider

February 5, 2018 at 9:54 AM | Lee Hudson

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

1. The Joint Strike Fighter availability rate holds at a steady 50 percent, but a new report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester reveals an increase in the number of jets that cannot fly because maintenance personnel are awaiting replacement parts.

Full Story: F-35 availability rate holds at 50 percent, jets await replacement parts

2. The Marine Corps modified the interior layout of the Assault Amphibious Vehicle Survivability Upgrade so that a troop commander can easily exit the vehicle through the ramp in the back.

Full Story: Marines modify amphib vehicle design to support troop commander egress

3. The Navy is broadening the mission set of the P-8A Poseidon fleet to include anti-surface warfare, disaster response, search and rescue and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Full Story: Navy broadens concept of operations for multibillion-dollar P-8A fleet

February 5, 2018 at 9:42 AM | John Liang

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. The Army, in a new tactical network modernization strategy, says it will streamline its network, harden it against a wider array of threats and enhance its mobility and ease of operations.

Full story: In new report, Army details network modernization plans

2. A small group tasked with revamping the Army's approach to modernization is preparing to recommend the potential structure and location of a new command, sparking an internal debate with far-reaching implications.

Full story: Location of Futures Command a point of contention for Army

3. Army senior leaders have made a series of adjustments to the fiscal year 2018 budget, FY-19 request and the program objective memorandum for FY-20 through FY-24 to better resource top modernization priorities.

Full story: G-8: Army tweaks FY-19 budget and POM to accommodate modernization priorities

4. A demonstration of the U.S. and British armies' robotic systems last October gave a glimpse into the future of transporting supplies to the front lines without drivers. It was the beginning of a three-year project to eliminate risks inherent in the "difficult and dangerous" last mile, according to an Army release.

Full story: Army taking closer look at Leader Follower this summer

February 5, 2018 at 9:35 AM | Marjorie Censer

Booz Allen Hamilton today said sales in its most recent quarter reached $1.5 billion, up nearly 7 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The contractor reported quarterly profit of just under $70 million, up about 26 percent from the prior year.

Booz Allen said its workforce headcount at the end of the year totaled close to 25,000, increased from just over 23,000 a year earlier.

Lloyd Howell, the contractor's chief financial officer, said in a call with analysts this morning the company has incurred $8 million in legal costs to date related to the ongoing Justice Department investigation.

Additionally, Howell noted Booz Allen had $57 million in awards under protest as of the end of the year.

"It's still a dynamic in the procurement environment," he said of Government Accountability Office protests.

February 5, 2018 at 5:00 AM | Tony Bertuca

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will head to Capitol Hill this week to discuss the Nuclear Posture Review and National Defense Strategy with lawmakers. Meanwhile, a short-term continuing resolution is set to expire Thursday, threatening another government shutdown. Several defense contractors are slated to present at a conference.

Monday

Booz Allen Hamilton executives are slated to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.

Tuesday

Mattis and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva will discuss the Nuclear Posture Review and National Defense Strategy with the House Armed Services Committee.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee holds a hearing on physiological episodes in military aircraft.

The Association of Unmanned Aerial Systems holds a three-day event with senior military leaders at National Harbor, MD.

Wednesday

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee holds a hearing on Army modernization.

The Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on defending the U.S. homeland.

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on senior leader misconduct.

Executives from Boeing, KeyW, Leidos and Northrop Grumman are slated to speak at a Cowen & Co. conference.

Thursday

The stopgap continuing resolution is set to expire, threatening a government shutdown.

Executives from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are set to present at a Cowen & Co. conference.

February 2, 2018 at 4:31 PM | Rachel Karas

Air Force Special Operations Command plans to buy small unmanned aerial systems to survey airfields and determine whether aircraft can land there, the service said this week.

"These sUAS will primarily be used for airfield surveying, although it may not be the only mission set," spokeswoman Maggie Nave said Friday. "We are currently planning buying a few systems, two or three for now. As we further evaluate their capabilities and our mission continues to evolve, we may reassess this number."

AFSOC wants commercial-off-the-shelf systems to shape tactics, techniques and procedures to address a gap in small UAS airfield surveillance.

"The long-term effort may develop a government solution for program sustainment that fits our requirement," Nave said.

Each fixed-wing UAS should be hand-launched to fly and land autonomously, and weigh three pounds or less and measure 1.15 meters or smaller with detachable wings, according to a Jan. 25 notice. The aircraft needs to cruise between 25 and 70 miles per hour for at least 50 minutes and take detailed images to produce three-dimensional models of the ground.

The notice also specifies parameters for the aircraft's imaging sensor, hardware and software: When flying 120 meters above the ground, the sensor should capture a range of nearly one square mile.

Industry responses are due Feb. 7. Nave did not answer how quickly or where AFSOC plans to field the aircraft or how the Air Force will evaluate the capabilities of each.

February 2, 2018 at 3:22 PM | John Liang

U.S. and Chinese military and civilian officials met in Beijing this week to discuss bilateral defense issues.

The discussions also included the annual meeting of the "U.S.-China Notification of Major Military Activities Confidence Building Measures Working Group," according to a Pentagon statement. "Both sides discussed current issues in the military-to-military relationship, reaffirmed a commitment to sustaining U.S.-China confidence building measures and exchanged views on the implementation of the existing agreements."

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Brig. Gen. Roberta Shea led the U.S. delegation, which included representatives from the Joint Staff, U.S. Pacific Command and the State Department.

Maj. Gen. Huang Xueping, deputy director of the Chinese office for international military cooperation led his country's delegation, comprised of representatives from the People's Liberation Army and other military offices.

"The meeting is an important component of the broader program of engagements between the two nations' militaries and seeks to foster substantive dialogue in areas of mutual interest, maintain effective communication channels, and enhance risk reduction," the Pentagon statement reads, adding: "This year's talks emphasized the positive momentum in the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship and set a direction for continued success into 2018. Key regional and global issues were also discussed."

A potential conflict with China as well as Russia is among the drivers of the Defense Department's modernization plans, according to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva.

The "primary difference" between previous strategies and the new National Defense Strategy unveiled last month is how the U.S. military will organize itself to engage in great power competition with China and Russia, Selva said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this week.

China presents largely an air and maritime challenge, Selva said, while any conflict with Russia would mostly be fought in the air and on land.

"What we're trying to say in this National Defense Strategy is there are two unique competitions that we have to deal with, and the elements are overlapping but not the same," Selva said. "That means you have to be able to address both of them inside of a capability and capacity model that's affordable with our budgets."

February 2, 2018 at 1:36 PM | John Liang

The Army's new tactical network modernization strategy, the Pentagon's overall modernization plans, the restructuring of the DOD acquisition office and a slew of Air Force news highlight this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside the Army has a scoop on the service's new tactical network modernization strategy:

In new report, Army details network modernization plans

The Army, in a new tactical network modernization strategy, says it will streamline its network, harden it against a wider array of threats and enhance its mobility and ease of operations.

Document: Army Tactical Network Modernization Strategy


The Pentagon's second-highest-ranking officer spoke at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this morning:

Selva: Pentagon's plans for China, Russia will compete for resources

The Defense Department's modernization plans will be driven by the potential for conflict with China and Russia, with some priorities expected to overlap, while others will likely compete, according to DOD's second-highest-ranking officer.

Document: DOD's 2018 National Defense Strategy


A look at how the Defense Department is restructuring its acquisition shop:

Pentagon details acquisition restructure in advance of new modernization investments

The Pentagon has officially disestablished the office of its top acquisition official and will spend the next four months executing a congressionally directed restructuring aimed at separating the management and sustainment of weapon systems and services from research and engineering.

Document: DOD memo on AT&L reorganization


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Basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Alaska could take a while:

CR could delay key construction for F-35 beddown at Eielson AFB

The lack of a fiscal year 2018 funding appropriation has stalled new military construction contracts at Eielson Air Force Base, AK, that are key to preparing the base to begin receiving F-35s in 2020.

More on the F-35:

F-35 availability rate holds at 50 percent, jets remain on flight line awaiting replacement parts

The Joint Strike Fighter availability rate holds at a steady 50 percent, but a new report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester reveals an increase in the number of jets that cannot fly because maintenance personnel are awaiting replacement parts.

The Pentagon's latest operational test and evaluation report is the gift that keeps on giving:

DOT&E recommends more realistic F-35 ALIS test environment

Developing an operationally representative environment to test the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's Autonomic Logistics Information System could help the program identify and fix problems earlier, according to the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.

Operational test report criticizes DCGS intel processing, cybersecurity

The Air Force needs end-to-end testing of its Distributed Common Ground System to ensure it can plan, process and exploit multiple classified and unclassified data sources to produce useful intelligence, as only three of eight component programs have been operationally tested, according to the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.

Check out Inside Defense's full DOT&E report coverage →

A plethora of news from Inside the Air Force this Friday:

Air Force to conduct second light-attack experiment this spring; combat demo off the table

The Air Force has opted not to conduct a combat demonstration of light-attack aircraft capabilities, and will instead continue experimentation with two non-developmental aircraft -- Textron's AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada and Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano.

ACC, TRADOC to vet shared problems in multidomain tabletop exercises

Air Force and Army officials will delve further into understanding joint, multidomain operations using three tabletop exercises held in the next six months, which will help the Army finalize the second version of its Multidomain Battle concept by summer 2019.

Global Hawk program office making progress on heavy maintenance plan

Air Force officials are still nailing down the specifics of a heavy maintenance plan for Northrop Grumman's RQ-4, and will bring a third aircraft to Robins Air Force Base, GA, within the next few months.

Air Force solicits five EELV launches; awards expected later this year

The Air Force released a combined request for proposals this week for five Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle missions that will be awarded later this year.

Document: EELV competitive launch services RFP


Air Force planning OCX cyber assessments this spring, summer

Amid concerns from the Pentagon's top weapons tester that the Air Force had no plans to conduct operational cybersecurity testing of the GPS III Operational Control Segment's baseline capability, the service confirmed this week it is planning two cyber assessments this spring and summer.

Air Force official: Mobility exercise shows need for better C2 integration

Mobility and combat air forces need a better understanding of communication authorities when working alongside command-and-control aircraft, an Air Force official said following the largest joint forcible entry exercise to date.

February 2, 2018 at 10:44 AM | Justin Doubleday

Navy Vice Adm. Nancy Norton has taken over as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander of Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network.

Norton officially took over the dual-hat position from retiring Lt. Gen. Al Lynn during a ceremony at Ft. Meade, MD yesterday, according to a DISA statement. The Army three-star had held the top position at DISA since July 2015.

During the change-of-command ceremony at Ft. Meade, Essye Miller, the Pentagon's acting chief information officer, posited that DISA plays a central role in the Defense Department's future plans.

"Many of you know the National Defense Strategy was released just a couple of weeks ago," Miller said. [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis is committed to restoring military readiness as we build a more lethal force, strengthen our alliances with our partners, and reform the department. The mission and the capabilities that this organization brings to bear resonate in all three of those areas."

Norton had been serving as the vice director at DISA since last summer. She has held a number of key information warfare positions over the course of her career. Prior to serving as vice director, she was on the chief of naval operations staff as director of warfare integration for information warfare (N2/N6).

She has also served as the director of the command, control, communications and cyber directorate at U.S. Pacific Command and the lead for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) for the Navy's 2008 Quadrennial Defense Review office, according to her service biography. She has also worked as the executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations and then to the CNO.

February 2, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Courtney Albon

Some must-reads from this week's Inside the Air Force:

1. The lack of a fiscal year 2018 funding appropriation has stalled new military construction contracts at Eielson Air Force Base, AK, that are key to preparing the base to begin receiving F-35s in 2020.

Full Story: CR could delay key construction for F-35 beddown at Eielson AFB

2. Air Force and Army officials will delve further into understanding joint, multidomain operations using three tabletop exercises held in the next six months, which will help the Army finalize the second version of its Multidomain Battle concept by summer 2019.

Full Story: ACC, TRADOC to vet shared problems in multidomain tabletop exercises

3. Air Force officials are still nailing down the specifics of a heavy maintenance plan for Northrop Grumman's RQ-4, and will bring a third aircraft to Robins Air Force Base, GA, within the next few months.

Full Story: Global Hawk program office making progress on heavy maintenance plan

February 1, 2018 at 9:41 PM | Marjorie Censer

The White House announced tonight President Trump intends to nominate John Whitley to serve as assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller.

Whitley is a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Naval Analyses and research director at the Crime Prevention Research Center, the White House said.

He has previously worked as a health care analyst at the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, as director of program analysis and evaluation at the Department of Homeland Security and as an operations research analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Whitley also served in the Army.

February 1, 2018 at 3:42 PM | Justin Doubleday

The Defense Department is undertaking a sweeping review of technology allowed at military installations worldwide, and officials won't rule out banning cell phones from places like the Pentagon.

The review is driven by the Washington Post's recent revelation that data from fitness devices have been exposing sensitive information about the location and activities of U.S. military personnel, according to chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.

"The current review was in part informed" by the disclosure in the Post story that a Strava heat map revealed the locations of U.S. installations in places like Somalia and Yemen, White told reporters during a Pentagon press briefing today.

The security oversight is driving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider banning civilians and service members from bringing their personal cell phones into the Pentagon, CNN reported yesterday.

But Mattis is not just considering a ban at the Pentagon, according to White.

"It's not just about the Pentagon," White said. "The secretary is looking across the DOD enterprise. That heat map brought up a potential vulnerability. So he's taking a comprehensive look at our security measures, what we can do, mitigating factors and of course he will also consider the concerns of the work force."

White said DOD is reviewing a "wide array of electronics," including those that use GPS. Asked why she could not assure the DOD workforce that a blanket cell phone ban won't be issued, she said, "because it's all under review."

"You have to also consider the fact that we have been attacked -- bases have been attacked," White said. "Information is power and our adversaries have used information to plan attacks against us. No decision has been made yet, but we are looking at a comprehensive review of how we look at electronics."

Democrats from the House Armed Services Committee are seeking more information from the Pentagon as a result of the Post story.

"We respectfully request your department provide an update on the review of security protocols relating to this issue, to include restrictions on the presence or use of smart technology," the lawmakers write in a Feb. 1 letter to Mattis.

February 1, 2018 at 2:26 PM | Justin Doubleday

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will roll out the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review at the Pentagon tomorrow.

Shanahan will brief the press on the NPR at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday along with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon and Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, according to the Defense Department. 

"This is a strategy that requires an investment in a credible nuclear deterrent with diverse capabilities," chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters during a briefing today. "It will confirm the importance of the nuclear triad."

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Trump pledged to overhaul the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Congressional Budget Office estimates sustaining and replacing the triad could cost $1.2 trillion.

A leaked draft of the NPR published by HuffPost in early January pitches U.S. nuclear modernization as an "affordable priority."

"While estimates of the cost to sustain and replace U.S. nuclear capabilities vary, based on the timeframe considered and how they account for various elements of the program, even the highest of these projects place the highpoint of future costs at approximately 6.4 percent of the current Defense Department budget," the draft document states.

The draft indicated the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will reform nuclear command, control and communications governance, and it also called the Navy's plan for 12 Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines a "minimum" fleet objective.

February 1, 2018 at 2:16 PM | John Liang

Missile defense, the still-unresolved FY-18 military spending bill and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The latest test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor has failed:

MDA acknowledges Aegis BMD flight test failure in test critical to EPAA Phase 3

The Missile Defense Agency has conceded a major missile defense flight test yesterday in Hawaii failed, a setback for Raytheon's Standard Missile-3 Block IIA development program and potentially the $600 million in orders for the new guided missile interceptor the Pentagon placed last summer.

More missile defense news:

MDA awards Boeing $6.6B sole-source GMD development and sustainment contract

The Missile Defense Agency has awarded Boeing a sole-source, six-year, $6.6 billion contract modification to modernize and sustain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, extending the company's role managing all aspects of the guided-missile interceptor program until 2023 and raising the potential value of the contract originally awarded in 2011 to $12.6 billion.

Just because lawmakers are nearing a budget deal doesn't mean there won't be another government shutdown:

Thornberry: Lawmakers 'very close' to a budget agreement

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), one of Capitol Hill's top defense hawks, said today congressional leaders are nearing a budget deal, but stopped short of promising it would prevent another government shutdown.

The Pentagon's operational test and evaluation office looks at the security of DOD networks:

Report: DOD inadequately training network defenders on new security stacks

The Defense Department's new suites of regional security systems aren't up to the task of defending DOD networks from realistic cyberattacks because the U.S. military has a dearth of properly trained network defenders, according to the annual report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

Check out Inside Defense's full DOT&E report coverage →

The Army Futures Command Task Force led by Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon is scheduled to present recommendations to the secretary and chief of staff by Feb. 6:

Location of Futures Command a point of contention for Army

A small group tasked with revamping the Army's approach to modernization is preparing to recommend the potential structure and location of a new command, sparking an internal debate with far-reaching implications.

A new GAO report looks at foreign military sales:

GAO: DOD waived $16 billion in costs for foreign allies buying U.S. weapons over past six years

The Defense Department approved waivers totaling nearly $16 billion in nonrecurring costs that would have been charged to foreign countries buying U.S. weapons over the past six years, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Document: GAO report on foreign military sales

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The technology enabling a manned-unmanned teaming, or leader-follower, capability for ground forces has been deemed a potentially life-saving effort by project managers:

Army taking closer look at Leader Follower this summer

A demonstration of the U.S. and British armies' robotic systems last October gave a glimpse into the future of transporting supplies to the front lines without drivers. It was the beginning of a three-year project to eliminate risks inherent in the "difficult and dangerous" last mile, according to an Army release.

Army Lt. Gen. Mike Murray, deputy chief of staff (G-8), spoke with Inside Defense recently:

G-8: Army tweaks FY-19 budget and POM to accommodate modernization priorities

Army senior leaders have made a series of adjustments to the fiscal year 2018 budget, FY-19 request and the program objective memorandum for FY-20 through FY-24 to better resource top modernization priorities.

February 1, 2018 at 1:41 PM | Justin Katz

Maintenance for Navy vessels takes one of the "biggest hits" when the government operates under a continuing resolution, according to the service's top admiral.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation today, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the negative effects tend to accumulate. "Planning can get shortchanged, materials don't come at the optimum cost [and] workers are very difficult to hire" because the conditions are volatile, he said.

The comments come as Congress continues to struggle to pass a budget amid partisan fighting over immigration and other issues. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) told reporters at a GOP retreat in West Virginia today Congress is "very close" to a deal, but stopped short of promising there would not be another government shutdown.

February 1, 2018 at 12:50 PM | Marjorie Censer

Rolls-Royce said this week Boeing executive Tom Bell will lead its defense business, starting this month.

Bell joined Boeing in 2015 and has worked as senior vice president of global sales and marketing for the company's defense, space and security business.

Before joining Boeing, he was president of Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace. He also previously spent more than two decades in Boeing's defense business.