The Insider

By Jason Sherman
July 5, 2019 at 12:15 PM

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg vowed the western military alliance "will respond" if Russia does not return to compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty but declined to say exactly what measures would be taken, as The New York Times reports that options being considered include bolstering missile defense capabilities across Europe.

"If the treaty is not saved, if Russia doesn't come back into compliance, then NATO will respond," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on July 5 following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, according to a transcript. "We will respond in a united way, coordinated, defensive and we have also stated that we are not planning, we don’t have any intentions to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe. We will not mirror what Russia does. I will not today go into the different elements of what NATO is considering."

In February, the Trump administration announced the United States would withdraw from the Reagan-era treaty citing Russia's deployment of a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of between 500km and 5,500 km -- dubbed the 9M729 -- a breach of the U.S.-Russia pact.

Stoltenberg said NATO's near-term hope is that Russia will come back into compliance by an Aug. 2 deadline for Washington and Moscow to save the treaty from termination.

"Our focus now is to save the INF Treaty. If Russia doesn't come back into compliance, then we will respond and we will do that in a defensive way," he said.

The U.S. deployed a land-based version of its Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system in Romania in 2016 and plans to stand up a similar capability in Poland next year. Russia has objected to the deployment of these Aegis Ashore capabilities; NATO maintains these systems are designed to defeat Iranian ballistic missile threats and not designed to defeat Russian weapons.

"When it comes to the ballistic missile defense, it is not directed against Russia," the NATO secretary general said. "It is not capable of shooting down Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles. So this is a system which is directed against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area and that’s still the case."

The Times, citing European officials, reported NATO military officials "are exploring whether to upgrade their defenses to make them capable of shooting down newly deployed Russian intermediate-range nuclear missiles after a landmark arms treaty dissolves next month."

By Marjorie Censer
July 5, 2019 at 10:37 AM

Naval engineering and design firm Gibbs & Cox said this week it has named retired Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi to its board of directors.

DeRenzi retired from the Navy in 2015. She was Judge Advocate General of the Navy.

She currently serves as chief operating officer of Jefferson Consulting Group.

By John Liang
July 3, 2019 at 2:13 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the National Nuclear Security Administration's effort to extend the life of certain nuclear warheads, U.S. Special Operations Command potentially getting light-attack aircraft, a recent Pentagon contracting rule and much more.

A National Nuclear Security Administration official outlined to Inside Defense efforts that aim to mitigate concerns with industry's capacity to produce and supply explosives, or what the Government Accountability Office called a "fragile supplier base" in a June report:

NNSA taking steps to mitigate production delay risks in W80-4 life extension program

The National Nuclear Security Administration is pursuing avenues to reduce the risk of production delays in the W80-4 nuclear warhead life extension program -- an issue that has caught the attention of a congressional watchdog.

U.S. Special Operations Command could be getting more light-attack aircraft:

House amendment could give SOCOM light-attack aircraft procurement authority

A group of Republican House lawmakers is proposing an amendment to the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill that would give U.S. Special Operations Command the authority to buy new light-attack aircraft, even as the Air Force lengthens its own experimentation campaign to identify the airframe that best meets U.S. and partner requirements.

A new Pentagon rule mandates that if a contracting officer doesn't need additional cost or pricing data, he or she would still require the contractor to certify cost or pricing data:

Pentagon issues final rule for cost and pricing data requirements for single offers

The Pentagon last week issued the final version of a rule meant to implement legislation seeking enhanced competition.

The Air Force is looking into integrating developmental and operational testing:

Air Force testers considering organizational options for integrated DT, OT

The Air Force testing community is evaluating alternatives for creating a new integrated developmental and operational testing organization and will likely present those options to service leadership within the next few months.

Earlier this week, Naval Air Systems Command's Airborne Electronic Attack Program Office (PMA-234) announced plans for an open competition to develop and build NJG-LB "Capability Block 1" that is being eyed by Northrop Grumman, L3 Technologies and Raytheon:

Navy outlines Next Generation Jammer Low-Band 'capability block 1' deliverables

The Navy has identified the first deliverables for the $3.4 billion Next Generation Jammer Low Band development program, a key step to advance the goal of delivering an operational prototype pod for an EA-18G Growler by 2024, a project that could attract as many as three bidders.

The Army's Artificial Intelligence Task Force will talk with the service secretary and other senior leaders next year to determine what the task force will look like as it transitions into a permanent organization:

Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force outlines first priorities

Eight months after its inception, the Army's Artificial Intelligence Task Force has set its initial priorities and is receiving guidance from the service's cross-functional teams.

The Army last month approved the JLTV for full-rate production, a decision it delayed by six months so it could consider options for vehicle design changes suggested by soldiers and Marines during testing and evaluation:

JLTV retrofit getting program back on track

As the Army wrestles with how to best use the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, built with Afghanistan and Iraq in mind, in future conflicts, the service plans to deliver the vehicle as promised.

By Courtney Albon
July 3, 2019 at 12:35 PM

Air Force Space Command plans to host a data innovation summit later this month to discuss new technologies that could inform the command's work to craft an enterprise-wide data strategy and roadmap.

The summit is slated for July 30 and 31 at Peterson Air Force Base, CO, and will be led by Maj. Gen. Kimberly Crider, mobilization assistant to Air Force Space Command chief Gen. John Raymond. Senior leaders will discuss ongoing and future efforts that could improve AFSPC's data integration and exploitation efforts and will outline next steps for the command as it looks to implement the forthcoming enterprise data strategy.

By Mallory Shelbourne
July 3, 2019 at 12:10 PM

The Navy yesterday announced a $348 million contract modification to Lockheed Martin for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The adjustment "is for production [of] non-recurring, special tooling and special test equipment" for Lot 12 of the program’s low-rate initial production phase for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, as well as non-Pentagon partners and sales to foreign countries.

Lockheed is slated to finish the work by August 2022, according to the announcement.

The Pentagon last month said it completed a $34 billion "handshake agreement" with Lockheed for Lot 12 of the F-35, with options for Lots 13 and 14.

Defense Department acquisition chief Ellen Lord at the time said the deal attained about a 15% average reduction across the F-35's variants from Lot 11 to Lot 14.

"This framework estimates the delivery of an F-35A for less than $80 [million] in Lot 13, one year earlier than planned," Lord said in a June statement.

"This agreement symbolizes my commitment to aggressively reduce F-35 cost, incentivize industry to meet required performance, and to deliver the greatest capabilities to our warfighters at the best value to our taxpayers," the statement continued.

By Sara Sirota
July 3, 2019 at 11:27 AM

The Air Force Research Lab has awarded Leidos a $67 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to develop new sensor system concepts for the Rapid Technology Development and Demonstration program.

A July 2 Defense Department contract announcement states the work will create "new/novel concepts for sensor and systems of sensor systems across the multiple domains and spectrums that aid in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and battlespace awareness."

According to a statement of objectives published on Federal Business Opportunities in December, new methods for systems engineering and integration technology are required as a result of increasing complexity in DOD systems. Further, traditional approaches are insufficient to meet the flexibility and adaptability needed to rapidly respond to advanced threats.

AFRL is particularly interested in using open architectures and system-of-system solutions for manned and unmanned platforms, the July 2 announcement reads. It did not specify the platforms of interest.

In addition to systems engineering, RTD2 seeks to integrate technology and advanced prototype components to hold demonstrations in a realistic operating environment, which can range from ground experimentation to flight tests. The December 2018 SOO states the contractor should be able to "implement distributed tests over multi-domain environments and loosely coupled networks."

According to the DOD contract notice, two offers were received to compete for the award. Work will be performed in Reston, VA with base support at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH and is expected to conclude by June 2024.

By Sara Sirota
July 3, 2019 at 10:25 AM

A new Air Force Material Command effort, called "We Need," aims to optimize the organization for the demands of the 2018 National Defense Strategy by studying command processes, internal structure and agility.

The initiative was directed by the new chief of AFMC Gen. Arnold Bunch, who, in a news release published yesterday, said, "We are developing a 21st century AFMC that is able to anticipate warfighter needs and leverages innovation to advance technology and deliver capabilities at the speed we need to remain ahead of our adversaries."

He added, "To provide technology at the speed of relevance to counter adversarial threats and to sustain our service's lethality, we need to make sure our organization is strategically organized, structured and resourced to execute our critical missions for the nation."

Specifically, the AFMC We Need effort will review major command and program office structure, the ability to support aging weapon systems, agility to adapt to provide rapid capabilities and logistics, alignment among emerging strategies and the ability to anticipate needs, according to the release.

The initiative is being led by Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, AFMC deputy commander, and has three phases that run between June 24 and mid-August. During this period, a core team will leverage focus groups, interviews, questionnaires and feedback to provide recommendations for AFMC's future.

By Marjorie Censer
July 3, 2019 at 10:22 AM

Defense engineering company Gryphon Technologies said this week it has acquired PGFM Solutions to bolster its cybersecurity capabilities.

Terms of the deal, which closed Monday, were not disclosed.

"PGFM's strategic focus is on cybersecurity for U.S. Navy and Coast Guard shipbuilding and modernization programs," Gryphon said. "PGFM applies cyber vulnerability assessment tools and provides engineering services to perform risk assessment for machinery control systems, electromagnetic compatibility, navigation, and integrated bridge systems."

By Courtney Albon
July 2, 2019 at 2:28 PM

A new proposed amendment to the House fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill would require the Air Force to follow through on a past directive to release regular progress reports on the B-21 bomber program.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would hold the service accountable for delivering key B-21 program information as required by the FY-17 National Defense Authorization Act.

That legislation called for the Air Force to release annual updates on the program’s milestones and performance goals in key areas, including reliability, software maturity, and key flight-test events. The report would also lay out the program’s total cost estimate and offer insight into the specific costs of major subsystems, government testing and any engineering changes.

The reports are required to be submitted within six months of the release of the Defense Department’s budget request.

The first B-21 is expected to achieve initial operational capability in the mid-2020s. The program completed a critical design review last December, and service officials have said the next major milestone is first flight.

By John Liang
July 2, 2019 at 2:05 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's nascent Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, plus an interview with the head of Leidos' defense group and more.

Keep an eye out for a cyberspace meeting set to take place in "late summer" or "early fall":

Joint AI Center seeking technologies for major cyberspace initiative

The Pentagon's fledgling Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is planning a meeting later this year where select companies can make pitches to be considered for potential pilot projects and experiments as part of a major cyber initiative.

Document: JAIC cyberspace initiative meeting notice

Inside Defense recently chatted with the head of Leidos' defense group:

Leidos defense group chief says unit is now more focused on 'innovation and disruptive investments'

Leidos' defense group, reshaped last year as part of a company-wide reorganization, is seeking to make "disruptive investments" in new technology, according to its chief.

More defense business news, in case you missed it yesterday:

L3Harris Technologies completes deal, organizes into four segments

L3Harris Technologies said it successfully completed its merger over the weekend and detailed a new structure and board of directors.

The AlphaDogfight Trials are intended to expand the base of potential algorithm developers for the Air Combat Evolution program, a new initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency:

DARPA announces AlphaDogfight Trials with simulated, AI-controlled, autonomous aircraft

The Pentagon is hosting a demonstration of simulated, close-range combat exercises featuring autonomous aircraft controlled by artificial intelligence, as part of a larger effort to increase warfighters' trust in machines.

Lawmakers, concerned by numerous deficiencies involving the Marine Corps' CH-53K helicopter, are seeking increased oversight of the program in their fiscal year 2020 policy bills:

Marine Corps still eyeing 2023 for first CH-53K deployment despite program delays

The Marine Corps is working to get its delayed heavy-lift helicopter back on schedule after reformatting the program to address a host of technical deficiencies.

By Justin Katz
July 2, 2019 at 10:08 AM

The Navy has recruited an independent team to help work through the issues plaguing the advanced weapons elevators on the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78), according to a service statement.

"This team of experts in electromagnetic systems, fabrication and production control, software, systems integration, and electrical engineering will focus on completing the production of the remaining elevators on CVN-78 and recommending design changes for future ships in the class," Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts said in the statement.

The team began working last month, according to the statement.

"We have a full court press on the advanced weapons elevators," said Geurts.

The elevators have remained one of the most persistent problems for the service on its latest class of aircraft carriers. Those problems have resulted in the Navy failing to meet several deadlines on fixing the AWEs. The latest of which led Geurts to announce that the elevators would not necessarily be fixed by October, when the vessel is set to end its post-shakedown availability.

By Justin Katz
July 1, 2019 at 8:21 PM

The Navy today awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $124 million for integration and testing of the next-generation frigate's combat system, according to a Defense Department statement.

"The work executed under this contract includes combat system (CS) ship integration engineering support and test planning, conducting a waterfront CS ship integration and test program, post-delivery engineering support to government test teams, engineering services for CS ship integration and test and developing test program documents for FFG(X) ships," according to the statement.

The Navy published the final request for proposals for the next-generation frigate last month. The shipbuilders expected to respond are Austal USA, Fincantieri Marinette Marine, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Lockheed announced in May it would not submit its own bid for the FFG(X) competition, and, in a statement to Inside Defense, said it had decided to focus on the new vessel's combat systems.

By Mallory Shelbourne
July 1, 2019 at 2:37 PM

The Navy last week announced a contract award to Boeing Insitu worth up to $390 million for the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned air vehicle.

The award is for as many as 63 RQ-21A Navy and Marine Corps "attrition air vehicles," in addition to system and vehicle sales to Canada, Poland and Oman.

"[T]his contract provides for up to six RQ-21A unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and up to 17 RQ-21A air vehicles for foreign military sales (FMS) customers, including the governments of Canada, Poland and Oman. The contractor will also provide up to 93 ScanEagle UASs in various configurations," the announcement reads.

"In addition, this contract provides for associated services, including training, test and engineering, development of engineering change proposals, operations support, organizational level maintenance, field service representatives, land and ship surveys, hardware site activations, hardware installs, repairs and data," it continues.

The Navy's fiscal year 2020 budget documents note the Marine Corps is not currently scheduled to purchase additional RQ-21 systems, but will buy air vehicles that are part of the Blackjack system.

The service sought $66 million in FY-20 procurement funding for the RQ-21. House and Senate authorizers in their individual policy bills met this request.

The upper chamber passed its defense policy bill last week, while the House is slated to vote on its legislation later this month.

By Marjorie Censer
July 1, 2019 at 2:10 PM

Lockheed Martin said today it has tapped Frank St. John to lead its rotary and mission systems business, while Scott Greene will become chief of the company’s missiles and fire control unit, both effective Aug. 26.

St. John will succeed Dale Bennett, who intends to retire, but will serve as a strategic adviser on the executive leadership team until the end of the year.

St. John joined Lockheed more than 30 years ago. For the last year and a half, he has led the missiles and fire control business.

Greene has overseen Lockheed's tactical and strike missiles business within the MFC segment since August 2017.

By Marjorie Censer
July 1, 2019 at 2:08 PM

Not-for-profit research and development company SRC said today it has acquired SAZE, which specializes in radar research and development.

SRC, which focuses on the defense, environment and intelligence sectors, said SAZE has been a subcontractor and teammate in the past.

Under the deal, SAZE becomes a subsidiary under SRC Ventures and 11 SAZE employees join SRC. The group will remain in SAZE's Maryland office and continue working on existing SAZE contracts.