The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
May 9, 2019 at 9:57 AM

The AeroVironment-Kratos Defense & Security Systems strategic relationship announced this week is focused on a particular customer and a "real opportunity," according to Kratos' chief executive.

The companies said this week they have a new relationship focused on developing and demonstrating "highly integrated and operationally effective multi-domain unmanned system solutions for near-peer, denied environments."

In a call with analysts Wednesday evening, Eric DeMarco said the two companies have "talked for quite a while about the right opportunity to team and go after something."

"We're not teaming just to team and put out a press release," he said. "We have a customer, and we have a real opportunity here."

DeMarco said the two companies are both commercially minded and ready to move rapidly.

"We're going to do something because the customer has indicated interest, and we're going to deliver this quickly," he said. "It's not going to be five years, [like] if you did it with a government contract."

He said DOD wants "more of a commercial-based model."

"Reduces risk, reduces schedule, reduces cost," DeMarco added. "Hopefully, the next 12 months, we're going to be able to demonstrate something that we talked about in the press release."

Meanwhile, Kratos said this week sales in its most recent quarter reached $160 million, up 12% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company's quarterly profit hit $3.1 million, up from a $2.2 million loss a year earlier.

By Marjorie Censer
May 9, 2019 at 9:27 AM

CACI International said this week it has named retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Shields senior vice president of advanced technology for mission adoption.

Shields most recently was director of the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization from 2015 to 2018. He also served as commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska and director of the Pakistan/Afghanistan Coordination Center within the Joint Staff, the company said.

“With CACI, LTG Shields will focus on strategic planning to integrate advanced technologies in such areas as novel sensors, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and others with warfighting needs, and guiding the development of mission-ready solutions, from quick reaction through full certification and deployment,” CACI said.

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

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said today funding is currently on contract to build about 256 miles of barriers along the southwestern border with Mexico.

He told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee about a half a mile a day will be built over a six-month period.

"How you will see this materialize in the next six months is that about 63 additional new miles of wall will come online," he said.

The money for the barriers comes, in part, from $1 billion the Pentagon reprogrammed, tapping funds left over from underruns in Army recruitment.

The rest of the funding, Shanahan said, comes from the fiscal years 2017 and 2018 Department of Homeland Security budgets as well as forfeiture funds provided by the Treasury Department.

The Pentagon has requested $7.2 billion in border security funding for FY-20, intending to use half the funds to backfill deferred military construction projects.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has also ordered about 4,300 active-duty and National Guard troops to the border to assist DHS.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Dick Durbin (D-IL) noted that the Pentagon’s border mission is expected to continue indefinitely and asked why the mission was not funded in the department's FY-20 request.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said the Pentagon is now working with DHS to develop a "more predictable, comprehensive plan" for the border mission.

By Ashley Tressel
May 8, 2019 at 3:29 PM

The Army in the next six to nine months could demonstrate in theater the new prototype Army Long-range Persistent Surveillance, or ALPS, sensor currently being fielded in Europe, the Pacific and U.S. Central Command, according to a service official.

Col. Chuck Worshim, project manager for cruise missile defense systems, told Inside Defense in an interview late last month the ALPS in its science and technology phase showed it could provide "a great passive capability to help inform the overall air picture."

Worshim said the Army has been conducting initial experiments "to understand [the sensor's] true military utility." 

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, head of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee in testimony last month the ALPS project was launched two years ago in response to a request from U.S. European Command.

The Army is playing close to the vest exactly what gap the ALPS seeks to fill in the service's detection capability, sharing only that it can be configured to meet a particular user's needs. The most common configuration is a transportable, 100-foot trailed tower and a conex-based processing shelter, according to the service.

Alabama-based contractor Dynetics has confirmed it is building ALPS for the Army.

By John Liang
May 8, 2019 at 2:19 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has space news, the Government Accountability Office's latest annual weapon system assessment report and more.

We start off with some space news:

Air Force signs off on Space Force initial work plan

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has signed off on the Space Force Task Force's initial work plan, authorizing the team to design an organizational structure for the new service's initial staff and recommend a broader plan for which existing units will transfer from other agencies into the Space Force.

Pentagon wants exemption from HQ manpower cost ceiling to stand up SPACECOM

The Pentagon is proposing legislative language that would exclude the new U.S. Space Command from manpower cost restrictions for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to give the Defense Department the funding margin it needs to stand up the new combatant command.

The Government Accountability Office's latest annual weapon system assessment report is out:

GAO says Pentagon's acquisition cost performance has 'slipped' amid drop in competition

The Pentagon had fewer major weapon systems in its acquisition portfolio in 2018 than the previous year, but costs still increased by $8 billion, sparking concern at the Government Accountability Office, which notes many defense contracts are being awarded without competition to a relatively small set of companies.

Document: GAO's 2019 weapon systems annual assessment

Keep an eye out for the results of the Air Force's testing of a new microwave weapon for counter-unmanned aerial system operations:

AFRL delivers C-UAS weapon system, testing starts next week

The Air Force Research Laboratory's new microwave weapon for counter-unmanned aerial system operations was delivered Monday for testing, which is expected to begin next week.

Don't expect inspections of vendors to the Columbia-class submarine program to end anytime soon:

Columbia vendor base inspections will continue 'in perpetuity'

Inspections of critical vendors for the Columbia-class submarine program, born out of welding problems discovered last summer, will continue "in perpetuity," according to the program manager.

The Air Force has opened a third technology training center:

Air Force opens Pittsburgh center for laser de-painting, condition-based maintenance

Last week, the Air Force opened an advanced technology and training center in Pittsburgh that focuses on condition-based maintenance, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Could the SM-6 Block IA missile or the Maritime Strike Tomahawk be used on the DDG-1000 class of destroyers? The Navy is looking into it:

Navy eyeing SM-6, Maritime Strike Tomahawk for Zumwalt-class destroyers

The Navy is evaluating the Standard Missile-6 Block IA and the Maritime Strike Tomahawk for its Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers.

Col. Chad Skaggs, air and missile defense integration chief for Army Space and Missile Defense Command, recently spoke to an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Official: Army two steps behind air and missile defense integration

The Army, having achieved interdependency of its air and missile defense systems, is two steps short of its goal of integration, according to a service official.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain could be getting billions of dollars' worth of Patriot missile defense systems:

State Department OKs new Patriot foreign sales worth more than $5 billion

The State Department has approved more than $5 billion in potential missile defense arms sales to a pair of Persian Gulf nations for Patriot air and ballistic missile defense interceptors as well as radar, paving the way for potential deals worth $2.7 billion to the United Arab Emirates and nearly $2.5 billion with Bahrain.

By Ashley Tressel
May 8, 2019 at 2:14 PM

The Army has directed its Fires Center of Excellence at Ft. Sill, OK, to establish a multidomain targeting center to support the operational force as it prepares for large-scale conflict, according to a recent industry notice.

"The Army has an immediate requirement to address the gap in the Army's ability to be able to conduct cross-domain targeting in a multidomain battle space within a joint environment," states the sources-sought notice, posted today to Federal Business Opportunities. The center will "serve as the Army voice within the joint targeting community."

The new center will include a Training and Doctrine Command capability manager under the FCoE's Concept Development and Integration Directorate; a training division linked to the field artillery, intelligence and other TRADOC centers' schoolhouses; and a target development division.

The Army is seeking to award a contract, lasting from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, 2020, to support a "bridging strategy" from the current multidomain targeting center personnel assignment and manning strength to those determined in the final "concept plan" projected for fiscal year 2021, according to a draft performance work statement accompanying the notice.

The notice does not specify where the targeting center will be located.

By Marjorie Censer
May 8, 2019 at 10:29 AM

Vectrus said this week sales in its most recent quarter hit $326 million, up 2% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company attributed the sales growth to "increases from Middle East and European programs."

Vectrus recorded quarterly profit of $7.1 million, up 16% from the prior year.

In a call with analysts this week, Chuck Prow, Vectrus’ chief executive, touted the company's award in the Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP V. The program is now under protest.

Prow said the program "was a significant focus of our entire organization." He said he expects LOGCAP V work to affect Vectrus' revenue in 2020.

By John Liang
May 7, 2019 at 2:23 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of the Pentagon's latest legislative proposals and more.

Inside Defense obtained the Pentagon's latest batch of legislative proposals. Here's our coverage so far:

Pentagon again seeks to restrict bid protest process

The Pentagon, as in previous years, has sent Congress a legislative proposal to impose bid protest timeliness rules at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that would mirror those at the Government Accountability Office, with the intent to reduce decision times and block contractors from lodging protests with both entities.

DOD requests authority for F-35 EOQ; multiyear decision expected in FY-21

The Defense Department is requesting congressional authority to award economic order quantity contracts for F-35 production lots 15 through 17 and is still determining whether to pursue a multi-year deal for those aircraft.

Capt. Pete Small, program manager for unmanned maritime systems, spoke to attendees at this week's Sea Air Space Symposium in National Harbor, MD:

Despite change in Truman plan, Navy unmanned program manager 'optimistic' on funding

Despite an abrupt reversal on plans to retire the aircraft carrier Harry Truman (CVN-75), the program manager responsible for a large portfolio targeted for investment in lieu of the ship's midlife refueling said he's "optimistic" the Navy will not cut his funding.

Scott Spence, Raytheon's Naval Radar Systems senior director, told Inside Defense this week the company will deliver the "first sets of hardware" for the radar, commonly referred to as SPY-6, to Huntington Ingalls Industries:

Raytheon to begin delivering SPY-6 hardware for Arleigh Burke Flight III this week

Raytheon this week will begin delivering hardware for its new Air and Missile Defense Radar that is slated for the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, according to a company executive.

Inside Defense recently chatted with Col. Chuck Worshim, the Army's cruise missile defense systems project manager:

Army expected to decide path forward for IFPC this fall

The Army is planning to decide by the end of this fiscal year the path forward for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Program, whether it be using a set of American systems or a "componentized" version of the Israeli Iron Dome system, according to a program official.

By Marjorie Censer
May 7, 2019 at 1:31 PM

KeyW said today sales in its most recent quarter reached $113 million, down almost 10% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

KeyW attributed the decline to "the completion of our flight services contract and lower related product solution sales."

The company reported a quarterly loss of $4 million, virtually the same as the prior year.

By Ashley Tressel
May 7, 2019 at 12:56 PM

The Army's project manager for cruise missile defense systems told Inside Defense in a recent interview he is "pretty confident" the Army will select a contractor to upgrade the Sentinel radar to the A4 version by July.

Col. Chuck Worshim said the A3 has gotten the Army through its previous mission but the service will need the A4 to defend against a near-peer adversary.

"We've been doing software and hardware upgrades along the way, but what we're coming to see is that we've done as much as we can," he said. "Not to say the A3 is not effective [or] performing well, but as you look out at the future threat that exists, it is the right thing to do to upgrade to a different radar, if you will."

The Army with the A4 upgrade is looking to make the Sentinel an active electronically scanned array radar and achieve greater range and more efficient identification, tracking and detection than the A3.

Worshim said the service should be on track for a "wholesale removal" of A3 radars in the 2030 to 2031 time frame but the A3s and A4s will coexist in the field for some time.

The A4 is expected to replace the A3 as the sensor for the Army's Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense program as well as the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, meaning it will eventually become a part of the command-and-control Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS.

By Mallory Shelbourne
May 7, 2019 at 12:28 PM

The Navy is planning a prize challenge for a payload adapter to help the service pursue its Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Expeditionary program.

Naval Air Systems Command in a May 6 special notice posted to Federal Business Opportunities described the prize challenge as "the first phase of the MUX development strategy."

"Marine Corps desired capabilities for the MUX UAS dictate that it will be a multi-mission platform capable of operating from Air Capable ships, including Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG), or austere environments ashore and that it will have expansive range and endurance to provide persistent wide area coverage," the posting reads.

According to the posting, the initial phase will feature six individual prize challenges, including four for "individual mission payloads, one for payload adapter designs, and one for system architecture designs." The second phase will be a prize challenge for "air vehicle designs that, at the discretion of the Government," would utilize payloads included in the first phase.

"At the discretion of the Government, development of a prototype and fielding effort for selected products may follow," the posting continues.

Rear Adm. Brian Corey, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, told reporters at the Navy League's 2019 Sea-Air-Space conference yesterday the service could utilize other transaction authorities for the prize challenges.

"What industry -- how they respond will change how we move through the prize challenges, so this first prize challenge is to get people going," he said.

"It will be a segment of the problem that we have to solve to go forward and as we move forward the problem will get bigger, the prizes will get bigger and hopefully we will get closer to what the Marine Corps ultimately needs to meet their fleet requirement," Corey continued.

Inside Defense previously reported the Marine Corps' plans to ask Congress for $21 million in research and development funds for the MUX program in the Navy’s fiscal year 2020 budget request.

-- Additional reporting by Justin Katz

By Thomas Duffy
May 7, 2019 at 11:17 AM

The Defense Department is rejecting a recommendation from government auditors that it track savings and cost avoidance for cloud computing services, arguing that "there is currently no standard, consistent way" to do so.

In a report released yesterday on federal agencies' use of cloud computing, the Government Accountability Office said DOD's chief information officer should establish "a consistent and repeatable mechanism to track savings and cost avoidance from the migration and deployment of cloud services."

In response, DOD said it has created a method for identifying funds requested for cloud computing services procurement and for money needed to migrate to a cloud computing environment. The department's current budget submission "includes details regarding use of commercial and in-house cloud computing services by DOD components." The department added that for fiscal year 2021 this will expand to include costs tied to cloud migration.

"The department will work with [the Office of Management and Budget] on whether and how to collect such information, and, if practical, report such information in accordance with OMB guidance," DOD added.

DOD did agree with GAO that the department's CIO complete an "assessment of all information technology investments for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service, in accordance with [OMB] guidance."

By Ashley Tressel
May 7, 2019 at 11:15 AM

The Army has stood up an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance task force in the office of the G-2, according to the chief of Army Futures Command.

Gen. Mike Murray told an audience at an Association of the United States Army breakfast in Washington today the task force under deputy chief of staff (G-2) Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier will experiment with different methods of information gathering.

"I get criticized all the time because we don't have an [intelligence cross-functional team] . . . but there are certain cross-cutting capabilities, like space," he said. "Part of the ISR task force is figuring out how we take a fleet [that is] optimized for [counterinsurgency] operations [and] get it optimized for competing against a near-peer [adversary], and how do we start to rebuild some of the data . . . especially signals intelligence that we used to have, that we no longer have."

By Justin Katz
May 7, 2019 at 10:09 AM

The Pentagon sent Congress a legislative proposal that would allow all three services to create a new assistant secretary position, according to a top Navy official.

Navy Under Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters today at the Sea Air Space symposium if Congress approves the proposal, how the new position is utilized or not would be at each service's discretion.

Navy officials have previously stated they desire a new senior civilian for information management, but those officials have not previously said the legislative proposal included the Army and Air Force.

The services are required by statute to have assistant secretaries for finance, manpower and acquisition, and are allowed a fourth secretary whose position is discretionary.

Earlier this year, the Navy proposed eliminating that fourth position -- energy, installation and environment -- and replacing it with a senior civilian for information management. Lawmakers shot that plan down over issues the military is facing with family housing.

By Justin Katz
May 6, 2019 at 8:31 PM

The new presidential helicopter program is scheduled to face a milestone C decision at the end of this month, according to a senior Marine Corps official.

Maj. Gen. Greg Masiello, program executive officer overseeing the VH-92A program, told attendees today at the Sea Air Space symposium the program office has a "handshake" deal with VH-92A prime contractor Sikorsky.

Spencer Elani, Sikorsky's VH-92A program director, told Inside Defense in a May 6 statement the company has transferred three helicopters into government testing.

"The aircraft engaged in landings and takeoffs at the White House as part of a comprehensive test plan to ensure the aircraft meets all operational requirements," Elani added.

The production contract includes options for all three lots in which 17 helicopters would be procured. Those 17 aircraft would be bought over the course of three years from fiscal year 2019 to FY-21 and complete the program of record with 21 operational and two test aircraft, Inside Defense previously reported.

Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts is the milestone decision authority for the program.

Masiello also said the program office provided two aircraft for early operational assessment last month, which he said went "reasonably well."

"I see no reason to question where we're going," he added.