The Insider

By Ethan Sterenfeld
April 1, 2021 at 3:38 PM

The Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate will hold virtual industry days April 7-8 to review current and future needs for the Army's maneuver force, according to an April 1 announcement.

The commanding general of the MCoE and the director of the MCDID will speak on April 7, and representatives from each of the MCDID’s divisions will be available.

Those divisions include the soldier requirements division, maneuver requirements division, robotics requirements division, maneuver battle lab and the Army capability managers for the brigade teams.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend hour-long breakout sessions from their choice of three of the divisions.

On April 8, representatives from the MCDID will hold closed one-on-one meetings with industry to discuss potential opportunities.

By John Liang
April 1, 2021 at 1:54 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Future Vertical Lift program, Air Force strategic airlift and much more.

We start off with coverage of the next phase of the Army's Future Vertical Lift effort:

Army looking at critical items, training additional test pilots for FLRAA CD&RR Phase II

The Army will train additional experimental test pilots over the next two months and will look at "critical items" for the second phase of the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft competitive demonstration and risk reduction before beginning the official program of record, according to service officials.

. . . Followed by Air Force news on future strategic airlift, 3DELRR radars and more:

AMC commander: Joint wargames shaping attributes for future strategic airlift systems

The general in charge of Air Mobility Command said this week joint wargames and experimentation will play an important role in shaping requirements for a future "family of systems" strategic airlift capability.

ABMS program to request proposals for KC-46 pod this spring

The newly appointed program executive office for the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System is planning to release a solicitation this spring for a communication capability that can be installed on the KC-46 tanker and inform future acquisition decisions.

Air Force still weighing second 3DELRR integration contract

After awarding a single integration contract last week to Lockheed Martin for its Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar program, the Air Force confirmed to Inside Defense it is still considering awarding a second contract "in the coming months."

Air Force wants to improve transparency, process for using MTA pathway

As some of the Air Force's early Mid-Tier Acquisition programs approach transition points, the service is considering opportunities to increase transparency for those programs and ensure they meet the rapid acquisition pathway criteria.

Some Joint Strike Fighter news:

DOD awards Lockheed contract to address F-35 ALIS deficiencies

The Defense Department this week awarded Lockheed Martin a $7.8 million contract modification to address deficiencies with the F-35's Autonomic Logistics Information System.

Navy and Marine Corps news on light aircraft carriers and more:

Harris: Navy likely doesn't need light carriers, but will study concept

The Navy will soon be studying whether light aircraft carriers have a place in the fleet's future, but Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, the director of air warfare, said he does not believe the service will pursue the platform.

Navy official says NGAD program to eventually become majority unmanned

Rear Adm. Gregory Harris said the "family of systems" in the Next-Generation Air Dominance Program will involve a combination of manned and unmanned systems, with the goal "over time" of getting to a 60-40 ratio in favor of unmanned systems.

New manual: Marine Corps expeditionary warfare efforts will be key in future conflicts

The Marine Corps' expeditionary advanced base operations will help the service counter adversaries' growing long-range, anti-access capabilities, according to a new service manual.

Last but certainly not least, some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC stakeholders: Revised timeline for RFPs, CEO hire show commitment to upholding high standard

The Pentagon is moving full speed ahead with its plans for the first year of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, despite potential obstacles in finding the right first pilot contracts and meeting demand for assessors.

By Jordan Wolman
April 1, 2021 at 10:25 AM

The Navy announced this week Boeing will build 11 new P-8A Poseidon aircraft, despite previous efforts to cut the program.

The company won a $1.6 billion contract to build 11 P-8A Lot 12 aircraft -- nine for the Navy and two for Australia. The work is expected to be completed by September 2024.

According to Boeing's press release, this latest announcement will bring the Navy's total number of P-8A aircraft to 128 and Australia's to 14.

The P-8A is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft. Boeing said in its press release the aircraft is militarized with maritime weapons and a modern open mission system architecture. The P-8A Poseidon is the Navy's variant of the P-8.

According to the Navy's fiscal year 2021 budget justification documents, the service planned to make fiscal year 2020 the last year for purchasing P-8s. Congress did, however, budget for a program increase of nine P-8A aircraft in the final FY-21 appropriations bill.

By Marjorie Censer
April 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Defense technology company Anduril Industries said today it has acquired Area-I, a Marietta, GA-based company focused on air-launched effects.

"The acquisition expands Anduril's portfolio of unmanned aerial systems, creates new opportunities for its software-defined capabilities such as mission autonomy and intelligent teaming and significantly accelerates the company's strategic growth," Anduril said.

The company said Area-I will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and continue to use its brand.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Brian Schimpf, Anduril's chief executive, said the company closed the acquisition last week. He said Anduril is not planning to make any reductions to employees or facilities.

"It's going to be a very collaborative partnership," Schmipf said of how the two companies will work together. "We're not looking to keep it at arms length."

During the same interview, Nicholas Alley, Area-I's chief executive, said the company has nearly 100 employees.

The deal, he told Inside Defense, will help the company "better partner with our customers." Area-I already counts among its customers the Army, Air Force and Navy, among others.

"Instead of leaning on them to fund all of the technology development," he said, Anduril and Area-I will be able to invest in new technology.

Schimpf said Anduril remains interested in additional acquisitions.

"We want to be a next-generation defense technology company," he said. "If there are other companies that are like-minded, that are looking to kind of join forces . . . we're absolutely open to it."

By Jaspreet Gill
March 31, 2021 at 5:17 PM

The Army announced today it has awarded Microsoft a fixed-price production agreement potentially worth up to $21.9 billion to build the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, the service's new heads-up display.

IVAS combines augmented reality with night vision, targeting and navigation capabilities for soldiers in combat. Soldiers will also use the system during training.

The production agreement has a "five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity-like ordering period for production of IVAS systems, associated components, and spares, as well as PMO, engineering and contractor logistics support," an Army spokesman told Inside Defense in a statement.

The award transitions IVAS into production and rapid fielding, according to a March 31 Army press release, and has a total potential period of performance of 10 years. The company in 2018 was initially awarded an other transaction agreement worth $479 million to develop prototypes of IVAS.

The Army plans to equip a unit with IVAS by the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, but Congress has remained concerned about the service's fielding schedule and acquisition strategy. The Army's FY-21 budget requested $906 million in base procurement and $14 million in research, development, test and evaluation funding for the system.

House and Senate lawmakers in the final version of the FY-21 National Defense Authorization Act cut funding for the system by $230 million and put limits on the amount of funds that could be used.

Congressional appropriators, in an explanatory statement accompanying their final version of the FY-21 defense appropriations bill, reduced funding for IVAS by $235.6 million and called on the Army to deliver a briefing on the system after it completed its final user evaluation.

By John Liang
March 31, 2021 at 1:43 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the naval shipbuilding industry, plus coverage of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and more.

We start off with a deep dive into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the shipbuilding industry:

Analysts credit aggressive Navy action with mitigating effects of COVID-19 on shipbuilding

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought dramatic changes to American manufacturing, and naval shipbuilding was no exception.

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is preparing to release a new basic ordering agreement for data services, called the "Data Readiness Artificial Intelligence Development":

Joint AI Center eyes data curation agreements with 'innovative' companies

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is finalizing a new acquisition vehicle that would allow the Defense Department to place orders from technology companies to curate data sets for military AI applications.

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee spoke this week at a virtual event hosted by the Meridian Institute:

Smith pushes technology and foreign partnerships to counter China

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the case yesterday for pursuing deterrence, rather than dominance in the U.S.-China security relationship, noting his support for upgrading U.S. weapon systems and expanding arms deals with foreign partners.

Army Chief of Staff James McConville and Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, spoke at a virtual event this week hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

McConville: Stationing long-range fires in foreign countries a 'political decision'

The location of the Army's new multi-domain task forces and long-range precision fires in allied countries will have to be decided at political levels, not by uniformed leaders, the Army chief of staff said today.

McConville also this week released a paper that states military competition is an "infinite game" in which "leaders must understand and act in context and adjust their methods to the situation":

Army paper says military competition is an 'infinite game'

A new paper from the Army chief of staff says the service will play a key role in great power competition through three dynamics.

Document: Army chief's paper on military competition

By Jordan Wolman
March 31, 2021 at 12:27 PM

The Navy will buy an additional MG-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle, expected to be complete by January 2025.

Naval Air Systems Command last week awarded a $98.9 million modification to a previous contract to Northrop Grumman. The contract provides for one additional low-rate initial production lot five MQ-4C Triton.

The MQ-4C Triton is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drone. The high-altitude, low-endurance UAV first deployed to Guam almost a year ago.

The two Tritons deployed to Guam were also built by Northrop. Last fall, the company announced plans to start building its first Triton for Australia.

Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove confirmed to Inside Defense the new Triton will be for the Navy.

"The biggest thing for Triton is the good news we're getting," Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, the director of the air warfare division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said at a Navy League event yesterday. The system is “operating out of Guam right now. We are really excited with what we have learned there and the growth that’s gone on in the early operational capabilities that we've seen."

Harris said the future procurement of Triton is still "up in the air with the funding." He said the Navy has 19 of the air vehicles in procurement.

"We will support and maintain those 19 air vehicles at a minimum," Harris said.

The Navy has planned a two-year procurement gap during fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

By Marjorie Censer
March 31, 2021 at 12:19 PM

One day after increasing its bid, ST Engineering said today it has terminated acquisition discussions with Cubic.

The announcement followed Cubic's notice that it would accept a revised proposal from original bidders Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital of $75 per share.

ST Engineering had initially offered a counter-proposal of $76 per share, which it yesterday increased to $78 per share.

In today's announcement, ST Engineering said Cubic is "determined to accept an offer of US$75 per share in cash that is lower in value than ST Engineering's US$78 per share in cash offer, which we continue to believe is compelling."

Cubic today said its board "gave due consideration to the revised proposal it received from Singapore Technologies Engineering."

"In making its decision, the Board carefully assessed the relative benefits and risks of the proposals from both Veritas and Evergreen and ST Engineering," Cubic added. "The Board determined that, based on the superior certainty and anticipated timing of closing the existing transaction with Veritas and Evergreen, the revised proposal from Veritas and Evergreen was in the best interests of all Cubic's shareholders."

By Sara Friedman
March 31, 2021 at 10:53 AM

Former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Deputy Director Matthew Travis will lead the independent accreditation authority behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, according to an announcement from the entity's board of directors.

Travis, named the first chief executive, will be responsible for overseeing "the day-to-day development and management of the CMMC-AB to support the goals and objectives of its ultimate customer, the Department of Defense," the CMMC Accreditation Body said in a news release. "Travis' appointment is the result of an intensive nationwide search by the AB Board of Directors."

The CMMC Accreditation Body has worked through a volunteer board of directors since its creation in January 2020, standing up a system for training and certification for the first class of assessors who will be working on a provisional basis until the official training program rolls out over the coming months.

The board is in the process creating a spinoff for its training program, which will become a separate entity within the CMMC-AB as part of a no-cost contract with the Defense Department. The CMMC-AB is also working to get certified under the ISO/IEC 17011 standard, per the DOD agreement.

At CISA, Travis had a leading role in the creation of the federal government's first civilian cyber agency. The new CEO has also worked in the private sector as vice president of homeland security for professional services firm Cadmus and co-founded consulting firm Obsidian Analysis.

Travis resigned from CISA last November, following the firing of the former CISA Director Christopher Krebs by President Trump over the agency's election security efforts.

"Joining and leading the CMMC-AB is a tremendous opportunity," Travis said. "I look forward to using my collective experiences of running a security company start-up as well as my time at CISA, where I focused on supply chain risk, to ensure we mitigate risks as they relate to both the DoD and the contractor community.”

Earlier, this month Johnson told Inside Cybersecurity, "I'm working on the right balance of a succession plan to get enough people in, to cycle people through that we need to process out and really to align things for the CEO and the CEO’s success."

The CMMC-AB is in the process of hiring its first full-time staff members and has put out job postings for vice president of training and development, information technology manager, program manager and chief financial officer.

By Jaspreet Gill
March 30, 2021 at 5:59 PM

The Army announced today it has awarded Textron's Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team project agreements for the second phase of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competitive demonstration and risk-reduction effort.

FLRAA, one of the priorities under the Army's Future Vertical Lift modernization effort, is currently in a CD&RR expected to last until 2022 with Bell's V-280 Valor and the Sikorsky-Boeing team's SB-1 Defiant.

The project agreements, awarded under the Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium Other Transaction Authority, advance the schedule for FLRAA to an earlier milestone B decision, according to an Army press release issued today.

"CD&RR Phase II will execute in near parallel with the programmatic source-selection activities and supports preliminary analysis of requirements for Special Operations Command, MEDEVAC and Defense Exportability Features in FLRAA," the release states. "This strategy will enable the winning offeror to complete both air vehicle and weapon system preliminary design reviews in less than a year after the programmatic contract award."

Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, program executive officer for aviation, added in the press release the CD&RR Phase II accelerates the digital engineering design work to the subsystem level and mitigates industrial base workforce risk, while maintaining competition.

The Army plans to achieve a first unit equipped with FLRAA in fiscal year 2030.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
March 30, 2021 at 1:54 PM

Lockheed Martin has won a $2.8 billion contract to produce Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System warheads and rocket pods, according to a March 26 Army announcement.

In addition to the weapons, the contract includes "Low-Cost Reduced Range Practice rocket pods, cybersecurity services, integrated product support and other services," according to the Army.

The contract has an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2024.

Lockheed will complete the work at its facilities in Camden, AR; Dallas, TX; Lufkin, TX; and Ocala, FL, according to a company press release.

The GMLRS is a surface-to-surface rocket fired from either the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which is mounted from a five-ton truck, or the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, which has a tracked chassis.

Lockheed is also developing an extended-range version of the GMLRS, which will increase the range to 150 kilometers from the 70km the existing version can fire.

By John Liang
March 30, 2021 at 1:19 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program and more.

Oshkosh Defense and the government have collaborated since 2015 to find additional cost savings for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program:

Army clarifies JLTV cost savings

Each Joint Light Tactical Vehicle costs roughly 17% less, on average, than original government projections, according to Michael Sprang, program manager for the Army's joint program office for joint light tactical vehicles.

The Defense Department's $69 billion OCO account could be transferred to DOD's base budget when the Biden administration submits its fiscal year 2022 budget request later this week:

Pentagon's controversial overseas war chest faces uncertain fate in Biden's new budget

The Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations account, derided by critics for years as a "slush fund," has become the subject of renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill and could be headed toward a reckoning this week when the White House proposes President Biden's first defense budget.

After canceling its previous Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar contract with Raytheon in early 2020, the service adopted a new acquisition strategy to rapidly prototype and field an off-the-shelf capability:

Air Force awards Lockheed 3DELRR integration contract

The Air Force today awarded Lockheed Martin an $8.5 million integration contract for its Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar program, which includes options to produce up to 35 radar systems.

Army humvees will be retrofitted with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability controls to vehicles that were produced before the service began including the technology on new and recapitalized vehicles:

Army awards contract to retrofit humvees with safety tech

Ricardo Defense recently won an $89 million contract for kits to retrofit safety technology onto humvees, which are expected to lower the risk of vehicle rollovers, according to a March 16 Army announcement.

The Navy is seeking industry feedback on plans for integrating Conventional Prompt Strike, originally developed for the submarine fleet only, onto the DDG-1000 class of destroyers:

Navy takes key step toward potentially integrating long-range hypersonic weapon on surface combatant

The Navy is asking industry for ideas on integrating a long-range hypersonic strike weapon on a destroyer, eyeing a three-pack load, in a key step toward potentially adapting the Conventional Prompt Strike for DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class ships and potentially the DDG-X, the planned follow-on large surface combatant.

By Marjorie Censer
March 30, 2021 at 8:56 AM

Exiger, a compliance and risk management company, said this month it has named Ellen Lord strategic senior adviser and chair of its advisory board.

"Lord will advise Exiger's senior leadership on securing the U.S. industrial base by drawing on her experience overseeing defense programs and protecting critical infrastructure in both private sector and government executive-level positions," the company said. Her "expertise will empower Exiger to continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions to clients across companies and government agencies that are tackling the increasingly complex threat landscape of third-party and supply chain risk."

Lord previously served as the Pentagon acquisition chief. Before taking on that role, she was chief executive of Textron Systems.

By Marjorie Censer
March 30, 2021 at 8:54 AM

ST Engineering said today it has increased its proposal to acquire Cubic to $78 per share in cash, up from $76 per share last week.

"No definitive terms or agreements have been agreed upon or executed," the company cautioned. "There is no certainty or assurance that ST Engineering's proposal will be successful or will materialize."

Last week, ST Engineering said it had submitted a counter-proposal to acquire Cubic. In February, Cubic announced it had agreed to be acquired by affiliates of private-equity firms.

By Courtney Albon
March 30, 2021 at 8:37 AM

The Air Force Research Laboratory plans to expand testing of its commercial space internet services experiment to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, awarding Lockheed Martin a $12.7 million contract modification Monday that includes funds for the aircraft’s first flight test.

Since 2018, the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program has been testing data transfer and connectivity between aircraft like the AC-130 gunship and the KC-135 and commercial satellites on orbit. The aim is to work through the challenges associated with buying broadband as a service from companies and to launch large constellations of communication satellites.

AFRL’s Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office is working with several companies -- including SpaceX, Iridium, OneWeb, Telesat, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed, L3Harris Technologies and Raytheon Technologies -- on a range of tasks from modifying terminals to providing broadband services through their own operational satellites.

According to Monday’s announcement, the modification to Lockheed’s contract expands flight testing to the F-35. It also includes options for hardware and software modifications. Work is expected to be finished by January 2023.