The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
July 15, 2021 at 1:46 PM

Red 6, a training technology company, said this week it has relocated its headquarters from Santa Monica, CA to Miami and opened a new technology hub in Orlando, FL.

Red 6, which specializes in synthetic air combat training, has received funding from Lockheed Martin Ventures. Additionally, former Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper recently joined Red 6's advisory board.

The company said its move is meant to drive Red 6's growth. A spokeswoman said Red 6 will retain the Santa Monica office.

By Marjorie Censer
July 15, 2021 at 10:37 AM

Momentus, a commercial space company, said this week it has named former Pentagon official John Rood chief executive, effective Aug. 1.

Rood was under secretary of defense for policy during the Trump administration. He was senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International before taking that role.

"Under Rood's guidance, Momentus will aim to complete a successful merger with Stable Road Acquisition Corp. in August," Momentus said. "The Company's recent settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) clears the path for the deal and a Stable Road Acquisition Corp. stockholder meeting date is set for August 11 with a record date of July 7, subject to the SEC declaring the registration statement on Form S-4 effective."

By John Liang
July 14, 2021 at 1:29 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the possible successor to the Pentagon's canceled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and more.

Inside Defense this morning interviewed House Armed Services cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee Chairman Jim Langevin (D-RI) about the next steps in getting the Pentagon an enterprise cloud capability:

Key lawmakers want transparency and congressional oversight in JEDI follow-up

The Defense Department is "behind the curve" in getting an enterprise cloud capability and cannot have further delays following the cancelation of the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, the top lawmaker on the House Armed Services cyber and technology subcommittee told Inside Defense today.

News on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program's engine and testing schedule:

P&W proposes F-35 engine upgrade options, works to reduce maintenance backlog

Pratt & Whitney is pitching a set of F135 engine upgrade options for the Joint Strike Fighter the company says could save the government billions in future sustainment costs and provide the engine performance needed to support Block 4 capabilities.

New F-35 JSE, operational testing schedule expected in August

The head of the F-35 joint program office said today the program expects to finalize a new schedule estimate for the completion of the Joint Simulation Environment and the remaining slate of operational test events in August, informing a new program baseline and a long-awaited full-rate production decision.

The Pentagon's top civilian discussed artificial intelligence this week:

DOD investing $1.5 billion in AI over the next five years

The Pentagon will invest $1.5 billion over the next five years into the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Continuing coverage of House appropriators' fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill:

House appropriators advance defense spending bill without GOP support

The House Appropriations Committee today approved its fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill, despite the opposition of Republicans who argue funding should be increased substantially to compete with China.

House appropriators ask about alternative JLTV contracts

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee is asking the Army to consider "alternative competitive acquisition strategies" for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in its report accompanying the fiscal year 2022 spending bill.

House panel guts MDA's Guam Defense System procurement request, calls lack of detail 'troubling'

House appropriators declined to fully fund the Defense Department's proposal for a yet-to-be-defined Guam Defense System, gutting the procurement request and trimming development spending for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's No. 1 modernization priority because the Pentagon has not addressed lawmakers' questions about the new capability.

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week held a hearing to consider several of President Biden's nominations, including that of Carlos Del Toro to become Navy secretary:

Del Toro: No SLCM-N decision until after nuclear posture review

Navy Secretary nominee Carlos Del Toro said Tuesday the service would not make a decision about the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile until after the Biden administration completes its nuclear policy review.

Document: Senate hearing on SECNAV, DOD comptroller nominations

By Marjorie Censer
July 14, 2021 at 12:26 PM

Intrepid, an intelligence agency contractor backed by private-equity firm Bluestone Investment Partners, said today it has acquired Darkblade Systems.

"The acquisition nearly doubles Intrepid's size and further grows its ability to deliver advanced technology products and services to the IC," Intrepid said.

Darkblade, which was founded in 2010, works with defense and intelligence agencies. The company offers scientific, engineering, technical, operational support and training services and specializes in supporting military laboratories.

By Aidan Quigley
July 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM

House appropriators are encouraging the Navy to fulfill a block buy with Huntington Ingalls Industries for four amphibious ships after the service said it is unlikely to fulfill the contract.

Acting Navy acquisition chief Frederick Stefany told the Senate Armed Services Committee seapower subcommittee last month that the Navy reached a "handshake agreement" with HII for three LPD-class amphibious transport docks and one LHA-class landing helicopter assault vessel.

But Stefany said the service is unlikely to execute that contract as the Navy wants to conduct a force-structure assessment during its fiscal year 2023 budget review this summer and fall before buying those ships.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), chair of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, successfully proposed an amendment to the subcommittee's FY-22 spending bill that encourages the Navy to buy the ships.

"The Committee encourages the Secretary of the Navy to expeditiously enter into such a contract in order to take advantage of cost savings provided by contracting for more than one ship at a time," the amendment states. "The Committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act which outlines the Navy's acquisition plan for these amphibious ships."

The House Appropriations Committee advanced the bill out of committee yesterday in a party-line vote over the objections of Republicans who sought a substantial funding increase for competition with China.

By Marjorie Censer
July 14, 2021 at 9:48 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton said today it has named Matt Tarascio senior vice president in its strategic innovation group, leading the company's Pentagon analytics and artificial intelligence business.

He previously was Lockheed Martin's vice president of AI. Tarascio also served as Lockheed's first chief data and analytics officer, Booz Allen said.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 13, 2021 at 6:19 PM

President Biden intends to nominate Gabe Camarillo as the Army under secretary, the White House announced today.

Camarillo served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology and the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs during the Obama administration.

He worked during the Trump administration for McKinsey & Co. and Science Applications International Corp., according to his LinkedIn profile.

At SAIC, Camarillo led the company’s naval sea and air systems operations and was the vice president of strategy for the defense systems group.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 13, 2021 at 2:18 PM

The Army released the request for proposals July 6 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft to the two competitors in the demonstration and risk-reduction phases of the program, Textron's Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team.

The Army will choose one of the competitors in fiscal year 2022 to build FLRAA, which is expected to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. With options, the contract could last through the completion of low-rate initial production deliveries.

"The FLRAA RFP leverages competition enabling the Army to garner appropriate intellectual property rights early in the weapon system life cycle," a spokesman for the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team wrote in a July 13 statement to Inside Defense. "The FLRAA contract award to one vendor will encompass the development, prototyping, flight test, and fielding of the FLRAA weapon system."

Specifics of the RFP will not be released, according to the spokesman.

Defense News reported the release of the RFP yesterday.

Bell and the Sikorsky-Boeing team won other transaction authority agreements in March 2020 for the competitive demonstration and risk-reduction phase of the FLRAA program. Both competitors advanced to the second risk-reduction phase in March 2021.

The same teams are competing for the Army's other future vertical lift program, the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft, which will replace the AH-64 Apache. The Army expects to field both future vertical lift programs by 2030.

By John Liang
July 13, 2021 at 1:46 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the status of a pair of senior defense nominations, a Missile Defense Agency satellite launch and more.

The nominations of Frank Kendall to be Air Force secretary and Heidi Shyu to be the Pentagon's technology chief appear to be back on track:

Warren lifts holds on Kendall and Shyu over ethics agreements

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a longtime critic of the close relationships between government officials and defense contractors, has lifted holds she previously placed on the nominations of Frank Kendall to be Air Force secretary and Heidi Shyu to be the Pentagon’s technology chief after successfully getting the nominees to extend their government ethics pledges.

The Missile Defense Agency recently launched a pair of very small satellites into orbit:

MDA puts pair of nanosatellites in orbit as part of HBTSS risk-reduction effort

The Missile Defense Agency last month put a pair of nanosatellites -- each about the size of a loaf of bread -- on orbit as part of a prototype demonstration of networked radio communications and tied to a new and advanced technology risk-reduction project linked to the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program.

The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to begin marking up the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill today. Here are the defense subcommittee's thoughts on the Air Force's Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program and naval warship funding:

House panel calls for detailed review of Next-Gen OPIR risk-mitigation efforts

After estimates by the Pentagon's cost assessment office and the Government Accountability Office warned of possible delays and cost growth to the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system, House appropriators are calling for a thorough review of the program and its strategy to mitigate risk.

House appropriators emphasize cost control for GBSD

Stressing the need to prioritize cost control as the Air Force pursues its replacement of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, House appropriators are looking to ensure lawmakers can more closely track the price tag of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program going forward.

House appropriators slam Navy for destroyer omission, LCS retirement proposal

House appropriators are unhappy with the Navy's decision to cut a destroyer from its fiscal year 2022 budget request but include it as the service's top unfunded priority, according to a new report obtained by Inside Defense.

By Briana Reilly
July 13, 2021 at 11:11 AM

The Air Force has awarded Johns Hopkins University an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal worth up to $530 million to provide "research and development services in support of the nuclear enterprise," according to a contract notice released yesterday.

As part of the notice, the service also announced the first task order, carrying a $23.7 million price tag, for research and development work on the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program, which will ultimately replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

Both contracts, the announcement said, would bolster the two ICBM systems.

The contractor will perform the work in Laurel, MD.

By Courtney Albon
July 13, 2021 at 10:39 AM

The head of Air Mobility Command has approved the use of the KC-46 centerline drogue system for operational missions -- part of an interim capability release strategy to make the tanker more available for joint taskings.

Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost signed off on the use of the drogue system July 9, and AMC announced the approval in a press release Monday.

"The last six months of operational use and programmatic evaluation indicate conditions have been met for ICR declaration of the centerline drogue system mission set," Van Ovost said in the release. "The decision reflects a risk-informed, data-driven, constraint-analyzed approach to releasing KC-46A operational capabilities to the joint force."

AMC announced in February it was looking to expand the range of operational missions the KC-46 could conduct as the program works to overcome deficiencies that have delayed a full mission-capable decision until 2024. The ICR plan takes a conditions-based approach, setting a framework to provide a level of capacity to U.S. Transportation Command based on factors like safety and availability.

While the KC-46 has already been performing a limited operational mission set, the expanded envelope will make it available for TRANSCOM taskings and will free legacy KC-10s and KC-135s to execute other mission sets the KC-46 is not yet able to support.

By Marjorie Censer
July 13, 2021 at 9:52 AM

Science Applications International Corp. said today it has formed a strategic advisory board "who will bring comprehensive expertise from both industry and the public sector and provide advice and guidance to facilitate growth and innovation at SAIC."

The company announced the board’s first three members are all recently departed Pentagon officials. SAIC said David Norquist, the former deputy defense secretary; Ellen Lord, the former DOD acquisition chief; and Dana Deasy, the former DOD chief information officer, will join the board.

“The Strategic Advisory Board will advise company leaders on customer priorities, acquisition policy, potential disruptions in the environment, as well as possible new growth areas,” SAIC said. “In the future, the company may also invite other prominent thought leaders with experience in different sectors, such as health care and energy, while these three initial members form the core of the Strategic Advisory Board.”

By Marjorie Censer
July 13, 2021 at 9:48 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton said Monday it has invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning company Latent AI, marking the contractor's first tech scouting investment.

Booz Allen in 2015 established a dual-use tech scouting group in San Francisco. Brian MacCarthy, who founded the group, told Inside Defense the idea behind the organization was that the company needed “to find a better way to team with the private sector, particularly in the software space.”

“We found a capability here that we thought was a differentiator,” he said. “This is our first minority investment that we’ve done out of the dual-use tech scouting group.”

Booz Allen is not disclosing the size of its investment. Latent AI was founded in 2018 as an early-stage venture spinout of SRI International, Booz Allen said. It is funded by Future Ventures, Autotech Ventures and others.

Steve Escaravage, who leads Booz Allen’s analytics practice and artificial intelligence services business, told Inside Defense the company has considered hundreds of tech companies with relevant ideas.

However, he said one of the challenges was finding a company that could operate in more difficult conditions.

“We’d see the capability demonstrated, but then it really was designed and could only be executed in this pristine laboratory-based environment,” Escaravage said. “That is not where the problem was manifesting for our clients.”

He said Booz Allen sees multiple ways to work with Latent AI, from helping with Booz Allen’s current portfolio of work to considering new problems where they might be able to partner.

MacCarthy said the deal “isn’t necessarily a financial investment for us; it’s a strategic investment.”

Escaravage noted investments like this are intended to help Booz Allen move quickly to stay ahead on AI.

“The fastest way to be able to accelerate the adoption of AI . . . around some of these really complex, nuanced areas is to find the best companies out there who are solving this problem,” he said.

By Briana Reilly
July 12, 2021 at 4:59 PM

The Air Force is in a "much better" place with Congress surrounding the Advanced Battle Management System and other programs that are more capability-focused, according to the service's deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements.

Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, who spoke at the National Defense Industrial Association's JADC2 symposium today, also said he's "fairly optimistic" the service will secure the funding it needs for its piece of the broader Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative in the years ahead.

Previously, lawmakers met ABMS with some level of skepticism, frustrated by the lack of programmatic details and the absence of a clear roadmap. Lawmakers nearly halved funding for the high-speed network in the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Act, cutting the $302 million the Air Force requested down to $159 million.

This time around, the Air Force requested $204 million for the program's FY-22 budget, half the $449 million officials previously projected they'd need.

Hinote acknowledged "it was difficult" initially to have conversations with lawmakers about the program, given its nature. And still now, when looking down the line five or six years, he noted it's "challenging" to try to define what ABMS will look like.

"You're supposed to be programming out all the way to the end of [FY-27]. When I think about that, and it's [FY-21] now, at least six years into the future, you're supposed to know exactly what you're going to get out of ABMS by then, and as the Air Force's requirements officer . . . I don’t know," he said.

In the meantime, Hinote said the service is building requirements that he characterized as "flexible," rather than "rigid" -- something he said is "helping us in the conversation" with Congress.

By John Liang
July 12, 2021 at 1:27 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has comprehensive coverage of House appropriators' fiscal year 2022 defense spending legislation.

We start off with an overall look at the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's fiscal year 2022 spending bill:

House appropriators question numerous DOD budget proposals

House appropriators are worried the Defense Department has underfunded a number of weapon systems procurements in its budget request, especially the Navy's destroyer program, and the lawmakers have detailed their concerns in a new report obtained by Inside Defense.

. . . followed by appropriators' spending proposals for certain service programs:

House appropriators emphasize cost control for GBSD

Stressing the need to prioritize cost control as the Air Force pursues its replacement of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, House appropriators are looking to ensure lawmakers can more closely track the price tag of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program going forward.

House appropriators slam Navy for destroyer omission, LCS retirement proposal

House appropriators are unhappy with the Navy's decision to cut a destroyer from its fiscal year 2022 budget request but include it as the service's top unfunded priority, according to a new report obtained by Inside Defense.

House defense spending bill seeks to slash ARRW procurement by $44M

House appropriators have proposed slashing the Air Force's flagship hypersonic boost-glide weapon procurement budget by $44 million in fiscal year 2022.

House appropriators bemoan lack of progress on space acquisition reform, leadership

Concerned about what they view as slow progress by the Space Force on standing up an alternative acquisition system, House appropriators are calling on the service to move quickly to implement reforms and to identify a space acquisition and integration chief.

House panel would increase cuts to JLTV, AMPV

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee is recommending further budget cuts to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle in its draft of the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill.

The Navy expects to have a new designed blade for the Ship-to-Shore Connector sometime in fiscal year 2023:

Navy: SSC program will soon decide on propeller blade re-design

The Navy expects to reach a final decision soon on a new Ship-to-Shore Connector amphibious craft propeller blade design, replacing the original blade that has experienced "composite micro-cracks," a Navy spokeswoman told Inside Defense.

Last but by no means least, the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Industry sees potential for CMMC growth under Biden executive order to modernize FedRAMP

Stakeholders watching the Pentagon's cyber certification program say they see an opportunity for reciprocity in a section of a May cyber executive order that calls for the modernization of a separate civilian agency certification program dedicated to authorizing services for government use from cloud service providers.