The Insider

July 5, 2018 at 1:40 PM | Tony Bertuca

"Burden sharing" will be a key theme at the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels next week, though President Trump will not explicitly threaten to withdraw American troops if European nations fail to pledge to increase military spending, according to senior U.S. officials who briefed reporters today.

U.S. Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said there are no plans to decrease or remove the approximately 32,000 U.S. troops stationed in Germany, despite media reports that Trump is considering it.

"Every one of our allies are already increasing defense spending," she said. "That is something we will talk about as an achievement, but also recognize we need to do more."

Instead, Hutchison focused on the new NATO command structure and readiness initiatives drawn up by Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the chief of U.S. European Command and the supreme allied commander of NATO.

The plan, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed June 7 in Brussels, involves establishing two joint NATO commands: one in Ulm, Germany, and the other in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hutchison said the new "hubs" will help ease logistics across the Atlantic and in Europe to allow for the new "Four 30s" readiness initiative, which calls for having 30 combat ships, 30 mechanized battalions and 30 air squadrons ready for deployment to protect NATO allies in 30 days or less by 2020.

Hutchison said the administration's focus on "burden sharing" with NATO allies to increase military spending will "make us more fit for purpose" to address the "malign" actions of Russia, the rapid rise of China and ongoing counterterrorism missions.

Meanwhile, Trump is expected to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, told reporters the administration is viewing the meeting "with eyes wide open," but that "you can't solve problems by not talking about them."

"The ball is really in Russia's court, and the president will continue to hold Russia responsible for its malign activity," Huntsman said.

July 5, 2018 at 12:39 PM | Marjorie Censer

Maxar Technologies' DigitalGlobe said today it has hired Mike Edwards, who most recently served as Northrop Grumman's corporate director of space, intelligence and cyber, to serve as the company's vice president and senior adviser for defense programs.

Edwards will "provide strategic leadership on various defense programs, including the company's work with the U.S. Department of Defense and collaboration with aero-defense companies," DigitalGlobe said.

Edwards spent more than a decade at Northrop. A retired Air Force colonel, he previously led the Pentagon's Interagency Protection Task Force and the Defense Intelligence Agency's Emerging Threat Working Group, DigitalGlobe said.

July 5, 2018 at 11:44 AM | Marjorie Censer

Endeavor Robotics said this week it has grown its employee count by 30 percent this year and added about 10,000 square feet to its facility following several key program wins.

The company last year won the Pentagon's Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II contract, and, earlier this year, was one of two companies to win a $430 million contract from the Army for the Common Robotic System (Individual).

Tom Frost, Endeavor's president, told Inside Defense this week the company had about 95 employees at the end of last year. Now, it has just over 130 employees.

"We continue to hire," he added. "We have about another 15 or 20 positions open."

Frost said Endeavor has employees in engineering, operations, supply chain and finance, among other areas.

Endeavor has also added about 10,000 square feet for manufacturing and final assembly to its Chelmsford, MA, headquarters.

July 5, 2018 at 11:15 AM | Ashley Tressel

The Army now plans to announce its decision on the location of Futures Command in the next few weeks, as its previous end-of-June deadline has passed.

AFC task force spokesman Col. Pat Seiber said July 2 Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy and task force chief Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley have completed their visits to each of the top five locations -- Boston, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

Wesley replaced Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville on the visits due to a conflict of interest.

The original deadline did not account for the two officials visiting all five cities, causing the original date for the decision to be pushed, Seiber said. Other senior leaders also have the option to visit one or more of the cities before making their final selection.

Army Secretary Mark Esper told Inside Defense June 28, "The key thing, again, is . . . [that] the talent is there that we both can tap into, for their ideas, and that we can hire."

The service still plans for AFC to have initial operational capability this month.

July 5, 2018 at 8:27 AM | John Liang

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

1. The Pentagon is considering several weapon systems for new rapid prototyping authority granted by Congress, including the Air Force's hypersonic conventional strike capability, F-22 aircraft modernization and two key Navy missile programs, Inside Defense has learned.

Full story: Pentagon eyeing new list of weapon systems for rapid prototyping

2. The Section 809 panel is recommending the Defense Department elevate the role program executive officers play in acquisition by giving them more power over program decisions and funding within their capability portfolios.

Full story: Section 809 panel recommends elevating PEOs to 'portfolio acquisition executives'

3. The Air Force has canceled the flying portion of the second phase of its light-attack experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, NM, after an A-29 Super Tucano crashed during a June 22 experimentation flight that killed the jet's pilot.

Full story: USAF cancels flight portion of light-attack experiments after fatal A-29 crash

4. The White House is yet again at odds with the Senate over a provision in the annual defense authorization bill laying out a policy for offensive cyber operations, after the same language was stripped out of last year's legislation during conference negotiations.

Full story: OMB opposes Senate bill's offensive cyber policy, setting up potential conference battle

July 5, 2018 at 5:10 AM | Ashley Tressel

The Army's program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical, along with the network cross-functional team, will host an industry day Aug 1 and 2 in Raleigh, NC regarding cloud services for tactical formations.

Cloud service providers, systems and software engineers, network architecture experts and data analytics experts are invited to discuss distributed computing for mission command and other capabilities for the tactical network.

"Capability discussions will include how the Army could leverage data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain, multi-level security, identity and access management and storage/delivery across Army tactical formations operating in a disconnected, intermitted and limited bandwidth (DIL) environment," the Army said.

Panels will cover data logistics, infrastructure, enterprise service architecture and the mission partner environment, according to the Army.

July 3, 2018 at 2:30 PM | Tony Bertuca

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have named additional lawmakers to serve as conferees for the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill.

The new Republican conferees are:

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA)

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)

House Budget Committee

Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR)

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)

House Education and the Workforce Committee

Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN)

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)

House Financial Services Committee

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)

House Foreign Affairs Committee

Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL)

House Homeland Security Committee

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX)

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX)

House Judiciary Committee

Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

House Natural Resources Committee

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)

House Small Business Committee

Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA)

Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN)

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)

House Ways and Means Committee

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

The new Democratic conferees are:

House Committee on Ways and Means

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member

House Committee on Natural Resources

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member

House Committee on Small Business

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Ranking Member

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Ranking Member

House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)

The House Armed Services Committee named its conferees last week.

The Senate has yet to name conferees.

July 3, 2018 at 2:08 PM | John Liang

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest includes news on rapid prototyping, commercial practices, light-attack aircraft and more.

The Army, Navy and Air Force are figuring out how to use a new rapid prototyping authority:

Pentagon eyeing new list of weapon systems for rapid prototyping

The Pentagon is considering several weapon systems for new rapid prototyping authority granted by Congress, including the Air Force's hypersonic conventional strike capability, F-22 aircraft modernization and two key Navy missile programs, Inside Defense has learned.

The Defense Department wants contractors to adopt commercial practices:

Pentagon proposes rule to encourage commercial practices

The Pentagon late last month proposed amending defense acquisition regulations to "encourage contractors to propose commercial or non-Government standards and industry-wide practices that meet the intent of military specifications and standards."

Document: DOD's commercial practices notice

The Air Force has decided to truncate its light-attack experiment effort:

Air Force cancels flight portion of light-attack experiments after fatal A-29 crash

The Air Force has canceled the flying portion of the second phase of its light-attack experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, NM, after an A-29 Super Tucano crashed during a June 22 experimentation flight that killed the jet's pilot.

Additional coverage of the Air Force's effort to develop a light-attack aircraft:

Authorizers, appropriators pitch range of plus-ups for light-attack procurement

Lawmakers disagree over how strongly they should push the Air Force to buy light-attack aircraft in fiscal year 2019, as the appropriations and authorization committees vary widely on how much money to offer the service for a new fleet.

Senate authorizers push Marines to purchase light-attack aircraft

Senate lawmakers want the Marine Corps to follow the Air Force's lead in buying a fleet of light-attack jets because members believe the Marines are too reliant on the Joint Strike Fighter.

ACC official: Command may consider future experiments after light attack

A top Air Combat Command planning and requirements official said Friday that if the service's experimentation with a potential light-attack acquisition program proves successful, he wouldn't rule out the possibility of future experiments to further boost the service's attack aircraft fleet.

Second phase of light-attack experiment to explore maintenance, munitions

The second phase of the Air Force's light-attack experiment is vetting the logistics, sustainment and weapons integration aspects of a potential new attack fleet, according to the service's deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs.

Keep an eye out for the Air Force finishing up its new AWACS acquisition strategy:

Air Force preparing new acquisition strategy, baseline for AWACS upgrade program

A new acquisition strategy and baseline for the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 upgrade program will be completed later this summer, an Air Force spokesman recently told Inside Defense.

July 3, 2018 at 12:04 PM | Ashley Tressel

The 82nd Airborne Division based at Ft. Bragg, NC, will hold a deployment readiness and joint forcible entry exercise from July 13 to 21 called Operation Devil Storm.

The event begins with a 96-hour deployment of an airborne brigade combat team followed by a "mass tactical airborne operation," a series of air assault operations with artillery gun raids and multiple follow-on missions, which will validate the Global Response Force's ability to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours, according to an Army statement.

Operation Devil Storm, integrating airborne infantry with helicopters, artillery and engineers, is intended to prepare the division for the possibility of a high intensity conflict with a near-peer threat, the Army said.

July 3, 2018 at 10:15 AM | Rachel Karas

Nebraska's congressional delegation is pressing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson for more information on the safety of certain aircraft in the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, NE, following an investigation by the Omaha World-Herald.

Offutt AFB hosts a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command-and-control and electronic-attack systems based on Boeing's C-135. Those include the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint signals-intelligence plane and its trainer variant; the RC-135S Cobra Ball electronic and imaging data-collection jet; the RC-135U Combat Sent airborne radar detection platform; the WC-135 Constant Phoenix, which tracks nuclear radiation in the atmosphere; and the OC-135B Open Skies jet, which monitors the domestic military movements of foreign countries.

The World-Herald showed more than 500 C-135 sorties were cut short due to mechanical failures including hydraulic leaks, landing gear issues and electrical problems since the start of FY-12.

A June 29 letter to Wilson, signed by Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse as well as Reps. Don Bacon, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith -- all Republicans -- praised the Air Force's request for more than $600 million in fiscal year 2019 to replace and update the aging C-135s, which are in high demand around the world.

"This represents a substantial investment in the 55th Wing, and we were proud to support the authorization of this funding in the FY-19 National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate version of which fully authorized funding for all of these planned recapitalizations and modernizations," lawmakers wrote. "That said, the safety, security and continued mission effectiveness of the 55th Wing remains an issue of critical focus."

Lawmakers want Wilson to assess the wing's health, readiness and safety, including any changes in the 29-aircraft fleet's average monthly health and any trends of worsening maintenance or safety problems.

"Do you assess that there is any risk to the safety of pilots and aircrews due to current maintenance issues within the C-135 airframes of the 55th Wing?" the letter asks. "What is the Air Force's long-term plan to sustain and recapitalize this critical capability?"

The letter does not set a deadline for answering the questions.

July 3, 2018 at 9:45 AM | Marjorie Censer

L3 Technologies said Monday it has acquired Applied Defense Solutions, an aerospace engineering, software development and space situational awareness company, for about $50 million.

ADS, expected to generate about $15 million in sales the rest of this year and about $50 million next year, is based in Columbia, MD.

The business "will be renamed L3 ADS and provides the intelligence community, DOD, NASA and other customers with space systems mission planning, space exploration and satellite operations, protection and resiliency," L3 said.

L3 made eight acquisitions last year. Earlier this year, Chris Kubasik, L3's chief executive, said he expected to make one or two this year.

"There's no pressure," he told Inside Defense at the time. "If it doesn't happen, we'll use the cash and maybe buy back . . . more shares."

July 3, 2018 at 9:42 AM | Marjorie Censer

Leidos said today it has hired retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Boera to lead its Air Force business development.

Boera, named vice president and Air Force strategic account executive, previously worked at Raytheon, where he was director of business development for a mission area within the contractor's intelligence, information and services business.

He served as director of Air Force programs in the office of the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs.

July 2, 2018 at 4:01 PM | Ashley Tressel

Cole Engineering Services said today it will produce an air defense artillery training prototype for the Army, awarded through an other transaction agreement.

The training device, providing real-time orientation and positioning status, will simulate an enemy shoulder-fired missile during live exercises at Army combat training centers.

Cole, based in Orlando, FL, received a $501,900 contract funded by the Army's Training and Readiness Accelerator. After a review of the prototype, the Army will decide whether to develop additional units for further testing or deployment.

July 2, 2018 at 3:16 PM | Justin Doubleday

Pilots and maintainers from Turkey are set to begin training on the country's new F-35 fighter jets, but the U.S. government still technically owns the aircraft, according to the Pentagon, as the Senate advances a bill that would prohibit their transfer.

Turkey's first two F-35As arrived at Luke Air Force Base, AZ, recently, and Turkish pilots and maintainers have traveled there to begin training on the aircraft, Defense Department spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters at the Pentagon today.

Last month, Lockheed Martin held a formal hand-off ceremony for Turkey's F-35s at its facility in Fort Worth, TX.

But according to Manning, the United States still technically owns the fifth-generation fighter jets.

"Following established agreements, the U.S. government maintains custody of the aircraft until custody is transferred to the partner," Manning said. "This normally occurs after the process of partner training is complete, which is about one to two years."

Manning said the U.S. government has not yet made a determination on Turkey's participation in the program.

Meanwhile, the Senate's fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill would prohibit the transfer of F-35s to Turkey until DOD submits a report outlining steps to cut Ankara's involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program. The provision is due to Turkey's planned purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia, which would violate U.S. sanctions, according to the bill.

The House's FY-19 defense policy bill would also prohibit the transfer of the aircraft until DOD submits a report on the U.S.-Turkish relationship.

DOD declined to comment on what it would do if the provisions are made law.

July 2, 2018 at 2:27 PM | Marjorie Censer

Textron said today it has completed the sale of its tools and test businesses and brands to Emerson for $810 million in cash.

"Included in the sale were all the Textron Tools & Test businesses and brands -- Greenlee, Greenlee Communications, Greenlee Utility, HD Electric, Klauke, Sherman+Reilly, and Endura," the company said.

Textron said it expects to use the proceeds to pay for additional share repurchases.