The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
July 12, 2021 at 12:27 PM

Peraton said today it has hired Rebecca McHale, the chief information officer at Booz Allen Hamilton, to serve as its CIO.

"In this role, she will be responsible for leading Peraton's digital transformation, providing the advanced technologies and IT solutions needed to support the strategic and operational objectives of the company, and serving as the senior IT adviser to Peraton's executive leadership team," the company said.

McHale also previously worked as chief information security officer for Booz Allen and was the CISO for Blackboard. McHale has also worked at Novetta and CSRA.

By Tony Bertuca
July 12, 2021 at 5:00 AM

House appropriators will debate the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill this week. Meanwhile, senior defense officials will testify on Capitol Hill and participate in a conference on joint all-domain warfare.

Monday

Several senior defense officials are slated to speak at the National Defense Industrial Association's Joint All-Domain Command and Control Symposium.

Tuesday

The House Appropriations Committee marks up its version of the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for several individuals picked for senior Pentagon positions, including Navy secretary.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee holds a hearing on fixed-wing tactical and training aircraft programs.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on military construction, energy and environmental programs.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the state of U.S. special operations forces with Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL).

By Tony Bertuca
July 9, 2021 at 3:33 PM

Inside Defense has obtained the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's report that accompanies the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill.

The full committee is set to debate the bill July 13.

Watch Inside Defense for continuous coverage.

By John Liang
July 9, 2021 at 1:34 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Air Force digital testing, a reshuffling at the Pentagon's operational test and evaluation office and more.

We start off with news on Air Force digital testing:

Air Force looks to find paths forward on digital testing in coming years

The Air Force's acting acquisition chief said she's hopeful the service will be able to find ways to move forward on digital testing "in the next year or two" as officials work to embrace a broader digital acquisition approach to programs.

The Defense Department's operational test and evaluation office has been reorganized:

DOT&E internal realignment shifts live-fire responsibility, establishes new strategic initiatives division

The Pentagon shop that oversees testing and evaluation of all new major weapon systems is realigning its internal structure in a bid to "better posture" the organization and the Defense Department "to address current and future needs," according to a senior official.

The Navy recently announced milestone C for the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band program:

Navy awards Raytheon $171 million NGJ-MB LRIP Lot 1 contract

The Navy awarded Raytheon a $171 million contract for three Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band low-rate initial production Lot 1 ship sets, the service announced Friday.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter details in the Pentagon's latest omnibus reprogramming request:

DOD requests $120 million reprogramming for F-35 C2D2 electronic warfare capability

The Defense Department is requesting congressional approval to shift $120 million in "bridge funding" to keep the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's Continuous Capability Development and Delivery effort on track until fiscal year 2022 funding is appropriated.

Document: DOD's omnibus reprogramming request

President Biden's nomination of Michael Brown to become the next Defense Department acquisition chief appears to be stalled:

Biden's pick for Pentagon acquisition chief in 'limbo'

The nomination of Michael Brown to be the Pentagon's next acquisition chief appears to have stalled in the Senate amid an ongoing investigation.

By Aidan Quigley
July 9, 2021 at 1:12 PM

The Navy is reprogramming $31.9 million toward the refueling and complex overhaul of the aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73), which is over budget.

The service is reprogramming $23.8 million in unused funding for the expeditionary fast transport ship Newport (EPF-12) and $8.1 million for the expeditionary sea base ship Miguel Keith (ESB-5) to cover the cost overrun, according to the 2021 omnibus. Both of those ships have been delivered and have excess funds.

Huntington Ingalls Industries received a $2.8 billion contract in 2017 for the Washington refueling, and a contract modification for an additional $40 million in 2019.

As of April, the refueling and complex overhaul effort is 85% complete, according to an HII press release. The initial contract called for work to be completed by August 2021, and HII said in an April press release the ship is on track to be delivered to the Navy in 2022.

The omnibus states the Washington refueling is $21.6 million over budget due to poor cost performance on the basic construction contract; $7.2 million over budget due to habitability growth work including decking and gallery equipment; and $3.2 million over in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence cost growth.

The FY-22 budget request includes $2.6 million in maintenance funding for the Washington.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 9, 2021 at 11:12 AM

BAE Systems has received a $600 million contract to maintain the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle and the M113 armored personnel carrier over the next five years, the Army announced July 7.

"This sustainment contract allows for adding new capabilities and technologies on AMPVs throughout their time in service," a BAE press release stated. "The system technical support contract establishes BAE Systems as the sole source provider for sustainment system and technical support, as well as post-production sustainment and support for the AMPV program."

The Army plans to replace its Vietnam-era M113s with the AMPV, an armored personnel carrier that comes in five variants. But the program has faced production delays over the past two years, and the decision on full-rate production has been pushed from fiscal year 2022 to FY-23.

The service only requested $105 million for AMPV production in its FY-22 budget request, while an earlier budget request predicted the program would need $682 million that year.

Production delays led to the reduced funding request, an Army spokeswoman wrote last month to Inside Defense.

"Production funding was reduced in FY-21 and FY-22 due to production start-up issues and COVID-19 impacts," Ashley John, a spokeswoman for the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, wrote in a June 2 email.

By Marjorie Censer
July 9, 2021 at 10:19 AM

Will Roper, the former Air Force acquisition chief who is now chief executive of commercial drone company Volansi, told Inside Defense working with the military is a way for the company to advance its technology.

In an interview Thursday, Roper said he was drawn to the job because he sees Volansi, which is backed by venture capital, as ready to transition from simply being a research and development organization.

"The company's ambition and trajectory is commercial delivery," he said.

However, Roper noted that effort will require coordination with civilian regulators. Working with the military, he added, could help the company prove out its technology before approaching the Federal Aviation Administration or other agencies.

"My hope is . . . that we can work with the military to de-risk the technology," he said. That way, when the company meets with regulators, "we're going with significant data and a track record for safety."

Roper said the company's drone-based approach to logistics could apply to the battlefield.

Still, he said Volansi is "not a defense company."

"We're a commercial company that wants to work with defense," Roper said.

By Tony Bertuca
July 8, 2021 at 3:42 PM

President Biden said today the United States will complete its military withdrawal from Afghanistan by Aug. 31.

Biden, in a speech at the White House, said he refused to commit more American lives to the nearly 20-year conflict.

"I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome," he said.

Biden urged the Afghan government to reach a deal with the Taliban, whose forces have been surging across the country in recent weeks and regaining territory.

"Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future," he said.

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan, Biden said, was to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and deny terrorists groups a safe haven.

"We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build," he said. "The mission was accomplished in that we got Osama bin Laden and terrorism is not emanating from that part of the world."

Biden said he believes it is "highly unlikely" a single group would seize control of Afghanistan on the heels of the U.S. withdrawal, noting the Afghan government has approximately 300,000 troops, while the Taliban has 75,000.

"Just one more year of fighting in Afghanistan is not a solution, but a recipe for fighting there indefinitely," he said.

The president also stressed U.S. aid to Afghanistan would continue and said efforts are being made to transport interpreters and other Afghans who assisted the U.S. government out of the country. Biden said 2,500 special immigrant visas have been issued to allow those individuals to come to the United States, but only half have come so far.

Biden also said the threat of transnational terrorism has moved beyond Afghanistan.

"We are repositioning our resources and adapting our counterterrorism posture to meet the threats where they are now -- significantly higher in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa," he said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said plans for the redeployment of U.S. troops would be clearer upon completion of a Global Posture Review later this summer.

By Aidan Quigley
July 8, 2021 at 3:26 PM

The Navy is conducting market research for a simulator for the Marine Corps' new Light Amphibious Warship program.

The Navy released a request for information June 29 to identify industry's interest in building a simulator to conduct training for LAW crews.

The service is developing the Light Amphibious Warship as a new combat vessel to transport forces from shore to shore for a potential fight against China in the Pacific.

The simulator must be able to replicate the LAW's dynamic performance characteristics, the RFI states.

"NAVSEA PMS 317 is seeking information from industry on the availability of simulators that could be used for the training of LAW crews in beaching evolutions," the RFI states. "The Navy is interested in full motion, partial motion and non-motion options. The simulators should be capable of supporting a variety of environmental conditions, configurable to support various training evolutions including operating in a surf zone."

Responses to the RFI are due July 14.

By John Liang
July 8, 2021 at 1:56 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the status of Michael Brown's nomination to become Pentagon acquisition chief and more.

President Biden's nomination of Michael Brown to become the next Defense Department acquisition chief appears to be stalled:

Biden's pick for Pentagon acquisition chief in 'limbo'

The nomination of Michael Brown to be the Pentagon's next acquisition chief appears to have stalled in the Senate amid an ongoing investigation.

While acting acquisition executive Darlene Costello said today some level of testing must still be completed physically, she stressed the need for officials to identify "where can we burn down risk virtually" before going to testing to validate or complete a final exam:

Air Force looks to find paths forward on digital testing in coming years

The Air Force's acting acquisition chief said she's hopeful the service will be able to find ways to move forward on digital testing "in the next year or two" as officials work to embrace a broader digital acquisition approach to programs.

The Defense Department's operational test and evaluation office has been reorganized:

DOT&E internal realignment shifts live-fire responsibility, establishes new strategic initiatives division

The Pentagon shop that oversees testing and evaluation of all new major weapon systems is realigning its internal structure in a bid to "better posture" the organization and the Defense Department "to address current and future needs," according to a senior official.

The Navy recently announced milestone C for the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band program:

Navy awards Raytheon $171 million NGJ-MB LRIP Lot 1 contract

The Navy awarded Raytheon a $171 million contract for three Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band low-rate initial production Lot 1 ship sets, the service announced Friday.

More coverage of the Pentagon's latest omnibus reprogramming request:

DOD requests $120 million reprogramming for F-35 C2D2 electronic warfare capability

The Defense Department is requesting congressional approval to shift $120 million in "bridge funding" to keep the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's Continuous Capability Development and Delivery effort on track until fiscal year 2022 funding is appropriated.

DOD looks to accelerate program to counter 'growing' small UAS threat

The Defense Department is looking to immediately jump-start a new program to defeat small, unmanned aircraft systems in the wake of a call by Pentagon top brass last fall for a more coordinated U.S. military effort to defeat commercially available systems that pose a "growing" threat to U.S. forces both at home and abroad.

Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, the Navy's director for strategic systems programs, spoke this week at the 2021 Nuclear Triad Symposium:

Navy considering expanding life cycles of some Ohio-class submarines to ease Columbia transition

The Navy is weighing once again expanding the life cycles of some Ohio-class submarines as the service transitions to the Columbia-class nuclear submarine.

The Government Accountability Office released a report this week that finds "F-35 mission capable rates -- a measure of the readiness of an aircraft fleet -- have recently improved, but still fall short of warfighter requirements":

Air Force tells GAO its only options to hit F-35 sustainment cost targets are to cut jets, flying hours

Air Force officials told the Government Accountability Office in a recent report the service's only options for significantly reducing F-35A sustainment costs are to reduce the number of aircraft it plans to buy or make cuts to its flying-hour program.

By Marjorie Censer
July 8, 2021 at 1:38 PM

Commercial drone company Volansi said today it has named former Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper chief executive.

He succeeds Hannan Parvizian, the company's founding CEO, who will become chief technology officer and product architect.

Earlier this year, Roper joined Volansi's board of directors.

Volansi specializes in autonomous, vertical take-off and landing middle-mile drone delivery services and has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award. The company said it was also named an official vendor of the Air Force's Skyborg Vanguard program.

By Tony Bertuca
July 8, 2021 at 1:28 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to mark up its version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill in closed session July 21 and, if needed, July 22.

The committee also announced the following subcommittee mark-ups:

Monday, July 19:

5:30 PM – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces – SR-232A (CLOSED)

6:00 PM – Subcommittee on Cybersecurity – SR-232A (CLOSED)

Tuesday, July 20:

9:30 AM – Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support – SD-106 (OPEN)

11:00 AM – Subcommittee on Personnel – SD-106 (OPEN)

2:15 PM – Subcommittee on Airland – SR-232A (CLOSED)

3:30 PM – Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities – SR-232A (CLOSED)

5:00 PM – Subcommittee on Seapower – SR-232A (CLOSED)

The House Armed Services Committee has already announced its subcommittee mark-up schedule and plans for the full committee to debate the bill Sept. 1.

By Briana Reilly
July 8, 2021 at 9:49 AM

Delays in procuring the MH-139A Grey Wolf have freed some $194 million the Air Force intended to use to buy eight of the helicopters in fiscal year 2021, the Pentagon's omnibus reprogramming request shows.

The funding shift is part of a larger $4.4 billion request sent to Congress last month, and it follows the Air Force's fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, which zeroed out procurement funding for the UH-1N replacement effort due to certification delays.

Originally expected to reach milestone C later this fiscal year, the program's timeline has been pushed back to the first quarter of FY-23, thus making the money previously designated for it available, per the reprogramming.

Slowing down the Grey Wolf's procurement process is the time it's taking for the aircraft's certifications to win Federal Aviation Administration approval. The supplemental-type certifications, needed to get a military flight release from the Defense Department, are now expected to be issued in late FY-21 and across the following fiscal year, Inside Defense previously reported.

By Jaspreet Gill
July 7, 2021 at 7:15 PM

Amazon Web Services said today it agreed with the Defense Department's decision to cancel the multibillion-dollar Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud contract, and the company added it would continue to support DOD’s efforts.

"Unfortunately, the contract award was not based on the merits of the proposals and instead was the result of outside influence that has no place in government procurement," an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to support the DOD’s modernization efforts and building solutions that help accomplish their critical missions."

The company had filed a lawsuit alleging former President Trump influenced the competition for the major cloud contract.

DOD canceled the JEDI solicitation July 6 and announced it is pursuing a new multivendor cloud effort called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability.

By Marjorie Censer
July 7, 2021 at 4:52 PM

KBR said today it has named retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart to its board of directors.

Stewart retired from the Marine Corps in 2019 after nearly four decades. He was deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command from 2017 to 2019 and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2015 to 2017.

Stewart now is chief innovation and business intelligence officer for Ankura Consulting Group and is a member of the Aerospace Corp.'s board of trustees, KBR said.