The Insider

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.

By Jaspreet Gill
March 29, 2021 at 2:43 PM

The Army today announced the approval of the Navigation Warfare Situational Awareness Abbreviated Capability Development Document, a move that validates the operational need and rapid prototyping for NAVWAR-SA capabilities for soldiers.

The requirements provided in the A-CDD, signed on March 25, are the “first step in developing dedicated NAVWAR capabilities for our soldiers and are a key enabler in enhancing lethality in combat operations,” Col. Tim Dalton, Army capability manager for space and high altitude director, said in a March 29 press release.

“NAVWAR-SA provides the capability to detect, identify and locate sources of interference that deny or degrade reception of” positioning, navigation and timing, according to the press release. “It is intended to validate PNT signal integrity and provide users with indication and warnings of the presence and intensity of interference. NAVWAR-SA will also characterize the operating environment through the integration of multiple sensors that are able to detect, identify and geo-locate sources of intentional and unintentional interference.”

The Army’s APNT/Space CFT plans to assess and test NAVWAR-SA prototypes later this year during Project Convergence and its annual PNT Assessment Exercise at White Sands Missile Range, NM.

“The APNT/Space CFT will utilize the ‘buy, try and decide’ process to accelerate the development of critical enabling technology and streamline the process of transitioning a scalable, interoperable and agile capability to the field,” according to the press release. “This process will inform NAVWAR-SA requirements for current and future Army systems.”

By John Liang
March 29, 2021 at 1:16 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the future status of the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar Overseas Contingency Operations account, the Air Force's Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar program and more.

Multiple congressional sources are saying signs are pointing to the Defense Department's $69 billion Overseas Contingency Operations account being 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 Air Force has adopted a new acquisition strategy to rapidly prototype and field an off-the-shelf radar 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.

New humvee safety kits will add anti-lock brakes and electronic stability controls to vehicles that were produced before the Army 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 recently published a marketing research notice seeking industry feedback on steps necessary to implement plans for integrating Conventional Prompt Strike, originally developed for the submarine fleet only, for 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.

In a recent interview with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), the congresswoman spoke about her concerns regarding Navy unmanned systems:

Rep. Luria continues to express concern over Navy's unmanned campaign as she seeks to bolster Navy budget

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said she doesn't have "the confidence" in either the technology or the integrity of autonomous platforms for unmanned systems to replace the current naval fleet.

By Tony Bertuca
March 29, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Senior Army leaders discuss the service's role in the Indo-Pacific region this week.

Monday

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and various senior combatant command officials speak at a virtual U.S. Institute of Peace event.

The Army and Air Force chiefs of staff speak at the Future of Defense Summit.

Tuesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a virtual discussion on the Army's role in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Heritage Foundation hosts a virtual discussion on U.S.-Czech missile defense cooperation.

By John Liang
March 26, 2021 at 1:16 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy hypersonic weapons, unmanned systems, Air Force software and more.

The Navy Strategic Systems Programs office recently published a marketing research notice seeking industry feedback on steps necessary to implement a fiscal year 2021 statutory mandate that the service ready plans for integrating Conventional Prompt Strike, originally developed for the submarine fleet only, for 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.

In an interview with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) this morning, the congresswoman spoke on her concerns about Navy unmanned systems:

Rep. Luria continues to express concern over Navy's unmanned campaign as she seeks to bolster Navy budget

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said she doesn't have "the confidence" in either the technology or the integrity of autonomous platforms for unmanned systems to replace the current naval fleet.

Inside Defense also interviewed Air Force Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan this week:

USAF CSO says FY-21 budget cuts having 'massive impact' on DevSecOps efforts

Air Force Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan warns inadequate funding from Congress and the Defense Department is obstructing the rollout of software development enterprise services across the military that could save the government billions of dollars down the road.

The chief of U.S. Cyber Command was on Capitol Hill this week:

CYBERCOM chief points to gaps in info sharing, domestic infrastructure in wake of major hacks

The U.S. government is still struggling to understand the full scope of the SolarWinds hack as well as a more recent compromise of Microsoft's email servers, as the head of U.S. Cyber Command said the government struggles to track foreign adversaries who launch attacks using U.S. infrastructure.

Document: Senate hearing on SOCOM, CYBERCOM

We also have the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD official: First CMMC pilot contracts planned for April-May timeframe, under updated rollout plan

The Defense Department expects to release its first contract solicitations containing Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification requirements in the April-May timeframe, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman. The solicitations will focus on requests for proposals in development from the Army and the Air Force.

A new Congressional Budget Office report "projects that required maintenance will continue to exceed the shipyards' capacity [to build and repair submarines] and examines options to reduce delays":

CBO: Navy shipyards have experienced significant delays in submarine maintenance, impacting operational capabilities

Projections from a new Congressional Budget Office report indicate that the size of the Navy's submarine fleet will exceed shipyards' ability to maintain it in 25 of the next 30 years.

Document: CBO report on submarine shipyards

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon executives this week outlined their proposed Next Generation Interceptor:

Northrop-Raytheon tout NGI with 'sixth-gen' kill vehicle powered by B-21 and GBSD design tools

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are proposing a Next Generation Interceptor that features "sixth-generation" kill vehicle technology and adapts state-of-the-art digital tools from B-21 bomber and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent programs, according to company representatives.

By Sara Sirota
March 26, 2021 at 12:05 PM

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) today introduced legislation that would stop further development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent -- the military's next intercontinental ballistic missile system -- and redirect savings to fight the coronavirus and other diseases.

The Investing in Cures Before Missile (ICBM) Act calls on the Defense Department to instead extend the lifespan of the legacy Minuteman III system, according to a statement Markey's office released today. It would commission a study from the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate technical solutions that would specifically extend the current system's viability to 2050, as well as force structure changes and nondestructive missile testing.

Markey and Khanna propose transferring $1 billion of unobligated GBSD funds to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to research a universal coronavirus vaccine, along with unobligated W87-1 funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research emerging infectious diseases. The National Nuclear Security Administration's W87-1 program modifies the Minuteman III missiles’ warheads.

"The United States should invest in a vaccine of mass prevention before another new land-based weapon of mass destruction," Markey, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia subcommittee, said in today’s release. "The ICBM Act makes clear that we can begin to phase out the Cold War nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers posed by coronavirus and other emerging and infectious diseases."

Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, added: "With all of the global challenges we face, the last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need to keep as a strong nuclear deterrence."

He also argued extending the lifespan of the legacy Minuteman III system would be a cheaper alternative to GBSD, which is projected to have an acquisition cost of nearly $100 billion and 50-year life-cycle cost of over $260 billion.

Markey and Khanna’s bill is cosponsored by three lawmakers in the Senate and 13 House members, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

The legislation also received endorsements from a number of prominent nuclear arms control advocates, like former Defense Secretary Bill Perry, who said in today's release: "Whatever you think ails this nation, a new generation of nuclear missiles is not the answer. . . . Congress can and should redirect this nuclear funding to address more pressing needs like the pandemic."

By Marjorie Censer
March 26, 2021 at 9:20 AM

Science Applications International Corp. reported this week the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reduced sales in its most recent fiscal year by about $250 million.

"These impacts were primarily driven by reduced volume in our supply chain business, lower [Federal Aviation Administration] training service revenues, and profit recovery on ready-state labor," the contractor said.

SAIC said the pandemic cut sales in its most recent quarter by about $80 million.

Meanwhile, the company reported quarterly sales of $1.7 billion, up 11% from the same three-month period a year earlier. The increase was primarily because of its acquisition of Unisys Federal. If the acquisition were excluded, SAIC said, sales grew by less than 1%, primarily thanks to new business with civilian agencies and the Air Force.

Quarterly profit totaled $62 million, up 5% from a year earlier.

For the year, sales totaled $7.1 billion, up 11% from the prior year because of the Unisys transaction.

"Adjusting for the impact of acquired revenues, revenues grew 0.6% due to new business primarily supporting the intelligence community and U.S. Air Force, and increased volume on existing programs," SAIC said.

Profit for the year hit $209 million, down almost 8% from the prior year.

By Jaspreet Gill
March 25, 2021 at 3:17 PM

The Army's chief of staff said today he thinks the service's active-duty end strength needs to be increased by at least 55,000 soldiers if the Army could afford it.

"I would have a bigger . . . sized Army if I thought we could afford it, I think we need it, I really do," Gen. James McConville said during a virtual Brookings Institution event. "I think the regular Army should be somewhere around 540-550 [thousand] . . . So, we're sitting right now at 485,000."

The service’s planned end strength in its fiscal year 2021 request to Congress is 486,000 soldiers, minus 100 soldiers transferring to the Space Force.

McConville during a Defense Writer’s Group event March 12 said despite growing pressure on the defense budget, he does not see a cut to the Army’s end strength this year. Last month, he said the service was ready to make "necessary compromises" if the budget is cut by putting modernization programs behind on cost, performance and schedule first on the chopping block.

“There’s other things I’d like to do, but what I kind of have looked at is, I’ve probably already had to give up the growth that we're going to have planned in the Army because we do go flatline” in the future budget, he said today. “So that is kind of on the table right now. We’re probably not going to grow the Army even though I’d like to, more, because end strength is something we have to take a look at.”

By Ethan Sterenfeld
March 25, 2021 at 2:02 PM

The Army has selected a commander for its first hypersonic missile battery, the service's chief of staff said March 25.

"We've picked the commander, we're putting the team together," Gen. James McConville said during a virtual talk with the Brookings Institution. "That battery will be fielded in 2023, and that is going to be part of our multidomain task force."

The first hypersonic missile battery will have eight missiles, the Army said last year. The service has prioritized the development of the weapons, which are expected to be able to neutralize an enemy country's anti-access/area-denial capabilities.

The first of five multidomain task forces was created in 2017, and it focuses on the Indo-Pacific region. Eventually, there will be two task forces for the Indo-Pacific, one each for Europe, the Arctic and global response, according to a paper the Army released March 23.

McConville did not say who the commander will be, just that the commander has been chosen.

During the talk, McConville mentioned long-range precision fires first when he was asked which of the Army's six modernization priorities are most important.

By John Liang
March 25, 2021 at 1:50 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on moving combat vehicles in Europe, a new Army paper on multidomain transformation, aviation mishaps and more.

Leaders from the Army 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team held a media roundtable this week:

Armor brigade leaders discuss transportation in Europe

Lessons learned from moving combat vehicles between Eastern European countries during a recent deployment will help the Army in the future, leaders from the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team said at a March 24 media roundtable.

The Army this week issued a paper on multidomain transformation:

New Army paper outlines how service will operationalize MDTF for future conflict

A new Army paper released Tuesday outlines how the service plans to transform over the next several years to meet future challenges and operationalize its multidomain task force to dominate adversaries.

Document: Army paper on multidomain transformation

Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin testified this week before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee:

USAF sees improvement in Class A mishap rate, working to implement aviation safety recommendations

The Air Force's deputy chief of staff told lawmakers this week the service's rate of Class A aviation mishaps per flight hour is down 47% since 2018 and highlighted efforts within the service to implement safety recommendations from the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety.

Document: House hearing on military training mishaps

Some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Intel official: Industry-focused supply chain reports to inform Biden administration's initial work on risk management

Results from agency-led reports on semiconductor and high-capacity battery supply chains will help the Biden administration identify immediate priorities around reshoring manufacturing capacity and a risk management approach in collaboration with the private sector, according to a senior intelligence official.

Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team have been selected to work on the Next Generation Interceptor program:

MDA taps Lockheed, Northrop-Raytheon team for NGI, ousting incumbent Boeing

The Missile Defense Agency today selected Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team for initial design contracts for a Next Generation Interceptor, bumping Boeing from the race to build a new guided missile intended to protect the United States before the end of the decade from advanced North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

By Tony Bertuca
March 25, 2021 at 1:09 PM

Senior Pentagon acquisition officials are scheduled to meet March 31 with defense industry associations to discuss a range of issues, according to a Defense Department spokeswoman.

Officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military services will attend the meeting, according to Jessica Maxwell, a Pentagon spokeswoman. A list of planned attendees was not immediately available.

Top Pentagon acquisition officials typically meet quarterly with contractor associations like the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council. The associations did not immediately respond when asked about their participation in the meeting.

There are multiple areas of concern for defense contractors that could come up during the discussion.

For instance, the Biden administration is expected to request a flat fiscal year 2022 defense budget and senior Pentagon officials have made it clear they will seek to reduce or eliminate legacy programs in favor of developing new technologies to counter China.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is one system being eyed for possible reductions.

Additionally, defense contractors and their suppliers say they are still feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior defense officials have told Congress they need about $11 billion in supplemental funding to address the pandemic’s impact on the defense industrial base, but lawmakers have yet to provide the funding.

Contractors also remain interested in the Pentagon’s progress payment structure, which determines defense industry cash flow.

A year ago, Pentagon acquisition officials approved an increase in progress payment rates to help contractors cope with the COVID-19 crisis, raising the rate from 80% to 90% for large businesses and from 90% to 95% for small businesses.

It is unclear how long the current structure will remain in place, but the Pentagon has entered into arrangements with three universities to study key areas related to contract finance and pricing that could impact the way defense contractors are paid.

Defense officials and lawmakers are also concerned about supply chain security and the defense industry’s cyber vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, wants the federal government to approve its proposed $4.4 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne. The deal is being challenged by Raytheon Technologies.

By Marjorie Censer
March 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM

Redwire, a company formed by private-equity firm AE Industrial Partners last year, is now set to become a publicly traded company.

In an announcement today, the space company said it has agreed to merge with Genesis Park Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, in a transaction that will make Redwire publicly traded by the end of June. The company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Redwire was formed last summer when AE combined portfolio companies Adcole Space and Deep Space Systems. Redwire has since added other companies, including Made In Space.

Redwire specializes in space infrastructure technology and services, including on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing capabilities.

The company said the transaction would enable it "to accelerate and de-risk growth plans and pursue targeted acquisitions."

Under the terms of the deal, “Redwire’s existing stockholders will hold approximately 55% of the fully diluted shares of common stock immediately following the closing of the business combination, assuming no redemptions by Genesis Park’s existing public stockholders.”

“AE Industrial Partners will remain a significant shareholder in Redwire following the completion of the proposed merger,” the company added.

Peter Cannito, Redwire’s chief executive, will continue to lead the company.

By John Liang
March 24, 2021 at 1:56 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Missile Defense Agency's Next Generation Interceptor program, Air Force aviation mishap rates, artificial intelligence and more.

Boeing is out of the running to work on the initial design for the Next Generation Interceptor:

MDA taps Lockheed, Northrop-Raytheon team for NGI, ousting incumbent Boeing

The Missile Defense Agency today selected Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team for initial design contracts for a Next Generation Interceptor, bumping Boeing from the race to build a new guided missile intended to protect the United States before the end of the decade from advanced North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin testified this week before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee:

USAF sees improvement in Class A mishap rate, working to implement aviation safety recommendations

The Air Force's deputy chief of staff told lawmakers this week the service's rate of Class A aviation mishaps per flight hour is down 47% since 2018 and highlighted efforts within the service to implement safety recommendations from the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety.

Document: House hearing on military training mishaps

The Joint Common Foundation went live recently, according to Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center:

Pentagon launches joint development environment for artificial intelligence

The Pentagon's joint development environment for artificial intelligence applications is up and running, according to the leader of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, who says the platform will be key to sharing data and connecting systems across the military services.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing this week to consider the nomination of Navy Adm. John Aquilino to become the next head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command:

Aquilino: Ford 'through' technological challenges, all but two elevators finished

The Navy has finished work on nine of its 11 weapons elevators for the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78), the class' lead ship, Adm. John Aquilino said Tuesday.

Document: Senate hearing on INDOPACOM nomination

Joan Johnson, the Navy's deputy assistant secretary for research development, test and engineering, spoke this week at a national security artificial intelligence conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association:

Navy R&D official: Service has 'infinite' opportunities for AI, but must make 'informed and deliberative' investment decisions

To successfully compete in distributed maritime operations, particularly with China, the Navy and the other military services are in the process of establishing digital readiness performance goals, according to a top service official.

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

Intel official: Industry-focused supply chain reports to inform Biden administration's initial work on risk management

Results from agency-led reports on semiconductor and high-capacity battery supply chains will help the Biden administration identify immediate priorities around reshoring manufacturing capacity and a risk management approach in collaboration with the private sector, according to a senior intelligence official.

By Tony Bertuca
March 24, 2021 at 12:55 PM

The embattled nomination of Colin Kahl to become under secretary of defense for policy has advanced beyond the Senate Armed Services Committee to the full Senate, where he will likely need Vice President Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote to send him to the Pentagon.

The committee voted 13-13 along party lines, meaning Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) can advance Kahl’s nomination using a procedural maneuver.

Kahl has the support of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), but his nomination is being opposed by Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and other Republicans, who have criticized Kahl's past tweets and policy statements, as well as the role he played in the Obama administration's 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Inhofe has said he does not think Kahl will get any Republican votes.

If Kahl's nomination is opposed by all 50 Senate Republicans, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) could be the swing vote.

Manchin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted to advance Kahl's nomination to the full Senate. If Manchin supports Kahl's nomination on the floor, Harris could cast the tie-breaking vote.

Inhofe laid out his opposition to Kahl in a statement yesterday.

"This is the number-three position at the Pentagon -- and the policy role is currently even more important because the United States is facing more threats than ever before," Inhofe said. "This position demands bipartisanship, even temperament and good policy judgment -- characteristics I don't believe Dr. Kahl has demonstrated."

Kahl has pledged to be "nonpartisan," if confirmed, and has apologized for past tweets that may have been "disrespectful," including one in which he called the GOP "the party of ethnic cleansing."

Kahl has also been criticized for tweeting "we are all going to die" following the naming of John Bolton as former President Trump's national security adviser.

"The last few years have been pretty polarizing on social media. I am sure there are times that I got swept up in that," Kahl said during his nomination hearing. "There were a number of positions that President Trump took that I strongly opposed. I think the language that I used in opposing those was sometimes disrespectful and for that I apologize."

During the hearing, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said Republicans' remarks about Kahl's past tweets are "pretty rich" in that GOP lawmakers often declined to comment on or claimed not to read the Twitter feed of Trump, who was banned by the social media platform in January following a violent riot at the Capitol.

At present, the only Senate-confirmed officials at the Pentagon are Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, both of whom were confirmed with overwhelming bipartisan votes.