The Insider

By John Liang
November 5, 2018 at 5:05 AM

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. Ft. Bliss, TX -- The Army's final large-scale soldier test of communication systems known as the Network Integration Evaluation will influence procurement and fielding decisions for two new tactical capabilities, the Command Post Computing Environment and the Mounted Computing Environment.

Full story: Final Network Integration Evaluation tests new mission command systems

2. The Army is accelerating fielding of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor by five years and planning a radar competition next year at White Sands Missile Range, NM, as part of a new acquisition strategy for the Patriot radar modernization project.

Full story: Army sets 2022 LTAMDS fielding date, plans radar competition for next year

3. Requirements for the Army's Synthetic Training Environment should be completed over the next two months with the program reaching initial operational capability in 2021, according to a spokesman for the STE cross-functional team.

Full story: Army Synthetic Training Environment to reach IOC by 2021

4. President Trump's proposed cut to the defense budget -- and other discretionary spending -- is necessary to address the skyrocketing deficit, according to national security adviser John Bolton, who said the Pentagon can weather the downturn if it spends its funds more wisely.

Full story: Bolton says defense spending must be cut to offset rising deficit

By John Liang
November 2, 2018 at 3:55 PM

The Defense and State departments gave NATO a total of $554.8 million during fiscal year 2017, according to a recently submitted State Department report to Congress.

The report, submitted this week, covers "the extent and disposition of all financial contributions made by the United States during the preceding year to international organizations in which the United States participates as a member."

DOD for its part allocated $499.1 million to NATO, of which nearly $335.1 million went through the Army operations and defense account, according to the report. Another $116.7 million went to NATO's Security Investment Program and the Army's Overseas Contingency Operations fund sent nearly $47.4 million.

The State Department allocated slightly more than $55.7 million to NATO, of which $52.4 million went to the organization as a whole, according to the report. Additionally, nearly $2.4 million went to NATO's Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and $946,428 went to the alliance's Parliamentary Assembly.

President Trump, who attended the NATO Summit in July, tweeted before he left that the United States is "spending far more on NATO than any other country" and that the situation "is not fair, nor is it acceptable." Trump also said the alliance "benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S."

By John Liang
November 2, 2018 at 2:06 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the defense budget "flattening out," the Air Force's most recent Schriever Wargame, the Army's final Network Integration Evaluation and more.

President Trump's national security adviser said this week the defense budget will 'flatten out':

Bolton says defense spending must be cut to offset rising deficit

President Trump's proposed cut to the defense budget -- and other discretionary spending -- is necessary to address the skyrocketing deficit, according to national security adviser John Bolton, who said the Pentagon can weather the downturn if it spends its funds more wisely.

Air Force Brig. Gen. DeAnna Burt, director of operations and communications at Air Force Space Command, at a breakfast this morning talked about the service's most recent Schriever Wargame:

Schriever Wargame emphasizes need for better coalition partner integration in CSPOC

Air Force Space Command's most recent Schriever Wargame reinforced the need to better integrate coalition partners into space operations.

The Army's final large-scale soldier test of communication systems known as the Network Integration Evaluation ends Nov. 12:

Army's final Network Integration Evaluation tests new mission command systems

Ft. Bliss, TX -- The Army's final large-scale soldier test of communication systems known as the Network Integration Evaluation will influence procurement and fielding decisions for two new tactical capabilities, the Command Post Computing Environment and the Mounted Computing Environment.

UTC Aerospace Systems recently flew reporters to the company's Hurricane Mesa test facility near St. George, UT:

Air Force staging ejection seat risk-reduction demo as it eyes a 2019 competition

ST. GEORGE, UT -- As the Air Force prepares to release a request for proposals for a next-generation ejection seat to meet new safety and performance requirements, the service is working with two leading seatmakers to reduce risk before the competition starts.

Plenty of cyber news to talk about today:

Marine Corps official: Cyber integrated planning element for combatant commands '80 percent complete'

The Marine Corps is about 80 percent finished with its effort to assemble a cyber integrated planning element out of U.S. Special Operations Command, according to a top official.

Sen. Warner praises Trump's aggressive cyber strategy, but worries about U.S. leadership on IT

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is praising the Trump administration for its recently unveiled cybersecurity strategy -- which in part unleashes the military to pursue foreign hackers -- while asserting that the president's divisive politics both domestically and abroad are ceding U.S. leadership on development of the next generation of information technologies and on the global data security and management standards underlying a digital economy.

NSA lawyer calls for U.S. leadership in setting data privacy, security rules

The National Security Agency's top lawyer is warning that the proliferation of international regulations for data privacy and security could relegate the United States to a follower, rather than a leader, on global standards for the digital economy.

Pentagon's cyber posture review driving new investments in security, potentially AI and machine learning

A recently completed review identified numerous gaps in the military's cyber posture and is now driving the Pentagon toward new investments in cybersecurity, including those featuring artificial intelligence and machine learning.

By Marjorie Censer
November 2, 2018 at 12:32 PM

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions today formally opened its new, 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oklahoma City, OK.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) were on hand for the ceremony.

The company previously opened a small engineering facility in Oklahoma. The new manufacturing facility will begin producing tactical drones in the first half of next year, Eric DeMarco, the chief executive of Kratos, told Inside Defense.

The first drone is planned to come off the line between January and March, he added.

The new facility is slated to employ 350 to 400 employees within four years, according to DeMarco.

By Marjorie Censer
November 2, 2018 at 10:22 AM

ManTech International said late Thursday sales in its most recent quarter reached $497 million, up 18 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The contractor said its quarterly profit hit $21.9 million, up 44 percent from the prior year.

In a call with analysts Thursday evening, Kevin Phillips, ManTech's chief executive, said the company still sees pockets of growth -- including in cybersecurity -- within the defense budget, even if the budget dips in fiscal year 2020.

"I think that the overall budget environment will be decent. It's been great," he said. "And we'll see what happens after that."

By John Liang
November 2, 2018 at 8:56 AM

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

1. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center plans to incorporate agile software development into its new Enterprise Space Battle Management Command and Control system, and is awaiting Pentagon approval for its acquisition strategy.

Full story: Space BMC2 acquisition strategy complete, awaiting Pentagon approval

2. The Air Force is urgently seeking contractors that can train F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots to avoid "dense advanced surface-to-air missile threats," in response to last month's directive from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that four fighter jet fleets need to be 80 percent mission-capable by the end of fiscal year 2019.

Full story: USAF looks to improve SAM threat training to meet Mattis' readiness goal

3. ST. GEORGE, UT -- As the Air Force prepares to release a request for proposals for a next-generation ejection seat to meet new safety and performance requirements, the service is working with two leading seatmakers to reduce risk before the competition starts.

Full story: USAF staging ejection seat risk-reduction demo as it eyes 2019 competition

4. The Washington defense community returned to work Oct. 29 after a weekend spent digesting the potential impact of a White House-directed $33 billion cut to the Pentagon's budget in fiscal year 2020, a reduction Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan confirmed the previous Friday.

Full story: Washington adjusting to new budget conversation after WH orders defense cuts

By Ashley Tressel
November 1, 2018 at 4:03 PM

The Army's program executive office for ammunition today has been officially renamed the joint program executive office for armaments and ammunition.

The change reflects the already joint nature of the PEO, which employs Marine Corps civilians, a Navy captain and an Air Force colonel, according to the Army.

PEO Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson told the Army News Service adding the word armaments highlights the office's close relationship with the engineers in the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, where the PEO is also located.

The program office has managed the life cycle of armament and protective systems since 2002.

By Justin Katz
November 1, 2018 at 3:39 PM

The Navy issued a request for proposals today for industry to participate in its annual technology demonstration next year in Rhode Island.

The theme for the 2019 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, which is scheduled for Aug. 26 to Aug. 30, is "Prepare For Battle: Undersea Security." ANTX is a collaborative event between military, academia and industry to showcase upcoming technologies, according to a Federal Business Opportunities notice.

"Key tasks include identifying science, technologies, and future concepts that explore and interact with the maritime domain, connecting assets from the seafloor to space and ensuring their security, in order to bring data home," the notice states.

The exercise will be hosted by Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, RI, and the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance.

"Exercises will be conducted throughout the 2019 fiscal year, with specific dates and venues to be coordinated with the individual participant(s), and a culminating exercise showcase event will be held" in August, the notice states.

Proposals are due Nov. 30 and selections will be made by Dec. 14.

By John Liang
November 1, 2018 at 2:20 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of a nascent DOD task force established to counter cyber threats to critical data and operations, plus news on Air Force space BMC2 and more.

The defense secretary has set up a task force to counter cyber threats:

Mattis establishes Pentagon task force to protect critical technology from cyber threats

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has signed a memorandum establishing a task force that will draw from the Pentagon's military and civilian leadership to counter cyber threats to critical data and operations, with an aggressive time line for specific actions within 30 days and three months.

Document: Mattis memo on cyber threats task force

A sneak peek at a couple stories that will be featured in tomorrow's Inside the Air Force:

Air Force looks to improve SAM threat training to meet Mattis' readiness goal

The Air Force is urgently seeking contractors that can train F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots to avoid "dense advanced surface-to-air missile threats," in response to last month's directive from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that four fighter jet fleets need to be 80 percent mission-capable by the end of fiscal year 2019.

Space BMC2 acquisition strategy complete, awaiting Pentagon approval

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center plans to incorporate agile software development into its new Enterprise Space Battle Management Command and Control system, and is awaiting Pentagon approval for its acquisition strategy.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Coffman, expeditionary warfare requirements director, spoke to the media this week:

Coffman: Avenger-class ships, MH-53 helos require nuanced approach to retirement

The Navy is working with Congress to develop a strategy for retiring its legacy mine countermeasures platforms, a challenge requiring more nuance than what current congressional direction allows, according to a Marine Corps general overseeing that strategy.

Coffman: Navy mine warfare plan will be completed by the New Year

The Navy's expeditionary warfare office expects to complete its mine warfare plan by the upcoming New Year, according to the Marine Corps general in charge of assembling the blueprint.

More Marine Corps news:

Marine Corps rapid acquisition arm seeking sensors, power technology in FY-20

The Marine Corps' rapid acquisition and prototyping office will focus its fiscal year 2020 efforts on power management and physiological sensing technologies.

U.S. Transportation Command is seeking to better understand the implications and opportunities that could come from rapid, responsive launch capabilities:

TRANSCOM seeks input from industry, academia on feasibility, cost of space mobility missions

As the Defense Department works to develop a concept of operations for space-enabled mobility missions, U.S. Transportation Command is reaching out to industry and academia to better understand the implications and opportunities that could come from rapid, responsive launch capabilities, according to a recent notice.

Document: TRANSCOM notice on feasibility, cost of space mobility missions

By Marjorie Censer
November 1, 2018 at 1:56 PM

Cassidy & Associates said this week it has named retired Army Col. Michael Johnson as senior vice president.

"For the past decade, he has helped lead the Pentagon's congressional legislative and appropriations strategies and engagement, most recently advising the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition and Sustainment, as a Congressional Appropriations Liaison," the government relations firm said.

Johnson has also served as executive officer for the director of the Army National Guard and as deputy director of legislative affairs and joint programs congressional liaison for the National Guard Bureau. He retired from the service this year.

By Justin Katz
November 1, 2018 at 11:38 AM

The Marine Corps will finish retiring its legacy electronic warfare aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler, in March 2019, according to a service statement issued yesterday.

"Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 (VMAQ-2) is returning from its final deployment to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in early November 2018," the statement reads.

"VMAQ-2, the final squadron in the Marine Corps to operate the EA-6B Prowler, is set to cease operations in March of 2019," the statement continues.

Built by Northrop Grumman, the Prowler has been in service for 40 years, and is being replaced by Boeing's EA-18G Growler.

The Prowler's retirement began in May 2016 with the deactivation of VMAQT‐1, the EA‐6B fleet replacement squadron, according to the Marine Corps' 2018 aviation plan.

By Marjorie Censer
November 1, 2018 at 10:57 AM

CACI International said late yesterday sales in its most recent quarter reached nearly $1.2 billion, up about 7 percent from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The contractor's quarterly profit hit $79 million, up almost 88 percent from the prior year.

CACI said its sales were "driven by new business wins, on-contract growth, and acquired contracts." The company's profit was buoyed by program performance, revenue timing and a lower tax rate.

In a call with analysts this morning, Ken Asbury, CACI's chief executive, said the company is not concerned about a potential $700 billion defense budget.

That level of budget "is a very healthy market, if that's where it ends up," he said, noting the company expects to know more next month.

Meanwhile, Oshkosh said today quarterly sales in its defense group fell 22 percent to hit $465 million.

"The decrease in sales was due to the absence of international Mine Resistant Ambush Protected-All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, offset in part by the continued ramp up of sales to the U.S. government under the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program and higher aftermarket parts sales," the company said.

The unit's quarterly profit hit $62 million, down almost 15 percent from the same period the prior year.

"The decrease in adjusted operating income was due to the impact of lower sales volume and an adverse product mix, offset in part by improved manufacturing performance," Oshkosh said.

By Marjorie Censer
November 1, 2018 at 9:18 AM

AM General said today it has invested in Mandus Group, a Rock Island, IL-based artillery company focused on soft-recoil technology.

"This investment will help to accelerate the deployment of the ultra-mobile Humvee Hawkeye 105 mm self-propelled howitzer weapon system and further vehicle-mounted weapon systems structured around the soft-recoil technology," AM General said. "The combination of Mandus' technology development and AM General's manufacturing expertise will deliver the new standard for light artillery firepower and tactical mobility."

By Marjorie Censer
November 1, 2018 at 9:15 AM

Parsons said today it is combining its federal and infrastructure business units and has tapped Carey Smith, who was president of Parsons Federal, to lead both units.

Smith will be named chief operating officer, Parsons said.

"The new structure will better align the company's end-to-end solutions with its diverse client set while also establishing joint research and development projects that leverage the collective strengths of both organizations," the company said. "Under the new business structure, Parsons Middle East Africa (MEA) will continue to operate as a standalone business unit."

Mike Johnson, president of infrastructure, will become chief development officer, while Virginia Grebbien, corporate executive vice president and chief of staff, will become chief marketing officer.

Parsons has put a significant focus on bolstering its federal business in recent years, acquiring Polaris Alpha earlier this year.

Smith, who joined the company about two years ago, told Inside Defense earlier this year she sees room for Parsons to grow in critical infrastructure protection, space, healthcare and energy.

By John Liang
November 1, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said Oct. 26 the Pentagon is building two budgets: one that accounts for total defense spending of $733 billion and one for $700 billion, the amount President Trump has said the he will "probably" seek in fiscal year 2020.

Full story: Shanahan: DOD is building two budgets and one is $33B less than planned

2. Congress has given the military a new tool to sidestep traditional acquisition system requirements while rapidly prototyping and fielding promising technologies, but the Defense Department is still wrestling with how best to manage the new authority, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Full story: DOD working on new rapid prototyping oversight structure

3. The Washington defense community returned to work Oct. 29 after a weekend spent digesting the potential impact of a White House-directed $33 billion cut to the Pentagon's budget in fiscal year 2020, a reduction Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan confirmed the previous Friday.

Full story: Washington adjusting to new budget conversation after WH orders defense cuts

4. U.S. officials are touting the Defense Department's more "assertive" posture in cyberspace following the release of a new Pentagon cyber strategy and the repeal of an Obama-era directive governing military cyber operations.

Full story: U.S. officials tout Pentagon's more 'assertive' actions in cyberspace