The Insider

Courtney Albon | August 31, 2018 at 12:16 PM

Highlights from this week's issue of Inside the Air Force:

1. The Defense Department confirmed this week it is taking steps to create a new assistant secretary of defense for space to manage the transition to a Space Force.

Full Story: Pentagon starting to plan for new space chief

2. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center expects by September to begin implementing new procedures to hold contractors responsible for poor performance.

Full Story: SMC to establish contractor watch list in late September

3. Pentagon acquisition executives have begun using a new rapid prototyping and fielding authority that could streamline traditional weapon system development, but might also test the patience of Congress should it lead to costly failures.

Full Story: DOD turns to rapid prototyping for big tech gains, but accepting new risks

Ashley Tressel | August 31, 2018 at 11:47 AM

The Army this month awarded an extension worth $522 million to an existing research contract for inflatable satellite antennas.

Huntsville, AL-based GATR Technologies, under the contract awarded Aug. 10, will produce and deliver antennas for the Transportable Tactical Command and Communications, or T2C2, program to several formations including security force assistance brigades and the Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced. GATR is a subsidiary of Cubic.

T2C2 provides early entry forces with satellite access to the service's tactical network, enabling situational awareness and mission command capabilities for forces following behind.

The program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical so far has fielded T2C2 systems to units in the 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne, 25th Infantry and 10th Mountain divisions. The PEO plans to field 10 T2C2 units in fiscal year 2018 and another 22 units in FY-19.

The Army recently awarded the first T2C2 full-rate production order for $60 million to procure hardware for 51 T2C2 Lite systems and 55 T2C2 Heavy systems and associated spares for in-field sustainment, lasting through FY-19, according to Army spokesman Paul Mehney.

Tony Bertuca | August 30, 2018 at 2:20 PM

Here are some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Pentagon:

1. Pentagon acquisition executives have begun using a new rapid prototyping and fielding authority that could streamline traditional weapon system development, but might also test the patience of Congress should it lead to costly failures.

Full story: DOD turns to rapid prototyping for big tech gains, but accepting new risks

2. The Defense Department maintains it will have multiple cloud computing providers in the future and is telling companies its cloud strategy "continues to evolve," as DOD prepares to respond to a protest against a potentially $10 billion solicitation.

Full story: DOD's cloud strategy 'continues to evolve' as Oracle protests JEDI solicitation

3. Top U.S. officials head to India next week to discuss the strategic relationship and finalize agreements allowing major arms sales to move forward, but New Delhi is not immune from sanctions if it moves forward with the purchase of new Russian weapons, according to a Pentagon official.

Full story: U.S. to lay groundwork for arms sales to India, but Russia sanctions still in play

4. The Pentagon is reviewing its $35 billion information technology and business systems enterprise for savings opportunities and has found several areas where it can shave millions in spending, according to the officials in charge.

Full story: Pentagon's CMO looks to IT and business systems for budget savings

Marjorie Censer | August 30, 2018 at 1:29 PM

In today's INSIDER daily digest, we take a look at the Pentagon's “deliver uncompromised” effort and sit down with DOD's chief management officer for an update on cost-cutting efforts.

The Pentagon months ago revealed its “deliver uncompromised” initiative, meant to elevate security as a “fourth pillar” of acquisition. But contractors are still waiting for more details.

Contractors await further clarity from DOD on 'deliver uncompromised'

Pentagon officials have been mulling over a new initiative aimed at raising the importance of security in acquisition for at least two months, but industry groups are awaiting further clarity on how the Defense Department will implement the “deliver uncompromised” effort.

Inside Defense interviewed Jay Gibson, the Pentagon's CMO, about his efficiency initiative.

Pentagon's chief management officer looks to IT and business systems for budget savings

The Pentagon is reviewing its $35 billion information technology and business systems enterprise for savings opportunities and has found several areas where it can shave millions in spending, according to the officials in charge.

The Army secretary told reporters during a breakfast yesterday that he's readying to visit BAE Systems' facility in York, PA.

Esper to visit BAE plant to resolve issues with new howitzer

Army Secretary Mark Esper is planning to visit BAE Systems' York, PA, manufacturing plant as the service continues to hold off on a full-rate production decision for the Paladin Integrated Management system, he told reporters today.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity are tracking an anticipated Defense Information Systems Agency request for proposals.

DISA seeks industry input on use of cloud for 'isolating' cybersecurity risks

The Defense Information Systems Agency is expected to soon issue a “request for proposals” from tech companies on providing cloud-based services that would remove non-critical internet operations from military networks to isolate cybersecurity risks, following industry comments received earlier this summer.

Finally, we have a story on an Air Force document that explains why the service provided a sole-source development contract to Lockheed Martin for Next-Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites – as well as new information about the initiative.

Air Force to secure data rights from Lockheed for Next-Gen OPIR satellites

A new document justifying the Air Force's decision to sole-source development of the first three Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites to Lockheed Martin reveals new details about the program, including the service's plans to acquire sufficient data rights to enable future competition.

Document: J&A document for Infrared geosynchronous satellites to Lockheed Martin

Justin Katz | August 30, 2018 at 11:13 AM

The Marine Corps will conduct maritime experiments of capabilities to store and transfer bulk fuel off the coast of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, CA, in October, according to a service official.

The service today is wrapping up its first series of limited technical assessments, which it calls LTA-1, and will conduct LTA-2 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12, Maj. Joseph Larkin, capabilities officer for the Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O), told Inside Defense in an Aug. 29 written statement.

"The overall goal of these LTAs are to assess and validate, using current programs of record, commercial-off-the-shelf or government-off-the-shelf technologies to effectively store, transfer and deliver bulk fuel to units in a distributed and austere setting," Larkin said.

The tests, which aim to validate parts of the service's Mobile Amphibious Assault Fuel Distribution concept, are being overseen by E2O, Marine Corps Systems Command's Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics as well as the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center.

From Aug. 20 to Aug. 30, the Marine Corps conducted experiments focused on transferring a fuel surrogate -- fresh water -- "to and from various bladders, craft, and containers in a controlled pierside environment," Larkin said. Fresh water is being used as a fuel surrogate because it does not have as many environmental considerations, he added.

"As we progress to more realistic environments and gain environmental approval for each capability we will look to switch from water to real fuel," Larkin said.

LTA-2 will validate transferring bulk fuel from maritime platforms and containers to shore-based systems.

The exercises, which involve both Navy and Marine Corps units, will use landing craft utility boats, landing craft air cushions, improved Navy lighterage systems, amphibious bulk liquid transfer systems, dracones, transportable collapsible bags and beach termination units, among other assets, according to Larkin.

Separately, the Marine Corps tested another fuel foraging capability -- Expeditionary Mobile Fuel Additization -- at the Rim of the Pacific exercise in July.

"The system additizes foraged Jet A-1 fuel by injecting appropriate amounts of additives into it to create Military Specific (MILSPEC) fuel for use in ground and air assets," according to Larkin.

Tony Bertuca | August 29, 2018 at 3:28 PM

The Defense Department has spent $1.5 trillion on wars since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a new Pentagon report.

The 76-page report, titled “Cost of War Through March 31, 2018,” was first released by Secrecy News, which notes that independent cost estimates have found much higher totals.

Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, for example, puts the total post-Sept. 11 war cost at $5.6 trillion, while a team of analysts from the Stimson Center estimated the price tag to be $2.8 trillion.

The DOD report, which does not include costs for foreign assistance or veterans' programs, breaks down spending by operation, theatre, fiscal year and military service.

According to the report, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has cost $584.3 billion, while Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria has cost $23.5 billion.

The average monthly spending in fiscal year 2018 for all U.S. military operations is $3.4 billion, according to the report.

Marjorie Censer | August 29, 2018 at 2:54 PM

Raytheon said today it has named Roy Azevedo president of its space and airborne systems business, effective Saturday.

Azevedo succeeds Richard Yuse, who intends to retire Dec. 31. Yuse will serve as a senior adviser to the company before he retires.

Azevedo most recently was vice president and general manager of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems mission area within the SAS business. He joined the contractor in 1989 and has also served as general manager of the secure sensor solutions mission area.

Yuse joined Raytheon in 1976, beginning his career with the contractor's equipment division business. In 2002, he was named vice president of Raytheon's missile defense business area; in 2007, he was named president of Raytheon Technical Services. In 2010, he was tapped to head the space and airborne systems business.

John Liang | August 29, 2018 at 2:06 PM

An Air Force "contractor responsibility watch list," an upcoming summit of senior U.S. and Indian officials, the Pentagon's latest unmanned systems roadmap and more are featured in this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act required SMC Commander Lt. Gen. John Thompson to determine procedures for placing underperforming companies on a "contractor responsibility watch list":

SMC to establish contractor watch list in late September

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center expects by September to begin implementing new procedures to hold contractors responsible for poor performance.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with their Indian counterparts Sept. 6 for an inaugural "two-plus-two" dialogue in New Delhi:

U.S. aims to lay groundwork for major arms sales to India, but Russia sanctions still in play

Top U.S. officials head to India next week to discuss the strategic relationship and finalize agreements allowing major arms sales to move forward, but New Delhi is not immune from sanctions if it moves forward with the purchase of new Russian weapons, according to a Pentagon official.

A new Pentagon report aims to chart a three-decade guide for the rapidly developing field of unmanned systems technology:

Pentagon's new 30-year unmanned systems roadmap charts course for AI, weaponization

The Defense Department's new 30-year unmanned systems plan -- the first update on the long-range roadmap in four years -- grapples with the "massive potential" of artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as the tricky policy challenges of weaponizing these systems.

Document: DOD's FY-17/42 unmanned systems integrated roadmap


Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have a preview of an upcoming report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission:

U.S.-China commission prepares strategy to counter growing cyber threat from Beijing

A congressionally mandated commission on U.S.-China relations is developing a report for release this fall that will likely outline measures for countering China's cyber activities, following a recent Defense Department annual review that highlighted Beijing's growing threat in cyberspace.

Ocean Aero said this week it has secured “multimillion-dollar” strategic investments from Lockheed Martin Ventures and Energy Innovation Capital in a series B funding round:

Lockheed Martin Ventures invests -- again -- in Ocean Aero

Lockheed Martin Ventures has made a second investment in Ocean Aero, the developer of the Submaran unmanned maritime vehicle.

In a recent update to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure request for proposals, the Pentagon provided a list of answers to 218 questions it received from industry since posting the final solicitation on July 26:

Pentagon's cloud strategy 'continues to evolve' as Oracle protests JEDI solicitation

The Defense Department maintains it will have multiple cloud computing providers in the future and is telling companies its cloud strategy "continues to evolve," as DOD prepares to respond to a protest against a potentially $10 billion solicitation.

Army officials are putting finishing touches on a capability development document outlining the operational performance attributes of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle optionally manned fighting vehicle:

Army previews desired capabilities for Next Generation Combat Vehicle

Army officials are working to lock in requirements for a planned big-ticket acquisition program to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle -- a program launch set for this fall that would give the service a marquee "next-generation" project to tout in the same way the Air Force has a new bomber and the Navy a new ballistic missile submarine.

Marjorie Censer | August 28, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Private-equity firm Arlington Capital Partners said this week it has acquired the government solutions division of Black Box, and the business will now operate as Tyto Athene.

Tyto Athene "is a full-service systems integrator and managed services provider of communications systems for Department of Defense and Civilian agency enterprise operations worldwide," Arlington Capital said.

The business will be headed by its existing management team, with Jeff Murray, the senior vice president of Black Box Government Solutions, as chief executive.

John Liang | August 28, 2018 at 2:13 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest features news on Army tank recovery vehicles, the Navy's version of the Joint Strike Fighter and more.

The Army intends to buy and test nine prototype tank recovery vehicles, built from the current version, that can accommodate the total weight of the Abrams main battle tank:

Army seeks prototype vehicles to lift heavier Abrams tanks

The Army needs to upgrade a total of 933 M88A2 Hercules tank recovery vehicles to adjust to increasingly hefty Abrams tanks, according to a recent notice.

The Navy recently invited reporters onto an aircraft carrier to view live testing of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter:

First F-35C operational tests at sea underway on CVN-72

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) -- The Navy this month is conducting the first operational tests at sea of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35C aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

The Senate, in its mark of the fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill, would take back $1.4 billion from the Air Force's modernization accounts:

Senate bill would rescind $2 billion from DOD investment accounts, mostly from Air Force

The Senate is seeking to rescind more than $2 billion previously appropriated to Pentagon investment accounts, with Air Force research and development as well as procurement accounts slated to absorb more than half of the proposed cuts.

Inside Defense recently chatted with the CEO of government facilities maintainer PAE:

PAE, now with $2.5 billion in annual sales, pursues 'long-term, sticky business'

PAE, long known for maintaining facilities overseas for the State Department, has significantly expanded its reach, adding business process outsourcing and national security work, among other areas, to become a $2.5 billion contractor.

Want defense business news delivered straight to your inbox?

Inside Defense's free weekly feature, the Defense Business Briefing, offers the latest in defense industry news.

Read and sign up today →

Tony Bertuca | August 28, 2018 at 1:06 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today the Pentagon has no plans to suspend future military exercises with South Korea, despite the fact North Korea and President Trump called them "provocative."

Mattis, who spoke at the Pentagon, said the administration decided to suspend a large joint military exercise that had been scheduled for this month as part of a "good faith" gesture toward North Korea on the heels of an April meeting between the president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

"At this time, there is no discussion about further suspensions," Mattis said. "We're making no change in the exercise program at this time."

Mattis' statement comes as negotiations over denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula have stalled, with Trump ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel an upcoming trip to Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, the United States and South Korea have another large joint military exercise scheduled for this spring, though Mattis would not commit to it.

"We have not made decisions on that at this time, and we will do that with consultation with State," he said. "Let's see how the negotiations go."

North Korea has long said the military exercises are provocative and Trump also described them that way after his meeting with Kim, which led to criticism on Capitol Hill, especially from the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Mattis said several smaller exercises with South Korea are ongoing, but only because they could not have been interpreted by North Korea as threatening.

"We turned off several to make a good faith effort, we’re going to see how the negotiations go and then we will calculate the future how we go forward," he said.

Marjorie Censer | August 28, 2018 at 9:20 AM

The MITRE Corp. said this week Gary Gagnon has rejoined the company as vice president of cyber strategy and chief security officer.

He “will be accountable for developing and leading cyber strategy and guiding its execution across MITRE’s work program,” the company said. “Gagnon is responsible for MITRE's cybersecurity and physical security.”

Gagnon previously served as chief information security officer at Amazon. Before that, he was Inmarsat's chief information security officer.

He also spent 30 years at MITRE, including as chief security officer and vice president of the National Cybersecurity Federally Funded Research and Development Center.

John Liang | August 27, 2018 at 2:11 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on rapid prototyping, cybersecurity, Army Futures Command and more.

The Defense Department's acquisition community is using a new rapid prototyping and fielding authority featured in Section 804 in the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act:

Pentagon turns to rapid prototyping, hoping for big tech gains, but accepting new risks

Pentagon acquisition executives have begun using a new rapid prototyping and fielding authority that could streamline traditional weapon system development, but might also test the patience of Congress should it lead to costly failures.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity look at the Senate's recently passed FY-19 defense spending bill:

Senate defense spending bill pegs cybersecurity investments as core to military mission

The Senate-approved fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill identifies cybersecurity investments as crucial to maintaining a U.S. military advantage over foreign adversaries, while encouraging an acceleration of the Pentagon's ongoing efforts to boost the nation's cyber defenses.

The Navy is in the midst of figuring out how to dispose of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65):

Barge disposal could act as blueprint for dismantling first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

As the Navy gears up to dismantle the service's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, it may look to use a future disposal agreement for a Surface Ship Support Barge (SSSB) as a blueprint for the larger vessel.

The Navy's top civilian official wants to expand an aircraft depot maintenance program:

Navy weighs expanding pilot program for aviation maintenance

A pilot program the Navy is using to improve aircraft depot maintenance -- which it has been testing on F/A-18s and MV-22s -- may be pushed out to the rest of the fleet, according to the Navy secretary.

Army Futures Command was activated late last week:

Milley: Army Futures Command to oversee $30B to $50B

Army Futures Command, which was activated today during a ceremony in Austin, TX, will cost roughly $80 million to $100 million per year to operate and will manage a portfolio worth $30 billion to $50 billion, according to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Tony Bertuca | August 27, 2018 at 5:15 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to appear at a variety of venues around the Washington, DC area this week.

Monday

Shay Assad, the director of defense pricing as well as defense procurement and acquisition policy, speaks at a National Defense Industrial Association event in Arlington, VA.

The deputy assistant secretary of defense for force education and training speaks at iFest, hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.

Tuesday

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions executives are set to present at the Seaport Global conference.

Wednesday

KeyW executives are slated to speak at the Midwest IDEAS conference.

The Defense Department's assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs speaks about India's relationship with the United States at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

John Liang | August 27, 2018 at 5:10 AM

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

1. The Army announced late last week it will not move forward with testing an American-made, non-developmental active protection system on the Stryker vehicle and will instead seek new alternatives.

Full story: Army drops Iron Curtain APS, considering others for November demo

2. Army Secretary Mark Esper has directed the service to accelerate the Next Generation Combat Vehicle program, establishing a two-pronged project to immediately launch a major competition to replace the Bradley fleet with NGCV optionally manned fighting vehicles, while also establishing an NGCV robotic combat vehicle project to mature technologies for future platforms.

Full story: Army accelerates NGCV, planning draft RFP for October

3. The Army will soon issue a solicitation for Future Attack Recon Aircraft concept designs, according to a service program manager.

Full story: Army official: Future Attack Recon Aircraft final solicitation out soon

4. Army Futures Command, which was activated late last week during a ceremony in Austin, TX, will cost roughly $80 million to $100 million per year to operate and will manage a portfolio worth $30 billion to $50 billion, according to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Full story: Milley: Army Futures Command to oversee $30 billion to $50 billion