The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
November 14, 2019 at 12:31 PM

Navistar Defense said today its board has appointed Ted Wright chief executive officer.

Wright joined the company’s board last month. He previously was CEO of the O’Gara Group.

Wright has also served as chief operating officer of Vectrus, CEO of Academi, president of KBR North American Government and Defense and president of BAE Systems’ technology solutions and services division, among other roles.

By Tony Bertuca
November 13, 2019 at 5:30 PM

The Defense Department Inspector General will not begin an investigation at this time into why the White House halted U.S. military aid to Ukraine, telling concerned Senate Democrats it does not wish to “overlap” with the House impeachment investigation into President Trump.

Acting DOD Inspector General Glenn Fine, in a letter sent Tuesday to several Senate Democrats, said the office’s position could change as “circumstances evolve,” but maintained that “we do not believe we should begin an investigation at this time.”

While the IG office acknowledges that it is not prohibited from conducting an overlapping investigation with Congress, it notes that the House impeachment investigation is “not typical.”

The IG asserts “it is important for us to consider the impact on and overlap with the impeachment proceeding of any investigation we consider conducting.”

The White House order to delay nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine last summer -- $250 million of which was overseen by the Pentagon -- is being investigated by a House impeachment panel, which is examining allegations that Trump held the aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Biden is a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The president says he has done nothing wrong, and GOP leaders continue to support him.

Senate Democrats, in a recent letter to the Pentagon IG, asked the watchdog agency to begin an investigation into why the appropriated funds were not spent as directed by Congress.

"As senators responsible for the oversight of the Department of Defense, we believe it is appropriate to conduct an internal review as to why DOD officials chose not to disclose a policy decision that impacts the execution of appropriated funds,” the lawmakers wrote.

Meanwhile, House impeachment investigators have heard testimony from Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees policy on Ukraine.

Cooper, who spoke to investigators Oct. 23, said she and other officials were concerned about the White House’s order to withhold military aid to Ukraine “without explanation.”

"DOD was concerned about the obligation of funds," she told investigators. "Policy, my team, we were also concerned about any signal that we would send to Ukraine about a wavering in our commitment. And that's another reason why, I mean, we did not want for this to be a big public discussion, you know, if we were about to get it turned back on again because we didn't want to signal any lack of support."

Democrats have released statements from European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who in revised testimony told investigators he recalls telling Ukrainian officials that U.S. aid would “likely” not be delivered until the public announcement of an anti-corruption investigation that could help Trump politically.

Sondland's account followed testimony from acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who has said he was told Trump was going to withhold the aid package until the Ukrainian president made a public announcement to investigate the Biden family and the 2016 U.S. election.

By Marjorie Censer
November 13, 2019 at 2:42 PM

Today’s INSIDER includes news from a House hearing on the Joint Strike Fighter, a new cost estimate for the Air Force’s next generation ICBM and the Air Force’s fiscal year 2021 budget:

At a hearing today, House lawmakers learned about an F-35 contractor dispute:

Lockheed awaiting F-35 IP protest decision that delayed key IOT&E testing phase

The head of the F-35 joint program office revealed today that a dispute between the government and prime contractor Lockheed Martin over intellectual property rights -- which has driven delays integrating the jet into a new Joint Simulation Environment -- is currently under protest and awaiting a decision from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.

The Defense Department is working to estimate a new cost for a major weapon system:

Pentagon plans to revisit GBSD price tag in late spring

The Defense Department plans to update the cost estimate for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent in late spring of next year, setting the stage for a potential major recalibration of the price tag for the new ballistic missile program that generated a pair of valuations in 2017 that varied by more than $20 billion.

A NATO official told reporters today that 5G telecommunications are on the agenda for a meeting this week:

NATO officials to discuss 5G this week at industry forum in Washington

NATO officials will discuss fifth-generation telecommunications this week in Washington, as U.S. officials press European nations to bar Chinese companies like Huawei from the buildout of their 5G networks.

The Air Force sees some potential challenges in justifying its next budget:

Roper: Defending USAF’s FY-21 budget will be ‘an uphill climb’

Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper told reporters today he expects the service will have a difficult time defending its fiscal year 2021 budget request, largely because it recommends shifting billions of dollars from legacy platforms to a digital infrastructure Congress may not be ready to embrace.

The Defense Department has drawn up a new list of critical technologies:

Pentagon task force ‘operationalizing’ list of critical technologies

A high-level Pentagon task force has compiled a list of critical technologies and programs as part of the Defense Department’s efforts to ensure its contractors better protect vital military information from being stolen by competitor nations like China.

By Marjorie Censer
November 13, 2019 at 10:32 AM

CACI International’s new chief executive said he will continue steering the company’s mergers and acquisition effort toward technology companies that help it differentiate itself.

In an interview with Inside Defense earlier this month, John Mengucci said M&A “is always going to be a top priority for us.”

Last month, CACI announced three new acquisitions: Next Century, which specializes in geospatial mapping, data fusion and machine learning for defense and intelligence agencies; Linndustries Shielding Specialties, which makes hardened systems to fend off high-altitude electromagnetic pulses; and Deep3, which offers data analytics, digital transformation and cybersecurity in the United Kingdom.

“Our M&A program is alive and well,” Mengucci said. “As we continue to move into white space, we’re going to find more gaps . . . and we will continue to do that. There’s a lot of good technology-based companies out there still.”

He said technology serves to help CACI stand out. “The role of technology for us is really important to our growth strategy,” he said.

Mengucci added that he wants to move CACI “forward faster in generating more intellectual property.”

Additionally, he said he’s pushed the company to focus on bidding fewer but larger programs.

“Bid less and win more,” he called the effort. “When you bid less, you do win more because you’re more focused.”

Mengucci also told Inside Defense he’s prioritizing CACI’s workforce. He said the company continues to look outside the Washington, DC area for cleared high-tech workers and is hiring in Denver; Phoenix; Sarasota, FL; and Rochester, NY, among other places.

“We like how that’s working out,” Mengucci said, adding that it has helped the company fill the needed slots on its programs.

By Marjorie Censer
November 13, 2019 at 9:30 AM

LMI said this week it has named Sharon Hays chief technology and strategy officer.

Hays came to LMI just over a year ago as a senior fellow. She previously worked at General Dynamics Information Technology and at the White House Office of Science and Technology.

“As CTSO, Hays will direct the development of service offerings that allow LMI to provide repeatable, customizable solutions to government customers,” the company said. “Working with leaders from LMI’s four service lines -- advanced analytics, digital services, logistics, and management advisory services -- Hays will ensure service offerings are technically rigorous, incorporate emerging technologies, and meet customers’ needs effectively.”

She will also oversee LMI’s work with academic and industry partnerships, the company added.

By Marjorie Censer
November 13, 2019 at 9:29 AM

Parsons said this week it has made Carey Smith, already its chief operating officer, president, effective immediately.

“In addition to her current duties as chief operating officer, she will now be responsible for Parsons’ operational business lines and the functions that are critical to supporting our customers’ missions,” the company said. “The role spans the company’s global operations.”

Parsons said the appointment, along with organizational realignments, will “improve synergies” between the critical infrastructure and federal solutions business units.

“The move integrates corporate procurement, information technology (IT), corporate real estate and facilities, and the safety and sustainability enterprise functions into the operations team,” Parsons added.

Smith came to Parsons in 2016 to head its federal solutions business. Last year, she was named COO when Parsons merged the federal solutions and critical infrastructure segments.

By Sara Sirota
November 12, 2019 at 2:52 PM

The Defense and Energy Departments’ inspectors general are conducting a joint review of the Aircraft Monitor and Control system’s nuclear certification process, according to a memorandum released today.

AMAC refers to “equipment installed in aircraft to permit nuclear weapon monitoring and control of safing, pre-arming, arming, and fuzing functions on nuclear weapons or nuclear weapon systems,” according to a July 2017 Air Force Instruction on the nuclear certification program.

DOD IG aims to evaluate whether testing done on the AMAC system for aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons meets the Pentagon and DOE’s nuclear certification requirements. Meanwhile, DOE IG will consider the extent of its department’s oversight of the AMAC system testing requirements.

The memorandum was signed by Randolph Stone, assistant IG for evaluations of space, intelligence, engineering and oversight for DOD, and Bruce Miller, assistant IG for audits and inspections for DOE. It was sent to the Air Force secretary and National Nuclear Security Administration deputy administrator for defense programs.

The investigators plan to begin fieldwork this month at various Air Force and NNSA facilities, the notice states. These include Air Force headquarters, NNSA headquarters, the NNSA Albuquerque Complex, Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center, Air Force Safety Center, Air Force Global Strike Command and Sandia National Labs.

By Marjorie Censer
November 12, 2019 at 2:44 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER looks at a debate over the Defense Department’s new cyber strategy, the Joint Strike Fighter’s role in missile defense, an Air Force directed energy demonstration and a new Army warfighting paper.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity say members of the American Bar Association recently debated the merits of DOD’s cyber strategy:

DOD's 'defend forward' cyber strategy prompts lively debate by ABA national security lawyers

The Pentagon's "defend forward" cyber strategy was the focus of lively discussion by an American Bar Association panel of national security lawyers late last week, who described the more active approach to countering foreign adversaries as a response to a failed U.S. deterrence posture. It is also forcing a rethinking of key international norms and the relationship between the military and private sector in defending critical national functions.

Pentagon officials are looking at the results of a missile defense demonstration featuring the F-35 aircraft:

Pentagon completing evaluation of F-35's role for missile defense after key test

The Pentagon is finalizing an assessment on how to best integrate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter into the ballistic missile defense system after the aircraft tracked a pair of interceptors during a key test earlier this year, according to a Missile Defense Agency official.

The Air Force recently completed a counter-unmanned air system demonstration using directed energy:

AFRL completes directed-energy counter-UAS demonstration, on path to program of record

The Air Force Research Lab has finished a round of counter-drone testing that featured five directed-energy weapons that management officials are considering for a possible program of record.

And finally, a featured document detailing what the Army’s warfighting environment will be in the future:

TRADOC pamphlet on 'the operational environment and the changing character of warfare'

The Oct. 7, 2019 Army Training and Doctrine Command pamphlet "describes the Operational Environment the Army will face through 2050 in collaboration with Army Futures Command (throughout)."

By Tony Bertuca
November 11, 2019 at 7:34 PM

House impeachment investigators today released the testimony of Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees policy on Ukraine.

Cooper, who spoke to investigators Oct. 23, said she and other officials were concerned over the summer about a White House order to withhold military aid to Ukraine.

"DOD was concerned about the obligation of funds," she told investigators. "Policy, my team, we were also concerned about any signal that we would send to Ukraine about a wavering in our commitment. And that's another reason why, I mean, we did not want for this to be a big public discussion, you know, if we were about to get it turned back on again because we didn't want to signal any lack of support."

Cooper told investigators she first learned in July that the funds were being "held without explanation" by the White House, which she said was "unusual."

House impeachment investigators say they are looking into allegations that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million of aid to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Trump says he did nothing wrong and his GOP allies in Congress say the president was justified in withholding the funds because of concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

But Cooper testified that, from DOD's perspective, Ukraine had met all necessary anti-corruption benchmarks necessary to release the funds, contradicting the White House's assertions.

"My sense is that all of the senior leaders of the U.S. national security departments and agencies were all unified . . . in their view that this assistance was essential, that we could work with the government of Ukraine to tackle corruption, and they were trying to find ways to engage the president on this," she said.

By John Liang
November 11, 2019 at 2:05 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has a deep dive into the Pentagon's upcoming contract financing review, plus the latest draft of the Defense Department's Cybersecurity Certification Maturity Model and more.

An upcoming contract financing review is "in the final planning stages," according to a Pentagon spokesman:

A year after aborted progress payments proposal, DOD to launch new contract financing review

The Defense Department is preparing to review its decades-old policy for paying contractors, including a look at how potential changes might impact the profits of defense companies.

DOD recently released the latest draft of its Cybersecurity Certification Maturity Model:

Pentagon issues draft cyber certification plan, delays input on controls for 'advanced' threats

The Defense Department's acquisition office has released its much-anticipated latest draft of a cybersecurity certification program for contractors, focusing on the most basic security controls while work continues on requirements for securing the most critical data and systems from "advanced persistent threats."

Document: DOD's draft cybersecurity certification maturity model

Boeing, the KC-46 airborne refueling tanker prime contractor, has presented a design with an "improved" cargo locking system:

Air Force slated to incorporate KC-46 cargo lock fix by March 2020

The Air Force expects to complete fleetwide retrofits to the KC-46 tanker's cargo locking system by March 2020, the program office confirmed last week.

Inside Defense has news from a recently completed Air Force Scientific Advisory Board study:

Air Force panel sees data-fusion as potential tool for targeting in anti-access environments

An influential Air Force advisory panel has concluded that an alternative intelligence enterprise derived in part from data fused from open sources could provide a new way to locate, identify and attack targets in highly contested environments, according to an abstract of a new study by the group.

Document: AFSAB summary of 'multi-source data fusion for target location and identification'

. . . plus more information on the Army's future Battle Management Command and Communication system:

Army CFT planning to develop system for multidomain sensor integration

The Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team is looking to bring a new "deep-sensing" capability to the force to aid multidomain operations and long-range precision fires.

By Tony Bertuca
November 11, 2019 at 5:05 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area this week, including at a congressional hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


Veterans Day observed.


Senior Pentagon officials are slated to speak at CyberCon 2019.

The FedScoop Red Hat Cyber Symposium features several DOD officials.


The House Armed Services readiness and tactical air and land forces subcommittees hold a joint hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The National Bureau of Asian Research hosts a conference featuring remarks by the deputy assistant secretary of defense for China policy.

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association hosts a discussion with DOD officials.

Perspecta executives are set to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.


The Association of the United States Army hosts a breakfast with the director of the Army Talent Management Task Force.

The FedScoop Workforce Summit hosts DOD officials.


The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the chief of Air Force Space Command and the deputy joint force space component commander at U.S. Strategic Command.

By Sara Sirota
November 8, 2019 at 5:01 PM

Two HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters have arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, to begin developmental testing with the 413th Flight Test Squadron, according to an Air Force press release.

The HH-60W is the Air Force’s replacement to the legacy HH-60G, which supports personnel recovery. The service declared milestone C for the program Sept. 24, allowing it to enter low-rate initial production, and intends to procure 113 helicopters through 2026.

The Air Force has already bought 10 HH-60Ws in Lot 1 and plans to purchase another 12 in Lot 2 next spring, Leah Garton, an Air Combat Command spokeswoman, told Inside Defense in a Nov. 1 email.

If the federal government is constrained to fiscal year 2019 production quantities under a year-long continuing resolution, the service will only buy 10 helicopters during this next purchase. A CR that went into effect Oct. 1 is set to expire Nov. 21, and lawmakers anticipate passing another.

Meanwhile, the current HH-60W program schedule projects initial operational test and evaluation to begin during the second quarter of FY-21 at Moody AFB, GA, Garton said. That will not occur until “ACC’s approval that all required aircraft, trainers, spares and support equipment are available, as well as trained pilots and maintainers to fly and maintain the aircraft.”

By John Liang
November 8, 2019 at 2:20 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team, an Air Force effort to communicate between F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft via a secure data link, Navy Virginia-class submarine cost savings and more.

Inside Defense has more information on the Army's future Battle Management Command and Communication system:

Army CFT planning to develop system for multidomain sensor integration

The Army's assured positioning, navigation and timing cross-functional team is looking to bring a new "deep-sensing" capability to the force to aid multidomain operations and long-range precision fires.

Preston Dunlap, the Air Force's chief architect, spoke this week at the Defense One Outlook 2020 conference:

Air Force to demo secure communications between F-22, F-35 next month

The Air Force will test whether an F-22 and F-35 can communicate via a secure data link during a demonstration that’s expected to occur in December, according to a senior official.

Pentagon acquisition executive Ellen Lord has notified lawmakers that the office of cost assessment and program evaluation has estimated a savings of 6.8% for the nine-ship, Block V multiyear procurement contract to acquire new Virginia-class submarines:

Savings in Virginia-class Block V deal fall to 6.8% compared to 15% for Block IV

The Pentagon's independent cost estimators have pared back forecasted savings the Navy can expect to realize under a multiyear procurement of Virginia-class submarines from $2.5 billion to $1.8 billion, giving the planned 2019 deal the most anemic cost avoidance package achieved through a block buy in the program's two decades of consolidated purchases.

The Professional Services Council will host a meeting next week on behalf of the office of the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment:

DOD to hold closed-door meeting on accreditation for upcoming cyber certification program

The Pentagon's acquisition office is seeking industry input on establishing an accreditation body for third-party auditors as part of a cybersecurity certification program for contractors, expected to be rolled out in some form next year.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the Energy Department's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, spoke at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this week:

NNSA rebalancing modernization, workforce efforts as result of continuing resolution

The National Nuclear Security Administration has already begun rebalancing its internal projects in response to the ongoing continuing resolution that keeps federal funding at fiscal year 2019 levels, according to a senior Energy Department official.

By Jaspreet Gill
November 8, 2019 at 12:27 PM

The Army Futures Command Maneuver Battle Lab is testing four new rifle scopes for the service's M4A1 Carbine.

The effort is a part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, a months-long annual assessment where soldiers at Ft. Benning, GA test out "60 to 70" new technologies from industry, according to lab Director Ed Davis.

"In the next few days, we're looking at optics for some of our weapons that have been around for a while [that] we need to upgrade," Davis told Inside Defense in a Nov. 7 interview. "This gives us a way of looking at what industry nominates to us and see what's possible. . . . We can figure out how to go forward."

Talon Expeditionary Services, FN America, LLC and Smart Shooter Inc. were chosen to produce four prototypes for soldiers to test during AEWE, according to an Army press release. Soldiers currently use the M68 close combat scope and M50 rifle combat scope.

Staff Sergeant Michael Kennett, who tested the new optics, told Inside Defense that an extended shooting range is one of the biggest improvements with the new prototypes.

The Army is looking for scopes that will allow soldiers to shoot up to 600 meters, according to Davis. Current optics allow for engagements under 300 meters. He added the service is in the process of collecting data from soldiers who have tested out the prototypes.

Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, lethality branch chief of the Maneuver Center of Excellence's Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate soldier division, said in an email the information gathered during the assessment will inform the Army's weapon enabler requirements.

"There is no single requirements document this effort is linked to, but it will inform the entire [Small Arms Strategy]," Kennedy said. "We can learn things about rail space, shock profile, zero retention and increased accuracy. All this knowledge is blended into our strategy and into future requirements."

By Justin Katz
November 7, 2019 at 3:08 PM

The Navy last week declared its new satellite constellation "fully operationally capable" following the completion of a successful multiservice test event conducted in October.

Navy spokesman Steven Davis confirmed to Inside Defense in a written statement today that Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, greenlit the program Oct. 28 to clear the acquisition milestone.

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is a narrowband military satellite communications system and is expected to provide 10 times the system capacity of the Pentagon's legacy Ultra High Frequency constellation.

The Navy announced in October that the satellite constellation completed a test and evaluation event with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

Each of MUOS' satellites carry two payloads: One uses legacy technology to maintain communications during the military’s upcoming transition; the other uses MUOS' new wideband code division multiple access capability.

"The MUOS WCDMA payload interfaces with the MUOS ground system through the MUOS WCDMA waveform that is integrated into end-user radios, adapting commercial cellular technology," according to the service's October statement.