The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
February 10, 2020 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department will send its fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress this week, while senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area.

Monday

The Trump administration submits its fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress.

Tuesday

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger speaks at a Navy Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Congressional Forum.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with former government officials on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Defense Department's role in long-term major state competition.

The House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on countering weapons of mass destruction.

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on countering "alarming incidents of white supremacy."

Wednesday

Boeing, Leidos, Parsons, Science Applications International Corp. and Vectrus executives are scheduled to present at a conference hosted by Cowen.

Perspecta executives are slated to discuss quarterly earnings.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on protecting natural and cultural resources at land-based ranges.

The Air Force Association hosts a discussion with the deputy chief of staff for operations at U.S. Air headquarters.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with the chiefs of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

ManTech International and Raytheon executives are set to address the Cowen conference.

Huntington Ingalls executives are scheduled to discuss quarterly earnings.

AFCEA hosts a luncheon with the Army’s director of the enterprise cloud management office.

By Justin Katz
February 7, 2020 at 3:07 PM

The Navy this week awarded dozens of companies contracts collectively worth up to $982 million to build various payloads and subsystems for its portfolio of unmanned surface vehicles.

The 40 selected companies received indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple award contracts to compete for task orders from six functional areas: payloads, non-payload sensors, mission support systems, autonomy and vehicle control systems, ashore and host platform elements as well as logistics and sustainment, according to a Feb. 7 Navy statement.

"The IDIQ-MAC will serve as the primary contractual method to procure supplies and services used to design, develop, fabricate, prototype, integrate, test, maintain, and support multiple variants of USV systems and subsystems within the USV Family of Systems," the Navy statement reads.

Platforms the service will develop payloads for through the contracts include Sea Hunter, the Medium and Large USVs and the Mine Countermeasures USV.

"Current and planned systems include the Unmanned Influence Sweep System, surface towed sonar systems, and a mine neutralizing system that is still under development, along with their related subsystems and delivery systems," the Navy statement adds.

By John Liang
February 7, 2020 at 1:41 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's Space Fence and Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle programs along with a DOD inspector general report on the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle.

We start off with the Pentagon operational test and evaluation director's latest findings on the Air Force's Space Fence and Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle programs:

DOT&E highlights need for second Space Fence site

The Air Force's new Space Fence radar system is demonstrating the ability to track significantly more small objects in space, but a new report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester concludes that until the service secures a second radar site, the system will not have the power to "continuously track and maintain awareness of these small objects.

ACV reliability growth lower than projected

The Marine Corps' new Amphibious Combat Vehicle showed lower reliability growth than anticipated, according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

(For full coverage of this year's DOT&E report, click here.)

A DOD IG report released today states the Air Force spent $17.7 million in Overseas Contingency Operations funding to develop enhanced weather support capabilities for the MQ-9 Reaper between fiscal year 2010 and FY-16, but the service never validated the requirements for these systems and later determined they were not needed:

Air Force auditor general to review internal use of OCO funds for 'innovation projects'

After the Defense Department inspector general's office found the Air Force wasted nearly $18 million from the Overseas Contingency Operations budget on a capability that was never delivered, the service's chief auditor is conducting a review of how this funding is used to develop "innovation projects."

Document: DOD IG report on weather support capabilities for the MQ-9 Reaper

The Air Force's B-52 engine replacement program test strategy is nearly finished:

Air Force expects B-52 CERP test plan approval in April

The Air Force expects to have final approval for its B-52 engine replacement program test strategy by April -- an oversight requirement lawmakers directed in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act due to concerns the service is imposing too much risk on the program by using mid-tier acquisition authorities to procure the engines.

The Army doesn't plan to re-open competition on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program V:

After taking corrective action, Army says it is sticking with LOGCAP V contracts

The Army says its corrective action on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program V is complete and that it wants to uphold the original awards, according to a new filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In case you missed it, here's our deep dive into the Commandant's Planning Guidance and what it means for the Navy/Marine Corps team and the impending budget submission:

Marine Corps pursues aggressive change with deep ramifications for acquisition

As the Marine Corps works to keep up with a new National Defense Strategy, its top officer is advocating for sweeping force design changes meant to help the service prepare for 2030.

By Courtney Albon
February 7, 2020 at 11:05 AM

The Defense Department is crafting a new space strategy aimed at implementing the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

Steve Kitay, deputy assistant secretary for space policy, said this week the new strategy is "evolving" and builds on the president’s 2018 National Strategy for Space. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland told Inside Defense the strategy will be reviewed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, but did not provide a time line for when it would be completed.

Kitay said during a Mitchell Institute event this week the strategy is built on three main tenets: maintaining superiority in space, providing support from space and ensuring stability throughout space.

As the department continues to make the shift in viewing space as a warfighting domain, Kitay said, it must continue to position itself to defend U.S. and allied partner assets -- an effort that he said is "getting tremendous priority in the department."

The strategy also details the Pentagon's need to continue to provide support to the joint force and "maintain a persistent presence and provide for safe transit in, to and through space."

By Justin Katz
February 6, 2020 at 4:14 PM

Pentagon acquisition executive Ellen Lord sent to lawmakers in October a memorandum certifying the Navy's Block V Virginia-class submarine contract.

The document highlights the savings estimate by the director of the cost assessment and program evaluation office and shortfalls in future budgets the Navy expects to face while buying the subs. The memo was sent to multiple lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees.

Inside Defense obtained a copy of Lord's certification through the Freedom of Information Act.

By Marjorie Censer
February 6, 2020 at 3:10 PM

The chief executive of Science Applications International Corp. said today the company hopes to keep all of Unisys Federal's employees.

SAIC earlier today announced it would acquire Unisys Federal in a $1.2 billion deal.

In a call with reporters this afternoon, Nazzic Keene said the acquisition does not count on cost synergies.

"It is our plan and intention to bring the entirety of Unisys Federal to the SAIC family," she said. "We're not looking to . . . drive significant cost savings. We truly are looking to bring the talent and the assets of Unisys Federal into SAIC."

She said SAIC and Unisys Federal can now begin working out the details.

Keene also told reporters the company will benefit from its experience integrating Engility.

She said SAIC and Unisys Federal executives will "talk to the employees, share as much information as fast as we can."

"We'll look to make decisions quickly," Keene added, noting the two companies will put together a combined integration team.

By Tony Bertuca
February 6, 2020 at 2:34 PM

Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week called on all Defense Department personnel to avoid partisan entanglements in the run up to the 2020 election that could damage the credibility of the U.S. military as an apolitical institution.

"Maintaining the hard-earned trust and confidence of the American people requires us to avoid any action that could imply endorsement of a political party, political candidate or campaign by any element of the department," Esper wrote in a Pentagon-wide memo. "Leaders will review the rules governing participation by DOD personnel in political activities and direct widest dissemination of the guidance in this memorandum to their teams."

President Trump has been criticized, especially by Democrats, for making partisan political statements in the presence of U.S. troops and at military bases.

Esper's message also follows an historic Senate vote Wednesday that acquitted Trump of two articles of impeachment.

Along with urging personnel to abstain from partisan activities and displays, Esper's memo further instructs DOD "leaders, teammates, and colleagues" to "inspire each other by setting an example, rejecting any sense of personal entitlement, and never abusing our position or our privilege of service."

By John Liang
February 6, 2020 at 2:25 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has a deep dive into the Marine Corps Commandant's Planning Guidance, the Air Force's B-52 engine replacement program test strategy, the Army's LOGCAP V program and more.

We start off with a deep dive into the Commandant's Planning Guidance and what it means for the Navy/Marine Corps team and the impending budget submission:

Marine Corps pursues aggressive change with deep ramifications for acquisition

As the Marine Corps works to keep up with a new National Defense Strategy, its top officer is advocating for sweeping force design changes meant to help the service prepare for 2030.

The Air Force's B-52 engine replacement program test strategy should be finalized by April:

Air Force expects B-52 CERP test plan approval in April

The Air Force expects to have final approval for its B-52 engine replacement program test strategy by April -- an oversight requirement lawmakers directed in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act due to concerns the service is imposing too much risk on the program by using mid-tier acquisition authorities to procure the engines.

The Army won't be looking for new contractors to work on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program V:

After taking corrective action, Army says it is sticking with LOGCAP V contracts

The Army says its corrective action on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program V is complete and that it wants to uphold the original awards, according to a new filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The Pentagon's top civilian spoke on the defense budget this morning at a Washington think tank:

Esper concedes flat budget, hopes for new 3%-5% growth trajectory in coming years

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today the Pentagon, on the heels of several spending increases granted by Congress, must "brace" itself for a stagnant budget, though he wants to get on track to 3%-5% annual growth in the coming years.

In related budget news, the Pentagon has issued an internal review on where money could be saved:

Pentagon 'Fourth Estate' review finds $5.7B to reinvest in new technologies

An internal review has found $5.7 billion in fiscal year 2021 budget cuts the Pentagon wants to reinvest in emerging technologies like hypersonics, space, missile defense and artificial intelligence, according to a report slated to be delivered to Congress.

Document: DOD's 'Fourth Estate' review

Keep an eye out for a Defense Department legislative proposal on the new Space Force:

Pentagon to deliver Space Force legislative proposal by Feb. 20

The Defense Department is crafting a legislative proposal to submit to Congress by Feb. 20 that lays out possible authorities and policy changes to support its next steps in standing up the new service.

The Missile Defense Agency is finalizing over the next two weeks a solicitation for a clean-sheet design for a competitive Next Generation Interceptor program:

After $1.3 billion 'oops' with RKV failure, MDA settling on final NGI concept

The Pentagon is settling on a concept for a Next-Generation Interceptor, a nearly 10-year project that will require a radical overhaul of planned missile defense spending while raising questions about the efficacy of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system to protect the nation in the interim.

Some news on how contractors are adapting to the new cybersecurity certification requirement:

Pentagon already scoring some contractors on cybersecurity via new assessment center

While the Pentagon's contractor cybersecurity certification requirement is still months away from showing up in contracts, a new Defense Department cyber assessment center has emerged over the past year and is already scoring some companies on their network security practices.

Defense industry claims credit for Pentagon's go-slow approach to cybersecurity certification

Pentagon acquisition officials say a sweeping cybersecurity certification program issued last week will take six years to fully implement, a phased-in schedule that defense industry officials say is the result of pressure by the contracting community about mitigating costs.

By Justin Katz
February 6, 2020 at 1:48 PM

Days before the Pentagon is expected to unveil its fiscal year 2021 budget request, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a standalone bill designed to expedite the Navy's path to a 355-ship fleet.

The Securing the Homeland by Increasing our Power on the Seas (SHIPS) Implementation Act is an expansion of a similar bill the senator introduced in 2017. The 2017 bill led Congress to codify the requirement the Navy reach 355 ships as soon as practical.

Wicker's bill would make it a "sense of Congress" that the Navy utilize the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund, a supplementary account established to help procure Columbia-class submarines.

A sense of Congress is not a legally binding requirement.

The legislation also suggests specific shipbuilding procurement numbers for the next budget request. The Navy’s FY-21 budget isn't expected to be made public until next week.

However, compared to the Navy's future-year plans in the FY-20 budget request, Wicker's proposal urges the service to increase the production cadence of its future frigate. The legislation also makes it a "sense of Congress" that the Navy buy the optional 10th Virginia-class submarine in the contract it recently negotiated.

Wicker's bill also aims to stabilize the shipbuilding industrial base by requiring certain production cadences for various ship classes and give the service authority to more widely use multiyear and block buy contracting.

Congress does not usually pass standalone defense legislation, but rather includes provisions from relevant bills into the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Wicker, whose state is home to shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, was previously chairman of the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee. He stepped down from that post last year to lead the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Patrick Cassidy, a spokesman for Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said the Connecticut congressman is supportive of the goals in Wicker's bill, but stopped short of committing to introduce similar legislation in the lower chamber.

Courtney "utilizes his role as chairman of the [subcommittee] to address these kinds of issues in the annual defense authorization bill, which he will write and lead," Cassidy said.

By Justin Katz
February 6, 2020 at 9:49 AM

The Navy yesterday awarded Leidos a contract worth $7.7 billion for the services portion of the Next Generation Enterprise Network, concluding a two-part re-competition that provides the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

"This acquisition will provide the [Navy] with base network services that are currently provided under the Next Generation Enterprise Networks contract such as electronic software delivery, end user core build, endpoint detection, logistics management, network operations, security operations, service desk, transport and virtualization services," according to a Feb 5. Defense Department statement.

The deal with Leidos is one of two contracts the Navy competed to provide its 700,000-user intranet.

The other contract for end user hardware was awarded to HPI Federal, a subsidiary of HP, in October, Inside Defense reported.

Perspecta was the incumbent on the existing NMCI contract.

Lorraine Corcoran, a company spokeswoman, said Perspecta is "looking forward to a debrief from our Navy customer."

By Marjorie Censer
February 6, 2020 at 8:52 AM

Northrop Grumman said this week it has named David Keffer chief financial officer, effective Feb. 17.

He succeeds Kenneth Bedingfield, who will remain with Northrop until Feb. 21.

Keffer has been a general partner at Blue Delta Capital Partners since 2018. He previously was CFO at CSRA and, before that, SRA International.

By Marjorie Censer
February 6, 2020 at 8:44 AM

Science Applications International Corp. said today it has agreed to acquire Unisys Federal in a $1.2 billion deal.

Unisys Federal provides infrastructure modernization, cloud migration, managed services and enterprise IT-as-a-service to the Pentagon and civilian agencies.

“The transaction will further differentiate SAIC in the government services market by deploying technology-enabled, intellectual property-based solutions through a commercial-like service delivery model,” SAIC said.

The company said the transaction expands its portfolio of intellectual property and helps it reach new customers. It comes two years after SAIC acquired Engility.

SAIC's announcement caps off a busy week of deal-making in the government contracting market. Leidos earlier this week said it has agreed to buy the airport security businesses of L3Harris Technologies, while Huntington Ingalls announced its acquisition of Hydroid.

SAIC said it expects its purchase of Unisys Federal to close by May 1.

By Sara Sirota
February 5, 2020 at 4:21 PM

Air Force Global Strike Command launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with a test reentry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, early this morning.

The "developmental test launch" used a spare ICBM from storage to validate flight worthiness of the experimental component in a near-operational environment, according to an AFGSC notice. This differs from an "operational test launch," which aims to verify fleet-wide reliability by randomly selecting a fielded missile.

"Developmental testing provides valuable data to Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center for both modernization and sustainment of the ICBM weapon system," Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said.

The notice says the test reentry vehicle traveled about 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, though it doesn't provide more details about the component.

The Air Force has several efforts underway to modernize reentry vehicles for the current and future ICBM fleet.

These projects include the development of a new Mk21A reentry vehicle altogether for the next-generation Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and a new fuze to support both the legacy Minuteman III's Mk21 reentry vehicle and its replacement.

By John Liang
February 5, 2020 at 1:39 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of a new National Defense Industrial Association assessment along with the Pentagon's annual operational test and evaluation report.

A new defense industrial base assessment was conducted by the National Defense Industrial Association through a partnership with data analytics firm Govini:

New NDIA report gives defense industrial base a 'C' grade

The National Defense Industrial Association today, in the first of what is a planned annual review, gave the defense industrial base a "C" grade, pointing to challenges with cybersecurity and workforce.

Our coverage of the Pentagon's latest annual operational test and evaluation report continues with looks at the Navy's Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle and Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle as well as the Marine Corps' MH-63K helicopter:

DOT&E says Fire Scout is 'not operationally effective,' reveals Navy created 'tiger team'

The Pentagon's chief weapons testers say both they and the Navy have assessed a new unmanned aircraft as "not operationally effective, not operationally suitable, and not cyber survivable," and have revealed the service created a "tiger team" to fix those issues.

Pentagon's top weapons tester says all CH-53K deficiencies won't be fixed by IOT&E

The Navy will not fix all of the technical issues plaguing the Marine Corps' new heavy-lift helicopter in time for the initial operational test and evaluation stage of the program.

Weapons testers 'unable to assess' Knifefish viability because of test environment

Pentagon weapons evaluators in their latest annual report criticized the Navy's testing of an unmanned undersea vehicle designed for mine countermeasures, saying the environment was too comparable to the conditions the vessels' original creators used when developing classification algorithms.

(For full coverage of this year's DOT&E report, click here.)

Gen. Gus Perna, head of Army Materiel Command, spoke this week at a Defense Writers Group breakfast:

Army Materiel Command finding applications for advanced manufacturing

The Army is investing in advanced manufacturing capabilities at Rock Island Arsenal, IL, and wants to see how those can be used at the tactical level.

And in case you missed it, the Air Force this week sent lawmakers its organizational plan for the new Space Force:

Space Force report details plans for agile, 'clean sheet' organizational structure, processes

The Air Force has delivered to Congress its plan for the organizational structure of the Space Force, outlining "clean sheet" plans to stand up a lean, agile service.

By Marjorie Censer
February 5, 2020 at 10:37 AM

CACI International said today it has named Daniel Walsh, a former White House deputy chief of staff, a corporate strategic adviser and senior vice president.

"In his new role with CACI, Mr. Walsh will help lead corporate efforts to enhance CACI's positioning in the national security market and thought leadership, provide insight and expertise on critical industry issues, and help grow and expand key client relationships," the company said. "He will bring increased value to our customers' enterprises and missions, drawing on his management experience in the White House, as a Congressional Liaison, and more than two decades with the U.S. Coast Guard."

CACI said Walsh has served as White House deputy chief of staff for operations, as well as director and deputy director of the White House Military Office and as a military aide. He spent 24 years in the Coast Guard.