The Insider

By Thomas Duffy
September 4, 2020 at 1:58 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Lockheed’s missile defense interceptor bid, Army cyber, a new report on the defense industry’s research efforts and the Navy’s CH-53K helicopter.

Lockheed laid out its plan for the Next Generation Interceptor program for Inside Defense:

Lockheed says its NGI proposal offers one-stop shopping, extensive multiple-kill vehicle experience

Lockheed Martin is touting its ability to offer the Defense Department a one-stop shopping opportunity for the Next Generation Interceptor -- a single defense contractor to develop a booster tailored to carry a new class of kill vehicles for the nation’s marquee homeland ballistic missile defense system.

The Army is pulling together its major cyber elements into a $366 million new headquarters:

Army Cyber Command consolidates key elements at new Ft. Gordon headquarters

Army Cyber Command yesterday completed its move to its new headquarters at Ft. Gordon, GA, forming a “focal point” for its global cyber operations, according to senior service officials.

The Government Accountability Office has a new report out on industry’s independent research:

Pentagon will begin new reviews of industry’s independent R&D

The Defense Department, following a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office, intends to begin annual reviews of independent industry research and development projects so they can be better integrated into the U.S. military’s technology plans.

Lastly, the program manager gave us an update on the Navy CH-53K helicopter program:

Marine Corps: CH-53K helicopter undergoing desert testing after successful sea trials

The CH-53K King Stallion helicopter performed well during its sea trials, which ended in June, and is now undergoing testing in a desert-like environment, according to the Marine Corps.

By Ashley Tressel
September 4, 2020 at 12:25 PM

Maj. Gen. John Richardson assumed duties as deputy commanding general for operations of III Corps and acting senior commander of Ft. Hood, TX, this week to “enable continuity of command” as III Corps returns from leading the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the Army announced.

Richardson previously was Army Forces Command’s director of operations and was selected for his new position in March.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt will continue to serve as the deputy commanding general for support and will remain at Ft. Hood to assist with the integration of III Corps as they return from their mission.

“With Maj. Gen. Efflandt remaining at Ft. Hood, the Army will announce the name of a new commander for the 1st Armored Division, which Efflandt had previously been designated to lead,” the service said in a press release. “That announcement is expected in the coming days.”

The Army also announced that FORSCOM commander Gen. Michael Garrett will appoint Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, to lead several investigations underway at Ft. Hood covering “a wide range of topics and concerns.”

The command has recently been beset by problems including the death of two soldiers who had gone missing from base.

“Gen. Murray will roll those efforts into a more complete and comprehensive investigation that will delve into all activities and levels of leadership,” the service says.

By Ashley Tressel
September 4, 2020 at 12:10 PM

The Army this week awarded Lockheed Martin a $183 million contract to produce High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers and associated hardware.

Lockheed will produce and build 28 HIMARS at its Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, AR. The contract includes launcher and associated equipment delivery starting in late 2022 for the Marine Corps and an international customer, according to the company.

HIMARS is a lightweight mobile launcher that fires Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets, Army Tactical Missile System missiles, the next-generation Precision Strike Missile and Extended-Range GMLRS rockets. It is transportable via C-130 and larger aircraft.

HIMARS consists of a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted on a 5-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to the three crewmembers that operate the system.

By Marjorie Censer
September 3, 2020 at 2:31 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest includes the latest on Gremlins repairs, the new slate of flight experiments at an Air Force Research Laboratory directorate and LMI’s new chief executive.

The third phase of the Gremlins program began with five vehicles, but one was lost after a parachute malfunction last year:

Gremlins mishap could extend air-recovery system testing into 2021

One of the Pentagon’s four X-61A Gremlins is undergoing repairs after suffering damage during a July test -- the program’s second mishap in less than nine months -- and therefore will not participate in the long-awaited first experiment with the air recovery system that was delayed to this fall.

The space vehicles directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory has selected two experiments out of a pool of 27 submissions:

AFRL space vehicle directorate announces VLEO and cislunar experiments

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s space vehicles directorate this week announced its next slate of flight experiments -- one focused on very low Earth orbit and a second focused on cislunar space domain awareness.

The new chief executive of LMI sat down with Inside Defense to talk about how the company is managing through the pandemic:

LMI task force looking at how to apply company’s services during pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, LMI has convened a company-wide task force to consider the associated business opportunities.

The Navy is moving forward with its operational architecture’s capability framework, which lays out how the architecture supports the service’s two keystone concepts of operation:

Navy advances ‘operational architecture’ for storing, analyzing, moving data

Senior Navy leadership last month approved the capability framework for the service’s “operational architecture,” an overarching document that describes how the Navy will analyze and transmit data in the future distributed fleet envisioned by military brass.

By Sara Sirota
September 3, 2020 at 1:45 PM

The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $135 million, 14-year contract to remanufacture the Air-Launch Cruise Missile’s inertial navigation element, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Northrop will disassemble, inspect, clean, reassemble and test the device to return it to new condition. The program is part of the Air Force’s effort to extend the service life of the aging nuclear weapon through 2030.

According to the service’s latest budget documents, up to 24 INE kits per year will be delivered to the depot for installation.

The Air Force is replacing ALCM with the Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

By Marjorie Censer
September 3, 2020 at 11:09 AM

General Dynamics Mission Systems said today it has entered into partnership with counter-drone company Dedrone and made an equity investment into the company.

Under the partnership, GDMS becomes a value-added reseller for Dedrone’s counter-unmanned aerial system capabilities. The initial term of the deal is two years; it will then renew automatically if mutually agreed.

GDMS described its investment in the company as “significant,” but would not reveal the precise figure. Chris Brady, president of GDMS, is now a newly appointed member of Dedrone’s advisory board.

“General Dynamics will exclusively supply Dedrone’s counter-drone technology to their global defense, civil government, intelligence, and critical infrastructure customers,” the company said.

GDMS said the two companies first met at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in 2019.

Last year, Dedrone announced it had acquired the counter-drone system known as DroneDefender from Battelle.

General Dynamics Mission Systems said Dedrone has hundreds of customers already, including the U.S. military, airports and utilities, among other organizations.

By Justin Katz
September 3, 2020 at 10:05 AM

The Navy this month will wrap up the first stage of a full and open competition to construct a new wargaming center at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, according to a service spokesman.

“Step one will evaluate the contractors based on technical criteria, including management approach, experience, safety record, and past performance,” Navy spokesman Bill Couch told Inside Defense.

“Step one will create a short list of offerors for the step two phase. Step two will evaluate the contractors based on price and technical criteria,” he continued.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command is managing the new wargaming center’s construction.

“Issuance of the step two solicitation is expected by the end of September 2020. [The] construction contract award is planned for February 2021,” Couch said.

The construction is planned to take 27 months, he added.

Marine Corps Systems Command is holding a separate competition for the capabilities to be housed at the new center.

Inside Defense reported last month the service tapped three contractors -- BAE Systems, Cole Engineering Services and Microsoft -- for the next phase of a three-part competition.

“The intent of this phase of the acquisition strategy is to reduce technical risk through multiple, competitive prototype” other transaction agreements, Lt. Col. Matthew Clinger, program manager for wargaming capability at Marine Corps Systems Command, told Inside Defense in a statement last month.

A program announcement published earlier this year projects the new facility will achieve initial operational capability in late FY-24 and full operational capability in FY-25.

By Marjorie Censer
September 3, 2020 at 9:54 AM

Science Applications International Corp. said this week it has sold off several State Department and Justice Department international law enforcement support contracts as it culls its portfolio.

In a call with analysts yesterday afternoon, Nazzic Keene, SAIC’s chief executive, said the company acquired the contracts as part of its purchase of Engility.

But they “were not viewed as strategically important to our strategy or our future.”

“They were also dilutive to our margin profile and not financially material to the company,” Keene added.

Meanwhile, SAIC said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic lowered quarterly sales by about $65 million.

The pandemic’s impact was “primarily driven by reduced volume in our supply chain business, lower [Federal Aviation Administration] training service revenues, and uncertain profit recovery on ready-state labor.”

The contractor reported quarterly sales of nearly $1.8 billion, up 11% from the same three-month period a year earlier. SAIC said quarterly profit totaled $51 million, down 11% from the prior year.

By Marjorie Censer
September 3, 2020 at 9:26 AM

ManTech International said today co-founder George Pedersen will no longer serve as executive chairman and chairman of the board of directors.

Kevin Phillips, who was named chief executive in 2018, will become chairman. Pedersen will remain a member of the board and serve as chairman emeritus.

Pedersen and Franc Wertheimer founded the company in 1968. In the announcement, Pedersen said now is the right time to “take a less active role.”

By John Liang
September 2, 2020 at 2:10 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the reorganization of oversight of the Missile Defense Agency, as well as coverage of hypersonic weapon prototypes, the Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program and more.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist earlier this year approved a 17-page directive-type memorandum on "Missile Defense System Policies and Governance" that effectively demotes the influence of the office of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering over the Missile Defense Agency while elevating the role of the office of the under secretary for acquisition and sustainment and other Pentagon organizations:

Norquist clips MDA's wings, giving services, CAPE, OSD, COCOMs new leverage in missile defense

The Pentagon's No. 2 official has overhauled missile defense policies and governance in a surprise move that will subject the Missile Defense Agency to increased oversight by other arms of the Defense Department, establishing new rules for the $202 billion portfolio of missile defense weapon system projects and setting the stage for the first major revision of the agency's charter in over a decade.

Document: DOD memo on MDS reorganization

Specific tests of two variants of a hypersonic weapon prototype have been completed:

DARPA completes captive-carry tests of two air-breathing hypersonic weapons

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has finished captive-carry tests of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon's unique variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, paving the way for the first free-flight demonstrations later this year.

The delivery of the first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle reflects a seven-month delay from the original schedule due to tooling and assembly line challenges at BAE Systems' plant in York, PA, that have since been fixed:

BAE delivers first AMPV off production line

BAE Systems on Monday delivered the first low-rate initial production Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle to the Army, the company announced this morning.

In case you missed it, the Pentagon has submitted its annual report to Congress on China's military capabilities:

Pentagon finds China outpacing U.S. in shipbuilding and missile tech

China is "is already ahead of the United States" in shipbuilding, missile technology and integrated air defense systems, according to the Pentagon's latest annual report on Chinese military strength.

Document: DOD's 2020 report on China

Inside Defense recently obtained a memo on the Navy's reorganization of its R&D enterprise:

Navy's CNR, N94 no longer dual-hatted by a single admiral

Top Navy officials last month determined that two senior billets, charged with directing the service's $2 billion research and development enterprise, should no longer be "dual-hatted" by a single two-star admiral, according to a memorandum obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Navy memo on reorganized R&D enterprise

By Justin Katz
September 1, 2020 at 4:17 PM

The Navy is planning its first rolling admissions period for entry into Seaport Next Generation and intends to publish a draft request for proposals later this year.

The draft solicitation will be issued in December and the final RFP is scheduled for January, Stacy McQuage, deputy program manager for Seaport NxG, said during the Navy's Gold Coast event today.

The RFP will close in February and contract awards will be announced in June, she added.

Seaport NxG is the next iteration of Seaport-e, a Navy services contracting vehicle established in 2001. The program awards indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contracts to vendors who can compete for task orders related to engineering and program management.

The first round of Seaport NxG contracts were awarded in December 2018 to more than 1,800 vendors, Inside Defense reported at the time. Those contracts included approximately $5 billion worth of task orders to be competed over a five-year period.

By Aidan Quigley
September 1, 2020 at 3:57 PM

The Navy's accelerated timeline for awarding contracts will help cushion the service and industry partners through an anticipated continuing resolution period, Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts said Tuesday.

The Navy started accelerating upcoming contract awards in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March. The service wanted to have plans in place to get through a continuing resolution period during an election year, Geurts said during the Navy's Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event Tuesday.

Geurts told Inside Defense shortly after his remarks that the accelerated contracting timeline would ensure that there would be no gaps in the industrial base's workload during a continuing resolution period.

The original acceleration provided stability to the industry during the pandemic, he said.

"The secondary benefit of that is to give us some additional resources to plan and ensure we don't have a disruption, or minimize a disruption, in a continuing resolution period and make sure we've got that work lined up and ready to go in a continuing resolution," Geurts said.

Geurts said he was most concerned about awarding a Columbia-class submarine construction contract during a continuing resolution.

"We've been communicating that clearly with all the committees in Congress," he said. "We believe they recognize the criticality of that and so I believe everyone is aligned along those lines."

By John Liang
September 1, 2020 at 2:03 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's latest annual report on Chinese military capabilities, the Navy's reorganization of its R&D enterprise, a new Air Force strategy paper and more.

We start off with the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on China's military capabilities:

Pentagon finds China outpacing U.S. in shipbuilding and missile tech

China is "is already ahead of the United States" in shipbuilding, missile technology and integrated air defense systems, according to the Pentagon's latest annual report on Chinese military strength.

Document: DOD's 2020 report on China

Inside Defense recently obtained a memo on the Navy's reorganization of its R&D enterprise:

Navy's CNR, N94 no longer dual-hatted by a single admiral

Top Navy officials last month determined that two senior billets, charged with directing the service's $2 billion research and development enterprise, should no longer be "dual-hatted" by a single two-star admiral, according to a memorandum obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Navy memo on reorganized R&D enterprise

The Air Force's chief of staff released a new strategy paper this week:

Air Force chief lays out vision to accelerate change, foreshadows force structure, program cuts

In a new strategy paper released Monday, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown appears to build on his predecessor's drive to divest from legacy programs and reinvest in modernized, networked capabilities, saying the service has a "unique, but limited" opportunity to make significant changes to prepare to counter future threats.

Document: Air Force 'Accelerate, Change or Lose' strategy paper

Lockheed Martin this week received a $187.5 million award and York Space Systems a $94 million contract for each to build 10 Space Development Agency transport layer satellites:

SDA selects Lockheed, York Space Systems to build first 20 transport satellites

The Space Development Agency on Monday awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin and Denver-based York Space Systems to develop the first 20 satellites of its transport layer, slated to be developed and launched in two years.

Inside Defense recently chatted with AFWERX Director Col. Nathan Diller:

AFWERX explores more programs while rushing eVTOL sector to market

AFWERX is considering launching more programs in dual-use technology sectors while also eyeing export options for its inaugural Agility Prime effort that's pushing to bring electric vertical takeoff and landing providers to market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Jaspreet Gill
September 1, 2020 at 1:23 PM

Boeing has delivered the first MH-47G Block II Chinook helicopter on time to U.S. Special Operations Command, the company announced today in a press release.

The announcement comes after Boeing in July secured a $265 million contract for nine additional MH-47G Block II helicopters for Army Special Operations Aviation Command. The company is on contract for 23 more next-generation Chinooks.

"This delivery marks a major step for the Chinook program," Andy Builta, vice president and H-47 program manager, said in a statement. "The new Chinook will give U.S. Special Operations Forces significantly more capability for extremely challenging missions and will enable them to conduct those missions on the future battlefield."

By Sara Sirota
September 1, 2020 at 11:39 AM

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $92.5 million contract to deliver its situational awareness datalink radios for U.S. Special Operations Command to use on its standoff precision-guided munitions, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The contract will provide 1,600 radios -- including integration, test, qualification and operational support -- annually over the next five years, according to a presolicitation notice the Air Force released in April.

The systems must fit within the size constraints of all current USOCOM standoff PGMs. In other words, at a minimum, they must fit on the AGM-176 Griffin missile, GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition and the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb, the notice states.