The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
December 21, 2018 at 9:28 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton said today it has named John Noh vice president of corporate development, where “he will lead execution of the company’s inorganic growth plans and alternative investment and partnership efforts.”

Noh previously led acquisitions and divestitures while working at CACI International and Cubic, Booz Allen said. He also was an investment banker at Houlihan Lokey, Jones Lang LaSalle and Bank of America and served in the Army.

By John Liang
December 21, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. Lessons learned from the Air Force's first multidomain command-and-control war game last month are now helping shape the fiscal year 2020 budget as well as its experimentation priorities, according to the service's operations director.

Full story: MDC2 war game spurs Air Force to shift budget, experimentation priorities

2. The Pentagon appears to have classified a congressionally required Center for Naval Analyses report recommending a roadmap for standing up an independent Space Force, according to multiple sources.

Full story: Sources: DOD classified congressionally directed, independent Space Force roadmap

3. While President Trump has ordered the re-establishment of U.S. Space Command, according to a White House memo, multiple sources tell Inside Defense the Pentagon is still working through key details of those plans, including where to locate the new combatant command.

Full story: Trump orders re-establishment of SPACECOM, but key details unknown

4. The Air Force has yet to reveal much detail on how it will achieve its vision to grow from 312 operational squadrons to 386, but a series of wargaming and planning efforts slated to begin next year should help the service understand its options for addressing near- and long-term threats.

Full story: AFWIC wargaming aimed at helping flesh out future force structure needs

By Justin Doubleday
December 20, 2018 at 6:03 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will step down from his position at the end of February, telling President Trump in a resignation letter sent today that he should have a Pentagon chief whose views "are better aligned" with his.

In the Dec. 20 letter to the president, Mattis writes, "our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships." The United States must confront Russia and China, he continued, whose views "are increasingly in tension with ours."

In an unmistakable rebuke to Trump, Mattis writes his "views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis continues.

His last day will be Feb. 28, the letter continues, to allow time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed. Mattis wrote the time frame would also allow him to represent Defense Department's interests at congressional posture hearings, as well as at the NATO defense ministerial meeting in February.

His resignation comes just a day after Trump surprised Washington and the world by deciding to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, a move that has sparked bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill.

"We are concerned that it would be a strategic error to remove U.S. forces precipitously from Syria without regard to the impact it might have on our ability to consolidate our military gains against ISIS, ensure the safety of our partners, including the Kurds and other Syrian Democratic Forces, and uphold regional stability against malign actors such as Russia and Iran. ISIS was and still remains a lethal threat to America's security and will seek to inspire threats to the homeland from safe havens around the world," reads a joint statement -- issued before the news of Mattis' retirement -- from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the committee’s ranking member.

Just before DOD released Mattis' resignation letter, Trump announced the news on Twitter.

"General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years," Trump wrote in a pair of tweets tonight. "During Jim's tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment.

"General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations," Trump continued. "A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!"

Following the announcement, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in a statement said Mattis "led us through rebuilding our military after the readiness crisis to developing a forward-thinking National Defense Strategy that prepares our military for the realities of the future. It is a shock to everyone that a career Marine with the nickname of 'Mad Dog' was genuine, gentle and understanding. He was devoted to the warfighter, military families and veterans. I always valued our close working relationship and our nation is better for his lifetime of service."

By John Liang
December 20, 2018 at 2:51 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a change to satellite communications acquisition regulations, Army Cyber Command, the Defense Innovation Unit and much more.

Inside Defense has an advance look at a change to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement that will appear in the Federal Register tomorrow:

DOD to amend SATCOM services acquisition rules to protect against Russian and Chinese threats

The Defense Department is working on an amendment to its acquisition rules that would place more restrictions on procurement of some foreign commercial satellite services and would prohibit the purchase of items from some Chinese military companies.

We spoke earlier this week with the head of Army Cyber Command's Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activities Support to Corps and Below program:

'Multidomain Operations 1.5' expands cyber support program

The Army's new "Multidomain Operations 1.5" concept will expand the work of Army Cyber Command's Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activities Support to Corps and Below program, but will not necessarily change its mission, according to the program's director.

We also chatted with DIU's Acquisition Pathways Director David Rothzeid:

DIU still putting measures in place to begin executing OTAs

While the Pentagon last month approved the Defense Innovation Unit to start executing its own other transaction authorities, the organization is still putting measures into place before it can begin issuing the agreements.

An unclassified executive summary of a Defense Science Board report requested during the Obama administration is now out:

DSB finds 'significant shortfalls' in U.S. logistics enterprise, eyes autonomous barges and airships

The U.S. military has "significant shortfalls" in its logistics enterprise that place at risk the ability to project power and sustain a fight against China and Russia -- deficiencies that must be remedied by a host of new investments, including new technologies and cyber hardening, as well as new concepts of operation.

Document: DSB report on survivable logistics

Sources are telling Inside Defense that officials are concerned an expected Space Force roadmap conflicts with the direction of a legislative proposal the Defense Department is currently crafting:

Sources: Pentagon classified congressionally directed, independent Space Force roadmap

The Pentagon appears to have classified a congressionally required Center for Naval Analyses report recommending a roadmap for standing up an independent Space Force, according to multiple sources.

Air Force Brig. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman spoke with Inside Defense this week:

MDC2 war game spurs Air Force to shift budget, experimentation priorities

Lessons learned from the Air Force's first multidomain command-and-control war game last month are now helping shape the fiscal year 2020 budget as well as its experimentation priorities, according to the service's operations director.

The GPS Contingency Operations capability was slated for delivery in early December, but that delivery date has now been moved to March 2019:

Air Force: GPS OCX contingency capability delayed due to development challenges

The Air Force confirmed this week Lockheed Martin is expected to be several months behind on delivering a key upgrade to the legacy GPS Operational Control Segment -- a modification that was designed to mitigate the impact of delays to the Next-Generation Operational Control Segment.

By Justin Doubleday
December 20, 2018 at 1:50 PM

The Justice Department today announced charges against two Chinese nationals who allegedly took part in a decade-long hacking campaign that involved stealing the personally identifiable information from more than 100,000 Navy personnel and targeted data from numerous companies, including defense and aviation firms.

The Dec. 17 indictment filed in the Southern District of New York alleges the two defendants, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, were members of a hacking group in China known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10, or APT10. Beginning in 2006 and lasting through this year, the group "conducted extensive campaigns of global intrusions into computer systems," acting in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, according to the indictment.

During a press conference in Washington today, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the alleged hacking campaign targeted companies in 12 countries, including the United States. More recently, he said. APT10 allegedly went after targets working in industries identified by China's "Made in 2025" initiative.

"Many of the companies allegedly targeted recently by Chinese defendants operate in sectors identified by that official Chinese policy," Rosenstein said.

APT10 allegedly obtained unauthorized access to the computers of more than 45 entities in at least 12 states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the charges. Around 2014, the group started targeting managed service providers who remotely run IT infrastructure for businesses and governments around the world, the indictment continues.

"You've all heard about situations where you see the cyber equivalent of breaking into a house," FBI Director Chris Wray said during today's press conference. "This is more like breaking into and getting the keys from the maintenance supervisor, who has keys to hundreds and hundreds of apartments and all the residents in those apartments."

The group is alleged to have successfully gained unauthorized access to at least 90 computers belonging to, among other entities, "commercial and defense technology companies and U.S. government agencies," according to the indictment.

It alleges they stole "hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data and information" from the systems of at least seven companies involved in aviation, space and/or satellite technology, three companies involved in communications technology, three firms involved in advanced electronics and/or laboratory analytical systems, and one company involved in maritime technology, among others. NASA's Goddard Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory are also named as alleged victims.

Additionally, APT10 allegedly hacked into "more than 40 computers" to swipe confidential data from systems belonging to the Navy, including the personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel, according to the indictment. The data allegedly stolen includes names, social security numbers, dates of birth, salary information, personal phone numbers and email addresses, according to the indictment.

The charges do not provide any more specifics on who was targeted and when the hacks are alleged to have occurred.

During today's press briefing, Rosenstein and Wray highlighted the contributions of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Department's Computer Forensic Laboratory. Wray said the laboratory worked with the FBI to analyze hundreds of malware samples, which identified "key links" between victims and APT10's command-and-control infrastructure.

"The Chinese government is not pulling any punches," Wray said. "They want what we have so they can get their upper hand on us, and they're strategic in their approach. They're playing the long game."

The Pentagon in recent months has taken on a more prominent role in U.S. government efforts to protect critical infrastructure and the supply chain from cyber threats, which are primarily seen as emanating from China. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently established a “Protecting Critical Technology Task Force” to find ways to better prevent information and key data from being stolen in cyberspace.

Meanwhile, the Navy has put in place rigorous cybersecurity requirements for companies working on the service's "critical" technology programs after one of its contractors was reportedly compromised by Chinese hackers who successfully stole sensitive undersea warfare data.

By Courtney Albon
December 20, 2018 at 9:23 AM

A GPS III launch slated to fly from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, today has been canceled due to weather concerns at the launch site.

This is the third cancellation this week for the mission, which represents two significant firsts for the Air Force and the national security space launch community: the launch of the first Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite and the first time SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket will fly an NSS mission.

The first two launches were canceled due to an "out-of-family reading" from sensors on the launch vehicle.

Today's launch has not yet been rescheduled.

By John Liang
December 20, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord, after a controversial failure earlier this year, is again approaching defense contractors to get a range of perspectives on the potential for performance incentives, while simultaneously launching a massive "clean sheet" rewrite of government procurement policy.

Full story: Lord again talks performance incentives with industry amid AQ policy rewrite

2. While President Trump has ordered the re-establishment of U.S. Space Command, according to a White House memo, multiple sources tell Inside Defense the Pentagon is still working through key details of those plans, including where to locate the new combatant command.

Full story: Trump orders re-establishment of SPACECOM, but key details unknown

3. Military facilities responsible for protecting Ballistic Missile Defense System technical information did not pass muster, according to a Defense Department inspector general audit that identified more than half-a-dozen security shortfalls on classified networks critical to the $180 billion program to develop and field a defense against Iranian and North Korean long-range rockets.

Full story: IG turns up numerous failings by U.S. military to protect BMDS tech info

4. Defense Department officials say their "continuous evaluation" program has already helped pare down the security clearance investigations backlog, and they plan to scale its use across all cleared personnel as the Defense Security Service takes over the federal government's background investigations mission.

Full story: DOD scales up continuous eval effort as it takes over background checks

By Rachel Cohen
December 19, 2018 at 4:19 PM

Raytheon this week received a $141.4 million low-rate initial production contract to build 1,260 Small Diameter Bomb II munitions, the Defense Department said Tuesday evening.

The award also covers 389 single-weapon containers, 344 dual-weapon containers, training equipment and more. Work will run through the end of June 2022.

The military plans to buy 17,000 SDB II units, split between 12,000 for the Air Force and 5,000 for the Navy, to fly on several fighter, bomber, attack, gunship and unmanned aircraft. Overall, the program, which is working through development and testing delays, is slated to cost $4.6 billion.

By John Liang
December 19, 2018 at 1:43 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Lockheed Martin winning a big missile defense radar contract, Army vehicle sensors, the delayed launch of SpaceX's GPS III satellite and more.

Looks like Lockheed Martin will be building the Missile Defense Agency's Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii:

MDA taps Lockheed to build new $1 billion Hawaii missile defense radar

The Missile Defense Agency has selected Lockheed Martin to build the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, a planned $1 billion improvement to the U.S. military's intercontinental ballistic missile defense architecture that will add a ground-based sensor on the archipelago state to better defend Hawaii against North Korean long-range rockets.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Don Reago, director of the night vision and electronic sensors directorate under the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center:

Army developing intelligent sensors for next-generation vehicles

The Army wants to equip its next generation of combat vehicles with automated target acquisition so soldiers can see farther and faster, according to an official.

The launch of SpaceX's GPS III satellite has been delayed a couple times this week:

SpaceX GPS III launch performance could set the stage for future reusable missions

SpaceX's upcoming GPS III satellite could set the stage for future Air Force reusable launch missions, according to launch officials.

Maj. Gen. Michael Fantini, head of the new Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability, spoke at a Dec. 18 Air Force Association event:

AFWIC wargaming aimed at helping flesh out future force structure needs

The Air Force has yet to reveal much detail on how it will achieve its vision to grow from 312 operational squadrons to 386, but a series of wargaming and planning efforts slated to begin next year should help the service understand its options for addressing near- and long-term threats.

One of the two concepts for the Apache and Black Hawk engine replacement effort will move onto the engineering and manufacturing development phase after the Army's milestone B decision in late January:

ITEP downselect expected in early 2019

Vendors competing in the Army's Improved Turbine Engine Program expect the service to downselect to one design in early 2019.

By Mallory Shelbourne
December 19, 2018 at 12:59 PM

The Marine Corps next month will host an industry day for its Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement technology demonstrator, according to a recent notice.

A Dec. 18 Federal Business Opportunities notice states the service will convene with industry on Jan. 16 in Quantico, VA.

"The Request for Prototype Proposal (RPP) is seeking engineering services to develop a prototype MTVR TD system that will demonstrate potential upgrades to the MTVR TD while maintaining [the] current program’s operational requirements and fuel efficiency requirements," the notice reads.

Inside Defense previously reported about the Marine Corps' effort to seek information from industry about possible new technologies for the vehicle’s service life extension, which was pushed to 2042. The vehicle is a cargo truck built by Oshkosh.

"The inclusion of the upgraded technologies into the prototype MTVR TD will explore ways that will increase the service life of the MTVR to the year 2042 while increasing or optimizing crew survivability associated with roll-over protection, fuel efficiency, and maintainability of the platform while maintaining mobility, transportability, and mission effectiveness through quantification of the overall performance of the vehicle system against the original performance specification," the latest notice reads.

By Tony Bertuca
December 19, 2018 at 12:31 PM

The United States has begun withdrawing troops from Syria, but remains committed to the "next phase" of fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, according to a Pentagon statement.

"The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over," said Dana White, chief Defense Department.

"We have started the process of returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign," she continued.

The Pentagon, however, will not provide further details out of concern for "force protection and operational security," she said.

"We will continue working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it operates," White said. 

By Justin Katz
December 19, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer last week identified for Congress the potential impact on a variety of Navy vendors and bases throughout the country if the Pentagon's fiscal year 2020 budget is limited by sequestration.

Spencer illustrated the effects with a map of the country dotted with the names of Navy vendors who would ultimately lose business and bases or maintenance centers that would have hiring freezes or furloughs. He submitted the document for the record to the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee at a Dec. 12 Navy readiness hearing.

"If mechanical sequestration occurs in FY-20, then all budget line items will be reduced by the same [percent] (unless exempted)," the document states. "This chart shows the scope of potential cuts (or 'up to' amounts)."

Notably, maintenance would be reduced at all four of the service's public shipyards. Additionally, major shipbuilding programs -- such as the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51) and San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious ships -- would also be cut. Aircraft procurement cuts could include up to 36 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

The visual comes to Congress at a time when the Pentagon's projected FY-20 topline has been in flux. The Defense Department was expected to request $733 billion in funding, but began developing a second budget after the White House directed the military to plan on having a $700 billion budget. That number was also upended when Capitol Hill defense hawks and top Pentagon officials lobbied President Donald Trump to reconsider, prompting the president to suggest the military request $750 billion in FY-20 funding.

Sequestration of the Pentagon's budget began with the Budget Control Act of 2011. Although Congress reached a legislative deal for FY-18 and FY-19 to set aside the budget limits in those years, that cap will apply to the FY-20 budget short any legislative action to prevent that.

By Mallory Shelbourne
December 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM

The Navy is slated to issue a request for proposals for its Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle in 2019, according to a recent notice.

A Dec. 18 Federal Business Opportunities notice states the Navy will hold an industry day for the vehicle in February and will release the RFP during "late second quarter fiscal year 2019."

"The Government anticipates releasing the draft MUSV Performance Specification for Industry review and comment in January 2019," the notice reads.

"The purpose of this Industry Day is for the Government to brief interested Contractors in order to improve Industry's understanding of the MUSV prototyping requirement and anticipated contracting approach," it continues.

In a prior request for information, the Navy said the MUSV is a ship that is 12 meters to 50 meters long and should incorporate "extended vessel range and cruising speed, and high reliability."

By Justin Doubleday
December 19, 2018 at 9:07 AM

The State Department has approved a possible, multibillion-dollar foreign military sale of Patriot air and missile defense interceptors to Turkey, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced last night.

Turkey has requested the potential purchase of 80 Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T) and 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhanced (MSE) interceptors, according to the DSCA announcement. The deal would also include four AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, four Engagement Control Stations, 10 Antenna Mast Groups, 20 M903 Launching Stations and other related equipment.

The approved package is estimated to cost $3.5 billion, according to DSCA. The State Department officially notified Congress of the potential deal yesterday. Lawmakers will have 15 days to review the purchase. 

Turkey’s request may indicate U.S. officials have had some success in convincing Ankara to forego its planned purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system and opt for an American system instead.

However, the State Department’s approval does not mean a contract has been signed or the sale has been concluded.

The S-400 deal is among a host of contentious issues animating the recent relationship between Washington and Ankara. The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, pending an assessment of U.S.-Turkey relations.

Meanwhile, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act signed into law last year automatically sanctions countries who purchase Russian arms.

During a media roundtable at the Farnborough Airshow in July, Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, pointed to the CAATSA sanctions when asked about Turkey’s planned S-400 purchase. She said U.S. officials were working to convince allies that the purchase of such systems supports some of Russia’s “least good behavior” in Europe and elsewhere.

“We want them to understand the downsides, the real serious downsides to making these acquisitions, and particularly the S-400 acquisitions from the Russians, and to continue to instead, to look to our systems and to put interoperability and all the other things we care about first,” Kaidanow said. “And that’s been the effort, whether with respect to Turkey or any other country that’s impacted by this set of issues.”

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said Turkey’s planned S-400 purchase is problematic because it would not be interoperable with alliance equipment.

"I hope that it's possible to find a solution because what we see now is a challenge for all of us that there is this disagreement on the issue of S-400," Stoltenberg said in September. "NATO has been a kind of platform for this dialogue. Turkey is a very important ally for NATO for many reasons, but not least for its geographic location."

 

By Courtney Albon
December 19, 2018 at 8:27 AM

The GPS III launch scheduled to fly today on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delayed as the company and the Air Force determine the cause of an “out-of-family reading” on the rocket’s first stage sensors.

SpaceX halted today's planned launch 15 minutes before the scheduled time because of the sensor readings. In a tweet this morning, the company said the launch, which had been planned for yesterday but was pushed to today, would be delayed again as they evaluate the cause of the readings.

The company and the Air Force have not released further details on what is causing the sensor readings.

This launch is the first National Security Space mission for SpaceX, a new entrant in the Air Force’s launch business.