The Insider

By John Liang
February 26, 2019 at 10:15 AM

The Defense Policy Board will meet in closed session next month to discuss "national security issues regarding 5G Technology," according to a Federal Register notice published this morning.

On March 13, the meeting will feature speakers including Kristen Baldwin, deputy director for strategic technology protection and exploitation in the Pentagon's research and engineering shop talking about "5G Telecommunications from a National Security Perspective"; Raymond Gabany from the National Security Agency on the "Intelligence Community Threat"; and DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and the Commerce Department's Policy and Strategic Planning Director Earl Comstock on "Spectrum, Standards, Supply Chain, and Technology Leadership."

Additionally, U.S. Cyber Command chief Gen. Paul Nakasone and Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo, the Joint Staff's chief information officer, will speak on "Warfighter Perspectives." Nate Tibbets from Qualcomm, Andre Fuetsch from AT&T and Chandra McMahon from Verizon will speak as part of a "5G Industry Panel," and Assistant Commerce Secretary for Communications and Information David Redl and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will hold forth on a "Government to Industry Partnering" session.

The following day, the board "will deliberate and report out to John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy," the notice reads.

DOD released a statement on 5G by Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan this morning, which reads: "Secure and resilient 5G telecommunications is vital to the security and prosperity of the United States, and DOD is working closely with our industrial and research partners to develop comprehensive and innovative solutions for both the Department and commercial industries. The United States and our allies and partners must demand nothing less than robust, trusted, and secure next-generation communications systems."

By Marjorie Censer
February 26, 2019 at 8:54 AM

Harris said this week it would hold a special meeting April 4 for its stockholders to consider proposals needed to close its merger with L3 Technologies.

The meeting will be held in Melbourne, FL, where Harris is headquartered.

By Ashley Tressel
February 25, 2019 at 4:56 PM

The Army's new hypersonic project office at Redstone Arsenal, AL, will be headed by Maj. Gen. Neil Thurgood.

Army Space and Missile Defense Command chief Lt. Gen. James Dickinson announced Thurgood's appointment at an industry luncheon in Huntsville, AL, last week, according to the command.

Thurgood previously served as the Missile Defense Agency's director for test, also located at Redstone Arsenal.

The office he is now in charge of is being established to bring all three military services together in their efforts to capitalize on a new class of long-range, ultrafast maneuvering missiles, Col. John Rafferty, director of the long-range precision fires cross-functional team, told reporters last fall.

The project office is tasked with developing the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, or C-HGB, which the Army, the other services and MDA will adapt "to meet their specific requirements," as well as managing the Army's Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon program, according to the SMDC.

The Army invited eight companies to a "secret" industry day in October to discuss the LRHW, but has yet to set an acquisition strategy for the program or release a request for proposals seeking a prime contractor to integrate the system's components.

An SMDC spokesman told Inside Defense this month the new office is still in the early organizational stages.

By John Liang
February 25, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today it had completed the acquisition of Centreville, VA-based Fulcrum IT Services.

HII announced the proposed acquisition last month.

The company said Fulcrum would bolster its capabilities in enhanced situational awareness and predictive threat analytics.

"The more we learned about the company, the better fit we thought that they would be with us, not only from a business standpoint but from a cultural standpoint," Andy Green, who heads the technical solutions division, told Inside Defense Jan. 18.

By John Liang
February 25, 2019 at 2:12 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Trump administration's plans to substantially increase Overseas Contingency Operations funding.

The Trump administration will be asking for a much bigger OCO spending request, despite reservations from conservative congressional budget hawks as well as outright opposition from Democrats:

Trump administration confirms plans for inflated OCO request

For the first time publicly, the Trump administration is confirming its plans to request from Congress a massive increase in Overseas Contingency Operations funds, a strategy to beat mandatory budget caps that has shocked lawmakers and analysts.

Related from Friday, in case you missed it:

DOD could be poised to reprogram billions for border wall without congressional approval

Pentagon officials' evasive posture on whether they will seek congressional approval before reprogramming $2.5 billion toward construction of a wall on the southwestern border is creating concern on Capitol Hill, where some worry that a “gentleman's agreement” governing the budget process is about to be broken.

Trump's plan to reprogram $2.5B for wall is unlikely to get by Congress

Part of President Trump's plan to use Defense Department funds to construct a wall on the southwestern border is likely to require congressional approval, meaning Democrats would have the power to block it at the committee level.

The Pentagon's top weapons tester has a dim view of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program:

JLTV fleet not operationally suitable, TOW-missile launcher variant not operationally effective

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a $28 billion program to replace about half of the Army's aging humvee fleet, is not operationally suitable on account of deficiencies in reliability, maintainability, crew situational awareness and safety, according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

Document: Pentagon's 2018 DOT&E report

By Courtney Albon
February 25, 2019 at 1:04 PM

Rolls-Royce announced today it will produce its F130 engine in Indianapolis if the Air Force selects it for the B-52 re-engining program.

The company told reporters Feb. 25 it has invested about $600 million to upgrade the Indianapolis facilities, and is ready to support a program that will be heavily reliant on prototyping and digital engineering processes. A win on the program would add more than 150 new manufacturing, engineering and program management jobs, officials said.

The Air Force is looking for commercial-off-the-shelf solutions to upgrade the B-52's TF33 engine with a newer, more fuel-efficient propulsion system. The total program will include about 650 engines and the service has said it could select a provider in fiscal year 2020.

Boeing will serve as the prime integrator for the effort, and Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric have all said they will bid engine solutions. The Air Force has said it will use its existing propulsion consortium to make the award via an other transaction agreement.

By John Liang
February 25, 2019 at 9:48 AM

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

1. Part of President Trump's plan to use Defense Department funds to construct a wall on the southwestern border is likely to require congressional approval, meaning Democrats have the power to block it at the committee level.

Full story: Trump's plan to reprogram $2.5B for wall is unlikely to get by Congress

2. The Defense Department next month expects to bring online the final sensors in the Space-based Kill Assessment experiment, a project that could chart a new course to using commercially hosted satellites to develop a range of new space-based missile defense capabilities.

Full story: Complete SKA constellation set to be in place, online next month

3. Raytheon says it has been picked by the Army to participate in the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor competition, the first public word on the planned "sense-off" event at White Sands Missile Range, NM, this spring from either the government or industry in months.

Full story: Raytheon says Army picked its radar for LTAMDS 'sense off'

4. Advanced Turbine Engine Co. said last week it has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office against the Army's award to General Electric Aviation for the Improved Turbine Engine Program, intended to replace the engines in the AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Full story: ATEC protests GE's Apache, Black Hawk engine replacement win

By John Liang
February 25, 2019 at 9:43 AM

Check out these must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Navy:

1. The Navy plans to build a land-based testing site in Philadelphia, PA for Ford-class aircraft carriers' Advanced Weapons Elevators, according to the Naval Sea Systems Command chief.

Full story: Navy building land-based Ford-class Advanced Weapons Elevators test site

2. Part of President Trump's plan to use Defense Department funds to construct a wall on the southwestern border is likely to require congressional approval, meaning Democrats have the power to block it at the committee level.

Full story: Trump's plan to reprogram $2.5B for wall is unlikely to get by Congress

3. SAN DIEGO -- Adm. Christopher Grady, U.S. Fleet Forces commander, is preparing to sign out a "readiness campaign plan" in the coming weeks that will establish a fleet analytics office, and potentially install an officer billet on his staff focused on readiness.

Full story: Readiness officer billet, fleet analytics office to come in Navy readiness plan

4. The Defense Department next month expects to bring online the final sensors in the Space-based Kill Assessment experiment, a project that could chart a new course to using commercially hosted satellites to develop a range of new space-based missile defense capabilities.

Full story: Complete SKA constellation set to be in place, online next month

By Tony Bertuca
February 25, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Congress returns to work this week and senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to appear around the Washington area.

Monday

The Federal Networks Conference begins in Tysons Corner, VA, featuring several Defense Department officials.

Tuesday

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy speaks at a breakfast hosted by the Association of the United States Army.

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

The House Armed Services readiness and seapower subcommittees hold a joint hearing on naval surface forces readiness.

The House Armed Services intelligence, emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing with senior Pentagon officials on cybersecurity.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. 

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on modernizing the sea-based nuclear deterrent force.

BWX Technologies and KBR executives are slated to discuss their respective earnings.

Wednesday

The House Appropriations military construction, Veterans Affairs and related agencies subcommittee holds a hearing with senior Pentagon officials on President Trump's national emergency declaration for the southern border.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion with Pentagon officials about operationalizing cyber strategies.

The Air Force Association hosts the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, FL. The event runs through Friday.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with former government officials about U.S. nuclear posture.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and Maxar Technologies executives are slated to discuss their respective earnings.

By Marjorie Censer
February 22, 2019 at 2:54 PM

Today's INSIDER Daily Digest begins with the latest news on the battle to build a border wall.

White House officials have said they plan to seek $2.5 billion in funding from existing DOD projects to move into a counternarcotics account, a move that could be blocked by Democrats in Congress:

Trump's plan to reprogram $2.5B for wall is unlikely to get by Congress

Part of President Trump's plan to use Defense Department funds to construct a wall on the southwestern border is likely to require congressional approval, meaning Democrats would have the power to block it at the committee level.

Meanwhile, Raytheon said it's “ready” to produce a clean-sheet radar design as a candidate for the multibillion-dollar replacement contract for the Patriot radar:

First out of the gate, Raytheon says Army picked its radar for LTAMDS 'sense off'

Raytheon says it has been picked by the Army to participate in the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor competition, the first public word on the planned "sense-off" event at White Sands Missile Range, NM, this spring from either the government or industry in months.

Finally, we have the latest on the Space-based Kill Assessment, meant to help determine whether an interceptor hit or missed an enemy ballistic missile:

Complete Space-based Kill Assessment constellation set to be in place, online next month

The Defense Department next month expects to bring online the final sensors in the Space-based Kill Assessment experiment, a project that could chart a new course to using commercially hosted satellites to develop a range of new space-based missile defense capabilities.

By Sara Sirota
February 22, 2019 at 2:53 PM

The Air Force found that the June 2018 crash of an A-29 Super Tucano resulting in the pilot's death was caused by failures to follow established procedures and poor decision-making, according to a report released today.

The A-29 had just completed delivery of a guided bomb unit-12 weapon in support of phase two of the Light-Attack Aircraft experiment when it crashed. The Air Force canceled the flying portion of the experiment as a result.

“By a preponderance of the evidence, I find that the cause of the mishap was the [mishap pilot's] overcontrol of the [mishap aircraft] causing an inadvertent entry into an uncontrolled spiral dive, combined with his failure to apply adequate control inputs. Additionally, I find by a preponderance of the evidence, that a specific cause of the MP's death was delayed initiation of the ejection sequence by the [mishap crew], not in accordance with established procedures,” Brig. Gen. Kenneth T. Bibb, Jr. said in the report.

According to the report, the crew “made a wrong choice of action when they decided just prior to the initial weapon delivery to accept a slower than normal airspeed and proceed with the planned weapon release followed by a 180-degree turn in the direction of the heavy right wing, without compensating for the asymmetry.”

The A-29 entered an uncontrolled spiral dive after naval aviator Lt. Christopher Carey Short's control inputs worsened the expected roll toward the right wing that accompanied that asymmetry, the report stated. Further, while the A-29 flight manual recommends ejection above 5,000 feet in an uncontrolled situation, Short initiated ejection at about 700 feet, or about 1.5 seconds before impact. The mishap weapon systems officer, who survived, initiated ejection at about 2,600 feet.

Bibb also concluded that “fixation, critical information not communicated between the MC during the recovery, and operation of the ejection seat selector as directed in single mode substantially contributed to the fatality.”

While a 2014 modification “enabled safe operation” of the ejection seats, not all of the seats in the A-29 fleet had been modified, and manufacturer Embraer Defense & Security had not released an operational bulletin allowing use of the ejection sequence selector in all three modes (AFT, normal and single).

“Had the [mishap crew] been allowed to fly in the AFT mode, MP ejection would have been activated automatically 0.4 seconds following the MW, which would have been at least 2.5 seconds earlier than when he pulled his ejection seat handle, increasing the likelihood of survival,” the report stated.

In January, the Air Force announced it has suspended plans to select a Light-Attack Aircraft platform, opting instead to continue with experimentation. The service had previously limited the pool of likely competitors to a Sierra Nevada and Embraer team offering the A-29 and Textron, which offered the AT-6.

By Marjorie Censer
February 22, 2019 at 1:52 PM

Perspecta's win of a new Army Cyber Command task order marks the “first full Perspecta bid” that takes advantage of all of the company's capabilities, Perspecta's chief executive said today.

Perspecta was formed last year by combining Vencore with DXC Technology's U.S. public sector business and KeyPoint Government Solutions.

Speaking at a Washington Technology conference in Tysons, Mac Curtis said the first two quarters of the new contractor represented work already in the existing companies' pipelines. The third quarter, he said, is now leveraging the combined company's full capabilities.

He pointed in particular to a task order announced earlier this month. The company said it was awarded Army Cyber Command's cyberspace operations support task order, worth up to $905 million over five years.

Under the deal, “Perspecta will provide comprehensive cyberspace operations support to ARCYBER headquarters, Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber, ARCYBER subordinate components, service components of USCYBERCOM, and other Department of Defense cyber mission partners,” the company said.

Curtis said the win is “proving the thesis statement” of the business.

“That was a really good win for us,” he said. “We've got the size and scale to compete.”

By Mallory Shelbourne
February 22, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Naval Sea Systems Command plans to hold an industry day March 11 to review the Navy’s shipyard infrastructure optimization program.

The service made the announcement in a special notice posted Feb. 21 to Federal Business Opportunities.

“The purpose of the Industry Day is to define the SIOP for industry, communicate known requirements, answer industry's questions to the greatest extent possible, and receive feedback,” the notice reads.

“The intent of the Industry Day is to begin the needed dialogue between the Navy and industry on this critical program,” it continues.

Inside Defense previously reported the Navy’s plans to spend $21 billion over 20 years on its shipyard optimization plan for the four main public yards.

The industry day will take place at Washington Navy Yard from 8 am to 12 pm.

“Each shipyard has graving dry docks, facilities, projected workloads, unique physical configurations, and local considerations that must be taken into account when building their individually-tailored plans,” the notice reads.

“The age and physical state of the shipyards can detract from on-time delivery, which has an impact [on] the Navy's ability to surge ships if required,” it later adds.

By John Liang
February 22, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Here are some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Air Force:

1. President Trump signed a key space policy directive this week that would direct the creation of a new military service, but falls short of a previous order to establish a new department for space.

Full story: President signs key Space Force policy directive

2. The Air Force has delayed a key milestone for its $2.7 billion, E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 upgrade program stemming from shortfalls identified during testing and delays in delivering new hardware by prime contractor Boeing.

Full story: USAF reports E-3G delay, pushes AWACS final milestone into mid-2024

3. The Combat Rescue Helicopter program office is aiming for a September 2019 milestone C decision, despite concerns from the Pentagon's senior weapons tester.

Full story: CRH program aims for September milestone C decision despite DOT&E warning

4. The Pentagon has 19 pathfinders, ranging from individual weapon systems to program executive offices, leveraging the work of a new initiative to make agile software development tools available across the Defense Department, according to the official in charge of the effort.

Full story: DOD aims to boost agile software development with 'DevSecOps Initiative'

By Marjorie Censer
February 21, 2019 at 1:49 PM

Northrop Grumman's chief executive said at a conference today she's closely watching the company's ability to rapidly develop capabilities as well as seeking to ensure its capabilities align with the environment.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Citi, Kathy Warden said the company's government customer "has more resources, but also a much broader mandate so [is] still feeling very resource-constrained."

She said: "Speed is essential."

"We have to be thinking about rapid capability development," Warden said. "The two things that I'm really focused on with the team is technology insertion at speed and having relevant capability in this threat environment."

"I think we're well positioned on both fronts," she added.