The Insider

John Liang | August 27, 2018 at 5:05 AM

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

1. The Navy is preparing to execute three Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTX) between December 2018 and June 2019, with the first exercise focused on information warfare, according to a memo obtained by Inside the Navy.

Full story: Navy preparing for three technology exercises in coming months

2. The aircraft carrier John C. Stennis (CVN-74) will become the first Navy ship in its class to receive an advanced manufacturing lab consisting of four 3D printers, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Full story: Stennis to be first aircraft carrier with additive manufacturing lab

3. The Defense Department late last week moved to eliminate text in defense acquisition regulations that required major contractors to engage in "technical interchanges" with Pentagon employees to ensure independent research and development costs were considered allowable.

Full story: Pentagon formally removes requirement for 'technical interchange' related to IR&D

4. The Navy is "moving out to enforce" this fall a new approach to developing applications meant to rapidly push software to the fleet and reduce the burden on operational commanders when software is problematic, according to a senior Navy officer.

Full story: New application development standards will reduce risk to commanders

John Liang | August 24, 2018 at 2:30 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest includes big news on an active protection system for the Stryker and more.

Inside the Army has details of how a small defense business won't be getting contracts to armor Stryker vehicles anytime soon:

Army drops Iron Curtain APS, considering others for November demo

The Army announced today it will not move forward with testing an American-made, non-developmental active protection system on the Stryker vehicle and will instead seek new alternatives.

The Defense Department ends a controversial independent research and development initiative:

Pentagon formally removes requirement for 'technical interchange' related to IR&D

The Defense Department today moved to eliminate text in defense acquisition regulations that required major contractors to engage in "technical interchanges" with Pentagon employees to ensure independent research and development costs were considered allowable.

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Check out the latest defense cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

White House targets China with new foreign investment authority in NDAA

The White House is putting its sights on China -- a known international cyber aggressor -- as it develops regulations under new authority granted by recently enacted defense authorization legislation that strengthens the administration's ability to block foreign investments based on national security concerns.

Seth Spoenlein, the Army's space and terrestrial communications directorate's deputy chief, spoke to industry executives at a conference in Washington this week:

New Army ISR strategy prioritizes data mobility

The Army is shifting resources and focus to learn how to better package "small" data and hold onto it when adapting commercial systems for the tactical network.

Space Briefing

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Courtney Albon | August 24, 2018 at 1:56 PM

It's largely understood that the decision about whether to create a Space Force will ultimately be left up to lawmakers, but a congressional think tank recently raised the possibility that a literal reading of constitutional authorities could call into question the roles of the legislative and executive branches in establishing and commanding a new military department for space.

When President Trump in June directed the Pentagon to stand up a Space Force, defense experts and lawmakers were quick to point out the White House does not have the authority to create a new military department; that power resides with Congress.

But an Aug. 16 Congressional Research Service report notes that based on a careful reading, and perhaps a literal interpretation, of the U.S. Constitution, neither branch of government may be empowered to create a military service whose operational domain extends to space.

The reason, according to the report, is that when discussing presidential and congressional authorities, the Constitution references land and naval forces, but does not refer to the "realm of space."

"It may be conceivably argued that congressional authority is limited to 'land and naval forces,' including 'Armies' and 'the Navy' as well as the 'Militia' . . . and thus would not extend to a new armed force operating primarily in the realm of space," the report states. "The President's commander-in-chief authority is similarly limited to the Army and Navy and activated reserve components."

It's possible a Space Force could be characterized as a land or naval force, the report states, but it is not yet clear whether the new service would conduct most of its operations in space or if its functions would be any different from current space operations.

The report notes that when the Air Force was established as a separate military department, congressional and presidential authorities were not questioned as part of the debate, despite the air domain not being mentioned in the Constitution. A source told Inside Defense it is unlikely the discussion would be opened in the debate over creating a new space service, due in part to the questions it would raise about the Air Force's origins.

John Liang | August 24, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. As the Pentagon works at the direction of the White House to craft a legislative proposal for a new Space Force that many top officials did not want, experts say the administration's National Space Council could play a significant role in building a case and drumming up support for the new military department.

Full story: National Space Council could play key role in Space Force debate

2. SUFFOLK, VA -- Launching a multidomain command-and-control enterprise could spur significant changes to the Air Force's global network of Air Operations Centers, including standing up C2 centers that transcend combatant command boundaries as well as creating new leadership positions and authorities.

Full story: Airmen, Lockheed share ideas on future of AOCs under MDC2

3. SUFFOLK, VA -- Lockheed Martin executives say the Air Force needs to give industry a better sense of how the military wants to approach multidomain command-and-control so companies can tailor their investments.

Full story: Lockheed seeks path forward for MDC2 as wargame tools, processes mature

4. A new report from the RAND Corp. finds that creating a flying-only track for commissioned Air Force officers could help the service retain and recruit pilots.

Full story: RAND: Flying-only career track could improve pilot retention

Tony Bertuca | August 23, 2018 at 5:42 PM

The Senate voted 85-7 to pass a massive "minibus" spending package that includes $675 billion for defense.

The minibus package also includes funding for the departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor and other federal agencies.

Earlier this week, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) cautioned his colleagues against adding "poison pills," or controversial amendments to the spending bill that would force it into a partisan quagmire.

One such amendment that threatened to delay the bill was proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), which would have defunded Planned Parenthood. The Senate voted the measure down, however, 45-48.

The minibus passage means the Senate will now be able to enter conference committee negotiations with the House, which passed its defense spending bill in June.

If the lawmakers are able to pass a final appropriations package before the start of fiscal year 2019 on Oct. 1, it will be the first time Congress has done so in recent memory.

Conversely, should Congress be unable to pass a final spending package, lawmakers will have to pass a stopgap continuing resolution or face a government shutdown.

Lawmakers on the Senate floor, however, were optimistic about the future of the bill given its bipartisan support.

Prior to the bill's passage, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said today is "a good day here on the floor of the United States Senate."

John Liang | August 23, 2018 at 2:14 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on airborne laser funding, Navy cybersecurity, the National Space Council and more.

We start off with a look at airborne laser funding in the defense spending bill, which is on the verge of Senate passage:

Spending bill seeks to keep three contractors working on Pentagon's missile-killing laser project

The defense spending bill advancing through Congress would add $163 million to the Missile Defense Agency's directed-energy development programs, including an increase meant to keep three contractors working on an airborne laser program through next year. 

Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, the Navy's cybersecurity division director, spoke this week at a cybersecurity event in Washington:

Navy cyber admiral says new application development standards will reduce risk to commanders

The Navy is "moving out to enforce" this fall a new approach to developing applications meant to rapidly push software to the fleet and reduce the burden on operational commanders when software is problematic, according to a senior Navy officer.

A number of former DOD officials are on the National Space Council's user advisory group and the council has established a national security working group:

Experts say National Space Council could play key advocacy role in Space Force debate

As the Pentagon works at the direction of the White House to craft a legislative proposal for a new Space Force that many top officials did not want, experts say the administration's National Space Council could play a significant role in building a case and drumming up support for the new military department.

(Want Space Force news delivered straight to your inbox?

Inside Defense's biweekly feature, the Space Briefing, offers the latest in defense space news.

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A new Army science and technology strategy is due soon:

Army may publish S&T 'strategy' for industry

The Army's acquisition executive is poised to approve a new science and technology strategy that will provide key information on potential modernization efforts, a service official told industry executives Wednesday.

Rachel Cohen | August 23, 2018 at 12:17 PM

General Atomics will continue upgrading its MQ-9 Reaper to track and defeat ballistic missiles under a new, $134 million "advanced technology innovation" contract with the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Department said this week.

"The contractor will complete the development, integration, and flight test of an advanced sensor into an MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle in realistic test scenarios at continental U.S. and outside the continental U.S. locations," the Aug. 20 contract announcement said. "The work will be performed in San Diego, CA. The performance period is from August 2018 through October 2021."

Last year, Inside Defense reported MDA anticipated a Reaper would enter flight tests in 2020 with Raytheon's Multi-Spectral Targeting System C sensor and a laser-tracking system. The configuration could enter operation in 2026.

MDA's advanced-innovation effort focuses on radar and communication systems, electro-optical and infrared sensors, directed-energy systems, signals and data processing, materials, engineering, modeling and simulation, advanced kill vehicles and other areas.

"The MDA ballistic missile defense layered approach includes sensors, kinetic energy systems, directed-energy systems, battle management, and [command-and-control] elements that will engage threat ballistic missiles at all ranges and throughout its trajectory," according to a February 2017 broad agency announcement. "MDA efforts are focused on making the [Ballistic Missile Defense System] more robust against the widening threats, and increasing capabilities to handle a broad range of unknown missiles, warheads, trajectories, and adversaries. MDA must have the ability to detect, track, identify and destroy ballistic missiles."

A General Atomics spokeswoman referred questions to MDA. The agency did not answer questions by press time (Aug. 23).

Marjorie Censer | August 23, 2018 at 11:19 AM

Constellis said this week it has named Tim Reardon chief executive, effective immediately.

Reardon joins the company from Leidos, where he was president of defense and intelligence. Before joining Leidos in 2016, he held numerous roles at Lockheed Martin. Reardon spent 10 years as a CIA officer.

He succeeds Jason DeYonker, the company's founder, who is retiring. Dean Bosacki, its cofounder and president, will also retire, Constellis said. Both will continue to serve as special advisers to Constellis on corporate strategy and acquisitions.

John Liang | August 23, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. Army Secretary Mark Esper has directed the service to accelerate the Next Generation Combat Vehicle program, establishing a two-pronged project to immediately launch a major competition to replace the Bradley fleet with NGCV optionally manned fighting vehicles, while also establishing an NGCV robotic combat vehicle project to mature technologies for future platforms.

Full story: Army accelerates NGCV, planning draft RFP for October

2. The coordinator of an influential Pentagon advisory panel says contractors who file bid protests against Defense Department acquisitions are slowing down efforts to modernize DOD's IT infrastructure.

Full story: Director of influential advisory board says bid protests are hindering DOD innovation

3. The Chinese military is "likely training" for strikes against the United States and its allies, according to a new "special topic" section in the Pentagon's annual report on China's military capabilities.

Full story: Pentagon: China is 'likely training' for strikes against U.S. targets

4. SAPA Transmission, the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish defense contractor, is moving forward with support from the state of Michigan to establish a bona fide industrial operation there, advancing plans for a domestic manufacturing beachhead to challenge the Pentagon's two long-standing combat vehicle transmission suppliers.

Full story: Spanish firm establishes U.S. industrial operation in Michigan

Rachel Cohen | August 22, 2018 at 4:41 PM

The Air Force's fiscal year 2020 program objective memorandum indicates modest changes in the service's science and technology priorities, as the Air Force winds down its yearlong study of its S&T posture.

Tom Lockhart, the Air Force Research Laboratory's director of plans and programs, told Inside Defense at an industry conference Wednesday the FY-20 POM focuses more heavily on autonomy and quantum computing -- in which he noted industry is making great strides. A quick scan of the portfolio showed minor shifts that will not drastically move away from the service's current priorities, he added.

Lockhart added the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability, a new planning organization, is also working to speed the budgetary process of turning technology demonstrations into programs.

"Right now, our demo programs, if you actually look in the Air Force's budget, there's no place to put the stuff," he said. "We're doing a lot of demo programs that are going to sit up on the shelf until we can actually do another POM cycle to get it in the budget. . . . As opposed to 10 years, let's do it in three years. Every three years, you should have something progress out of that demo side of the house."

AFRL is leading the process of drafting a new, service-wide S&T strategy for 2030 and beyond. The study's results are expected to shape upcoming budget requests and better position AFRL to pursue advanced technologies as well as strengthen its partnerships with academia and non-traditional defense contractors.

The Air Force is largely keeping mum on what data it's gathered so far.

"Earlier this year, AFRL held several outreach events, including six regional listening forums at universities to gather technical and business modernization ideas from higher education and industry," service spokeswoman Stacey Geiger said Aug. 10. "The final listening forum was held recently at the University of Utah on July 11. Subject matter experts are currently reviewing the hundreds of ideas submitted through these events and online."

Maximilian Kwiatkowski | August 22, 2018 at 3:53 PM

As the Army prioritizes multidomain operations for the future of Long Range Precision Fires, the maximum range of artillery may not be the most important feature, according to a service engineer.

"In the grand scheme I think where the Army is going really pertains to multidomain operations," said Michael George, an engineer with Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. "As you start looking at power projection into different reaches, range is really irrelevant at that point."

Speaking Aug. 21 at an Army science and technology conference in Washington, George said improved interoperability is the main objective of the multidomain operations concept, rather than modernizing a single weapon system component.

"You can have all rocket and all range, but no lethality at the very end," he said.

Secretary Mark Esper discussed the service's focus on multidomain capability in June, noting that LRPF modernization would mean that Army weapons could help the Air Force and the Navy, potentially suppressing enemy aircraft from the ground or firing at seaborne targets from the coast.

George, meanwhile, said the service wants LRPF to be effective operating with multiple systems in the same battlespace.

"This is truly a great power competition -- how do we project power whether it be from land into sea, land to land or land to air?" George said.

Reviewing LRPF also means examining costs.

"We're looking at that in different ways," he said. “We are fixed within a [program objective memorandum] process with fixed budgets on two-year cycles, and so we try to figure out what we can do and what we can afford and when. It's not just the cost of purchase but it's that cost to maintain and the cost to bring it to the battlefield and transport the round, what the operational impacts are and so on, so it's really becomes a multifaceted question."

According to the Army's comprehensive modernization strategy, the service plans on spending $1.6 billion on LRPF from fiscal year 2020 to FY-24.

Tony Bertuca | August 22, 2018 at 3:43 PM

President Trump has nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie to lead U.S. Central Command, according to an announcement from the Pentagon.

The job would mean a fourth star for McKenzie, who currently serves as direct of the Joint Staff.

If confirmed, McKenzie would succeed Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the current CENTCOM commander.

In his current job, McKenzie has occasionally briefed Pentagon reporters alongside Dana White, the Defense Department's chief spokeswoman.

Justin Katz | August 22, 2018 at 3:23 PM

The Navy announced today that some Hawaii-based ships and submarines have begun to sortie in preparation for Hurricane Lane.

"Based on the current track of the storm, we made the decision to begin to sortie the Pearl Harbor-based ships," Rear Adm. Brian Fort, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific commander, said. "This allows the ships enough time to transit safely out of the path of the storm."

Ships that sortie will be positioned to help respond after the storm, the statement added.

Some vessels will not go underway due to maintenance availabilities, and those ships will take extra precaution to avoid damage, according to the statement.

John Liang | August 22, 2018 at 2:19 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER includes a new RAND report on pilot retention, some upcoming Advanced Naval Technology Exercises and more.

The Air Force has been given some ideas on how to keep its pilots from leaving the service to take civilian jobs:

RAND: Flying-only career track could improve pilot retention

A new report from the RAND Corp. finds that creating a flying-only track for commissioned Air Force officers could help the service retain and recruit pilots.

Keep an eye out for some upcoming Advanced Naval Technology Exercises:

Navy preparing for three technology exercises in coming months

The Navy is preparing to execute three Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTX) between December 2018 and June 2019, with the first exercise focused on information warfare, according to a memo obtained by Inside the Navy.

Document: Navy memo on ANTXs


Intellectual property is a big deal for the Army:

Army drafting intellectual property policy

The Army "in probably a month or two" will have a formal policy on intellectual property, according to the service's acquisition executive.

Bid protests are a problem, according to the executive director of the Defense Innovation Board:

Director of influential advisory board says bid protests are hindering DOD innovation

The coordinator of an influential Pentagon advisory panel says contractors who file bid protests against Defense Department acquisitions are slowing down efforts to modernize DOD's IT infrastructure.

Defense Business News

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John Liang | August 22, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Lockheed Martin said today Michele Evans has been appointed executive vice president of the company's aeronautics business unit.

Evans, who will start Oct. 1, will succeed Orlando Carvalho, who intends to retire later this year, according to a Lockheed statement.

Evans currently serves as deputy executive vice president for Lockheed's aeronautics business area. She is responsible for all aeronautics programs, including F-35, F-22, F-16, C-130 and what the company calls "Advanced Development Programs."

Prior to that, Evans served as vice president and general manager for integrated warfare systems and sensors in Lockheed Martin's rotary and mission systems business area. She also was vice president of modernization and sustainment, where she was responsible for the A-10 weapon system, and avionics programs on the C-130 and F-35.