The Insider

May 7, 2018 at 11:39 AM | John Liang

The House Armed Services Committee's marathon debate over the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill begins Wednesday.

As a primer, check out what language the Defense Department would like to be included in the bill here as well as the chairman's mark here and the subcommittee mark-ups here.

May 7, 2018 at 9:52 AM | Courtney McBride

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. The Army has laid out its vision of the future force and a path to achieving it, but maintains that fiscal uncertainty or diminished budgets could derail the effort.

Full story: Army delivers comprehensive modernization strategy to Congress

2. The Army's primary goal for the future of combat vehicles in the near to mid term is to replace the Bradley with a new infantry fighting vehicle, according to a report obtained by Inside the Army.

Full story: Bradley replacement a top goal for Army in next decade

3. A pair of Defense Department offices has informed Congress that the Army's strategy to transform and modernize its tactical network has merit, but cautions it is too early to predict success and urges the service to further develop its implementation approach.

Full story: CAPE, DOT&E deem Army's network strategy 'suitable,' raise concerns

4. The Army's pursuit of long-range precision fires capability relies on "an incremental approach" across multiple capabilities for employment at different echelons, according to a new document.

Full story: Army provides detailed time line on long-range precision fires

May 7, 2018 at 8:48 AM | Lee Hudson

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

1. The Navy plans to gain the trust of Congress that the service's acquisition system is agile enough to accelerate programs when needed by showcasing pilot projects, Inside the Navy has learned.

Full Story: Navy unveils plans to gain lawmakers’ trust in accelerated acquisition

2. House lawmakers are taking steps to shore up what they are calling a "crisis point" in military aviation, a plethora of accidents over the last few years, according to a summary of the House Armed Services Committee's chairman's mark of the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill.

Full Story: House lawmakers looks to ‘crisis point’ in aviation mishaps

3. Whether Congress directs the Navy to purchase additional Littoral Combat Ships in fiscal year 2019 does not change the service's stance on buying at a minimum 20 guided-missile frigate replacement vessels.

Full Story: Geurts: Additional LCSs in FY-19 would not change 20-ship FFG(X) buy

4. The Marine Corps recently completed the operational assessment for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, and is waiting for after-action reports before downselecting to one vendor in mid-June.

Full Story: Marines complete ACV operational assessment, downselect slated for June

May 7, 2018 at 5:00 AM | Tony Bertuca

The week ahead features an appearance on Capitol Hill by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, along with the House Armed Services Committee's marathon debate over the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill.

Monday

The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements.

Tuesday

The Association of the United States Army hosts a breakfast with the Army surgeon general.

https://www.ausa.org/events/institute-land-warfare-rogers-forum-west

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the strategic future of the Arctic.

Wednesday

Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford will appear before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee to discuss the FY-19 budget request.

The House Armed Services Committee meets to mark up and vote on its version of the FY-19 defense authorization bill.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will speak at the National Science Foundation.

Thursday

The annual C4ISRNET Conference begins, featuring several Pentagon officials.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing to consider several individuals for senior Pentagon positions.

The Hudson Institute hosts Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) for a discussion on U.S. naval power.

May 4, 2018 at 4:48 PM | Tony Bertuca

The House Armed Services Committee has released a summary of Chairman Mac Thornberry’s (R-TX) of the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill.

The bill sets a $639 billion topline for based defense spending and $69 billion of the Overseas Contingency Operations account.

Democrats on the committee also released a summary of their own

Watch Inside Defense today for detailed coverage.

May 4, 2018 at 3:22 PM | Tony Bertuca

The House Armed Services Committee will debate a provision next week that would fence half the total budget of the Pentagon's new and controversial cloud computing contract until additional information is provided to Congress, according to committee staffers.

"The provision is just an oversight provision,” a committee staffer told reporters today. “It's a large contract. Typically, anywhere we use a fence [is] for oversight purposes to ask for information. Basically it's a call for information, enough information so we can do what we think is the necessary oversight for a very significant dollar amount contract. Then the fence will be lifted. It's because we want the information so we can conduct the oversight we think is necessary."

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is scheduled to deliver two reports justifying and detailing its cloud acquisition strategy on Monday.

Two draft requests for proposals show the Pentagon plans to award a single, two-year base contract, with options to extend the deal to as long as 10 years. The department has not assigned a dollar figure to the contract, but some analysts have pegged its total value at $10 billion.

Many contractors have criticized the Pentagon's single-award acquisition strategy, with some speculating the deal is being positioned for Amazon Web Services to win.

Pentagon officials, meanwhile, have pushed back against critics, arguing the department will continue to maintain multiple cloud services.

May 4, 2018 at 2:16 PM | John Liang

Big news on the Army's modernization strategy leads off this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Inside Defense obtained a copy of the Army's latest modernization strategy:

Army delivers comprehensive modernization strategy to Congress

The Army has laid out its vision of the future force and a path to achieving it, but maintains that fiscal uncertainty or diminished budgets could derail the effort.

Document: Army's modernization strategy (FOUO)


House authorizers from both sides of the political aisle are jockeying for position over the upcoming defense policy bill:

Partisan debate ready to roil over proposed 'Fourth Estate' cuts to DOD

Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee set to embark on their annual debate over the national defense authorization bill next week will face several key policy disagreements, one of which is over a proposal to cut the Pentagon's civilian management agencies, the so-called "Fourth Estate," by 25 percent.

The Air Force is short on skilled helicopter maintenance staff:

GAO finds Air Force helicopter acquisitions face staffing problems, cybersecurity concerns

The Air Force's two ongoing helicopter acquisitions are having trouble finding skilled workers to staff those programs as they ramp up, according to the Government Accountability Office's annual analysis of major weapon systems.

Document: GAO's annual audit of DOD's major weapons portfolio

The Air Force's Air Operations Center is facing an uphill funding battle:

To fully fund AOC, Congress may want more details on Agile DevOps

Lawmakers on the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee recently proposed restricting a quarter of the Air Operations Center's fiscal year 2019 funding until Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sends a report on agile software development and operations to Capitol Hill.

Document: House authorizers' FY-19 policy bill marks

Air Force Global Strike Command has called for a modernization management study:

AFGSC advisers study modernization, maintenance amid command revamp

Gen. Robin Rand, the head of Air Force Global Strike Command, has asked an outside advisory group to study modernization management and the command's current maintenance and logistics capabilities over the next year, a service spokeswoman recently told Inside the Air Force.

May 4, 2018 at 11:56 AM | Justin Katz

Two days after a state of the Navy address at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps has clarified Commandant Gen. Robert Neller's statements on two separate aviation mishaps last year.

Neller was referencing an MV-22 Osprey crash off the coast of Australia in August when he spoke about families who were recently briefed on the conclusions of a military investigation into the incident.

Separately, the commandant was referring to a KC-130T crash that killed 16 servicemembers in July when he said the service's plane had a "mechanical issue." Marine Corps spokesmen said that comment was Neller's characterization and declined to comment further because the investigation is not complete.

May 4, 2018 at 11:14 AM | Lee Hudson

The Navy's air boss has ordered a 24-hour stand-down of all non-deployed aviation squadrons due to an uptick in Class C aviation mishaps, according to an administrative message.

Vice Adm. Chip Miller, Naval Air Forces commander, sent a message to aviators May 1 highlighting the Class C mishap rate has more than doubled since 2012. In fiscal year 2012 there were 9.86 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours reported, while in FY-17 there were 20.25 Class C aviation mishaps. A Class C mishap is one in which the total cost of property damage is $10,000 or more, but less than $200,000. Additionally, injury results in five or more lost workdays.

"Data indicated that sailor experience and proper supervision are primary components of Class C prevention," Miller wrote. "Studies show that Naval Aviation's average E5 has 1.5 years less experience as compared with five to 10 years ago."

The majority of Class C mishaps are preventable and occur during routine maintenance.

Squadron commanders can choose which day to hold the 24-hour aviation stand-down between May 1 and Memorial Day.

"We've learned much from the comprehensive review that followed USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain mishaps. One of those lessons relates to fatigue," Miller wrote. "Crew rest policy was written in blood and as naval aviators, we strictly follow that policy."

Miller told his aviators the service will expand its crew rest policies both stateside and aboard aircraft carriers.

May 4, 2018 at 10:23 AM | Rachel Karas

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

1. Lawmakers on the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee recently proposed restricting a quarter of the Air Operations Center's fiscal year 2019 funding until Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sends a report on agile software development and operations to Capitol Hill.

Full story: To fully fund AOC, Congress may want more details on Agile DevOps

2. As Boeing and the Air Force continue to work toward delivery of the first KC-46 tanker, the company is expecting a contract from the service this summer to explore future tanker capabilities.

Full story: Boeing, Air Force to begin crafting KC-46 upgrade roadmap this summer

3. The Air Force's top acquisition official said recently that if a proposal by House lawmakers to disband the Strategic Capabilities Office is successful, several of the service's development efforts could slip or be forced to restart.

Full story: Roper: Disbanding SCO would be detrimental to Air Force acquisition

May 4, 2018 at 9:47 AM | John Liang

Leidos this week reported quarterly sales had dipped 5.3 percent compared to the same quarter the year before.

Overall sales for the quarter were $2.44 billion, compared to $2.58 billion in the prior-year quarter, the company said.

For its Defense Solutions business, Leidos reported quarterly sales down by $116 million, or 9 percent, compared to the same quarter the previous year.

"The revenue decrease was primarily attributable to timing of revenue recognition on certain contracts, the completion of certain contracts and net volume decreases, partially offset by revenues from new awards," the company said.

The decrease "is purely a timing item and we expect to recognize the revenue from this aspect of the contracts over the course of the next three quarters of 2018," Leidos Chief Financial Officer Jim Reagan said during a May 3 call with Wall Street analysts.

Leidos chief executive Roger Krone said the company had "always hinted that this year would start slower, because of some of the disappointments we had 12 months ago but all of the signs -- our performance, award-fee scores, our book to bill and frankly all the external factors relative to the Omnibus [spending bill] for the federal government and what we see in both defense and non-defense gives us confidence that our guidance is rock-solid and we feel really good about the prospects for the year."

Both Krone and Reagan spoke about how the company was beginning to see requests for proposals from the government for longer-term contracts.

"In the past, a lot of the bids we were submitting and being awarded tended to be . . . extensions because a lot of our procurement authorities that we deal with, instead of doing five-year awards, they weren't quite ready to do a major procurement so they'd give us an extension and those typically would be six months to 12 months," Krone said.

In the past quarter, though, Krone said, "We have been seeing the average duration go as much as . . . six months longer than the awards we had been getting last year, so . . . the average length of contracts and backlog is now growing as opposed to shrinking and that gives us better visibility into our revenue numbers for the year."

May 4, 2018 at 9:44 AM | Justin Katz

The Pentagon comptroller approved an $18 million request to resolve an RQ-21 Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle shortfall, according to a reprogramming action document.

"The U.S. Marine Corps has identified a spares and sustainment shortfall in FY-18, due to RQ-21 flight hours for Operation Inherent Resolve exceeding budgeted flight hours by more than 300 percent," according to the document signed by Pentagon comptroller David Norquist Feb. 20.

The document further noted that RQ-21 is a Military Intelligence Program and the funds are an Overseas Contingency Operations budget requirement.

More than half -- $10 million -- of the $18 million came from "efficiencies" found in the RQ-21 UAV program in FY-16 and FY-17 which resulted in program requirements being satisfied below budgeted costs.

Approximately $1.5 million came from FY-17 dollars appropriated for the Marine Corps' RQ-7B unmanned aerial systems operations. The requirements and responsibilities for that mission have been transferred to the Army.

"Marine Corps UAV squadrons were directed to focus operations on the RQ-21A Blackjack," the document said. "Further upgrades to Marine Corps RQ-7B would be an inefficient use of funding."

The rest of the funds -- $5.4 million -- were FY-17 dollars to buy an Army sensor bound for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle that was not procured due to poor testing.

May 3, 2018 at 4:51 PM | Tony Bertuca

The Senate Armed Services Committee will conduct a series of secret meetings this month to consider its version of the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill.

Subcommittees are scheduled to mark up their portions of the bill May 21 and May 22, with the personnel panel being the only one to do so in open session, according to a committee announcement.

The full committee, will meet May 23, May 24 and, if necessary, May 25 to complete the bill.

Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee will meet in open session May 9 to complete its version of the bill.

May 3, 2018 at 3:32 PM | John Liang

Government consulting firm LMI today announced it had realigned its senior leadership structure "to better position the company to serve its government clients in a rapidly changing, increasingly digital landscape," adding the position of chief technology officer.

The company added the new CTO position "to lead the revitalization of the LMI Research Institute (LRI), drive innovation throughout the business in service to customer priorities, and create interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving," and hired Sanjay Parthasarathy to assume the CTO role.

The restructuring more closely aligns LMI with three strategic markets: defense, national security and health, according to a company statement. "This new structure cross-cuts with core service lines -- advanced analytics, digital services, logistics, and management advisory services -- to provide innovative solutions to [the] federal government."

The realignment is "a direct result of the feedback from our consultants gathered during my first 90 days at LMI," company President and CEO Dave Zolet said in the statement, adding: "LMI needs to focus on our core capabilities, while innovating to lead our customers on their digital government journey. Organizing this way will help us create future-oriented capabilities while simplifying our operations to deliver quicker solutions to government and the military. At the end of the day, it is about putting all our efforts behind our people and their clients."

LMI's reorganization "streamlines service delivery with the goal of meeting customer needs by becoming more responsive and innovative," according to the statement.

Parthasarathy joins LMI after holding "several executive leadership positions at major defense contractors," which the company did not name in the statement. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

May 3, 2018 at 2:46 PM | John Liang

The Army's tactical network modernization strategy, the recent string of military aviation mishaps and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Army submitted its tactical network modernization strategy to the congressional defense committees in February, and that plan is under scrutiny:

CAPE, DOT&E deem Army's network strategy 'suitable,' raise funding and process concerns

A pair of Defense Department offices has informed Congress that the Army's strategy to transform and modernize its tactical network has merit, but cautions it is too early to predict success and urges the service to further develop its implementation approach.

Document: CAPE, DOT&E report on the Army's network strategy

Document: Army mission command network modernization implementation plan executive summary

Investigations into the recent spate of aviation mishaps should stay within the services, according to the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman:

Pentagon: Aviation mishaps 'not a crisis'

The Pentagon says the recent spate of aviation crashes being investigated by the military service branches is "not a crisis" that requires a department-wide review, despite rumblings from Capitol Hill that a more holistic investigation is necessary.

Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts issued guidance late last month, obtained by Inside Defense, that directs the selection of two to five pilot projects for component prototype development:

Navy plans to gain lawmakers' trust in accelerated acquisition by showcasing pilot programs

The Navy plans to gain the trust of Congress that the service's acquisition system is agile enough to accelerate programs when needed by showcasing pilot projects, Inside Defense has learned.

Huntington Ingalls Industries held its quarterly earnings conference call this morning:

HII CEO: Newport News Shipbuilding responded to Navy's two-carrier-buy RFP

Huntington Ingalls Industries responded to the Navy's request for proposals this week on analyzing potential cost savings of a two-aircraft-carrier buy, according to the company's chief executive.

The Air Force's new KC-46 contract's first task will be to help the service develop a five-year roadmap for upgrading the airborne refueling tanker:

Boeing, Air Force to begin crafting KC-46 upgrade roadmap this summer

EVERETT, WA -- As Boeing and the Air Force continue to work toward delivery of the first KC-46 tanker, the company is expecting a contract from the service this summer to explore future tanker capabilities.

The Air Force spends about 70 percent of its budget on system sustainment, yet the drive for innovative technologies is coming largely from the development enterprise:

Air Force seeking sustainment innovation to lower cost, improve supply chain management

The Air Force's new acquisition executive wants to see innovation in sustainment, and he's planning to host an industry day later this month to explore new sustainment concepts with industry.