The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
July 1, 2021 at 10:41 AM

Science Applications International Corp. said today it has named Stephen Ambrose to the newly created role of chief climate scientist.

"In this role, Ambrose will lead SAIC's climate program to provide government and industry customers solutions to address some of the most challenging problems facing society," the company said.

Ambrose has worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, SAIC said. Most recently, he was a senior adviser and program manager at General Dynamics Information Technology.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Ambrose said his role will cut across all of SAIC.

"I have been working with the entire company," said Ambrose, who joined the contractor in May. "They're already coming to me, they already have questions, they already have solicitations and opportunities, proposals they're working on."

He said SAIC already has employees that can assist, but that he's hoping to build a bigger staff focused on climate.

By Marjorie Censer
July 1, 2021 at 10:04 AM

Boeing said today it has named Brian West chief financial officer, effective Aug. 27.

"In this role, West will lead all aspects of Boeing's financial strategy, performance, reporting and long-range business planning, as well as investor relations, treasury, controller, and audit operations," the company said. "West will also oversee the company's business transformation efforts and will have executive responsibility for the company's global financing arm, Boeing Capital Corporation."

West most recently was CFO of Refinitiv and previously served as CFO for Oscar Health Insurance and Nielsen. He spent 16 years at General Electric, where he was CFO of GE Aviation and GE Engine Services.

West succeeds Greg Smith, who plans to retire in early July. Boeing said Dave Dohnalek, Boeing's treasurer, will serve as interim CFO until West joins the company.

By Marjorie Censer
July 1, 2021 at 10:04 AM

Private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners said this week it has teamed with the former chief executive of LGS Innovations as well as other former LGS executives to create MissionX, tasked with investing in differentiated national security technology companies.

The executives involved are Kevin Kelly, who led LGS before it was sold to CACI International two years ago, Robert Gallegos, who served as LGS' chief operating officer, and Chris McCall, who was LGS' chief of staff.

"MissionX will focus on identifying a government technology platform with strong underlying technical capabilities, a technology solutions business model, and a diverse mix of products and services," Madison Dearborn and MissionX said in a statement. "It will target prospective platform companies that are active in high-growth mission areas such as Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cybersecurity, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR); Defense Electronics; Electronic Warfare; Multi-INT Data Fusion and Analytics; Position, Navigation and Timing; Software-Based Modeling and Simulation; Space Photonics and High-End Communications; and Space Superiority."

In an interview with Inside Defense, Kelly said the team is seeking a company with at least $100 million in sales.

"We need to be able to generate enough profit to reinvest in the" research and development, he said.

A prospective platform needs to be "capable of or is already generating their own intellectual property," Kelly added.

He noted the mergers and acquisitions market is very active.

"We're going to be competing with a larger number of competitors and the price is likely to be higher," Kelly said.

He told Inside Defense MissionX doesn't have a set deadline for finding the right platform.

"We're committed for the long term," he said, adding it will likely take six to 12 months.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
June 30, 2021 at 5:23 PM

House appropriators would increase Army aircraft procurement funding for fiscal year 2022 by $409 million beyond the Biden administration's budget request under legislation that passed a subcommittee today.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee included $3.2 billion for aircraft procurement in its proposed FY-22 appropriations bill, which was released yesterday. The Army requested $2.8 billion, but either figure would be a decrease from the $4.1 billion Congress appropriated for Army aircraft procurement in FY-21.

A $212 million boost for the UH/HH-60M Black Hawk above the FY-22 budget request leads the committee's increases for aircraft procurement. The boost would bring Black Hawk procurement funding for FY-22 to $842 million.

The committee added $170 million in funding for the CH-47F Block II Chinook cargo helicopter to the budget. The Army's FY-22 budget request only included funding for the special forces version, the MH-47G, but the service included funding for the CH-47F in the list of unfunded requirements it sent Congress this month.

The committee's appropriations bill would match the Army's request to fund the remanufacture of 30 AH-64 Apache helicopters, although the committee used a lower funding level than the Army sought. The committee would appropriate $494 million for the Apache remanufactures, while the Army requested $504 million.

By Aidan Quigley
June 30, 2021 at 3:02 PM

The Navy's Project Overmatch effort is on track to scale to strike group testing in late 2022 or early 2023, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said Wednesday.

Project Overmatch, the Navy's effort to build the necessary architecture to provide data to the distributed force, is progressing well, Gilday said at the WEST 2021 conference co-hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA. The initiative is now in its third spiral since last fall.

"We're actually experimenting in a way that allows us to essentially pass any data on any network to the warfighter," Gilday said. "It's a software-defined communication system that allows us to essentially unpack all of our networks in a way we never have before."

Gilday appointed Rear Adm. Doug Small, head of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, to lead Project Overmatch in October. The effort aims to create a network of networks to pass information without an operator.

"The real power of this is to put us in a position where we can actually decide and act as a fleet faster than the opponent," Gilday said. "It will give us a more resilient network."

By John Liang
June 30, 2021 at 1:46 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army modernization funding, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program and more.

We start off with more coverage of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's fiscal year 2022 military spending bill, which was marked up this week:

House panel supports Army modernization funding

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee is supporting funding for a number of the Army's top modernization priorities, according to its mark of the fiscal year 2022 spending bill.

House Dems signal support for ICBM replacement

House appropriators have moved to fully fund the Pentagon program intended to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, while House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), a longtime critic of the program, said lawmakers would not seek to "kill" it.

House panel adds second destroyer, blocks Navy SLCM-N development

House appropriators want to pay for a second destroyer, eliminate funding for the sea-launched nuclear cruise missile program and block the decommissioning of three Littoral Combat Ships in their mark of fiscal year 2022 defense spending legislation.

Speaking of Navy destroyers, the head of a major shipbuilding union also wants the service to fund a second DDG-51:

Machinist union urges a second destroyer

A leading union for machinists and aerospace workers is urging House lawmakers to support funding for a second DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in a letter on Tuesday.

A third package of legislative proposals recently sent to Congress includes a Pentagon request to allow the defense secretary to buy used foreign sealift ships:

DOD seeks waiver to buy foreign, used, commercial cargo ships needed for surge sealift

The Defense Department is asking Congress to temporarily lift a statutory ban on buying used foreign ships in fiscal year 2022 to jumpstart reserve sealift fleet modernization plans, allowing DOD to execute a four-year, $1.4 billion plan to buy 16 roll-on/roll-off commercial vessels.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) spoke at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this week:

Smith backs new F-35 engine

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee today showed support for directing the Air Force's investment in advanced engine technology for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program toward a new engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Navy's maritime airborne electronic attack modernization effort has been approved to proceed to the next stage of production:

Navy's NGJ-MB program reaches milestone C

The Navy has declared milestone C for the Next Generation Jammer Mid Band, allowing the program to move into the low-rate initial production phase.

Last but not least, some cyber defense news:

Pentagon to help small business reduce CMMC compliance costs

The Defense Department has pledged to reduce costs on small businesses in an ongoing internal review of its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, according to a Pentagon official.

Microsoft prepares documentation to help contractors ready for Pentagon cyber certification program

Microsoft is working to provide documentation for its managed security service provider partners and cloud users who want to get ready for assessment under the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, according to a company executive.

By Tony Bertuca
June 30, 2021 at 1:16 PM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has advanced the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill, sending the measure to the full committee.

The bill was approved with no amendments by voice vote.

"Democrats have landed on a responsible funding level for the Department of Defense that maintains a strong national security posture today, while making important investments in modernization that will make us even stronger in the years to come," subcommittee Chairwoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) said in a statement.

Republicans, meanwhile, oppose the administration's defense budget request, arguing it should be increased between 3% and 5% to keep pace with inflation.

The current bill provides $706 billion for the Pentagon, in line with the Biden administration's request and an increase of $10 billion above the amount enacted in FY-21. The amount does not include military construction, which was funded in a separate bill.

The bill, among other things, would add $1.7 billion in Pentagon procurement funding to the Biden administration's budget request, but cut weapons development funding by $1.6 billion.

The full committee is scheduled to debate the bill July 13.

By Marjorie Censer
June 30, 2021 at 10:10 AM

The new chief executive of L3Harris Technologies will seek to broaden the contractor's international work, the company said today.

In a press release, L3Harris said Chris Kubasik, who assumed the CEO role yesterday, sees the company as ready "to grow its global presence."

About 20% of L3Harris' sales today come from international customers.

In the release, Kubasik said he looks "forward to travelling again to develop new partnerships and to expand existing relationships, helping our allies overcome their toughest technology challenges."

L3 said it is using its "research and development investments to create exportable solutions for international markets across all domains -- air, land, sea, space, and cyber -- with emphasis on communication modernization, aircraft missionization, fighter aircraft upgrades and expansions, maritime expansion and autonomy, and multi-domain integration."

By John Liang
June 29, 2021 at 1:30 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill and more.

We start off with a broad look at the just-released House Appropriations defense subcommittee's draft fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill:

House defense appropriators ready to boost DOD procurement by nearly $2 billion

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee wants to add $1.7 billion in Pentagon procurement funding to the Biden administration’s budget request, but cut weapons development funding by $1.6 billion, according to a draft of the fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill released today.

Document: House appropriators' draft FY-22 defense spending bill

. . . Followed by related news from the draft spending bill on Army ground vehicle and Air Force aircraft funding:

House panel would add humvee funding, cut other ground vehicles

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has proposed funding Army National Guard humvee modernization in fiscal year 2022, despite the Army not requesting money for the program, according to a summary of the panel's draft mark released today.

House panel supports Air Force's fighter, tanker procurement request

House appropriators are proposing full funding for the Air Force's F-15EX and KC-46 fleets in their draft mark of fiscal year 2022 defense spending legislation, and, notably, are not recommending funds for additional F-35s beyond what the services requested in their budgets.

The head of the Missile Defense Agency says the Ballistic Missile Defense System will evolve over the next decade:

MDA eyes non-kinetic, soft-kill technology to help deal with threats in 2030s and beyond

The Pentagon is eyeing a next-generation Ballistic Missile Defense System that adds directed-energy weapons to its arsenal, including a potential high-powered airborne laser to defeat long-range adversary rockets during the boost phase of flight, according to a senior military official.

More than half of the Air Force's $204 million fiscal year 2022 budget request for the Advanced Battle Management System is focused on developing and fielding capability releases:

Air Force finalizing first ABMS capability release AQ strategy, shaping plans for next release

As the Air Force continues to focus its Advanced Battle Management System investment on capability development over experimentation, the service is beginning to craft a plan for the second capability release, which program officials say will aim to improve the command-and-control process for U.S. Northern Command's homeland defense mission.

By Jaspreet Gill
June 29, 2021 at 12:55 PM

House appropriators are proposing trimming the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's fiscal year 2022 budget in a draft mark of their defense spending legislation.

The draft bill, released today by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, recommends $3.48 billion for DARPA research programs. The agency requested $3.53 billion in FY-22, a small increase from the $3.5 billion enacted in FY-21.

Meanwhile, the Senate earlier this month approved the $250 billion United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which included an amendment doubling annual funding for DARPA starting next fiscal year.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), includes a $3.5 billion boost from FY-22 to FY-26 for DARPA to conduct research and development in key technology areas, bringing funding for the agency to $7 billion.

By Tony Bertuca
June 29, 2021 at 10:09 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has released a draft fiscal year 2022 defense spending bill.

The subcommittee will meet tomorrow to vote on the measure.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting.

By Marjorie Censer
June 29, 2021 at 9:38 AM

L3Harris Technologies said today Chris Kubasik has succeeded Bill Brown as chief executive.

The company first announced this planned transition in fall 2018, when it unveiled the merger of L3 and Harris.

Brown will now serve as executive chair of the company's board of directors.

Before the combination, Brown was CEO of Harris, while Kubasik was CEO of L3.

By Aidan Quigley
June 28, 2021 at 2:14 PM

The Navy has awarded Sikorsky a $878.7 million contract to procure nine additional CH-53K helicopters as part of low-rate initial production Lot 5, the service announced Friday.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, is the prime contractor for the CH-53K program. The first LRIP Lot 1 helicopter is set to be delivered in September.

A total of three helicopters have been delivered and 30 have been contracted out of the 200-helicopter program of record, according to Sikorsky's press release on the contract.

The nine LRIP Lot 5 helicopters are expected to be delivered in 2024, the company said. The contract is for the nine helicopters and "associated aircraft, programmatic and logistical support," according to the government's announcement.

CH-53K Program Manager Col. Jack Perrin told reporters Monday the Lot 5 award marks a significant step for the program.

"It also is very clearly signaling that the Marine Corps is transitioning its heavy-lift fleet from 53Es to 53Ks," he said.

The program is set to start initial operational test and evaluation next month, the Navy said in its press release. Sikorsky has delivered three CH-53Ks since October 2020, the company said.

The contract also includes an option for an additional nine helicopters as Lot 6 for potential execution in FY-22, the Navy said.

Sikorsky said the company agreed to a lower aircraft price for the Lot 6 contract, which is set to be exercised not later than February 2022.

The average unit airframe cost reduction between Lot 4 in FY-20 and Lot 6 in FY-22 is $7.4 million, according to the Navy.

The Lot 4 helicopters cost an average of $104 million per helicopter, with the Lot 5 costing $97.6 million and Lot 6 costing $94.7 million, Perrin said.

"The team's done a really good job of driving the cost out of the program while still maintaining the requirements and getting the aircraft to the fleet," he added.

By John Liang
June 28, 2021 at 1:22 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System plus Israeli missile defense efforts and more.

More than half of the Air Force's $204 million fiscal year 2022 budget request for the Advanced Battle Management System is focused on developing and fielding capability releases:

Air Force finalizing first ABMS capability release AQ strategy, shaping plans for next release

As the Air Force continues to focus its Advanced Battle Management System investment on capability development over experimentation, the service is beginning to craft a plan for the second capability release, which program officials say will aim to improve the command-and-control process for U.S. Northern Command's homeland defense mission.

Missile Defense Agency Vice Adm. Jon Hill expects an "emergency appropriation" -- a free-standing spending bill separate from the Pentagon's fiscal year 2022 budget request -- to address Israel's request last month for new assistance to pay for spent munitions:

MDA director: $1 billion Israeli aid request won't squeeze U.S. missile defense funding

Funding for U.S. missile defense programs is not expected to be raided to finance Israel's $1 billion request to replenish munitions -- including Iron Dome interceptors -- expended during hostilities with Palestinian armed groups in May, according to a senior U.S. military official.

A new artificial intelligence initiative aims to accelerate progress on the Joint All Domain Command and Control effort by supporting the Defense Department's 11 combatant commands in integrating and scaling AI capabilities used in real-world operations:

DOD set to begin new AI adoption initiative

The Defense Department within the next 30 days will start pushing its first data "reinforcements" to its combatant commands through artificial intelligence expert teams under a new plan to speed up the adoption of AI technologies.

Army Futures Command chief Gen. Mike Murray spoke at the recent Defense One Tech Summit:

Murray: Data architectures to constantly evolve

The military might have to constantly modify its data architectures as technology advances, rather than developing a standard that remains the same for an extended period, the leader of Army Futures Command said June 23.

Former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall's nomination to become Air Force secretary is on hold in the Senate:

Senators holding Kendall nomination over defense contractor ties and F-35 training center decision

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are holding the nomination of former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall to become Air Force secretary, according to sources close to the matter.

By Briana Reilly
June 28, 2021 at 11:18 AM

The Air Force is poised to award prime contractor Raytheon an engineering and manufacturing development contract for its new cruise missile in the coming days, a service spokeswoman said Friday.

The award for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon is expected to be by Wednesday, spokeswoman Leah Bryant wrote in an email.

The move, which would usher in the next developmental phase for the LRSO, comes after a May 25 Defense Acquisition Board milestone B review, Bryant said.

As of Friday, Brant said the Acquisition Decision Memorandum, which documents the milestone review process and is needed to formally proceed into the EMD phase, was "in coordination and awaiting final approval."

The service's fiscal year 2022 budget request included $609 million for the program, which is $251 million more than what officials projected they would need in last fiscal year's budget request. Last year, $385 million was appropriated -- almost 20% less than the $474 million the service requested for FY-21 to develop the missile.

The congressional reduction came after the Air Force in April 2020 abruptly opted to cancel its contract with Lockheed Martin, which had been maturing designs for the program alongside Raytheon, leaving Raytheon as the sole company working to continue its proposal.

The program has benefited from a sped-up development schedule; the service hadn't anticipated it would reach milestone B until the second quarter of fiscal year 2022. But the condensed timeline, which resulted from Lockheed's removal from the process, allowed the Air Force to quicken its pace, Inside Defense previously reported.