The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
September 13, 2021 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to speak publicly this week about various national security issues.


U.S. Strategic Command holds its virtual Deterrence Symposium, taking place Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and next.

The Brookings Institute hosts a discussion with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten.

New America hosts the Future Security Forum 2021 conference. The event runs through Tuesday.


The Pentagon's industrial policy chief speaks at a George Mason University event on "building resilience in the U.S. defense industrial base."

By John Liang
September 10, 2021 at 1:32 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on satellite communications, hypersonic defense and more.

Mike Dean, the Defense Department's satellite communications chief, spoke this week during the Satellite 2021 conference:

DOD finalizing Enterprise SATCOM Management and Control implementation plan

The Defense Department is finalizing an implementation plan for the Space Force's new Enterprise Satellite Communications Management and Control infrastructure aimed at improving the way the department manages and integrates military and commercial SATCOM services.

House lawmakers want more funding for hypersonic defense and early warning radars:

House panel advocates major FY-22 increase for Glide Breaker hypersonic defense

House lawmakers are looking to catapult development of a "critical" technology needed to intercept maneuvering hypersonic threats at very long ranges by authorizing a nearly four-fold increase in fiscal year 2022 funding for Glide Breaker, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency venture that the Missile Defense Agency is eyeing as part of a program to field a defense against a new class of ultra-fast maneuvering weapons.

House panel moves to jump-start North Warning System modernization, authorizing $25M in FY-22

House lawmakers are looking to jump-start funding in fiscal year 2022 to begin modernizing the North Warning System with over-the-horizon radar technology to give North American Aerospace Defense Command's main ground sensor new ability to detect threats to U.S. and Canadian airspace.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli recently spoke at the Army's Fires Conference at Ft. Sill, OK:

Cavoli: European Army modernization must include interoperability

It will be important to build multinational interoperability into the Army's next-generation command-and-control systems so that European allies can participate in advanced sensor-to-shooter networks, the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa said Sept. 1.

The Marine Corps' Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar program performed as expected during its test and evaluation event this spring at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Virginia:

Marine Corps' G/ATOR verifies system operations and C2 interoperability during testing

The Marine Corps' Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar program verified system operations and command and control interoperability during testing this spring, a service spokeswoman told Inside Defense.

By Tony Bertuca
September 10, 2021 at 1:13 PM

Anduril Industries says it has been awarded a contract for up to two years by the U.K. Ministry of Defence to demonstrate "advanced, multidomain, integrated force protection technology."

The $5.2 million contract, awarded by MOD’s Strategic Command Innovation Hub, is part of a broader program called “TALOS” focused on accelerating integrated command and control.

“The system uses Anduril’s Lattice artificial intelligence operating system and a network of sensors to autonomously detect, classify, and track targets,” the company said in a statement. “The technology alerts operators to threats from ground intrusion or unmanned aerial systems and presents options for mitigation or engagement. TALOS is the first time that all of Anduril’s products and technology including Sentry Towers, ground sensors, Ghost 4 Drones and the Lattice AI operating system will be deployed together with the U.K. MOD.”

“The partnership between Anduril and jHub is an example of government and private sector successfully -- and rapidly -- moving emerging tech from a pilot project to a program to improve the operation of our Armed Forces,” said Paul Hollingshead, head of Anduril’s U.K. and NATO business.

Gen. Sir Patrick Sanders, chief of U.K. Strategic Command, said the technology is meant to identify and assess external threats in “nanoseconds.”

“The artificial intelligence at the heart of this system has great potential to protect our people and sites,” he said. “It’s another success for our innovation team at jHub, working closely with Anduril to help create a bespoke system, from idea to implementation at pace, to meet the specific requirements of our Armed Forces.”

By Ethan Sterenfeld
September 10, 2021 at 11:14 AM

Raytheon Technologies conducted the first test flight of its prototype vehicle for the Army's Air Launched Effects competition, Abel Ghanooni, the company's senior director for short-range air defense, said in a Sept. 7 interview. The test was held Aug. 6.

"While we're hesitant to disclose full details of our design's performance, we did prove the effective launch, function of the wing and surface deployment, and flight control," Ghanooni said. After launch, the vehicle spread its wings and achieved stable flight.

The test included two launches, both of which were successful, he said. Although the vehicle will eventually be launched from an aircraft in flight, this test was completed from the ground.

Air Launched Effects is a loitering weapon the Army is developing for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, and it is also expected to work with the existing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. It is expected to deliver a variety of kinetic and non-kinetic payloads.

Raytheon is one of three companies that received other transaction agreements last year to develop the vehicle for the Air Launched Effects.

Roughly three-quarters of Raytheon's design comes from its Coyote drone, Ghanooni said. It includes a modular open systems architecture that would allow the vehicle to carry payloads from other companies.

"We're the low-risk approach for the Army," he said.

The current phase of the development OTA ends next month, at which time Raytheon will perform a final demonstration of the technology, Ghanooni said. That demonstration will also include a launch from the ground.

By Aidan Quigley
September 10, 2021 at 10:36 AM

Vice Adm. Carl Chebi has been named the head of Naval Air Systems Command, taking the position in a change-of-command ceremony Thursday at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD.

Chebi, an F-14 pilot who most recently served as the F-35 Joint Program Office deputy program executive officer, relieved Vice Adm. Dean Peters.

Peters assumed the position in May 2018 and is retiring after a 36-year Navy career.

By John Liang
September 9, 2021 at 2:01 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on unmanned systems, DARPA's efforts to reduce U.S. dependency on China for rare earth metals, the Army budget and more.

We start off with news on unmanned systems:

Navy launches Mideast-based task force to focus on unmanned and AI

The Navy's 5th Fleet launched a task force today designed to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence.

Scaled Composites unveils unmanned Model 437 aircraft concept

PALMDALE, CA -- Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites has unveiled a new concept for the Model 437, an unmanned aircraft that officials hope could have a future as part of a broader family of systems or serve as a candidate for the Air Force's Skyborg program.

Gilday 'not yet satisfied' with Navy's pace of work on unmanned systems

The Navy will be setting up an unmanned task force over the next few months to accelerate its development of unmanned systems.

Northrop demonstrates JADC2-enabling long-range datalink

PALMDALE, CA -- Northrop Grumman announced today it has demonstrated a data link to enable long-range command and control, a feature company officials say could boost the Defense Department's efforts to connect sensors from across the services into a single network.

The latest on DARPA's efforts to reduce U.S. dependency on China for rare earth metals:

DARPA launches new rare earth project to reduce reliance on China

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new biomining-related project aimed at extracting rare earth elements and reducing U.S. dependence on China, the global leader in rare earth metals.

The Army's top civilian spoke this week about her service's budget outlook:

Wormuth: More hard choices to come in FY-23 budget

The Army expects another year of low or no growth in its topline for the fiscal year 2023 budget request, and cuts could come to some of the service's modernization priorities and key enablers, according to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

Some Space Force news:

Space Force, Lockheed confident in Next-Gen OPIR risk-mitigation strategy

Despite continued concerns from Congress and government watchdog agencies about schedule risk on the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system -- the Space Force's largest development program -- service and industry officials are confident in their risk-mitigation strategy and say recent design milestones indicate the program is on track to deliver on time.

Space Force COMSATCOM office still crafting new acquisition strategy

The Space Force's Commercial Satellite Communications Office is "socializing" a new acquisition framework for buying and delivering COMSATCOM services to military users but does not have a solid timeline for when the long-anticipated strategy will be approved.

A new reprogramming memo shifts over $1 billion among various accounts to pay to re-settle Afghan refugees:

Pentagon transfers $1B to re-settle Afghan refugees

The Defense Department is shifting more than $1 billion to help resettle Afghan refugees who were evacuated following the U.S. military withdrawal and the collapse of the government in Kabul.

Last but by no means least, some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DCMA provides details on CMMC scoping, lessons learned

The Defense Contract Management Agency's process to conduct assessments for the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program is adapting to meet the needs of stakeholders, according to Defense Department official John Ellis who provided an overview to Inside Cybersecurity on lessons learned in recent months.

By John Liang
September 9, 2021 at 11:39 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton announced this week that former National Reconnaissance Office Principal Deputy Director Frank Calvelli will join the company as a senior vice president within its national security business.

"In this position, he will lead Booz Allen's work across intelligence and space to drive transformation and integration for critical missions supporting the national security sector," according to a company statement.

While at NRO, Calvelli helped manage the day-to-day operations of the agency and oversaw programs including satellite and ground development, mission operations, and facilities.

Calvelli’s 34-year government career also includes systems engineering, satellite and ground acquisition, and mission operations at NRO as well as work at the CIA, according to Booz Allen.

By Tony Bertuca
September 9, 2021 at 10:44 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has released a schedule for hearings on Afghanistan.

The committee will receive a briefing in closed session on Sept. 15 from Gen. Austin Miller, the former commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. On Sept. 28, the committee will hear from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, chief of U.S. Central Command.

On Sept. 30, the committee will hold a hearing to review U.S. military operations in Afghanistan with witnesses yet to be determined.

Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said he remains concerned about Afghanistan, despite the U.S. military withdrawal.

“Although we have completed the withdrawal of American military personnel and over 100,000 civilians from Afghanistan, I remain deeply concerned about the events that accompanied our withdrawal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” he said. “It is the duty of Congress -- and the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular -- to hold hearings to learn lessons from the situation in Afghanistan and ensure accountability at the highest levels. The committee will hold a series of hearings to examine the factors and decisions that manifested over four presidential administrations of both political parties to shape the outcome we now face in Afghanistan.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member who has criticized President Biden’s decision to follow through on former President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, said he believes the hearings are necessary to provide “transparency and accountability.”

“I’m grateful to Chairman Reed for prioritizing these critical oversight hearings on Afghanistan -- the first of what I will expect to be many hearings and briefings to review and determine what happened, who should be held accountable, and how we move forward,” he said.

The Biden administration has taken bipartisan criticism for the chaos and violence that erupted during the U.S. military’s evacuation of Kabul, and the rapid collapse of the Afghan military has precipitated questions about the value previous administrations placed on the $141 billion effort to support the now-defunct government in Kabul.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, has been granted authority by Congress to reprogram more than $1 billion thus far to help re-settle Afghan refugees.

By John Liang
September 8, 2021 at 2:28 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on upcoming reviews that will influence future defense budgets and more.

The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian spoke this morning about next year's defense budget:

Hicks says upcoming budget will highlight rapid experimentation push

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said Pentagon officials expect to complete several key reviews this fall poised to impact next year's defense budget, especially in terms of where modernization dollars are spent.

Full-rate production for the Minuteman III Mk21 reentry vehicle fuze has been pushed back and is currently "on track" for the second quarter of FY-24:

ICBM fuze program now expected to enter full-rate production in FY-24

While the Air Force's timeline for entering low-rate initial production tied to a new arming and fuzing assembly for intercontinental ballistic missiles is still slated to begin in fiscal year 2022, a service spokeswoman said full-rate production is now not expected to start until FY-24.

The Navy is in the midst of a 20-year, $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program to improve the infrastructure in its four public shipyards:

Lawmakers see opportunities for shipyard funding outside of infrastructure bill

Despite unsuccessful efforts to include $25 billion in shipyard infrastructure funding in the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill, lawmakers who are pushing for shipyard improvements still see an opportunity to fund that effort this year.

Fights will begin with intelligence, including targeting information, with fires providing the decisive element, according to an Army general:

Rainey: Fires to be decisive in future battles

Fires will be the decisive element of future large-scale warfare, the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and training (G-3/5/7) said Sept. 1 during the service's Fires Conference at Ft. Sill, OK.

The White House needs billions to pay for resettling Afghan refugees:

White House wants $6.4B continuing resolution for Afghan refugees, other 'anomalies'

The White House is asking Congress to pass a short-term continuing resolution by Oct. 1 that includes $6.4 billion to pay for the processing and resettlement of tens of thousands of people evacuated from Afghanistan, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The multibillion-dollar plus-up agreed to by House authorizers includes millions for missile defense:

House panel adds $780M for missile defense, including new Guam project, THAAD and Aegis

The $24 billion topline increase proposed as part of the House Armed Services Committee's mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill boosts missile defense spending by $780 million, adding significant funds for a new Guam defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system interceptors and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
September 8, 2021 at 1:43 PM

A Sikorsky-Boeing team submitted its proposal Sept. 7 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, the Army's planned replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, according to a joint press release from the companies.

The Army released the request for proposals for FLRAA in July to the Sikorsky-Boeing team and Textron's Bell. Both teams participated in two competitive demonstration and risk-reduction phases for the program, and the Army is expected to choose one of them in fiscal year 2022 to produce FLRAA.

DEFIANT X, the Sikorsky-Boeing team's proposed aircraft, would have increased range, speed and survivability compared to the Black Hawk, as well as lower lifecycle costs, according to the press release. The aircraft would fit within the same footprint as the Black Hawk.

“We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in [U.S. Indo-Pacific Command] and across the globe,” Paul Lemno, Sikorsky president, and Mark Cherry, vice president of vertical lift at Boeing, said in the press release.

Together, the partners have built 90% of the service’s current helicopter fleet, according to the press release. Sikorsky, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, builds the Black Hawk, while Boeing manufactures the Army’s two other most common helicopters, the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64 Apache.

Bell plans to submit its V-280 Valor design for the FLRAA competition. The aircraft completed a three-year flight-test program in June. Bell and Sikorsky are also competing for the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft, the program to replace the Apache helicopter.

By Aidan Quigley
September 8, 2021 at 9:25 AM

The Marine Corps has suspended waterborne operations of its Amphibious Combat Vehicle after discovering an issue with the vehicle's towing mechanism.

Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Inside Defense in a statement Tuesday that the ACV's waterborne operations were suspended out of an abundance of caution.

"The Marine Corps is working on identifying and fixing the root cause of the problem," Stenger said. "Realistic training is a vital component of readiness, and the Marine Corps is committed to ensuring Marines train under the safest conditions possible; this includes ensuring the functionality of vehicles and equipment."

Marine Corps Times first reported the suspension.

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle is replacing the Assault Amphibious Vehicle. It reached initial operational capability late last year.

The service has fielded 54 ACVs, and this is the first time ACV use has been paused.

The suspension comes after Marines reported they could not cause the quick release of the ACV's Sea Tow Quick Release mechanism, or the tow rope detached unexpectedly. An after-action report from the field describing the issue led to the suspension, according to the service.

By John Liang
September 7, 2021 at 4:37 PM

Boeing said today it has named Matt Welch as vice president of investor relations.

Welch will succeed Maurita Sutedja, who is leaving the company to work on "an opportunity outside of Boeing following more than a decade of leadership within several finance roles at Boeing," according to a statement.

Welch, currently vice president of revenue management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has worked at the company for more than 20 years.

By Aidan Quigley
September 7, 2021 at 3:55 PM

The Navy established a command Sept. 2 to oversee construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as the service starts work to improve the shipyard's infrastructure.

The Navy recently issued a $1.7 billion contract to 381 Constructors to build a multimission dry dock at the Maine shipyard, and another $63 million contract for construction on the shipyard's Dry Dock 2 complex.

The work at Portsmouth is part of the Navy's 20-year, $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program.

The commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Atlantic commissioned Capt. Frank Carroll as the officer in charge of construction earlier this month.

"Establishing an OICC provides robust on-site construction oversight and command-level accountability for resident engineering services, as well as coordination among crucial stakeholders," the service said in a press release. "OICC PNSY will now move swiftly into executing numerous large contracts, applying innovative and efficient processes to improve critical existing drydock complexes as a part of [the] Navy's Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP)."

By John Liang
September 7, 2021 at 1:18 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, funding for a Hawaii-based ballistic missile defense radar and more.

The Army's Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System could be fielded as soon as fiscal year 2023:

Army hopes to field FTUAS in FY-23

The Army plans to field the first increment of the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, the replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow drone, by the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, according to an Army request for white papers released Sept. 2.

Here's a look at which parts of the extra $25 billion added by House authorizers in the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill would help the Navy:

House topline amendment boosts Navy programs

Multiple Navy programs would receive increased funding after the House Armed Services Committee vote on Wednesday to authorize an additional $25 billion in defense spending above the president's request for fiscal year 2022.

Some missile defense radar news:

Congressional support for continuing Hawaii radar project in FY-22 grows

Support is mounting in Congress to again reinstate funding for a Hawaii-based ballistic missile defense radar, with the House Armed Services Committee authorizing $75 million for the project and setting September 2028 as the target for initial operations -- keeping the effort alive in defiance of Pentagon proposals for the last two years to shelve it.

The Government Accountability Office recently released its decision on Northrop Grumman's protest of a Next Generation Jammer-Low Band Capability Block 1 contract award to L3Harris Technologies:

GAO sustains Northrop Grumman protest on NGJ-LB program

The Government Accountability Office has upheld a protest Northrop Grumman filed against a contract awarded to L3Harris Technologies for the Next Generation Jammer-Low Band Capability Block 1.

Document: GAO decision on Northrop Grumman protest of NGJ-LB program

House authorizers are looking to streamline the acquisition of software and emerging technologies:

House panel adopts software acquisition, emerging technology amendments

The House Armed Services Committee during its mark-up of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill adopted several amendments aimed at streamlining acquisition of software and emerging technologies.

By Tony Bertuca
September 7, 2021 at 12:49 PM

Congress has granted the Defense Department authority to reprogram funds to renovate outdated electronics in the White House situation room, according to a Pentagon document.

The Pentagon requested authority in June to reprogram $3.2 million to renovate the White House situation room, aiming to "update the security and technology that have not been updated since 2006, to include audio visual improvements and production capabilities," according to a budgetary reprogramming document.

The request was part of an overall reprogramming package seeking authority to move around $30 million in Military Intelligence Program funds.

Other transfers approved by Congress include: $1.1 million for a Digital Imagery Exploitation Engine to the Navy and $3.7 million to implement and sustain a Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation Systems Extended for the Air Force.

The funds, meanwhile, are being made available because of pandemic-related contract delays and travel restrictions, and the end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, according to the document.