The Insider

By John Liang
January 31, 2020 at 2:30 PM

The bulk of this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest features coverage from the Pentagon's latest operational test and evaluation report.

DOT&E on space and missile defense:

DOD's chief weapons tester sees shortfalls in weighing space, cyber systems

The U.S. military is wrestling with how best to evaluate weapon systems focused on the space and cyber domains, despite a new budgetary focus on procuring emerging technologies in both areas, according to the annual report from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester.

Test program to defend against North Korean ICBMs on 'strategic pause'

The Defense Department has imposed a "strategic pause" on Ground-based Midcourse Defense testing -- assessments used to bolster confidence in the system designed to protect the United States from a North Korean attack -- in an apparent consequence of the August decision to terminate the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program.

Behler calls for $500 million investment in improved space testing capabilities over FYDP

The Pentagon's top weapons tester continues to push for greater investment in threat-representative space testing infrastructure, writing in his most recent report that the Defense Department should invest at least $100 million per year over the next five years in improving space threat emulation.

DOT&E on the Joint Strike Fighter:

DOT&E labels F-35 Block 4 master schedule 'high risk'

The Pentagon's top weapons tester has labeled the F-35 joint program office's Block 4 modernization schedule as "high risk" due to inefficiencies in testing and software releases as well as a backlog of 13 Category 1 deficiencies that he says must be addressed before the program integrates significant new capability.

DOT&E on certain Air Force helicopter and bomb programs:

Combat Rescue Helicopter testing shows deficiencies in degraded, attack environments

One year after the Combat Rescue Helicopter program received a searing review from the Pentagon’s chief weapons evaluator, more testing has exposed new technical constraints and performance issues in degraded visual and live-fire environments.

Pentagon's chief weapons tester calls SDB II mission planning a 'significant challenge'

The Small Diameter Bomb II has a cumbersome process to load Link 16 data, creating a "significant challenge" for timely mission planning and complicating the delivery of valid targeting information for attacks against moving targets, according to a new report from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester.

DOT&E found issues with the Army's Command Post Computing Environment:

DOT&E finds Command Post Computing Environment deficiencies

The Pentagon's top weapons tester has made several recommendations to improve the Army's Command Post Computing Environment after labeling the system operationally ineffective and unsuitable for soldiers.

DOT&E on Navy submarine, aircraft carrier and missile programs:

DOT&E says Navy found risk in Columbia design that could affect operational effectiveness

Early operational testing of the Columbia-class submarine's design turned up risks that may affect the ship's operational effectiveness and suitability, a new report by the Pentagon's top weapons tester revealed.

DOT&E: CVN-78 combat system issues inhibiting ship's self-defense ability

The Navy discovered issues with the combat systems for the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78) that inhibit its self-defense ability, according to a new report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

DOT&E: LRASM experienced hardware problems during F/A-18 testing

An air-launched, anti-ship missile being purchased by the Navy and Air Force experienced "hardware reliability failures" last year during testing on a strike fighter, according to a new report published Thursday by Pentagon weapon testers.

Last but by no means least, here's the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification effort:

DOD officials promise go-slow approach to new contractor cyber certification

Pentagon officials are promising the defense industry a slow, phased roll out of the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, with the new security requirements expected to show up in just 10 contracts this year.

By Justin Katz
January 31, 2020 at 1:34 PM

The Navy is planning to test its hypersonic glide body early this calendar year, according to acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.

"Flight Experiment 2 is scheduled for Fiscal Year (FY) 20, 2nd Quarter and will demonstrate the Navy-designed Hypersonic Glide Body. Launcher testing will continue throughout FY-20," Modly said in one of his weekly memos to the service published today.

"Our FY-20 analysis will focus on refining future basing strategies and launch platform options that we will incorporate in our FY-22 budget planning process, clearly marking our path to achieving greater hypersonics tube inventories in the fleet," he continues.

Pentagon leadership began harvesting the efforts of the Conventional Prompt Strike technology demonstration program in 2018. Since then, all three military services have identified a use for the hypersonic glide body matured through CPS.

Vice Adm. Richard Brown, the Navy's chief surface warfare officer, earlier this month suggested the Zumwalt-class destroyers would be a good candidate to host the Navy's future hypersonic weapon, dubbed Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike.

By Courtney Albon
January 31, 2020 at 1:24 PM

The State Department today approved the sale of 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to the Polish government -- a deal worth $4.6 billion.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blasczak signed the foreign military sales contract during a ceremony today. Last September, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency pegged the deal at $6.5 billion.

F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin said in a statement the company "is honored by the Polish government’s decision to procure the F-35A."

Poland is the 14th country to join the F-35 program. The JSF will replace the country's legacy MiG-29 and Su-22 fleets.

By Justin Katz
January 31, 2020 at 11:44 AM

The Pentagon's chief weapons tester last year approved a master plan for assessing the Navy's latest purchase of fast-attack submarines, according to a new report published Thursday.

"In April 2019, [the director of operational test and evaluation] approved a Test and Evaluation Master Plan covering the Block V variant of the Virginia-class submarine," according to the report. "The Navy expects operational test of the Virginia-class Block V submarine in" fiscal year 2027.

Touted as the "largest shipbuilding contract the Navy ever awarded," the service's Block V multiyear contract of Virginia-class submarines was signed with General Dynamics Electric Boat late last year following multiple delays.

With the costs for hull production and government furnished equipment combined, the price tag is expected to reach nearly $34 billion if all options are exercised.

DOT&E's report on the Virginia-class program this year was largely positive with evaluators stating earlier blocks of the submarine effort are operationally effective and that follow-up assessments have not revealed new problems.

There are 15 recommendations for Block III vessels the agency outlined in a classified July 2019 report.

By Tony Bertuca
January 31, 2020 at 10:47 AM

Defense Secretary Mark Esper released guidance today aimed at reducing the potential threat of the rapidly spreading coronavirus responsible for nearly 10,000 infections in China.

"I approved a directive apprising our forces about precautions they should take, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the virus," Esper said in a statement. "The Department of Defense continues to work closely with our interagency partners as we monitor the situation and protect our service members and their families, which is my highest priority."

Esper's directive to DOD personnel notes the State Department recently adjusted the travel advisory for China to a Level 4, meaning individuals should not travel there.

The State Department has also requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China.

The virus has killed at least 213 people, all of them in China, with about 130 cases confirmed in 22 other countries, according to global health agencies.

The United States has confirmed six cases of the flu-like virus, as well as the first person-to-person transmission.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."

"DOD officials are closely monitoring the outbreak of the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan City, China, and is closely coordinating with our interagency partners to ensure accurate and timely information is available and all appropriate measures are taken to prevent potential spread," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the DOD directive states leaders in charge of U.S. geographic commands will be issuing specific guidance.

By John Liang
January 30, 2020 at 2:03 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on hypersonic defense, the Air Force's Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared ground system, Northrop Grumman's quarterly earnings and more.

The Missile Defense Agency this week published a draft request for proposals for the Regional Glide Phase Weapon System (RGPWS), mapping out a program to design, develop and demonstrate an interceptor to counter hypersonic boost-glide weapons:

MDA eyes limited competition for prototype hypersonic interceptor program

The Pentagon is eyeing a two-way competition for its prototype hypersonic defense interceptor program with plans to down select in the first 18 months to a single concept and later culminate with a non-intercept flight test.

The Air Force is awarding contracts for the Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution program in three parts -- mission data processing, command and control and relay ground station:

Air Force picks Raytheon for FORGE data processing segment

The Air Force this week selected Raytheon to develop a data processing framework for its Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared ground system -- an effort the company hopes will provide a pathway to future satellite ground services work.

Northrop Grumman senior executives this morning discussed the company's quarterly earnings:

Northrop says restricted work is growing

Northrop Grumman's chief executive said today restricted work made up about a quarter of the company's sales in 2019.

The Navy's acting top civilian spoke this week at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments:

Modly will present Navy shipbuilding recommendations to Esper 'in a couple days'

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is planning in the coming days to present the defense secretary with a plan for how the service can reach its goal of 355 ships.

Speaking at an Air Force Association breakfast on Capitol Hill this week, Gen. John Hyten said the Pentagon is working to declassify programs, particularly those within the space portfolio, in hopes of improving engagement with industry and Congress:

Hyten: 'Significant improvement' coming this year in effort to declassify programs

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today said the overclassification of programs is "unbelievably ridiculous," and he expects to see improvement this year.

The Center for a New American Security has issued a report required by the FY-19 National Defense Authorization Act on countering threats from China:

Report: DOD efforts to counter China cyber threats require tougher export controls

A report by a bipartisan think tank on countering threats from China says Defense Department efforts could be bolstered by tougher technology export controls developed by a government-wide rulemaking process, a recommendation that underscores an ongoing regulatory debate prompted by a Commerce Department proposal.

By Marjorie Censer
January 30, 2020 at 1:04 PM

CACI International said this week sales in its most recent quarter reached $1.4 billion, up 18% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

Quarterly profit hit $80 million, up almost 16% from the prior year.

CACI said it has raised its guidance for the year. While the company previously expected fiscal year 2020 sales of $5.55 billion to $5.75 billion, it now expects sales of $5.6 billion to $5.8 billion.

By Tony Bertuca
January 30, 2020 at 12:21 PM

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today the United States is working with the Iraqi government to deploy a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery capable of intercepting the type of short-range ballistic missiles Iran used to attack U.S. forces in Iraq earlier this month.

“We need the permission of the Iraqis,” he told reporters during a Pentagon press conference.

Esper said U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie has requested the Patriot deployment.

“The commander feels he needs them,” Esper said. “In this case, we support the commander, given what happened.”

On Jan. 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil, requiring dozens of U.S. servicemembers to subsequently be treated for traumatic brain injury. The total number of injured U.S. troops remains unclear.

The attack was a retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military official. The Trump administration alleged Soleimani was plotting “imminent” attacks on American targets, but has declined to present public evidence to support the assertion.

Esper has previously said Soleimani was a “legitimate target” whose “time was due.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke alongside Esper today, said the Pentagon is working on the logistics of deploying a Patriot battery to Iraq.

“A Patriot battalion is not a small organization; it’s relatively large,” he said.

Asked whether the Patriot system could have shot down the Iranian missiles, he said he “can’t say for certain . . . but that is exactly what they are designed to do.”

By Marjorie Censer
January 30, 2020 at 10:08 AM

The chief executive of Raytheon said today the company is seeing increased classified work, which he said helps ensure future franchises.

In a call with analysts this morning, Tom Kennedy said classified work is the company's "seed corn."

"The greater amount of classified work we have, the stronger our future will be," he said, arguing this type of work helps the government prepare the next set of franchises.

Kennedy said classified bookings made up 22% of the company's total bookings in 2019. That represented a 17% increase over 2018.

Meanwhile, Raytheon said sales in its most recent quarter totaled $7.8 billion, up almost 7% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company's quarterly profit totaled $885 million, up 6% from the prior year.

Sales for the year reached $29.2 billion, up about 8% from 2018. Profit for the year hit $3.3 billion, up 15% from 2018.

By Justin Katz
January 30, 2020 at 9:56 AM

Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week previewed his themes for the fiscal year 2021 budget request in a memorandum to the Pentagon's top leadership, writing that the new budget "supports irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy."

The guidance -- which directs Esper's top brass on themes they should include in their testimony to lawmakers -- focuses on modernization, strengthening partnerships with allies, reforms and supporting personnel.

Esper's Jan. 27 memo was sent to the service secretaries, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under secretaries of defense and the combatant commanders.

By Jaspreet Gill
January 29, 2020 at 4:12 PM

The Army today selected 20 companies to advance to the next phase of its fourth Expeditionary Technology Search, or "xTechSearch 4.0," competition.

The competition provides small businesses the opportunity to present new technologies that support the Army's modernization priorities. The months-long competition kicked off last year with white paper proposals followed by three "pitch days" in January, where 48 companies presented potential innovations in combat vehicles, long-range precision fires, vertical lift and more.

Army acquisition executive Bruce Jette, who created xTechSearch in 2018, in a press release today said the service "must proactively and aggressively engage with innovators to see what new ideas, concepts, systems and sub-system components they can bring to the table."

The third phase, dubbed the "Innovators' Corner," will take place in March at the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL. Each company will present their business plan, development plan, the results of "any customer discovery with the Army and commercial users" and showcase what they'd present in the final "proof-of-concept" phase, according to the press release.

The following companies have been selected for the third phase: Battle Sight Technologies of Dayton, OH; Bounce Imaging of Buffalo, NY; DroneShield LLC of Warrenton, VA; FastVDO LLC of Melbourne, FL; FLITE Material Sciences US, Inc. of Somerville, MA; GeneCapture, Inc. of Huntsville, AL; Geopipe of New York, NY; Inductive Ventures of Marietta, GA; IoTAI, Inc. of Fremont, CA; Kericure, Inc. of Wesley Chapel, FL; LumiShield Technologies, Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA; Lynq Technologies, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY; MEI Micro, Inc. of Addison, TX; Multiscale Systems, Inc. of Worcester, MA; NeuroFlow, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA; NanoSystems Laboratory of Chicago, IL; Novaa Ltd. of Dublin, OH; Passenger, Inc. of Austin, TX; Primal Space Systems of Raleigh, NC; and Vita Inclinata Technologies of Broomfield, CO.

Jette said the companies selected "presented incredible capabilities and systems that we would have not otherwise seen or be able to support had it not been for Army xTechSearch," according to the release.

Up to 12 companies will be awarded $120,000 and move onto the final live demonstration phase. Finalists will present their technologies during AUSA's annual meeting in Washington in October and a single winner will be awarded $250,000 at the conference.

The winners of the previous round of competition, xTechSearch 3.0, will also present their technologies at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in March.

By Tony Bertuca
January 29, 2020 at 2:44 PM

The Defense Department recently changed the titles of two senior leadership positions.

The principal deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence will now be known as the deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, while the principal deputy under secretary of defense (comptroller) will now be called the deputy under secretary of defense (comptroller), according to two DOD directives issued this month.

The changes were first mandated in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which redesignates all principal deputy under secretaries of defense as deputy under secretaries of defense.

By John Liang
January 29, 2020 at 1:48 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of a nascent command-and-control warfighting concept, General Dynamics' quarterly earnings, a U.S. Northern Command assessment of North Korea's future ICBM capabilities and more.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke this morning at a Mitchell Institute event:

JADC2 to serve as test bed for new joint warfighting concept

The Pentagon is building a new warfighting concept to lay out capabilities that will define the future battle -- and intends to use the Air Force-led joint all-domain command and control effort as a proving ground, according to the military's second-highest-ranking officer.

With earnings season well underway, here's some news from General Dynamics' conference call with Wall Street analysts:

General Dynamics CEO says company is prepared for increased work at Electric Boat

General Dynamics has built new facilities and focused on its workforce to manage both Block V of the Virginia-class submarine and the Columbia-class submarine, according to the company's chief executive.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) disclosed a new U.S. Northern Command assessment of North Korea's future ICBM capabilities during a hearing this week:

NORTHCOM: U.S. to assume 'increased risk' against North Korean ICBMs in 2025

North Korea could challenge the ability of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system to protect the U.S. homeland as soon as 2025, according to an assessment by U.S. Northern Command -- revealed by a lawmaker and verified by a top Pentagon official -- that anticipates continued advances in Pyongyang's long-range missile program.

More news from that hearing:

Pentagon considers INDOPACOM gambit to replace THAAD with Aegis Ashore on Guam

The Pentagon is considering a proposal to bolster Guam's defense by replacing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system with an Aegis Ashore site -- a move that would mark the first Pacific deployment of the land-based Standard Missile system to protect forward-deployed forces in the western-most U.S. territory against North Korean threats.

Continuing cyber defense coverage from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Industry leaders target DOD cyber certification among priorities for CISA 'tiger team'

The industry leaders of a CISA task force on supply-chain security say the Defense Department's emerging cybersecurity certification program is among the issues to be addressed by a new "tiger team" being formed to coordinate federal regulatory requirements.

By Marjorie Censer
January 29, 2020 at 1:17 PM

Boeing said today sales in its defense, space and security business in the most recent quarter were just shy of $6 billion, down 13% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

The unit's quarterly profit was $31 million, down 96% from the prior year. Boeing said the business faced a $410 million pre-tax charge to provision for an additional uncrewed mission for the Commercial Crew program.

In 2019, Boeing's defense business recorded sales of $26 billion, down 1% from 2018. Profit for the year hit $2.6 billion, up 57% from 2018.

By Courtney Albon
January 29, 2020 at 12:51 PM

The Defense Department may move away from labeling combatant commands as geographic or functional, according to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gen. John Hyten said today at an Air Force Association event the department is "almost there" in determining how to categorize the COCOMs, adding that they will likely eliminate the designations and simply call each a combatant command. The change, he said, would require an update to the unified command plan.

Hyten, the former head of U.S. Strategic Command, said the reason for the change is fairly simple -- labeling a COCOM functional or geographic does not capture the full range of responsibilities a command performs.

The discussion comes as Defense Secretary Mark Esper is planning a series of COCOM reviews throughout this year to identify reforms that will shape the Pentagon's fiscal year 2022 budget request.