The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
June 17, 2020 at 4:24 PM

Lockheed Martin Ventures has invested in Red 6, a Santa Monica, CA-based firm specializing in synthetic training.

Red 6 said in its announcement today that it will use the funds to "accelerate the development and commercialization of Red 6's ATARS (Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System)."

In the statement, Daniel Robinson, Red 6's chief executive, said ATARS allows pilots flying in real airplanes to maneuver against synthetically generated enemies.

"Working with aerospace leaders such as Lockheed Martin, who understand the value of our technology and how to integrate it into current and future platforms, is incredibly important," he added. "In that sense, we view Red 6's relationship with Lockheed Martin as an important long-term working relationship."

Red 6 said it has been working with the Air Force's AFWERX program for two years.

Lockheed Martin Ventures, the venture capital arm of the world's largest defense contractor, last year invested in nine new companies and made more than 30 follow-on investments.

Posting on LinkedIn today, Chris Moran, who heads Lockheed Martin Ventures, said Red 6 is “ahead of the game on the future of combat training and we're glad to partner with the team.”

By Marjorie Censer
June 17, 2020 at 3:36 PM

SOS International said today it has acquired a non-controlling interest in Applications Technology, better known as AppTek, to become the exclusive reseller of AppTek products to federal, state and local government.

As part of the deal, SOSi Chief Executive Julian Setian will join AppTek's board of directors, the company said.

AppTek specializes in artificial intelligence and machine learning for automatic speech recognition and machine translation. SOSi is a major language services provider to the U.S. government.

In a statement, Setian said the deal is "the latest of a series of investments we're making in market-leading commercial technologies."

Under the agreement, SOSi and AppTek are set to "jointly develop solutions for a variety of classified and unclassified use cases," SOSi said.

By John Liang
June 17, 2020 at 2:41 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has details on the Pentagon's recent Defense-Wide Review, plus a new space strategy and more.

Inside Defense has obtained documents breaking down the specific cuts identified in the Pentagon's recent Defense-Wide Review:

Angst grows on Capitol Hill over DOD's $5.7 billion 'savings' review

Senior Pentagon officials for months have publicly touted an internal budget review said to have "harvested" $5.7 billion in "savings" that can be reinvested in military modernization and readiness, but the process, along with newly surfaced documents breaking down the cost cutting, is generating heartburn on Capitol Hill.

Document: DOD's 'defense-wide review' savings documents

The Defense Department has laid out its high-level efforts to improve the national security space enterprise over the next decade:

Pentagon releases new strategy to counter, deter threats in space

A new Defense Space Strategy released today highlights four priority lines of effort the Pentagon plans to pursue in order to ensure it is positioned to "compete, deter and win" against future threats: build a comprehensive military advantage in space; integrate military spacepower into national, joint and combined operations; shape the strategic environment; and cooperate with allies, partners, industry and other U.S. government agencies.

Document: DOD's defense space strategy

Inside Defense recently chatted with a Senate Armed Services Committee aide regarding the cybersecurity details of the panel's fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill:

Senate defense bill fully funds Pentagon $9.8B cyber request, pushes DOD to keep up with industry

The Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill pushes the Pentagon to continue modernizing its cybersecurity capabilities, as authorizers want to ensure the Defense Department doesn't fall behind the private sector in the rapidly evolving world of cyberspace.

Army Col. William Venable, Stryker brigade combat team project manager, told reporters this week that the new Double-V Hull A1 vehicle handoff "seems to be going well" a couple weeks in and will run through May 2021:

Army fielding Double-V Hull Strykers to Ft. Carson

The Army as of last month has begun fielding the new Stryker Double-V Hull A1 vehicle to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson, CO.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Kevin Phillips, the CEO of ManTech:

ManTech CEO says new three-sector structure will be 'largely complete' by end of 2020

ManTech International's move from a two-group to three-division structure is a "natural" move that will be mostly complete by the end of the year, according to the company's chief executive.

Keep an eye out for a Defense Department inspector general audit of sole-source depot maintenance contracts:

DOD watchdog to audit sole-source depot maintenance contracts

The Defense Department inspector general intends to audit sole-source depot maintenance contracts performed at contractor facilities to determine whether the military has negotiated "fair and reasonable" prices.

Document: DOD IG audit notice of sole-source depot maintenance contracts

The Government Accountability Office recently found that the Navy's Ship-to-Shore Connector program is continuing to face design problems and contractor disputes:

GAO: SSC program delaying first deployment, coping with gearbox design, software issues

The Navy today announced that the second unit of its next-generation hovercraft completed acceptance trials earlier this month, but a recently published government watchdog report shines new light on issues the program faces behind the scenes.

By Marjorie Censer
June 17, 2020 at 12:35 PM

CAE said this week it has named Heidi Wood interim president of its defense and security group.

She succeeds Todd Probert, who was named group president in January, but is stepping down next week "to pursue a job opportunity within the U.S. National Security community."

Wood recently joined CAE as executive vice president for business development and growth initiatives. She previously was an executive at L3 Technologies.

By Tony Bertuca
June 16, 2020 at 7:41 PM

Acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker is resigning from the Defense Department, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

McCusker, who was confirmed as deputy comptroller in August 2017, was nominated to serve as Pentagon comptroller last November, but President Trump withdrew her nomination in March following reports about internal emails in which she opposed the White House decision to withhold aid from Ukraine, a matter that was at the center of Trump's impeachment.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office found in January that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld $214 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine over the summer, the very concern McCusker reportedly voiced in multiple emails to OMB.

Esper said McCusker would officially leave the Pentagon on June 26.

"Since joining the Department of Defense Elaine has worked tirelessly to ensure that our budgeting and audit processes give full value to the taxpayer while meeting the enormous security needs of our nation as well as the men and women who serve it," he said. "I am grateful for her dedication to public service and the contributions that she has made to the department and wish her the very best in her future endeavors."

By Mallory Shelbourne
June 16, 2020 at 3:06 PM

The Defense Department today announced a new head of Naval Sea Systems Command.

A Pentagon flag officer announcement disclosed the promotion of Rear Adm. William Galinis to vice admiral. Galinis, who has been the program executive officer for ships since July 2016, will now helm NAVSEA.

According to the Senate's website, the upper chamber approved Galinis' promotion to vice admiral by voice vote in March.

Vice Adm. Thomas Moore has served as the NAVSEA chief since June 2016.

The Defense Department also announced the promotion of Rear Adm. Jeffrey Trussler to vice admiral. The Senate also approved Trussler's promotion to vice admiral by voice vote in March. According to Trussler's Navy biography, he took over his new position as deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, also known as N2/N6, in June.

The Pentagon also announced Rear Adm. Samuel Paparo's promotion to vice admiral. The Senate approved Paparo's promotion by voice vote in March. Paparo has been named the new head of U.S 5th Fleet and of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

By Jaspreet Gill
June 16, 2020 at 2:58 PM

The Sikorsky-Boeing Future Long Range Assault Aircraft offering, the SB-1 Defiant, reached its fastest speed yet during a recent flight test, company officials said today.

The SB-1 Defiant, one of two FLRAA competitors, achieved 205 knots on June 9 at Sikorsky's flight test center in West Palm Beach, FL. The Army wants a final FLRAA contender to fly up to 250 knots.

"Exceeding 200 knots is significant also because it's beyond any conventional helicopter speed, and we understand that speed and low-level maneuverability is critical to the holistic survivability in the [Future Vertical Lift] environment," Jay Macklin, Sikorsky's business development director for FVL, told reporters during a June 16 roundtable.

The 23,000-pound helicopter is outfitted with a rear-mounted pusher propulsor and flew for the first time publicly in February, reaching a speed of 140 knots using less than 30% of engine power.

Bill Fell, lead pilot for the SB-1 Defiant, said the helicopter was able to reach 205 knots using less than 50% of the installed propulsor power. Fell added he expects the aircraft to exceed 250 knots "because we have a lot more prop power to apply to this machine."

The Army in March awarded Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell competitive demonstration and risk-reduction contracts through other transaction authority agreements for FLRAA. The CDRR phase will last two years, followed by a downselect to one vendor.

By John Liang
June 16, 2020 at 1:42 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the possible deployment of more Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense destroyers to Spain, the resumption of Small Diameter Bomb II production and more.

The Senate Armed Services Committee in its mark of the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill is recommending a provision requiring the chief of naval operations and the head of U.S. European Command to "submit a detailed plan . . . as soon as practicable" to add two additional Ballistic Missile Defense-capable destroyers to the four currently homeported in Rota, Spain:

Senate panel open to adding BMD ships to Mediterranean fleet

A key Senate panel wants more information from the Navy and U.S. European Command on a gambit to significantly increase the size of the sea-based, ballistic missile defense fleet in the Mediterranean in order to improve command and control and better defend all of Europe from potential Iranian ballistic missile threats.

An Air Force spokeswoman confirmed to Inside Defense that Raytheon paused Small Diameter Bomb II production in July 2019 and is scheduled to resume next month:

Small Diameter Bomb II production to resume in July after yearlong delay

The Air Force expects to restart Small Diameter Bomb production next month after previously undisclosed safety deficiencies with the Small Diameter Bomb II led prime contractor Raytheon to halt production last July.

Flight testing of Boeing-Leonardo's Grey Wolf helicopter will be pushed back:

USAF flight testing of MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters delayed one year to November 2020

Boeing-Leonardo's MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter still has not obtained a Federal Aviation Administration certification to fly -- pushing back the start of Air Force flight testing by one year.

The Army has encountered problems with integrating the Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system with current weapon systems:

IM-SHORAD hits snag during testing, but still on track for FUE

The Army has run into some integration issues while testing the prototype for the Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system, on top of a delay associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, but the service is still planning to make an initial production decision by the end of this fiscal year, according to the program office.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last week voted to adopt its mark of the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill that includes a provision on the Israeli-developed Iron Dome system:

Senate bill would mandate Army plan for Iron Dome deployment

A key Senate panel is proposing legislation requiring the Army to outline a plan for deploying the Israeli-made Iron Dome air defense system, potentially enshrining in law what House and Senate lawmakers have requested of Pentagon leaders in written correspondence.

By Tony Bertuca
June 16, 2020 at 11:51 AM

The Defense Department will be key to rapidly distributing hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses if the new "Operation Warp Speed" team can successfully develop and test one, according to senior administration officials.

Operation Warp Speed, first established in May, aims to deliver 300 million doses of vaccine by January, but the officials told reporters they cannot guarantee success with "100% probability." Instead, the officials said, the federal government is doing what it can to "maximize" the probability of success.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has promised a vaccine by January, though some experts have signaled skepticism.

Operation Warp Speed is being run by a team from the Health and Human Services and Defense departments. Gen. Gus Perna, chief of Army Materiel Command, will serve as the project's chief operating officer.

Key to Operation Warp Speed's success, the senior administration officials said, will be spending billions in taxpayer funds to identify 14 of the best possible vaccine candidates that can be developed and tested concurrently, while maintaining traditional safety standards.

"The federal government is making investments in the necessary manufacturing capacity at its own risk, giving firms confidence that they can invest aggressively in development and allowing faster distribution of an eventual vaccine," according to an HHS fact sheet. "Manufacturing capacity for selected candidates will be advanced while they are still in development, rather than scaled up after approval or authorization."

But before the vaccines are approved, the federal government will prepare the infrastructure required to distribute them. The plan will lean heavily on DOD's existing logistics network and expertise.

Operation Warp Speed "will expand domestic manufacturing and supplies of specialized materials and resources, such as glass vials, that can be necessary for distribution," the fact sheet says. "DOD's involvement will enable faster distribution and administration than would have otherwise been possible."

The senior administration officials pledged the vaccines would be affordable and said manufacturers accepting taxpayer funds have agreed.

By Marjorie Censer
June 16, 2020 at 9:11 AM

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said today it will acquire Communications and Power Industries' ASC Signal Division for $35 million in cash.

ASC manufactures "high-performance, highly engineered antenna systems for satellite communications, radar, electronic warfare (EW), and high-frequency (HF) applications."

Late last month, the Justice Department announced that Odyssey Investment Partners, its portfolio company Communications and Power Industries and General Dynamics must divest CPI ASC Signal Division to proceed with the planned acquisition of General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies.

"Without the divestiture, the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition for the sale of large geostationary satellite antennas in the United States," the department said, adding that CPI and GD SATCOM are two of only a few companies that design, build and sell these antennas.

CPI completed its acquisition of the General Dynamics unit earlier this month.

Kratos said today the ASC Signal Division deal is expected to close within two months.

"The acquisition brings numerous synergies to Kratos' core space business," the company said. "To date, the part of Kratos focused on antennas has specialized in planning and implementing full-scale large, complex systems for which the antennas are just a part, and often employing antennas from multiple manufacturers. The ASC antennas will help expand that business, especially among U.S. government and national security customers."

Kratos said Tony Russell, who led ASC, will run the antenna/RF operating unit within Kratos.

By Marjorie Censer
June 16, 2020 at 9:05 AM

SparkCognition has named Logan Jones general manager of its new government systems business, the company said this week.

He was vice president of Boeing HorizonX, the innovation arm of Boeing, which is an investor in SparkCognition.

SparkCognition rolled out SparkCognition Government Systems last month. The business is operating as a wholly owned subsidiary.

The company announced a high-powered roster of former government officials would serve on the government systems unit's board of directors. Among them are retired Gen. John Allen; Lisa Disbrow, the former under secretary of the Air Force; retired Adm. John Richardson, the former chief of naval operations; former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work; and Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense for policy.

By John Liang
June 15, 2020 at 1:48 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Grey Wolf helicopter, the IM-SHORAD system and more.

Flight testing of Boeing-Leonardo's Grey Wolf helicopter will be pushed back:

USAF flight testing of MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters delayed one year to November 2020

Boeing-Leonardo's MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter still has not obtained a Federal Aviation Administration certification to fly -- pushing back the start of Air Force flight testing by one year.

The Army has encountered problems with integrating the Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system with current weapon systems:

IM-SHORAD hits snag during testing, but still on track for FUE

The Army has run into some integration issues while testing the prototype for the Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system, on top of a delay associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, but the service is still planning to make an initial production decision by the end of this fiscal year, according to the program office.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last week voted to adopt its mark of the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill that includes a provision on the Israeli-developed Iron Dome system:

Senate bill would mandate Army plan for Iron Dome deployment

A key Senate panel is proposing legislation requiring the Army to outline a plan for deploying the Israeli-made Iron Dome air defense system, potentially enshrining in law what House and Senate lawmakers have requested of Pentagon leaders in written correspondence.

The Government Accountability Office, in its annual DOD weapon system assessment, notes that the Air Force plans to award prime contractor Lockheed Martin a contract for the third GPS IIIF satellite following an upcoming production decision:

SMC expects GPS IIIF milestone C decision this month

After completing a critical design review in March for its next-generation GPS satellites, the Space and Missile Systems Center expects the program to achieve milestone C and a production decision by June 30.

U.S. Transportation Command announced last week that "an interested party" had disclosed new information regarding a multibillion-dollar moving contract, leading the command to seek corrective action and a review of the award:

TRANSCOM pulls back $7.2B military moving services contract to investigate new information

U.S. Transportation Command is re-evaluating a $7.2 billion award to overhaul the military's moving system made to a firm whose parent corporation is tied to a history of legal problems.

By Marjorie Censer
June 15, 2020 at 9:41 AM

Novetta said today it has acquired Annapolis Junction, MD-based WaveStrike in a bid to "deepen its capability development expertise for shared customers" and create "new growth opportunities for employees."

WaveStrike, founded in 2010, specializes in software engineering services, data analytics and technology for national security customers.

Novetta said Anne Wagner, WaveStrike's president, and Mike Wagner, the company's chief technology officer, will continue to lead the business as a new division inside Novetta.

The deal closed last week.

By Marjorie Censer
June 15, 2020 at 9:40 AM

ManTech International said today it has named Matt Tait chief operating officer and reorganized its two business groups into three sectors.

Tait's promotion is effective July 1. He joined ManTech almost two years ago as president of the company's mission solutions and services group.

ManTech said it is changing its organization from two groups -- MSS and mission, cyber and intelligence solutions -- to instead operate with three business sectors: intelligence, defense and federal civilian.

Adam Rudo, who leads the ManTech's security solutions business unit, will now oversee the intelligence group, while Andrew Twomey, who currently oversees defense work, will lead the defense sector. Bryce Pippert, who has been leading the company's federal civilian business, will now head the federal civilian unit.

By Tony Bertuca
June 15, 2020 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to participate in several hearings and online events this week.

Tuesday

The Air Force Association hosts an online discussion with an official performing the duties of assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration.

DefenseOne and GovExec host an online conference about artificial intelligence.

The House Armed Service personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on racial disparity in the military justice system.

KBR hosts an investor event on government solutions.

Wednesday

The Air Force Association hosts an online discussion with the commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center.

Thursday

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing to consider nominees to be the next chief of the National Guard and to help run the Pentagon COVID-19 vaccine effort.

Friday

Washington Technology hosts a breakfast on the evolving role of the systems integrator.