The Insider

By Evan Ochsner
April 20, 2022 at 3:13 PM

The Army's first set of modernized network capabilities is more than 70% fielded, the program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical said on Wednesday.

The Army is almost finished equipping its seventh brigade combat team with Capability Set 21 technologies, Maj. Gen. Rob Collins said during a conference hosted by C4ISRNET. The Army plans to outfit nine brigade combat teams with the capabilities, Collins said.

Capability Set 21 prioritized fielding “expeditionary” capabilities with a focus on tactical brigades, he added.

The capability set was 50% fielded in February, Collins said at the time.

The Army’s next set, Capability Set 23, is scheduled for a critical design review next week. That set seeks to extend new technology to Stryker formations while increasing overall network capacity, resiliency and convergence, the Army has said.

The Army will discuss Capability Sets 25 and 27 with industry at a meeting next month. “We’re really starting to set our design goals” for those sets, Collins said.

By John Liang
April 20, 2022 at 1:49 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's airborne refueling tanker fleet, the Pentagon's Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort, the Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan and more.

House and Senate lawmakers have differing ideas of how to go about replacing the KC-46 airborne refueling tanker:

Lawmakers push for competition for KC-Y contract

As the Air Force formalizes plans for the KC-Y program that will field a bridge tanker to continue recapitalization of the air refueling fleet, lawmakers in interviews with Inside Defense are calling for the service to release more information about the program's plans, with some calling for a competition for the aircraft's contract.

News on the Pentagon's Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort:

DOD leaders lay groundwork for investing in JADC2 implementation plan

Top Pentagon officials are working to overlay their recently completed Joint All-Domain Command and Control implementation plan with their fiscal year 2023 budget request as they prepare to make investments heading into the next funding cycle.

Inside Defense this week got an early look at the Navy's congressionally required, 30-year shipbuilding plan:

Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan calls for 51 battleforce ships over FYDP

The Navy plans to build 51 manned battleforce ships over the next five years, according to the Biden administration's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan, a copy of which was obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan

The Army's newest rifle contractor was unveiled this week:

Sig Sauer wins Next Generation Squad Weapon contract

Sig Sauer will provide thousands of new rifles to the Army over the coming years after it won a Next Generation Squad Weapon contract, the service announced Tuesday.

The Army this week revealed its spending plans for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle:

Future AMPV procurement would slow under Army's FY-23 request

The Army would end a two-year break on buying its new armored personnel carrier under the fiscal year 2023 budget request, but its future spending plans for the system now include fewer annual purchases than before.

Document: Army's FY-23 procurement budget justification books

One of the Navy's biggest challenges is "time to market" for its 5G-enabled, "smart" warehouse project:

Navy's 'smart' warehouse pilot to start production in two years

The Navy's "smart" warehouses are on track for transitioning to production in two years, but the service is still moving at a much slower pace than industry, according to a service official.

Performance on Technology Refresh 3, an F-35 hardware upgrade needed to pave the way for Block 4's full combat capability and weapons suite, "has not been what we wanted," according to an Air Force official:

Air Force sees need for extra F-35s if TR-3 included

Though the Air Force's unfunded priorities list cites a need for seven additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, a service spokeswoman noted officials' interest in extra procurement hinges on whether a critical enabler of the program's advanced Block 4 capabilities is included in those jets.

By Briana Reilly
April 20, 2022 at 10:56 AM

The senior adviser to the Defense Department's chief data officer says the military is beginning to increasingly embrace data sharing as officials work toward a goal of faster information transfers to help enable Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

Speaking at a C4ISRNet event today, John Turner attributed the shift partially to the creation of data leadership and CDO roles across DOD components, saying those efforts were “really helping bolster that change.”

“I think the culture of data hoarding is absolutely on the way out, and we’re seeing incredible responsiveness as increasingly data is being shared across components for various use cases,” he said.

In a recent top-level reorganization, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks announced the creation of a new chief digital and artificial intelligence officer to bolster alignment across the department and spotlight the importance of the military’s data, analytics and AI efforts.

The office’s standup and the subsequent melding of previously segmented organizations within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Turner said, allows for alignment across DOD’s practices and boosts the speed at which officials can act.

Beyond that, he said the process has taught DOD “that we’ve got an opportunity to align our strategy on how to drive change across the department, how to lead and oversee the adoption of data analytics and AI.”

In particular, he said the effort has led officials to reflect on which pieces need to be centrally managed and invested in “versus where do we need to accept that there should rightfully be a healthy amount of diversity in our capabilities and approaches.”

“The opportunity to have the coherent architecture and explanation of that across the force is really the potential we have now,” Turner noted.

The moves come as DOD continues working toward the creation of a military internet of things in JADC2. One key measure of success for that effort, Turner said, is the speed of data sharing across components.

Still, he cited the complexities of data sharing, ranging from security and privacy issues to “whether the data is actually fit for purpose for the [customer’s] intended use.”

“I don’t think that success in JADC2 is going to be the realization of a perfect architecture that is predetermined, fixed in stone and then delivered,” Turner said. “The success from the data perspective is the speed at which we can close the loop between the producer and consumer and share data faster.”

By Michael Marrow
April 19, 2022 at 3:46 PM

The Biden administration plans to prohibit direct-ascent antisatellite missile testing, Vice President Kamala Harris announced yesterday during a visit to Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA.

The announcement is the first initiative of the administration’s National Space Council and makes the United States the first country to adopt a unilateral ban, according to a White House fact sheet. The administration plans to work with the international community to make similar commitments, the fact sheet states.

As more countries broaden their space capabilities, including adversaries like Russia and China, intelligence officials have recently pointed to evolving antisatellite technologies like directed-energy weapons and cyber and electronic attacks that could disrupt or destroy satellites, with ASAT testing as a leading concern.

A successful ASAT test by Russia last November sparked international outcry for creating over 1,500 pieces of debris and renewed calls to ban the practice, which could threaten satellites in orbit as well as other orbital vehicles like the International Space Station.

News of the prohibition was lauded by experts who have been calling for an ASAT testing moratorium.

“By adopting this policy unilaterally, the United States is signaling that it sees this behavior as being so irresponsible that it is unwilling to engage in it,” the Secure World Foundation wrote in a statement. “As productive discussions in multilateral fora continue on norms and principles for responsible behavior in space, this new U.S. policy sends a clear message about U.S. commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space.”

According to the foundation’s statement, ASAT tests have left 4,379 pieces of tracked debris still in orbit, most of which may take decades to decay.

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) criticized the move.

“This unilateral decision mistakes activity for achievement. It does nothing to deter our adversaries in an escalating war fighting domain. In fact, I’m worried it will have the opposite effect,” he said in a statement.

“Both the Russians and the [Chinese Communist Party] have demonstrated their anti-satellite capabilities -- it would be naive to think they don’t intend to use them against our assets,” Rogers added. “I want answers from the administration on what exactly is being done to protect our national security. Simply declaring what they won’t do isn’t deterrence.”

By John Liang
April 19, 2022 at 1:10 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, Army electric tanks and more.

The Defense Department this week released its fiscal year 2023 budget justification book for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative:

DOD advances $27 billion, five-year package to deter China; $50 billion gap with INDOPACOM

The Pentagon is advancing a five-year, $27 billion package of capabilities tailored to deter China, a stark variance with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's assertion that $76 billion is needed over the same period -- a nearly $50 billion difference -- to strengthen regional deterrence, particularly west of the International Date Line.

Document: DOD's FY-23 budget justification book for PDI

Inside Defense recently chatted with Paul Farnan, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment:

Army expects electric tank by 2050, official says

The Army intends to field all-electric tanks by 2050, a top service energy and environment official told Inside Defense on Friday, but it will require major technological improvements to meet that target.

Future large-scale combat operations will require stronger echelon-above brigade formations, as divisions reclaim their position at the forefront of battlefield maneuver after two decades of counter-insurgency operations in the Army:

Army expands air defense, combat engineering in budget request

The Army will add a short-range air defense battalion and more capabilities to four engineering companies under its fiscal year 2023 budget request, according to newly released budget documents.

The Army has changed the name of its Mid-Range Capability to "Strategic Mid-Range Fires":

Army project to field Chinese ship-sinking capability now called Strategic Mid-Range Fires

The Army has rebranded its road-mobile, ship-killing weapon system "Strategic Mid-Range Fires" and is seeking $404 million in fiscal year 2023 to complete integration of a sea-based launcher on a truck to arm ground forces by next year with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Standard Missile-6.

The Air Force's chief architect officer will leave his post soon:

Air Force's first chief architect officer to resign

Preston Dunlap, the Air Force's first chief architect officer, will resign from his role in the coming weeks, he announced in a LinkedIn post Monday.

By Evan Ochsner
April 19, 2022 at 12:14 PM

An upgraded Black Hawk helicopter achieved an all-weather airworthiness certification, Northrop Grumman, which is providing an upgraded cockpit for the aircraft, announced Monday.

The Army issued an Instrument Flight Rules Airworthiness Release to the UH-60V, which will allow pilots to fly the Black Hawk under all weather conditions.

The UH-60V includes an upgraded cockpit of the UH-60L enabled by Northrop Grumman’s OpenLift technology, which provides a “fully open, digital and integrated avionics package,” according to the announcement.

“Achieving IFR airworthiness is a major milestone for the UH-60V with OpenLift,” Lindsay McEwen, Northrop Grumman's vice president for navigation, targeting and survivability said in the announcement. “Aircrews can now experience the unique capabilities of this open-architecture aircraft under all conditions.”

The company says its Open Lift platform has also been flight demonstrated on the AH-64E Apache and can be used on other legacy and Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

By Evan Ochsner
April 19, 2022 at 11:17 AM

The Army next month will host a meeting to discuss upcoming network modernization capability sets and areas of focus for industry.

The meeting, May 9-10 in Philadelphia, will focus on Capability Sets 25 and 27, according to an announcement.

The meeting will help shape industry research and development efforts for Capability Sets 25 and 27 and offer white paper opportunities, according to the announcement.

It will cover the Army’s focus on the division level, special operations and Multi-Domain Task Force formation user feedback discussions; experimentation strategy forecast; updated C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards roadmap and opportunities; detailed update on command post modernization program; and network security and resilience topic panels and opportunities.

The event will have in-person and virtual options for attendance. The deadline to register to attend in-person is 5 p.m. Friday.

The virtual registration deadline is May 2.

By John Liang
April 18, 2022 at 4:00 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on an Army ship-killing capability, the Air Force's chief architect officer resigning and more.

The Army has changed the name of its Mid-Range Capability to "Strategic Mid-Range Fires":

Army project to field Chinese ship-sinking capability now called Strategic Mid-Range Fires

The Army has rebranded its road-mobile, ship-killing weapon system "Strategic Mid-Range Fires" and is seeking $404 million in fiscal year 2023 to complete integration of a sea-based launcher on a truck to arm ground forces by next year with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Standard Missile-6.

The Air Force's chief architect officer will leave his post soon:

Air Force's first chief architect officer to resign

Preston Dunlap, the Air Force's first chief architect officer, will resign from his role in the coming weeks, he announced in a LinkedIn post today.

For the past three years, Aerosonde aircraft have been operating aboard the expeditionary sea base ship Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), but have now transitioned to destroyers:

Textron's small UAS deployed on first DDG, second coming soon

Textron Systems' small unmanned aircraft system Aerosonde is operational on its first guided-missile destroyer and will deploy on a second destroyer this fall.

U.S. Cyber Command has identified millions of dollars in unfunded priorities:

CYBERCOM seeks $236 million for unfunded priorities

U.S. Cyber Command has sent Congress a list identifying $236.4 million in unfunded priorities, according to a document obtained by Inside Defense.

HII recently submitted a number of solutions for naval autonomous operations:

HII releases its solution to the Navy's plea for open architecture autonomy

Shipbuilder and defense technology company HII has released a suite of autonomy solutions that can turn any ship, vehicle or platform in any domain into a robotic platform -- a technology the company has dubbed "Odyssey."

By Michael Marrow
April 18, 2022 at 2:28 PM

The Joint Navigation Warfare Center is pursuing upgrades to its navigational warfare operations, according to a sources-sought notice posted today.

Housed under U.S. Space Command, the JNWC is responsible for establishing positioning, navigation and timing superiority to support warfighting missions. The notice calls for contractor assistance in acquiring new technical improvements, including engineering and design testing, to fully integrate NAVWAR into military policy, doctrine and operations.

The notice outlines three required technical capabilities: Contractors must have extensive knowledge of NAVWAR vulnerabilities, capabilities and system operations; the ability to provide NAVWAR training to warfighters and other personnel; and expertise in providing NAVWAR engineering, operations research and modeling/simulation.

Responses to the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract are due May 9. An industry day is currently underway and will conclude April 20, according to the notice.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
April 18, 2022 at 11:48 AM

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville tested positive April 17 for COVID-19, according to an announcement today from the Army.

“He is experiencing very mild symptoms similar to seasonal allergies and is currently working remotely while adhering to all CDC protocols,” the announcement stated.

McConville is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, the announcement stated.

By Tony Bertuca
April 18, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to speak at several events this week.

Tuesday

FedScoop hosts Cloudera Government Forum 22.

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on developments in counterspace weapons.

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

Palo Alto Networks hosts its Joint Service Academy Cybersecurity Summit.

AFCEA DC hosts the Cyber Mission Summit.

The National Defense Industrial Association hosts its fiscal year 2023 Science & Technology Budget Rollout Webinar.

The Association of the United States Army hosts a webinar on objectives in the Middle East.

Senior Pentagon officials speak at C4ISRNet Conference 2022.

Thursday

The National Governors Association hosts a fireside chat on defense cybersecurity policy.

By Tony Bertuca
April 15, 2022 at 2:37 PM

Bill LaPlante today was sworn in as under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, filling the senior-most Pentagon vacancy.

LaPlante, who served as Air Force acquisition executive during the Obama administration, previously worked as president and CEO of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA.

During his nomination hearing last month, LaPlante told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) that his most immediate priority, if confirmed, would be to accelerate all equipment and capabilities being sent to Ukraine and NATO allies, as well as replenishing U.S. stockpiles of those systems.

Earlier this week, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said she looked forward to LaPlante assuming his post and working with Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu.

“They work great together,” Hicks said. “They’ve known each other a long time. I anticipate a really strong [Office of the Secretary of Defense] team, alongside the vice chairman being able to come together and start to build out, from a concept basis, what are those key technologies and what experiments with those technologies that will lead to breakthroughs.”

By Thomas Duffy
April 15, 2022 at 2:06 PM

Friday’s INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a developmental laser weapon, the Army’s unfunded priorities list, and the Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.

An industry developed laser weapon recently showed its stuff in the New Mexico desert:

Lockheed-Rolls: cruise missile intercept is ‘proof point’ for tactically developed 100kw laser

Industry-developed laser weapon and power technology -- designed to fit on a ship, a ground combat vehicle, and military cargo aircraft -- demonstrated the feasibility of a tactical, electrical, fiber laser beam-combined system across the entire engagement chain during a February test in New Mexico that shot down a cruise missile target.

The Army has identified the Abrams tank and an air-defense system as needing more money:

Army UPL would reverse Abrams, M-SHORAD cuts from budget request

Cuts to the Abrams tank and a new short-range air defense platform in the fiscal year 2023 budget request would be reversed, and the programs would see budget increases, if congressional appropriators include everything the service said it needs on its unfunded priorities list.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity file two reports on the Pentagon’s cyber certification effort:

NIST adds new data formats for foundational CMMC publications

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has added two new data formats intended to improve the usability of four publications that are foundational to the Pentagon’s cyber certification program.

The publications focus on the protection of controlled unclassified information. NIST Special Publication 800-171 is the basis for level two of the Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program. NIST Special Publication 800-171A provides assessment procedures to operationalize the publication.

Pentagon expects to submit first CMMC rulemaking for OMB review in July

The Pentagon will start the formal process in July to make regulatory changes to its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program with the submission of a new rulemaking to White House Office of Management and Budget for review, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

By Michael Marrow
April 14, 2022 at 4:55 PM

Market research is currently underway for ground-based radar systems that can support the Air Force’s Intrusion Detection System.

According to a request for information notice posted today, the Air Force is searching for commercial off-the-shelf, non-developmental items or near NDI for ground-based radar systems that can detect, identify and track targets such as humans and vehicles up to 20 kilometers away.

The radar must be able to continuously transmit the position of a target using encrypted sensor and communications data and be compatible with other command and control nodes of a base defense operations center.

Responses to the RFI are due April 29.

By Thomas Duffy
April 14, 2022 at 2:42 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest begins with a report on the Air Force’s KC-46 refueling tanker program, the two contractors vying for the Army’s next big helo contract discuss their proposals, a report on Defense Department technology transfer efforts, and the Navy is delaying the start of construction for its newest frigate program.

The Air Force announced it will look at the environmental effects of basing its newest tanker aircraft:

Air Force to start environmental study of KC-46 beddown

The Air Force announced today that it will begin an environmental impact statement for the recapitalization of KC-135 tankers with the beddown of 24 KC-46A aircraft at Macdill Air Force Base, FL.

The two contractors battling for the next Army helicopter program are talking about their proposals:

Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell compare dueling FLRAA proposals as Army nears decision

The Army is drawing closer to choosing the aircraft that will replace perhaps its most iconic helicopter: the Black Hawk.

In its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, the Army is seeking an aircraft that can fly farther, faster, and carry more weight than the Black Hawk.

The Pentagon sees new technology as a means of closing some warfighting capability gaps:

With rapid experimentation effort, DOD looks to build up tech transition pathways

The Pentagon is planning to use its new rapid experimentation effort to oversee future technology demonstrations and advance innovative solutions to joint problems as officials seek to close warfighting capability gaps across the Defense Department.

The Navy won’t be starting construction on a new frigate this month as had been planned:

Frigate construction pushed back from April target start date

The Navy will begin construction on the first Constellation-class frigate this summer or fall, later than the program’s goal to begin construction in April.