The Insider

June 26, 2018 at 12:29 PM | Tony Bertuca

The House has begun debating the fiscal year 2019 defense appropriations bill.

The bill cleared the House Rules Committee on Monday night and 24 amendments were approved for consideration on the floor. The committee will meet again today to consider additional amendments.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved its version of the bill today and the full committee is expected to vote Thursday.

Both bills would provide the Pentagon with funding that adheres to a bipartisan budget agreement passed earlier this year.

House Appropriations defense subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) told reporters she expects the bill to pass with strong support.

"We had 6,600 requests from members about what they saw in their districts and overall what the needs were, and we tried to meet those needs in every way possible," she said. "They're very aware of what's necessary, and the votes are there. We expect to have a good, strong support in this, looking at job base as well as military strength."

June 26, 2018 at 12:19 PM | Rachel Karas

The Air Force should take care not to stretch its resources too thin across competing directed-energy programs as multiple airborne laser efforts try to move forward, the service's chief scientist said Tuesday.

Right now, the Air Force is pursuing a defensive laser pod for the F-15 through the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator, another podded, possibly multipurpose laser for Air Force Special Operations Command's AC-130J gunship and a defensive laser for the KC-135 tanker. Inside Defense reported last month the Air Force plans to integrate a laser, called the High-Energy Laser Flexible Prototype, onto an as-yet-undetermined air vehicle to protect airborne platforms and defend bases.

The Air Force said in March it needs nearly $1.3 billion in the next five years to advance its laser and microwave research and prototypes.

At the annual Defense One Tech Summit on June 26, Richard Joseph told reporters the service is mulling which laser project is most important based on mission rather than technical maturity. While SHiELD is touted as the service's flagship laser effort, Joseph said another project like the tanker-defense weapon could take priority.

He also noted that the programs could move faster, but need additional experienced personnel to do so. Lasers are currently slated to mature into the 2020s, drawing criticism from some like Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who believe the service is moving too cautiously.

Directed-energy research is a cornerstone of the Air Force's current science-and-technology efforts, following a 2017 flight plan that outlined three uses for the new laser and microwave weapons: base defense, precision strike and aircraft protection. Officials are also planning a four-part experimentation campaign to pursue those goals.

June 26, 2018 at 9:16 AM | Marjorie Censer

Science Applications International Corp. said today it has named Christopher Donaghey senior vice president of corporate development and Tom Eldridge senior vice president of strategic development and communications, both effective immediately.

Donaghey “will be responsible for executing the company’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy” and “will work closely with the senior management team to support the development and implementation of SAIC’s strategic plan with an emphasis on M&A to complement organic growth strategies and value creation,” according to the contractor.

He previously was senior vice president of finance for SAIC's operations. Before joining SAIC, Donaghey was vice president of corporate strategy and development for KeyW.

Eldridge “will be responsible for market intelligence, including technology, funding, and policy trends; strategy support and business development; sales enablement with related tools and processes; internal and external communications, marketing communications, and corporate social responsibility,” SAIC said.

Eldridge, who joined SAIC in 2009 after a federal government career, leads the contractor's government affairs office. He previously served on the staff of the National Security Council and as staff director for the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security at the State Department.

June 26, 2018 at 9:15 AM | Marjorie Censer

The Trump administration said today the president intends to nominate Alan Shaffer to serve as deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

Shaffer previously served as the director of NATO science and technology at the NATO Collaboration Support Office. He also was principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering and was the acting assistant secretary for three years.

June 25, 2018 at 6:00 PM | Justin Doubleday

The Pentagon has shifted responsibility for its enterprise cloud computing initiative to the new chief information officer, as lawmakers raise questions about the acquisition strategy for the U.S. military's enterprise cloud computing program.

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy is now in charge of DOD's "cloud computing initiative," effective June 22, according to a Pentagon statement. It attributes the announcement to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who last fall established DOD's cloud executive steering group to accelerate the U.S. military's adoption of cloud technologies.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord was initially in charge of the group, and Shanahan then shifted that responsibility to Chief Management Officer Jay Gibson in January. Now, the Pentagon's No. 2 is handing the reins to Deasy.

"Under Deasy's leadership, the department will gradually consolidate its disparate networks, data centers and cloud efforts to manage them at the enterprise level," the statement reads. "Different DOD components manage many of the department's networks, data centers and clouds. Consolidating these disparate efforts at the enterprise level will enable the CIO to provide greater security and ensure greater reliability of the department's digital infrastructure, while achieving cost savings."

Deasy joined the Pentagon in May after a long career in the private sector. In his last job as JPMorgan Chase's CIO, Deasy pushed the bank to embrace cloud computing.

In leading DOD's cloud initiative, Deasy will now oversee the JEDI program, which seeks to establish a commercial cloud computing environment to extend from agencies in the United States to warfighters in austere environments abroad.

The JEDI program, however, has come under criticism and scrutiny due to DOD's plans to make just a single award for the potentially 10-year, multibillion-dollar program. The House Appropriations Committee's fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill would fence funds for the JEDI program and other cloud efforts until DOD gives lawmakers more information on its cloud computing strategy.

The Pentagon had planned to release the JEDI request for proposals in May and award the contract by September, but the RFP's release has been delayed indefinitely.

June 25, 2018 at 4:26 PM | Ashley Tressel

Lockheed Martin has received a $358 million contract that includes the modernization of 290 long-range, surface-to-surface missiles for the Army, the company announced today.

This is the second award for the Army's service life extension program to dismantle and replace Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, Block 1 and 1A warheads, which have a 10-year shelf life. Lockheed is still completing the first order of 150 upgraded missiles through a $161 million contract awarded in August 2017.

The Army will receive 290 more upgraded missiles through the second award, scheduled for delivery by January 2021. Lockheed will also deliver 30 new missiles to Romania under the contract. The company has a total surge capability of 400 missiles for the contract and is seeking options to produce about 500 per year, a spokeswoman said today.

The Army at the time of the award obligated $145.9 million in fiscal year 2017 and FY-18 research, development, test and evaluation; foreign military sales; Overseas Contingency Operations and aircraft procurement funds, according to the Defense Department.

June 25, 2018 at 3:29 PM | Rachel Karas

Boeing will receive an Air Force contract in the next three months to build a new batch of a Small Diameter Bomb I variant designed to minimize collateral damage.

In emails sent June 20 and 25, Air Force spokeswoman Jasmine Porterfield declined to answer how many Focused Lethality Munitions the service will buy, or how much the contract will be worth, but said delivery will start in late fiscal year 2019.

The FLM "is an advanced fill in a composite-cased warhead and integrated into the existing SDB I weapon system," the service said in a June 6 contract notice. "This effort is in response to an urgent operational requirement to provide USAF aircraft platforms the ability to prosecute high-value targets having collateral damage sensitivity."

FLM can fly on Boeing F-15E and Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets. Porterfield said the Air Force isn't considering adding the weapon to other platforms.

"The Small Diameter Bomb Focused Lethality Munition variant gives warfighters the precision of SDB with very low collateral damage," Boeing's SDB Program Manager Charlie Davis said June 13. "The FLM is made of carbon fiber and disintegrates upon impact instead of fragmenting, and it has an explosive compound that provides enhanced blast characteristics. The guided weapon provides a standoff range of more than 60 nautical miles to protect aircrews engaging threats in combat."

The weapon also offers anti-jamming GPS and inertial navigation.

Boeing currently builds more than 5,000 SDBs each year and plans to ramp up to 8,000 annually by the end of 2018, Davis said. Both SDB and FLM are built on the same production line. However, Porterfield said the Air Force does not plan to invest further in FLM.

"There are no other munitions that provide the same capability," she said.

In 2013, Boeing completed production of 500 FLM units and noted in a December 2013 press release the Air Force had used 23 in combat.

June 25, 2018 at 2:46 PM | Marjorie Censer

Lockheed Martin said today it has named Bob Harward as chief executive for Lockheed Martin in the Middle East.

"In this new role he will be responsible for the company’s strategy, operations and growth in the [United Arab Emirates], Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan," the contractor said.

Until now, he had served as the company's chief executive for the UAE.

Harward previously served on the National Security Council during the Bush administration. Before joining Lockheed in 2014, he was a vice admiral in the Navy.

June 25, 2018 at 2:03 PM | John Liang

Air Force bomber news, contractor cybersecurity and more highlight this Monday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Follow Inside Defense for continued coverage of the Space Force debate. The most recent story, which compiles much of our coverage to date, is now free here:

Trump's 'Space Force' order raises questions, could bolster ongoing congressional debate

President Trump's announcement last week that he would direct the Pentagon to create a new military service -- dubbed a Space Force -- injected new energy into an ongoing debate about who should manage the military space mission.

Air Force bomber news:

Air Force eyes B-21 CDR this year

The Air Force expects to conduct a critical design review of the new B-21 bomber before the end of the year, according to the director of the service's rapid capabilities office.

B-1 fleet returns to flight; Air Force refuses to disclose how many jets need ejection-seat fix

The Air Force's B-1 fleet returned to flight this week after being grounded due to a problem with the jet's ejection seat.

The House Armed Services Committee received a members-only, classified briefing last week on the recent hack of a Navy contractor:

Lawmakers push to fill gaps in contractor cybersecurity after Navy hack

House lawmakers are pushing the Defense Department to shore up its policies on contractor cybersecurity, as Congress weighs legislative options in the wake of a hack into a Navy contractor's sensitive undersea warfare data.

Requirements evaluation teams could see greater use by the Navy:

Navy may expand use of requirements evaluation teams

The Navy may expand the use of requirements evaluation teams -- initially created by the surface warfare community for the new frigate and Zumwalt-class destroyer -- to the other warfare communities, according to a top requirements officer.

Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, has directed the Defense Science Board to form a task force that was originally called for by his Obama administration predecessor:

DOD calls on DSB for new strategic counter-autonomy assessment -- again

The Pentagon's weapons technology chief has commissioned a high-level advisory panel to conduct a strategic assessment of U.S. counter-autonomy capabilities, a one-year study to explore the potential for disruption across the military enterprise caused by advances in artificial intelligence and global technology proliferation.

Document: DSB memo on strategic counter-autonomy assessment


Don't expect the Air Force to get more than 17 JSTARS aircraft:

Bunch: Air Force has options for shrinking JSTARS recap buy

In response to congressional inquiries, the Air Force has drawn up options for buying fewer than 17 aircraft under the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System recapitalization program, according to the service's military deputy for acquisition.

U.S. Special Operations Command will be getting more Small Glide Munitions:

SOCOM to ramp up Small Glide Munition production with $470M contract

U.S. Special Operations Command expects to buy about 4,000 Small Glide Munitions through fiscal year 2022 to meet its current needs, a command official told Inside Defense this week.

Lawmakers want to make sure the Army contracts with a U.S. company to replace transmissions on the Bradley fighting vehicle fleet:

Race to replace Bradley transmissions stirs up defense industrial base issues

Senate lawmakers, afraid the Army might award a foreign company a sole-source contract to replace transmissions for the entire fleet of Bradley fighting vehicles, have taken steps to insulate U.S. manufacturers by proposing legislation requiring a full and open competition, Inside Defense has learned.

June 25, 2018 at 12:30 PM | Courtney Albon

President Trump last week surprised lawmakers and Pentagon leaders by directing the Defense Department to create a new military service, a Space Force.

"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force," he said during a June 18 National Space Council meeting.

The announcement appears to have come as a surprise to Air Force and Pentagon officials as well as lawmakers, including House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), who has led the congressional push to reorganize the military space mission. And it has generated plenty of speculation as to why the president is pushing for this change and what his vision is for a new military service.

Follow Inside Defense for continued coverage of the Space Force debate. The most recent story, which compiles much of our coverage to date, is now free here.

June 25, 2018 at 5:10 AM | Tony Bertuca

(Editor's note: This article has been updated to include additional scheduling information.)

The House is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill, while Senate defense appropriators take up their version of the legislation. Meanwhile, senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak at different events around the Washington area.

Monday

The House is expected to vote on the FY-19 defense spending bill this week.

Tuesday

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee meets to mark up its version of the FY-19 military spending bill.

AeroVironment executives are slated to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for Lt. Gen. Stephen Lyons to be the next chief of U.S. Transportation Command.

DefenseOne hosts its 2018 Tech Summit featuring senior Pentagon officials.

The Air Force Association hosts a breakfast with the director of the Missile Defense Agency.

Wednesday

AeroVironment hosts an investor and analyst event.

Thursday

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on Army and Marine Corps depot policy issues and infrastructure concerns.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the FY-19 defense spending bill.

June 25, 2018 at 5:05 AM | John Liang

Some must-reads from this week's issue of Inside the Navy:

1. The Pentagon last week awarded BAE Systems a contract worth $198 million to produce 30 low-rate production Amphibious Combat Vehicles, according to Marine Corps officials.

Full story: BAE Systems wins Amphibious Combat Vehicle contract

2. Air Force and Navy sustainment officials have been working since December to develop a detailed cost estimate for a plan to establish an organic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter software maintenance capability and will brief the program's sustainment lead in the next few weeks.

Full story: Air Force, Navy sustainment team to brief F-35 JPO on software maintenance cost estimates

3. Both the Navy and Marine Corps have recently experienced an uptick in class C mishaps, according to two top aviation officers.

Full story: Navy, Marine Corps report more class C mishaps

4. The Navy may expand the use of requirements evaluation teams -- initially created by the surface warfare community for the new frigate and Zumwalt-class destroyer -- to the other warfare communities, according to a top requirements officer.

Full story: Navy may expand use of requirements evaluation teams

June 25, 2018 at 5:02 AM | John Liang

Some must-reads from this week's edition of Inside the Army:

1. Senate lawmakers, afraid the Army might award a foreign company a sole-source contract to replace transmissions for the entire fleet of Bradley fighting vehicles, have taken steps to insulate U.S. manufacturers by proposing legislation requiring a full and open competition, Inside Defense has learned.

Full story: Race to replace Bradley transmissions stirs up defense industrial base issues

2. In a signal of strong congressional support, lawmakers are backing the Army's high-priority project to develop a new cannon for its self-propelled artillery fleet -- a key part of the service's goal to improve its long-range precision fires portfolio.

Full story: Effort to develop new Paladin cannon winning support for FY-19 funding boost

3. The Army is working to provide more timely reset and recapitalization of recently deployed Patriot surface-to-air missile systems after the Government Accountability Office found that delays in returning the refurbished systems to soldiers have degraded unit readiness.

Full story: GAO says Army readiness suffers from delays in Patriot system availability

4. The Army's network cross-functional team has begun expanding its mission, taking the lead on "all four lines of effort" for tactical network modernization, according to its director.

Full story: Army Network CFT broadens its scope

June 22, 2018 at 6:02 PM | Rachel Karas

One Navy pilot died and another aircrew member sustained minor injuries when an A-29 Super Tucano crashed while participating in the Air Force's light-attack experiment June 22.

The Navy said in a June 23 press release it is investigating why Lt. Christopher Short crashed during an A-29 training mission at the Red Rio Bombing Range.

An Air Force spokesman told Inside Defense June 22 that Holloman Air Force Base, NM, canceled its planned Friday exercises following the crash, which occurred 65 miles north of the base at the bombing facility that is part of the White Sands Missile Range.

The Air Force is vetting Sierra Nevada and Embraer's A-29 and Textron Aviation's AT-6 at Holloman AFB to determine whether to buy a fleet of cheaper aircraft to lessen the combat burden on the service's fighter jets in low-end conflict areas like the Middle East. The experiment's second phase, which began May 7, is exploring logistics, sustainment and weapons integration.

Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Emily Grabowski on Monday said she has no new information on how the crash affects the rest of the experiment. A Sierra Nevada spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday on the company's path forward.

June 22, 2018 at 5:41 PM | Tony Bertuca

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has released a department-wide memo warning all Pentagon employees to "be alert" to potential theft of their personal data.

"You must be your own sentinel in safeguarding your personal information," Mattis writes. "Remain mindful of what information you choose to share, online or otherwise, and where you invest your money."