The Insider

By Rachel Cohen
December 18, 2018 at 4:14 PM

The Air Force will not release a final request for proposals for a light-attack aircraft acquisition program in 2018, despite earlier expectations the solicitation would come out this month, a service spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

"The Air Force does not anticipate release of the final light-attack request for proposals by the end of the calendar year as we complete additional analysis," Capt. Hope Cronin said in a Dec. 18 email.

Textron's AT-6B and the Sierra Nevada-Embraer team's A-29 are vying for a production contract that is slated for award in the last quarter of fiscal year 2019. Buying a less-expensive platform to fly close air support, air interdiction, combat search and rescue, strike coordination and reconnaissance and other missions could cost nearly $2.5 billion through FY-24.

Earlier this month, Inside Defense reported the service was waiting for industry's response to a second draft RFP before finalizing an acquisition strategy. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force's military deputy for acquisition, said the service is letting the FY-20 budget process play out as well.

By John Liang
December 18, 2018 at 2:20 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's latest maritime strategy, the Air Force's Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile program and much more.

Here's our coverage so far of the Navy's new maritime strategy:

New maritime strategy aimed at China, Russia lays out future major acquisition time lines

The Navy's new maritime strategy, seeking to align with the National Defense Strategy, details how the service can prepare for "great power competition" with the Russian and Chinese navies and lays out time lines for future major acquisitions to support the strategy.

Navy sets 2025 target for deploying offensive, conventional hypersonic strike weapon

The Navy's top officer has set 2025 as the the official target for fielding a sea-based, offensive hypersonic strike conventional weapon, giving the service about six years to adopt technologies -- including the hypersonic glide body developed as part of the Conventional Prompt Strike program -- for use in the U.S. military's submarine fleet.

More Navy news:

Spencer: Navy on track for 341 mission-capable Super Hornets by October 2019

The Navy is on track to achieve 341 mission-capable F/A-18 fighter jets by October 2019, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer recently confirmed.

Navy building LCSs at more than 20 percent under congressional cost cap

The actual execution costs for the Navy's most recently delivered Littoral Combat Ships are more than 20 percent below the congressional cost cap, according to a service spokesman.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord spoke with reporters this week:

Lord again talks performance incentives with industry amid major acquisition policy rewrite

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord, after a controversial failure earlier this year, is again approaching defense contractors to get a range of perspectives on the potential for performance incentives, while simultaneously launching a massive "clean sheet" rewrite of government procurement policy.

The Air Force's Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile has reached early operational capability:

Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile reaches EOC on B-1 after slight delay

Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday it has met the criteria needed to declare early operational capability for its Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile on the Air Force's B-1B bomber.

Looks like the Army's Iron Fist active protection system is moving forward:

Iron Fist APS approved for initial production

The Army Requirements Oversight Council has decided to move forward with fielding Iron Fist, a non-developmental active protection system, on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, according to the service.

The Air Force isn't very good at managing spare parts for the Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle:

DOD IG tells Air Force to improve MQ-9 spare parts inventory planning

The Air Force will consider how it uses spare parts for the MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft when projecting future requirements, in response to a Defense Department inspector general finding that the service has thousands of excess Reaper parts in its inventory.

Document: DOD IG report on excess Reaper parts

The Army has selected two winners to keep working on the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle:

BAE, General Dynamics move forward in Mobile Protected Firepower competition

The Army has chosen BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems to build prototypes for the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle, dropping Science Applications International Corp. from consideration.

By Tony Bertuca
December 18, 2018 at 10:54 AM

President Trump has ordered the establishment of U.S. Space Command, according to a White House memo.

"I assign to United States Space Command: (1) all the general responsibilities of a Unified Combatant Command; (2) the space-related responsibilities previously assigned to the Commander, United States Strategic Command; and (3) the responsibilities of Joint Force Provider and Joint Force Trainer for Space Operations Forces," Trump writes in a memo to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Meanwhile, several questions about SPACECOM remain as multiple sources have told Inside Defense the Pentagon is still working through key details of those plans, including where to locate the new combatant command.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting.

By Tony Bertuca
December 18, 2018 at 10:34 AM

After more than a year of reorganization intended to give the military services greater authority over their procurement programs, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said yesterday she maintains oversight of only nine of 89 major defense programs.

According to the Pentagon, Lord’s milestone decision authority list includes, the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense program; the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and Columbia class submarine; the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, the OCX Next Generation Operational Control System and recapitalization of presidential aircraft; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Ballistic Missile Defense System and Chemical Demilitarization-Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives.

The Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act shifted milestone decision authority for most major defense acquisition programs to the military services.

Meanwhile, the FY-17 NDAA directed the Pentagon to restructure its acquisition, technology and logistics office into two organizations: Lord's acquisition and sustainment office and a research and engineering organization, currently led by Mike Griffin.

By Courtney Albon
December 18, 2018 at 10:20 AM

A GPS III launch slated to fly today on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been delayed until Wednesday due to an "out-of-family reading" on one of the launch vehicle's first-stage sensors.

The satellite's Wednesday launch window opens at 9:07 a.m.

By Marjorie Censer
December 17, 2018 at 4:04 PM

Lockheed Martin said today it has named Paul Colonna president and chief investment officer of Lockheed Martin Investment Management Co., effective Jan. 7.

He succeeds Chris Li, who retired from the job earlier this year.

Colonna "will be responsible for $70 billion in retirement trust assets and all facets of the investment strategy, portfolio management, manager selection, asset allocation, risk management, and due diligence for these trust assets, to help LMIMCo and Lockheed Martin meet their goals," the company said.

He previously was CIO of Fundamental Equities for State Street Global Advisors and, before that, CIO for Public Investments for GE Asset Management.

By John Liang
December 17, 2018 at 2:34 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the proposed U.S. Space Command, the Cobra Dane early warning radar and the cyber threat from China.

The Defense Department has yet to iron out key details of the proposed U.S. Space Command:

Pentagon yet to identify location for U.S. Space Command headquarters

Amid media reports the White House may announce the establishment of U.S. Space Command Tuesday, multiple sources tell Inside Defense the Pentagon is still working through key details of those plans, including where to locate the new combatant command.

A new Government Accountability Office report looks at the Alaska-based Cobra Dane early warning radar:

DOD plans to spend $418 million on Cobra Dane through 2024, retain sensor through at least 2030

The Defense Department plans to spend $418 million through 2024 to keep the Cobra Dane radar in Alaska -- built in 1976 and slated to remain in use until at least 2030 -- operational, according to an audit of an Air Force report to Congress on the missile defense and space surveillance sensor.

Document: GAO report on the Cobra Dane radar

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have an analysis piece from a recent congressional hearing on the China cyber threat:

Cyber threat from China unifies typically divided Congress on setting tough security protections

An assessment of China's aggressive actions in cyberspace -- fueled by its ambition to match or replace the United States as a global superpower and employing intellectual property theft and cyber espionage -- is forging an unusual commonality on Capitol Hill that could clear the way for new, tougher cybersecurity requirements to protect the industrial supply chain and overall security of critical infrastructure and U.S. innovation.

By Ashley Tressel
December 17, 2018 at 11:49 AM

The Army on Dec. 14 released drive-by-wire guidance for the future Robotic Combat Vehicle, which is in the initial planning stage.

The service's Next Generation Combat Vehicle cross-functional team and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center are currently identifying desired capabilities for three variants of the RCV -- Light, Medium and Heavy.

By Justin Katz
December 17, 2018 at 8:52 AM

The Navy last week awarded Austal USA a contract modification to build two of the three Littoral Combat Ships appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2019, according to a Defense Department statement.

Historically, when the Navy has been appropriated three LCSs, it has awarded one to each company and held a limited competition for the third. This is the third consecutive year Austal has won the contract for a second ship.

“The Navy has not completed the competition for fiscal 2019 LCS class ships, therefore, the specific contract award amount for these ships is considered source-selection sensitive information and will not be made public at this time,” the statement said.

Congress appropriated $1.5 billion for LCS procurement in FY-19. Austal has previously stated the congressional cost cap per vessel for its variant, the Independence-class, is $584 million.

The three FY-19 LCSs represent the 33rd, 34th and 35th ships of the class. The Navy's current contract options enable the service to build up to 40.

Although it has not received an award yet, Lockheed Martin, which builds the Freedom-class LCS, will likely build the third FY-19 ship.

By Tony Bertuca
December 17, 2018 at 5:15 AM

Few defense events are scheduled for the week ahead, as Congress remains locked in a spending debate that could trigger a partial government shutdown.


The Atlantic Council hosts a panel discussion on the future of U.S. policy in Syria.

The Heritage Foundation hosts a panel discussion on China's "Belt and Road" foreign investment initiative.


The Air Force Association hosts a discussion with the director of Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability.


Congress by midnight must fund all government agencies that have yet to receive appropriations or face a partial government shutdown.

Happy Holidays!

The next Week Ahead will be posted on Dec. 31.

By John Liang
December 17, 2018 at 5:05 AM

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

1. Lawmakers are pushing the Navy to address its submarine maintenance backlog at shipyards following a watchdog report that found the service spent over $1.5 billion in the last decade on vessels it could not operationally deploy.

Full story: Lawmakers press Navy to address submarine maintenance backlog

2. The significance of sea and air power should drive the conversation about the Pentagon's topline budget, a congressman likely to lead oversight of Navy shipbuilding next year told Inside the Navy last week.

Full story: Courtney: Sea power, air power are key to national security

3. The Navy has deemed a theoretical "MH-53K King Dragon" helicopter as "not practical," estimating procuring such a platform could cost up to $7.6 billion in 2014 constant-year dollars for 48 aircraft, while developing and testing the aircraft could run $2.6 billion, according to documents viewed by Inside the Navy.

Full story: Navy advises against 'MH-53K King Dragon,' pegs procurement at $7.6B

4. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan has confirmed the Pentagon is building a new version of its fiscal year 2020 budget that accounts for more than $733 billion, despite having been told by the White House in October to plan for $700 billion.

Full story: Shanahan: 'We're looking at numbers above $733B'

By John Liang
December 17, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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

1. The Army's new policy on intellectual property in acquisition intends to provide overarching guidance on how the service should consider IP in negotiations and better plan for sustainment, according to one of its authors.

Full story: Army's new intellectual property policy seeks to plan ahead

2. The first flight of Bell-Sikorsky's proposed aircraft for the Army's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator has again been delayed, this time until early 2019, as representatives say it requires more testing.

Full story: Boeing-Sikorsky FVL aircraft won't fly until 2019

3. Five companies -- three U.S. contractors and two foreign firms -- responded to the Army's industry day invitation and the chance to compete in the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor program's "Sense-Off" event, a contest to rival the LTAMDS program of record -- allowing new players the opportunity to nab production of the expected multibillion-dollar Patriot radar replacement.

Full story: Five companies express interest in LTAMDS 'Sense-Off'

4. FT. EUSTIS, VA -- The Army Capabilities Integration Center has been officially redesignated the Futures and Concepts Directorate under Army Futures Command and will remain here to oversee the publication of two major documents on Army modernization.

Full story: Army Futures Command activates Futures and Concepts Directorate

By John Liang
December 14, 2018 at 3:41 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the ever-fluid military budget, future Navy shipbuilding, the Air Force's GPS constellation and more.

The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian spoke about the military budget at a defense industry event this week:

Shanahan: 'We're looking at numbers above $733B'

Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan has confirmed the Pentagon is building a new version of its fiscal year 2020 budget that accounts for more than $733 billion, despite having been told by the White House in October to plan for $700 billion.

The Democratic lawmaker who could wind up being chairman of a key House defense subcommittee recently spoke with Inside the Navy:

Courtney: Sea power, air power are key to national security, should drive hard budget choices

The significance of sea and air power should drive the conversation about the Pentagon's topline budget, a congressman likely to lead oversight of Navy shipbuilding next year told Inside the Navy this week.

A key upgrade to the legacy GPS Operational Control Segment has been delayed:

GPS OCX contingency capability delayed until next spring or summer

The Air Force said today Lockheed Martin is several months behind on delivering a key upgrade to the legacy GPS Operational Control Segment -- a modification that was designed to mitigate the impact of delays to the Next-Generation Operational Control Segment.

DOD officials were on Capitol Hill this week talking about background investigations:

Pentagon plans to scale up continuous evaluation program as it takes over background investigations

Defense Department officials say their "continuous evaluation" program has already helped pare down the security clearance investigations backlog, and they plan to scale its use across all cleared personnel as the Defense Security Service takes over the federal government's background investigations mission.

The Pentagon inspector general isn't impressed with the U.S. military's efforts to protect Ballistic Missile Defense System technical information:

DOD investigation turns up numerous failings by U.S. military to protect BMDS technical info

Military facilities responsible for protecting Ballistic Missile Defense System technical information did not pass muster, according to a Defense Department inspector general audit that identified more than half-a-dozen security shortfalls on classified networks critical to the $180 billion program to develop and field a defense against Iranian and North Korean long-range rockets.

Document: DOD IG report on BMDS technical info protection

The Air Force shed some light into why a sensor for the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle has been delayed:

Global Hawk's MS-177 operational testing delayed until March

Operational testing for UTC Aerospace Systems' MS-177 multispectral sensor has been delayed by more than a year because issues with other programs impacted the sensor's developmental test schedule, the Air Force told Inside Defense this week.

The Congressional Budget Office has some ideas on how to reduce the nuclear triad:

CBO cooks up cost-saving options that include reducing nuclear triad and canceling ICBM replacement

The Congressional Budget Office has produced a range of cost-cutting scenarios that could be explored to trim the federal deficit over the next decade, including possible reductions to the nuclear triad and potential cancellation of the program intended to replace the intercontinental ballistic missile.

Document: CBO report on 'options for reducing the deficit: 2019 to 2028'

Northrop now has a contract to modernize the aircraft sensors that tell pilots when they're being targeted by enemy missiles:

Northrop Grumman nabs potential $450M contract to modernize U.S. military's threat emitter systems

The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a potential $450 million deal to modernize the Defense Department's inventory of mobile air-defense threat simulators to prepare pilots -- including operators of the fledgling F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet -- to recognize and counter advanced enemy missile and artillery threats.

By Ashley Tressel
December 14, 2018 at 3:17 PM

The Army this afternoon published its new policy on managing intellectual property, along with a Dec. 7 directive from Secretary Mark Esper.

"A deliberate and balanced IP management policy is critical to foster private innovation, allow greater access to new technologies, and maintain readiness at an affordable cost," the policy states. "As IP law and regulation continue to evolve, the Army will quickly adapt the IP management policy accordingly."

Alexis Ross, one of the policy's authors, in an interview with Inside Defense this month detailed what the policy seeks to accomplish.

By Ashley Tressel
December 14, 2018 at 11:36 AM

The Army Science Board's federal advisory committee is scheduled to meet next month at Army Futures Command headquarters in Austin, TX, about the results of a science and technology investment report and a manned-unmanned teaming study.

Committee members on Jan. 8 will discuss and vote on the manned-unmanned teaming study and on Jan. 9 will discuss the Independent Assessment of the Army's Science and Technology Portfolio Realignment, according to a Federal Register notice posted today.