The Insider

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."

June 22, 2018 at 3:19 PM | Ashley Tressel

The Army's Futures Command task force is now being led by Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

Wesley took over the assignment from Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, director of the Office of Business Transformation, "about a month ago," according to AFC task force spokesman Col. Patrick Seiber.

The task force will facilitate standing up the command headquarters at one of five locations previously reported by Inside Defense -- Boston, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia or Minneapolis.

Wesley will take the place of Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville in visits to the top locations with Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy. McConville, who has personal ties to Boston, recused himself from the visits to maintain an impartial selection process, according to Seiber.

The Army is scheduled to make a decision on the headquarters location by the end of the month, but Seiber said that deadline could be delayed if the senior officials decide to visit all five of the top sites.

June 22, 2018 at 2:58 PM | Justin Katz

A government watchdog determined the Navy has taken actions to sustain Ohio-class submarines at the minimum U.S. Strategic Command requirements until the Columbia-class is fielded.

The Navy secretary has designated Ohio-class sustainment as the service's highest priority, according to a June 15 Defense Department inspector general report.

Other actions include placing the Ohio-class submarines ahead of aircraft carriers in maintenance priority; giving shipyards direct hiring authority to address manpower shortages and improving  submarine maintenance and schedules.

The IG did not make any recommendations.

June 22, 2018 at 2:15 PM | John Liang

Navy and Marine Corps aviation mishaps, China's military spending binge and more highlight this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, Naval Air Force Atlantic chief, and Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation, both testified yesterday before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee about aviation mishaps:

Navy, Marine Corps report more class C mishaps

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

Document: House hearing on military aviation mishap prevention


The Pentagon's second-highest-ranking uniformed officer spoke this week at a conference in Washington hosted by the Center for a New American Security:

'Enough money to go around' to offset China's rise, DOD's No. 2 military officer says

A recent boost in the defense budget means the Pentagon should be able to make new investments in cutting-edge capabilities to regain technological momentum from China amid Beijing's military spending binge, according to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva.

The Air Operations Center Weapon System program is working to obligate the influx of fiscal year 2018 funding appropriated under the omnibus spending bill earlier this year:

AOC catching up on FY-18 spending following continuing resolutions

The Air Force official overseeing the Air Operations Center Weapon System says the program will be on track by August after this year's funding uncertainties caused a slight spending slowdown.

Three of the four congressional committees that oversee the Pentagon's budget have moved to increase the Army's FY-19 request for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery advanced technology development project by $20 million:

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

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.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming cost estimate for maintaining the software on the Joint Strike Fighter:

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

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.

The Army wants to simplify network systems that have had capabilities added onto them over the years:

Army working to streamline network capabilities

The Army's program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical is taking steps to ease both the physical and operational weight on its platforms and soldiers with new systems.

June 22, 2018 at 12:20 PM | Tony Bertuca

President Trump, who raised eyebrows when he tweeted last week that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea," has sent a letter to Congress telling lawmakers that, actually, Pyongyang remains "an unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States.

The letter states Trump has determined the United States should extend the state of national emergency first declared against North Korea in 2008.

"The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula; the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea that destabilize the Korean Peninsula and imperil United States Armed Forces, allies, and trading partners in the region, including its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs; and other provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," the letter states.

The letter clashes with Trump's June 13 tweet after he returned from a meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un: "Just landed -- a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"

Trump was criticized on Capitol Hill for saying the threat from North Korea had been removed after only meeting with Kim. Following the meeting, Trump also ordered the suspension of U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea, which drew opposition from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Additionally, Harry Harris, Trump's nominee for ambassador to South Korea, said June 14 during a Senate nomination hearing that the nuclear threat stemming from North Korea remains a danger, despite the president's statements to the contrary.

June 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM | Courtney Albon

The Air Force has awarded SpaceX a $130 million contract to launch a classified satellite mission in late fiscal year 2020.

The service announced the fixed-price launch services contract June 21 for the Air Force Space Command-52 mission, which will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket will carry the mission and was selected over the United Launch Alliance's Delta 4 launcher.

June 22, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Marjorie Censer

Lockheed Martin said today it would open a new office in the Port San Antonio Project Tech complex in San Antonio, TX, as it seeks to bolster its cybersecurity presence in the area.

The contractor said it would have more than 15,000 square feet of workspace beginning in early 2019. The team there is expected to grow to more than 100 over the next five years, Lockheed said.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Deon Viergutz, vice president of cyber solutions at Lockheed, said the new facility "is going to comprise both unclassified and classified space, including laboratories."

He said Lockheed was drawn to the "growing cyber mission" at Joint Base San Antonio, which is home to the 24th Air Force and the 25th Air Force.

Viergutz said he expects the bulk of the employees at the site to be new hires.

"We already have a presence there supporting the missions," he said of San Antonio. "Largely, it's on base colocated with our customers."

David Hathaway, business development lead for Lockheed Martin’s cyber solutions division, said during the same interview that the company views the facility as a collaborative space where it can work with Pentagon and intelligence agency customers.

June 22, 2018 at 5:00 AM | John Liang

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

1. The lawmaker leading efforts within Congress to reorganize the military space enterprise under a separate service told Inside Defense this week that while President Trump's direction to establish a Space Force will give momentum to ongoing efforts, the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill will not likely authorize the creation of a new military service.

Full story: Rogers: Space Force has congressional support, but legislation not likely until FY-20

2. Although it's unclear how the Pentagon will implement President Trump's direction this week to establish a new "Space Force," some Defense Department analysts and former officials say the White House's endorsement of the controversial proposal could diminish resistance within the Defense Department and make room for compromise among House and Senate lawmakers.

Full story: Trump's 'Space Force' announcement could drive DOD, congressional support

3. 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

4. The Air Force official overseeing the Air Operations Center Weapon System says the program will be on track by August after this year's funding uncertainties caused a slight spending slowdown.

Full story: AOC catching up on FY-18 spending following continuing resolutions

June 21, 2018 at 5:16 PM | John Liang

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced today that Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas has been nominated to become the service's next assistant commandant.

According to a Pentagon statement, Thomas is currently serving as the deputy commandant for programs and resources.

If confirmed by the Senate, Thomas would be promoted to general and succeed Gen. Glenn Walters, who is retiring and will become the president of The Citadel.

June 21, 2018 at 1:57 PM | John Liang

The impact of emerging technologies on the future Army, continued coverage of the proposed Space Force and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Army's top uniformed officer spoke this morning at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum:

Army chief says three key technologies will change character of war

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said today he's concerned about "50 or so" emerging technologies that "will definitely have significant impact in the military sector" in the next decade.

Don't expect legislative language setting up a Space Force to be included in this year's authorization bill:

Rogers: Trump's call for Space Force has support in Congress, but legislation not likely until FY-20

The lawmaker leading efforts within Congress to reorganize the military space enterprise under a separate service told Inside Defense this week that while President Trump's direction to establish a Space Force will give momentum to ongoing efforts, the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill will not likely authorize the creation of a new military service.

Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, was among the Defense Department officials who testified this morning at a congressional hearing on military technology transfer:

DOD's 'Deliver Uncompromised' initiative aims to make security a fourth pillar in acquisition

The Defense Department, alarmed at the volume of sensitive data being stolen through cyber exfiltration, is bolstering the importance of security in its acquisition programs.

Document: House hearing on military technology transfer


The House Budget Committee has released a non-binding, 10-year budget blueprint that has little impact on fiscal year 2019 spending legislation and is unlikely to pass congressional muster:

GOP's 10-year budget vision shows boost for defense, but cuts OCO

House Republicans released a 10-year budget blueprint this week -- influenced by the party's anti-deficit contingent -- that delivers mixed news for defense spending and would slash discretionary and entitlement funds.

Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services' worldwide public sector, gave a keynote address this week at a company summit in Washington:

Amazon views DOD as central to burgeoning federal cloud market

Amazon Web Services, the largest commercial cloud provider in the world, sees the Defense Department as central to a federal sector that's been slow to modernize its IT infrastructure, but has just started to embrace commercial cloud technologies.

June 21, 2018 at 1:25 PM | Tony Bertuca

A major government restructuring proposed by the White House today would make significant changes to domestic agencies, but would mostly leave the Defense Department unchanged.

The biggest DOD-related change in the plan released by the White House Office of Management and Budget would require the Pentagon to perform all government background investigations, taking over from the Office of Personnel Management's National Background Investigations Bureau.

"Now is the time for bold, transformational change in how we vet our workforce," the plan states. "To that end, the administration has concluded that to achieve an efficient, effective, fiscally viable, and secure operation that meets the needs of the Executive Branch, it is necessary for the background investigation program to remain consolidated through a complete transfer of NBIB to DOD."

The plan also proposes transferring oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers from DOD to the Transportation Department.

"Unlike other transportation sectors currently centralized under DOT, responsibilities for supporting the maritime industry's ability to support the nation's economy are split between the Corps, which supports navigation improvements and waterside port investments, and DOT, which supports landside port investments," the plan states. "To fix this misalignment, the Administration proposes to consolidate the Corps' commercial navigation mission into DOT. By consolidating these functions, the Administration would place a single Federal agency in charge of supporting maritime transportation investments. This consolidation will enable DOT to better align investments across maritime and other transportation sectors to ultimately create a more efficient transportation system."

Much of the reorganization would require the approval of Congress, which would likely object to many of the proposals.

Meanwhile, the plan proposes, among other major non-defense shifts, merging the Education and Labor departments.

June 21, 2018 at 1:02 PM | Rachel Karas

All bases that currently house UH-1N Hueys will receive replacement helicopters over the next decade and a half, the Air Force said June 20.

Those locations include intercontinental ballistic missile sites at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, WY; Malmstrom AFB, MT; and Minot AFB, ND; as well as Eglin AFB, FL; Fairchild AFB, WA; Joint Base Andrews, MD; and Kirtland AFB, NM.

The service plans to award a contract by the end of September to Sikorsky, Sierra Nevada or a Boeing-Leonardo Helicopter team for 84 aircraft to be delivered from 2020 to 2032.

June 21, 2018 at 12:07 PM | Marjorie Censer

Mark Cherry, named to lead Boeing's Phantom Works unit last year, has reorganized the advanced technology group in an effort to have "more focused integration" with the other parts of the contractor's defense business, he told Inside Defense.

In an interview earlier this week, Cherry said there had been informal embedding of Phantom Works staff in areas of the defense business, but there's now been a "more formal change." He now has employees embedded in key groups, from vertical lift to fixed wing to autonomy.

"I wanted to ensure that my teammates knew who the belly button is that they can go to," he said. "We just formalized it more."

Cherry said Leanne Caret, the head of Boeing's defense business, had directed him to ensure Phantom Works supports the entire unit's portfolio and to position it for key wins of franchise opportunities, including the Navy's MQ-25 Stingray remotely piloted aircraft.

He said Phantom Works must focus both on making sure the business sees returns in the near-term as well as longer-term technological needs.

Additionally, Cherry said his organization is working closely with HorizonX, Boeing's innovation cell.

"As they look at opportunities to make minority investments . . . we look at how we can partner with those companies," he said.

June 21, 2018 at 9:36 AM | John Liang

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

1. The Pentagon has an ongoing damage assessment into the hack of a Navy contractor's networks that reportedly saw China steal troves of data on a sensitive program to outfit submarines with a supersonic, anti-ship missile.

Full story: 'Damage assessment' ongoing in hack of Navy contractor

2. Although it's unclear how the Pentagon will implement President Trump's direction this week to establish a new "Space Force," some Defense Department analysts and former officials say the White House's endorsement of the controversial proposal could diminish resistance within the Defense Department and make room for compromise among House and Senate lawmakers.

Full story: Trump's 'Space Force' announcement could drive DOD, congressional support

3. Amazon Web Services, the largest commercial cloud provider in the world, sees the Defense Department as central to a federal sector that's been slow to modernize its IT infrastructure, but has just started to embrace commercial cloud technologies.

Full story: Amazon views DOD as central to burgeoning federal cloud market

4. The Pentagon this 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

June 20, 2018 at 4:16 PM | Courtney Albon

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters today the Pentagon will have further discussions Friday with national security adviser John Bolton about implementing President Trump's orders for a Space Force.

"It's going to require legislation and a lot of detailed planning," Mattis said Wednesday. "We've not yet begun -- I mean, clearly we've got to start the process."

The president announced Monday that he had directed the Pentagon to create a new branch of the military dedicated to space. It's unclear whether the department has received guidance on the president's direction.