The Insider

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.

By Tony Bertuca
June 12, 2020 at 2:51 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to hold a June 18 hearing to consider nominations for a new National Guard chief and to reappoint a four-star general so he can help run the Pentagon's COVID-19 vaccine initiative.

Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson has been nominated to become chief of the National Guard Bureau, while Gen. Gustave Perna, the head of Army Materiel Command, has been selected for reappointment to the grade of general so he can become chief operating officer of "Operation Warp Speed."

Both nominees, if confirmed, are likely to face near-term challenges in their respective roles. The National Guard has come under scrutiny over the role it played in quelling mass demonstrations, while COVID-19 cases appear on the upswing in many states.

By John Liang
June 12, 2020 at 2:32 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has more news from the Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill, plus an exclusive interview with the deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting development and more.

We start off with more coverage of the Senate Armed Services Committee's version of the FY-21 defense policy bill, including language on the Iron Dome system, space acquisition reform and the FCC decision on Ligado:

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.

Senate authorizers bypass space acquisition reform provisions as they await key report from DOD

The Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense spending policy mark includes several provisions around the organization and implementation of the Space Force, but based on an executive summary released today, appears to be silent on any major space acquisition reforms.

Senate defense authorizers seek DOD cost estimate, independent review of FCC's Ligado order

The Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill would bar the Pentagon from complying with the Federal Communications Commission's decision to approve Ligado Networks' L-band network until the Defense Department submits cost estimates associated with potential GPS interference.

Inside Defense recently had an exclusive interview with Navy Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, his first since the Navy established a new warfighting directorate that he leads:

Newest DCNO takes on Navy's strategic framework as 'circumstances are rapidly changing'

The new deputy chief of naval operations, leading an office only established in October, is now overseeing the Navy's effort to sync its operational, budgetary and educational strategies for a return to great power competition.

The Army's Initial Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system has run into some problems:

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.

An Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center spokeswoman recently confirmed the acquisition timeline for the service's next-generation GPS satellites:

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.

Earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Command announced "an interested party" had disclosed new information regarding a moving system 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 has a history of legal problems.

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee are OK with the Defense Department's assessment that it'll need a lot of money to reimburse contractors affected by the ongoing pandemic:

Inhofe, Reed open to DOD supplemental to help contractors cover COVID-19 costs

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said today they support Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord's assessment that the Defense Department will need billions in supplemental funding to reimburse contractors for costs related to COVID-19.

Walter Chai, Missile Defense Agency director of space sensors, disclosed for the first time the savings claim for the space-based Kill Assessment project during an event hosted by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance this week:

MDA claims $700 million savings in developing SKA by teaming with commercial space sector

The Missile Defense Agency's partnership with commercial space companies to develop and set in orbit nearly two-dozen sensors, a prototype project called the Space-based Kill Assessment, allowed the government to avoid spending $700 million to develop the same capability using traditional acquisition practices, according to a senior MDA official.

By Tony Bertuca
June 12, 2020 at 2:01 PM

President Trump, reversing an earlier decision to nominate Kathryn Wheelbarger to be deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence, announced today he has instead tapped Bradley Hansell for the job.

Hansell, a retired Army Special Forces officer, is currently an associate director at Boston Consulting Group. He previously served as a special assistant to the president for national security affairs.

Trump in February announced his intent to pick Wheelbarger, who at the time was performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

Politico reported in March that the White House had soured on Wheelbarger’s nomination due to a perceived lack of loyalty to the president.

By Tony Bertuca
June 12, 2020 at 11:31 AM

President Trump has officially nominated retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata to serve as the next under secretary of defense for policy.

He would succeed John Rood, whom Trump pushed out of the job in February.

Tata, a Fox News regular, currently serves as a senior adviser to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

He was previously president and CEO of his own consulting group and chief growth officer of Air Data Solutions, according to the White House. Tata also previously served as president of KaylaTek, a startup technology company.

Tata also served as transportation secretary for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, as well as superintendent of Wake County Public Schools and as chief operating officer of Washington, DC Public Schools.

His Army service includes stints as deputy director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, deputy commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan, and executive officer to the vice chief of staff of the Army.

But Tata may face an uphill confirmation process, even though the GOP controls the Senate.

Tata, the recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, retired from military service in 2008 after the Army inspector general found he had committed adultery earlier in his career, according to an investigation by North Carolina's News & Observer, which unearthed allegations from his divorce proceedings that could complicate his nomination.

Additionally, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which must vet Tata and advance his nomination to the full Senate for confirmation, is unlikely to move quickly as lawmakers and staff are focused on passing the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill.

The outbreak of COVID-19 could further complicate matters, as well as the fact the Senate calendar is shorter this year because of November elections.

By Justin Katz
June 12, 2020 at 9:21 AM

The Government Accountability Office this week denied General Dynamics Information Technology's bid protest of a major Navy contract award to Leidos to manage the service's intranet.

GDIT in March protested the $7.7 billion contract awarded to Leidos in February for the services management portion of the Next Generation Enterprise Network program.

Although GAO updated its bid protest docket today, an explanation of the decision has not yet been released.

Separately, Perspecta filed its own bid protest concerning the same contract and that decision is due June 17, according to GAO.

By Jaspreet Gill
June 11, 2020 at 4:22 PM

The Army is hosting a virtual industry day in July, seeking hardware and software solutions for the service’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Both FLRAA and FARA project offices have set tentative dates for the briefing on or before July 13, followed by one-on-one sessions from July 14 to 16, according to a notice posted today.

The industry day will supplement ongoing market research for mission system configurations for both programs.

"Both programs are interested in hardware and software solutions that are qualified and ready for integration now for consideration in the first increment as well as conceptual solutions still under development for consideration in follow-on increments," the notice says.

An official announcement will be posted "on or about" June 12 and industry should respond no later than June 19 with a description of the solution that will be presented in one-on-one meetings with the service.

By John Liang
June 11, 2020 at 1:59 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has extensive coverage of the Senate Armed Services Committee's passage of the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill and more.

Biggest news of the day is the Senate Armed Services Committee marking up its version of the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill. Here's our coverage so far (and stay tuned for more):

Senate Armed Services Committee passes bill with billions for Pacific deterrence

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 25-2 Wednesday evening to approve its version of the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill, including billions of dollars in new U.S. military investments focused on deterring China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Senate authorizers reject Air Force's legacy aircraft divestment plan

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill largely rejects the Air Force's divest-to-invest budget strategy, calling on the service to maintain certain legacy fleets it had wanted to retire and sustain a minimum wartime aircraft capacity level for each of its mission sets.

Senate panel opts to authorize 1 Virginia sub, double AP funding

Senate lawmakers are authorizing one fast attack Virginia-class submarine in this year's defense policy bill and approving twice the normal amount of advance procurement funding.

Senate panel approves defense policy bill with call for studying feasibility of national cyber director

The annual defense policy bill approved Wednesday night by the Senate Armed Services Committee includes provisions to implement 11 of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s recommendations, including a call for studying "the feasibility and advisability" of creating of a national cybersecurity director.

Senate defense policy bill proposes more oversight of Air Force's JADC2 efforts

Senate defense authorizes are calling on the Air Force to ensure its efforts to achieve joint all-domain command and control fit into initiatives occurring throughout the military.

The Air Force is figuring out ways to make artificial intelligence fly a drone:

Roper: Air Force pushing to make AI foolproof for autonomous pilots

The Air Force is researching a new kind of artificial intelligence that can resist adversarial attacks on data -- enabling an autonomous pilot that can eventually fly unmanned vehicles in the contested battle spaces of the future.

Defense contractors don't like a tax rule that would delay their writing off R&D costs:

Defense contractors push back against tax law provision on research and development

Some of the largest defense contractors say they're seeking to work with Congress to change or reverse a portion of the 2017 tax legislation that would, effective in 2022, require companies to delay writing off research and development costs.

Data-science company Govini recently unveiled a new analysis of the Pentagon's fiscal year 2020 budget -- and prior-year spending:

Govini: Feeble future funding puts modernization plans at risk

Funding for U.S. military modernization priorities touted by the Trump administration's 2018 National Defense Strategy, projects that enjoyed growth across five consecutive annual budgets, is now forecast to be feeble in the Pentagon's future years spending program, according to data-science company Govini.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord testified this week before the House Armed Services Committee:

DOD acquisition chief says low 'double-digit' billions needed to reimburse contractors for COVID-19

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord told lawmakers today the Defense Department will need to spend low, "double-digit" billions reimbursing contractors disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but she asserted DOD does not have the resources to so do without supplemental funding.

Patrick Mason, the Army's program executive officer for aviation, spoke about future vertical lift at a Heritage Foundation virtual event this week:

Army using FVL platforms as pilot projects for new IP strategy

The Army is using future vertical lift platforms as pilot programs for its new intellectual property strategy, according to the director of the service’s aviation office.

By Ashley Tressel
June 11, 2020 at 12:53 PM

The Army has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $2.5 billion contract for production of Stryker Double V-Hull engineering change proposal vehicles, the Defense Department announced yesterday.

GDLS' bid was the only one the service received, according to DOD.

Following the service's submission of its fiscal year 2019 budget request, the Army chief of staff approved an Army Requirements Oversight Council decision to pure-fleet the Double V-Hull upgrade to all of the service's flat-bottom Strykers.

The Army plans to convert one-half of a Stryker brigade combat team per year.

The contract is estimated for completion April 30, 2027.

By Justin Doubleday
June 11, 2020 at 12:21 PM

The Pentagon has announced plans to spend $250 million on the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative this year.

In a statement released today, the Defense Department said the fiscal year 2020 funds would be used for "additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine's capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression."

The money will fund "Ukraine's defensive lethal capabilities and situational awareness in the maritime domain, air surveillance systems to monitor sovereign airspace, command and control and survivability of Ukraine's Land and Special Operations Forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment, military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures, and cyber defense and strategic communications to counter Russian cyber offensive operations and misinformation."

Half of the USAI funds were "conditional on Ukraine's progress on defense reforms," according to the statement.

"Over the past year, Ukraine has taken considerable steps to: strengthen civilian control of the military; reform military command and control structures; transition to a Western-style human resources management system; introduce measures to promote increased transparency and competition in defense procurement and the defense industrial sector; and tighten internal controls to reduce corruption," the statement reads.

The announcement comes months after the House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment against President Trump for his administration's withholding of $214 million in Ukraine aid last summer. Democrats alleged President Trump withheld the money until Ukraine launched an investigation into his 2020 election rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

However, the Senate acquitted Trump of those charges in February.

The Government Accountability Office found the White House broke the law when it withheld the funds for "a policy reason," violating the Impoundment Control Act.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill would authorize a further $250 million in security assistance for Ukraine, according to a summary of the bill released today after the panel passed it yesterday.

The bill also "requires a long-term plan for assistance to Ukraine, and supports NATO designation of Ukraine as an 'enhanced opportunities partner,'" according to the summary.

By Marjorie Censer
June 11, 2020 at 11:12 AM

SOS International said today it has consolidated its defense information technology and intelligence solutions business units into a new defense and intelligence solutions group, led by Ed Bachl.

Bachl co-founded Vykin, which was acquired by SOSi last year.

The new unit will be better adapted for "the operational and procurement strategy shifts exhibited by our customer in the defense and intelligence markets," Julian Setian, SOSi's chief executive, said in a statement.

As part of the reorganization, SOSi said it promoted Christopher Alligood, who joined the company in 2018, to vice president of the intelligence solutions division.

SOSi now has three business units: defense and intelligence solutions, mission solutions and federal solutions.

By Tony Bertuca
June 11, 2020 at 10:50 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 25-2 last night to pass the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill.

Read the summary.

Watch Inside Defense for additional news throughout the day.

By Ashley Tressel
June 10, 2020 at 4:27 PM

The Army will likely have to cut funding from programs supporting the service's modernization priorities if the COVID-19 outbreak prevents defense budget growth in the outyears as many expect, the service's leader for modernization said today.

"I'll start off by repeating the message that [Defense] Secretary Esper and [Army] Secretary McCarthy both have repeatedly said: In order to modernize, DOD, and that includes the Army, needs real growth, and I think that number was 3 to 5% . . . in the out years," Army Futures Command Gen. Mike Murray told viewers of an Association of the U.S. Army virtual event.

"Right now, [my] personal opinion is we're probably not going to see real growth in the out years, and it's based on a lot of things -- COVID, obviously is going to have a huge impact on national debt and the way we look at budgets in the future," he said.

Murray said he thinks it's too early to tell yet what the effects will be, but if there is an impact, the Army will have to "unprotect" some of the secondary priorities it's investing in to prepare for a near-peer conflict.

"Starting last year and continuing to this year, we expanded the scope of what we looked at as a priority," he said. "We had Tier 1, which is the 31 plus three [modernization programs]. And then Tier 2 was critical enablers. And then Tier 3 is [ammunition]. If you look at the budgeting, we have over the last few years protected a large portion of those 684 programs . . . about 85% [of them]. And the deep dives focused in most cases on the 15%."

He noted the Tier 2 group includes 18 key enablers pulled from a list of 31 gaps identified by the Combined Arms Center -- for example, fuel systems for Next Generation Combat Vehicles.

"I have a one-to-end list in my mind . . . for the 31 plus three," he said. "I think it depends on which theater you're talking about. I think it depends on what timeframe you're talking about. And it absolutely depends on what budgets do in fact look like in the out years. And if budgets are impacted, is it a short-term impact, or is it a long-term impact? Is it a big spike in early years and then starts to grow again, or is it a more sustained cut in resources?"

By Justin Katz
June 10, 2020 at 3:57 PM

The Navy plans to award a contract for multiple industry studies to investigate options to make its next-generation cable ship, T-ARC(X), more affordable, according to a public notice.

The studies will consider "options to maximize affordability and producibility, identify cost effective design solutions by leveraging commercial designs and shipbuilder experience and standards, and inform system specification and gain feedback," the June 10 notice said.

T-ARC(X) will replace the service's sole cable ship, USNS Zeus (T-ARC-7).

"It will also be equipped with a moonpool and a variety of hull mounted sonar systems to support the primary and secondary missions," the notice added.