The Insider

By Jaspreet Gill
December 12, 2019 at 2:37 PM

General Dynamics Information Technology announced today it was awarded a $118 million Army cybersecurity and network operations mission support contract, or ADCNOMS.

According to a GDIT press release, the company will support the Network Enterprise Technology Command, Army Cyber Command and the office of the chief information officer (G-6) with ADCNOMS.

"Through this award, GDIT will support NETCOM's current and future operations, network operations, infrastructure, systems engineering, sustainment and interoperability. The work will include real-time network monitoring, security compliance, incident/problem triage, sensor grid monitoring, release management and capability management," the press release stated.

The release said Army NETCOM had faced challenges with addressing enterprise issues globally and securing highly specialized staff at Ft. Huachuca, AZ.

The contract includes a five-month base period with four 12-month option periods and one six-month extension.

By Justin Doubleday
December 12, 2019 at 2:14 PM

The Defense Department today launched an intermediate-range, ground-launched ballistic missile beyond 500 kilometers, marking the second such test since the United States exited the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty earlier this year.

The Air Force partnered with the Strategic Capabilities Office to test the "prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile" at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver.

"The test missile exited its static launch stand and terminated in the open ocean after more than 500 kilometers of flight," Carver wrote in a statement. "Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities."

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to questions about what type of ballistic missile was involved in the test.

President Trump pulled the U.S. government out of the INF Treaty earlier this year after both his administration and the Obama administration accused Russia of violating the pact over the past several years. The 1987 treaty banned the deployment of ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Shortly after the United States formally exited the treaty in August, the Pentagon test-launched a conventionally-configured, intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are allowing the Pentagon to proceed with research and development programs that seek to field new missiles capable of INF ranges. The Army is moving forward with multiple programs to field new ground-launched weapons with ranges beyond 500 kilometers as early as fiscal year 2023.

But the compromise FY-20 defense policy bill -- passed by the House yesterday and awaiting consideration in the Senate -- bars DOD from procuring or deploying such missiles in FY-20. It asks DOD to provide a report by Jan. 31, 2020, on its plans for developing, acquiring and deploying intermediate-range missiles.

By Tony Bertuca
December 12, 2019 at 2:11 PM

Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, will be leaving his post this month, according to chief Pentagon spokesman Johnathan Hoffman.

Hoffman said Schriver wanted to spend more time with family.

Schriver, who has served in the job since January 2018, will be the latest in a series of senior-level departures from the Defense Department's civilian policy shop run by Under Secretary John Rood, which has yet to replace David Trachtenberg, Rood's former deputy who resigned in July, and Robert Karem, who left his post as the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in October.

Additionally, in November, Mark Mitchell resigned as acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict. He succeeded Owen West, who resigned after 18 months on the job.

In May, Schriver warned U.S. companies about the risks of doing business with the Chinese government or entities backed by Beijing amid the onset of new U.S. supply chain security initiatives.

"Should those companies have an interest in doing business with the United States Department of Defense to be part of the defense industrial base, understand that there may be potential trade-offs," he said. "Starting from a position of awareness gives private companies who can make their own decisions the ability to balance the pros and cons."

By John Liang
December 12, 2019 at 1:42 PM

This Thursday INSIDER looks at the Army's Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, the Navy's unmanned surface vessel effort, the Space Force and more.

We start off with some Army and Navy unmanned systems news:

Army chooses five brigades to test Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System

The Army will begin testing prototypes of the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System with five brigade combat teams next April.

Authorizers make deep cuts to new USV, despite Navy's argument to embrace unmanned

Lawmakers are moving to slow the Navy's push for a new unmanned, corvette-sized vessel the service highlighted in its fiscal year 2020 budget, a move that follows a year of conversations between lawmakers and Navy officers about the maturity of unmanned systems.

The proposed Space Force was in the news this week:

Rogers, Cooper: Trump's support elevated Space Force debate, brought DOD in line

Two of the House Armed Services Committee's biggest Space Force proponents told reporters today that while the idea for establishing a sixth branch of the military to focus on space warfighting did not originate with President Trump, the administration's support did help elevate the effort and secure backing in the Senate.

More space news:

SMC deepening industry engagement on special programs despite classification constraints

As momentum builds in Congress and within the Pentagon for declassifying information about threats in space and the Air Force's attempt to defend against them, the Space and Missile Systems Center is taking steps to share more information with industry about how it can contribute to that work.

The fiscal year 2020 defense policy conference report gives the Navy permission to ink a contract for the LPD-31 amphibious ship starting in FY-20 and authorizes $525 million for the LPD Flight II program:

Authorizers give Navy incremental funding authority for LPD-31

House and Senate lawmakers are providing the Navy incremental funding authority to purchase its next San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock vessel.

Last but certainly not least, some cyber defense coverage from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD working groups grapple with standards, governance and functions of cyber accreditation body

The Defense Department has convened a series of industry working groups to develop recommendations for creating an accreditation body that will be central to a cybersecurity certification program for Pentagon contractors expected to be up and running next year.

By Justin Katz
December 12, 2019 at 1:31 PM

House and Senate authorizers are seeking a report from the Navy about the composition of the next-generation carrier and amphibious ship air wings.

The Navy secretary would have to submit a report to congressional defense committees about "the optimal composition of the [air wing] on aircraft carriers and aviation combat element embarked on amphibious ships in 2030 and 2040, including alternative force design concepts," according to an explanatory statement accompanying the lawmakers' conference version of the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill.

"Of specific concern that should be highlighted is the logistics impact based on the aircraft carriers' ability to support the specified air wing," the statement continues.

The service would be required to brief lawmakers by March and submit the document to Congress by May.

The House passed the conference version of the policy bill yesterday with a vote of 377 to 48. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week and President Trump has signaled that he will sign it.

Lawmakers also want the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of the Navy's shipbuilding design practices.

"This review shall include an examination of the Navy's design practices for shipbuilding major defense acquisition programs to assess measures of the lead ship or lead ship of a major ship modification's design maturity and stability sufficient to inform an understanding of the

construction costs and the effort needed to execute the design, and any other related matters," according to the conferees' statement.

The report and a subsequent briefing would be due by April 2020 and January 2021, respectively.

Separately, the conferees would direct the defense and transportation secretaries to submit a report about the government's ability to maintain "adequate U.S.-flagged fuel tanker vessel capacity to support the full range of anticipated military operations" through 2030.

The provision replaced a broader initiative by House lawmakers to establish a new maritime tanking fleet.

By Tony Bertuca
December 12, 2019 at 1:19 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today the Senate will vote next week on the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill.

The House passed the bill Wednesday in a 377-48 vote.

Marta Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the vote is expected "early next week."

President Trump has said he will sign the 3,000-page bill that, among a host of other things, authorizes $738 billion for defense spending and established a new U.S. Space Force.

Lawmakers, however, will also have to deal with the stalled appropriations process next week, despite being at odds over how to address Trump's use of military funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The federal government is now funded through Dec. 20 under a stopgap continuing resolution. If a deal is not reached, the CR will have to be extended again or the federal government will shut down.

The wall issue had been part of the FY-20 defense authorization bill, but lawmakers opted to punt the controversy to congressional appropriators in the interests of passing the military policy bill for the 59th consecutive year.

By Tony Bertuca
December 11, 2019 at 5:42 PM

The House voted today to pass the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, hours after President Trump signaled he would sign it.

The bill, which authorizes $738 billion for national defense and establishes a U.S. Space Force, now moves to the Senate, where a vote is expected Thursday. Congress still needs to finalize a spending bill that would appropriate actual funding, but lawmakers praised the bipartisan authorization as a positive step.

The 3,000-page bill passed by a 377-48 vote, despite opposition from some liberal Democrats who voted against it on the grounds that too many progressive priorities were jettisoned in a compromise with Republicans.

However, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called the bill the "most progressive" defense authorization in history, highlighting provisions that would allow all federal employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and overturn the so-called "widow's tax" on military spouses.

"Because of this hard work, our bill will have real impacts on Americans leading real lives," Smith said in a statement issued this afternoon. "Throughout the negotiations I failed in one way: I was unable to turn President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Chairman Inhofe into Democrats and convince them to suddenly accept all of the provisions they despise. Nonetheless, we have accomplished more with this bill than anyone ever thought possible given the realities of a Trump White House and a Republican-controlled Senate, and we should be proud of that."

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said the current bill is very different from the July 12 version that passed the House without one single Republican vote.

"This is a compromise," he said. "I can give a list of things in the bill that I wish were not in the bill. I also have a list of things I wish were in the bill that I tried to get into the bill."

By John Liang
December 11, 2019 at 2:14 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has continuing coverage of the defense authorization conference bill, plus hypersonic defense and more.

Here's our continuing coverage of the FY-20 defense authorization conference report:

Bipartisan deal on defense bill expands Pentagon cyber acquisition reforms, calls for 5G strategy

An agreement by the House and Senate on the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill contains numerous cybersecurity provisions, including an expansion of past cyber acquisition reforms targeting foreign adversaries such as China and Russia, and a requirement that the Defense Department develop a strategy for securing next-generation 5G networks crucial to warfare in the digital age.

Lawmakers allow Pentagon's intermediate-range missile developments to move forward

The compromise fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill allows the Defense Department to continue developing and testing conventional, ground-launched missiles with ranges in excess of limits set by a now-abandoned treaty, while lawmakers want more information on DOD's plans for the weapons before approving their procurement and deployment.

Lawmakers give Navy flexibility with Ford-class cost caps

House and Senate lawmakers are providing the Navy flexibility on cost caps for the Ford-class aircraft carriers, but are stopping short of repealing the restrictions.

Defense policy bill requires reporting on ABMS progress

Congressional conference members have agreed to include a House provision in their fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill that requires the Air Force to share information on progress in the Advanced Battle Management System program.

Following Block V contract, Congress pressing Navy to build optional 10th sub

House and Senate lawmakers are pressing the Navy to plan on purchasing an additional Virginia-class submarine in future spending requests after the service told Congress the original budget submission could not be executed.

Lawmakers direct Air Force, SOCOM to collaborate on light-attack strategy

Defense policy language released this week directs the Air Force to work with U.S. Special Operations Command to determine how both organizations can take advantage of continued light-attack aircraft experimentation.

Hypersonic defense is gaining traction within the Missile Defense Agency:

DOD readies new weapon system plan for 'regional' hypersonic defense

The Pentagon is beginning a new weapon system project to defeat hypersonic glide vehicles, briefing industry next week on what is likely a decades-long project to expand the reach of the Ballistic Missile Defense System to counter these ultra-fast, maneuvering menaces that exploit current seams in U.S. defenses.

The Office of Management and Budget will soon decide which Air Force programs it will ask Congress to exempt from the limitations of the current continuing resolution:

OSD sends Air Force's continuing resolution anomalies list to OMB

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has sent the Air Force's list of programs for potential waivers under the ongoing continuing resolution to the Office of Management and Budget amid negotiations on Capitol Hill over fiscal year 2020 spending.

Over the summer, U.S. Strategic Command's NC3 Enterprise Center (NEC) completed a broad overview of modernization needs that was approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council:

NC3 Enterprise Center outlines requirements, explores readiness and cost

A nascent program that's developing the shared architecture for 21st century nuclear command, control and communications technology has begun to define requirements, explore readiness of current systems and consider approaches for a total NC3 modernization cost analysis.

The Pentagon plans to have draft "assessment guides" on training available by February for the lowest levels of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program:

DOD meeting on accreditation body underscores hurried pace toward cyber certification

The Defense Department called a meeting last week with contractors and standards-writing bodies that included presentations from several working groups on recommendations for establishing a cybersecurity certification program, an event that underscores the Pentagon's breakneck pace for creating the landmark program even while core elements remain unresolved.

By Marjorie Censer
December 11, 2019 at 1:51 PM

Huntington Ingalls Industries said today it has named Bharat Amin chief information officer, effective Jan. 1.

"In this newly created position, Amin will be responsible for establishing the company's information technology and digital strategic direction with a focus on cyber security capabilities through engagement with HII's executive and division leadership teams," the company said. "In collaboration with the business units, Amin will lead corporate IT governance and provide functional oversight."

Amin will report to Mike Petters, HII's chief executive. He has served as CIO for Newport News Shipbuilding since 2014.

Amin has also worked as CIO for BAE Systems' land and armaments sector.

By Tony Bertuca
December 11, 2019 at 10:50 AM

President Trump released a tweet this morning saying he will sign the compromise version of the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill the House is expected to vote on this afternoon.

Trump tweeted: "Wow! All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force! Congress – don't delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!"

House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) touted the bill as the "most progressive" in history, despite opposition from some liberal Democrats who criticized the legislation for not including a ban on U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, a requirement for congressional consent for a military strike against Iran, global cleanup of PFAS chemicals, an overturning of a ban on transgender troops, and a ban on low-yield nuclear weapons.

Still, Smith said, "this is the most progressive defense bill in the history of the country with Donald Trump as president and [Sen.] Jim Inhofe [R-OK] as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I will rest on that sentence."

By Ashley Tressel
December 10, 2019 at 5:13 PM

Lockheed Martin has completed the first test at White Sands Missile Range, NM, of its long-range missile designed for the Army's Precision Strike Missile program, the company announced today.

The PrSM was fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and flew about 240 kilometers to the target area, according to a company statement.

"Test objectives included confirming the missile's flight trajectory performance, range and accuracy from launch to warhead event, validating all interfaces with the HIMARS launcher, as well as testing system software performance," all of which were achieved, the company said.

Raytheon, Lockheed's competitor for the PrSM, has yet to announce a flight test. Raytheon has proposed its DeepStrike missile, which it has integrated into the Army's HIMARS and Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers.

Long-range precision fires cross-functional team Director Brig. Gen. John Rafferty said in October the PrSM could eventually reach a range of up to 800 km, following the dissolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which had a 500 km limit.

Rafferty said both competitors were scheduled to conduct their first flight tests by the end of the year.

"First, we'll get this base missile in the field that'll be somewhere beyond 500 km, when we sort out the real capability of that," he said. "So that'll be an urgent materiel release in [fiscal year 2023]."

By Tony Bertuca
December 10, 2019 at 4:47 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today defended the final version of the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill from the criticism of some left-wing Democrats who said the legislation did not contain enough of the party's liberal priorities, despite including 12 weeks of paid family leave for all federal employees.

"This is the most progressive defense bill in the history of the country with Donald Trump as president and [Sen.] Jim Inhofe [R-OK] as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee," Smith said. "I will rest on that sentence."

Smith's defense of the bill followed criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a top candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), vice-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, who released a statement on Tuesday urging opposition to the legislation.

"Every member of Congress should vote against this measure," they said in a joint statement. "There is no pressing reason for Congress to shower Trump, his Saudi friends, and the Pentagon contractors of the military-industrial complex with this $738-billion taxpayer giveaway right now. We owe it to the American people to go back to the drawing board. Congress must say no."

The bill does not include several of House progressives' key priorities including a ban on U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, mandating congressional consent for a military strike against Iran, global cleanup of PFAS chemicals, an overturning of a ban on transgender troops, and a ban on low-yield nuclear weapons.

Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a conference hosted by Politico that Democrats had "won" paid family leave -- which some staffers said is expected to cost $3.3 billion over five years for every federal employee and $1.3 billion for DOD and intelligence community employees alone -- while Trump had "won" Space Force.

Smith said it wasn't a simple trade.

"We're not trading widgets here," he said. "We're focused on policy, so it's not a dollar-for-dollar analysis. I think it's a big overstatement to say one thing was traded for another. . . . There are 1,377 provisions in this bill. We attempted to strike a balance in the interests of everybody."

By Ashley Tressel
December 10, 2019 at 3:48 PM

House and Senate conference members, in their defense policy bill released this week, are asking for a report on the Army and Marine Corps' efforts to deploy ground-based, long-range rocket and cannon artillery to counter land and maritime threats.

The bill would require an assessment on or before March 1 of ongoing and future efforts to develop and deploy such artillery to counter threats in the areas of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. European Command, recommendations for how the Defense Department can improve the development and deployment of the artillery and an analysis of how the artillery would be stationed.

By John Liang
December 10, 2019 at 2:07 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the FY-20 defense authorization conference bill agreed to last night, plus the JEDI Cloud program, LOGCAP V and more.

House and Senate conferees late last night finalized the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill. Here's our coverage so far:

Lawmakers elevate SCO to report to DEPSECDEF, rebuffing Griffin's gambit to subordinate office

House and Senate lawmakers resoundingly rejected a Pentagon plan by Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin to subordinate the Strategic Capabilities Office under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Policy bill supports Space Force, proposes big changes to space acquisition

House and Senate conference members released a defense policy bill tonight that would establish a Space Force as a separate military service with Title 10 authority.

Conference report directs slate of F-35 reporting requirements, improvement efforts

Lawmakers are proposing a slew of F-35 oversight provisions as part of a defense policy bill released Monday by conference committee members, including requirements for sustainment cost and readiness details, reporting on the Block 4 modernization process and insight into efforts to rearchitect the Joint Strike Fighter's Autonomic Logistics Information System.

Lawmakers heighten oversight of GBSD acquisition, Air Force-NNSA coordination

The defense authorization bill that House and Senate conference members released Monday night requires the Air Force to identify risks and costs if the service receives only one proposal to develop the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

Some LOGCAP V news:

Army proposes reopening LOGCAP V procurement

The Army said in a filing Monday that it wants the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to put cases about the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program V, or LOGCAP V, on hold while it makes new "price reasonableness determinations."

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract is on the verge of being implemented:

Pentagon, Microsoft officials meeting this week to kick off JEDI cloud contract

Pentagon officials are meeting with Microsoft representatives in Washington this week to begin implementing the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, even as Amazon is suing to block the award in federal court.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord spoke at a Defense Department press briefing this morning:

Lord draws 2020 priority map with special focus on implementing supply chain security

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord today outlined her key goals and challenges for 2020, focusing specifically on implementing new supply chain security standards, fielding counter-drone systems to U.S. troops, developing 5G communications, protecting intellectual property and strengthening the National Technology and Industrial Base.

More coverage from this weekend's Reagan Forum:

Berger: 'Big muscle movements' to fund new Fleet Marine Force organization begin in FY-22

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The Marine Corps plans to commence early next year a major realignment of its investment accounts, building a new five-year budget plan that sheds select weapons acquired during land operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and invests in capabilities optimized for expeditionary fights against technologically sophisticated adversaries such as China and Russia.

(Check out our full Reagan Forum coverage here.)

The Common Very Low Frequency/Low Frequency Receiver Increment 2 (CVR Inc. 2) program intends to replace unsustainable strategic communications equipment and develop a uniform waveform for both the Air Force and Navy to use:

Air Force finalizing procurement strategy for emergency nuclear communications system

The Air Force is finishing up an acquisition plan for a new beyond-line-of-sight receiver that allows aerial and ground-based nuclear platforms to accept "emergency action messages" from the president.

Defense contractors haven't done a good job safeguarding weapon system data from spies:

Pentagon task force chief wants to 'stop the bleeding' of critical technologies to foreign adversaries

The director of the Pentagon's Protecting Critical Technology Task Force is blunt in his assessment of defense contractors' efforts to protect vital U.S. weapon system data from foreign spies: "They blew it."

By Sara Sirota
December 10, 2019 at 2:02 PM

House and Senate conference members released a fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill Monday night that would require the Air Force to prepare a report on its fielding plan for the new Combat Rescue Helicopter program stemming from schedule issues with a restoration effort for legacy platforms.

"It is the sense of Congress that, given delays to Operational Loss Replacement (OLR) program fielding and the on-time fielding of Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH), the Air National Guard should retain additional HH-60G helicopters at Air National Guard locations," the conference report states.

The HH-60G Pave Hawks are the Air Force's aging search-and-rescue aircraft that the CRH program, which entered low-rate initial production in September, is intended to replace. The OLR program aims to replenish the service's HH-60G fleet to its authorized size.

The CRH fielding plan was a provision the Senate version of the defense policy legislation contained but the House version omitted. Now that conference members included it in their bill, the Air Force would have to submit its CRH fielding plan to the defense committees no later than 45 days after the bill is enacted.

The report should describe the difference in capabilities between the HH60-G, OLR and CRH helicopters, costs and risks of changing the CRH fielding plan to reduce inventory shortfalls and opportunities for accelerating the program within the current contract.

It should further detail operational risks and benefits of fielding the CRH to the active component first.

This analysis would include how the separate fielding plan would affect deployment schedules, the capabilities active units with the CRH would have that reserve units with OLR would not have, and an assessment of potential costs and benefits resulting from accelerating CRH fielding to all units through more funding in the years ahead.

In addition to the fielding plan, the defense policy bill would require the Air Force secretary to prepare a report on the strategy to sustain training for initial-entry reserve HH-60G pilots after active units receive all their CRHs.

This report would be due to the congressional defense committees no later than 45 days after the defense authorization bill is enacted.