Defense Watch: New TSA Demo, Icebreaker, BAE Expansion, BACN

New Checkpoint TSA Demo. The Transportation Security Administration said that it is working with American Airlines to begin demonstrating later this month a computed tomography (CT)-based scanner supplied by Analogic at the Terminal 8 security checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The CT system will be used to screen carry-on items, providing operators a three-dimensional view of contents inside bags, improving detection of explosives and other potential threats.  “Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at a checkpoint,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. TSA is also evaluating CT systems supplied by Integrated Defense & Security Solutions and L3 Technologies at airport security checkpoints. An agency spokeswoman told Defense Daily TSA also plans to install CT systems supplied by Smiths Detection at airports for evaluation in the future.

Icebreaker Advocacy. Following introduction last week of a $51.4 billion Homeland Security fiscal year 2019 spending bill by the House Appropriations Homeland Security panel, the White House press secretary issued a statement lauding the nearly $5 billion included for border wall construction on the southern border but also noting the absence of funding for a new heavy polar icebreaker. “At the appropriations process continues, the Administration will continue to advocate for the full 2019 budget request for … a Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker,” the statement said. Senate appropriators have included $750 million toward the vessel in their version of the bill, the same amount requested by the administration. The administration’s request for southern border fencing is about $1.6 billion.

BAE Alabama Expansion. Britain’s BAE Systems said it is expanding its operations in Huntsville, Ala., spending $45.5 million on a project that includes adding new office space and developing a new “state-of-the-art” facility for manufacturing and offices. “Our expansion in Huntsville provides us a great opportunity to establish a closer working relationship with our critical customers in the U.S. Army and the Redstone Arsenal community,” said Paul Markwardt, vice president and general manager of Survivability, Targeting, and Sensing Solutions at BAE. The expansion is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the coming years.

Courtney On Subs. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Ct.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee, said on July 18 at a Hudson Institute event he and other defense committee members are “still trying to create some legal space” in the FY ’19 NDAA for the Navy and shipbuilders to seek two more Virginia-class submarines. The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan noted the industrial base can build three instead of two submarines in those years. Courtney and subcommittee chairman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) failed in adding an amendment to the House’s defense appropriations bill to add $1 billion for advanced procurement funding to build additional Block V submarines in FY ’22 and ’23. The House version of the NDAA allows for $1 billion in long-lead-time material for the extra submarines while the Senate version only authorizes $250 million.

…Wary Of SLEP. Courtney noted there has been “institutional resistance within OSD” (Office of Secretary of Defense) as he and colleagues “try to come up with the most efficient ways to maximize precious budget dollars and authorizations" on naval shipbuilding. However, he is skeptical of using service life extensions to mitigate future submarine declines. As older Los Angeles-class submarines retire, the U.S. Navy submarine force is set to decline from 52 to 48 in the coming years. “I’m not religiously opposed to [service life extensions] but again, it creates its own set of issues that you really have to think through.” Courtney said that entails not just refueling the nuclear reactor but checking the hull because “they’ve been running hard for the decades that they’ve been out there” and technological change may make procuring spare parts and reviewing designs difficult.

Amid Increased Competitors. Courtney noted the combatant commanders have been telling Congress that while China is expected to increase its submarine force to 99 by 2030 while the U.S. force is declining “at some point quantity is quality. If you’re out there and your competitor is in bigger numbers, I mean the best you can do is play zone defense, you know, and that’s really not the optimal situation to be in.” He added Adm. James Foggo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Euripe and Allied Joint Command Naples, is “publicly talking about the fact that submarine activity now is really starting to get close to Cold War levels, you know 70, 80 percent.”

Good Javelins. Amb. Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant Secretary of State for the bureau of political-military affairs, in a press call July 16 pushed back on Russian media reports that U.S. anti-tank Javelin missiles provided to Ukraine are out of date and defective. Kaidanow said the U.S. does not provide its partners, allies, or anyone with defective equipment. “Why would we do such a thing?  And so that is purely fake news, if you want to call it that, and propaganda of the worst sort.” The administration approved sale of the missiles to Ukraine last year. The missiles are made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

DDG-121. Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding successfully launched the new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), on July 13 at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Ingalls moved DDG-121 using a rail car system to a floating dry dock, which was then moved from the pier and moved down to float the ship. HII is also building the destroyers Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123) and Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125). DDG-125 is planned to be the first Flight III destroyer, with upgraded missile defense systems.

BACN Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman said July 19 it delivered a Global Hawk UAS equipped with a  Battlefield Airborne Communications Node to the Air Force earlier this year. The BACN, which is also developed by Northrop Grumman, functions as an airborne gateway on the UAS and helps distribute voice communications and battlespace information from various sources. Northrop Grumman officials said the node would allow Global Hawk users to extend communications between disparate systems and networks to provide improved situational awareness.

Applied Insight/AFCENT. Applied Insight has received a $5.3 million task order from Air Force Central Command to integrate and advance the command’s communication capabilities within the cyber domain, the company said July 18. “This allows us to bring unparalleled support to AFCENT in terms of managing risk and comprehensively addressing cyber vulnerabilities in direct support of the warfighter within the joint AF and CENTCOM AOR,” Greg Walker, president of Applied Insight, said in a statement Applied Insight will support AFCENT in developing a mature cyber security assessment and authorization program. The contract includes two one-year follow-on options and an option to extend services beyond current responsibilities.





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