House Intel Bill. The House on Thursday passed its Intelligence Community authorization bill for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 by a 363-54 vote. The legislation funds national security programs to bolster counterterrorism and cyber security efforts. Specifically, the bill provides increased pay for cyber-skilled employees to retain high-level personnel. Lawmakers also included provisions for the Director of National Intelligence to publish an unclassified report on foreign counterintelligence and cyber threats to elections. The bill would also create an Infrastructure Security Center in the Department of Energy to improve coordination on intelligence used to deter threats. The Senate Intelligence Committee previously approved their version of the authorization bill, but has not been scheduled for a floor vote.
SDB II. The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon $93 million its first contract to integrate the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) with the Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet on June 28, the service announced last week. The funds provide for the testing, analysis, support, and sustainment of the SDB II onto the Super Hornet. This includes developmental and operational testing. The work will occur in Tucson, Ariz. and is expected to be finished by July 2023.
MDR Release “Soon.” David Trachtenberg, deputy under secretary of defense for Policy, said at a Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance event last week that the Missile Defense Review (MDR) will be “coming out soon.” He was reluctant to offer any specifics other than "soon." The report was first expected before the end of 2017, then February, and then by May. It is expected to cover not just ballistic missile threats but also cruise and hypersonic missiles.
…Hypersonic Defense. A Missile Defense Agency (MDA) official at the event said the agency has already started working to integrate its sensors owned by others in the space community to track hypersonic missiles. “We’ve done a lot of work already” and “we’ve been engaging heavily with our space community and figuring out how to get the data and track it” Rich Ritter, program executive for C4ISR at MDA, said. He noted while a ballistic missile's trajectory can be determined from the launch data, a hypersonic missile flies low and can move in more unpredictable ways. MDA has been working with operators to get a feel of how to represent on display screens that a location is under attack via hypersonic weapons. Ritter said “we’ve worked a lot with the operators to get their feel of what is represented, what is useful versus what is not useful.” He said MDA believes the infrastructure can be adapted for these newer threats.
Trump Appointees. President Donald Trump last week appointed James Morhard to be the deputy administrator of NASA. Morhard currently is the U.S. Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms and previously was staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee with responsibility for managing the subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. Morhard also worked in the Navy’s Office of the Comptroller. The Senate last Thursday confirmed Paul Ney to be the Defense Department’s General Counsel on a 70-23 vote. Ney previously was acting general counsel of the Navy was the chief deputy attorney general of Tennessee.
Bollinger Commits to Tampa. Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards says if it wins the Coast Guard’s contract to build new polar icebreakers, it will build the ships at its production facility in Tampa, Fla. The shipbuilder currently produces the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutters in Louisiana. Bids were due late in June to build the first of three potential heavy polar icebreakers. The Coast Guard also eventually wants to build three new medium polar icebreakers. “We expect to fill our capable production facility in Tampa with over 1,000 highly skilled full-time shipyard workers beginning as early as 2020,” says Ben Bordelon, president and CEO of Bollinger. He says the three heavy icebreakers could keep the shipyard fully utilized for nearly a decade and if Bollinger also gets the contract for the medium icebreakers, work will continue through 2035.
New Equity Fund. AE Industrial Partners has closed its second private equity fund with nearly $1.4 billion in commitments. The Fund II will be aimed at control investments in technical manufacturing, distribution and supply chain management, maintenance, repair and overhaul, and industrial service-based businesses in the firm’s target markets. These markets include aerospace and defense, power generation, and specialty industrial companies. AEI’s first fund has investments in several aerospace and defense companies including Belcan, Applied Composites, Moeller Aerospace, and CDI Corp.
Orion LAS Motor. Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully casted its Jettison Motor ahead of a critical test in 2019 for its integration on Lockheed Martin’s Orion spacecraft’s Launch Abort System (LAS). "The casting of the Orion Jettison Motor marks a critical step as we prepare for the first integrated flight of [Space Launch System] and Orion to test the systems that will be used to take astronauts to the vicinity of the Moon and to other exciting destinations," says Eileen Drake, CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne. The company’s Jettison Motor will be used on the Orion LAS which will undergo an Ascent Abort full-stress test next year. During the test, a rocket booster will launch the Orion LAS to over 31,000-feet to test its functionality.
Mongoose Over. The NATO Dynamics Mongoose 2018 submarine warfare exercise finished on July 6. During the exercise, ships, submarines, aircraft, and personnel from eight member states traveled to the North Atlantic Ocean for annual anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare training. Norway was the host nation and provided the use of two harbors and an air base. Dynamic Mongoose included two submarines, seven surface ships, and three maritime patrol aircraft. The exercise was aimed at providing challenging and complex training to enhance interoperability and proficiency in ASW and anti-surface warfare training.
TWIC Restriction. The House on July 10 passed by voice vote a bill that would restrict the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a rule that requires the use of biometric readers for Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) until the department submits a report to Congress on the effectiveness of the TWIC program. The Coast Guard already uses handheld fingerprint readers at seaports to verify the identities of TWIC cardholders and in some cases ports have deployed fixed readers. The Coast Guard in June proposed a three-year delay in the requiring the deployment of TWIC biometric card readers in certain facilities.
Boeing Charge. Boeing says it will take a $124 million, 21 cents earnings per share, after-tax charge in its second quarter financial results, which will be reported on July 25. The company says the charge follows a ruling by the Delaware Supreme Court that it isn't entitled to recover certain costs associated with the sale in 2005 of its production facilities in Wichita, Kans,. to Spirit Aerosystems. Boeing says the charge has no impact on its sales or cash flow.