New Investment Adviser. Jim McNerney, the retired chairman and CEO of Boeing, has joined the New York-based investment bank Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as senior adviser. The firm says that McNerney, who just retired as Boeing’s chairman in February, will assist in identifying and evaluating new investment opportunities, and drive value creation strategies at the firm’s portfolio companies.
Digital Barriers Deal. Britain’s Digital Barriers plc has completed the acquisition of Virginia-based Brimtek, Inc., a provider of surveillance solutions to United States Special Operations Command, homeland security, federal law enforcement, and the intelligence community. The deal expands Digital Barriers’ U.S. presence and customer base. Digital Barriers, which also provides surveillance solutions, is paying up to $45 million in aggregate consideration for Brimtek, which was advised by The McLean Group on the transaction.
Final Body Scanner Rule. The Transportation Security Administration on March 3 published the final rule on the use of body scanners, formally called Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT, for screening passengers at airport checkpoints. The rule requires that the machines, which are all supplied by L-3 Communications, be equipped with automatic target recognition software to detect threats hidden underneath a person’s clothing, and states that the systems can be used to screen people. The notice in the Federal Register says the agency has deployed 793 AIT systems at 157 airports nationwide and that the program has cost $2.1 billion between 2008 and 2017.
Journo To Northrop. Bill Sweetman, the veteran aerospace journalist, is leaving McGraw Hill to accept a job at Northrop Grumman. Sweetman, most recently editor of McGraw Hill’s Defense Technology International, will be working for Brett Lambert in Northrop Grumman’s strategy department, a company spokesman says. Lambert, a former leader in OSD’s industrial base shop, joined Northrop Grumman just over a year ago. According to Sweetman’s Linkedin profile, his new job title is manager, strategic planning.
Army Equipment. The Army’s acquisition chief told members of Congress that tight budgets are forcing the service to “selectively modernize” its gear, which often results in soldiers being equipped with outdated equipment. Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, technology and logistics, testified on Capitol Hill that the Army is “falling behind near-peers in critical areas.” Williamson testified before the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces alongside Army deputy chief of staff G-8 Lt. Gen. John M. Murray
… Personal Protection. Both generals emphasized efforts to field improved soldier gear that increases personal protection with less weight and bulk. Work is underway to develop a new helmet concept, new eyewear that adjusts to changing light levels, a new combat vest, and sensors to monitor health status.
… Soldier Comfort. Research continues on new load-bearing systems to reduce stress on backs and knees, they say. “The Army is also working to reduce the weight of the clothing and equipment soldiers carry by developing lighter body armor, helmets and other equipment while addressing a wide-range of threats to our soldiers including ballistics, blast overpressure, concealment, fragmentation and heat,” they say in their joint statement.
Tank Tech. Alcoa won a five-year, $50 million contract from the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) for work on materials for future combat vehicles. The contract builds on an existing joint effort to create the world’s largest single-piece forged aluminum hull for combat vehicles to improve troop protection, the company says. The contract is a follow-on to the Lightweight Structures Initiative under which Alcoa developed aluminum solutions for ground combat and tactical vehicles from 2005 to 2013. Alcoa’s first project funded under the contract is an initiative to advance Alcoa-developed aluminum weld wire alloys that improve the structural integrity of welded joints, typically the weakest point on a vehicle.
Cyber Threats. A new study finds that more than one in three major federal contractors are at higher-than-average risk of being hacked by cyber criminals. Winvale, a leading government contract consultancy, reveals that 24 of the 70 top federal government contractors providing professional services – or 34 percent – have had an above average number of their employees’ email accounts stolen and sold on the “Dark Web,” the vast domain where cyber criminals operate anonymously and is inaccessible to common search engines. “Too many federal contractors have a blind spot when it comes to cyber risk,” says Brian Dunn, managing partner of Winvale. “The public sector is under constant attack from cyber criminals and terrorists. Professional services firms, which conduct a significant amount of government business, need to do a better job of understanding cyber risk and protecting sensitive data. Tracking the percentage of employees’ email exposed on the Dark Web is an excellent way to measure a company’s cyber vulnerability.”
DLA Website. The Defense Logistics Agency is launching a newly consolidated website, CAGE Public, to find and request Commercial and Government Entity codes. The codes are identifiers needed for all commercial companies wishing to do business with the U.S. government. The website provides a solution for searching CAGE codes, requesting a new or updating an existing code, and finding required forms, news, training, and FAQs. The website also had a a replacement for the Business Identification Number Cross-Referencing System website, CAGE Search and Inquiry (CSI). DLA highlights the new unified CAGE website combines resources that previously are on different websites, which is a shift form the past.
VTOL X-Plane. DARPA awarded Aurora Flight Sciences the prime contract for Phase 2 of the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane), which the company calls LightningStrike. The project seeks to develop a demonstrator that could achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300-400 knots, raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60 to 75 percent, increase the cruise lift-to-drag ratio from five to six up to 10 or higher, and carry a useful load of at least 40 percent of the vehicle’s projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000 pounds. The company seeks to provide about a 50 percent increase in speed over existing VTOL aircraft. The LightningStrike demonstrator is designed in collaboration with team members Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. Aurora plans to conduct the first test flights of the demonstrator in the 2018 timeframe pending successful completion of key program milestones in collaboration with DARPA.
IBM Cyber. IBM Security is expanding in security operations and incident response capabilities with plans to acquire Resilient Systems, Inc., and the launching of the new IBM X-Force Incident Response Services. Resilient Systems specializes in security incident response solutions that automates and orchestrates many of the processes needed when dealing with cyber incidents. Resilient’s platform is planned to be a foundational component, along with IBM’s QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, for the X-Force Incident Response Services. Experts from the new services will help clients develop response strategies and a means to more effectively discover, track, respond to, and report on security incidents.
SM-6 Test. The U.S. Navy successfully tested a surface-to-air Standard Missile-6 Block I (SM-6 Blk I) on Jan. 18. Launched from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) off the Hawaiian coast, the test was used to demonstrate and validate that the legacy anti-surface warfare capability of the Aegis Weapon System Mk7 and the SM-2 are successfully carried forward to the latest Aegis Combat System Baseline and SM-6. “With this test, we demonstrated that Aegis Baseline 9 equipped with the SM-6 provides an offensive over-the-horizon engagement capability for the fleet to counter the growing Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities of our adversaries,” Rear Adm. Jon Hill, Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), says in a statement.