Iran Benefit. Defense analyst and consultant Jim McAleese says in a client note that Boeing’s deal to sell commercial planes to Iran means that Boeing “will ‘moot’ any potential” charge against earnings in its second quarter stemming from a decision in May to delay deliveries of its first 18 KC-46A tankers to the Air Force. He says the company is expected is to announce more commercial orders at the Farnborough Air Show next month, further reducing the likelihood of any charges related to fixing KC-46A refueling boom loads. Media reports say the potential commercial aircraft deal with Iran could be worth 80 planes.
DHS Bills. The House last week passed two homeland security bills, one authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to set up offices in high tech areas of the United States to work more closely with emerging technology providers, and the other aimed at supporting research and development to improve sharing of information, analytics and methodologies related to cyber security risks and incidents. The cyber bill also supports development of more secure information systems and of technologies to detect attacks and intrusions. The bills easily passed with bipartisan support.
Google To Government. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, is taking a leave of absence from the company to join the U.S. Digital Service’s Defense Digital Service. “Over the last couple years, I’ve seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They’re idealists who are also making a large impact,” Cutts says in a personal blog post. “I want to see whether I can help too,” he adds.
Ingredion. Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and CEO of the Fortune 500 global ingredients company Ingredion Inc., has been elected to Lockheed Martin’s board of directors. Gordon, 62, joins Lockheed Martin’s board effective immediately. Before joining Ingredion in 2009, Gordon was with Rio Tinto where she was CEO of Alcan Packaging, a global business based in France. She is also on the board of International Paper Company.
…Also In. Nancy Killefer, lead independent director on the board of CSRA Inc., has been elected to succeed Mike Lawrie as chairman, pending her reelection to the board at the company’s annual meeting. Killefer is director emeritus at McKinsey & Company, Inc., director of the Advisory Board Company and Avon Products, Inc., and vice chair of the Business Defense Board. Lawrie has been chairman of CSRA since the company was spun out of CSC, where he is still chairman, president and CEO.
KeyLogic and CIO. KeyLogic Systems, Inc. named Kevin Reid, former FBI executive, as vice president of national security and Chief Information Officer (CIO). In the new role Reid will lead the company’s national security practice to deliver services and solutions that drive strategic information technology performance improvements to support clients’ needs. Previously, Reid served as as the Assistant Director of the IT Infrastructure Division and Assistant Director of the IT Applications and Data Division.
Accenture Security Head. Accenture says Kelly Bissell is joining the company to lead the Accenture Security business area. Bissell will run the new security business across all industries and includes strategic consulting, proactive risk management, digital identity, cyber defense, response and remediation services, and managed security services. Bissell has over 25 years of experience in the security industry and previously served as leader of global cyber risk at Deloitte.
Accenture Cyber Lab. Accenture official opened its newest Cybersecurity R&D Lab in Herzliya, Israel. The lab will focus on unique cybersecurity projects in advanced threat intelligence, active defense, and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) security using the latest developments in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and advanced analytics. The company marked the announcement at the 6th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference in Israel, June 19-23. The lab features a combination of collaborative research areas and spaces dedicated to showcasing cyber solution prototypes.
Launch Week. The last few weeks featured a pair of successful launches. The Air Force and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on June 24 successfully launched the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System-5 (MUOS-5) satellite on an Atlas V, according to ULA. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully launched a satellite for Eutelsat on June 15, but the company was unable to land the first stage on its drone ship afterward, its first landing failure in its last four attempts. SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Twitter June 16 blamed early liquid oxygen depletion causing engine shutdown just above the deck for the landing failure. All launches took place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SpaceX’s next launch is a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission for NASA no earlier than July 18.
AR1 Testing. Aerojet Rocketdyne achieved full-power on its AR1 engine during a preburner test series at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Miss., earlier this month, according to a company statement. The test series successfully verified key preburner injection design parameters for the AR1 engine. Company CEO Eileen Drake says in a statement the company is “laser-focused” on the delivery of the AR1 engine in 2019. The AR1 is being developed as an alternative to the Russian-developed RD-180 engine that powers a majority of U.S. national security launches.
Dutch Apache/Chinook Contract. Boeing and the Royal Netherlands Air Force signed a new two-year base maintenance contract for Apache and Chinook support, according to a company statement. The company will perform ‘phase maintenance inspections’ of the country’s 27 AH-64D Apache and 17 CH-47D Chinook helicopters through examinations at regular intervals. Phase inspections are performed at certain flight hour intervals and include aircraft tear down, inspection, repairs or modification, reassembly and return to service. The work was previously performed in Germany due to space limitations.
Planetary Resources/Luxembourg. The space mining company Planetary Resources, Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI). sign a memo of understanding (MoU) to advance technologies and lines of business toward the exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids, according to a Planetary Resources statement. With the agreement, Luxembourg is considering a direct capital investment in Planetary Resources Luxembourg. This public equity position will be taken by the SNCI to become a minority shareholder.
OA-U.S. Space. Orbital ATK on June 23 filed a motion to dismiss U.S. Space’s lawsuit against the company, claiming that the case does not belong in New York and should be filed in Virginia. U.S. Space sued Orbital ATK in April, claiming the company broke an agreement to pursue customers for ViviSat, which was formed by U.S. Space and ATK before ATK merged with Orbital Sciences in late 2014. In its motion, Orbital ATK argued that U.S. Space missed “target date after target date” without fulfilling its responsibilities to deliver financing and customer contracts, according to the motion. Orbital ATK says it provided more than $2.3 million to the ViviSat venture while U.S. Space provided only $50. Orbital ATK has also filed a lawsuit of its own against U.S. Space in Loudoun County, Va., home to both U.S. Space and Orbital ATK.
Army Cyber. The Army is hard at work developing battlefield communications networks and figuring out how to keep those networks safe from enemy interference is a top priority of Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. Instead of developing cyber weapons to launch against adversaries’ networks, Milley is more interested in hardening the service’s cyber-defenses. “We are an electrical-based organization, and society for that matter,” Milley says during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, D.C. “I’m concerned with protecting the system because what if that system fails? What if planes can’t fly? What if smart bombs become dumb bombs? What if a hacker takes over a tank, or a column of tanks?”
… More Troops. Milley says authorization for a larger Army than the 980,000 funded end strength is welcome but must come with funding necessary to maintain the force. “I don’t have a problem with more troops…if and only if there is funding to maintain and sustain their readiness,” he says. “I am comfortable with the direction we are moving in and the budget as it currently exists. There is risk and I’ve called it high risk.…But if you want to increase the size of the force, it comes with a bill and you’ve got to pay for it.”
Cyber Certification. DRS Technologies says its U.K. business unit achieved a Cyber Essentials certification, a mandate by the U.K. Ministry of Defense to ensure that defense contractors are able to protect sensitive information against cyber threats. The certification reflects a set of measures that ensure protection against basic cyber threats on the Internet. The Ministry of Defense demands this new accreditation in all exchanges of sensitive information and requires annual renewal. The certification confirms that DRS meets specific cyber security qualifications and allows the company to bid on technology and service government contracts involving sensitive information, including personal data. “Protecting our business and our customers against the growing number of cyber threats is a fundamental responsibility of our business,” Peter Hurst, managing director of the firm, says. “DRS UK’s Cyber Essential certification is an important part of our information technology security policy, and I am delighted that we have now completed the integration of the required procedures into our systems and processes.”