Carrier Review. Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall has ordered a review of the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), “primarily to capture lessons learned” from the ship’s development and construction, Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright says. The review is scheduled to begin in October and wrap up in December. The ship has experienced a series of technical glitches, cost overruns and schedule delays, and the Navy recently indicated that it might not be able to take delivery of the ship in November as planned.
LCS Repairs. The recent “engineering casualty” that temporarily sidelined the USS Coronado, an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-4), was due to a “material deficiency,” the Navy says. The casualty, which occurred in late August while LCS-4 was heading to Singapore, involved the failure of two high-speed flexible couplings in the ship’s propulsion plant. The Navy repaired the couplings in Hawaii, and the ship resumed its deployment to the Western Pacific Sept. 29. The USS Independence (LCS-2) experienced a similar but less severe casualty earlier this year. The Navy says it is working with shipbuilder Austal USA “to identify related design deficiencies.”
Intercept Record. A Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) fired from the USS Princeton (CG-59), a guided-missile cruiser, destroyed a cruise missile-like target in a test that marked the longest range surface-to-air intercept in U.S. Navy history, according to Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and prime contractor Raytheon. The test occurred Sept. 22 at Point Mugu Test Range in California. The previous distance record, set in January, was also held by the SM-6. NAVSEA declined to quantify the new and old records, saying they are classified.
Airbus Reorganization. Europe’s Airbus Group is merging its management structure with its largest division, Airbus Commercial Aircraft, to improve efficiencies and decision-making. “The merger of Airbus Group and Airbus paves the way for an overhaul of our corporate set up, simplifies or company’s governance, eliminates redundancies and support further efficiencies, while at the same time driving further integration of the entire group,” says Tom Enders, Airbus Group CEO. He says the company’s other two divisions, Defence and Space, and Helicopters, will benefit from the merger “through more focused business support and reduced costs.” Enders will continue to lead the company.
IoT Concerns. The speed at which electronic devices are being connected is “an almost vertical line” and “we may soon see a time when every electronic object in our environment is connected to the Internet,” says Rick Ledgett, deputy director of the National Security Agency. There are potentially both “good and bad” consequences of this, he tells the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warning that “As technology evolves the focus on security is going to continue to grow” and that with possibly “billions” of devices on the Internet “that come from multiple vendors and that have differing hardware and software upgrade paths without a coherent security plan means there are vulnerabilities that are present in those networks.”
…Land of Milk and Honey. Ledgett says the “Land of Milk and Honey” in cyber security would have “automated response mechanisms across the private sector and the public sector and that there’s a shared situational awareness so that when we see activities come in we have logic in place that would let network entities take action automatically in response to attacks of various kinds. I think we’re a little ways away from that though.”
H-60 Audit. The Defense Department inspector general (DoD IG) announced its intent to audit the Army’s H-60 Black Hawk modernization program. DoD IG is performing the audit at these locations: U.S. Army Contracting Command–Redstone Arsenal; Program Executive Office Aviation; Project Manager Utility Helicopters and U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Prototype Integration Facility (AMRDEC); offices of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L); Army Deputy Chief of Staff (G-3/5/7); U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff (G-8); and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). The H-60 is developed by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit.
AOC Audit. DoD IG also announced it will audit the Air Force’s Air Operations Center (AOC)-Weapon System Increment 10.2 program to determine the impact of schedule delays on the initial production decision. DoD IG will perform the audit at the PEO for Battle Management, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Hanscom AFB, Mass. It may identify additional locations during the audit. The AOC WS program modernizes the U.S. Air Force’s essential operational-level command and control (C2) centers to increase operational effectiveness and reduce costs, according to prime contractor Northrop Grumman.
Mowry Blue Origin. Clay Mowry has left Arianespace after 15 years to take a position with Blue Origin. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mowry is leading global sales, marketing and customer experience activities for Blue Origin. He was previously president of Arianespace’s U.S. subsidiary.
Fort Custer Interceptor… Fifteen Michigan lawmakers wrote Missile Defense Agency (MDA) director Vice Adm. James Syring on Sept. 19 to pitch their Fort Custer Training Center as a home for a potential missile defense interceptor site. The lawmakers believe that putting an interceptor at Fort Custer, located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in southwest Michigan, will bring an estimated $3.2 billion in economic impact, including $700 million in new construction.
…Letter Holdout. The lone holdout to signing the letter is Rep. Justin Amash (R) of Michigan’s third congressional district, home to Fort Custer. Amash spokeswoman Corie Whalen says Amash declined to sign the letter because it treats the matter not as a national security issue, but as a jobs program. Amash, she says, has always believed Fort Custer should be given full consideration as a potential location for the proposed interceptor site, but he believes defense decisions should be made with only national security priorities in mind.
Senate Confirmations. The Senate confirmed via voice vote Air Force Gen. John Hyten as the new chief of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and Air Force Lt. Gen. John Thompson to become the new chief of Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (AFSMC). The Senate also confirmed the promotion of Robert McMurry to lieutenant general and head of AFLCMC.
STP-3 RFP. The Air Force released the final request for proposals (RFP) for the launch mission supporting the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) set for June 2019, according to a notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO). Proposals are due Dec. 2. The Air Force will award a firm-fixed price contract that will provide launch vehicle production, mission integration and launch operations for the STP-3 mission. The STP-3 mission consists of a primary space vehicle (STPSat-6) and a propulsive Evolved Expeditionary Launch Vehicle (EELV) secondary payload adapter holding up to six payloads. These will be identified no later than a year prior to launch, according to an Air Force statement.
SBIRS GEO-3. The Air Force delayed the launch of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-3 satellite from October to no earlier than January due to a possible issue with the liquid apogees. The apogees provide the thrust required to raise the satellite into proper orbit after the spacecraft has been released from the launch vehicle. Earlier this month, a non-Lockheed Martin commercial satellite experienced a similar anomaly to the July MUOS-5 event. The Air Force says in a statement it is working to understand the commonality between the two anomalous engines and the SBIRS design. Both MUOS-5 and SBIRS GEO-3 are developed by Lockheed Martin.
Boeing N&SS. Boeing named Jim Chilton to succeed Craig Cooning as president of the company’s network and space systems (N&SS) businesses, effective Oct. 21, according to a company statement. Chilton is vice president of Boeing’s strategic missile and defense systems organization. Cooning is retiring after 11 years at Boeing. In conjunction with Chilton’s promotion, Boeing is creating a new strategic defense and intelligence systems (SD&IS) organization by combining the group Chilton led with its electronic and information solutions (E&IS) team. The SD&IS team brings together undersea mission solutions, signals intelligence and intelligence and analytics with advanced missile, missile defense and sensor solutions across all domains: space, air, land, sea and cyber. Chris Raymond, currently E&IS vice president and general manager, will lead the new organization. Both Chilton and Raymond will be based in Washington.
OCX Receiver. Harris delivered the first of 34 modernized receivers to support the Air Force’s GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System (OCX), according to a company statement. These will receive the signals sent by the current GPS satellite constellation plus the new signals sent by the next generation GPS III–13 military and civilian signals in all. The receiver was shipped to prime contractor Raytheon after it passed a critical electromagnetic interference test, the first of many stringent qualification requirements. Though the receivers will be placed all over the world, this first production unit will be installed in Aurora, Colo., as OCX software development and integration continues. Both Raytheon and Harris declined to specify their receiver delivery timelines while Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Annmarie Annicelli would not comment until after the Nunn-McCurdy decision is made to terminate or rectify the troubled OCX program.
Fleet Week. Five U.S. Navy ships are scheduled to participate in the first Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore, which takes place Oct. 10 to 17. The ships are the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109), the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (EPF-7), and the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), a new, stealthy destroyer that will be officially commissioned Oct. 15. The Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron is expected to perform in the air show Oct. 15 and 16.
Squadcopters. By the end of next year, Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller wants every rifle squad to deploy with the latest quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle that can provide real-time tactical intelligence to ground troops. “They’re like $1,000 bucks and I’m not advocating for any particular manufacturer,” Neller says. “The technology … it’s like iPhones, every six months there’s another one. So it would be kind of silly, I think, to field the whole Marine Corps at one time because in six months there’s going to be something better to buy and hopefully cheaper.” Neller lays out his vision for the future of the Marine Corps at the Modern Day Marine expo at Quantico, Va. He also takes stage time to praise 3D printing technology and the impact it likely will have on future expeditionary operations. “In 10 years, we’ll be 3D printing chow,” Neller says. “They are already printing food. And you don’t like the chow noW, “ he says. There are vendors here that can 3D print things right now like buildings, shelter, parts, plastic, steel. It’s going to disrupt everything we know about supply, which I think is pretty cool.”
Truck Contract. The Army awards Oshkosh Defense [OSK] a $409 million contract to produce 1,661 family of medium tactical vehicle (FMTV) trucks and 31 trailers, under order-year seven of the current FMTV contract. Deliveries will continue through July 2018. Oshkosh holds a contract awarded in 2009 on which it has delivered more than 35,000 FMTV trucks and trailers.
German Missiles. MBDA Deutschland submits its proposal for the development of TLVS, Germany’s future ground-based air defence system, to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. TLVS, an acronym of a German word for Lockheed’s Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) technology, features 360-degree coverage, open system architecture and a “plug & fight” capability. The latter feature allows the attaching and detaching of additional sensors, effectors and weapon systems during uninterrupted operation, as well as rapid deployment. In addition, the TLVS air defense system operates at a significantly lower cost to the user than existing systems and with fewer personnel and will provide the German Air Force with a level of interoperability with allied forces that has not been available up to now.
Cyber Bill. The House of Representatives passed the Cyber Preparedness Act of 2016 (H.R. 5459). Sponsored by Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY), the bill expands the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) State, Local, and Regional Fusion Center Initiative to include that the centers also serve as a point of contact to ensure dissemination of cybersecurity risk information within the scope of its information sharing environment. The bill includes other provisions to increase cybersecurity information and best practices sharing among fusion centers. (Defense Daily, Sept. 14).
Carlin Out At DoJ. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, is stepping down on Oct. 15, Carlin tells Reuters. Mary McCord, principal deputy assistant attorney general will replace Carlin on an acting basis. In his tenure Carlin leads the division as it deals with issues including the response to the Boston marathon bombing, indicting give members of the Chinese military for cyber-enabled economic espionage, and the investigation of the Sony Picture hack. Carlin did not say where he will work next, but indicated it would likely involve cybersecurity issues.
NATO Cyber. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Republic of Estonia, visited the Tallinn, Estonia-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence for a briefing on latest developments. Ilves stressed that international cooperation in defending cyberspace needs to focus on legal issues, shared values, and extend beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. “With cyber space, our understanding of defense has moved away from territorial concepts. It has become about bringing together likeminded liberal democracies with a strong rule of law,” he says during the visit.
Cybersecurity Support Contract. The U.S. Army awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $13.2 firm-fixed-price contract with options for cyber security enterprise support. Bids were solicited through the internet with three received. Fiscal 2016 Army operations and maintenance (O&M) funds of the full amount were obligated at award time. Contract work will be performed at Ft. Belvoir, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2021. The contracting activity is Army Contracting Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
Cyber Construction. The U.S. Army awarded Kallidus Technologies Inc. a nearly $12 million firm-fixed-price contract to construct a new cyber facility for the Maryland Air National Guard. Bids were solicited from the internet with four received. Fiscal 2012 and 2014 military construction funds of the full contract amount were obligated at award time. Work will be performed in Middle River, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2017. The contracting activity is the National Guard Bureau in Havre de Grace, Md.
Endgame. Endgame, an endpoint security solutions company, appointed the first deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) retired Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, to its advisory board. Schmidle, who rose to be a three-star general, previously served as principal deputy director, cost assessment and program evaluation for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He earlier served as deputy commandant for aviation. “His guidance will be invaluable to us in supporting our rapidly growing business and addressing our customer’s biggest security challenges,” CEO of Endgame Nate Fick says in a statement.
Cyber Energy Contract. The U.S. Air Force awarded Radiance Technologies Inc. a $9.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for the Securing The Grid program. Radiance will develop a virtual system of systems model and virtual testbed of cyber threats related to the geographically distributed systems associated with a representative entity of the energy sector and how it relates to the resiliency of the Air Force mission. After the models are developed for the individual components of the entity and their relationship with each of the other components in the full virtual system, work will begin in parallel to develop corresponding techniques, tactics, and procedures for a cyber event response plan. The award comes from a competitive acquisition with two offers received.. Fiscal 2016 research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) funds of $2.5 million are obligated at award time. Contract work will be performed in Huntsville Ala. with an estimated completion date of Sept. 24, 2021. The contracting activity is the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, NY.
MDA Deputy. Rear Adm. Jon A. Hill will be the new deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Navy announced Sept. 30. He will replace Army Maj. Gen. Ole Knudson, who is retiring. Hill has been serving as the Navy’s program executive officer for integrated warfare systems.