Army IT Review. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley is conducting a detailed, “end-to-end” review of the service’s information networks to look for ways to increase their effectiveness, identify efficiencies and determine “whether we’re headed in the right direction,” according to Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, the Army’s lead for network modernization and its acting cybersecurity director. The review “is going to drive a lot of churn” at the Pentagon and Army support commands, Yee said at an AFCEA-Northern Virginia chapter conference March 30. “Everything is on the table. [In] the first session, we had 145 slides teed up for the chief. We got through 12 in four hours. He said, ‘I want 15 of these [sessions] over the next three months.’”
Growler Study. The Navy is starting to assess what would be required to extend the EA-18G Growler’s service life beyond 7,500 flight hours to meet the military’s airborne electronic attack requirements beyond 2040, according to service officials. The relatively young Boeing-built planes already have flown more than 2,300 combat missions and expended about 16 percent of their service lives. Meanwhile, the Navy, which has taken delivery of 136 EA-18Gs so far, is considering whether its total planned purchase of 160 Growlers will be enough or should be increased.
Magic Carpet. The Navy has begun deploying new F/A-18 flight control software designed to make aircraft carrier landings easier, according to service officials. The software, called the Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies (MAGIC CARPET), has been fielded on the Nimitz-class USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). Rear Adm. Dewolfe “Chip” Miller III, director of the Navy’s air warfare division, testified before a House panel March 28 that he has received positive feedback from the Bush crew. “They’re saying this is absolutely phenomenal,” Miller said.
Naval Cooperation. The U.S., British and French navies have agreed to deepen cooperation in aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing. U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, First Sea Lord of the United Kingdom Adm. Sir Philip Jones and French Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Christophe Prazuck signed the agreement March 27 in London as part of their 2017 Trilateral Maritime Talks. Specific follow-up actions that will result from the document were not disclosed.
King Stallion. Following the recent House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces hearing on Marine Corps modernization and readiness, misinformation circulates about the cost of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter. During testimony it was stated that the CH-53K was $122 million per copy based on an increase from original baseline cost. “First-produced aircraft always cost more because of the non-recurring engineering and tooling required to stand-up a production line,” according to a Marine Corps aviation spokesperson. “Over the lifetime of the CH-53K program, which includes 200 aircraft, the recurring flyaway cost of the CH-53K will be $87.1M – the average cost for all production lots of aircraft, engines, contract/government furnished equipment, and engineering change orders.”
Robot Humvees. AM General and the Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) announced a partnership to develop and demonstrate an autonomous driving vehicle that may revolutionize how troops, equipment and supplies are transported inside military facilities. Under the Applied Robotics for Installations and Base Operations initiative (ARIBO), AM General and TARDEC are developing an autonomous vehicle and plan demonstrations to begin this spring at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. The ARIBO program allows current civilian robotics technology to be examined in vehicles in a semi-controlled environment such as military bases that have restricted roads, predefined routes and restrictive operations for favorable conditions. The program’s aim is to advance the state of military robotics while simultaneously addressing U.S. military base needs by creating reliable military robotic technology and reducing operational and personnel costs. “The West Point demonstration uses AM General’s vehicle to not only demonstrate an autonomy kit, but to highlight the idea of robotics for military and civilian use,” says Alex Jimenez, project leader for TARDEC’s ARIBO program. “The best robotic systems in the world will not find traction until users are comfortable with the systems. West Point is a prime location to address the acceptance aspect of robotics by having future Army leaders see and experience these robotics first hand.”
Heather Wilson. A prominent Hill observer believes Air Force secretary nominee Heather Wilson will “absolutely” be confirmed, though not unanimously. AEI Resident Fellow for Security Studies Mackenzie Eaglen says in an email that Wilson’s March 30 hearing did nothing to derail her chances as no new information that was egregious came forward. An Energy Department inspector general probe in 2013 that found she earned $450,000 from facility contractors without providing evidence that work was performed. Eaglen says if Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a lawyer, can get confirmed after not paying nanny taxes for years, saying he didn’t know, the bar for confirmation is lowered.
Delta IV Heavy. The Air Force is working on a contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA) for three additional Delta IV Heavy missions projected for launch in 2021, 2022 and 2023, according to Air Force spokeswoman Alicia Garges. The contract is part of action taken by the Air Force and Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to ensure that national security space launch requirements are met before next-generation heavy lift vehicles, like SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and ULA’s Vulcan, are available. Garges says the Air Force is always assessing the current and projected launch capability and, if necessary in the future, may take action to continue to preserve the Delta IV for national security use.
Boeing OA-X. Boeing will not submit an entry for the Air Force’s light attack aircraft experiment, also known as OA-X. Company spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson says Boeing simply doesn’t have a solution to offer for this phase. The company developed a clean-sheet aircraft for the Air Force’s T-X trainer program that many assumed would participate in the OA-X program.
Leonardo-Alabama. Leonardo plans to build its T-100 offering in Tuskegee, Alabama, if it wins the Air Force’s T-X trainer program, according to a company statement. The project would create 750 jobs over a 10 year ramp-up period beginning in 2019. Leonardo estimates the total investment in the T-100 project’s buildings, infrastructure and equipment would exceed $200 million to $250 million.
Army Computers. The Army’s Global Combat Support System (GCSS-Army) ordered 9,783 Getac F110 G3 rugged tablets with docking stations. GCSS-Army determined the Getac F110 G3 would be the best new rugged tablet to replace several aging and outdated Army management information systems across tactical logistics environments within the Army’s active and reserve components. The Getac F110 G3 tablets will ultimately be used to capture unique item identification data using its built-in barcode reader so the Army can better keep track of assets. Getac is taking its offerings a step further through a partnership with next generation data protection provider Trivalent, to deliver seamless and robust next-generation data protection for the first time on rugged computing devices. By integrating Trivalent’s software security into its line of rugged devices, Getac confirms its commitment to safeguarding customer data with technology that has been certified by the NSA.
Cyber Concerns. Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security and MITRE Corp. asking for an evaluation of a program that tracks and monitors cyber vulnerabilities. The program, Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), is a dictionary of common names for publicly known cyber security vulnerabilities. “The explosion of connected devices and services that has been associated with the CVE program’s shortcomings, while rapid, did not occur overnight,” the representatives say. “In light of this, we seek to understand how MITRE and the CVE program failed to anticipate and prepare for this growth in demand for its services and what more may be done to ensure this program can more effectively serve its essential mission.”
Munro Commissioning. The sixth Coast Guard National Security, the Munro (WMSL 755), was scheduled to be commissioned on April 1 in Seattle. The Munro will be home ported in Alameda, Calif. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was scheduled to deliver remarks at the ceremony.
Nod to McAleenan. President Donald Trump last Thursday evening announced his intent to nominate Kevin McAleenan as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. McAleenan served as the agency’s deputy commissioner beginning in 2014 and has been acting commissioner since Jan. 20. McAleenan has served in other leadership positions at CBP, including the establishment of its Office of Antiterrorism.
Premature Estimates. Customs and Border Protection says any estimates of the cost for a border wall along the U.S. southern border are “premature as there are many variables that are currently unknown.” The statement follows an estimate the previous week by Senate Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D) suggesting it will cost $67 billion to complete nearly 1,900 miles of wall. CBP says a request for $2.6 billion in FY ’18 will help it with implementing all of President Donald Trump’s executive order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, including technology and personnel.
Gripen Contract. The Sweden Defence Material Administration (FMV) awarded a $42.4 million contract from Sweden’s Saab to provide operational and development support for the Gripen fighter during 2017. The order includes the operation of rigs, simulators, and test aircraft for the verification and validation of the Gripen C/D and Gripen E fighter aircraft systems. The contract also includes operational support for the Gripen C/D. The order mainly will concern Saab’s operations in Linköping, Gothenburg, Järfälla, and Arboga in Sweden.
Army IT Contract. The U.S. Army awarded Iron Bow Technologies LLC a $25 million contract modification for the purchase of various approved information technology equipment and accessories. Fiscal 2017 other funds for the full modification are obligated at award time. Work will be performed in Vicksburg, Miss. With an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2017. The contracting activity is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntsville, Ala.
Army Source Code. The U.S. Army awarded Harmonia Holdings Group LLC a $17 million firm-fixed-price contract for a third-party software review to analyze source code for errors, bugs, and coding constructs suspected of introducing vulnerability. This includes all coding non-compliance with the Defense Information Systems Agency Application Security and Development Security Technical Implementation Guide. Bids were solicited via the Internet and 12 were received. The estimated completion date is March 27, 2022. The contracting activity is the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
AF Cyber. The U.S. Air Force awards Cyber Defense Information Assurance a nearly $15 million modification to exercise an option on a previously awarded contract. The company will provide the Air Force enterprise-level network management, optimized communications, and defensive measures at the Air Force Information Network Gateways. The Air Force Intranet Control operates the common user virtual private network mesh tying the components of the Air Forces intranet together and protecting Air Force network traffic through encryption as it traverses public infrastructure. Work is expected to be finished by July 8, 2018 and will be performed at the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala. The contracting activity is the 38th Contracting Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Army CENTCOM Networks. The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon a $9 million contract modification to provide a range of Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System services to support the operational and strategic use of Department of Defense and subsidiary networks and capabilities within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The work will be performed in Kuwait; Jordan; Qatar; Iraq; and Shaw Air Force Base, SC. The estimated completion date is Nov. 15, 2017. The contracting activity is the Army Contracting Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
Cyber AF. The U.S. Air Force awarded CSRA a $10 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for high power electromagnetics (HPEM) and cyber electronic warfare applications. CSRA will identify and develop HPEM technologies with the potential to complement and enhance mission effectiveness of the cyber and electronic warfare (EW) communities. This includes the study, analysis, and information scenarios in which HPEM can be used for cyber or EW applications, conduct, experiments, and demonstrative concepts. The awards resulted from a competitive acquisition with six offers received. Work will be performed at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. and is expected to be finished by June 20, 2020.