F-35 Bulgaria. Two F-35As arrived in Bulgaria April 28 from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, according to a Lockheed Martin statement. The deployment allows the pilots and supporting airmen the opportunity to engage in familiarization training within the European theater while reassuring allies and partners of the U.S. The F-35As were joined by an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker. The F-35 is developed by Lockheed Martin.
North Korean ICBM. Navy Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee April 27 that he expects North Korea will have a nuclear-armed, intercontinental ballistic missile “soon,” but he declined to elaborate. Asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) whether North Korea will have a nuclear ICBM that can hit the United States by 2020, Harris replied, “I don’t want to put a timeline on that, sir, in this hearing, but it is safe to say that they will have one soon. They will match rhetoric to capability.”
Missile Milestone. The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) is expected to achieve its full operational capability (FOC) late this year, according to a spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command. FOC “is defined by a series of actions demonstrating production deliveries, maintainability, deployability, and corrections to any deficiencies observed during [initial operational test and evaluation] in 2013,” the year the surface-to-air missile achieved its initial operational capability, the spokeswoman says. The SM-6 has been flight-tested more than 60 times, including four recent intercepts of subsonic and supersonic targets that occurred off the Hawaiian coast and involved the missile’s latest software. The Raytheon-built, ship-launched missile is designed to perform air and ballistic missile defense and anti-surface warfare.
Radar Milestone. The Enterprise Surveillance Radar (EASR), a new air surveillance radar for Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, has completed its preliminary design review, according to prime contractor Raytheon. Under a contract announced in August, Raytheon is to complete EASR’s engineering and manufacturing development by February 2020.
EM-1. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says NASA’s first exploration mission (EM-1) scheduled for November 2018 involving the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) is likely unachievable as technical challenges continue to cause schedule delays. GAO says all three programs face unique challenges in completing development and each has little to no schedule reserve remaining between now and the scheduled EM-1 date. This means they will have to complete all remaining work with little margin for error for unexpected challenges that may arise. GAO says Orion has zero schedule reserve days while SLS has 80 and EGS has 28.
CR. Both the House and Senate on Friday approved a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding for federal programs and services until May 5. The CR maintains the current budget cap level of $1.07 trillion put into place under the Budget Control Act of 2011. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen says in statement that he’s optimistic that a full-year appropriations package will be completed soon. The current CR ends April 29. Fiscal year 2017 ends Sept. 30.
Minuteman III Test. The Air Force on April 26 launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM during an operational test, according to a service statement. Launch took place at 3:03 a.m. EDT from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
GBSD Teaming Strategy. Raytheon Chief Thomas Kennedy tells investors his company is reviewing its options when it comes to teaming on the Air Force’s Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, which is intended to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad. “Right now, our strategy is we are engaging with multiple teams and seeing where our best solution is relative to being able to make one of these primes a winner,” he says on the company’s first quarter earnings call. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have all said they plan to compete as prime contractors for the new ICBM. This year the Air Force is expected to downselect to two prime contractors on a risk reduction contract before selecting a single prime contractor in 2020, Kennedy says.
…On Cyber. Kennedy says the company’s Forcepoint segment, which is where it consolidated its commercial go-to-market cyber security business, is tracking to plan and that despite just a 4 percent uptick in sales in the first quarter to $144 million, growth would have been 9 percent excluding the web-filtering part of the business, which the company is exiting. He says Forcepoint is “seeing significant demand signal” for from large and very large enterprises for its insider threat and data loss prevention products, an area of the market the company believes it is “the number one provider of solutions” for. The company is making investments this year to drive double-digit percentage growth in the out-years, he says.
Air Force Cyber. The U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon an $8.5 million cost-plus-fixed fee and cost contract for Cyber Command and Control Mission System (C3MS). The company will provide assessment, design, build, and deployment of a C3MS weapon system alternate operating location. This is the result of a competitive acquisition with one offer received. The work will be performed San Antonio, Texas with an expected completion date of April 28, 2018.
SATCOM Contracts. The Air Force, through MIT-Lincoln Labs, awarded six contracts in April for the Commercial Satellite Communications Pilot Phase 1. Contracts were awarded to Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Space Systems Loral, Hughes, Kratos and ViaSat, according to Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Annmarie Annicelli. She says six contracts were the most that could be awarded given the individual cost proposals and the $3 million of available Phase 1 funding. Annicelli says Pilot Phase 1 supports ongoing Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center pathfinders, future Pilot phases and related architecture development including the Wideband Communication Services (WCS) analysis of alternatives (AoA). Contractors not selected for Phase 1 contracts can still support the WCS AoA through an independent request for informatio, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks, according to Anincelli.
IT Reform Bill. Bipartisan bills aimed at modernizing federal information technology systems and networks were introduced in the House and Senate last week, after failing to get through Congress last year. The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act would allow federal agencies to put savings they generate from making IT improvements such as replacing legacy products and transitioning to cloud computing into a working capital fund that can be accessed for up to three years for further modernization funds. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) says that 80 percent of the federal government’s $80 billion annual IT spending is to maintain “outdated, legacy systems,” adding that enabling the modernization of federal networks will strengthen them from cyber attacks and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
DHS CIO Nominee. President Donald Trump on Friday announced his intent to nominate Richard Staropoli, a former Secret Service agent, to be the chief information officer of the Department of Homeland Security. Staropoli, a graduate of New York Univ. with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, spent 25 years in the Secret Service until 2009 when he became the chief information security officer and head of risk for the global investment management firm Fortress Investment Group. During his Secret Service years, Staropoli was in the Presidential Protective Division, team leader in the hostage rescue unit, the Counter Assault Team, and chief of Polygraph Operations.
Drone Detection. The Federal Aviation Administration says it is evaluating Gryphon Sensors’ drone-detection technology at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The evaluation is the latest in a series that began in February 2016. Previous evaluations took place at Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey; John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Eglin Air Force Base in Florida; Helsinki Airport in Finland; and Denver International Airport. The FAA plans to use information gathered from the assessments to develop minimum performance standards for drone-detection systems that might be deployed at or near U.S. airports.
ISIS Drones. The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is seeing a “significant decrease” in ISIS drone activity in those two countries, according to U.S. Central Command. In western Mosul, for example, ISIS rotary-wing drones are currently detected once or twice a day on average, down from 10 to 15 times a day earlier this year, the command tells Defense Daily. Coalition aircraft have bombed drones, as well as launch sites and storage facilities, and the U.S. military has been developing and fielding ground-based equipment to detect and destroy or disrupt drones.
Cyber Exercise. Locked Shields 2017, the world’s largest international technical network defense exercise, took place last week. Organized by the Tallinn, Estonia-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) it focuses on training security experts who protect national IT systems daily. The exercise included 800 participants from 25 countries. Participants were tasked with maintaining the services and networks of a military air base in a fictional country that experiences cyber attacks on its power grid systems, drones, military command and control systems, and more. Industry partners included Siemens, Threod Systems, Cyber Test Systems, Clarified Security, and others.
…Czech Wins It. The team from the Czech Republic won Locked Shields. The Estonian team placed second and the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) took third. NCIRC scored the highest in the legal game of the exercise while the German team won the forensic challenges. The United Kingdom team received the highest scores in handling the strategic communications challenges. “The winning team demonstrated that good tactics and stable performance in all categories can lead to best overall scores in the end. The Czech team also performed very well in the strategic track that was a new addition this year,” Aare Reintam, technical exercise director at the CCDCOE, says in a statement.
Senate Hire. April Doss, partner and chair of Saul Ewing LL’s cyber security and privacy practice is joining the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s involvement with the 2016 election as Special Counsel. Doss previously served as the associate general counsel for intelligence law at the National Security Agency. She joined Saul Ewing in 2016. The firm’s cybersecurity practice will be left to co-chairs Evan Foster and Sandy Bilus.
Law Hire. Brown Rudnick LLP hired Guillermo Christensen as a partner in the firm’s cybersecurity, data privacy, and enterprise risk management practices. Christensen previously served as a CIA intelligence officer, a diplomat at the State Department, and most recently as the science and technology advisor to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.