Joint Chiefs. President Donald Trump has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva to continue as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon announced late May 19. Both generals have served in their current positions since 2015.
Presidential Plane. The Air Force, whose Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) program is developing a replacement for Air Force One, plans to buy two Boeing 747-8 commercial aircraft before the end of fiscal year 2017, service officials say. Modifications to turn the jets into presidential aircraft are slated to begin in 2019. Boeing is currently under contract to perform risk reduction for PAR.
New Handgun. Fort Campbell, Ky., is the first Army installation to receive new Sig Sauer handguns, starting with the 101st Airborne Division. The M17 Modular Handgun System (MHS), selected by the Army in January to replace the Beretta M9, will be in the hands of Fort Campbell soldiers this year, the Army says. The award is under protest by losing competitor Glock. The Government Accountability Office is expected to make a decision in June, about when the Sig handguns should begin delivering to the Army, as long as the protest is not upheld.
AMPV Audit. The Defense Department Inspector General (DoD IG) published a report on the Army’s Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV), but sealed its finding from public consumption. The report on AMPV acquisition processes and contract management is tantalizingly titled “Army is Effectively Managing the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, but There Are Concerns That Could Impact Program Cost, Schedule and Performance.” Defense Daily filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report in full.
LCS-19. Lockheed Martin officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy’s 19th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS St. Louis (LCS-19) at a ceremony at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisc. The St. Louis is one of seven ships in various stages of construction at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine and two more are in long-lead production. The LCS team, led by Lockheed Martin, also includes shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and over 800 suppliers in 42 states.
USS Detroit. The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS-7) completed final contract trials (FCT) during a five day evaluation period in mid-May. The trials were conducted by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey as part of a set of post-delivery test and trial events that exercises all of the ship’s major systems. The trials included pre-underway and material condition checks, combat systems air and surface detect-to-engage scenarios, 57mm gun firing exercises, maneuvering testing, and the launch/recovery of a rigid hull inflatable boat. FCT is conducted before the end of the guarantee period to determine if there are defects, failures, or deterioration other than due to normal wear and tear.
Engine Overhaul. The Army published a sources sought notification on the government contracting website seeking asking companies to pitch ideas for overhauling the Honeywell T55 engine, which powers the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter. Army Aviation and Missile Command is seeking to identify parties interested in and capable of supporting Corpus Christi Army Depot with integrated services of technical, engineering, logistical services and supplies which includes 100 percent material support for the overhaul, repair and recapitalization of T-55 Engine and component parts. This action will result in a modification to the current contract for a period of six months.
New DTRA Chief. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says that Vayl Oxford has been selected as the new director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, succeeding Shari Durand, who retired on May 12. Oxford most recently was a national security executive policy advisor at the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. During the Bush administration, Oxford led the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and prior to that he was director for Counterproliferation at the White House. He also had a brief stint at Northrop Grumman directing the company’s nuclear detection efforts.
Space Post. Congressional aide Stephen Kitay is leaving Capitol Hill to become the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy. Kitay, a former Air Force officer, has been a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee, helping to oversee space and intelligence programs.
DHS Nominees. President Donald Trump has nominated Claire Grady to be under secretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security, and Brock Long to be administrator of the department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. Grady is currently director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, services as the principal advisor to the Defense Department’s under secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Prior to joining DoD in 2015, Grady spent two years as the Coast Guard’s deputy assistant commandant for Acquisition and director of Acquisition Services. Grady also served in the DHS management directorate as director of strategic initiatives in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer.
…FEMA Chief. Long is currently executive vice president of the emergency management consulting firm Hagerty Consulting and is a former director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency. Long also worked as a FEMA Regional Hurricane Planner, a FEMA Response Team Leader, and a statewide school safety coordinator, according to his bio on Hagerty’s website.
Northrop Dividend. Northrop Grumman’s board has increased the company’s quarterly dividend by a dime, or 11 percent, to $1 per share, marking the 14th consecutive annual increase in the company’s common stock dividend. “Our balanced capital deployment strategy includes a long-term focus on returning cash to shareholders,” says Wes Bush, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. Northrop Grumman expects to generate between $1.8 billion and $2 billion in free cash flow this year.
Engine Loss. Blue Origin, which lost a key component on its BE-4 rocket engine May 13, says it plans to resume testing soon. “We lost a set of powerpack test hardware on one of our BE-4 test stands yesterday,” the company tweeted May 14. “Not unusual during development.” In a second tweet, the company added, “That’s why we always set up our development programs to be hardware-rich.” The BE-4 is considered the leading contender for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) new Vulcan launch vehicle, which will replace the Atlas 5.
Low-Cost UAV. An Air Force Research Laboratory effort to develop a fast, low-cost, long-range unmanned strike aircraft completed a preliminary design review a few weeks ago and plans to conduct its first flight test in May 2018, according to a lab representative. The rail-launched aircraft will be about 30 feet long and have a wingspan of about 22 feet, making it roughly half the size of an F-16. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is the prime contractor for the Low-Cost Attritable Strike Unmanned Aerial System Demonstration program.
Army Deployment. The Department of the Army says this summer it will deploy about 3,500 soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, to the Republic of Korea. As part of the regular rotation of forces, the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team will replace the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and support the United States Forces-Korea’s commitment to the Republic of Korea.
AUSA Pacifc. The Land Forces Pacific Symposium will be hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army from May 23 to May 25 in Hawaii. The event showcases U.S. Army leaders alongside joint and regional partners to discuss the critical role of land forces in the Asia-Pacific Region. The event brings together land force leaders, industry, academia, various agencies and foreign military partners in the region to promote professional development, enhance mil-to-mil relationships, refine Multi-Domain Battle concepts, and advance joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational integration into land operations in the U.S. Pacific Command area of operations. A complete list of the planned discussion material, participants and schedule is available at www.ausameetings.org/lanpac2017. All times listed are Hawaiian Standard Time. Panel discussions and forums will be streamed live via the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) here: www.dvidshub.net/feature/lanpac.
AEGIS Modification. The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $13.4 million firm-fixed-price modification to a contract to exercise an option for the AEGIS weapon system computing, display, and peripheral equipment for DDG-127. The company is directed to procure, assemble, and test the equipment and provide the associated software licenses on accordance with applicable specifications. Work will be completed by Sept. 2020.
Patriot UAE. The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million modification to a foreign military sales (FMS) contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Missile Segment Enhacement Aft Block I redesign. The work is eepected to e finished by May 15, 2020 and will be performed in Grand Prairie and Lufkin, Texas.
MK-31 Support. The Naval Sea Systems Command awards Raytheon a $27 million cost-plus-fee contract option for design agent and engineering support services for the rolling airframe missile upgraded MK-31 guided missile weapon system. The MK-31 is a cooperative development and production program jointly conducted by the U.S. and Germany. The procured support is needed to maintain current weapon system capability, as well as resolve issues through design, systems, software maintenance, reliability, maintainability, quality assurance and logistics engineering services, the U.S. Navy says. The work is expected to be finished by Sept. 2018. This is not a competitive procurement under an international agreement exception.