Congressional Recess. The last week of June was a busy one for defense on Capitol Hill, as three panels – the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and the House Appropriations Committee — marked up and approved their respective fiscal year 2018 defense bills. Early July promises to be much quieter, as lawmakers head home for their week-long Fourth of July recess.capitol

Space Council Returns. President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 30 reviving the National Space Council, which has been dormant since President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Vice President Mike Pence will chair the council, which will coordinate U.S. space policy among various government agencies. In March, Pence said the council would “be bringing together the best and the brightest in NASA and also in the private sector.”

ULA Wins STP-3 Launch. United Launch Services (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has received a $191.1 million contract from the Air Force to launch the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) satellite in June 2019. Under the award, which followed a competition with SpaceX, the geosynchronous-orbit satellite will ride an Atlas 5 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. According to Orbital ATK, which is building STP-3’s primary payload, the satellite will try out laser communications, collect space weather data and help detect above-ground nuclear detonations. SpaceX says it is not surprised it lost the launch competition, as it offered its new Falcon Heavy, which has not yet flown.

New Boeing Segment. Boeing this month launched its new Boeing Global Services segment, which consolidates most of the company’s services work for government, space and commercial customers globally. The Texas-based segment will operate alongside Boeing’s defense and commercial airplanes segments and is meant to hone the company’s focus on the growing commercial and government services market that is estimated to be worth $2.6 trillion over the next decade. “Aerospace services represent one of our biggest growth opportunities for the future,” says Boeing Chief Dennis Muilenburg, adding that the new segment will “accelerate” the company’s capabilities in this area.

…Retirement. Boeing says that Scott Fancher, senior vice president of Program Management, Integration and Development Programs, and a 40-year veteran of the company, is retiring in September. Muilenburg says that Fancher, who worked in both the company’s defense and commercial segments during his career, produced a “record of achievement in program management [that] stacks up with anyone in our industry.”

…Job Expansion. Meanwhile, Greg Smith, Boeing’s chief financial officer and executive vice president of Corporate Development & Strategy, will now serve as CFO and executive vice president of Enterprise Performance & Strategy, adding responsibilities for overseeing the integration and execution of the new strategy around three operating segments. He will also oversee Boeing-wide innovation, productivity and affordability projects, and lead a new talent management system to identify, develop and deploy general managers and program managers.

One Panel Down, One to Go. The Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee on June 29 approved the nomination of David Pekoske to be administrator of the Transportation Security Administration by voice vote. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which also oversees TSA, will host Pekoske in  confirmation hearing on July 11. Pekoske, a former Coast Guard admiral and defense industry executive, says he plans to accelerate the agency’s innovation efforts by more rapidly assessing potential technology solutions in operations.

Kendall Advising Leidos. Former Pentagon Acquisition Chief Frank Kendall has been appointed to the board of directors of Leidos, adding a strategic advisor who spent more than four years lead the Defense Department’s efforts to buy equipment and services smarter. “Frank brings more than 40 years of experience in national security affairs, acquisition, engineering and the military, further strengthening the breadth and depth of expertise on our board,” says Roger Krone, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Arcturus on SOCOM Contract. The United States Special Operations Command awarded Arcturus UAV a position on its potential $475 million Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) III intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance surveillance systems contract. SOCOM earlier in June awarded Boeing’s Insitu unit and Textron’s AAI Corp. positions on the MEUAS III award, under which the companies will compete for task orders to provide ISR services to forces worldwide through 2022.

Missile Defense in Space? The House Armed Services Committee has approved a proposal by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that would direct the Missile Defense Agency to begin developing a space-based system for intercepting ballistic missiles. By a 36-26 vote, largely along party lines, the committee approved the proposal June 28 as an amendment to its fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill. Franks said a space layer would “cover the gaps and seams” in existing missile defenses. “This amendment recognizes that space is the ultimate military high ground from which to defend the United States of America,” he said. Opponents argue that a space-based system is not technologically feasible or affordable.

NASA Funding. The House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, Science panel on June 29 approved a fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill that would give NASA $19.9 billion, $219 million above the FY 2017 enacted level. The bill includes $4.6 billion for exploration, $226 million above FY 2017, and would continue development of the Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle. It also contains $5.9 billion for NASA science programs, $94 million above FY 2017.

Air Force No. 2. President Donald Trump has nominated Capitol Hill aide and Air Force veteran Matthew Donovan to be Air Force undersecretary. Donovan most recently was majority policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also worked for the committee’s airland and seapower subcommittees. During his 31 years in the Air Force, he led the Air Force Officer Training School and an F-15C fighter squadron.

Taiwan Visits. The Senate Armed Services Committee added a provision to its markup of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act reestablishing regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy to Taiwan and permits Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan. The measure was added as an amendment by a 21-6 vote. The U.S. Navy has not made these visits since 1979 when the U.S. broke official diplomatic relations in favor of a “One China” policy with mainland China.

…And Assistance. The provision also directs the Defense Department to implement a program of technical assistance to support Taiwan efforts to develop indigenous undersea warfare capabilities, including vehicles and mines. The provision also expresses a sense of Congress that the U.S. should strengthen and enhance its cooperation with Taiwan. SASC staffers said these provisions do not mean to overturn China policy but express the committee’s support for greater U.S. discussion on support and activity with Taiwan.

…Israel Missile Defense. The Senate’s bill also authorizes $705 million for Israeli cooperative issile defense programs, $558.5 million over the administration’s request. This includes $290 million for procurement of multi-tiered missile defense systems and $268.5 million for RDT&E for these systems. Up to $120 million of this funding is dedicated to the David’s Sling Weapon System, $120 million is for the Arrow Upper Tier program, and up to $92 million is for Israeli procurement of Tamir interceptors for the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system through co-production in the U.S.

HII Leader Shift. Hunting Ingalls Industries announced multiple leadership changes at its Newport News Shipbuilding division effective July 1. Lucas Hicks was promoted to vice president for construction for the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) aircraft carrier, Charles Southall is promoted to vice president of engineering and design, and Mike Shawcross will lead the Enterprise (CVN-80) and CVN-81 programs. Hicks previously serves as facilities director of Newport News. Southall succeeds Jennifer Boykin, who previously serves in his new position before being names president of Newport News Shipbuilding, and will report to her. Shawcross currently serves as Newport News’ vice president for CVN-79 and CVN-80 construction. Hicks and Shawcross will report to Ken Mahler, Newport News’ vice president for Navy programs.

HII CISO. Ron Davis is joining Huntington Ingalls Industries as chief information systems officer (CISO). There Davis will lead the company’s cybersecurity program with responsibility for ensuring the early identification of threats and risks as well as implementation of controls and other processes and methods to protect information systems for the entire company enterprise. Davis will report to Chris Kastner, executive vice president for business management and chief financial officer (CFO). He previously serves as CISO at Vencore and cyber positions at BAE Systems.

Another LCS Christening. The Navy plans to christen the USS Billings (LCS-15), the latest Freedom­-variant littoral combat ship at a ceremony on July 1 in Marinette, Wisc. where it was built. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) will deliver a principal address and Sharla Tester, wife of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will serve as ship’s sponsor. LCS-15 is named after Montana’s largest city.

Dynamic Mongoose. NATO’s Allied Maritime Command is leading an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise of several naval forces in the North Atlantic from June 27 – July 6, Dynamic Mongoose 2017. Participating navies include Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, the U.K. and the U.S. It is designed to enhance ASW capabilities, increase theater ASW capacity among participants, build interoperability, and strengthen relationships among the allies. U.S. Navy assets set to participate include a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95), a P-8A Poseidon, and two P-3C Orions.

SSN Material. The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat an $85 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded contract for additional long-lead time materials associated with the fiscal year 2019 Virginia-class submarines (SSN-802 and 803). This provides long lead time material for steam and electric plant components; main propulsion unit efforts and ship service turbine generator efforts; and miscellaneous hull, mechanical, and electrical system components to support the submarines. The work will be finished by January 2018.

F-35 Equipment. The Naval Air Systems Command awards Lockheed Martin a $258 million firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded low-rate initial production lot 10 F-35 advance acquisition contract. This award procures 129 alternate mission equipment, 468 pilot flight equipment, and 94 red gear for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, foreign military sales, and international partners to support F-35 production. The work is expected to be finished by June 2020

German RAMs. The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded RAMSYS GmbH a $92 million firm-fixed-price contract for design and development activities resulting in a rolling airframe missile (RAM) Block 2B guided missile round pack. The RAM is co-developed and co-produced by the U.S. and Germany. To provide anti-ship missile defense for naval vessels. This contract is fully funded by Germany with work to be performed there with an expected completion date of June 2021.

UAE THAAD. The Missile Defense Agency awards Lockheed Martin a $19 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a contract for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ground components under a foreign military sales (FMS). This increases the total contract value from $449 million to $468 million. The modification provides software engineering support for the UAE FMS. Work is expected to be finished by Jan. 23, 2019 and will be conducted in Sunnyvale, Calif; Huntsville, Ala.; El Paso, Texas; and in the UAE.

Poland Aegis. The Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $14 million modification to a contract for the Poland Aegis Ashore site, allowing for risk mitigation efforts related to schedule compression for the completion of the site. This raises the total contract value from $37 million to $51 million. Work will be performed in Redzikowo, Poland with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2018. The funding comes from fiscal year 2015 defense wide procurement funds.

Chosin Maintenance. The U.S Navy awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Technical Solution division, operating as its subsidiary Continental Maritime of Sand Diego, a $38 million firm-fixed-price delivery order under a previously awarded contract for depot-level maintenance on the USS Chosin (CG-65). This is a Special Selected Restricted Availability (SSRA) order under a previously awarded multiple-award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract. The SSRA will provide depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the cruiser’s military and technical capabilities. Work will be conducted in San Diego, Calif, where CG-65 is homeported with an expected completion date by April 2018. The order was competitively procured with two offers received through the larger contract vehicle.