Defense Bill. The Senate plans to resume consideration of its $716 billion fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill on June 18 at 3 p.m. A vote to pass the legislation could occur as early as that evening. The Senate spent much of the previous week discussing the bill.
HASC Hearings. The House Armed Services Committee intends to hold three hearings in two days. On June 21, the full committee will scrutinize military technology transfers, including “threats, impacts and solutions” for the Defense Department. Also that day, the HASC’s readiness subcommittee will get an update on preventing military aviation mishaps. On June 22, the strategic forces subcommittee will look at the role of military and civilian agencies in providing space situational awareness.
SASC Hearing. Army Lt. Gen. Austin Miller is slated to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee June 19 on his nomination to replace Army Gen. John Nicholson as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Miller, who would also be promoted to general, currently leads Joint Special Operations Command.
NASA Deputy. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who took office in late April after a long confirmation fight, said he is urging the White House to nominate former astronaut Janet Kavandi to be his deputy administrator. Kavandi is currently director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio. The deputy administrator’s position is vacant.
CNO Aegis. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) John Richardson is looking forward to the Navy’s sea-based land missile defense role being replaced by land-based systems, allowing for more dynamic maneuvering. Speaking at the Naval War College, Richardson said the Navy has six “very sophisticated, mulitmission dynamic cruisers and destroyers” on ballistic missile defense duty at sea. However, “geometry is a tyrant” and they only have a chance of intercepting a missile if they are within a specific box, he said. They can go anywhere at flank speed to defend land with a good capability if the emergent need arises, but “10 years down the road it’s time to build something on land.” The CNO does not know if that means only Aegis Ashore or another system but “I want to get out of the long-term missile defense business, move to dynamic missile defense.”
Turbines Amendment. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) got an amendment into the House FY ’19 NDAA that would require DoD deliver a report to Congress on the potential impacts on defense and manufacturing base from contractors moving steam turbine production for aircraft carriers and submarines. In February Siemens announced it will sell its Dresser-Rand steam turbine manufacturing facility to Curtiss-Wright, which says it plans to move the manufacturing from Reed’s New York district to North Carolina. The report would address issues like overall risk of moving production, the impact on security from a delay in production, the impact on regional suppliers, and the risk of moving production on total acquisition cost.
Lockheed Canada. The Royal Canadian Navy awarded Lockheed Martin’s Canada branch a three-year extension to an in-service support (ISS) contract for the service’s 12 Halifax-class frigates. A company spokesperson told Defense Daily this ISS work is worth up to $100 million depending on the types of missions the Navy needs to support. ISS work covers hardware and software support for the Combat Management System (CMS 330), the interfaces to related systems like sensors and weapons, combat subsystem interfaces, and integration of new weapons and sensor sources. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin performs studies and technical investigations, integration, fleet support and training, upgrades, and support for CMS 330 trainers. This is a continuation of a November 2008 ISS contract at the start of the Halifax-class modernization project, which includes an option to extend for three years.
SSN-789. The Navy announced the future Virginia-class attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN-789) will be commissioned on Sept. 29 at the Navy Port at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This will be the 16th Virginia-class submarine and is in the Block III set, with redesigned changes like two Virginia Payload Tubes that can carry six Tomahawk cruise missiles each, replacing 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes. SSN-789 finished its initial alpha sea trials in late May and was launched into the James River at the Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding facility in June 2017.
DDG-116. The Navy also announced the next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), will be commissioned on Dec. 1 in Boston. DDG-116 is built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW), had its keel laid down in fall 2015, and was launched in April 2017. After it is commissioned, DDG-116 will sail to its homeport of Mayport, Fla.
Hornet Support. The Navy awarded Boeing a $1.6 billion contract for system configuration sets and other services to support the life cycle upgrades of F/A-18 A/B, and C/D Hornets, E/F Super Hornets, and EA-18G Growlers for the Navy and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. This work encompases FMS unique system configuration sets (two each), six system improvement and demonstration products, laboratory upgrades, studies and analyses, system configuration sets, software integration laboratory, and on-site engineering. Work will be split between St. Louis (88 percent) and China lake, Calif. (12 percent) and is expected to be finished by June 2023. The contract was not competitively procured and 78 percent of the purchase covers Navy work with 22 percent for FMS customers.
Leaning In. Jeanette Manfra, the assistant secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, said over the past year her office has taken a “step back” to review everything it’s doing across its mission space, including whether it has the right technologies and policies and if it is adequately applying its legal authorities. “We have some of the most unique authorities in the federal government,” including being able to direct federal agencies to take action, providing liability protections to companies that voluntarily share cyber threat indicators, and protecting information about critical infrastructures from disclosures, Manfra said June 14 at a cyber security conference. She added that “we really want to lean in to those authorities” and “own” them in two main areas, the federal civilian government and in support of critical infrastructure.
River Boat. The Coast Guard has released a second request for information (RFI) for potential solutions to its newest need, the Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC), which will recapitalize its inventory of inland cutters. The new request contains 31 questions to potential contractors, mostly about their needs and capabilities related to constructing and servicing a fleet of 35 vessels. The Coast Guard’s inland cutter fleet helps ensure the safe and efficient flow of $4.7 trillion dollars of commerce on U.S. waterways. Responses to the RFI for the WCC are due by June 29.
Personnel. The Senate by voice vote on June 12 confirmed Christopher Krebs to be the Under Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate, putting him in charge of the department’s efforts in cyber security and infrastructure protection. Meanwhile, ManTech International hired Matt Tait as the president of its Mission Solutions & Services Group, reporting to Kevin Phillips, the company’s CEO. Tait joins ManTech from Accenture, where most recently he was senior managing director for Department of Defense, Military Health, and Veterans Affairs customers. Tait’s appointment is effective July 1 and he succeeds Dan O’Keefe, who is retiring. And Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc. named Retired Air Force Col. Joseph Wysocki as vice president, Space and Cyber Programs.
Viasat Deal. The communications company Viasat Inc. has acquired Britain’s Horsebridge Defence and Security, strengthening the military communications integration capabilities of its United Kingdom operations and enhancing its growth prospects in the U.K. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Horsebridge is focused on the design, system integration and support of deployable secure networks. Through the deal, “we hope to accelerate the trajectory of our ability to support U.K. defense operations,” Ken Peterman, president of Viasat’s Government Systems business, said.
Qatar/Lockheed. Qatar has awarded Locked Martin a deal to deliver its Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP) for its Air Force’s Rafale aircraft. Under the deal, announced at the Eurosatory conference in Paris, Lockheed Martin will deliver the systems beginning in 2019. The Qatari Air Force’s Rafale aircraft becomes the 10th platform to use the Sniper ATP. “Platform expansion on the Rafale aircraft is a testament to Sniper ATP’s proven performance, ease of integration and open architecture,” Lockheed Martin executive Kenen Nelson said. The laser-designated small tactical targets tracker is currently integrated on F-15’s, F-16’s, B-1’s, B-52’s and other aircraft.
Oshkosh FMTV. The Army has awarded Oshkosh $159.6 million in follow-on orders for 771 more Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), officials said June 14. Oshkosh has delivered the Army’s FMTV A1 variant since 2009, and the new deal will bring total production up to 28.000 vehicles.
Laser GLSDB. Saab and Boeing officials at the Eurosatory conference in Paris last week announced for the first time the laser-designated version of its Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) successfully completed testing in July 2017. The tests conducted with the Army involved launching the laser-version of its GLSDB and successfully tracking and engaging moving targets as far as 100 km away. Saab and Boeing developed the capability through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. “This test proved the laser could survive a MRLS launch. Not many people believed that the laser would be able to survive that harsh environment,” Jon Milner, Boeing international project manager for direct attack weapons, told Defense Daily.