Senate NDAA. The Senate on October 11 officially opened debate on the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act

. While the upper chamber is not set to vote on the annual defense policy legislation until at least after the midterm elections in November, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced in late last month, lawmakers will now begin the process of considering amendments to the bill. “This is an important step forward for the fiscal year 2023 NDAA. Sens. Jack Reed (D. R.I.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a joint statement. “We worked together and with our colleagues to advance a strong, bipartisan bill that strengthens and modernizes our military, promotes peace through strength and deterrence, and includes critical reforms to support our service personnel and their families as they deserve.” The Senate’s NDAA authorizes $817 billion for the Pentagon and $29 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy. The House in mid-July voted 329 to 101 to pass its nearly $840 billion version of the NDAA.

The Time Element. While the CHIPS Act may increase U.S. domestic microelectronics manufacturing capacity by more than 1 million wafers per month, the ramp up will take time because of the need “to staff federal program offices, to solicit proposals from industry and academia, to mature a sufficient workforce, and to construct new fabrication facilities,” according to Jared Mondschein, a RAND scientist and analyst of the semiconductor supply chain. “In this interim period, the United States will remain dependent on foreign suppliers,” Mondschein wrote in a RAND blog post. “Further, the expansion of domestic manufacturing capacity may never eliminate the inclusion of foreign suppliers in semiconductor supply chains. The complex and globalized nature of these supply chains suggests it could be impossible to substitute all foreign nodes with domestic suppliers.”

…Counterfeit Microlectronics. The upshot is that ensuring the U.S. supply chain’s elimination of counterfeit and faulty microelectronics, especially those related to obsolescent semiconductors, from unauthorized foreign distributors will remain a challenge. Mondschein said that the importation of counterfeit microelectronics is “particularly concerning,” and he referenced a 2012 report by the Senate Armed Services Committee that found 1,800 such cases in defense equipment, including thermal weapons sights and military aircraft. “Counterfeit microelectronics can contribute to a host of failures, including data corruption and system malfunction,” per Mondschein. “While the Defense Department has implemented new capabilities and processes to mitigate this challenge, poor visibility into complex and multi-tiered supply chains continues to limit the identification and avoidance of problematic suppliers, while current techniques for identifying counterfeits do not work at scale nor directly at the point of need.”

People News: Wes Bush, the former chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman, has joined Red Cell Partners as director and advisor. Red Cell, based in Northern Virginia, is an “incubation firm” investing in scalable technology companies including Epirus, Red 6 and Reveal AI. Lockheed Martin has appointed Michael Williamson as its new senior vice president of Global Business Development & Strategy effective Nov. 1. He will succeed Tim Cahill, who is assuming the top leadership role of the company’s Missiles & Fire Control (MFC) segment. Williamson is currently vice president and general manager of MFC. Williamson, a retired general, joined Lockheed Martin in 2017 after a career in the Army that included serving as the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology., which provides artificial intelligence-powered analytics solutions to the intelligence community and Defense Department, has named Mandy Long as CEO, succeeding Dr. Reggie Brothers, who will remain as an advisor and become an operating at the private equity firm AE Industrial Partners. Long previously was an executive at IBM. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. AEI retains an ownership stake in the company.

Vulcan Centaur. United Launch Alliance (ULA)—a Boeing-Lockheed Martin partnership—said that is has nearly finished developing the Vulcan Centaur rocket and is to launch it early next year. In August, 2020, ULA and SpaceX won contracts for the U.S. Space Force’s National Security Space Launch program. Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine is to power the Vulcan Centaur. ULA CEO Tory Bruno said in a statement that the rocket’s “high energy design coupled with innovative technology provides one scalable system for all missions and will transform the future of space launch.” The first Vulcan Centaur launch is for Astrobotic, which will have its Peregrine lunar lander aboard the rocket. The Peregrine is part of NASA’s commercial lunar payload services program. That first launch is to help Vulcan Centaur achieve U.S. Space Force certification for the rocket’s first national security mission in the fourth quarter of 2023.

DoD IT. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on September 30 designated the Pentagon’s director of administration and management (DA&M) to serve as the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) chief information officer, the department announced on October 13. Along with a memo detailing the announcement, DA&M Michael Donley has established an Information Management and Technology (IM&T) directorate to be led by Danielle Metz, previously the deputy DoD CIO for the information enterprise. “IM&T’s initial focus will be on establishing a framework for the integration of IT activities across the OSD components; developing an OSD IT resource requirements baseline; and creating a standardized memorandum of agreement between OSD and the Joint Service Provider for shared service support,” the Pentagon wrote in the announcement.

THAADs. Lockheed Martin announced as of Oct. 10 it recently delivered 700 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). In March, the company won a $1.42 billion contract to produce more THAAD interceptors for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and then in April MDA awarded Lockheed Martin $74 million to produce the eighth THAAD battery for the DoD. The company boasted the system has a 100 percent intercept success rate in flight tests via 16 intercepts. Previously, Lockheed Martin delivered the 600th interceptor in Aug. 2021.

AARGM Award. The Navy awarded Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary Alliant Techsystems Operations a $36 million modification on Oct. 12, exercising a contract option to procure full rate production Lot 11 of the AGM-88E2 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) for a Foreign Military Sale to Australia. This includes production and delivery of AGM-88E2 AARGM All Up Round (AUR) tactical missiles; AGM-88E AARGM Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); AARGM guidance sections; AARGM control sections; High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) rocket motors; HARM warheads; HARM control sections; HARM G-Code AURs; HARM G-Code CATMs; associated test equipment and logistical support. Work is expected to be finished in March 2025.

Thales Radios. Thales announced October 12 it has received a $100 million order from the Army to deliver 4,000 more AN/PRC-148D 2-channel Improved Multi-Band Inter/Intra Team Radios (IMBITR). This the fifth order the Army has placed with Thales under the Leader Radio program’s indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, with the latest deal bringing the total ordered to more than 14,000 IMBITRs. “This contract demonstrates Thales’ ability to deliver mission critical capabilities into the Army’s Integrated Tactical Network and Capability Set formations,” Thales wrote in a statement. “As a critical component of the Army’s unified network strategy, the Thales IMBITR system extends advanced networking capabilities to the tactical edge, allowing warfighters increased flexibility in multi-domain operations.” Thales noted the AN/PRC-148D IMBITR is the Army’s first handheld radio it’s fielded with the Warrior Robust Enhanced Network waveform, which it described as “a Type 1 robust, reliable, and scalable networking waveform capable of 800-plus nodes and operating in challenging radio frequency environments.”

LPD-27. The Navy awarded Continental Maritime San Diego a $15 million undefinitized contract action (UCA) for fiscal 2023 selected restricted availability of the USS Portland (LPD-27) San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship on Oct. 12. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would raise the total value to $38 million. The service said this UCA will be definitized by Jan. 2023. The DoD said the contractor will perform maintenance, repair, and modernization work on LPD-27 that is expected to be finished by October 2023. DoD said the contract was competitively procured, but there was only one offer received.

LPD-32 Engines. Fairbanks Morse Defense on Oct. 11 announced it won a purchase order from shipbuilder HII to provide four main propulsion diesel engines with common rail technology for the future USS LPD-32 San Antonio-class Flight II amphibious transport dock ship. This will be the third Flight II vessel that is meant to replace the Whidbey Island/Harpers Ferry-class ships. Fairbanks Morse is a portfolio company of Arcline Investment Management. The company previously provided similar engines for LPD-30 and LPD-31. According to Fairbanks Morse, the Common Rail technology increases power output, improves engine responsiveness, reduces weight, lowers fuel consumption, and has improved emissions.

Lockheed in Australia. Lockheed Martin last week said it has opened another office in Adelaide, Australia, a 3,000 square foot-plus purposes designed facility for more than 90 staff, including engineers, scientists, legal, administration and operational employees. The company has more than 1,200 employees in Australia, including 520 in Adelaide. The new office expands Lockheed Martin’s research and development presence in Australia through its STELaRLab, which was first opened in 2016 in Melbourne, and is a multi-disciplinary research facility. The new office will work on artificial intelligence, autonomy, hypersonics, image and signal processing, tracking and sensor fusion, operational analysis and complex optimization.

LVSS on a Humvee. Teledyne FLIR Defense last week showcased a lightweight surveillance package on a Humvee, demonstrating that the integrated radar and surveillance system can be adapted to current and future Army tactical vehicles. The company has previously sold the lightweight vehicle surveillance system (LVSS) to the U.S. Border Patrol and this year. At the Association of the U.S. Army conference last week, the mobile command and control LVSS technology demonstrator was outfitted with radar, long-range cameras and other sensors affixed to a 16-foot retractable mast to detect and defeat threats such as small unmanned aircraft systems. Teledyne FLIR says the system will meet requirements of the Army’s Command Post Integrated Infrastructure and Ground-Based Operational Surveillance System-Expeditionary programs.

NDAA Vehicle for DHS. The Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act includes a number of homeland security bills, including the Offices of Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction and Health Security Act (S. 4465), which would make permanent the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and Office of Health Security within the Department of Homeland Security. Some of the other homeland security provisions attached to the NDAA include the DHS Trade and Economic Security Council Act (S. 4243), which is aimed at strengthening supply chains and domestic production capacity, Invent Here, Make Here for Homeland Security Act (S. 4902), which ensures products invented due to funding by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate are made in the U.S., and the Intragovernmental Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 4000), directs that cybersecurity and counterintelligence information is shared between the executive brand and the operational staff in the Senate and House.

New Cyber JV. HII has formed a mentor-protégé joint venture with the small firm Markesman Group to bring cybersecurity solutions to the defense space. HII says that Tuple, the name given to the JV, will leverage HII’s information warfare domain knowledge and Markesman’s cyber operations expertise to support the Defense Department’s cyber mission around force transformation and multi-domain operations. Tuple’s capability areas include offensive and defensive cyber operations, vulnerability analysis and risk assessment, cloud and software development, and enterprise information technology operations, architecture and engineering support.