F-35C Salvaged. The Navy successfully retrieved an F-35C Joint Strike Fighter that crashed into the South China Sea after hitting the ramp on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson

(CVN-70) in January. The Navy said the wreckage was recovered at a depth of about 12,400 feet by a team from the  7th Fleet’s Task Force (CTF) 75 and Naval Sea System Command’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV). They used the diving support construction vessel Picasso. “Ultimately, this deliberate approach resulted in the correct capabilities conducting recovery operations within 37 days of the incident. Given the unique challenges of this problem and the unique technical capabilities that NAVSEA delivered, this was an aggressive and achievable timeline,” CTF 75 Commodore, Capt. Gareth Healy, said in a statement. The F-35 was recovered specifically by a CURV-21 remotely operated vehicle that attacked a specialized rigging and lift lines. The ship’s crane lifting hook was lowered to the sea floor, connected to the rigging, then was able to lift the F-35 to the surface. The aircraft is being sent to an unnamed nearby U.S. military installation to aid the investigation of the incident.

GD Boosts Dividend. General Dynamics last week said it is boosting its quarterly dividend to shareholders by nearly 6 percent to $1.26 per share, payable May 6. The increase is the 25th consecutive annual dividend expansion by GD’s board.

Space Industrial Base. The space industrial base needs new players to ensure the U.S. remains ahead, says Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond. “On the space domain, we’ve learned a lot about the industrial base, especially under the [COVID-19] pandemic,” he says. “It forced us to understand it better.” Referencing a report last November on the space industrial base by experts from U.S. Space Force, the Defense Innovation Unit, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Raymond said that the space industrial base is “tactically strong, but strategically fragile.” Raymond says that “there’s a lot of opportunities to expand this industrial base to get a lot more innovative players.” While commercial space efforts, like Iridium, in the 1990s failed to survive, “we need this to materialize,” Raymond says of future space innovations.

…Surge Challenge. U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown says that the industrial base for Air Force systems and some aspects of Air Force depots are fragile. “If we had to surge, we’d be challenged,” Brown says. “I get worried about the age of our fleet. You look at diminishing manufacturing sources where the company that built whatever it is doesn’t exist anymore . You have to start from scratch, start over.”

Columbia Support. General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) said it delivered the first two Bearing Support Structures (BSS) on March 2 for installation in the first Columbia-class submarine currently under construction. GA-EMS has been under contract with the Navy to build and deliver the BSSs since 2019. A company official said the Navy noted the BSS is the largest nickel-copper weldment built to such exacting specification in the U.S. The company was awarded the second BSS delivery order last September, with manufacturing activities having already begun at the GA-EMS facilities in Tupelo, Miss. GA-EMS is expected to deliver the second BSS at the end of 2023 to support the full construction start date of the second Columbia-class submarine in fiscal year 2024.

DDG-121. The Navy plans to commission the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA guided-missile destroyer on May 14 in Charleston, S.C.  The service accepted delivery of DDG-121 last November from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding. It was built at the company’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The destroyer will be homeported at Hawaii’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The Petersen is equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9C2 combat system and has integrated air and missile defense capabilities. The ship is named after the first Black aviator and general officer in the Marine Corps who flew hundreds of combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam wars. 

Hewson Exits. Marillyn Hewson, who spent seven years leading Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest defense contractor, retired from the company on Feb. 28 after spending a year as a strategic adviser to James Taiclet, who succeeded Hewson as president and CEO in June 2020 before also taking over her role as chairman on March 1, 2021. Hewson spent 39 years with the company, which she joined in 1983.

Arctic Council Pause. The Arctic Council, the eight-country intergovernmental organization that promotes cooperation in the Arctic, is essentially pausing its meetings as it sorts out how to move forward amid Russia’s unprovoked invasion of, and war against, Ukraine. Russia currently chairs the council, but the seven other members—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.—issued a joint statement last week condemning the attack and said their representative won’t travel to Russia to attend meetings. Russia has been expanding its military presence in the Arctic, where it has a significant coastline, and there are concerns that the country eventually wants to control shipping in portion of the region.

SNC Does Cyber. Sierra Nevada Corp., known for its aircraft missionization, Dream Chaser spaceplane, and a wide range of other aerospace and defense work, has partnered with Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to bring its cybersecurity solutions for industrial control systems for protecting the energy grid. Under the partnership, SNC will integrate its Binary Armor SCADA network cybersecurity tool with the lab’s Constrained Cyber Communications Device, alert operators to abnormal commands and automatically block them.

McAleese Conference. The annual McAleese Conference is taking place on March 9 in-person at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C, and will feature speakers from across the Pentagon and several congressional committees. The conference will include the senior leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Space Force, as well as officials such as DoD Comptroller Mike McCord. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), the vice ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, will also speak at the event.

GatorWorks. Raytheon’s Pratt & Whitney engine business unit said it has received an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract for a ground test demonstration program “for a novel architecture using a rotating engine detonation” concept. Pratt & Whitney said that its GatorWorks engine prototyping arm, established in June 2018, is the center for the effort, which will also include Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Raytheon Technologies Research Center. The engine is to fly at higher Mach speeds and to permit new high-speed engine and vehicle designs. Dave Stagney, the director of GatorWorks, said that the latter “was able to complete initial concept design well ahead of schedule. “Given the need for this critical engine technology, the Raytheon Technologies team will utilize its advanced resources and expertise to meet the technical objectives in an expeditious fashion.”

HASC Staff Director Leaving. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, announced on Feb. 28 that Paul Arcangeli, the committee’s staff director, will be leaving his position on April 1. “For nearly twenty years, Paul has served the House Armed Services Committee with tireless professionalism, honor, and commitment to our service members and their families,” Smith said in a statement. “Over the years, and in all of his roles on the committee, Paul has provided indispensable counsel to me and other members of the committee. As staff director, he led the committee’s talented workforce effectively and helped steward the process of crafting the National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan collegiality and integrity. In recent years, this task has become increasingly difficult, and each year Paul has risen to meet the challenge. While we will miss him, we wish him all the best as he begins the next chapter and continues serving.”

New HASC Staff Director. Smith announced that Brian Garrett, HASC’s current deputy staff director, will assume the staff director role. “I am pleased that Brian will be taking on this new role as the committee prepares to navigate the NDAA through yet another cycle. Brian brings deep experience, professionalism, and dedication to the mission of strengthening our country’s national security through effective policymaking and oversight, and I am confident that he will approach his new responsibilities with the same commitment to excellence and with the support of the top-notch professionals that make up the committee staff,” Smith said. In addition, Smith noted Katy Quinn, HASC’s policy staff lead, will take over as deputy staff director, Phil MacNaughton, who leads the Seapower and Projection Forces staff, will succeed Quinn as policy staff lead and Jay Vallario will fill MacNaughton’s current role.

New PEO C3T. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) announced Maj. Gen. Tony Potts will serve as the office’s next lead official. Potts, who most recently led PEO-Soldier, will succeed Maj. Gen. Rob Collins who is set to take on a new role as the deputy of acquisition and systems management in the Army’s acquisition, logistics and technology office starting this summer. Collins will continue to lead PEO C3T for the next several months until a formal transition takes place, PEO C3T noted. “We thank [Maj. Gen. Collins] for many years of service in the C5ISR community and best wishes in this next assignment,” the PEO C3T office wrote in a statement. “Maj. Gen. Potts, we look forward to your arrival, and to all that we will accomplish together to continue modernizing the Army’s network.”

DoD Confirmations. The Senate on March 1 confirmed by voice vote Dr. John Plumb to be assistant secretary of defense for space policy, and Melissa Dalton to be assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs. Plumb told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing that the Pentagon needs to accelerate efforts to build resilient satellite constellations to defend against anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons. Dalton, in her new role, is responsible for developing policy, planning and operational implementation in the areas of countering weapons of mass destruction, cyber, space, defense continuity, defense support of civil authorities, and supervising homeland defense activities for the Defense Department.

Naval Education. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro met with the newly established Naval Education Task Force on Feb. 24 to kick off its efforts in reviewing the Navy Department’s Naval University System. The task force is composed of senior-level subject matter experts in education, leadership, talent management and development, and transformational change from enlisted, officer and non-military backgrounds. “I want this task force to inform how we can make the Department of the Navy an even more adaptive learning organization that prepares our people to prevail over current and expected threats in the operating environments of the present and future,” Del Toro said in a statement. The task force started visiting universities and will later brief the secretary on their findings and suggestions to strengthen the Department’s alignment with the upper level strategies of the Strategic Guidance, Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030, and Chief of Naval Operations’ Navigation Plan.