SASC on GHG. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s fiscal year 2024 defense bill would prohibit for two years the Defense Department from requiring any of its contractors to provide reports on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The bill would also prohibit DoD from requiring non-traditional defense companies to report their GHG emissions. The Biden administration is going through a rulemaking process that would require select federal contractors to disclose their carbon emissions. The proposal has run into resistance from Republicans in Congress, and apparently the Democrat-led SASC.

People News.

President Biden last week nominated Jeff Rezmovic to be chief financial officer of the Department of Homeland Security, succeeding Troy Edgar, who resigned from the post in January 2021 and now works for IBM. Rezmovic is currently deputy chief of staff at DHS and from 2018 to 2020 was a branch chief at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, overseeing data and information sharing relationships with international and interagency partners. Stacy Marcott is the acting CFO at DHS. Northrop Grumman last week elected Kathryn Simpson to be corporate vice president and general counsel, effective Oct. 30. She is currently vice president and associate general counsel in Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector and before that was the company’s deputy general counsel. Simpson will succeed Sheila Cheston, who will retire on Dec. 1.

HII Helping NGA. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded HII a five-year, $84 million contract to continue supporting the agency’s migration to a multi-cloud environment. Under the prior contract, HII previously supported NGA’s adoption of commercial cloud services and created the agency’s hybrid cloud strategy. HII’s teammates on the new win are AgileBeat Inc., Ampsight Inc., Compass Inc. and GIT-G LLC.

Drug Smuggling Drones. Bad actors on the Mexico side of the border with the U.S. have historically used small drones to conduct surveillance at and between ports of entry, but there has been an increase of smuggling of hard drugs such as fentanyl using these unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), James Mandryck, deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Intelligence within Customs and Border Protection, told a House Homeland Security Committee panel last week. He said CBP has a “strong counter UAS program” with its Border Patrol and Office of Air and Marine Operations. Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) said he recently visited the Clint Border Patrol Station in the El Paso Sector, which had only two agents on duty and has not apprehended any drug traffic and one agent told him, “’I see drones coming back and forth all the time and I feel powerless.’” Gonzalez said that CBP needs to give its agents “the tools that they need to succeed in a real-time environment.”

New Cyber Bill. A bipartisan and bicameral continent of legislators last week introduced the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) of 2023, which updates the 10-year-old FISMA legislation and requires all civilian agencies to report cyber-attacks to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and major incidents to Congress. The proposed FISMA update would also give CISA additional authorities and require the agency to assess the cyber risk posture of all federal agencies. The bill would also require dedicated chief privacy officers at all agencies.

U.S. Space Command Decision. Colorado Democratic Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Brittany Pettersen, Yadira Caraveo, and Jason Crow contend that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) is holding up approval for “hundreds of millions of dollars” in DoD reprogramming requests in an effort to put pressure on the U.S. Air Force to affirm its January, 2021 decision in the waning days of the Trump administration to move U.S. Space Command from its temporary headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo. to Redstone Arsenal, Ala. “This legislative hostage-taking is unconscionable and must stop,” the lawmakers said in a July 12 statement. “We urge the Biden administration to make a final Space Command basing decision and believe that any assessment rooted in national security will keep Space Command in Colorado.” Rogers’ office said in a reply that the Colorado lawmakers’ statement is “a partisan, parochial, and untrue misrepresentation of HASC processes” and that “the committee is continuing to review reprogramming requests from the Department of Defense.” HASC has not commented yet on the timeline for approval of the reprogramming requests.

Commercial Air Refueling. Washington, D.C.-based Metrea said that it provided commercial air-to-air refueling last month to U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint and E-3 AWACS planes during the Resolute Hunter exercise in Nevada and San Diego. Metrea has four KC-135 tankers bought from Singapore in 2020. “While U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units regularly use commercial aerial refueling services for training and support, this marks the first time that U.S. Air Force aircraft have used commercial aerial refueling,” Metrea said. The latter company and San Antonio-based Omega Aerial Refueling Services compete for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) commercial air refueling task orders, and Metrea’s participation in the Air Force’s Resolute Hunter exercise came through the NAVAIR contract. During the Resolute Hunter exercise,  Metrea Strategic Mobility (MSM) provided air refueling for the Rivet Joint and AWACS planes in four missions between June 23rd and June 29th. MSM has its headquarters in Temecula, Calif. The four Resolute Hunter missions “included 13 boom contacts and nearly 90,000 pounds of fuel offloaded, providing both aerial refueling training for the RC-135 and E-3 crews,” Metrea said. “For Metrea Strategic Mobility, this marks another historic milestone, after recently completing the first ever commercial boom refueling in April 2023 in support of a U.S. Navy P-8. Metrea Strategic Mobility has sent a KC-135R to participate in the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, UK, July 14-16.” Last October, Meta Aerospace said that it had renamed itself as Metrea to avoid confusion with the social media giant. The private equity-funded Meta Aerospace was founded in 2016.

Space Nominations. The White House has nominated Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein for a fourth star as the U.S. Space Force’s vice chief of space operations. Guetlein now commands the Space Force’s Space Systems Command at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. In another nomination, Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting is to receive his fourth star and to succeed Army Gen. James Dickinson as the head of U.S. Space Command at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo. Whiting now helms the Space Force’s Space Operations Command at Peterson.

Rheinmetall Deal. Germany and the Netherlands have entered into a new multi-year deal with Rheinmetall, worth up to $2.13 billion, for the delivery of over 3,000 Caracal air-mobile vehicles. The deal, split between 2,054 vehicles for Germany and 1,004 for the Netherlands, starts with an initial $976.83 million order covering delivery of 1,508 vehicles to the two countries. Rheinmetall noted its partners on the Caracal include Mercedes-Benz AG and Armoured Car Systems GmbH. “The Caracal is based on a commercial off-the-shelf chassis of the new G-model 464 series from Mercedes-Benz. A 4×4 all-wheel-drive vehicle, the Caracal is a mobile platform specially designed to meet the needs of airmobile formations and special operations forces,” the company said in a July 10 statement.

Rosen Challenger. Sam Brown, an Army veteran who has been awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart, has announced his bid for the GOP nomination to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate. Brown is now the fourth Republican to announce a challenge to Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), who was first elected to the Senate in 2018 and is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Brown ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in Nevada’s 2022 Senate race. The Nevada race is one of several Democrats consider critical to retain the party’s Senate majority, along with races in Arizona, Ohio, West Virginia and Montana.

Cluster Munitions. Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims II, director of operations for the Joint Staff, confirmed on July 13 “there are cluster munitions in Ukraine at this time.” The update follows the Biden administration’s announcement last week cluster bombs, specifically dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM), were to be included in a new $800 million weapons aid package for Ukraine. Sims told reporters during a briefing the cluster munitions in Ukraine now are the DPICMS from the U.S. and “some provided by a third country before.” 

T-ATS 11 Named. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced the future Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ship (T-ATS 11) will be named the USNS Billy Frank Jr. The ship will honor a Nisqually tribal member and Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist. Frank served as a military policeman in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and became an activist in the 1960s. These T-ATS ships provide ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations. These ships aims to replace the current Powhatan-class T-ATF Fleet Tugs and Safeguard-class T-ARS Rescue and Salvage vessels.

PEO CVN. Rear Adm. Casey Moton relieved Rear Adm. James Downey as Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers (PEO CVN) during a July 7 ceremony. Moton comes to the position after previously serving as Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC). Downey has been nominated to become a vice admiral and become commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, but it is unclear when he will start in that role due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blanket hold on all Defense Department confirmation positions. While awaiting his confirmation, Downey is moving to a temporary position as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN RDA).

Aussie Nuke Sailors. Three Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officers graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power School (NPS) at Goose Creek, S.C., on July 7, the first of potentially many groups as Australia seeks to operate and build nuclear-powered attack submarines starting in the 2030s as part of the AUKUS cooperative agreement with the U.S. and U.K. The Australian officers are Lt. Cmdr. James Heydon, Lt. Cmdr. Adam Klyne, and Lt. William Hall. They started their schooling in November 2022.  The NPS trains sailors in the science and engineering principles fundamental to the design, operation and maintenance of naval nuclear propulsion plants. The three officers are next reporting to the Nuclear Prototype Training Unit (NPTU) Charleston, S.C., to complete Engineering Officer of the Watch training until late 2023 or early 2024 then go through the Submarine Officers Basic Course for about 2.5 months in Groton, Conn. Later the officer will be assigned to a U.S. Navy Virginia-class submarine to continue training and qualifications.

…More On The Way. There are six RAN officers total enrolled in NPS while more are planned to join soon, Navy officials said.  “NPS has the capacity to train RAN officers and enlisted personnel. In doing so, we are able to impart the stewardship and knowledge that has allowed the United States to safely operate nuclear-powered ships for nearly 70 years and steam more than 171 million miles,” Adm. James Caldwell, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, said in a statement.