Philosophical Differences. Nikki Haley resigned from Boeing’s board of directors on March 16, saying she can’t support the company’s request to the federal government for a bailout amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “While I know cash is tight, that is equally true for numerous other industries and for millions of small businesses,” Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Republican Governor of South Carolina, wrote in the letter to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Chairman Larry Kellner. “I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position. I have long held strong convictions that this is not the role of government.” Boeing released Haley’s letter last Thursday evening in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Boeing, on March 17, issued a statement saying it needs access to at least $60 billion in “public and private liquidity, including loan guarantees, for the aerospace manufacturing industry.”
Hunter Sentenced. Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) was sentenced Tuesday to 11 months in federal prison for conspiring along with his wife to take over $150,000 in campaign funds for personal benefit. Hunter, 43, is a Marine Corps veteran and former HASC member who resigned from Congress in January after five terms, following his indictment in August 2018. That initial indictment accused the Hunters of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds.
DAIRCM. Leonardo DRS, Inc. said Wednesday that the first AN/AAQ-45(V) Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasure (DAIRCM) advanced aircraft protection systems were deployed on Air Force HH-60G helicopters in support of a joint urgent operational needs statement. “Leonardo DRS is proud to enhance the HH-60G helicopters with a state-of-the-art protection system,” said John Baylouny, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Leonardo DRS. “The DAIRCM system will immediately enable combat survivability for our flight crews while supporting their ability to accomplish diverse mission sets in any operational setting.”
Cyber Industry Day Postponed. The Army has postponed its industry day for a potential billion-dollar cyber training program as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The Cyber Trident solicitation event was set to take place on April 2 in Orlando, Florida. The industry day will tentatively take place in late April, with the Army exploring virtual options for hosting the conference. The Army released a draft solicitation for Cyber Trident on March 10, which includes building on the Persistent Cyber Training Environment effort to allow for cyber operators to train at stations around the world.
CTC Rotations. The Army is adjusting its training center rotations as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, specifically freeing up the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Washington Army National Guard so they’re available for potential response situations in the state. “Although we are adjusting the training calendar, the Army Combat Training Centers will continue to focus on improving unit readiness by providing highly realistic, stressful, joint and combined-arms training across the full spectrum of conflict,” Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, the Army’s deputy chief of staff of operation for plans and training, said in a statement.
Eurosatory. The organizers of the Eurosatory international defense trade show in Paris said this week the event is tentatively still on for this June, while a final decision will be made by the end of April based on the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “We hope that this crisis will be as short as possible; nobody knows today how it will evolve. Currently, the organization of the Eurosatory exhibition from June 8-12, 2020 is maintained and we are working to prepare the exhibition carefully while ensuring the safety and protection of all participants,” Eurosatory officials wrote in a statement.
Army xTechSearch. The Army has selected the 10 finalists for its xTechSearch competition to find innovative solutions from smaller, non-traditional partners, with each receiving $120,000 in cash prize money. Companies participating in xTechSearch had the opportunity to pitch their solutions to Army officials over livestream this week, after organizers had to scrap plans for in-person pitches planned to take place at the canceled AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. The 10 companies will now advnace to the final round and have the opportunity to compete for the $250,000 grand prize. The finalists are Bounce Imaging of Buffalo, N.Y., GeneCapture, Inc. of Huntsville, Ala., Inductive Ventures of Marietta, Ga., oTAI, Inc. of Fremont, Calif., Kericure, Inc. of Wesley Chapel, Fla., Lynq Technologies, Inc. of Brooklyn, N.Y., MEI Micro, Inc. of Addison, Texas, Multiscale Systems, Inc. of Worcester, Mass., Novaa Ltd. of Dublin, Ohio, Vita Inclinata Technologies of Broomfield, Colo.
Dual Carrier Ops. On March 18 the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) started dual carrier strike group and joint air win operations with a B-52 bomber from U.S. Air Forces Central Command in the Arabian Sea. The Navy said these operations “represent the current combined joint capability and interoperability to plan and conduct multi-task force operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.” Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, noted while the military is taking steps to mitigate COVID-19 effects in the Missile East, naval forces in the region have not suffered any readiness impacts.
Undersea Prototypes. The Navy awarded a $74 million multiple award contract to 17 companies for the procurement of materials and services to design, develop, fabricate, test, install, document and deliver “rapid prototype solutions in support of the Undersea Warfare/Undersea Defensive Family of Systems,” according to a contract announcement. These are indefinite-quality/indefinite-delivery three-year contracts that have no funding obligated at time of award and a minimum $2,500 minimum guarantee executed on each awardees initial individual task order. The winners include Barber-Nichols Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, L3Harris Technologies Inc., Leidos, Leonardo DRS Inc., Lockheed Martin, MIKEL Inc., Northrop Grumman, Progeny Systems Corp., QinetiQ-NA’s Foster-Miller Inc., Raytheon, Rite-Solutions Inc., Science Applications International Corp., Systems Engineering Associates Corp., Sechan Electronics Inc., Sonalysts Inc., and Systems Planning and Analysis Inc. Work will occur at each contractors’ sites and minimally at government locations and is also expected to be finished by March 2023. The Navy said the contract was competitively procured with the 17 acceptable offers.
MUOS. The Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic awarded Northrop Grumman a $48 million contract for provisions for task/delivery orders relating to procurement of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) for legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications gateway components systems and services. The systems support interoperability from tactical-to-tactical satellite communications between MUOS and legacy UHF satellite communications users. Required services also include Satellite Communication Gateway Component Suite B interface development, technical refresh enhancements, cybersecurity services, pre-installation test and checkout, implementation/installation and sustainment. Work will occur in Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be finished by March 2029. This includes a five-year ordering period with one two-year option and one six-month option periods. If all options are exercised, the total value will rise to $65 million. The contract was not competitively procured because it is a sole-source acquisition pursuant to only one responsible source.
Gitmo Power Plant. Officials from Siemens Government Technologies, the Commander of Navy Installations Command, and Commanding Officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay broke ground on a new power plant on March 9. Whereas the naval installation currently gets most of its electricity from diesel generators, the new plant that will be built will use liquefied natural gas and solar arrays. The Navy said the new power facility will be the first liquefied natural gas-burning one to be installed at a Department of Defense site. The solar photovoltaic arrays and battery energy storage system is projected to generate about 18 percent of the station’s power demands. The power plant will use a Siemens Spectrum Power 7 Microgrid intelligent energy management system. This “will allow the base to manage the grid in the most efficient means possible, aiding real-time, low-cost energy determination.” The project is funded via an Energy Savings Performance Contract as a private-public partnership to increase energy efficiency. The Navy previously awarded a $839 million multiple award contract for this project.
Ford Anchor. The USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78) conducted its inaugural anchoring evolution during a steaming event on March 15, using its portside anchor for the first time, the Navy said on March 18. The service explained this successful port anchoring means Ford will have more flexibility in sea and anchor evolutions, accommodating sea conditions with more maneuverability. The Navy underscored CVN-78 is the only carrier in service to use 15-ton lightweight anchors as opposed to the 30-ton anchors used by Nimitz-class carriers. The Ford anchors are also 3.5 inches in diameter compared to Nimitz-class 4.75 inches and the differences “highlight the necessity of training and focus with everyone from the newest Sailors to the most experienced officers when conducting anchoring evolutions.”
Checkpoint CT Update. Smiths Detection, winner of a $97 million contract early last year to deploy the first 300 checkpoint computed tomography (CT) baggage scanners at U.S. airports, is installing its systems at two airports, Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The Transportation Security Administration, which is buying the checkpoint CT systems, told Defense Daily that once the deployments are Dulles and O’Hare are complete, further installations will “temporarily halt” due to impacts from the coronavirus. Earlier this month, TSA said it expects to issue a solicitation this summer for the next round of checkpoint CT purchases with an award expected a year later.