Harris, L3 Update. The Department of Justice on Jan. 10 issued requests to Harris Corp. and L3 Technologies for additional information related to the pending merger of the two companies, which they both say is still expected to close in mid-2019. This is the second request by the U.S. government for information from the two companies and extends the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust law for another 30 days once the companies have provided the information. The government and companies could agree to a longer waiting period or the waiting period for the government to act could be terminated sooner. The companies last October announced their proposed deal to create a $16 billion defense contractor.

White House Appointment.

Charlie Kupperman, a former official with Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the areas of space and missile defense, has been appointed as the deputy National Security Adviser at the White House serving under National Security Adviser John Bolton. “Charlie Kupperman has been an adviser to me for more than 30 years, including during my tenure as National Security Adviser to President Trump,” Bolton said in a Jan. 11 statement. “Charlie’s extensive expertise in defense, arms control and aerospace will help further President Trump’s national security agenda.” Kupperman also served in the Regan administration at NASA, the Executive Office of the President, and the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament.

…Industry Personnel. General Dynamics has appointed Robert Helm, who currently is senior vice president for Planning and Development, as a special adviser to CEO Phebe Novakovic. Helm currently oversees communications, international trade compliance and congressional engagement. He will be succeeded by Thomas Kirchmaier, who is vice president for Strategic Initiatives, as senior VP for Planning, Communications and Trace Compliance, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Schmid as VP for Government Relations. Kirchmaier and Schmid will also report to Novakovic. The appointments are effective April 1. Separately, Raytheon has named Scott Weiner VP for Corporate Development, reporting to Chief Financial Officer Toby O’Brien. Weiner most recently held the same position at Cobham.

Microsoft Award. Microsoft has received a $1.76 billion deal to continue supplying their proprietary enterprise IT and software services for the Department of Defense, intelligence community and Coast Guard, the Pentagon announced Friday evening. The sole-source contract was awarded under the Enterprise Software Initiative. “DoD ESI is an initiative to streamline the acquisition process and provide information technology products and services worldwide that are compliant with applicable DoD technical standards and represent the best value for the DoD,” the Pentagon wrote. The ordering period for Microsoft’s latest deal is for five years. The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command served as the contracting lead for ESI.

Iranian Cyber Hijacking. Cyber security firm FireEye has uncovered “a wave” of Domain Name Server hijacking affecting government, telecommunications and infrastructure entity domains in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America that appears to “have a nexus to Iran.” The successful hijacking hasn’t been linked to a “tracked group” but the technical indicators so far demonstrate “with moderate confidence that this activity is conducted by persons based in Iran and that the activity aligns with the Iranian government interests,” FireEye said. The company said “a large number of organizations” have been affected by the hijacking.

Flight III DDGs.  The Navy Secretary Richard Spencer named two Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers on Jan. 4. Spencer named the future DDG-128 the future USS Ted Stevens after the former senator who represented Alaska from 1968 to 2009. Spencer also named DDG-129 the future USS Jeremiah Denton, after a former senator who represented Alabama from 1981 to 1987. Both ships will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss.

CNO To China.  Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is set to visit Beijing and Nanjing, China from Jan. 13 – 16 to meet with his counterpart, commander of the People’s Liberation Army (NAVY) (PLA(N)), Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, and the leadership of the Central Military Commission. The Navy said the visit aims to “continue a results-oriented, risk reduction focused dialogue” between the militaries. Richardson last met with Shen at the 2018 International Seapower Symposium in Newport, R.I. They last talked in a video teleconference in December. “A routine exchange of views is essential, especially in times of friction, in order to reduce risk and avoid miscalculation,” Richardson said in a statement.

HII VP. Huntington Ingalls Industries named former Navy director of undersea warfare, Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo, as corporate vice president of program integration and assessment. Tofalo will work with federal entities, academic institutions, and industry associations working on shaping future architectures and capabilities. Tofalo is succeeding Jay Donnelly, who is moving to become corporate vice president of advanced technologies. Both will report to Mitchell Waldman, executive vice president of government and customer relations. In his new position, Donnelly will be responsible for improving the company’s ability to more quickly translate ideas and technologies into operational capabilities as he leads the Advanced Technology Group.

LCS-13. The Navy will commission the latest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Wichita (LCS-13), during a ceremony on Jan. 12 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. LCS-13 will be homeported in Mayport. It will be the first East Coast Mine Warfare Division ship and will be the first LCS to get the Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Mission Package. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will give the ceremony’s principal address. The Freedom-variant ships are built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin with Lockheed Martin as the prime contractor.

CVN-77. The Navy recently awarded General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) a $91.5 million undefinitized contract action modification for the FY 2019 Dry-docking Planned Incremental Availability of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). This kind of availability covers planning and execution of depot-loevel maintenance, alterations, and modifications to improve the carrier’s military and technical capabilities. Work will occur in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be finished by February 2021.

DISA Endpoint Summit. DISA last week announced it is hosting an Endpoint Security Summit with industry on Feb. 5-7 at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters. The conference will bring together officials from the DoD IT agency, system administrators, analysts and industry to discuss the latest updates in endpoint security efforts and technology adoptions. “Attendees will partake in an active dialogue and have opportunity to help shape the endpoint security architecture of the future,” DISA officials wrote. Discussion topics will include new technologies that are undergoing assessment, current initiatives to ensure cyber situational awareness, defensive cyber operations and threat sharing. Attendees at the conference must have a Common Access Card and be previously verified by a government sponsor in regards to their endpoint security role.

Army Aircrew Mask. The Army recently awarded Avon Protection Systems a $92.7 million sole-source contract to provide chemical and biological protective masks. The production and deployment supply contracts for M69 mask systems were awarded under the Joint Service Aircrew Mask for Strategic Aircraft program. Avon Protection Systems’ mask is expected to support full-rate production orders and meet the Army’s requirement for initial and full operational capability. Work is expected to be completed in December 2024.  

Cyber Range Conference. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training (PEO STRI) said Thursday it will host a pre-solicitation conference in Orlando on Jan. 23 for its National Cyber Range Complex (NCRC) program. The conference will follow the imminent release on Jan. 14 of an interim draft request for proposals for NCRC event planning, operations and support work. The conference will consist of a breakdown of the National Cyber Range program for industry attendees, and then officials will address comments and recommendations submitted in response to the upcoming draft RFP.

Shutdown. With Congress adjourned early Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, the partial government shutdown is poised to become the longest in U.S. history as it hits 21 days, the same length as the December 1995-January 1996 shutdown that current holds the record. Federal employees working for affected agencies reported $0 paychecks on Friday. Both the House and the Senate voted Thursday to guarantee backpay for all affected personnel. The House returns Monday at 12 p.m., while the Senate next convenes at 3 p.m. that day.

Offensive Capabilities. Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory on Wednesday was awarded an $8.5 million cost-plus fixed-fee Pentagon contract to provide “assessments and alternatives of offensive capabilities within the domains of air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, missions and warfare areas.” Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $100,000; fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,115,000; and fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $350,000 are being obligated for the contract. The expected completion date is Dec. 29, 2019, according to the award notice.

AFWERX Award. The Pentagon and the Air Force on Tuesday awarded IncludeHealth Inc., a Cincinnati, Ohio-based digital health and wellness company, an AFWERX Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant to use next-generation technology and data collection to support warfighter health. The Phase I SBIR grant applies the company’s digital health platform to develop and standardize “next-generation fitness protocols for warfighters,” according to a Jan. 8 press release. IncludeHealth’s proprietary equipment and cloud-based platform will be installed in The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Signature Tracking for Optimized Nutrition and Training laboratory (STRONG) located within the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to be used in a two-month study with 40 warfighters,” the release said. Personalized protocols will be developed based on the resulting data. Once Phase I is completed, additional phases will see the effort expanded across the Air Force network.

Merger Approvals. Shareholders of Science Applications International Corp. and Engility on Jan. 11 approved the merger of their two companies, clearing the way to close the deal. SAIC last September agreed to acquire Engility in a $2.5 billion stock deal that would create a $6.5 billion government technology services company.