FY ’20 OCO. SASC Chair Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told reporters Tuesday that he could support DoD requesting about $174 billion in overseas contingency operations funds in the FY ’20 budget request to ensure the budget reflects inflation increases while remaining under the 2011 BCA caps. “I think we’re going to have an exaggerated figure there in order to get up to what we have to have to defend America,” he said, adding that he has not heard President Trump say he intends to include that much OCO funding, but that “I just know the administration [and] I know what has to happen in order to make up for the losses that we have sustained” under the budget caps.
Retired NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly announced Tuesday that he will run against Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) as a Democrat in the 2020 election cycle. Kelly is a former Navy aviator who flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and was also a NASA Space Shuttle pilot. He is the husband of former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. McSally, an Air Force combat pilot veteran and former congresswoman who sits on SASC, was sworn in in January to fill in for Sen. Jon Kyl, who himself had been selected to replace the late Sen. John McCain’s seat. As she was nominated by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, McSally must run again in a special election in 2020 and then once again in 2022, when McCain’s original term was slated to end.
Second 2017 MQ-1 Mishap Report. An MQ-1B Predator RPA lost connection to operating flight crew systems and crashed in the Central Command’s area of responsibility in August 2017, Air Combat Command reported Wednesday. The accident occurred during a combat support mission, and the crew, based of members of the 434nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech AFB, Nevada, lost the link while flying medium altitude about 90 minutes into the mission, per the accident report. MQ-1 Contractor GA-ASI determined the likely cause was a failure of the primary control nodule critical to the flight control systems. There were no reported fatalities or injuries, and the aircraft and environmental cleanup was valued at approximately $5.2 million. The Air Force suffered a second MQ-1B mishap in the CENTCOM AOR just two weeks after this accident (Defense Daily, Jan. 7).
LCS-16. The Navy is set to commission the newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Tulsa (LCS-16), during a ceremony on Feb. 16 in San Francisco. The ship will be homeported in San Diego. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. LCS-16, like all of the even-numbered Independence-variant vessels, was built by Austal USA in Mobile Ala.. Separately, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine build the Freedom-variant LCSs in Marinette, Wis.
…And LCS-20 Trials. The future USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) successfully finished acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 8, the Navy said Feb. 13. LCS-20 is planned to be homeported in San Diego. These trials were the last major milestone before the ship is delivered to the Navy. The acceptance trials involved a set of in-port and underway demonstration for the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). They also included demonstrating the propulsion plant, ship-handling, and auxiliary systems. The Navy expects LCS-20 to be delivered this summer.
Air Force. The Air Force on Thursday awarded Northrop Grumman a not-to-exceed $20,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission (ATTAM) capability Phase I. The ATTAM program is meant to develop, demonstrate, and transition more affordable and improved advanced turbine propulsion, power and thermal technologies for a range of applications, according to the service. Fifty-four offers were received. Work will be performed in Redondo Beach, California, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 8, 2027. No specific funds were obligated on the basic IDIQ, but the contract award said the first task order is incrementally funded with fiscal 2018 RDT&E funds in the amount of $5,000 and $315,000 in FY ‘19 RDT&E funds.
Microelectronics. Arizona-based Nimbis Services Inc. on Wednesday was awarded a ceiling increase of $49,500,000 to AFRL’sTrusted Silicon Stratus effort, an IDIQ contract with cost-plus-fixed-fee task orders for research and development. The goal is to achieve an initial operational capability of “a novel microelectronics life-cycle verification ecosystem implemented to enhance microelectronics supply chain risk management,” according to the contract award. Work will be performed in Columbus, Ohio. The first task order is expected to be complete by July 30, 2021, while the second task order is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2021.
NATO Info Network. The NATO Communications and Information Agency on Feb. 12 announced the launch of a new protected business network for member nations to more securely share cyber threat information. The new protected network centers around an encrypted workspace that includes secure video, voice, chat and info sharing tools. Computer Emergency Response Teams from the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and Netherlands were the first to gain access to the new network. All 29 NATO member nations will have access to the network by the end of 2019. The new network is NATO’s first step toward creating a larger threat information sharing hub, to be called the Cyber Security Collaboration Hub.
BAE/Munitions Facility. BAE Systems recently said it has received a $74.7 million deal from the Army to build a new facility at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant required to improve efficiency of munitions production and modernize energetics manufacturing. The new building will be called the Recrystallization and Slurry Coating Formulation facility. “The new facility will allow HSAAP to enhance production capabilities of our current product base and will support future product requirements as needed by the U.S. Department of Defense,” Mark Hellstern, BAE Systems’ director of modernization of ordnance systems, said in a statement. Work on the facility is expected to be completed in late 2021. BAE Systems has been an operating contractor at HSAAP since 1999.
Business News. Mercury Systems said last week that retired Air Force Lt. Gen. George Muellner, a member of the company’s board since 2010, passed away on Feb. 11 at 75. In the Air Force, Muellner’s 31-year career included time as fighter pilot—he flew 690 combat missions in Vietnam—directing the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System program, better known as JSTARS, and command of the first JSTARS deployment during Operation Desert Storm. After retiring from the service, Muellner began a 10-year career at Boeing beginning in 1998 that included leadership of the company’s Phantom Works advanced research and development unit and head of Air Force Systems.
…L3 Cash to Shareholders. L3 Technologies, just months away from an expected merger with Harris Corp., has increased its quarterly stock dividend by a nickel, 6 percent, to 85 cents per share. The company has suspended share repurchases pending completion of the merger.
…HII Cyber Deal. During its fourth quarter earnings call last week, Huntington Ingalls Industries said it paid $77 million last December to acquire the cyber security firm G2 Inc., which is now part of its Technical Solutions segment. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed when the deal was announced. G2 has about 130 employees.
…Lockheed in Florida. Lockheed Martin on Feb. 13 opened its $50 million, 255,000-square foot Research & Development II facility in Orlando, Fla., expanding the company’s presence in the Sunshine State. The new facility will support engineering, program management and business operations for the company’s Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando. Separately, on Feb. 15 in Orlando, the company and the Univ. of Central Florida opened a Cyber Innovation Lab on the school’s campus to help meet the need for more cyber security talent locally and nationwide.
Trump Nominees. President Trump on Feb. 14 nominated Chad Wolf to be the Undersecretary for Strategy, Policy and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security. Early in the administration, Wolf was the chief of staff at the Transportation Security Administration before taking the same job for DHS Chief Kirstjen Nielsen. Wolf served at TSA during the Bush administration under former agency Administrator Kip Hawley. In between his time at DHS, Wolf was a lobbyist with the firm Wexler/Walker, which shuttered at the end of 2018. The president on Feb. 13 also nominated Michael Wooten to be the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Wooten retired from the Marine Corps as a major and is currently Senior Adviser for Acquisitions at the Dept. of Education’s Federal Student Aid office. He has also served as Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the District of Columbia.