Barrett Officially SECAF. Barbara Barrett was sworn in Oct. 18 as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force and the fourth woman to hold the title. The Senate overwhelmingly approved her confirmation Oct. 16 with a vote of 85-7.
Perry Out at DoE. President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that Rick Perry has resigned as Secretary of Energy, announcing via Twitter that the former governor of Texas will be leaving at the end of the year “to pursue other interests.” Trump said he has nominated the Department of Energy’s deputy secretary, Dan Brouillette, to become the next secretary. Brouillette previously served as a vice president of the Ford Motor Company and senior vice president of the U.S. Automobile Association. He also served as the DoE’s assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs under President George W. Bush, as well as staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 2003 to 2004.
Open Skies Recap. Despite recent reports that the White House wants to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty, the Air Force program to recapitalize its two OC-135B reconnaissance aircraft is continuing, said Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord Oct. 18. “The program within the Air Force is continuing, no change on that,” Lord said during a press briefing at the Pentagon.
…UAS Event. The Pentagon will hold its first “Trusted Capital Marketplace” event that will focus on small UAS and counter-UAS technologies, and will be held Nov. 13, Lord said during the briefing. Texas A&M University will co-sponsor the event. The goal is to try and replenish the U.S. small unmanned aerial systems marketplace after the Chinese “flooding the market” with low-priced drones, Lord said. “Our industrial base has eroded; we do not have much capability,” she said.
…GBSD Defense. Lord also defended the Air Force’s Request for Proposal for the forthcoming Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program, calling it a “well-written RFP that will give us the insight we need” with regard to cost and pricing for the Minuteman III replacement effort, even if the contract ends up being sole-sourced. Boeing has said it will not compete for the program and has argued the RFP unfairly benefited its rival Northrop Grumman. “With GBSD, obviously the proposals are not in yet, so nothing is finalized,” she said. “However…we put in language so that we have visibility and transparency in cost and pricing, so we will be able to determine the value, if you will, of what’s being delivered.” Lord added that there will also be “multiple significant subsystems within GBSD” that invite competition.
French-German Fighter. French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced Oct. 16 that her country has agreed to sign a contract with Germany next January to develop the first aircraft demonstrator for the Future Combat Air System program, a joint effort to develop Europe’s next-generation fighter aircraft and associated air platforms. First flight for the aircraft demonstrator is expected in 2026, with fielding of the aircraft and accompanying drones expected in 2035-2040, Parly announced via Twitter. Airbus and Dassault Aviation have agreed to partner on development of the future fighter, expected to replace the French Rafale, German Eurofighter and Spanish F-18 fighter fleets.
BRTRC Acquired. BRTRC Federal Solutions, Inc., which provides professional services to the Army and other defense and intelligence community agencies, has been acquired by Whitney, Bradley & Brown, Inc., a provider of program management and consulting services to the Defense Department and other federal agencies. BRTRC has domain expertise in systems and vehicle integration, prototyping and commercialization, strategic communications and cyber security. “The addition of BRTRC’s capabilities and expertise to the WBB platform furthers our mission to become the premier provider of high-quality, mission-critical services to the federal government,” says Robert Olsen, WBB’s CEO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. WBB has more than 500 employees and BRTRC more than 200. WBB is a portfolio company of the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital.
FLIR, IDEMIA Collab. FLIR Systems and identity solutions provider IDEMIA have partnered to combine IDEMIA’s video analytics capabilities, including facial recognition, with FLIR’s electro-optic sensors. The companies demonstrated the integrated capabilities using FLIR’s Black Hornet nano-drone and its SkyRanger R70 quadcopter unmanned aircraft system at the Crimson Viper demonstration. Company officials tell Defense Daily that using both UAS, they were able to successfully demonstrated that IDEMIA’s facial recognition matchers could identify an individual whose face was contained in a database.
Digital Soldier Award. Booz Allen Hamilton received a potential five-year, $561 million task order from the Army to deliver digital training solutions based on the company’s Digital Soldier solution. Under the deal, announced Oct. 14, Booz Allen will offer training applications that range from athletic performance tracking to “room clearing” simulation tools for the Army, and potentially the other military branches. “The cutting-edge technology that Booz Allen brings to bear will help the Systems Simulation, Software and Integration directorate offer state-of-the-art, performance enhancing trainings for our nation’s soldiers, as well as other members of the military and government,” Lincoln Hudson, the company’s vice president said in a statement. Booz Allen said Digital Soldier is based on an open architecture model allowing the Army to continuously integrate new capabilities into training and reduce overall costs.
Lockheed Martin HR Departs. Patricia Lewis, the senior VP for HR at Lockheed Martin, is leaving at the end of the month to become EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer at UnitedHealth Group. Lewis had been working for the defense contractor since February 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Loverro to NASA. NASA announced Oct. 16 that Douglas Loverro would become the agency’s new associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Loverro served in the Defense Department and the National Reconnaissance Office for three decades, most recently as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy from 2013 to 2017. Before that, he was the executive director and deputy program executive officer for the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. He succeeds former astronaut Kenneth Bowersox, who has been acting associate administrator since July and will return to his previous position as deputy associate administrator.
DDG-134 Named. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer named the future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer the USS John E. Kilmer (DDG-134). The ship will be the seventh Flight III model. The Kilmer is named after a Navy medical field technician who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for service in the Korean War. He died while caring for the wounded during an attack on Bunker Hill in 1952, shielding another man from enemy fire with his body. DDG-134 will be built at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Bath, Me.
ESB-5. The Navy’s latest expeditionary sea base, the future USNS Michael Keith (ESB-5) successfully finished acceptance trials on Oct. 11, the Navy said Oct. 15. Trials occurred off the coast of Southern California upon leaving shipbuilder General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.’s (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego. During the trials the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey performed tests to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of all major ship systems. ESB-5 is the third platform in the ESB variant and is set to be delivered in early fiscal year 2020. NASSCO is also under contract to build ESB-6 and 7, with an option for ESB-8.
…Christened. The Navy also planned to christen the Michael Keith during a ceremony on Oct. 19 at NASSCO’s facility in San Diego. The ship is named after a Marine from the Vietnam War who died in the line of duty.
xTechSearch Winner. The Army announced the winner of its Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) competition on the final day of the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C., awarding $250,000 to Lumineye Inc. for its wall-penetrating radar. xTechSearch is the Army’s year-long program to find small businesses working on innovative solutions, provide seed funding to partner companies with Army laboratories and eventually provide the opportunity to pitch innovative technologies to service officials. Lumineye’s technology is designed to allow soldiers and first responders to identify people and potential threats through walls. “The xTechSearch competition helped us learn a lot along the way,” Corbin Hennen, CEO of Lumineye, said in a statement. “Getting the first bit of funding was important. The funding from phase three was the first significant funding we’ve received, and made a world of difference for us.”
Leonardo DRS’ FWS-I. Leonardo DRS announced Oct. 15 it has received an $89 million deal from the Army for the next delivery of advanced infrared weapon sights. The latest deal falls under an IDIQ contract the company received to supply the Army with Family of Weapon Sight-Individual technology. Deliveries under the new contract are expected to be completed in 2023. Leonardo DRS’ FWS-I is a stand-alone, clip-on weapon sight that provides rapid target acquisition capabilities and connects wirelessly to helmet-mounted vision systems, such as the Army’s new Enhanced Night Vision Goggles-Binocular and the future Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems headset.
AI Industry Day. The Army Research Laboratory announced it will host the third DoD Artificial Intelligence Industry Day on Nov. 13. The event will be coordinated in conjunction with the Pentagon’s new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, which grew out of the “Project Maven” program. Industry participants will have an opportunity to discuss the latest AI software prototyping activities and opportunities for private sector involvement. Officials said the industry day will focus on objectives for training data, inference platforms, new algorithms, user interfaces, integration at the edge and testing.
Support for JAIC. Booz Allen Hamilton and its government partner the National Technical Information Service have agreed to help the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, with the government services company supporting the JAIC’s cyber security National Mission Initiative. Booz Allen says it will provide cyber-sense making, with a focus on network event detection, user activity monitoring and cyber data engineering planning. “The team will adapt and integrate components of those products, conduct wholesale AI development, and establish a Development Operations pipeline to rapidly deliver AI capabilities into DoD mission environments,” Booz Allen says. The NTIS is part of the Commerce Department.