New DSCA Director. James Hursch has been named the new director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Hursch officially took office on Jan. 2, leading the agency dedicated to overseeing the billions of dollars in annual foreign military sales. “I am confident that DSCA will continue to lead our community in the execution of the U.S. Security Cooperation portfolio. I look forward to leading our workforce in engaging with representatives from the U.S. government and Congress, as well as our allies and partner nations, defense industry, and the wider [security cooperation] community of stakeholders,” Hursch said in a statement. Hursch most recently served as a deputy defense adviser to the U.S. mission in NATO. Earlier in his career, he worked on the “Excess Defense Articles” and “Foreign Military Financing” programs at DSCA before moving to the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Office of European Foreign Policy and then leading the Defense Technology Security Administration. 

CR Impact Hearing.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense will hear from senior Pentagon leaders on Jan. 12 about the impacts of continuing resolutions on the department. A second CR was signed in early December to keep the government open through Feb. 18, while the measure locks in funding at last year’s spending levels and prohibits the departments such as the Pentagon from starting new programs. Witnesses at the hearing will include Gen. David Berger, the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. C.Q. Brown, Air Force chief of staff, Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations, Gen. Joseph Martin, vice chief of staff of the Army and DoD Comptroller Mike McCord.

Executive News. Amentum last week said it has hired Charles Mathis, 62, as its chief financial officer. Mathis had been the CFO at Science Applications International Corp. between November 2016 and January 2021 before retiring from the company. He started with Amentum on Dec. 6, 2021. Leidos has hired Terry Phillips as its new chief security officer, succeeding Dennis Keith, who retired. Phillips, who previously served as executive director of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations Office of Special Projects, will manage Leidos’ Global Security Organization and ensure compliance with U.S. and foreign government national security standards. Leonardo DRS has named Cari Ossenfort as senior vice president and general manager of its Naval Electronics business unit. Most recently, she was the company’s corporate vice president of operational excellence and quality. Finally, VTG has appointed retired Navy Rear Adm. Jim Shannon to the new position of executive vice president for government relations. He previously was president of ASSETT, Inc., which VTG acquired last August.

Aboulafia Moves On. Richard Aboulafia, a world leading expert on commercial aerospace and defense aerospace, has joined the consulting firm AeroDynamic Advisory as a managing director following a 32-year career at Teal Group, where he wrote and edited the “World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing” and advised companies, suppliers, financial institutions and governments on the aerospace market. AeroDynamic Advisory is a boutique consulting firm advising clients in aerospace strategy and growth, maintenance, repair and overhaul, transaction support, customer satisfaction, and economic development.

Final Manama-Bound FRC. Bollinger Shipyards last week delivered the sixth and final fast response cutter (FRC) to the Coast Guard that is destined to be home-ported in Manama, Bahrain, supporting the Coast Guard’s Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). The 154-foot Clarence Sutphin is the 47th of 64 FRCs that will be delivered to the Coast Guard. The Sentinel-class FRC’s assigned to PATFORSWA are replacing aging 110-foot Island-class cutters in support of U.S. Central Command operations.

Navy Shipbuilding. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a presentation by analyst Eric Labs presented to the Bank of America 2022 Defense Outlook and Commercial Aerospace Forum. It examines the Navy’s shipbuilding plans and implications for size and composition of the fleet, with potential costs considered compared to historical Navy budgets. The presentation noted Congress “has consistently appropriated more funds for shipbuilding than Administrations have requested.” 

DDG-57. The Navy awarded BAE Systems a $2 million contract to execute fiscal year 2022 Docking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) of the USS Mitscher (DDG-57) in Norfolk, Va. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would raise the total value to $101 million. The work is expected to run from March 2022 to April 2023. The Navy received two offers for the original solicitation but did not disclose the other competitors. Under this DSRA, BAE will dry dock the ship, perform underwater hull preservation work, support upgrades to the Aegis Combat System via command and control equipment, and refurbish the living spaces. “Our team looks forward to the preservation and upgrade work aboard USS Mitscher. With our subcontractor teammates and Navy personnel alongside, we will apply our experience with the DDG class to ensure this ship returns to the fleet mission-ready and fully capable to support our national security,” Mike Bruneau, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, said in a statement.

Part of A Team. Raytheon Technologies says its engineers have been working for years on heat management problems associated with missiles, and the company said that it is now benefiting from collaboration between Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Raytheon’s Collins Aerospace on advanced materials to counteract the extreme heat of hypersonic missiles that fly at a minimum of 3,800 miles per hour. More heat-resistant materials can be heavy and expensive, and a heavier missile body needs greater propulsion to attain hypersonic speed–a higher propulsion that requires a more powerful engine and more fuel, which adds weight and cost, Raytheon said.

…Boost-Glide, Scramjet. Raytheon is working on both DoD hypersonic concepts–boost-glide hypersonics, using solid-rocket motors to boost conventional missiles into the atmosphere’s upper edge, and scramjet-powered hypersonics that use the rapid air around the missile to provide oxygen for propulsion. Last June, the company received a $33 million U.S. Air Force contract under the initial phase of the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) for a solid-rocket boosted, air-breathing hypersonic missile to be launched from existing fighters or bombers. SCIFIRE is a cooperative hypersonic development program between the U.S. and Australia. Under a 2019 teaming agreement for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s and the Air Force’s Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), Raytheon is collaborating with Northrop Grumman to integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet combustion engines into Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic missiles.

TRANSCOM and Great Power Conflict. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, the head of U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) and the former head of Air Mobility Command, is to discuss TRANSCOM’s role in great power conflict, the command’s role in evacuating U.S. forces and allies from Afghanistan last year, and the Civil Reserve Air Fleet in a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) forum on Jan. 13.

MQ-9 Support FMS. The State Department on Jan. 7 approved a potential $300 million foreign military sale with France for General Atomics to provide logistics support for MQ-9 Reaper drones. The deal would include MQ-9 aircraft components, repairs, software support, personnel training and training equipment and overall logistics services. “The proposed sale will improve France’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring the operational readiness of the French Air Force. France’s MQ-9 aircraft fleet provides Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance support that directly supports U.S. and coalition operations around the world. France will have no difficulty absorbing these support services into its armed forces,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote in a statement.