Rumsfeld. Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense under both Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, died on June 29 at the age of 88. Rumsfeld oversaw the start of the U.S.’ involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and was a key figure in putting forth the debunked theory that the Iraqi government was harboring weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld’s tenure during his second stint at the helm of the Pentagon was condemned by groups such as the Human Rights Watch for the department’s allowance of torture tactics on detainees, or what the administration called at the time “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Rumsfeld also faced scrutiny for the department’s slow actions to address troops’ requests for more armor in the face of growing IED threats. “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. You can have all the armor in the world on a tank, and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee, and it can be blown up,” he said in 2004.

CH-47 Plans. Doug Bush, the Army’s acting top acquisition official, told lawmakers on June 30 that a decision on the service’s future path for heavy-lift helicopters is still set to be made in 2023, to include whether a new platform will be developed to replace the CH-47 Chinook. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), chair of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, pressed Bush on how the Army is thinking about the current CH-47F Block II as it once again did not include procurement dollars for the regular Army in its budget request. “We’ve had conversations literally every year concerning the Chinook, and again this year, on some of the deferments that were going on versus the original vision of the Block II upgrades,” Norcross said. While the Army is working through two Future Vertical Lift efforts to field a Black Hawk replacement and a new attack reconnaissance platform, there is currently no set effort for a Chinook replacement. “Obviously, developing two new programs at one time is challenging at best,” he said. “However, with the timeframe going on, you potentially could have three [programs] going on, which could present some challenges.”

Stealthy Drone. While Congress and the U.S. Air Force have been mum on the contents of the service’s ISR 2030 Modernization Plan–a plan that congressional defense authorizers said should have a releasable unclassified version–it appears that there may be some industry movement this summer in releasing details on stealthy drone proposals that would conform with the thinking of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown who has said that the current U.S. Air Force inventory of non-stealthy ISR drones, including the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk and General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, will not be of much use in a conflict with China or Russia. Brown recently told lawmakers that he wants to ensure a smooth transition between the Block 40 Global Hawks, set to retire in 2025, and an unspecified classified follow-on system. While Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have not yet discussed their stealthy drones, such a follow-on system could be the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 or the Northrop Grumman RQ-180. The House Appropriations Committee defense panel’s version of the fiscal 2022 funding bill followed the lead of Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), the panel’s ranking member, in calling for the buy of six General Atomics MQ-9s even though the Air Force had requested none.

CVN-71 Retrofit. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is set to leave San Diego, Calif., on July 16 to change its homeport to Bremerton, Wash., in advance of a docking planned incremental availability (DPIA) at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The DPIA is expected to start in September and will include a retrofit to allow the ship to accommodate F-35C Joint Strike Fighters. The work will also include upgrades to the ship’s self-defense system, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services network, MK 38 25mm machine gun, and refurbishment and preservation of the hull, rudder, propulsion shaft, anchor and 25 berthing spaces. CVN-71 is expected to arrive in Bremerton on July 20. The ship recently returned to San Diego in May following a six-month deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.

Air Force Secretary on Hold. Three senators have placed a hold on Frank Kendall, Pres. Biden’s nominee to become Air Force secretary. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) believes that Michigan’s Selfridge Air National Guard Base should have come out on top in a bid to become the F-35 international training center, instead awarded to Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Arkansas, while Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have separate concerns. Lee’s office did not respond to an email asking why he has placed a hold on Kendall’s nomination, while Warren is concerned about possible conflicts of interest that Kendall may have as a former corporate vice president of engineering at Raytheon Technologies. In January, Warren obtained a commitment from Lloyd Austin at a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing that he would recuse himself as defense secretary in all matters involving Raytheon for four years.

…Legislation Looming. In his Jan. 8 Ethics Agreement with the Office of Government Ethics, Austin pledged to resign from the Raytheon board upon his confirmation and to divest his financial interest in Raytheon no later than 90 days after his confirmation as defense secretary. Austin had served on the Raytheon board since April 2016. Warren has sponsored the Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, S. 1503, which would bar major defense contractors from hiring former senior DoD officials for four years after they leave government. The 2019 bill would also bar DoD employees from owning or dealing publicly traded defense stock if the Office of Standards and Compliance of the DoD General  Counsel’s office “determines that the value of the stock may be directly or  indirectly influenced by any official action of the [DoD] officer or employee.” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation, H.R. 4277, in the House.

Israel CH-53K. A Navy official last week said the U.S. government is developing information for Israel’s decision to purchase CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. Last February, Israel selected the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky CH-53K as the military’s new heavy lift helicopter. Col. Jack Perrin, program manager, PMA-261 heavy lift helicopters, told reporters on June 28 they have received Israel’s letter of request asking for the pricing associated with purchasing 12 aircraft with an option for another six for 18 total. “We are in the process of developing that information for Israel. When we get that to them, sometime late this summer, we’ll then start negotiations with them,” he said. It will then become a three-way negotiation between the U.S., Israel and Sikorsky. “We will work through the cost associated with that to get to a point where Israel is comfortable within the scope and they’ve negotiated and we together have negotiated the price with Sikorsky and then we will get in agreement to go on contract for those aircraft.” Perrin said he has heard Israel may have a requirement for 20 total aircraft and if true, they would together add an option for the two additional aircraft in the final contract.

NDAA Kick-off. The leaders of the House Armed Services Committee kicked off the first step in the legislative process for the next defense policy bill, submitting a “by request” version of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Submitting the bill, which reflects priorities outlined in the president’s $715 billion budget request for the Pentagon, is a procedural measure that will be replaced by the committee’s eventual NDAA markup. “The legislation filed last week does not reflect substantive work by the Armed Services Committee. Rather, provisions contained in the bill reflect legislative proposals submitted by the Department of Defense,” the committee wrote in a statement. “When the committee meets to consider the FY22 NDAA, the content of H.R. 4350 will be struck and replaced with subcommittee and full committee proposals.” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the HASC chair, announced recently that the subcommittees will hold individual markups in late July before the full committee considers its version of the NDAA on September 1.

New Boeing CFO. Boeing last week named Brian West as its new chief financial officer, succeeding Greg Smith, who previously announced he will retire early this month. Smith will depart on July 9. Dave Dohnalek, Boeing’s Treasurer, will be the interim CFO until West joins the company on August 27. West is currently the CFO of United Kingdom-based financial data company Refinitiv. He has also been CFO and head of operations for Oscar Health Insurance, CFO and chief operating officer of Nielsen, and spent 16 years at General Electric where he served as CFO of the Aviation division and Engine Services. “Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organizations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” says David Calhoun, Boeing’s president and CEO. Calhoun at one time led GE Aviation and later Nielsen.

…More Personnel News. Boeing also announced that its board has elected retire Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris to its board, serving on the Aerospace Safety and Audit Committees. Harris, 62, is a Boeing 747 pilot with more than 100 flight hours and is type rated on other Boeing widebody aircraft. She was also a pilot for United Airlines for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2020. Science Applications International Corp. has appointed Milford McGuirt, a retired managing partner of KPMG’s Atlanta office, to its board, serving on the Audit, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. SAIC says McGuirt has 41 years of public accounting and auditing experience with the major accounting and consulting firms, including 29 years with KPMG. SAIC has also created the position of chief climate scientist and hired Stephen Ambrose to fill the role, which will provide government and industry clients with solutions to address climate impacts. He previously was a senior advisor and program manager at General Dynamics Information Technology segment, supporting the Environmental Protection Agency, and has also worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the EPA.

Cyber Hiring Success. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last Thursday evening that his department has achieved its largest cybersecurity hiring success ever with the placement of nearly 300 professionals and job offers to 500 more. The hiring initiative exceeded the goal by nearly 50 percent and is part of a rapid-pace effort announced in the spring to strengthen and diversify the DHS cybersecurity workforce. “The department’s 60-day Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint has enabled DHS to fill 12 percent of our more than 2,000 cybersecurity vacancies during a time when our country is facing extraordinary threats,” Mayorkas said, adding that “we still have more work to do.” In July, DHS is beginning an Honors Program aimed at recruiting recent graduates with degrees in cybersecurity-related fields for a one-year professional development program at DHS.

Portfolio Shaping. L3Harris Technologies last Friday said it completed sales of its Military Training and Combat Propulsion Systems Businesses for a combined $1.5 billion to CAE and RENK AG respectively. The deals were first announced in March. The $525 million Military Training business, which provides training systems, simulations and related services to U.S. and international military customers, was sold to Canada’s CAE for nearly $1.1 billion in cash. Germany’s RENK paid about $400 million in cash for the $230 million propulsion business, which manufactures engines and transmissions. The divestitures are part of L3Harris’ portfolio shaping around its core businesses.

New GovTech Partnership. The private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP) long with former LGS Innovations executives have formed a new government-focused technology partnership MissionX, which will pursue investments in technology companies focused on high-growth mission areas within the U.S. national security marketplace to build a technology platform company. MissionX is led by Kevin Kelly, the former LGS CEO before it was acquired by CACI International in 2019, two other former LGS executives, Robert Gallegos and Chris McCall. MDP was an investor in LGS. MissionX will target companies in the C5ISR space, defense electronics, electronic warfare, multi-intelligence data fusion and analytics, position, navigation and timing, software-based modeling and simulation, space photonics and high-end communications, and space superiority.

LPD Engine. Fairbanks Morse shipped the fourth and final PC2.5 Common Rail engine to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Miss. on June 29, bound for the future USS Harrisburg (LPD-30). LPD-30 will be the 14th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship for the Navy and the first of 13 Flight II variant ships. HII started building Harrisburg in April 2020. The company noted the PC2.5 CR engine features high torque at low speeds, low fuel consumption, and a power rating of 5,816 kWb-8,725 kWb.

New (Political) Security Task Force. Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) last week announced the all-Republican American Security Task Force, which will focus on solutions for border security, cybersecurity, and support for law enforcement, of which the first and last are hot-button Republican issues. The new group, one of formed by McCarthy that he said are “designed to tackle the several crises that currently threaten our great nation,” will be led by John Katko (N.Y.), ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee. “The American Security Task Force will be fundamental to our efforts to defend against the unprecedented ways our homeland security, national security, economic security, and way of life are threatened daily,” Katko said.

CARAT. The U.S. Navy, Sri Lanka navy and air force, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) finished the first week-long Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise on June 30. It included five days of at sea activities and two days of subject matter expert exchanges. The at-sea phase included the USS Charleston (LCS-18) and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft working with the Sri Lanka Navy’s Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels SLNS Gajabahu (P-626) and SLNS Sayurala (P-623) as well as the JMSDF Asagiri-class destroyer JS Yuugiri (DD-153). Events included divisional tactics to enhance communication as they sailed in complex maneuvers, a tracing exercise, helicopter deck landing qualifications and vertical replenishment drills, and search and rescue operations. CARAT exercises occur throughout South and Southeast Asia to expand bilateral and multilateral exercises and relations.