SEC Cyber Rule. After announcing on July 26 a new rule requiring public companies to disclose material cybersecurity incidents and their plans to identify and manage risks from cyber threats, the Securities Exchange Commission on Aug. 4 published the final rule in the Federal Register, noting it goes into effect on Sept. 5.

The Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure rule requires companies to file a Form 8-K within four business days of determining an incident was material, although a delay is allowed if the U.S. Attorney General “determines immediate disclosure would pose a substantial risk to national security or public safety,” it says. Meanwhile, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is preparing a draft cyber incident reporting rule that would require critical infrastructure entities to report covered incidents and ransomware payments. The draft rule is expected in March 2024 and a final rule in September 2025.

Coast Guard UAS RFP. The Coast Guard on Aug. 1 said it expects to release a request for proposals on or about Aug. 15 for Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for Host Cutters via full and open competition. The forthcoming solicitation is for Group II and III UAS that would be operated by contractors aboard some Coast Guard cutters. Group II drone have a gross take-off weight between 21 and 55 pounds and Group III weigh less than 1,320 pounds. The Coast Guard’s national security cutters operate with Group II ScanEagle UAS that are owned and operated by Boeing’s Insitu unit.

Frigate Test Site. The Navy awarded Fincantieri Marinette Marine a $17 million modification on Aug. 2 to procure long-lead time material for the land-based engineering site (LBES) for the Constellation-class frigate. The Navy is using the Philadelphia Navy Yard to host the frigate’s testing locations. LBES will be a test bed to examine different software configurations while the and-based Test Site also at the Philly Shipyard will focus on testing hardware before the Navy decides on a final propulsion system. This work is expected to be finished by October 2025. 

SSN-802 Keel. HII Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) and the U.S. Navy authenticated the keel of the Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) on Aug. 2. This will be the 19th Virginia-class boat, the 14th delivered by NNS and the first Block V submarine. NNS alongside General Dynamics Electric Boat build the attack submarines for the Navy.

Tinker Tailor Soldier…Sailor Spy. The Justice Department arrested two U.S. Navy sailors for espionage, transmitting “sensitive military information” to China. Jinchao Wei was indicted for conspiracy to send national defense information to an intelligence officer working for China. He currently works as a machinist’s mate on the USS Essex (LHD-2) amphibious assault ship and allegedly was tasked with passing photos, videos and documents about Navy ships and systems in exchange for thousands of dollars. Wei also allegedly sent numerous technical and mechanical manuals with export control warnings. Separately, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao was indicted for receiving thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for sending sensitive military information to a spy posing as a maritime economic researcher. Zhao worked at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme and shared non-public and controlled plans for an exercise, photographs of electrical diagrams and blueprints for a radar system in Okinawa, Japan. If convicted, Zhao faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Fincantieri Agreement. The Italian companies Fincantieri and C.A.B.I. Cattaneo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Aug. 3 to address commercial and industrial cooperation to field underwater vehicles that can integrate with larger surface vessels. The MoU specifically allows underwater vehicles to be integrated with Fincantieri’s surface and underwater vessels to offer improved products to global naval markets. The companies said they may finalize another cooperation agreement along these lines within the year. Under the MoU, design, construction, fit-out and setting to work of the main vessels will be the work of Fincantieri as design authority while CABI takes on that role for the underwater vehicles.

Italian OPVs. The Italian Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate signed a contract with Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (OSN), a joint venture between Fincantieri and Leonardo, worth over $1 billion for tree Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Italian Navy. The contract includes options for three more vessels as well as infrastructure upgrades for shipyards in Augusta, Cagliari and Messina, Italy. The new OPVs are expected to be about 312 feet long and a capacity for 97 crew members. 

French E-2D Support.The Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $388 million modification on July 31 covering more expenses supporting production of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to France. It specifically “adds scope to provide non-recurring engineering efforts in support of the production of three unique configuration” Hawkeyes for France. The work is expected to be finished in December 2027. In 2021 the Navy awarded the company a $354 million modification covering production and delivery of the three aircraft for France. Earlier in 2021, France signed a letter of offer and acceptance to buy three aircraft worth up to $2 billion. The E-2D is a carrier-capable airborne early warning aircraft. France is procuring the E-2Ds to replace its three older E-2C Hercules aircraft. 

Rocket Engine 3D Printing. Rocket engine maker Ursa Major last week said it has received $1.2 million in additional funding from America Makes to transition its additive manufacturing of rocket engine hardware prototypes to production qualification hardware. The contract will expand Colorado-based Ursa Major’s 3D rocket engine printing in Youngstown, Ohio where it established an Advanced Manufacturing Lab in 2021 through a $3 million contract from America Makes, a public-private partnership that aims to boost U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through the adoption of additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing. Ursa Major is producing thrust chambers for the vacuum variant of its Hadley liquid rocket engine. The company also 3D prints injectors, pre-burners, igniters, and turbomachinery. Ursa Major’s rocket engines are more than 80 percent 3D-printed by mass, it says.

Cyber Service Partnership. The Chertoff Group and the cybersecurity threat services firm Tidal Cyber are partnering to provide threat-informed defense as a managed service. The Chertoff Group will bring its expertise to bear on using Tidal’s Enterprise Edition platform to provide risk profiling, high-value asset categorization, threat profiling, ongoing testing and assurance, and threat hunting support. The Chertoff Group says it can help its customers understand the tactics, techniques and procedures that matter most as adversary behaviors evolve, assess whether their existing capabilities are adequate, and identify solutions to address security gaps.

AFWERX AI Award. Qylur Intelligent Systems says it has received a phase one Small Business Innovation Research contract from the Air Force AFWERX program to adapt its Social Network of Intelligence Machines (SNIM) artificial intelligence technology to potentially help the Air Force expect the fielding of collaborative autonomous systems such as drones and ground systems. Qylur’s SNIM AI technology manages autonomous intelligent systems and maintains the capabilities of their AI performance. Qylur also provides a self-service, autonomous venue security solution that uses AI for automated threat detection.

European F-35 Center Fuselage Plant. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rheinmetall AG, and German officials broke ground on Aug. 1 on an F-35 center fuselage Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) in Weeze, Germany near the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall. Northrop Grumman’s IAL center fuselage plant is in Palmdale, Calif. Rheinmetall said that the Weeze plant will, starting in 2025, build at least 400 F-35A center fuselages.  “Featuring state-of-the-art technology, the planned factory will be operated through Rheinmetall Aviation Services GmbH,” Rheinmetall said last month. “It will have feature 60,000 square meters of floorspace. Over 400 highly skilled men and women will crew the ultramodern assembly line.”

…Belgian F-35. Lockheed Martin said on Aug. 2 that the first F-35A for the Belgian Air Force has entered final assembly at the company’s Fort Worth, Texas plant. The AY-01 jet “was moved out of the electronic mate and alignment system, where its four major components were joined together by an advanced system of lasers and sensors,” Lockheed Martin said. “In final assembly, the jet’s canopy will be fitted, electronic systems will be tested, and the engine will be installed. From there, it will enter the final finishes facility to receive its stealth coating.” Luke AFB, Ariz., is to receive AY-01 later this year, and Belgian Air Force pilots are to train with U.S. Air Force F-35 pilots at the base. The Belgian Air Force is to receive its first F-35A in 2025 at Florennes Air Base.

McConville Retires. Gen. James McConville retired as the Army’s chief of staff on Aug. 4. McConville, the first aviator to serve as the Army chief, has played a critical role in leading the service’s major modernization efforts since taking over the role in August 2019. Army Vice Chief Gen. Randy George will now serve as the acting chief, while his nomination for the permanent position remains on hold due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) ongoing block of military promotions and nominations.

Austin Remarks. During McConville’s relinquishment of responsibility ceremony on Aug. 4, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted both the Marine Corps and the Army are without a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time due to Tuberville’s block. “The failure to confirm our superbly qualified senior uniformed leaders undermines our military readiness, it undermines our retention of some of our very best officers and it is upending the lives of far too many of their spouses, children and loved ones. And this disruption is the last thing that America’s military families deserve,” Austin said during remarks at the ceremony.

FMTV Trucks. The Army on July 31 awarded Oshkosh Defense a $201.5 million order for more Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) A2 trucks. Work on the deal is expected to be completed by the end of July 2025, according to the Pentagon. “As the exclusive provider of medium tactical vehicles, Oshkosh is committed to delivering the best performing vehicles in the world to the Army and our allied partners,” Pat Williams, Oshkosh Defense’s chief programs officer, said in a statement. Oshkosh Defense noted it has received $858 million in total orders covering almost 2,000 FMTV A2 trucks and 982 FMTV trailers to date.

Finland FMS. The State Department on Aug. 1 said it has approved a potential $395 million Foreign Military Sale with Finland to upgrade the country’s M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. The deal to upgrade the Lockheed Martin-built M270 MLRS from the A1 to A2 configuration will include intercom systems, radio communication and machine gun mounts and a battle management system vehicle integration kit. “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. Finland officially became the newest member of NATO in April.

Army C5ISR. ManTech said on Aug. 3 it has received a five-year, $622 million task order to provide “enterprise-wide integration and sustainment of systems” for the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s C5ISR Center. “We are proud to serve the Army’s C5ISR Center with analytics capabilities that enhance the ability to assess and respond to any change or threat on or beyond the battlefield,” Dave Hathaway, executive vice president and general manager for ManTech’s defense sector, said in a statement. ManTech said its work supporting the C5ISR Center will include “collection management, cyber intelligence, electronic warfare, human intelligence, signals intelligence, biometrics and other analytics.” “This initiative will also include software engineering activities, technology insertions and common operating environment unique requirements for the C5ISR Center’s Engineering and Systems Integration Directorate,” the company said in a statement.

U.S.-Ukraine Bilat. Officials from the U.S. State Department, Defense of Defense and National Security Council have begun negotiations with their Ukrainian counterparts on a long-term bilateral security agreement between the countries, the State Department said on Aug. 3. “Our bilateral security commitments will focus on ensuring Ukraine has a sustainable force capable of defending Ukraine now and deterring Russian aggression in the future, supporting and improving efficiency and transparency across Ukraine’s defense institutions and industry, and bolstering the reform agenda that will support the good governance necessary to advance towards its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” the State Department wrote in a statement. The discussions follow G-7 leaders’ joint declaration, detailed at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July, that negotiations with Ukraine were underway to establish such bilateral agreements.

Titanium Castings. The Pentagon said on August 4 it has entered into a $1.31 million agreement with Albany, Oregon-based Selmet, Inc. to support production of titanium castings for key components of turbine engines used in F-15, F-16, F-22 and F-35 aircraft. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Industrial Base Policy’s Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) office signed the agreement, which utilizes Defense Production Act Title III Authorities and funds from the most recent Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, which it said is designed to reduce risk of supply chain disruptions. “Resiliency at all points in our defense industrial base is required to ensure the operational availability of the platforms on which our warfighters depend,” Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant secretary of defense industrial base policy, said in a statement. “Upstream supporting activities are just as important as the manufacturing of final products.”