2020 House Race. Former Green Beret and DoD official Andrew Knaggs said Monday that he would run as a Republican to depose Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) in the 2020 elections. Spanberger, a former CIA official, was elected to office in the 2018 midterms. Knaggs most recently served in the Pentagon as the deputy assistance secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, but has held several posts in the department, including the chief of the research and engineering division of JIEDDO. He served two tours in Iraq as a Green Beret and has also worked in the private sector.
No Space Cargo Transportation… Yet.
Don’t count on the U.S. military looking to use space as a primary means of cargo shipping or refueling just yet, the U.S. Transportation Command commander said Wednesday. While previous leaders in the air mobility domain have talked of harnessing space assets for logistics, shipping and other uses and endorsed white paper studies to do so, Army Gen. Steve Lyons told reporters, “There’s no physical work going on in that space” at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, D.C. He noted that there is “a lot of creative thinking going on, in terms of how could you use that atmospheric layer to conduct logistics” and that he encourages his team to think “broadly” about new solutions while ensuring that the core purpose of TRANSCOM does not change. “We’re clearly reliant on space for communications and a number of other capabilities, [such as] intelligence, but to be able to use space for logistics, I’d say this is purely in the idea space,” Lyons said.
SBIRS. The Air Force on Wednesday awarded Lockheed Martin Space a $163.9 million fixed-price, incentive-firm target modification to a previously awarded contract for SBIRS contractor logistics support Work will be performed at outside the continental U.S. locations; Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Greeley Air National Guard Station, Colorado; and Boulder, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds are used and no funds were obligated at the time of the award.
SDB II. Raytheon has received a Sept. 30 IDIQ contract worth $200 million for lifecycle support for the Air Force’s SDB II program. The contract provides lifecycle support and includes, but is not limited to, all efforts related to the SDB II and variants in various support efforts for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development integration, production, sustainment, testing, obsolescence analysis and management, logistics support, testing, training, upgrades, and software updates, per the contract announcement. It also includes studies and analysis related to current and future expansion of system performance, simulations, modeling, test hardware, technical support, aircraft integration activities, and procurement of all associated test hardware to support the activities and repair of non-warranted assets will be procured using this contract vehicle. Work will be performed at Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 Air Force and Navy ammunition procurement and research and development funds will be used, and no funds were obligated at time of award.
GBU-57. Boeing was awarded a $70 million IDIQ Air Force contract on Sept. 30 for GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Work will be performed at St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2022. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2018 ammunition procurement funds in the amount of $26.2 million were obligated at the time of award
AFRL Contract. AFRL awarded Northrop Grumman a $12.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Mercury Program, “a top secret/special compartmented information special access program.” The overall objective of the program is to research electronic warfare, per the award notice Sept. 30. Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2021. The contract was awarded under limited competition and six offers were received. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5.7 million were obligated at the time of award.
People News. Lockheed Martin has appointed Timothy Cahill as senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International, succeeding Richard Edwards, who will become strategic adviser to CEO Marillyn Hewson. The appointments are effective Oct. 14. Cahill has led the company’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems business at its Missiles and Fire Control segment since 2016. Edwards has led Lockheed Martin’s international business efforts since January 2018. BAE Systems, Inc., the U.S.-based business of Britain’s BAE Systems plc, has appointed Patrick Murphy to its board of directors. Murphy was Under Secretary of the Army during the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency and also served as Acting Secretary of the Army. Murphy, who hails from Pennsylvania, also served two terms in the House beginning in 2007. Retired Army Gen. Joseph Votel, former commander of U.S. Central Command, has joined the Board of Trustees at the non-profit science and technology company Noblis.
Eyewear Sale. Revision Military Inc. has sold its eyewear business to the private equity firm ASGARD Partners & Co. Terms of the deal, which closed Sept. 27, were not disclosed. Vermont-based Revision Eyewear’s customers include military, special operations and law enforcement. The company said it has sold more than 10 million pairs of glasses, goggles and visors since 2003 and is the longest-standing participant on the U.S. Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List. Houlihan Lokey was Revision’s financial adviser on the divestiture.
Fentanyl Detection. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General said that small chemical screening devices that Customs and Border Protection acquired to detect fentanyl and other illegal drugs at the southwest border are ineffective at detecting fentanyl at low purity levels, 10 percent or less, which is typically how the drug is smuggled across the southwest border. The report said that CBP spent $25.6 million between 2016 and 2018 on 279 of the devices despite a lack of comprehensive testing of the devices against low purity levels of drugs. The manufacturer, who isn’t named, told the IG that their devices were only tested to detect explosives and chemical warfare agents in accordance with requirements for the Navy Emergency Ordnance Disposal unit. CBP agreed with all of the IG’s recommendations, including the need to test any chemical screening device to detect the presence of fentanyl and other illegal drugs ad low purity levels.
Kaspersky Lessons. The Department of Homeland Security has learned three lessons from the U.S. government’s efforts to ban the use of Russia-based Kaspersky Labs’ anti-virus software products in federal networks, according to a department official. Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said a “blunt” approach that just bans products from “bad” countries won’t work given the amount of outsourcing in the U.S. economy. The three key components to consider in banning a technology include the country’s laws where a product comes from or the data resides, noting that some countries like Russia can “compel” a company to provide the data, how accessible your data is from an information technology system or service, and finally the level of market penetration of a product or service.
SUBGRU 2. The Navy reestablished Commander, Submarine Group (SUBGRU) 2 in Norfolk, Va., on Sept. 30. The group was previously disestablished in August 2014. SUBGRU 2’s return comes after the U.S. 2nd Fleet was reestablished in 2018. The group is commanded by Rear Adm. James Waters, who also assumed duties as commander of Task Force (CTF) 84. CTF 84 is the theater anti-submarine warfare commander for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The Navy said this move enhances the service’s capacity to command and control its undersea warfare forces across the Atlantic area. “We will prepare forces to control the undersea domain through rigorous competitive training, and a thorough understanding of our adversaries and the environment where we both operate. Further, we will innovate and advance the art of theater anti-submarine warfare through complex fleet exercises and war games,” Waters said in a statement.
CVN-73. Huntington Ingalls Industries said on Sept. 30 it has completed the dry dock portion of the USS George Washington’s (CVN-73) refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). A total of 100 million gallons of water was then flooded into the dry dock and the carrier was moved to an outfitting berth where the company will start final outfitting and testing. HII noted with this move the overhaul is now 60 percent complete and is on schedule to be finished by late 2021. During the dry-docking phase CVN-73 received upgrades and repairs including re-preserving about 600 tanks; replaced thousands of valves, pumps and piping components; underwent major structural updates to the island, mast and antenna tower; upgraded all aircraft launch and recovery equipment; updated the propeller shafts; installed refurbished propellers; and painted the hull. In the next phase, shipbuilders will complete the overhaul and installation of major components and test electronics, combat and propulsion systems. CVN-73 arrived at the shipyard in August 2017. Once RCOH is complete, the carrier will be ready to operate for the second half of its 50-year expected service life.
SSN-793. The Navy plans to christen the newest Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Oregon (SSN-793), at a ceremony on Oct. 5 at General Dynamics Electric Boat’s facility in Groton, Conn. SSN-793 will be the 20th Virginia-class submarine and the second Block IV model. Construction began in fall 2014 and the vessel is expected to be delivered in fall 2020. Block IV submarines have design changes to reduce total ownership cost and increase operational availability by decreasing planned depot availabilities from four to three.
LCS-20. The Navy plans to commission the newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Cincinnati (LCS-20), during a ceremony on Oct. 5 at a pier in Gulfport, Miss. Independence-variants are built by Austal USA at its Mobile, Ala., facility. LCS-20 was delivered to the Navy in June as the 18th total LCS delivered. The Cincinnati is the 10th Independence-variant LCS.
PE Help. The Navy awarded Boeing a $17.6 million order procuring non-recurring engineering support to design, develop, validate and verify the Cabin Pressure and On-Board Oxygen Generation System Monitoring System (CPOMS) kit. The order also provides validation installs and the production and delivery of 112 CPOMS kits for the Navy. CPOMS is a new digital cabin pressure altimeter to help gather and record cabin data to help reduce physiological episodes due to cabin pressure and oxygen intake issues. The service plans to eventually install CPOMS in over 1,000 F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. Work will be split between St. Louis (90 percent) and San Antonio (10 percent) and is expected to be finished by December 2022.
Super Hornet Engines. The Navy awarded General Electric a $10.6 million modification to procure two F414-GE-400 production install engines in support of Lot 23 engine production for F/A-18E/F aircraft. This contract also covers five engine devices and 29 engine device K-seals for the Super Hornets. Work will mostly occur in Lynn, Mass.; Evendale, Ohio; and Hooksett, N.H., and is expected to be finished by August 2021.
SBNVG Order. Elbit Systems of America has received a $23 million contract for the Marine Corps’ new Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggles (SBNVG). The order was placed under the five-year, $249 million IDIQ contract for SBNVG awarded to L3Harris at the beginning of September. Elbit America officially acquired L3Harris’ night vision business on Sept. 16 for $350 million. The SBNVG order is expected to be supplied over the next 10 months. SBNVG includes binocular night vision devices and an updated clip-on thermal imager, and is designed to provide Marines with a lighter system with improved depth perception.
Army xTechSearch. The Army has announced its latest xTechSearch competition to find small businesses working on innovative solutions that could be applied to Army modernization challenges. Officials are accepting white paper concepts through Nov. 11, with plans to select up to 48 companies that will have the chance to work with Army labs on S&T efforts. In January, vendors will then have an opportunity to pitch their technologies to the Army, which will choose up to 24 vendors to receive $10,000 and move onto the third phase of the program. Participants who move forward will then showcase their concepts at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, later that March. A handful of winners from the Huntsville show will have the chance to further develop their proof-of-concepts over the summer, before ultimately participating in a final demonstration at the AUSA annual conference in October 2020. The Army will award a first place winner $250,000, while second through 12th place receive $10,000 each.
Resupply UAS Challenge. The Navy and Marine Corps are looking for new small tactical unmanned aircraft systems for resupply missions and will hold a prize challenge competition in January to evaluate potential offerings. NAVAIR is currently soliciting responses to participate in the competition, which will take place at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, and will be used to evaluate the marketspace and inform a future acquisition strategy. Officials will also award three cash prizes to to assist with prototype development. First place receives $100,000, second gets $75,000 and third will win $50,000. The UAS offerings will be asked to perform up to three autonomous flights to perform refueling and battery replacement tasks, and must do so without having to refuel or recharge. Following the late January competition, NAVAIR will select up to six vendors to participate in a phase two fly-off.