Supply Chain Summit. Senior Biden administration officials on Monday will host a virtual summit with CEOs on semiconductor and supply chain resilience. The event will be hosted by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who will be joined by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Increasing domestic production capacity of semiconductors and other critical materials is a key focus of the administration’s proposed American Jobs Plan, which among other things would spend $500 million over eight years on research, development and manufacturing, including for critical supply chain products. It appears just one defense contractor will be participating, Northrop Grumman. Some of the other companies include Alphabet, which is the parent of Google, AT&T, Cummins, Inc., Ford and General Motors, Intel, Micron, Piston Group, Samsung, Stellantis and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
U.S. Cyber Command released a Request for Information (RFI) on April 6 seeking industry’s input on supporting expanded infrastructure needs to meet growing requirements for its WOLFDOOR cross-domain solution, which supports data sharing between USCYBERCOM, the intelligence community, the Pentagon and commercial networks. “Driven by increasing mission needs, dramatic increases in data flow requests require adequate filter development, security, engineering, and testing resources to ensure transport fidelity,” officials wrote in the RFI. A potential future contractor would be responsible for “maintaining, replicating, and expanding this [WOLFDOOR] infrastructure in support of mission systems,” according to USCYBERCOM. Responses to the RFI are due by April 27.
Anytime, Anywhere. The U.S. Air Force has released a new mission statement that drops space because of the establishment of the U.S. Space Force (USSF) in Dec. 2019. To face emerging competitors and near-peer adversaries, the Air Force’s new mission statement is “to fly, fight and win…airpower anytime, anywhere.” Because of the creation of USSF, the service said that it “can now focus solely on airpower and maintain a sustained focus on core air domain missions.”
…Back to the Future. The new mission statement is a bit of déjà vu for the Air Force. Before Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and the crucial role of space systems in that conflict, the Air Force’s mission statement was “to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of the air,” but, in June, 1992, then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak, in a speech at Maxwell AFB, Ala. altered the wording to “air and space” in recognition of the role of space in airpower, per a 1995 paper by then-Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Thomas Moorman Jr.
Atlantic Fleet. The Navy has paused transitioning Fleet Forces Command into the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday told reporters during an April 5 Defense Writers Group. “So, right now implementation is on hold, based on the findings of the ongoing Global Posture Review,” which was announced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Feb. 4. Previous Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite announced the change in December, with a focus on controlling maritime approaches to the U.S. and confronting the Russian Navy in the region.
…1st Fleet. Gilday also said work on reestablishing the 1st Fleet based in the Indian Ocean is being presented to Austin as part of his Global Posture Review analysis. Gilday noted DoD has said the review takes a heavy look at the Indo-Pacific region and underscored the review looks at “not only where the bases and places are that we count on to project power and to maintain a steady influence across the region, but also whether or not we’re organized correctly, particularly in that AOR.” Gilday said the service is bringing its analysis of the 1st Fleet concept “forward into the Secretary of Defense’s analysis. So, when that’s finished later on this summer, we should have a better sense of what direction we’re going to go in or not with respect to fleet organization.”
…SIOP Infrastructure. Gilday said thus far there have been no discussions on including funds for the the Navy’s 20-year and $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) to modernize the four government-owned shipyards in the administration’s new infrastructure bill. “I’m not sure if that would be a possibility. I’d certainly be open to it, but that’s obviously going to be driven by the administration and the Congress…we have not had discussions with respect to including the Shipyard Optimization Plan within the broader infrastructure bill, but I’d certainly be open to that possibility if it happens.”
…Navy Budget. “I have no idea what that topline’s going to be right now. There’s been reporting, there’s been leaks but I haven’t seen anything in writing that’s been definitive,” Gilday said before the Biden administration released the DoD budget topline on April 9. He said while he cannot speculate on the budget numbers, he argued the Navy is in a “really strong position” to argue for a larger Navy based on the previous Navy Secretary’s Future Naval Force Structure Assessment. Combined with the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, released in December, “it was sound analysis and we are grounding our current budget discussions with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) using that analysis as kind of our beginning argument.” Gilday noted OSD and the office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation played such a key role in generating the force structure assessment and those analysts are still at OSD “so we’re continuing to use that kind of as our basis.” The Navy’s top officer said he has not discussed budget divisions with the other service chiefs. “With this administration, I’m resting our presentation of what we think we need based on the merits of the case, largely grounded on that analysis.”
Mac the Advisor. Former House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Mac Thornberry, who retired from the House at the beginning of this year, has joined strategic consulting firm The Chertoff Group as senior advisor. Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, spent 25 years in the House, serving on the HASC the entire time, 14 years on the Intelligence Committee, and was a member of the first Select Committee on Homeland Security. As chairman of HASC from 2015 to 2019, Thornberry led efforts to reform the Defense Department acquisition system. Before being elected to Congress, Thornberry served in the State Department as deputy assistant secretary for Legislative Affairs during the Reagan administration.
…More People News. Raytheon Technologies said last Friday that Anthony “Toby” O’Brien has stepped down as the company’s chief financial officer (CFO). Neil Mitchill, 46, the company’s corporate vice president for Financial Planning & Analysis and Investor Relations was named the new CFO. O’Brien spent 34 years with Raytheon. Space exploration company Voyager Space Holdings named Jim Bridenstine, who served as the NASA administrator during the Trump administration, as chairman of its advisory board. In March, the company named Ellen Lord, who served as the Pentagon acquisition chief during the Trump administration, to its advisory board. Another space company, Redwire, hired Mike Gold as executive vice president of Civil Space Business Development and External Affairs. Gold previously was associate administrator for Space Policy at NASA. Finally, the defense company BlueHalo made two new hires. Diek Minkhorst is vice president of Corporate Development leading merger and acquisition activities, and Elizabeth Mashakas is senior vice president, Talent Acquisition. Minkhorst previously worked for the investment firm Jefferies, serving on the aerospace, defense and government team, and Mashakas most recently worked talent acquisition at Centauri, General Dynamics Information Technology, Serco, and the former Orbital ATK.
Tracking the Arctic. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies last week introduced its Arctic Military Activity Tracker, which it bills as “a new resource for experts, policymakers, journalists, and academia” and includes an interactive map. The cool new feature shows various types of up-to-date military activity in the Arctic region by country, tests, incidents and other events. The new resource comes amid a period of melting sea ice and increased activity, both military and economic, in the Arctic region.
SpeedDealer. The U.S. Air Force’s Theater Battle Control Division at Hanscom AFB, Mass. has awarded an $8.4 million integration contract to Lockheed Martin under the Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar Rapid Prototyping program—termed “SpeedDealer”– to replace the Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-75 radar, which has served to provide “real-time” radar airspace picture and data to support military commanders. After a series of live-fly demonstrations last September, Lockheed Martin beat out Northrop Grumman and CEA Technologies for the integration contract award, which includes options for 35 state-of-the art, long-range radars. In the coming months, a second integration contract is possible to sustain competitive pressure before next year’s planned production award to one of the companies, the Air Force said.
DDG-124. The keel of the future Arleih Burke-class destroyer USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. (DDG-124) was laid in a ceremony on April 6 at shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works’ (BIW) shipyard in Maine. The ship’s namesake is a Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient. The Barnum will be a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis Baseline 9 for integrated air and missile defense capabilities. BIW is also building the future Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), John Basilone (DDG-122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), as well as the Flight III destroyers Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG-126) and William Charette (DDG-130).
…DDG-110. Meanwhile, Vigor began work on the docking selected restricted availability (DSRA) of the Arleigh Burke-class USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) alongside Hawaii Regional Maintenance Center (HRMC) at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF), the company said April 6. Vigor’s work is expected to last through Jan. 2022. The contract is valued at almost $84 million with options that could increase the value to over $85 million. The company said this is the second time it is working with the HRMC to complete a surface ship DSRA after previously completing work on the USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) in January. Work on DDG-110 will include routine maintenance, modernization and repair.
TI16. The Navy awarded VTG a five-year $118 million contract for Technical Insertion 16 (TI16) Sustainment, Installation, Procurement and Engineering Services, the company said April 7. The TI16 program is a Navy approach to modernizing combat systems across the surface fleet, particularly the Aegis Combat System. VTG said TI16 also allows the service to introduce the latest commercial off-the-shelf technologies and open architecture designs into combat systems.
Aegis Award. Naval Sea Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $79 million modification on April 7 for fiscal year 2021 Aegis Modernization and guided missile destroyer new construction production requirements. The contract combines purchases for both the U.S. (84 percent) and Australia (16 percent) under Foreign Military Sales. Work is expected to be finished by March 2025.
La Perouse. The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) embarked with UH-1Y Venom helicopters assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164, part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and joined units from the Royal Australian Navy, French Navy, Indian Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to participate in the third version of the Pa Perouse exercise, the U.S. Navy announced April 6. La Perouse is conducted during the annual French Navy midshipman deployment, Mission Jeanne d’Arc. This exercise is “designed to conduct training, enhance cooperation in maritime surveillance, maritime interdiction operations, and air operations,” the Navy said. During the exercise, the forces conduct engagements to fulfill maritime integration training objectives “by collaboration, war fighting, integration and readiness in a dynamic theater, maritime superiority, and power projection.” The U.S forces were set to participate in maritime maneuvering exercises, air defense operations and live firing exercises alongside the partner countries.
Kratos/Army. Kratos Defense announced on April 5 its Micro Systems subsidiary, part of its Unmanned Systems Division, has received a deal from the Army worth potentially $86 million to support the Ground Aerial Target Control System. The award includes a base deal of $60.7 million and two options totaling around $25.3 million. The work includes software updating, cyber security inspections and installation of replacement parts. “We are incredibly excited about this substantial win for the Unmanned Systems Division and for Kratos overall. This enables us to evolve, develop, and apply new technologies to the UAS/UGV command and control systems for the Army, which support development, testing, and training associated with our country’s defensive systems and military personnel,” said Steve Fendley, president of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division.
Helping Hands. Raytheon Technologies will spend $500 million over 10 years on a new corporate responsibility initiative dubbed “Connect Up,” which will provide funding, partnerships and employee volunteering to underserved communities for STEM education, support for local organizations such as Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and helping military personnel and their families with education and transition to the civilian workforce. Lockheed Martin says in its first quarter of 2021, it funneled on average more than $430 million weekly in accelerated payments to its supply chain, mainly to small and vulnerable businesses. The company also has worked with state and local governments to bring vaccine distribution to its local facilities so its workers have easy access to COVID vaccinations. And since the pandemic began more than a year ago, Lockheed says it made nearly $22 million in COVID donations to help schools and non-profits with STEM education, and help military families and veterans with educational, health and food needs.