Reprogramming Rundown. The Pentagon’s $5 billion omnibus reprogramming request, dated June 30 and now before Congress, seeks to shift money for varied vehicle efforts including $51 million for 14 more M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation Systems (HERCULES). Other proposed shifts include $45 million for testing vehicle technology to help the Army Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) effort. The reprogramming seeks a correlating $45 million cut from GCV funding, dropping levels to $413 million for the nascent program for which the service plans to soon award technology development contracts. The 91-page reprogramming notably seeks to shift monies to replace munitions used during military action in Libya, including $310 million for buying Tomahawk missiles.

F-35 Fix. The reprogramming request also seeks to take $85 million in unearned award fees Lockheed Martin did not secure for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and shift the money to cover rising procurement costs with the Air Force’s conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant of the aircraft. “Funds are required for over target cost increases associated with the Low Rate Initial Production Conventional Takeoff and Landing aircraft,” the document states. “The cost increases include both airframe and propulsion contracts.” The cost increases, it says, “pre-date” the cost/efficiency savings reflected in the Pentagon’s FY ’12 budget proposal.

When Cyber Attack Is Act of War. A cyber attack that produces “effects” that are “equivalent to a kinetic attack, that would be an act of war,” James Baker, associate deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department, tells the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Baker says that determining when a cyber attack amounts to an act of war is a “legally difficult question to answer.” In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon was set to release a policy paper that states a cyber attack is an act of war. However, that policy document hasn’t been released and defense officials have said the debate over the matter remains heated.

Chamber Doesn’t Back Cyber Legislation. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Homeland Defense, says the United States Chamber of Commerce believes the Obama administration’s recent legislative proposal, that among other things would boost the cyber security-related authorities of the Department of Homeland Security, and would be too costly for the private sector. Chaffetz, quoting from an internal Chamber document, says the “Chamber believes ‘layering new regulations on critical infrastructure will harm private-public partnerships, cost industry substantial sums, and not necessarily improve national security.’” Chaffetz adds that the Chamber believes the proposal is too broad.

…DHS Says Framework Remains TBD. Greg Schaffer, acting deputy under secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, says the impact of the administration’s proposed cyber legislation on industry has yet-to-be-determined. It gives industry “a strong voice in designing the solution set,” Schaffer tells Chaffetz. “So it’s hard to understand the suggestion that it will be overly expensive or overreaching when in fact industry will have an opportunity to say what the threats are that need to be mitigated, what the framework should be in order to address those risks, and then develop their own plans in order to meet those frameworks.

DHS Reactivates Aviation Panel. The Department of Homeland Security is reestablishing the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC), which is tasked by the Transportation Security Administration with providing recommendations to the agency related to aviation security methods, equipment and procedures. The ASAC was established after a bomb blew up Pan Am Flight 103 in mid-air over Lockerbie, Scotland, but its charter lapsed in 2006. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, says reactivating the ASAC “ensures that TSA is hearing from a broad base of stakeholders involved in aviation security in order to foster more cooperation and better security policies.” ASAC membership is broad and includes the private sector, law enforcement, victims of terrorist acts against aviation, airline and airport operators, and others.

Making The Case. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is making the case to Congress that production on the Littoral Combat Ship remains on course, and in the end, will provide significant warfighting capability to the sea service at the right price point. In a July 7 letter to HASC member Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the SECNAV says the Navy is “fully implementing” the efficiency and better buying initiatives put forth by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and current Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter. The Navy “capitalized on the opportunity to achieve dramatic procurement cost savings, accelerate fleet introduction of LCS…and maintain opportunities for future competition,” Mabus writes. In December, the Navy awarded dual multimillion procurement deals to Lockheed Martin and Austal USA for LCS construction. The 20-ship deal was awarded to both companies, with the Lockheed Martin team awarded $437 million for development and construction on its half of the LCS, while Austal USA won $432 million for its portion of the build.                 

Radar Ready. A Lockheed Martin team working on next-generation radar technologies for the Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile cruisers and destroyers cleared a key milestone, successfully testing a version of the system this week. Program officials were able to use the new Aegis SPY-1 radar system to track, target and engage air targets in a simulated electronic attack environment, according to a company statement. The SPY-1 radar is a key element in the larger Multi-Mission Signal Processor (MMSP) program being stood up for the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile fleet. “By combining the proven SPY-1 radar and Aegis BMD signal processing into a single open architecture platform, we can provide a cost-effective technical solution with unprecedented future growth to the U.S. Navy,” says Brad Hicks, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of naval radar programs. The successful test, officials say, will put the system on track for deployment sometime next year.

Bump Up. The Navy this week approved a $46 million contract increase to defense firm Lockheed Martin to go specifically toward development of the sea service’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter. According to the deal, issued by Naval Air Systems Command last Thursday, the $46 million will go on top of the $34.3 million already in the program’s coffers for fiscal year 2011. The majority of the funds will go towards ongoing JSF work at the company’s facilities in Ft. Worth, Texas, and El Segundo, Calif., according to the contract. Navy officials anticipate that work covered under the contract increase will wrap up this August.

Moving On. Army Maj.Gen. Keith Walker is slated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Deputy Commanding General, Futures/Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va. He is currently serving as Commanding General, Brigade Modernization Command, Army Capabilities Integration Center, Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Bliss, Texas. Walker will follow Lt. Gen. Michael Vane who retired Friday after more than 35 years of service.   

Nimrods No More. The final two U.K. Nimrod aircraft retired putting an end to some 37 years of service. The aircraft, in service with 51 Squadron, were retired before an audience of some 700 serving and retired Royal Air Force Personnel, including the Chief of the Air Staff. Flying for the last time, Nimrod R1 Number XV249, flown by Flight Lt. Mike Chatterton, made two spectacular flybys directly over the parade, the second concluding with a roaring climb before disappearing into the clouds. The Nimrod R1 flew over Afghanistan in support of Operation HERRICK for 10 years, making it one of 51 Squadron’s longest operational commitments. Due for retirement at the end March 2011, the Nimrod R1 was given a three-month reprieve so it could participate in Operation ELLAMY, supporting the NATO mission over Libya. Replacing the Nimrod will be Rivet Joint Aircraft, due in service in 2014. RAF crews now are co-manning U.S. Rivet Joint aircraft in missions over Libya and Afghanistan. 

Moving Forward. Sikorsky says it’s delivered the 300th UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter to the Army. The Army wants some 950 of the Mike models by 2025. Sikorsky began delivering UH-60M aircraft to the Army in 2006. With a new airframe, avionics and propulsion system, the aircraft is the most modern in a series of Black Hawk variants that Sikorsky has been delivering to the Army since 1978. Sikorsky Aircraft also has delivered UH-60M aircraft to other federal government agencies, and to international customers.The Army also plans to buy more than 400 HH-60M Medical Evacuation aircraft used to extract wounded troops from the battlefield. Exact procurement numbers year-to-year and across the life of the program will be determined by budget authorizations and specific contract awards. 

Canadians Head Home. Canadian troops are on their way home from Afghanistan after a nine-year mission that began in 2002. Canada’s parliament mandated the 2,800 troops return home in 2011, and the official end of the mission came July 7. Nearly 1,000 troops will remain, working a separate training mission for local security forces. As of June, U.S. and NATO forces numbered 140,000, with the United States planning to withdraw 33,000 by the end of 2012. 

First Image. The first Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft beamed down its first infrared image June 21 to the SBIRS ground station. Following its May 7 launch, the satellite is performing as expected, and is now undergoing early orbit testing. The spacecraft is the most technologically advanced military infrared satellite ever developed, Lockheed Martin says. The system will enhance the military’s ability to detect missile launches around the globe, support the ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence gathering capability, and bolster situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield. “We are tremendously proud of Team SBIRS for their superb efforts to initialize the Air Force’s newest, most capable infrared payload,” says Col. Mike Noble, Deputy Director of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Infrared Space Systems Directorate. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor; Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator, and Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

New Caucus. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.),  Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and the Office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) say they’ve formed the Defense Energy Security Caucus (DESC). The Caucus aims to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic value of utilizing sustainable energy sources for the U.S. military, highlight and support established and emerging defense energy initiatives, and find solutions to energy challenges DoD faces.”By forming the Defense Energy Security Caucus, Representatives Bartlett, Giffords, Hinchey, and Kingston are continuing the strong leadership the Congress demonstrated when they helped create the DoD Operational Energy office in 2009,” said Sharon Burke, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, who delivered remarks at the DESC kickoff event. “Working together, I believe we can transform the way the Department uses energy, which will improve capabilities for our warfighters, cut costs for American taxpayers, and ultimately save lives.”

Energy Forum. The 2011 Army and Air Force Energy Forum will be held 19-20 July at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va. The theme is: Power the Force. Fuel the Fight. Army, Air Force, government and industry energy representatives will discuss the services’ energy strategies; identify opportunities and challenges and share best practices. Discussion topics will include sustainability, tactical vehicles, partnership opportunities, energy legislation and policy, culture change and supporting the war fighter.  For more information and to register visit the website at