Sample Issue|Defense Daily

March 6, 2008

Table of Contents

Members of Congress May Seek To Overturn Tanker Decision

By Jen DiMascio and Emelie Rutherford

Regardless of whether the Air Force acted legally and responsibly in its decision to choose Northrop Grumman [NOC] to build the service’s next aerial refueling tankers, lawmakers may still move to overturn the decision.

"I think the decision was based on the law. I think [the Air Force] followed the law, but there’s a lot more to this. There’s industrial base. There’s allies that have not stepped up," Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, told reporters yesterday after a hearing with service officials.

During the hearing, he stressed that the political implications of the decision are important both at home and abroad. He pledged to make sure that everyone in the competition was treated fairly but followed that up with the reminder of the clout wielded by his subcommittee.

"This committee funds this program. All this committee has to do is stop the money, and the program doesn’t move forward," Murtha said.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), whose district includes the facility where Boeing’s [BA] tanker operations would have been located if the company won the contract, is keeping that option on the table.

"We have killed programs in the appropriations process," Dicks said after the hearing, "But we’re going to wait and hear what the hearings show, we’re going to try to be fair and evenhanded, but I’ve got to tell you, the Air Force has got a lot of explaining to do."

Dicks indicated he was warming to the possibility of the service buying some planes from each company–a suggestion he mocked during the competition.

"I didn’t like that idea a couple of weeks ago, but I might rethink that," Dicks said.

Dicks and a number of members blasted the decision for damaging the industrial base and sought answers to questions about the contracting process.

Dicks suggested that the Air Force, under pressure from a senator, changed its criteria during the competition because Northrop Grumman was threatening to withdraw.

His office this week released a letter from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), appealing to Defense Secretary Robert Gates before his confirmation and before the release of the request for proposals to remove language referencing World Trade Organization disputes.

Sue Payton, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, denied that changes were made to the final request for proposals. She said it was her job to choose a new tanker based on criteria that did not include the industrial base.

Current legal exemptions under the Buy America Act instruct the department to treat allied countries as part of the U.S. industrial base, and that was the law she complied with, Payton said.

Although she declined to provide a number of details regarding the service’s rationale, she ultimately reiterated the position that Northrop Grumman presented the better offer.

"I will tell you that when Congressman [Todd] Tiahrt [R-Kan.] and I go out to the golf course to tee it up we either bring our A-game, or we don’t bring our A-game. Northrop Grumman brought its A-game based on the law that I must abide by."

Murtha acknowledged to reporters that Boeing might not have done a "very good job" in its presentation. "They didn’t sharpen the pencil is what I understand," Murtha said.

Senators struck a more cautious tone during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley.

SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he believes the service is "following appropriate procedures in waiting to provide details of the decision to Congress until the Air Force has briefed the participating contractors." Levin said he is scheduling a briefing for the committee.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), often an advocate for competition in the defense acquisition world, reiterated his support for the contract.

"I join the chairman in saying that we will work in reviewing with you how you formed the steps under the law to reach you conclusion. I want you to know I feel very strongly that Congress should not get into the business of trying to rewrite a contract, particularly one of this magnitude and complexity, as it might suit other members," Warner said.

On March 4, Boeing denounced the timing of the originally scheduled debriefing date; yesterday the Air Force bumped up its appointment with the company from March 12 to March 7.

Boeing leaders "hope to understand how the company and the service reached vastly different conclusions," according to a statement based on comments made yesterday by Boeing President and CEO Jim Albaugh at a conference in New York.

Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), who represents the district where the Northrop Grumman-European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. plane will be assembled, said the debriefing should clear up rampant speculation.

As the process moves ahead, Bonner said he and other supporters of the Northrop Grumman system will "gently remind people" who were disappointed by Boeing’s loss that they need to let the process play out.

He stressed that unless it can be proven that the process was not open and transparent, zeroing out funding for the tanker would set a dangerous precedent. So, too would trying to un-do the award because Congress dislikes the outcome.

"I hope everyone will take a deep breath," Bonner said, adding that the Northrop Grumman plan is likely to create up to 48,000 direct and indirect jobs–in line with what Boeing proposed.

NNSA: RRW Makes Return To Nuke Testing Less Likely

By George Lobsenz

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), seeking to resurrect its new warhead plan in the face of a skeptical Democratic-controlled Congress, is suggesting that development of the "reliable replacement warhead" would make it less likely that it would have to resume underground nuclear testing than if it continues piecemeal refurbishment of the nation’s existing Cold War-era warheads.

That was the new pitch made last week for the so-called RRW by the head of the semi-autonomous Energy Department nuclear weapons agency in testimony to a House panel that also revealed that NNSA was beginning efforts this year to increase plutonium pit production capacity at Los Alamos National Laboratory to 30 to 50 pits per year by 2012-2014, up from the current 10 per year.

Congress last year halted funding for continued RRW design studies, saying the Bush administration had failed to provide a detailed strategic justification for developing a new warhead. Lawmakers ordered the administration to deliver a report this year explaining its overall nuclear weapons strategy and how the RRW would help meet the nation’s future national security needs.

In his Feb. 27 remarks on the new warhead before the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, Thomas D’Agostino, head of NNSA, said his agency would soon deliver the requested report justifying the RRW. And he said Congress needed to provide new funding for the RRW design to answer questions about the feasibility of the new warhead–and concerns that an unproven weapon would be hard to certify without a return to underground testing, which the United States stopped in the early 1990s as a nonproliferation measure.

But in a striking new argument clearly aimed at countering those perceptions, D’Agostino said NNSA’s nuclear weapons laboratories believe that continuing to refurbish older warheads would make a return to nuclear testing more likely than development of the RRW.

He said that while the performance of existing warheads has been verified through past underground testing, growing questions about their reliability are being raised as more of their aging components are replaced.

"Our laboratory directors are concerned that our current path–successive refurbishments of existing warheads developed during the Cold War–may pose unacceptable risks to maintaining high confidence in warhead performance over the long term absent nuclear testing," D’Agostino said in his written testimony to the subcommittee.

While monitoring shows the existing stockpile remains reliable, "concerns arise as we move further and further away from designs certified with underground nuclear testing, resulting from inevitable accumulations of small changes from a continuous process of aging and refurbishment of aging components."

At the same time, D’Agostino said NNSA experts were more confident about their ability to certify the reliability of the RRW using the new computer-based methods developed in the agency’s "stockpile stewardship" program to monitor and evaluate old warheads. He also noted the RRW would be based on warhead designs that had been verified through past testing. Further, he said that, unlike the old Cold War warheads, the RRW could be designed to be certified without additional testing.

In sum, he said: "Our experts’ best technical judgment today is that it will be less likely that we would need nuclear testing to maintain the safety, security and reliability into the future of the nuclear stockpile if we pursue a reliable replacement path employing all the tools of the stockpile stewardship program…than if we continue to rely on today’s legacy warheads."

D’Agostino said he gave Congress classified information in December substantiating those claims, and that NNSA was seeking $10 million from Congress in fiscal 2009 to refine the RRW’s design so it could answer certification and feasibility questions about the new warhead. NNSA also is seeking $20 million for "advanced certification" research on aging warheads and the RRW.

The agency has struggled to persuade lawmakers that the RRW can be certified as reliable without underground testing–particularly after a panel of independent nuclear weapons experts known as the JASONs last year issued a report saying there were gaps in NNSA’s certification analyses for the RRW.

The RRW also was set back by another JASONs report that said plutonium pits in Cold War-era warheads were not deteriorating as fast as NNSA has suggested in the past, meaning they would not need replacement for decades to assure continued.

NNSA says the RRW is needed to provide a more reliable, secure and safer nuclear deterrent than can be achieved by continuing to monitor and refurbish Cold War-era warheads, which the agency says are increasingly vulnerable to breakdown. NNSA says the RRW will be less prone to failure, can be built out of materials that are less toxic than those used in existing warheads and can incorporate new security devices that will better protect against diversion threats by terrorists or other unauthorized or accidental detonations.

However, key Democratic and Republican lawmakers say that in addition to questions about the RRW’s reliability and cost, development of a new warhead would be provocative and undermine the credibility of U.S. nonproliferation efforts.

NNSA officials have strenuously argued that the RRW would help nonproliferation because its reliability benefits would enable the United States to reduce the size of its nuclear arsenal even further than current plans.

Australia To Cancel Kaman Seasprite Helicopters

Australia announced March 5 it will cancel the U.S. Kaman Corp. [KAMN] -produced Seasprite helicopter project, two aircraft short of completing an order for 11.

The Rudd Labor government initiated a review of the project in late 2007 fulfilling pre-election campaign promises. The government had already invested $1.2 billion in the project.

Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon told reporters, "The project had to be canceled on safety grounds alone."

Nine of 11 helicopters have been delivered but there have been safety concerns about the aircraft, which were grounded in 2006 over such concerns during testing.

Discussions will be commenced immediately with the contractor in relation to the legal and financial arrangements to facilitate this. Australia will announce details of arrangements with the contractor once mutual agreement has been reached, subject to any confidentiality issues, the government said in a statement.

Fitzgibbon said the decision was not one taken easily, but the Government was left with little option.

The announcement "demonstrates our determination to make tough decisions whenever required for the security of the nation and the safety and capability of our Defence Force," Fitzgibbon said.

"The decision taken by the Rudd Labor Government is one that should have been taken by the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, when he had the opportunity last year, but his Government decided to put its own political interests ahead of the national interest. Consequently, the responsibility of cleaning up the mess they created falls to us," Fitzgibbon said.

The government’s interim approach will be to focus on improving the operational availability of the current Seahawk fleet. Additionally, the government will investigate the planned replacement of the Seahawk during its White Paper deliberations.

"The new Government will continue to work through the long list of Defence capability nightmares it has inherited from the former government," Fitzgibbon said. " We are determined to ensure that the Defence Force receives the capability it needs, and Australian taxpayers receive value for their money."

General Dynamics Invests And Accelerates Efforts At Saco, Maine Site

General Dynamics [GD] Armament and Technical Products unit is investing more than $5 million in production equipment and accelerating its enterprise- wide focus on Lean/Six Sigma-based process improvements at its Saco, Maine, gun manufacturing facility to increase the plant’s capacity.

The site is the General Dynamics’ core production site for single- and multi-barrel aircraft and crew-served weapon systems.

"As we anticipate the needs of our Department of Defense customers, we understand that our ability to remain responsive and flexible in a very dynamic marketplace is absolutely critical," Mike O’Brien, vice president/general manager of gun systems for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, said in a March 4 statement. The first phase of our initiative to prepare our Saco site for future growth involves capital investments of over $5 million in equipment. When coupled with our Lean/Six Sigma approach to our production process, this will allow us to net additional efficiencies."

The first phase focuses on providing greater capacity in support of the Mk19 and M2 grenade weapon systems production. More than 60 production workers have been hired and about 30 more will be hired to ensure capacity for future technologies such as the GD Advanced Crew Served Weapon Systems, O’Brien said.

Products manufactured in Saco also include high-speed multi-barrel Gatling guns and M2 50-cal. machine guns. General Dynamics’ Gatling gun systems are onboard every U.S. fighter aircraft, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the company has manufactured more than 30,000 Mk19 gun systems. The M2 machine gun has been in production at Saco since 1979.

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products was recently awarded a $36.6 million contract by the Army Tank Automotive Command to produce M2HB machine guns through 2009. Production work will be performed at the Saco site, and deliveries are expected to begin in April. The guns will be used on ground vehicles by the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, Air Force, Marines and Navy, as well as several foreign military customers. The program will be managed by the General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products’ Burlington, Vt., facility.

"The M2HB 12.7 mm (caliber .50) machine gun fires at a rate of more than 450 rounds per minute and has a maximum effective range of 2,000 yards. The machine gun’s high level of lethality, reliability and versatility has made it the world standard in its class and can give warfighters a critical advantage," O’Brien said.

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products is located in Charlotte, N.C.

Wynne, Moseley Say They Personally Support Second Engine For Joint Strike Fighter

By Emelie Rutherford

Air Force leaders told Senate authorizers yesterday they personally support funding a second-engine program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), citing cost as the sole rationale for the effort’s absence from the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2009 requested budget.

In recent years, like this year, the Department of Defense (DoD) has not requested funding for the General Electric [GE]-Rolls-Royce F136 propulsion system to serve as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney [UTX] F135 engine for the future JSF. Yet lawmakers have consistently added the money for the second-engine effort, keeping it alive.

Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) yesterday quizzed Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley on whether the alternate engine program should be cancelled.

"I would tell you that’s a very tough decision, but [my] personal opinion is I would keep it alive," Wynne replied during the SASC hearing on the Air Force’s FY ’09 budget.

Moseley, emphasizing his support for the president’s and Pentagon’s budget proposals, said he also personally supports the second-engine effort. However, Moseley said he is concerned adding funding for it would drain monies from other facets of the three-variant JSF effort.

"We’re all very sensitive to fielding that airplane on time," the general said. "Any larger programmatic cut inside that program puts those IOC [initial operational capability] times at risk; that’s the sensitivity."

When Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), SASC ranking member, asked if that means to look elsewhere for the second-engine funds, Moseley said he would like help in protecting the IOC dates on the three JSF variants.

The JSF program–which is developing variants for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy–is the Air Force’s largest acquisition program. Warner cited the second-engine debate as "a significant budget issue" for lawmakers to wade through.

Wynne said the issue with the second-engine program boils down to affordability, noting the effort "failed the business case, and so it did not get into the budget."

Yet he questioned if the business case should be applied to the JSF effort, for which the United States has partnerships with nine other countries’ air services.

"If you go to a single airplane for eight, nine, 10 nations, then the question is, does it have to pass a business case in order to just be an investment in uber-reliability," Wynne said.

"The question of how much reliability should you have if it is your only air-dominant air fleet available to you is yet a question that has not really been asked, and it is where I came down on the side of continuing the investment at the point," he added.

He also noted the advantages of having "competitive forces at work" on the engines.

Wynne pointed to the benefits of having alternate aircraft in the Air Force. The service, he said, was fortunate to have F-16 fighters available to use after F-15s were stood down because of cracking.

When the F-15 problems arose, Moseley had to ensure international partners that "America in fact produced very high-reliable craft," Wynne said.

He also noted that on the shuttle there are multiple redundancies "that would not make a business case, they only made a strategic-reliability case."

"And so you’ve got to look at what is America doing [with JSF] in involving nine countries and essentially taking positions on an affordability basis and not looking at the statistics for reliability," Wynne said.

Moseley cited problems with a blade on the Pratt & Whitney engine as a reason for having the alternate program.

Last month an engine blade for the JSF’s F-35B short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) variant, to be used by the Marine Corps, failed during proof testing (Defense Daily, Feb. 11, 2006).

While Wynne said the Pratt & Whitney engine is "doing a great job," he said the service expects "problems downstream, because this is an aircraft program and this is an engine program."

Army, General Dynamics Commemorate Abrams Multi-Year Contract

By Ann Roosevelt

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.–Officials from General Dynamics [GD], Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command and Anniston Army Depot held a commemorative signing of last month’s award of the first increment of an Abrams tank multi-year contract award.

"The multi-year will take "435 M1A1s to the M1A2 [ System Enhancement Package] SEP V2 version vehicles," Peter McVey, vice president Abrams and Derivatives for General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), said last week at the Association of the United States Army winter symposium here.

The multi-year is likely to save some $68.3 million for the Army, with another $50 million in bundling parts from other Abrams contracts, which results in savings from economies of scale, he said. Overall, the service will save more than $110 million.

"We’re also celebrating this great partnership with the Army we call P3, public private partnership," McVey said, as GDLS President, David Heebner, TACOM Commander, Maj. Gen. William "Mike" Lenaers, Program Executive Officer Ground Combat Systems Kevin Fahey and Anniston Army Depot Commander Col. Sherry Keller gathered for photos and signed a large poster.

The contract was actually signed Feb. 5. The first increment will upgrade 20 Abrams to the M1A2 SEP V2 configuration, and is valued at $39 million.

The M1A2 SEP V2 is the most technologyically advanced digital tank. McVey said the Abrams M1A2 Sep V2 configuration means things such as second generation forward looking infrared for the gunner and commander, color screens and a new computer with more memory, auxillary power and a tank-infantry phone. The V2 also adds six more batteries to the current number for silent watch.

In addition, the upgrade is important because it can accommodate future technology improvements to ensure compatibility with the Future Combat Systems.

The Army is looking at further versions, up to V4, he said, with capabilities being considered by the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Lenaers said, "It’s all about teamwork in making this happen–to take care of soldiers and keep the Abrams relevant well into the future. Because even as we have Future Combat System it will become the current system, but it will fight alongside the Abrams tank and other combat vehicles that we have out there. So it’s absolutely vital that we do this. And we have a great team effort, General Dynamics and the depots, led by our PMs."

The multi-year contract is important in solidifying the partnership with General Dynamics over the next five years, Fahey said. "It saves money, and promotes flexibility and responsiveness," and provides stability for subcontractors. The multi-year award also endorses work already being done in the partnership between Anniston Army Depot and General Dynamics.

Additionally, Keller said the partnership is a centerpiece for partnership capability and technology initiatives.

The multi-year procurement was approved in the FY 2009 president’ budget request and commits to procurement at a significant cost break. The multi-year contracts are funded annually.

Independent Review Finds New Radiation Monitors Could Improve Container Screening

By Calvin Biesecker

Deploying a next-generation radiation portal monitors for secondary screening of cargo containers at ports of entry in the United States could result in better performance versus current technologies, thereby increasing confidence in the ability to counter the threat of nuclear smuggling, the chair of an independent review panel that assessed the testing and performance of the Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP) said yesterday.

"In general, we found that the hand-held systems currently used to identify radioisotopes in cargo are characterized by wide variations in performance," George Thompson, chair of the ASP Independent Review Team (IRT), told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cyber Security, Science and Technology. "The ASP could–if it performs in the field as intended, and if appropriate standard operating procedures are developed–substantially reduce these variations in performance and thus reduce some key uncertainties in the nation’s ability to counter the threat of nuclear smuggling."

Thompson is also the deputy director for plans and programs at the Homeland Security Institute, which provides the Department of Homeland Security with independent technical advice. The IRT was tasked by DHS Secretary Chertoff last summer to review the ASP program to help him make a decision on whether to certify that the new technology provides a sufficient increase in capability over current generation radiation portal monitors deployed at the nation’s points of entry.

Currently deployed portal monitors can’t distinguish between potentially threatening sources of radiation and naturally occurring radioactive materials, which results in frequent nuisance alarms, which in turn means more containers being sent off to secondary screening to resolve the alarm. Not only does this require more manpower to resolve the alarms, it slows commerce.

Thompson’s review team, which included a number of experts in the science of nuclear detection and DoD test and evaluation, also assessed the testing approach for the ASPs, which had come under fire last fall from the Government Accountability Office for being rigged by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), the DHS agency responsible for overseeing the development and production of nuclear detection equipment (Defense Daily, Sept. 19, 2007).

The IRT report found several areas where testing could be improved, including "a broader characterization of system performance and a stronger linkage between test results and operational outcomes," Thompson said. However, while the report found the ASP test procedures used by DNDO last year to be "not ideal, we did not find any evidence that the test results were thereby biased or manipulated," he said.

The independent panel focused on potential ASP performance in the secondary screening role in part because as of last fall DHS’ initial deployments of the systems would be for secondary inspections, Thompson said. He added that test data so far isn’t sufficient to review system performance in the primary screening role.

Vayl Oxford, director of DNDO, said limiting the review of ASP’s benefits to just the secondary inspection mode misses the economic and time benefits the technology would provide in the primary screening role.

"In the long term, DNDO and CBP expect that the greatest benefits of ASP technologies will be in these primary scanning operations, where DNDO testing at NYCT (New York Container Terminal) has already shown that ASP systems may reduce nuisance alarm rates by more than a factor of 10," Oxford said in his prepared remarks. "A reduction of secondary referral rates of this magnitude, when averaged over the entire volume of cargo containers entering the U.S. annually, would potentially result in hundreds of thousands fewer secondary inspections required each year. The savings that the elimination of these inspections would have in the efficient processing of trade and manpower resources of CBP should not be ignored in what is argued to be a ‘system-of-systems’ analysis."

Oxford also touched on some of the ASP test results from last year, saying the new systems demonstrated more sensitivity to representative plutonium sources and performed better than current portal monitors. He also said that current systems alarmed at higher rates than ASPs for medical and industrial isotopes, adding that CBP now wants industrial sources to be referred to secondary screening. Oxford said those revisions have been made to the ASP algorithms.

Last fall DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff postponed a decision on certifying the ASPs until later this year based on concerns of Customs and Border Protection, which will be the main users of the systems (Defense Daily, Nov. 16, 2007). CBP has said that it doesn’t have issues with the technology, only that it needs time to mature.

Oxford said yesterday that CBP’s two main concerns had to do with the operational use of the technology. The first concern was that some of the systems were taking hours to reboot after powering down instead of the one to seven minutes required depending on whether they are using natural background readings already in the system or are collecting new background. CBP also wants their supervisory computer to at each port of entry to be able to control four traffic lanes with ASPs, which is a "broadening of the requirement" from the original one lane, he said.

Three companies, Canberra Industries, Raytheon [RTN], and Thermo Fisher Scientific [TMO] have been developing their respective versions of ASP for DNDO.

CoVant Acquires Bomb Disposal, WMD, Experts A-T Solutions

By Calvin Biesecker

CoVant, a private equity partnership firm founded in late 2006, said yesterday it has made its first acquisition, A-T Solutions, Inc., which provides analytical and training services in explosives ordnance awareness and disposal, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) awareness, and homeland security preparedness to DoD, homeland security and even commercial customers.

A-T, which is based in Fredericksburg, Va., has been focused on "right of boom" activities, but they are moving to "left of boom in trying to detect and deter" terrorism, Joseph Kampf, CoVant’s CEO, told Defense Daily. Various United States government agencies have been working more on the detect and deter side of terrorism and that is where a lot of money is going to be spent in the future, he said. In addition, Kampf said other governments are also moving in this direction.

To play in the "left of boom" area, Kampf said, A-T will "use the information collected from an information technology (IT) perspective, in a data management system, analyze it, disseminate it, and track terrorists around the world so we can defeat their ability to use these kinds of devices, not only IEDs (improvised explosive devices) but all kinds of WMDs, including chemical, biological, nuclear, etcetera."

With CoVant’s backing, A-T will be able to deliver its capabilities to more customers in homeland security and defense, Kampf said.

The acquisition is the first by CoVant, which is targeting emerging technology companies in the defense, homeland security and intelligence markets.

"We’re trying to find niches in those market spaces that relate to things like border security, let’s call that market secure ID, port security, data fusion, data management, analysis and dissemination, and the whole area of mission systems and warfighter support for the defense community, Kampf said.

Kampf is well known for his role in leading and growing the former Anteon International over an 11-year period before it was bought by General Dynamics [GD] early in 2006 for $2.1 billion (Defense Daily, Dec. 15, 2005). CoVant was formed by executives of Anteon and CI Capital Partners, which originally acquired Anteon in the mid-1990s and put Kampf in charge of the IT firm.

Anteon’s average annual growth over 11 years was 32 percent, through a combination of organic sales and acquisitions. CoVant hopes to match that type of growth over a sustained period through organic sales and acquisitions, Kampf said.

"If you sustain that kind of growth over a long period of time you create a lot of value," he said.

Kampf said the areas of the defense, homeland security and intelligence markets that CoVant will be targeting are growing at faster rates than the overall budgets for those agencies. He expects "high double-digit organic growth" over the next three to five years for CoVant.

Terms of the deal for A-T were not disclosed. A-T, which is a service disabled veteran owned small business, said in a press release last August that its 2007 sales would exceed $30 million. The company is ranked 20th in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Hot 500 list for fastest growing companies in America last year. A-T said its three-year average annual growth rate is 1,271 percent.

In the state and local arena, A-T’s customers have generally spent their own funds for the company’s services. Kampf said that going forward the company is going to be targeting some of the Department of Homeland Security’s grant funds as well.

The JIAN Group served as A-T’s financial adviser.