The Insider

By Briana Reilly
January 18, 2022 at 3:42 PM

Col. Eric Felt, director of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate, will be joining the Space Force in July to help shape the service's acquisition function, AFRL announced today. 

Poised to serve as the Space Force’s deputy executive director for the Space Architecture, Science and Technology Directorate, Felt’s new role will be positioned under the space service acquisition executive, according to the press release. 

In the job, the release states, “Felt will support the development of space architecture and associated technology, working with the service’s field units and communicating the Space Force’s acquisition needs to Congress.”  

Taking over for Felt at AFRL will be Col. Jeremy Raley, part of the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. A change-of-command ceremony is slated to take place at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, in mid-July, per the release. Felt has headed the Space Vehicles Directorate since July 2018. 

By Charlie Mitchell
January 18, 2022 at 2:34 PM

House Armed Services cyber subcommittee Chairman James Langevin (D-RI), whose record includes landmark pieces of cyber legislation as well as the influential work of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, has announced he will retire at the end of the year.

“Like I promised when I first ran for office, I have done my best to stand up for you and your families. But after serving the people of Rhode Island for over three decades – including 11 terms and nearly 22 years in Congress -- today, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for elected office this November,” according to a statement posted today by the Providence Journal

Langevin, the first quadriplegic elected to Congress, said, “I am so proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together. I worked tirelessly to protect and advance the rights of Americans with disabilities, and I’ve worked across the aisle to invest in job training, apprenticeships, and career and technical education.”

Langevin said on cyber: “I led the efforts in Congress to strengthen our cybersecurity, and I stewarded dozens of Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommendations into law, including the establishment of the first-ever National Cyber Director.”

Langevin is a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the Armed Services cyber subcommittee, and has played an essential role in securing inclusion of far-reaching cyber proposals in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, such as the language creating the Solarium Commission in the Fiscal Year 2019 NDAA. 

He is currently closely engaged in efforts to pass an incident reporting law for critical infrastructure operators.

Langevin’s retirement plans follow the announcement last week by House Homeland Security ranking member John Katko (R-NY) that he will not seek re-election.

“In the last four days, cyber policy has lost two of its most important and vocal advocates. Man, these retirements hurt,” tweeted Michael Hettinger of Hettinger Strategy Group.

By John Liang
January 18, 2022 at 1:33 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Blue Origin's work on U.S. Transportation Command's space cargo effort, a recent Israeli missile defense intercept test and more.

Blue Origin is the latest company to ink a cooperative research and development agreement with U.S. Transportation Command surrounding its space cargo effort:

Blue Origin to examine both technical feasibility and economics of space cargo work

As Blue Origin explores point-to-point space cargo transport under a newly signed deal with U.S. Transportation Command, the company is setting its sights on both a technically viable and "economically feasible" solution while officials consider the capability's military potential. 

Israel says it successfully completed an Arrow-3 missile defense intercept test:

Israel claims Arrow weapon test success, refuses to disclose salient details

Israel today conducted a major test of its national missile defense system, launching a pair of its most advanced guided-missile interceptors against a ballistic missile target in an event designed to assess the limits of the weapon system.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Larry Ryder, Austal’s vice president of business development and external affairs at the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium:

Austal staffing up new San Diego maintenance facility as company grows services business

Austal is adding staff to its recently acquired San Diego maintenance facility as part of the company's increased focus on its services business, according to a top executive.

More from the SNA conference:

Navy to pilot AI/ML on a destroyer this year

The Navy will pilot a program to harness artificial intelligence and machine learning on the service's "biggest lever" -- the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Capt. Scott Larson, program manager of surface ship readiness and sustainment, said Wednesday.

(Read our full coverage of the SNA conference.)

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu spoke with reporters recently about the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve:

Shyu reveals new details about upcoming rapid prototyping fund

The Pentagon's technology chief today said she intends to request less than $1 billion for 32 projects in a new rapid prototyping and experimentation fund for fiscal year 2023, though she expects Congress will also appropriate some money for her to jump-start the effort when lawmakers ultimately pass an FY-22 budget.

News on the effect of the ongoing continuing resolution on the Marine Corps:

CR slowing Navy maintenance, hurting Marine Corps communication with industry

Congress' inability to reach a budget agreement is hurting the Marine Corps' communication with industry and slowing Navy maintenance, service officials said Thursday.

By Aidan Quigley
January 18, 2022 at 12:27 PM

The continuing resolution is slowing the launch of the Navy's Future Vertical Lift analysis of alternatives, a program spokeswoman told Inside Defense Friday.

Navy spokeswoman Megan Wasel said the enactment of the continuing resolution and the timing of documentation submission has led to the delays in launching the analysis of alternatives.

The materiel development decision that will precede the nine-month analysis of alternatives was expected last fall 

Wasel said the program has submitted the documentation for the materiel development decision to the Navy’s acquisition chief.

The continuing resolution, which is in effect through Feb. 18, has had wide-ranging effects on the Navy.

The Navy is seeking the future vertical lift capability with maritime strike to replace its current fleet of MH-60R/S helicopters and MQ-8B/C unmanned air vehicles. 

Despite the delays, Wasel said no impacts to the materiel solutions analysis phase are anticipated. 

By Ethan Sterenfeld
January 18, 2022 at 11:01 AM

QinetiQ has hired Shawn Purvis as the CEO of its U.S. operations, the company announced Jan. 17.

Purvis currently manages Northrop Grumman Enterprise Services, which provides digital infrastructure and security services for Northrop employees, according to the announcement.

“As CEO of QinetiQ US, Shawn will be responsible for the complete operations of the business while transforming QinetiQ US into a world class provider of innovative defense and security solutions,” the announcement states.

QinetiQ, which is based in the United Kingdom, has provided robotic vehicles and small robots for the U.S. Army.

By John Liang
January 18, 2022 at 10:56 AM

The Defense Business Board will hold its next meeting on Feb. 2, according to a notice in this morning's Federal Register.

In addition to remarks by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the board will get "a briefing on Energy Reform from Mr. Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy & Environment Resilience," the notice reads.

By Tony Bertuca
January 17, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several virtual events this week.

Monday

Martin Luther King holiday.

Tuesday

The Air Force Association hosts a discussion with Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.

Wednesday

The Center for a New American Security hosts a virtual discussion with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on price gouging in military contracts.

Thursday

The Space Force Association holds a Space Warfighter Talk with Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, head of Space Operations Command.

By John Liang
January 14, 2022 at 2:21 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve, hypersonic testing and more.

Heidi Shyu, the under secretary of defense for research and engineering, spoke with reporters this week about the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve:

Shyu reveals new details about upcoming rapid prototyping fund

The Pentagon's technology chief today said she intends to request less than $1 billion for 32 projects in a new rapid prototyping and experimentation fund for fiscal year 2023, though she expects Congress will also appropriate some money for her to jump-start the effort when it ultimately passes an FY-22 budget.

The Navy this week made public a solicitation issued by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane -- on behalf of the Defense Department and Navy Hypersonics Advanced Capability program -- that was initially available only to cleared contractors for "Affordable Full-Scale Hypersonic Test Series":

DOD aims to accelerate hypersonic testing with monthly flight tests, drive costs down

The Defense Department is looking to dramatically increase the pace and reduce the cost of hypersonic technology testing, eyeing a new advanced capability project that would execute monthly launches for about $15 million per event -- less than one-tenth the cost of past major events -- to “fail fast and learn” and accelerate fielding of improved weapons.

News on the effect of the ongoing continuing resolution on the Marine Corps:

CR slowing Navy maintenance, hurting Marine Corps communication with industry

Congress' inability to reach a budget agreement is hurting the Marine Corps' communication with industry and slowing Navy maintenance, service officials said Thursday.

Inside Defense this week interviewed Larry Ryder, Austal’s vice president of business development and external affairs, at the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium:

Austal staffing up new San Diego maintenance facility as company grows services business

Austal is adding staff to its recently acquired San Diego maintenance facility as part of the company's increased focus on its services business, a top executive told Inside Defense this week.

More coverage from the SNA symposium:

Navy to pilot AI/ML on a destroyer this year

The Navy will pilot a program to harness artificial intelligence and machine learning on the service's "biggest lever" -- the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Capt. Scott Larson, program manager of surface ship readiness and sustainment, said Wednesday.

Heckl: Marine Corps could further cut end strength to fund modernization

The Marine Corps may further cut its end strength to fund its Force Design 2030 effort, a top Marine Corps official said Thursday.

(Read our full coverage of the SNA conference.)

By Evan Ochsner
January 14, 2022 at 12:24 PM

The Army next month will provide industry with information about the problems and scenarios to be featured in Project Convergence 22, according to a spokeswoman.

The virtual event, scheduled for Feb. 24, will provide a non-classified, “high-level view of the types of scenarios we are looking at,” Army Futures Command spokeswoman Robyn Mack said in an email. Registration information is not yet available, she said.

Presentation slides accompanying an Army announcement of the event indicate those scenarios will feature gap crossings, mid-range fires, asset protection and sustainment lines.

“If industry has some kind of technology that might improve our seeing, deciding or acting - they are welcome, and encouraged to engage with the Army,” Mack said in an email. Combat Capabilities Development Command is the first point of contact for industry partners with proposals for PC 22, and further information will be provided at the update.

Multinational partners are expected to participate in Project Convergence for the first time this year, after the 2020 event was Army-only, and last year’s exercise featured a joint force. The United Kingdom and Australia will participate in this year’s exercise.

PC 22 will include a denied or degraded electromagnetic environment, as well as new technologies and tactics that are designed around those situations, according to an earlier Army notice. It will feature a division or brigade headquarters at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA, which will compete against an opposing force at White Sands Missile Range, NM.

By Evan Ochsner
January 14, 2022 at 9:58 AM

The Army has issued a request for information for an unmanned, long-range reconnaissance aircraft.

The Program Executive Office Aviation and Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Product Office are seeking industry input on a “Long Range Reconnaissance Small Unmanned Aircraft System for use by the United States Army to execute Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition missions during day and night operations in all environmental conditions,” according to the Jan. 7 RFI.

The sUAS system should provide full motion video via electro-optical and/or Infrared sensors and be able to mark targets with a laser device, the listing states. It should be rugged, lightweight and “ready to use as delivered with minimal logistic, training and support requirements.” It should also be capable of autonomous or single-person launch.

In the listing, the Army requested a general description of the system and a rundown of specific general attributes by Jan. 21.

By Tony Bertuca
January 13, 2022 at 2:10 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has named his senior climate adviser, Joe Bryan, as the Pentagon's new chief sustainability officer.

Bryan, whose previous title was “senior adviser to the secretary on climate,” is being “redesignated” as the CSO in keeping with a presidential executive order requiring the Defense Department to name a CSO with the “authority to implement sustainability requirements and the responsibility to report to the White House on agency progress,” according to the Pentagon.

“Though the assistant secretary of defense for sustainment was initially designated the CSO last spring, this change is being made due to the efforts required to meet existing and emerging sustainability objectives and the priority this issue holds for the administration and the department,” the Pentagon said. “As CSO, Mr. Bryan will report directly to the secretary and the deputy secretary and will represent the department on sustainability-related matters within the department and in the interagency.”

By John Liang
January 13, 2022 at 2:07 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the Surface Navy Association symposium, continuing resolutions and more.

Let's start off with the latest from the SNA conference:

Navy: SSC program to reach four deliveries per year

The Navy expects to deliver four Ship-to-Shore Connector amphibious craft per year, Capt. Scot Searles, SSC program manager, said on Wednesday.

Navy's amphib force structure study to be completed by end of March

The Navy will complete its force structure assessment on amphibious warships by the end of March, Capt. Cedric McNeal, amphibious warfare program manager, said on Wednesday.

DDG(X) program to focus on new hull design and integrated power system

The Navy is prioritizing a new hull and integrated power system for its next-generation destroyer program, according to Katie Connelly, DDG(X) deputy program manager.

Navy 'targeting' April construction start for lead frigate

The Navy is targeting an April start of construction for the first Constellation-class frigate but won't begin construction before the design is fully ready, Capt. Kevin Smith, the frigate program manager, said Tuesday.

(Read our full coverage of the SNA conference.)

We also have coverage from this week's hearing on continuing resolutions:

DOD fears yearlong CR as pressure for budget deal increases

Senior Pentagon officials today outlined the unprecedented damage they say would be done if Congress uses a stopgap spending measure to fund the Defense Department for a full year, while Democrats and Republicans exchanged barbs over who is to blame for the current budget impasse.

Stuart Wagner said during an online GovConWire panel this week he was hopeful leaders could learn lessons about available data from a recent hackathon and ways to use it:

Air Force eyes hackathon to inform buying decisions

The Air Force's chief digital transformation officer is hopeful that a recent hackathon could begin informing defense officials on how to "buy better" by leveraging collected data to shape acquisition decisions.

The Tactical High-Power Operational Responder could fill the Army's need for a high-power microwave variant of the Indirect Fire Protection Capability:

Army general: THOR has been deployed in combat

The military has forward-deployed a high-powered microwave from the Air Force in the past year to defend fixed sites against drone swarms, according to an Army official.

In an April test, C-UAS will focus on high-powered microwave technology, directed-energy technology and electronic warfare to build on existing capabilities:

DOD to prioritize non-kinetic C-UAS options in 2022

The director of Joint Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems on Wednesday said the military this year will prioritize the development of non-kinetic technologies to combat the growing threat posed by unmanned aircraft.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
January 13, 2022 at 12:43 PM

Rheinmetall has entered a joint venture with a U.S. company to supply an important part of electric vehicle systems, the German company announced Jan. 11.

The joint venture with PolyCharge, based in Tucson, AZ, will design and produce DC-link capacitors, according to a Rheinmetall press release. The capacitors ensure stable voltage when electric vehicles convert the direct current power in their batteries to the alternating current that motors use.

Most of the applications of the technology are expected in commercial automobiles, but there could be some applications for defense products, according to the press release.

“Rheinmetall is responding to the growing demand for e-mobility and green energy components, especially in the automotive parts sector but also from its military customers,” the press release stated.

Rheinmetall will also buy a 13% stake in PolyCharge, according to the company’s press release.

The Army has expressed interest in electric vehicles, including partial electrification of future combat vehicles. It has purchased hybrid-electric prototypes for the Robotic Combat Vehicle program, which can weight up to 10 tons with payloads.

Rheinmetall’s U.S. subsidiary is currently competing to build the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the replacement for the Bradley fighting vehicle, which could use a hybrid-electric powertrain. BAE Systems, which builds the Bradley, won a contract in 2020 to prototype a hybrid-electric version of the vehicle.

Allison Transmission said last year that it would supply a hybrid-electric system for Rheinmetall’s Lynx armored fighting vehicle, which is expected to serve as the basis for the company’s OMFV design.

DC-link capacitors are used in hybrid-electric powertrains in addition to fully electric systems, a Rheinmetall spokeswoman wrote in response to questions this week from Inside Defense.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
January 13, 2022 at 11:17 AM

The Army's second battery set of hypersonic missiles would be delayed by a year if Congress does not pass a new budget and funds all of fiscal year 2022 through continuing resolutions, the vice chief of staff of the Army told a congressional committee Jan. 12.

The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon’s second battery would not be fielded until FY-26, rather than the FY-25 date that is currently planned, Gen. Joseph Martin told the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee.

An initial battery of eight missiles is scheduled to be fielded in FY-23, which would make the Army the first service to field hypersonic weapons. The service finished delivering the ground equipment in September to the battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, that will operate the first battery.

A yearlong CR would not delay the fielding of that first battery, Martin said. But the service will not be able to procure as many training rounds as it plans to unless Congress passes a budget.

Martin testified alongside the Pentagon comptroller and the other service chiefs about the danger that a yearlong CR poses to the military. Under a continuing resolution, programs are funded at FY-21 levels, and new programs cannot begin.

Within the Army, 71 programs would be delayed by a yearlong CR, Martin said. That includes 29 procurement programs, 32 development programs and several industrial base modernization programs.

The service is in the middle of what the chief of staff has repeatedly called a once-in-four-decades modernization, and the lack of a budget hurts the Army’s ability to develop new platforms that can take on near-peer threats, he said.

“You can’t get back time,” Martin said. “The resources that we could have spent this year, we’re going to have to spend next year, which means it’s twice the cost. So, it’s a huge impact on our modernization and maintaining our ability to compete in the future.”

By John Liang
January 12, 2022 at 2:43 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest features reporting from this year's annual Surface Navy Association conference and more.

We begin with our coverage of the Surface Navy Association's annual conference:

Gallagher: FY-23 budget could be 'bloodbath' for Navy

Two congressional seapower leaders expressed concerns about potential cuts to the Navy's fiscal year 2023 budget Wednesday, with Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) saying he has heard the budget could be a "bloodbath" for the service.

Navy to stand up new USV command this summer

The Navy will stand up Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One this summer to shape the service's decision-making process before the acquisition of USVs, according to Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Naval Surface Forces.

Navy eyeing using LCS with Light Amphibious Warship to support Marine Corps expeditionary efforts

The Navy is considering using its Littoral Combat Ship with the Marine Corps' Light Amphibious Warship to support expeditionary advanced base operations, according to the Naval Surface Forces commander.

(Read our full coverage of the SNA conference.)

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee held a hearing this morning on continuing resolutions:

House Dem approps chairs and military chiefs raise alarm over possible full-year CR

Top Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, citing new data from senior Pentagon officials, today warned that continued congressional gridlock over the federal budget could result in lawmakers using legislation intended as a temporary spending measure to fund the federal government for a full year, doing unprecedented damage to military modernization.

The Space Development Agency has language pertaining to it in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act:

NDAA outlines some SDA AQ authorities, but broader questions remain ahead of transition

While the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act stipulates certain acquisition authorities the Space Development Agency will retain amid its move to the Space Force this coming fall, the agency's head said today officials are still hashing out the details as they await input from a key nominee.

The Army plans to test a prototype long-range cannon in the next couple years:

Long-Range Cannon prototype to be built this year

The Army will assemble a prototype of its Long-Range Cannon and move it to Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, this year, according to the director of the service's long-range precision fires cross-functional team.

Some Air Force One news:

Air Force: New VC-25B schedule baseline expected this quarter

The Air Force One recapitalization effort could see a new schedule baseline this quarter, as recent issues have pushed back the anticipated timeline for delivering the two aircraft.