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January 31, 2024 | International, Land, Security

CACI Awarded an $81 Million Task Order to Support the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

The Storefront and Dissemination Support task order will provide global IT operational, sustainment, and modernization for databases across the intelligence community and the DoD.

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  • COVID-19: Biotech Innovators Pitch Army Rapid Test Kits & More

    March 19, 2020 | International, Land

    COVID-19: Biotech Innovators Pitch Army Rapid Test Kits & More

    The Army launched its Shark Tank-style xTechSearch before coronavirus hit, but several of the small firms competing for $1.2 million in prizes are working on ways to help. WASHINGTON: A portable scanner that checks throat swabs and blood samples for dozens of different pathogens in 60 minutes. Sprayable sealant for wounds that kills germs with nanoscopic particles of silver. A mental health app that tracks the user's state and pushes out tailored tips and resources for, as an example, dealing with coronavirus-induced isolation. These were just the first three pitches I saw yesterday when I tuned in to the Army's webcast of its xTechSearch 4 pitches. Originally planned to happen before a live audience at AUSA's Global Force conference in Huntsville, they're now running online this week as a social distancing precaution. The Army already has the lion's share of the Defense Department's medical assets, since it has both the most personnel and the biggest role in humanitarian disaster response, and the service is playing a leading role in the government-wide response. It's also eagerly pursuing new technology. The 2020 edition of Army's Shark Tank-style competition for innovative technologies – with $1.7 million in prizes at stake this year, $1.2 million in this week's round alone – started long before COVID-19 broke out in Wuhan, China. But with the Army acutely interested in advanced medical science, it's understandable that several of the competitors are working on projects relevant to the coronavirus.

  • COVID closed Mexican factories that supply US defense industry. The Pentagon wants them opened.

    April 22, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    COVID closed Mexican factories that supply US defense industry. The Pentagon wants them opened.

    By: Joe Gould WASHINGTON ― Factory closures in Mexico due to the coronavirus pandemic are hurting U.S. defense firms, and the Pentagon is urging America's neighbor to the south to reopen vital suppliers. Because Mexico has not designated its aerospace and defense sector as essential, it's disrupting the supply chain for the American defense industrial base, particularly aircraft manufacturers. Though little known, Mexico's defense exports to the U.S. and beyond grew mightily over the last 15 years as defense firms large and small opened production facilities there. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said she discussed the problem with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau. She was planning a letter to Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, she said, to ask that he, “help reopen international suppliers there. “These companies are especially important for our U.S. airframe production.” The pandemic has raised broader questions about America's dependence on global supply chains, particularly its reliance on China for key medicines and supplies. A Pentagon task force set up to monitor COVID-19′s impact on military suppliers found “several pockets of closure” linked to “international dependencies,” Lord said. “Mexico right now is somewhat problematical for us but we're working through our embassy, and then there are pockets in India as well,” Lord said. More broadly, only small fractions of the Pentagon's suppliers in the U.S. have closed due to the new coronavirus and distancing measures imposed to fights its spread, but the aviation, shipbuilding and small space launch subsectors have been hardest hit by disruptions from the virus, Lord said. The Pentagon is using $250 million from last month's emergency stimulus funding to bolster defense firms, and it will funnel another $750 million to medical resources. The Defense Department is also working with the White House budget office to request “billions and billions” of dollars in future fiscal packages to cover schedule delays, accelerated progress payments and other costs, Lord said. A Pentagon spokesman declined to provide details about the products and companies impacted by the Mexican factory closures, and said Lord's letter to Ebrard was not being shared publicly because it contained sensitive information. A 2013 United States International Trade Commission report noted that General Electric, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and Eurocopter were among more than a dozen U.S. firms of various sizes that opened Mexican subsidiaries ― all part of a Mexican aerospace export boom. Mexico's growth was fueled by its lower manufacturing costs, duty-free access to markets through the North American Free Trade Agreement, a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement with the U.S., and by Mexican government subsidies and workforce development efforts. According to the Mexican Federation of Aerospace Industries, or FEMIA, Mexico's aerospace exports rocketed from $1.3 billion in 2004 to $9.6 billion last year. Lizcano said Mexico manufactures everything from avionics, to landing gear and fuselages, and it's in the top ten overseas suppliers to the U.S. aerospace and defense sector. But coronavirus is blunting Mexico aerospace growth, and it is reverberating across its economy. Mexico's Labor Department said this month that the country had lost 346,748 jobs since mid-March due to the economic impact of the new coronavirus. FEMIA is arguing publicly that its government should designate Mexico's aerospace and defense sector as “essential,” to synchronize with the U.S. and Canada, its general manager, Luis Lizcano, told Defense News. It's also coordinating with its trade association counterparts in the U.S. and Canada. “What we're asking is that we standardize in this sector because we're going to break with supply chains with OEMs for commercial and defense aircraft,” Lizcano said. The U.S.-based Aerospace Industries Association had a similar argument: “Maintaining the free flow of goods and services between the United States, Canada, and Mexico is vital to our nation's economy and to our industry," AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning said in a statement. He hailed the recent United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as aid to that goal. “However, this certainty is currently threatened by disruptions in America's common aerospace and defense supply chain affecting companies of all shapes and sizes. To restore certainty and keep goods and services moving, all levels of government within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico must work together to provide clear, coordinated, and direct guidance about how best to protect our workers, while ensuring aerospace and defense is declared an ‘essential' function in all three countries. "A unified North American approach helps ensure critical operations will continue under some of the strictest health and safety standards in the world and offer much-needed stability during this crisis.” On Monday, the CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association, retired Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, said the increasingly global nature of some American defense supply chains cannot and should not be reversed. The U.S. ought to keep its suppliers diversified, he said, to avoid choke points overseas. “What you don't want are single points of failure where if something happened in that country, it couldn't produce,” Carlisle said. “You have [to have] multiple, avenues to supply that capability. Some may be internal, and you can have more than one nation external.”

  • Le premier contrat de R&T du SCAF (avion de combat du futur) passe au grill du Bundestag

    February 12, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    Le premier contrat de R&T du SCAF (avion de combat du futur) passe au grill du Bundestag

    Par Michel Cabirol Le premier contrat de Recherche et Technologie du programme SCAF (Système de combat aérien du futur) doit être approuvé mercredi en principe par le Bundestag. Un contrat qui s'élève à 155 millions d'euros au total et financé à parité par la France et l'Allemagne. Le programme Système de combat d'avion du futur (SCAF) est sur la piste d'envol. Et c'est le Bundestag, le parlement allemand, qui a bizarrement (constitution allemande oblige) le "Go" entre ses mains pour faire décoller ce programme européen (Allemagne, France et Espagne) vital pour la souveraineté européenne. Traversé par les jeux de la politique intérieure allemande et ouvert aux influences industrielles ainsi qu'à une volonté propre de peser sur ces grands programmes franco-allemands, le Bundestag devra donc approuver ou pas mercredi le premier contrat de R&T (Recherche et technologie) du SCAF. Enfin, il ne faut pas non plus négliger le fait que le ministère de la Défense puisse jouer en sous-main avec le Parlement allemand en vue de négocier de nouvelles contreparties avec la France. Une chose est sure, le SCAF est prévu à l'ordre du jour du Bundestag de mercredi. C'est ce qui a été décidé mais le suspense est garanti jusqu'au tout dernier moment, le dossier pourrait être retiré par le gouvernement de l'ordre du jour si les recommandations du Parlement sur ce contrat donnaient lieu à de nouvelles surenchères. Il y a peu de temps encore, le gouvernement d'Angela Merkel était plutôt confiant sur ce calendrier. "Mais la prudence reste donc de mise", explique-t-on à Paris. Si tout a été négocié aux petits oignons par les étatiques (ministères des Armées et de la Défense) et les industriels, il est encore possible que des jeux politiques internes allemands parasitent le vote du contrat au Bundestag. "Mesdames et messieurs les parlementaires du Bundestag, votre vote dans quelques jours sur le démonstrateur du SCAF, aura une importance décisive, et enverra un signal politique fort, sur la volonté de nos deux pays de construire l'Europe de la défense", avait lancé à Strasbourg le 5 février la ministre des Armées, Florence Parly en conclusion de son discours devant l'Assemblée parlementaire franco-allemande. Un contrat signé en décembre en attente du Bundestag Le travail entre les étatiques français et allemands a été bien fait (tout est parfaitement équilibré dans le programme entre la France et l'Allemagne) et plutôt rapidement. D'autant que le contrat a été déjà signé en décembre par les industriels, qui se sont mis d'accord sur le devis. Un contrat qui sera mis en vigueur bien évidemment sous réserve d'acceptation du Bundestag. Quel est ce dossier qui va passer mercredi au grill des parlementaires allemands ? C'est un contrat de R&T de 155 millions d'euros (soit 148 millions pour la tranche ferme et 7 millions pour la tranche optionnelle), financé à parité par la France et l'Allemagne (77,5 millions d'euros chacun) et d'une durée de 18 mois. Ce contrat porte sur l'ensemble des cinq piliers du programme (avion, moteur, combat collaboratif connecté, drones et coordination du programme). Il doit faire travailler les industriels ensemble sur les technologies ainsi que sur leur maturation avec l'ambition de développer des démonstrateurs à l'horizon de 2026. Deux dossiers du SCAF (capteurs et furtivité) ont été remis à plus tard. Un premier contrat dit d'études de concept de 65 millions d'euros financé à parité avait signé en janvier 2019 avec une tranche ferme et une tranche optionnelle qui a été affermie fin octobre. Vers un contrat de démonstrateurs Ce premier contrat de R&T doit logiquement amener les industriels vers un deuxième contrat plus ambitieux, qui reste encore à définir par la France et l'Allemagne. Il doit être signé entre mi-21 et mi-22 et permettra avec des financements plus importants d'aller encore plus loin dans les travaux communs en vue de réaliser des démonstrateurs, dont notamment l'avion, le moteur, les drones et le combat collaboratif connecté. "Il y aura une stratégie complète de démonstration", souligne-t-on à La Tribune. Le montant de ce futur contrat devrait s'élever à plus de 1 milliard d'euros au moins. Tout dépendra si la phase de démonstration est saucissonnée en plusieurs tranches comme le voudrait le Bundestag afin de contrôler au plus serré le programme SCAF et donc peser sur le discussions entre la France et l'Allemagne. Au total, l'Allemagne et la France devront mettre plusieurs milliards d'euros. Et là, le programme deviendra irréversible, ce qui affaiblira le pouvoir de nuisance du Bundestag. Mais d'ici là, la course de haies va se poursuivre pour les Français face aux Allemands, qui n'auront de cesse de vouloir se renforcer et acquérir des compétences qu'ils n'ont pas pour devenir la première industrie aérospatiale européenne.

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