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February 2, 2021 | International, Aerospace

Opinion: The Innovation That Will Ensure U.S. Security In Space

Charles Beames

During the Cold War, it was not the U.S.' superior weapons or soldiers that ultimately led to the Soviet Union's capitulation. Historians record that the relative economic might of the U.S. ultimately brought the Cold War to a peaceful and conclusive end. Three decades later, the U.S. again finds itself at the dawn of what many have dubbed the “Second Space Race,” for which the U.S. ought to remain mindful of this lesson, lest it be used against us.

The West is once again threatened by a hegemonic national security rival. This time, America's archnemesis is characterized by planning for a long contest that will feature fast-forward economics, global diplomacy, military muscle and information manipulation: China, it appears, is preparing to use its economic power to win. While maintaining its deep belief in Marx's communist vision, the Chinese one-party government has fashioned a national economy that learned from the Soviet Union's mistakes. Through friendly engagement with Western economies, China strengthens its own economy and weakens the West's, nudging the world toward the worldview of the Chinese Communist Party.

What then, are the best avenues for the U.S. to win this new near-peer space competition? They are the same ones that delivered victory in the last century: free markets, real economic growth and the productivity that often follows. This time, however, we must keep in mind that our rival is a keen student that has learned from our earlier successes—and Soviet failures.

The American response must not repeat the Cold War strategy of outspending our rival in government programs. Instead, the U.S. long game must put the commercial industry first: deliberately buy goods and services from our commercial domestic market, only providing government solutions when the commercial market cannot meet requirements. Unlike other military services, there are no real “weapons” in space. Much of what the government is developing for civil and national security space needs also exists as products or services in the commercial market. By encouraging the commercial industry to grow and not competing against it, the U.S. will secure a long-term strategy leading to unrivaled space leadership.

The U.S. economy has generated growth and prosperity unmatched in human history, with billions of dollars being invested every year into profitable commercial space companies. To outpace China militarily and economically, the new administration must double down on space privatization projects like NASA's Commercial Crew and Commercial Resupply Programs started under the Obama administration. The Trump administration correctly reprioritized the importance of space for national security, but it directed too much government spending to legacy space projects and fell short in encouraging the next generation of commercial space companies.

An American “commercial first” policy for space technologies can solve government needs at the federal and state levels, which account for about half of commercial space company revenue. By prioritizing the highly competitive commercial sector, the government will bolster U.S. competitiveness without illegally subsidizing it. More important, it would reinforce the American values of free markets and open competition.

As the new administration settles in, national security political insiders are already hedging their bets on who and what will be the winners and losers of the new political cycle. This is especially true for the space sector, not only because it was an area of significant emphasis during the last administration but also because there continues to be significant private investment and anticipated growth in the area.

The unrelenting march of the knowledge economy and remarkable utility of the commercial space industry is limited only to our imaginations. The new U.S. Space Force and other civil space agencies will be better positioned if they leverage the burgeoning industry and do not overshadow it with government alternatives. If, however, the government decides to compete against the private sector with its top-down directed design methods and protocols, our commercial industry will be lost to China, much like the drone market was just a decade ago.

Economic dominance in the space industry, not space weapons, will ultimately decide which side defines the 21st-century space domain and the national security implications that come with it. America must strategically rethink policies that will take advantage of, rather than compete against, its blossoming commercial space industry. Getting space policy right—commercial industry first and using government solutions only when necessary—will lead to explosive growth. Getting policy wrong? Well, just ask the Soviets.

Charles Beams is executive chairman and chief strategy officer of Colorado-based York Space Systems and chairman of the SmallSat Alliance.

https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/commercial-space/opinion-innovation-will-ensure-us-security-space

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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - October 2, 2018

    October 3, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - October 2, 2018

    ARMY Center for Disease Detection, San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $59,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for medical laboratory testing services. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2024. U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity, San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity (W81K04-19-D-0003). NAVY EMCOR Government Services Inc., Arlington, Virginia, was awarded a $33,076,238 modification to extend the period of performance under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N40080-10-D-0464) for base operations support at federal installations within a 100-mile radius of the National Capitol Region. The work to be performed provides for all labor, management, supervision, tools, materials and equipment required to perform facility investment services for federal installations. After award of this option, the total cumulative contract value will be $310,373,231. Work will be performed at various installations in and around the National Capitol Region. This extension covers the period from October 2018 to September 2019. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2019 Navy working capital contract funds in the amount of $23,332,381 for recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the base period of the contract extension. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Sept. 30, 2018) John C. Grimberg Co. Inc., Rockville, Maryland, was awarded a $30,824,949 firm-fixed-price contract for the renovation of the Agile Chemical Facility, Phase III at Naval Support Facility Indian Head. The work to be performed provides for the construction of an Otto Fuel II (OFII) transfer pipeline and reconfigures other piping to accommodate the new OFII piping within the Agile Chemical Facility (ACF) compound. Project constructs one building and renovates portions of the following Buildings: 775, 781, 786A, 786B, 786C, 786E, 786F, 1006, 1695, 1696, 1769, 1784, 1829, 3152, 3177, 3464, and 3790. Renovations will repurpose facilities to complete the ACF to provide a safer and more efficient process to produce the full complement of nitrate esters and related fuels. The existing control system equipment throughout the plant will be replaced with new equipment which is forward and backward compatible with the existing Siemens process control system. Project will also upgrade, integrate and consolidate heating, lighting, process piping processes for a more efficient plant operation. Work will be performed in Indian Head, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by August 2021. Fiscal 2017 military construction, (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $30,824,949 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-01(a)(iii)(A) and (B), authorizes the use of other than full and open competition when there is only one available source. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N40080-18-C-0008). (Awarded Sept. 29, 2018) The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. Inc., Greenbelt, Maryland, was awarded a $20,450,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the improvement of Fuller Road at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The work to be performed provides for the reconstruction, widening and minor realignment of existing Fuller Road from U.S. Route 1 to Mason Drive, and new entry control facility/access control point with entrance to security building(s). The security facilities include new gate house, two sentry houses, inspection shelters, a canopy structure, and personnel weather shelters. The work includes forest clearing; demolition and removals; grading; retaining walls; utility relocations; site utilities (storm drain, sanitary sewer, telecom, and power); buildings structures; vehicle inspection canopy; active vehicle barrier; and incidental related work. Work will be performed in Quantico, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by June 2020. Fiscal 2014 military construction (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $20,450,000 are obligated on this award and expired at the end of fiscal 2018. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N40080-18-C-0034). (Awarded Sept. 29, 2018) Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Aerospace Systems, Melbourne, Florida, is awarded $7,560,586 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001919F0267 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-15-G-0026). This delivery order provides for the procurement of 163 repairable spare items in support of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Work will be performed in Palmdale, California (81.96 percent); Irvine, California (4.79 percent); Ronkonkoma, New York (4.10 percent); Marlborough, Massachusetts (2.26 percent); San Diego, California (2.09 percent); Hauppauge, New York (2.07 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (2.73 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2020. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,560,586 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Diversified Service Contracting Inc.,* Dunn, North Carolina, was awarded a $7,269,740 modification to extend the period of performance under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N40080-11-D-3020) for base operations support at Patuxent River. The work to be performed provides for all labor, management, supervision, tools, materials and equipment required to perform pest services, grounds services, janitorial services, and transportation services. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $78,351,571. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland. This extension covers the period from October 2018 to September 2019. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2019 Navy working capital contract funds in the amount of $6,069,740 for recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the base period of the contract extension. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Sept. 30, 2018) AIR FORCE The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been award a $30,000,000 firm-fixed-price requirements, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity single award contract for Qatar Emiri Air Force F-15QA aircrew and maintenance courseware. The contractor will provide F-15QA aircrew and maintenance courseware, syllabi, student tracking system and program management to support the QEAF. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed Dec. 28, 2020. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $24,857,542 are being obligated at the time of award. The 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA3002-19-D-0011). Parsons Government Services, Pasadena, California, has been awarded a $17,769,011 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Agent-Based Data Analytics and Persistence Technology. The scope of this effort is to generate input data; perform data modeling; research, design, develop, and implement novel algorithms, frameworks, information management tools, data stores and services; and integrate capabilities and services into robotic and content production systems. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, and is expected to be completed Sept. 28, 2023. This award is a result of a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $10,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity (FA8750-18-C-0138). (Awarded Sept. 28, 2018) Motorola Solutions Inc., Linthicum Heights, Maryland, has been awarded a $16,348,704 contract for performing a land mobile radio trunking system technology refresh. This contract provides for updating and replacing outdated technology on Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Space Command land mobile radio trunking systems across 23 Air Force bases. Work will be performed in Eglin, Illinois, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 28, 2019. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $16,348,704 are being obligated at the time of award. The 21st Contracting Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity (FA251718C7005). (Awarded Sept. 28, 2018) AeroVironment Inc. has been awarded a $13,000,000, single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, for Raven RQ-11B small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS). This contract satisfies recurring requirements for RQ-11B SUAS, spares kits, ancillary equipment, and recurring related training. The location of performance is U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility which includes Central America, South America and the Caribbean nations. The work is expected to be completed by Sept. 28, 2023. This award is the result of a non-competitive acquisition and one offer was received. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,800,000 is being obligated at the time of award. Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity (FA4890-18-D-0010). (Awarded Sept. 30, 2018) GSD&M Idea City LLC, Austin, Texas, has been awarded a $9,870,088 task order modification against a previously awarded requirements contract for national television advertising. The contractor will provide online and television media in support of the Air Force Recruiting Service television campaign for calendar year 2018. Work will be performed in Austin, Texas, and is expected to be completed March 29, 2019. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $9,870,088 are being obligated at the time of award. The 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA3002-08-D-0019). (Awarded Sept. 29, 2018) ACE World Companies, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $7,290,103, firm-fixed-price contract for four Aerial Work Platforms. The contractor will provide all equipment, labor, transportation, tools, consumables, design, fabrication, delivery, assembly, installation, inspection, testing, training, and documentation for the four Aerial Work Platforms. Work will be performed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by April 28, 2020. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Capital improvement funds in the amount of $7,290,103 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity (FA8125-18-C-0015). (Awarded Sept. 30, 2018) CORRECTION: A Sept. 27, 2018, announcement that Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa (FA8540-18-D-0018), was awarded a $28,914,642 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for the Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Receiver was incorrectly posted. The contract was awarded Sept. 28, 2018. DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY Leidos, Reston, Virginia, was awarded a five-year, $21,208,213, firm-fixed-price task order (HHSN316201200044W) utilizing the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center contract tool. This contract providesshared services to support current and future infrastructure for enterprise data transport and data processing, and performance and performance management operations for the Defense Health Agency Health Information Technology Directorate, Infrastructure and Operations Division. In addition, the contract will develop engineering and performance monitoring supporting optimization of networks. This award was open competition with two quotes received. Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Sept. 28, 2018) Tuknik Government, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded a five-year, $7,137,145, firm-fixed-price task order (HT001-18-C-0030) through the U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program. This contract supports the Medical Circuit Management Program in the Military Health System, Defense Health Agency Information Technology division. Contract supports communications, telephone switches and computing infrastructure required to maintain the Military Health System circuits worldwide. The base year of $1,614,917 is being funded with fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds. This award is a non-competitive direct 8(a) acquisition. Place of performance is Falls Church. Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Sept. 28, 2018) *Small Business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1650791/

  • It will be at least a decade before Canada sees any of its new frigates

    February 15, 2021 | International, Naval

    It will be at least a decade before Canada sees any of its new frigates

    New frigates are being packed with more combat capability than comparable ships of allies Murray Brewster It will be 2031, at the earliest, before the navy sees the first of its new frigates; a setback brought about partly by the fact Canada, Britain and Australia are still feeling their way around how to build the ultra-modern warship. The outgoing president of Irving Shipbuilding Inc., which is in charge of constructing combat ships for the federal government, said he anticipates steel will be cut on the first of the new generation high-end warships by mid-2024. "We have been trying to take an honest look at where we are and what it will take to build the ship," said Kevin McCoy who recently announced his retirement from the East Coast shipbuilder. The current estimate is that it will take up to seven-and-a-half years to build the surface combatant, a timeline being used by Britain's BAE Systems Inc., which is constructing the first of what's known as the Type 26 design. Both Canada and Australia are building their own variants. "Early on [in the shipbuilding process] estimates are not very good," said McCoy. "Early estimates are not very good for price; they're not very good for size; they're not not very good for duration," McCoy said. "The British ship has a seven-and-a-half year build cycle. So, we're locked in. We said our build cycle will be seven-and-a-half years as well." If they can find ways to speed up the process, they will, he said. ANALYSIS Battle of the budget: DND gears up to defend cost of new warships in the new year Serving military member sues DND over mould exposure on warship Ottawa awards $2.4B contract to finish building navy's supply ships If that timeline holds, it means the federal government's marquee shipbuilding strategy will be two decades old by the time it produces the warship it was principally set up to create. While Irving has been pumping out smaller, less complicated arctic patrol ships and Seaspan, in Vancouver, is building coast guard and science vessels, the strategy conceived by the former Conservative government was driven by the necessity of replacing the navy's current fleet of Halifax-class frigates. Originally, when the shipbuilding strategy was unveiled, it envisioned Canada receiving the first new frigate in 2017. A lot of water, wishful thinking and even money has gone under the bridge since then. Building off existing design The current Liberal government, since taking over in 2015 and embracing the strategy, has been opaque in its public estimates of the build time; suggesting, in some documents, a delivery time in mid-2020s while other more internal records have pegged the first new frigate in the 2027 timeframe. The Department of National Defence, in a statement, acknowledged some of the design and build intricacies are now better understood, and because of that; the first warship will be "approximately 2-3 years later than the previous estimate." A spokeswoman echoed McCoy's remarks about finding ways to move construction along. "We continue to look for efficiencies and are actively working with industry to accelerate the project in order to deliver this important platform to the RCN as soon as possible," said National Defence spokesperson Jessica Lamirande. One of the ways they could do that, she said, would be to construct some, less complex modules of the warship early, the way it has been in the navy's Joint Support Ship project at Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyard. $1 billion and counting: Inside Canada's troubled efforts to build new warships Industry briefing questions Ottawa's choice of guns, defence systems for new frigates McCoy, a blunt-talking former U.S. Navy admiral, suggested the expectations going to the surface combatant program were ultimately unworkable because the federal government came in expecting to do a so-called "clean sheet" design; meaning a warship built completely from scratch. It was the shipyard, he said, which ultimately inched the federal government toward building off an existing design because of the enormous risk and expense of purpose-built ships, a position the Liberals adopted in the spring of 2016. The selection of the British Type 26 design by the Liberal government has spawned criticism, a court challenge and will figure prominently in upcoming reports by the auditor general and the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Combat capability packed into ship The nub of the complaints have been that the frigate is not yet in the water and is still under construction in the United Kingdom. The defence department acknowledged that adapting the British design to Canadian expectations and desires will take a year longer than originally anticipated and is now not scheduled to be completed until late 2023, early 2024. Canada, McCoy said, can expect to pay no more $2.5 billion to $3 billion, per ship as they are produced, which is, he claimed, about what other nations would pay for a warship of similar capability. "This is a big ship, lots of capability" he said, indicating that full displacement for the new frigate will likely be about 9,400 tonnes; almost double the 4,700 tonnes of the current Halifax-class. How much will Canada's new frigates really cost? The navy is about to find out PBO pushes up cost estimate for Canada's frigate build by $8 billion McCoy said what is not generally understood amid the public concern over scheduling and cost is the fact that the Canadian version of the Type 26 will be expected to do more than its British and Australian cousins. Where those navies have different warships, performing different functions, such as air defence or anti-submarine warfare, Canada's one class of frigates will be expected to perform both because that is what the government has called for in its requirements. Dave Perry, a defence analyst and vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, has studied the program and said he was surprised at the amount of combat capability that was being packed into the new warship. "On the one hand, Canada's one [class] of ship will have more combat capability than many of the other classes of ship that our friends and allies sail with, but it also adds an additional level of complexity and challenge getting all of that gear, all of that firepower into one single floating hull and platform," he said. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-shipbuilding-decade-frigates-1.5912961

  • Northrop Adopts Lean-Agile for Development of F-16 AESA Radar Software

    July 15, 2021 | International, C4ISR

    Northrop Adopts Lean-Agile for Development of F-16 AESA Radar Software

    Northrop Adopts Lean-Agile for Development of F-16 AESA Radar Software

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