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April 24, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

Pentagon creates new position to help guide software acquisition, F-35 development


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is creating a new position to help formulate its software strategy and ensure it keeps pace with commercial advancements — and the most important resposiblity will be overseeing the F-35 joint strike fighter’s agile software strategy.

During a Friday roundtable with reporters, Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, announced that she has tapped Jeff Boleng to the newly created position of special assistant for software acquisition.

Boleng, currently the acting chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, will start April 16 as a member of Lord’s team.

“Jeff Boleng will spend over 90 percent of his time on F-35. He is going to be the individual who is working amongst all of the groups to enable us to bring the right talent onboard,” Lord said.

“We have a challenge, I think both within the JPO [F-35 joint program office] as well as Lockheed Martin, in terms of getting a critical mass of contemporary software skill sets to begin to move in the direction we want to.”

As the F-35 joint program office embarks on a new strategy called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, or C2D2, which involves introducing agile software development, Lord wants to ensure that both the JPO and Lockheed have employees with the right training to execute the effort and that they can attract new professionals with additional software expertise.

“This is something that [Lockheed CEO] Marillyn Hewson and I have talked about,” she said. “Lockheed Martin has some excellent software capability throughout the corporation. My expectation is that they’re going to leverage that on the F-35. And as we within the Department of Defense really increase our capability for software development focused on C2D2, our expectation is that Lockheed Martin will do the exact same thing.

“So they have the capability. I’m very energized about the leadership focus that I have seen in the last four to eight weeks, so I have great expectations that that will continue and that Lockheed Martin will keep pace or outpace DoD in terms of modernization for F-35 software development.”

Boleng, a former cyberspace operations officer and software engineer who served more than 20 years with the Air Force, last held the position of teaching computer science at the Air Force Academy before moving to the private sector.

At Carnegie Mellon, he is responsible for spearheading the institutes research and development portfolio, which includes software development, data analytics and cyber security activities in support of the Defense Department.

As the special assistant for software acquisition, he will help develop department-wide software development standards and policies and “advise department leadership on latest best practices in commercial software development.”

Boleng will also interface with Pentagon organizations charged with ramping up the department’s software prowess such as Defense Digital Services, a small group of former private-sector tech professionals who led the department’s “Hack the Pentagon” events and have conducted a few assessments of F-35 software.

That starts with a meeting today between Lord, Boleng and a Defense Innovation Board group centered on software acquisition, which has been embedded both with the joint program office and Lockheed Martin, Lord said.

On the same subject

  • Northrop Grumman Says It Will Walk Away From Cluster Bomb Contract

    January 29, 2021 | International, Land

    Northrop Grumman Says It Will Walk Away From Cluster Bomb Contract

    The company's CEO says the decision is part of a move to "be thoughtful about potential human rights implications" of its products. Northrop Grumman said Thursday that it would walk away from a U.S. government cluster bomb contract as the company moves to distance itself from the deadly weapons commonly associated with civilian casualties. The contract involves the “testing of cluster munition components” and is “structured to help remove cluster munitions safely,” Northrop CEO Kathy Warden said on her company's quarterly earnings call on Thursday. The company does not make cluster munitions, which are air or ground-launched bombs that contain submunitions that spread indiscriminately over a wide area. Unexploded weapons from wars decades ago are still killing civilians. “We recognize that even supporting an area like cluster munitions for investors is of concern, because safe removal implies that at one point there was an embracing of the use of these products,” she said. “When we look at our portfolio, we are going to continue to recognize, we support our government and our allies in the important work of enabling our troops to do their work, but at the same time, be thoughtful about potential human rights implications, and how these technologies may be used in the future and provides equal consideration to safeguards associated with them.” With Democrats now controlling the White House and Congress, Warden used the earnings call to tout the company’s environment, sustainability, and workforce-diversification efforts. “When we look through the lens of sustainability at our portfolio, we look at not only what capability we're providing, but how it's being used, or how we expect the customer to use that capability going forward,” she said. Still, Warden said, she expects no “significant changes” to the company’s portfolio. Her comments come as the Biden administration has reportedly frozen several controversial weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Trump administration cleared multibillion-deals to sell F-35 stealth fighters and armed drones to UAE. It also reportedly approved a $500 million deal that would have allowed Raytheon to sell smart bombs to Saudi Arabia. Earlier this week, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said he expects the Biden administration to block that deal. “Generally speaking, when it comes to arms sales, it is typical at the start of an administration to review any pending sales to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Wednesday. “So that’s what we’re doing at this moment.” Saudi and UAE airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen’s civil war, according to UN reports.“We already have a portfolio where we have looked through that lens in making decisions about where we invest and what work we undertake,” she said. “This was just one small contract that came to us through the acquisition, and we've made a decision to stop performing in that area.” Northrop’s decision to abandon the contract represents “a symbol of the stigma attached to these weapons,” said Jeff Abramson, coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition. “Investors have gotten a lot of pressure not to invest in companies touching cluster munitions,” he said. Warden said Northrop would walk away from the cluster munition “surveillance” contract by the end of the year. “A stockpile surveillance program is a continuing process of testing of a stockpile to track its reliability as it sits in storage for the balance of its shelf life,” said Mark Hiznay, associate director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Textron, the last U.S. company to make cluster bombs, announced in 2016 that it would quit producing them, after the Obama administration banned sales to Saidi Arabia. ATK was a supplier to the CBU-87 and Sensor Fuzed Weapon cluster munitions. Warden, who became CEO of Northrop in January 2019, touted Northrop’s recently being named in the top 25 of gender-balanced S&P 500 firms as well as being named to DiversityInc’s list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity for more than a decade. The Biden administration has assembled what is believed to be the most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history. “In our endeavor to enable global security and human advancement, we recognize the importance of our environmental, social and governance responsibilities, and we expect to continue leading our industry forward,” Warden said.

  • Naval Group launches the construction of the first digital frigate for the French Navy

    October 25, 2019 | International, Naval

    Naval Group launches the construction of the first digital frigate for the French Navy

    October 24, 2019 - The steel-cutting ceremony of the first defence and intervention frigate (FDI) took place on the Naval Group site of Lorient. The ceremony was led in the presence of the Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, the Head of the French Armament Directorate (DGA) Délégué général pour l’Armement, Joël Barre, the Chief of Staff of the French Navy Christophe Prazuck, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy Nikolaos Tsounis, many French officials and foreign delegations as well as Naval Group CEO, Hervé Guillou. The First of class will be delivered in 2023 and is part of a series of five vessels. Sylvain Perrier, Naval Group Director of the FDI program declared during this event: “Today, after the successful completion of the initial studies and development phases, we are proud, to reach this first industrial milestone. This ceremony is the first for this major program for which, the DGA will be in charge of prime contract management to the benefit of the French Navy. Thanks to this program, Naval Group will also keep on developing its international exposure. This program will increase to fifteen the number of first-rank frigates of the French Navy, as planned in the French military spending plan (LPM). We were able to uphold our commitment thanks to the collaborative work model we adopted with our client and to the mobilisation of state and industrial actors.” A digital multi-mission 4,500 tons-class frigate The FDI is a high sea vessel with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force, through all of types of warfare: antisurface, anti air, anti-submarine and allows for special forces projection. Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV) . She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with a Data Centre accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric threats warfare, distinct from the operation room. Located behind the bridge, it will lead asymmetrical warfare against air and surface threats such as mini-UAVs or tricked boats. The FDIwhich gathers the best of French technology in a compact platform. She is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed for facing evolving threats. The design and production of the FDI build onthe experience of the FREMM program: Naval Group benefits from the operational feedback given by the French Navy. Key figures: – Displacement: 4,500 tons class – Length: 122 meters – Beam: 18 meters – Max. speed: 27 knots – Autonomy: 45 days – Accomodation: 125 + 28 passengers A large-scale industrial collaboration that particularly mobilises the Naval Group site of Lorient Five defence and intervention frigates (FDI) have been ordered in April 2017 by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) to the benefit of the French Navy. The build of the first of class represents around one million hours of work for the teams of the Naval Group’ site of Lorient. Furthermore, it contributes to the economic development of its suppliers and subcontractors, to local employment around Lorient but also to the other Naval Group sites that brought their specific know-how to the program. The conception and development studies also represent around one million hours of work for the entire series. Industrial key figures: – A 100% digital conception – zero paper plans – 1 million hours of production work for each unit of the series on the Naval Group’ site of Lorient – 1 million hours of conception and development for the program – 400 subcontractors – 20 km of tubes and 300 km of cables for each FDI Many export opportunities The future frigate targets the intermediary tonnage ships segment for which there is an international demand. Thanks to its modularity, the ship can be configured to fulfil diverse missions depending on the expressed needs. Thus, with on the one hand the Gowind 2,500- tonnes corvette, on the other hand the 6,000-tonnes FREMM and now the FDI, Naval Group proposes a complete offer for strongly armed military ships. A Letter of Intention was signed on the 10th of October 2019 by the Greek Minister of Defence, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos and the French Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly. This announcement is in line with the strategic cooperation between the two countries and will allow a close dialogue in order to bring the best answer to the needs of the Hellenic Navy Contact presse : Emmanuel GAUDEZ Tel. : +33 (0)1 40 59 55 69 Mob. : +33 (0)6 61 97 36 63 Bérengère GOURAUD Tel. : +33 (0)1 40 59 56 44 Mob. : +33 (0)7 76 86 53 79 Klara NADARADJANE Tel. : +33 (0)1 40 59 51 16 Mob. : +33 (0)6 45 03 11 92 View source version on Naval Group:

  • Rolls-Royce seals major contract covering complete MTU propulsion systems for Royal Navy Type 31 frigates

    June 3, 2020 | International, Naval

    Rolls-Royce seals major contract covering complete MTU propulsion systems for Royal Navy Type 31 frigates

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