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July 19, 2019 | International, Aerospace

Pentagon redirects $282M to close ISR gaps


The Department of Defense redirected more than $282 million to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs in the past two months, largely from a defense-wide operation and maintenance account.

The most recently approved reprogramming of $247 million was dated June 21. According to the Pentagon, the action aims to close ISR gaps in the combatant commands. The transfers go to a variety of programs, including artificial intelligence development and developing a bilateral network to share ISR data with strategic partners.

In addition to the $247 million from operation and maintenance accounts, the June 21 reprogramming action also transfers $22.5 million to Special Operations Command. That money was made available after ending a program for a signals intelligence sensor effort that originally appeared in the fiscal year 2018 budget. About $13 million of that funding will now provide signals intelligence sensors for use on contractor airborne ISR systems, while another $6.5 million will go toward modernizing an undisclosed maritime ISR system. The remaining funding will go to acquiring and deploying six new sensitive compartmented information facilities.

The June 21 reprogramming action follows a $12.25 million reprogramming action May 20. Then, about $7.9 million of that funding went to classified programs, while the remaining $4.3 million went to upgrading AI and machine learning processors in support of pattern of life analysis.

Of the more than quarter of a billion dollars in transferred funding, the Army received $31 million, the Navy received $28.6 million, the Air Force received $77.6 million, and the remaining $144.8 million will be spent on defense-wide programs.

Meanwhile, the Air Force has announced July 15 that Col. Julian Cheater will be the service's new director of ISR operations. Cheater will work under the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, a position created recently as part of the Air Force's reorganization of it's ISR and cyber efforts.

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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 16, 2020

    November 17, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 16, 2020

    NAVY General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is awarded a $9,473,511,245 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-2117. The contract modification exercises an option for construction and test of the lead and second ships of the Columbia class SSBN 826 and SSBN 827, as well as associated design and engineering support. This modification to the integrated product and process development (IPPD) contract supports the fiscal 2021 construction start of the lead ship (SSBN 826) and advance procurement, advance construction, coordinated material buys and full construction of the follow hull (SSBN 827) in fiscal 2024. Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut (36%); Newport News, Virginia (25%); Quonset Point, Rhode Island (17%); with other efforts performed at various sites throughout the U.S. (each less than 1%) (22%), and is expected to be completed by April 2030. Efforts within the ship include the Common Missile Compartment which is a joint U.S./United Kingdom effort. Fiscal 2021 National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF) funding in the amount of $545,186,307 (96%); and fiscal 2020 NSBDF funding in the amount of $19,936,251 (4%) will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This action leverages the acquisition authorities contained in 10 U.S. Code §2218a, NSBDF. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Raytheon Co., Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was awarded a $94,039,953 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-only modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-5145 to exercise options and realign funding for DDG 1000 ship class integrated logistics support and engineering services. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (41%); Tewksbury, Massachusetts (36%); Los Angeles, California (8%); San Diego, California (5%); Ft. Wayne, Indiana (4%); Marlboro, Massachusetts (4%); Bath, Maine (1%); and Nashua, New Hampshire (1%), and is expected to be completed by October 2021. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $10,980,000 was obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. (Awarded Nov. 2, 2020) The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is awarded a $14,181,537 modification (P00009) to firm-fixed-price order (2017) against previously issued basic ordering agreement N00019-16-G-0001. This modification exercises options for production, delivery and installation of 24 P-8A Poseidon Increment III Block I retrofit kits for the Navy. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (98.7%); and Mesa, Arizona (1.3%), and is expected to be completed in November 2022. Fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds for $14,181,537 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Progeny Systems Corp., Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $9,428,513 cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable modification to previously awarded contract N00024-19-C-6267 to exercise options for engineering services. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia, and is expected to be completed in December 2021. Fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) (88%); and fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) (12%) funding in the amount of $3,900,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. AIR FORCE Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $53,190,386 hybrid cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price modification (P00067) to contract FA8615-12-C-6016 for miscellaneous support for 50 retrofit aircraft to the Taiwan F-16 Peace Phoenix Rising program. This modification provides for contractor over and above support and acquisition of legacy aircraft hardware and equipment. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; and Taiwan, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2023. Foreign Military Sales funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. CORRECTION: The contract awarded on Oct. 30, 2020, to BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, for $13,365,920, listed the incorrect contract number. The correct contract number is FA8720-21-F-0042. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Outdoor Venture Corp.,** Stearns, Kentucky, has been awarded a maximum $37,464,448 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Modular General Purpose Tent System and components. This was a competitive acquisition with two responses received. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Location of performance is Kentucky, with a Nov. 4, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-21-D-1404). *Small business **Small business in historically underutilized business zones

  • Defense Firms Angle for Eastern Europe

    September 24, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Defense Firms Angle for Eastern Europe

    By Dominik Kimla and Hamilton Cook Posted September 19, 2019 In White Papers One of the more dissonant aspects of NATO field exercises is, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the continued presence of Warsaw Pact weapons and equipment: Soviet-made T-series tanks, MiG fighters, Mi-17 helicopters, BM-21 rocket artillery, and more. Like their western counterparts on the continent, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) states have repeatedly delayed needed recapitalization as defense needs gave way to domestic imperatives. But times – and threat assessments – are changing. By our analysis, cumulative CEE defense spending will be nearly $200 billion over the next five years, growing by nearly five percent per year. More than a quarter of that total, some $53 billion, will be spent on defense hardware procurement. This represents a rare opportunity for Western defense firms – European and American – to seize a first-mover advantage. However, US companies must find new ways to credibly differentiate themselves from European competitors that may offer more financial and industrial incentives (and fewer regulatory hassles) in the long run. Currently, US companies are well positioned for success as more aggressive US government advocacy has led to recent CEE customer wins for Black Hawk helicopters (Latvia, Poland, Slovakia), F-16 fighters (Bulgaria, Slovakia), HIMARS (Poland, Romania), JLTV (Lithuania), and Patriot AMD systems (Poland, Romania). The US effort to steer CEE weapons-buying decisions picked up further momentum last year with the State Department-led European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP), which provided $190 million in financing assistance to five Balkan countries (along with Slovakia) to replace ex-Soviet and Yugoslav-made equipment. Even as ERIP expands, American companies will still have plenty of obstacles ahead. Historically, the limited new weapons procurement in most CEE countries included minimal offset or local industrialization requirements. Going forward, reporting suggests that CEE countries, even as small as Croatia or Slovenia, will demand some form of local industrial participation and technology cooperation to develop their indigenous capabilities. This puts American firms at a disadvantage given the US government's still-stringent technology transfer regime. Western European companies will differentiate themselves by proposing generous technology and work-sharing transfers, integrating local defense companies into their supply chains, and setting up a pan-European Defense Industrial Base. The European Defense Fund (EDF) will fuel this by providing up to €13 billion over the next eight years to cultivate and secure these local ties. By financing collaborative R&D projects, prototype development, and disruptive, higher-risk defense innovation, the EDF will entrench Western European companies in CEE defense establishments over the medium to long term. Yet, from the perspective of vulnerable members on NATO's eastern flank, only the US has the political power and defense capabilities to counter Russian meddling and aggression. Given the ambivalence of Western European powers about confronting Russia, and the appearance of oft-fluctuating US commitment to NATO, CEE nations may see buying American not only as a means to get best-in-class (but more costly) weapons, but also as a binding mechanism to enhance US political and military commitment. This dynamic was most vividly illustrated with Poland as it announced its intention to pursue the F-35, a platform historically out of Poland's “price range.” The purchase was also one of three major cornerstones for ensuring US investment in Polish security. The others were Poland's procurement of Patriot AMD systems and its agreement to – and its offer to fund – enduring US basing in-country. However, Poland will still expect significant local industrial benefit as part of any arms transaction, as defense acquisitions continue to be as much a political and (parochial) economic exercise as a military one. European firms have not stood idly by while the US competitors have targeted the region though, and they have gained their own CEE foothold. They have found success by targeting countries like Hungary, who recently purchased helicopters from Airbus along with tanks and howitzers from KMW. While this is smaller than recent US sales, Western European contractors have an advantage: time. Every programmatic delay buys more time for the EDF to mature, extend its tendrils into every Western European foothold in the region, and bring the promise of increased industrial participation. Thus, absent a dramatic softening of the US tech transfer regime, American contractors will need to push for more creative ways to provide credible differentiation from Western European competitors. First, they can take advantage of the upcoming eastern shift of US operations in the region and establish logistics and maintenance centers that are able to serve both a country's new equipment and US forces in region, in a model similar to the F-35's maintenance depots in Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. This expands NATO's operational support footprint into the region and grants CEE countries access to a much larger sustainment enterprise. Second, American firms should push for more aggressive releases of Excess Defense Articles. While older, this equipment still represents a substantial increase in military capability that many CEE countries otherwise could not afford. This has been seen in Croatia, where 16 retired OH-58 Kiowa Warriors are providing the country with new capabilities it could not afford (and now cannot afford to replace) and a pair of UH-60Ms donated to the Croatia Special Forces have introduced the platform to the Croatian military ahead of an eventual Mi-8/17 replacement program. These introductions induct CEE customers to US-style CONOPS and equipping standards that increase switching-costs to European competitors. Finally, American contractors should extol the wider advantages of buying into the US defense enterprise. The opportunity to tap into the extensive US training enterprise during and after the acquisition process would be a boon to CEE nations overhauling their militaries. While this has most recently been highlighted by international F-35 customers conducting their initial training at Luke Air Force Base amid the expansive Western US training range infrastructure, it is an opportunity that can be granted to non-Air Force customers, particularly given the establishment of a new Combat Training Center in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland. Meanwhile, the Foreign Military Sales process grants international contractors access to DoD buying power, not only for the acquisition itself, but also for the all-critical procurement of spare parts and weapons reloads decades down the line. As they pursue long-overdue military modernization CEE countries will have to balance competing economic, political, and security imperatives. While going with US defense prime contractors provides top-tier capability and stronger ties with the only NATO member that can credibly deter Russian military adventurism, Western European firms will offer the lure of technology sharing and a more lucrative package for local industry. How CEE nations strike that balance will shape the military-political alignment of Europe's eastern flank for the next generation.

  • CENTCOM chief: The future of warfare demands more cyber authorities

    December 19, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    CENTCOM chief: The future of warfare demands more cyber authorities

    By: Justin Lynch The Pentagon has received more power to conduct cyber operations in the past 18 months. But for the top Army commander in the Middle East and Central Asia, the new authority is not enough. The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, wrote in a Dec. 18 paper that the Pentagon must “normalize” electronic warfare and cyberattacks and incorporate them into daily operations. “Normalizing the cyberspace domain means broader authorities that are more responsive than current bureaucratic processes,” Votel wrote in the Army's Cyber Defense Review. “It also means we need simple and streamlined organizations and processes to increase lethality and enhance performance.” The paper was coauthored by Votel, Maj. Gen. Julazadeh and Maj. Weilun Lin. “Our failure to operationalize and normalize the cyberspace domain effectively cedes it to our adversaries, gives them a competitive advantage and, ultimately, creates an increased attack vector against our objectives,” the authors said. President Trump gave the Pentagon new authorities to conduct cyber operations in August and minimized the process where other agencies can object to cyberattacks, known as “deconfliction.” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis can conduct hacking operations without approval from the White House so long as they do not interfere with the American “national interest,” according to four current and former White House and intelligence officials who were either part of internal deliberations or briefed on the changes. Yet some current and former U.S. officials are skeptical that the new authorities will mean more effective hacking operations for the Pentagon, because it does not solve the nuances of cyberattacks. But the new mandates do not go far enough for the three officer authors, who argued that cyberwarfare should be under the same authorities as other types of operations. “We must not see cyberspace as drastically different and separate from other domains that we create new processes to prepare, plan and fight in this new domain. We continue to seek processes that smooth and simplify operations, reducing friendly friction and accelerating decision-making.” Current and former Pentagon officials have pointed to conducting cyberattacks against enemies that use networks of neutral or partner nations as an area where the Pentagon has changed its decision-making process in recent years. Those officials also pointed to how the Pentagon was able to use hybrid warfare tactics during the 2016 liberation of Mosul, Iraq, as a textbook example of future hybrid operations. Votel, Julazadeh and Lin echoed the sentiment of other Pentagon officials who have advocated for cyberattacks, electronic warfare and other information operations to be integrated earlier in military operations. “We need to proactively execute cyberspace and information operations early in 'Phase 0 / steady state' of the planning process — well before operation execution. Only then can we shape the [information environment], hold our adversaries' capabilities at risk and execute at the speed of war,” the three wrote. For example, Pentagon officials say they closely monitored Russia's 2014 hybrid war in Ukraine and learned from Moscow's tactics. Votel, Julazadeh and Lin shed light on the changes, writing that information operations were previously “integrated as an afterthought.” Yet over the last two years, Central Command has incorporated cyberattacks, electronic warfare and military deception at the “strategic level.” And this hybrid warfare has driven new acquisition demands in the Pentagon. “We need technology and capabilities to keep pace with the operational environment and continue to build the partnerships to do so,” the three officers wrote. In recent years, Central Command has bolstered its hybrid warfare through new contracts. The centerpiece of that effort is a July 2017 contract worth $621 million to Science Applications International Corporation for IT support to Central Command that could last seven years. In August 2018, Vistra communications was also awarded a $22 million contract to support offensive and defensive cyber operations for Central Command.

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