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  • Cyber Command’s acquisition authority still in its infancy

    September 10, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Cyber Command’s acquisition authority still in its infancy

    By: Mark Pomerleau U.S. Cyber Command is still in the beginning stages of building out an acquisition capability. Eight years after its launch and about two years after being granted limited acquisition authority from Congress, the command is still working to demonstrate that its wares and abilities make good use of funds and that it is capable of managing contracts, its acquisition executive said. “I will say we are in our infancy from an acquisition perspective. We are putting the foundation of the personnel and the skills,” Stephen Schanberger said Sept. 6 at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit. “We're in the beginning stages right now.” In the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, Congress gave Cyber Command limited acquisition authority capped at $75 million with a sunsetting in 2021. Congressional aides have equated this authority to that of Special Operations Command, noting that they wanted to employ a crawl, walk, run mentality to make sure Cyber Command can execute it. Schanberger said the command is asking for more on both fronts, with a ceiling of $250 million and a sunset of 2025 — the timeline being the most important element as it makes it easier to work with vendors who know contracts might not be in doubt three years from now. For Congress's part, Schanberger said they want the command to show it can use the authority in the way it's supposed to and start to stand up the backbone of a contracting organization. This includes being able to put together solicitation packages, plan contracting strategy for years ahead and be able to effectively implement and put out proposals and award them without making a mess, he said. Schanberger said the command currently has one contracting officer and one specialist and a couple of contractors aside from himself in the contracting shop, though he expects those numbers to double in the next three months. Cyber Command issued its first contract under this limited authority in October 2017. Schanberger said the command awarded only one contract in fiscal 2017, due in part to the fact they lacked a contract writing system, which is now in place. In fiscal 2018, the command is on track to award roughly $40 million in contracts and in fiscal 2019 is on a path to get close to its cap, Schanberger said. Congress has also asked what the delineation lines are between the acquisition efforts of Cyber Command and those of the services, Schanberger said. “Right now what we really look at are what are the gaps between us and our service partners and how do we help fill those gaps,” he said. “Typically, there are a couple of programs where we did the prototyping efforts and we transitioned that to the services. That's where we see our most value ... things that can benefit all our service cyber components.” Some within Congress have expressed that Cyber Command has approached acquisition cautiously and are concerned the services aren't budgeting and providing the tools and capabilities that the cyber mission force needs. Schanberger said he thinks that command has demonstrated that it can issue contracts effectively, efficiently and quickly. However, he noted, he still does not think the command has the wherewithal internally to run something as big as the Unified Platform, one of DoD's most critical cyber programs, from a resource perspective. https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/cybercom/2018/09/07/cyber-commands-acquisition-authority-still-in-its-infancy

  • Shipbuilder eyeing Portland or Seattle to build the Army’s navy

    September 10, 2018 | International, Naval

    Shipbuilder eyeing Portland or Seattle to build the Army’s navy

    PORTLAND, Ore. — A shipbuilding company with a $1 billion contract with the U.S. Army is choosing between Portland and Seattle to set up a production line for new landing vessels. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Portland-based Vigor Industrial says it's planning to make the decision within the next 60 days. The company says the chosen city is expected to get up to 300 new jobs that are slated to last a decade. The company is contracted to build as many as 36 landing vessels with improved maneuverability and stability. The company is building a prototype of the landing craft in Seattle. It plans to start full production within three years. https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/09/07/shipbuilder-eyeing-portland-or-seattle-to-build-the-armys-little-navy

  • France: La question d'un 2e porte-avion sera tranchée en 2025

    September 10, 2018 | International, Naval

    France: La question d'un 2e porte-avion sera tranchée en 2025

    La décision de doter ou non la France d'un deuxième porte-avions sera prise dans le cadre de la prochaine loi de programmation militaire, soit à partir de 2025. La Marine nationale plaide pour la construction d'un nouveau navire pour permettre à la France d'assurer une "permanence à la mer". La décision de doter ou non la France d'un deuxième porte-avions sera prise dans le cadre de la prochaine loi de programmation militaire, soit à partir de 2025, a expliqué dimanche 9 septembre la ministre des Armées Florence Parly. Mis en service en 2001, l'unique porte-avions français, le Charles de Gaulle, "a vocation à terminer sa vie active autour de 2040", a-t-elle rappelé lors de l'émission Europe 1/CNews/Les Échos "Le grand rendez-vous". "C'est donc dès maintenant, dans le cadre de cette loi de programmation militaire (2019-2025, ndr), que nous lançons des études pour réfléchir à ce que doit être ce nouveau porte-avions", a-t-elle rappelé. Mais "lorsqu'on lance des études pour un nouveau modèle de porte-avions, on laisse ouverte la question de savoir s'il en faut un ou s'il en faut deux". Le Charles de Gaulle en rénovation "C'est la prochaine loi de programmation militaire, celle qui interviendra au-delà de 2025, qui devra déterminer les moyens pour assurer la construction de ce ou ces porte-avions et de définir le nombre de ces navires", a-t-elle conclu. Le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle subit depuis début 2017 à Toulon une vaste rénovation longue de 18 mois, qui doit redonner une seconde vie à ce b'timent pour les 20 prochaines années. La Marine nationale plaide pour la construction d'un deuxième porte-avions pour permettre à la France d'assurer une "permanence à la mer". (Avec AFP) https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/defense/la-question-d-un-2e-porte-avion-sera-tranchee-en-2025_611597

  • Les premiers entretiens de l’Europe de la défense à Panthéon Sorbonne

    September 10, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Les premiers entretiens de l’Europe de la défense à Panthéon Sorbonne

    B2) Alors que la rentrée va se faire sous l'angle de la défense — que ce soit au niveau européen avec les propositions de Emmanuel Macron ou le discours de l'état de l'Union de Jean-Claude Juncker — et avant les universités d'été de la défense, nous publions une série de papiers issus des Premiers Entretiens de la défense européenne à la Sorbonne que nous avons organisé en juin avec nos amis universitaires et chercheurs. Une panoplie d'acteurs industriels, de chercheurs et d'acteurs institutionnels, réunis autour d'un sujet majeur : dans quelle direction s'oriente l'Europe de la défense, en particulier l'industrie européenne de défense qui a fait l'objet de toutes les attentions des politiques ces derniers mois. Du côté industriel se dégage un certain consensus pour estimer que les dernières nouvelles venues de Bruxelles, avec la création du Fonds européen de défense, sont positives. Pour autant, elles ne peuvent pas solutionner certaines faiblesses notables. Pour Carole Ferrand, de la direction générale de l'armement DGA, créer une base industrielle et technique de défense européenne (BITDE) suppose une autonomie industrielle, c'est-à-dire sans pays tiers. Oui, mais elle doit être composée de champions forts à l'export, et pas seulement sur le marché européen, qui est trop petit pour avoir exister et innover, précise Olivier Martin de MBDA. Attention à bien définir les modalités du Fonds, relate Stéphane Abrial, de SAFRAN. Les acteurs institutionnels, eux, s'accordent sur un point en particulier : c'est à l'industrie de faire un pas en avant et lancer des projets rapidement, au moyen du Fonds européen de défense, comme l'ont martelé Pierre Delsaux, directeur général adjoint, et Anne Fort, chef d'unité adjoint, à la DG GROW à la Commission européenne, ainsi que Jean-Youri Martin, directeur adjoint de l'Agence européenne de défense. Quel chemin parcouru, a précisé Françoise Grossetête, eurodéputée, qui nous a fait part de son expérience de rapporteure du programme de développement industriel de défense, détaillant les circonstances, finalement favorables, qui a amené une majorité assez large, plutôt inédite quand on parle d'intégration européenne, des conservateurs aux sociaux-démocrates, pour approuver ce nouveau programme. Enfin nous avons pu avoir un portrait sans concession de la future coopération structurée permanente (PESCO) par F. Mauro ou de la situation des budgets européens de défense avec F. Coulomb. A noter sur vos agendas : Les seconds entretiens de la défense européenne auront lieu au printemps 2019, juste avant les élections européennes. Nous vous tiendrons informés sur ce site, comme sur celui des Entretiens. (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde avec Aurélie Pugnet, st.) https://www.bruxelles2.eu/2018/09/09/les-premiers-entretiens-de-leurope-de-la-defense-a-pantheon-sorbonne/

  • Accord belgo-britannique pour une participation à l'Eurofighter

    September 10, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Accord belgo-britannique pour une participation à l'Eurofighter

    Le groupe de défense et de sécurité britannique BAE Systems et les entreprises aéronautiques belges ont signé ce jeudi soir à Bruxelles un accord non exclusif de coopération. Il fixe les modalités de la participation de l'industrie belge au programme de l'avion de combat Eurofighter en cas de choix de cet appareil pour succéder aux F-16 vieillissants. BAE Systems et des représentants des trois associations régionales - Entreprises wallonnes de l'aéronautique (EWA), Brussels Aeronautical Group (BAG) à Bruxelles et Flemish Aerospace Group (FLAG) en Flandre se sont mis d'accord sur les modalités d'une éventuelle collaboration si le gouvernement fédéral opte pour l'Eurofighter - Typhoon, avion de chasse britannique, pour remplacer les F-16 de l'armée belge. Ce partenariat associe aussi les "clusters" qui leur sont liés, a-t-on expliqué de source industrielle en marge de la cérémonie de signature, organisée par l'ambassade du Royaume-Uni, qui promeut l'Eurofighter - Typhoon pour les Britanniques - en Belgique. Cet accord chapeaute en quelque sorte ceux déjà signés séparément par les industriels belges et les partenaires du consortium Eurofighter, rassemblant les trois principaux groupes européens du secteur - BAE Systems, Airbus Defence&Space (ASD) et Leonardo. L'accord est non-exclusif car des industriels belges ont également conclu des ententes avec le groupe américain Lockheed Martin, constructeur du chasseur furtif F-35 Lightning II, et avec le groupement français qui propose, hors d'appel d'offres, le Rafale de Dassault Aviation. Il doit servir de tremplin pour discuter de la participation de l'industrie belge à la maintenance et au soutien d'une flotte belge d'Eurofighter, au développement des capacités futures de cet appareil européen et à la définition d'une plate-forme de combat aérien future. Le gouvernement Michel souhaite acheter 34 nouveaux chasseurs, pour un montant initial de près de 3,6 milliards d'euros. https://www.lecho.be/entreprises/defense-aeronautique/accord-belgo-britannique-pour-une-participation-a-l-eurofighter/10047057.html

  • France, UK strengthen military relations — but future fighter jet cooperation ‘not yet there’

    September 10, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    France, UK strengthen military relations — but future fighter jet cooperation ‘not yet there’

    By: Pierre Tran PARIS — British and French defense ministers will meet twice a year rather than just once, reflecting a deepening of bilateral relations despite Britain's impending exit from the European Union, said French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly. “We have with the United Kingdom very close and deep relations in defense,” she told Defense News at a Sept. 6 event with AJPAE, an aeronautics and space journalists association. “That was formalized with the Lancaster House Treaty and will not be be called into question by the decision that the United Kingdom has taken to leave the European Union. “In defense, there is a shared determination to pursue and deepen this relationship.” The more frequent ministerial meetings reflected that intent. “This cooperation is precious and necessary for the security of the European continent,” she added. Britain has put at French disposal the much-needed Chinook heavy transport helicopter in the Sahel theater, reflecting a close operational cooperation and shared experience in overseas deployment, she noted. Britain has asked for what started as a technology demonstrator for a combat UAV to refocus toward a study of “technology areas,” she said. That left the door open for the technology to be applied for large programs, such as the Franco-German Future Combat Air System, she added. “The story is not yet written,” she said. “Perhaps in the next few years the British could be by our side on the FCAS project. But maybe I am just dreaming. We're not there yet.” The January meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, and their governments, also reflected close ties, particularly for the defense ministries, she said. That cross-channel summit closed without a pledge to build the demonstrator for a combat drone, disappointing French industry. France is the lead nation on the FCAS project, which aims to field a future fighter jet flying in a system of systems, linking up drones, tankers, future cruise missiles and swarms of drones. The departure of Britain from the EU, known as Brexit, is due to take place in March. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2018/09/07/france-uk-strengthen-military-relations-but-future-fighter-jet-cooperation-not-yet-there

  • Australia, Rheinmetall ink $500 million contract for military trucks

    September 10, 2018 | International, Land

    Australia, Rheinmetall ink $500 million contract for military trucks

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — Australia has signed a contract with Rheinmetall to supply military trucks worth €430 million (U.S. $500 million) to the country's armed forces, the company announced Thursday. The deal for 1,000 logistics trucks comes on top of a previous order for 2,500 such vehicles, worth €1.2 billion. Deliveries for the new order will begin next year and last until 2024, the German company said. The latest batch of vehicles stems from the Australian LAND 121 Phase 5B program, which is an extension of the larger 3B segment. “This follow-up order is of great strategic significance to us, providing an excellent reference for other important international projects,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger was quoted as saying in the company statement. “It reflects Australia's satisfaction with our performance and the quality of our vehicles,” he added. “Rheinmetall's latest success in the Asia-Pacific region proves that our products are at the cutting edge of technology, and that the customer see in us a proven and reliable partner, fully capable of carrying out sophisticated large-scale projects.” The Düsseldorf, Germany-based company currently is Australia's largest supplier of military vehicles, according to the website of the state of Queensland. Rheinmetall is establishing a “military vehicle center of excellence” outside of Brisbane, the state's capital. That location is slated to be a hub for the Australian military's LAND 400 program, for which Rheinmetall was formally tapped last month to build Boxer wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles worth €2.1 billion. The award was first announced by the Australian government in March. There could be yet more business for Rheinmetall in Australia. The next phase of the multibillion-dollar LAND 400 program, which addresses a requirement for new infantry fighting vehicles, began with the release of a tender in late August. Rheinmetall is expected to put forward its Lynx vehicle. Companies have through March 1, 2019, to submit bids. https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/09/07/australia-rheinmetall-ink-500-million-contract-for-military-trucks/

  • ‘We are not dupes’: France takes step away from US with fighter program

    September 10, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    ‘We are not dupes’: France takes step away from US with fighter program

    By: Pierre Tran PARIS — France has linked its search for independence from U.S. export rules with the Franco-German project for a future fighter jet, in a bid to boost foreign sales of the aircraft, the French armed forces minister said. France's effort to become less dependent on U.S. components and promote exports were written into the same letter of intent signed in June with Germany for the FCAS project, Florence Parly told AJPAE, the aeronautics and space journalists association, on Sept. 6. “The exportability of the (Future Combat Air System) is a key element to ensure the economic viability of the program,” she said. “We have to think as upstream as possible to secure this exportability.” The minister previously told parliamentarians the French government aims to cut its reliance on U.S. components in the wake of an American refusal to authorize the sale of parts for a French Scalp cruise missile requested by Egypt. French attempts to persuade Washington to lift restrictions under U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations have failed. Parly declined to give examples, but she said the problems Paris has encountered in the pursuit of foreign arms sales “stemmed in appearance from strategic factors and in reality from commercial competition." “We are not dupes,” she said. France needs to gradually cut its reliance on certain American components, although it is impossible to be completely independent, she admitted, adding that there is a plan to reduce that dependence. “Experience has led us to undertake this action,” she said. Companies should take the responsibility for greater independence, as they faced the consequences of failed export efforts, she said. “They are in the front line,” she said, noting that the government is in dialog with industry and that some companies already understand the situation and are fully committed. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/09/07/we-are-not-dupes-france-takes-step-away-from-us-with-fighter-program

  • Pentagon Report Shows China’s Continually Modernizing and Growing Military Capabilities

    September 7, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Pentagon Report Shows China’s Continually Modernizing and Growing Military Capabilities

    By Dean Cheng The Department of Defense has released the latest edition of its report on Chinese military and security developments. Mandated in the fiscal 2000 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual report is an important source of regular updates regarding China's growing military capabilities and its expanding range of security-related activities. Since the People's Republic of China halted the publication of its biennial defense white papers in 2015, there are few other good sources of information on one of the world's largest militaries. An important element of this year's report is the expanded discussion of China's security-related activities, providing a broader, fuller assessment. There is an extensive discussion of China's Belt and Road Initiative, its array of investment projects previously known as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative,” stretching from China to Europe, into the Indian Ocean to Africa, and even across the Pacific to South America. The report discusses the security implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, even though it is primarily a set of economic and political initiatives with limited direct military impact. Ad Feedback This more comprehensive analysis is important, as it captures the Chinese whole-of-society approach to national security. To understand Beijing's challenge to the U.S., it is vital to incorporate not only concerns about the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese government, but also consideration of its diplomatic and economic engagement globally. This year's report also exemplifies why issuing an annual report is important. It highlights the various changes that have been undertaken since the announcement in December 2015 of a series of fundamental overhauls and reforms of the People's Liberation Army. It thus provides a new snapshot of the various improvements and changes in the Chinese military as it continues to modernize all of its services. Much discussed, for example, has been the steady extension of the People's Liberation Army's reach. News reports emphasized that it is acquiring systems that will allow it to strike the United States. The report also notes that “one of the most significant [Navy] structural changes in 2017” has been the tripling of the size of the Chinese marine corps. Coupled with China's first official overseas military base (in Djibouti), it is clear that China is expanding its force-projection capacity. As important, however, have been the changes in the People's Liberation Army's organization and doctrine. This year's report devotes substantial discussion to the evolving organization of PLA Army forces, as well as changes in the Central Military Commission, which manages the overall military. These changes are fundamental, but have taken the past two years to become much more visible. The shift from divisions as the cornerstone of China's ground forces to brigades had long been discussed, but only now is there sufficient evidence to gauge Beijing's progress. The changes in the Central Military Commission structure have been even more complex. When the changes were first announced, the commission initially appeared to be expanding from four general departments to 15 departments, commissions, and offices. It is now clear, however, that in fact the commission has shrunk, with only seven members, rather than the pre-reform 10. Of particular note is the removal of the Logistics Work and Equipment Development departments from the main Central Military Commission structure. Full article: https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/dean-cheng/pentagon-report-shows-chinas-continually-modernizing-and-growing-military

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