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  • DISA chooses 20 small businesses for big IT contract

    11 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    DISA chooses 20 small businesses for big IT contract

    By: Daniel Cebul The Defense Information Systems Agency has selected 20 small businesses for the opportunity to work on a range of information technology services for the Department of Defense, intelligence community and other federal agencies, according to a Sept. 10 announcement. The contract could run as long as 10 years and has a maximum value of $17.5 billion. The ENCORE III small business set-aside suite makes 20 small companies eligible to compete for contracts to provide services in 19 performance areas. Those areas range from requirements analysis to cloud professional services and enterprise IT policy planning. “One of the key advantages of leveraging the ENCORE III vehicle is that mission partners are able to team with us to determine the best acquisition strategy for their task,” Steve Francoeur, ENCORE III contracting officer, said in a press release. “Together, we are able to determine whether a best-value-trade-off or lowest price technically acceptable approach fits the mission requirement.” The announcement follows DISA's award of the ENCORE III full and open large business suite in March when another 20 businesses became eligible for task orders on the contract.

  • SAIC to buy rival government services contractor Engility for $1.5 billion

    11 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    SAIC to buy rival government services contractor Engility for $1.5 billion

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) (SAIC.N) said on Monday it will acquire Engility Holdings Inc (EGL.N) for $1.5 billion in stock, a deal that will turn it into the second-largest independent U.S. government services contractor. The acquisition is the latest example of how increased defense spending under President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress is driving contractors to pursue mergers so they have more scale to bid on bigger projects, spanning everything from outdated computer systems to space exploration. Engility shareholders will receive $40.44 in SAIC stock for each of their shares, an 11.5 percent premium to Engility's closing price of $36.24 on Friday, the companies said. SAIC will assume $900 million in Engility debt, giving the deal a total value of about $2.5 billion. On completion of the deal early next year, SAIC's board will expand to 11 seats from nine, and SAIC shareholders will own about 72 percent of the combined company. Engility, based in Chantilly, Virginia, provides skilled personnel to the U.S. departments of defense, homeland security and justice, among others. The acquisition will boost SAIC's offerings to its space customers and expand its customer base in the intelligence community, SAIC Chief Executive Tony Moraco said in an interview. The increased U.S. defense budget and a two-year budget deal reached earlier this year that lifted caps on defense spending also emboldened SAIC to pursue the deal, Moraco added. Full article:

  • How B-52 Bombers Will Fly Until the 2050s

    11 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    How B-52 Bombers Will Fly Until the 2050s

    By Kyle Mizokami The Air Force's fleet of Cold War bombers will fly longer than most people will live, allowing B-52 crews to work on planes their great-grandfathers flew. A series of upgrades to the B-52 Stratofortress bomber could keep the remaining fleet of Cold War bombers going until 2050. The planes, built during the Kennedy Administration, are expected to receive new engines, electronics, and bomb bay upgrades to keep them viable in nuclear and conventional roles. The B-52 strategic heavy bomber is a true survivor. It was designed to fly high over the Soviet Union carrying atomic bombs if necessary. But the B-52 is the do-it-all tool of strike warfare, taking on whatever mission is popular at the time. B-52s were modified to drop conventional bombs during the Vietnam War, where they proved they could fly low to penetrate enemy defenses, gained the ability to drop precision-guided bombs, and swapped their nuclear bomb loads for nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The B-52s also can carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles, lay minefields at sea, and provide close air support to troops on the ground. B-52s have even flirted with air-to-air warfare, with their tail gunners reportedly shooting down two MiG-21 fighters over Vietnam. Of the original 102 B-52Hs built between 1961 and 1962, 76 are still flying with the Air Force's Global Strike Command and Air Force reserve. B-52s regularly fly to Europe and Asia, and in early June, two B-52s stationed on the island of Guam flew to the South China Sea in protest of Chinese territorial claims. Now the U.S. Air Force is embarking on a series of major upgrades that could give the B-52 another 30 years of service. According to National Defense, a key improvement will be re-engining the big bomber. Each B-52 still operates eight original TF-33-103 engines. Not only are those engines generations behind the state of the art, but their age, and the difficulty to source spare parts, puts their future use in jeopardy—a problem Popular Mechanics covered last year. Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE Aviation have all expressed interest in the new B-52 engine, but only Pratt and Whitney has actually chosen a potential replacement: the PW815 engine used in the Gulfstream G500 passenger jet. The Air Force would like to replace the bomber's APQ-166 terrain following and mapping radars, which are essential for low-level flight. A bomb bay upgrade will allow the B-52 to carry JDAM satellite-guided bombs and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) in its internal bay. Storing weapons internally reduces drag, increasing range. Alternately a B-52 could carry both internal and external stores. A single B-52 can carry eight JASSMs internally and twelve externally, for a total of 20 of the precision attack missiles. Full article:

  • Secretary Wilson to lay out ‘Air Force We Need’ at AFA

    11 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Secretary Wilson to lay out ‘Air Force We Need’ at AFA

    By: Stephen Losey The Air Force has a problem. The military is trying to shift its focus from wars against so-called “violent extremists” in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria so it can prepare for a potential war against a major peer or near-peer nation. But the Air Force is currently too small even for the missions it's being asked to do today in the Middle East, let alone a war against China, Russia or North Korea, said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in an Aug. 28 interview at the Pentagon. The service is going to have to grow, she said. But the big question is where — and by how much? Wilson will attempt to answer that question Sept. 17, when she delivers her keynote address, “The Air Force We Need,” at the Air Force Association's Air Space and Cyber Conference. The secretary will lay out how many operational squadrons — such as fighter, bomber, mobility and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — are needed, as well as the matching end strength, for the Air Force to project power and carry out its expected missions in the future. “The chief and I were asked in this last testimony on the Hill for the Defense Authorization Act, ‘Well, what do you need to implement the new National Defense Strategy?” Wilson said. “We should know the answer to that question. That's the work that's been going on the last six months or so.” The Air Force now has 312 operational squadrons, not including squadrons doing support activities such as finance, Wilson said. Squadrons are the basic unit of the Air Force, she said, which is why this new plan will focus on the squadron level. The Air Force intentionally didn't consider budgets as it drew up this plan over the past six months, Wilson said. Instead, it focused on what would be required to fight a major war. With that information in hand, she said, the Air Force can better articulate where it's headed — and what the potential risks might be of not funding or underfunding certain elements. Full article:

  • Refining the Defense Department’s cyberwarrior ‘carrier’

    10 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Refining the Defense Department’s cyberwarrior ‘carrier’

    By: Mark Pomerleau The Department of Defense cyber community knows it has a critical need for a centralized platform for cyberwarriors, so the joint community is collaborating to ensure the final system has everything everyone needs. The Unified Platform, as it's known, will serve as the aircraft carrier, airplane or tank, so to speak, from which cyberwarriors plan and launch attacks. “We're working with Cyber Command to make sure we've got the requirement right for Unified Platform,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command, said during a keynote presentation at TechNet Augusta in August. He said there was a meeting in August to define what the Unified Platform is and what it is not as to develop it appropriately. “Where I think we've got to ensure is we don't make this so large that it just becomes unsustainable ... this very bloated program,” he told Fifth Domain in an interview during the same conference. There was some initial confusion with the Unified Platform, as it was conflated with the Military Cyber Operations Platform, Fogarty said. MCOP has been described in the past as the sum total of portfolios and capabilities Cyber Command's Capabilities Development Group manages with MCOP being CDG's top project. Others have described MCOP as an environment that will include the Unified Platform along with other services like analytics. In the most recent budget request, DoD asked for $52.4 million in fiscal 2019 under “Joint Common Services,” to include continued development of MCOP. Fogarty noted that while MCOP was the umbrella and the Unified Platform was one component underneath, sometimes the totality of MCOP was miscast as the Unified Platform, despite the Unified Platform being a more discrete piece of that. Fogarty added that there is a good understanding of what the essential elements of the Unified Platform are outside of what the services have been directed to do, noting there have been some good sessions with U.S. Cyber Command recently, who is the principal requirement owner. While the Air Force is serving as the executive agent for the program, Cyber Command's acquisition executive, speaking Sept. 6 at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, said the full transition of the program to the Air Force won't occur until fiscal 2019. The official, Stephen Schanberger, said that while Cyber Command as the requirements owner for the program has a lot of influence to drive the first few deliverables and how they are implemented, each service cyber component will have their say in the program. Full article:

  • Estonia’s First Cyber Ambassador Seeks to Improve Global Cyber Defense

    10 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Estonia’s First Cyber Ambassador Seeks to Improve Global Cyber Defense

    By Catherine Stupp Estonia's first dedicated cyber ambassador took office on Monday, following several nations that are considering how diplomats can shape cybersecurity policy. The small Baltic country became known for prioritizing cybersecurity after a major cyber attack shut down websites for Estonia's government offices, banks and media in 2007. NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, which organizes cyber defense exercises, opened in Tallinn one year after the attack. Full article:

  • Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia is shrinking

    10 septembre 2018 | Local, Terrestre

    Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia is shrinking

    The LAV sale is being scaled back. Critics want it killed completely. Murray Brewster · CBC News A Canadian defence contractor will be selling fewer armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia than originally planned, according to new documents obtained by CBC News. That could be a mixed blessing in light of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries, say human rights groups and a defence analyst. The scaled-back order — implemented before the Riyadh government erupted in fury over Canada's public criticism of Saudi Arabia's arrest of activists and froze new trade with Canada this summer — could make it politically less defensible for the Liberal government, which has argued it's in the country's business and economic interests to uphold the deal. The documents show General Dynamic Land Systems Canada, the London, Ont.-based manufacturer, was — as of spring last year — going to deliver only 742 of the modern LAV-6s, a reduction from the original 2014 deal. The initial order from the desert kingdom was for 928 vehicles, including 119 of the heavy assault variety equipped with 105 millimetre cannons. Details of the agreement have long been kept under a cloak of secrecy. General Dynamic Land Systems, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (the Crown corporation which brokered the deal) and the Saudi government have all refused to acknowledge the specifics, other than the roughly $15 billion price tag. Last spring, CBC News obtained copies of internal documents and a slide deck presentation from 2014 outlining the original agreement. The latest internal company documents obtained by CBC News are dated March 29, 2017, and indicate the agreement had been amended a few months prior, perhaps in the latter half of 2016. The documents also indicate delivery of the vehicles is already underway and has been for months. CBC News asked for a response from both Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's office and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. Both declined comment over the weekend.. A cash-strapped kingdom A defence analyst said the amended order likely has more to do with the current state of Saudi Arabia's finances than its frustration over Canada's human rights criticism. "Saudi Arabia — in part because of low oil prices and in part because of corruption and mismanagement of its own economy — has a large budget deficit," said Thomas Juneau, a University of Ottawa assistant professor and former National Defence analyst. "Spending $15 billion over a number of years for armoured vehicles that it doesn't need that much, at least in a pressing sense, is an easier target for budget cuts, for sure." The kingdom has projected a budget deficit of $52 billion US this year and the country's finance minister said last spring it is on track to cut spending by seven per cent. When it was signed, the armoured vehicle deal was a way for Canada to cement relations with an important strategic partner in the region, said Juneau. Should Ottawa cancel the sale? He said he wonders if it's still worthwhile, in light of the furious diplomatic row that began over the Canadian government's tweeted expressions of concern for jailed activists — and quickly escalated with the expulsion of Canada's ambassador, the freezing of trade, the cancellation of grain shipments and the withdrawal of Saudi medical students from Canadian programs. "Now, with the dust not really having settled after the dispute from August, is that partnership, in abstract terms, still necessary? I think it is. But is it still possible?" said Juneau. Human rights groups say they believe there is even more reason for Ottawa to walk away from the deal now, given the events of this summer and the declining economic benefit. "We're compromising our position on human rights for even less than we thought," said Cesar Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares, which has opposed the agreement from the outset. "Even if it's not a huge decrease, it is still a decrease. It should, at least in political and economic terms, make it easier for the Trudeau government to reconsider this deal, especially in terms of the latest diplomatic spat." Full article:

  • Cyber Command’s acquisition authority still in its infancy

    10 septembre 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.

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

    10 septembre 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.

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