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That Defense Sperg.
So, Yesterday was an exciting day for our floating friends.

So, let's jump right into the news then:
Expeditionary Fast Transport Undergoes First Fast-Tracked Integrated Sea Trials
USNI said:
In a move designed to hasten the speed of Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transports (EPFs) joining the fleet, the shipbuilder completed a first-ever integrated builder’s and acceptance trials at sea for the future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11).

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Conducting integrated trials enabled builder Austal USA to demonstrate to the Navy Puerto Rico’s operational capability and mission readiness of all ship systems during a single two-day underway, according to the Navy.

Puerto Rico is one of the last EPFs being built by Austal. The future USNS Newport (T-EPF-12) is under construction at the Austal USA yard in Mobile, Ala. Two more, the future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) and the yet-unnamed EPF-14, are on contract with the yard. Total orders for the class are worth more than $2 billion, according to the company’s financial statements.

Navy officials have previously stated that their shift to a Distributed Maritime Operations concept relies on having more smaller ships, such as the EPF, which can fulfill several missions.

EPFs such as Puerto Rico will have a crew of 26 civilian mariners. With airline-style seating, an EPF can carry 312 troops for intratheater lift.

“The EPF program continues to be an example of stable and successful serial ship production,” Capt. Scot Searles, the Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager within the Program Executive Office for Ships, said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing EPF-11 deliver in the fall and expand the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders.”

Though the EPF line as it stands today may be coming to an end, the company has made a pitch for the Navy to consider using the hull as an ambulance ship. The Navy included in its Fiscal Year 2020 unfunded priorities list a request for $49 million to convert the last ship on contract, EPF-14, into an Expeditionary Medical Transport through an engineering change proposal to the contract with Austal.
USNI are good guys, do good work.

Further reading related to headline:
UPI said:
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Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS Puerto Rico finished its first integrated sea trials after two days in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship, designated EPF 11, completed its trials on August 22, and then returned to the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., where it was built, the Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Friday.

Integrated trials combine builder's and acceptance trials, allowing a demonstration of the ship's operational capability and mission readiness to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.

"The EPF program continues to be an example of stable and successful serial ship production," Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships, said in a press release. "I look forward to seeing EPF 11 deliver in the fall and expand the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders."

The USNS Puerto Rico is a non-combatant vessel designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways.

The Spearhead-class of EPF ships specializes in versatility, with operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, and rapid transport. The ships are capable of carrying vehicles including a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

The Puerto Rico is the 11th Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport and after its commissioning will be operated by the Military Sealift Command.
Defense Blog said:
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Austal shipyard has announced that the U.S. Navy newest Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF ) ship, the future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF11), has successfully completed acceptance trials.

The shipyard reported that acceptance trials, conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, were unique in that they integrated formal Builder’s Trials with Acceptance Trials for the first time on an EPF vessel.

“By combining the two at-sea trials into one event, there are great efficiencies gained, enabling reduced costs and a shorter completion schedule,” according to Austal.

Austal CEO David Singleton congratulated Austal USA for achieving this critical program milestone.

“The future USNS Puerto Rico successfully completed and passed all tests – a clean sweep – and returned from sea earlier than scheduled, a testament to the effort and expertise of Austal USA’s professional shipbuilding team and the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV),” he said.

“These trials involved the execution of intense, comprehensive testing by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the U.S. Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. Sea trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship. The future USNS Puerto Rico is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy before the end of the year and is the eleventh Spearhead Class ship in Austal’s 14-ship EPF portfolio.

“The flexibility and versatility of the EPF is becoming increasingly evident. From serving as a mother ship to test unmanned aerial and undersea systems in the Atlantic to performing as command ships in Pacific Partnership 2019 (an exercise that includes more than 500 military and civilian personnel from more than 10 nations), the EPF fleet is proving to be a great asset to the future 355-ship US Navy,” Mr Singleton said.

Austal’s EPF program is mature with ten ships delivered and three more under construction in Mobile, Alabama, in addition to the future USS Puerto Rico. The Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders.

The EPF’s large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions, to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions including special operations support, command and control, and medical support operations. With its ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.

According to the Navy, the ships are capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp is suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. The ship’s shallow draft (under 15 feet) will further enhance littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

In addition to the EPF program, Austal has also received contracts for 19 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Ten LCS have been delivered, five ships are in various stages of construction and four are yet to start construction.
Further reading about the Spearhead-Class:

U.S. Navy awards General Dynamics with $1.6 billion contract for newest expeditionary ships
Defense Blog said:
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General Dynamics NASSCO, a business unit of General Dynamics, was awarded a contract from the U.S. U.S. Navy for newest expeditionary ships as part of Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.

The contract, announced by the Department of Defense, is worth more than $1.6 billion and covers the construction of the sixth and seventh ships of the ESB program, as well as an option for ESB 8.

“We are pleased to be building ESB 6 and 7 for our Navy,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “ESBs have proven to be affordable and flexible, and as the fleet has gained experience with the platform, we have worked with the Navy and Marines to develop even more capabilities and mission sets.”

According to General Dynamics, named after famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines, ESBs serve as a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures mission, with accommodations for up to 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck. The ship’s configuration supports special warfare and Marine Corps task-organized units.

Work on the two new ships of the ESB program is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020 and continue to the second quarter of 2023, providing the opportunity to sustain and grow the workforce along San Diego’s working waterfront. NASSCO’s unique location along the historic San Diego Bay provides shipbuilders and skilled tradespeople with unparalleled access to the nation’s leading maritime support businesses, and highly-trained employees allow NASSCO to build and repair some of the world’s greatest ships in the most efficient manner possible.

In 2011, the Navy awarded NASSCO with a contract to design and build the first two ships in the newly created MLP program, the USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn. The program expanded with three more vessels, the USS Lewis B. Puller, USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams and the Miguel Keith, configured as ESBs. Following the delivery of the first four ships to the U.S. Navy, the fifth ship, the Miguel Keith, is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Further reading related to headline:
UPI said:
GenDyn to build two Expeditionary Sea Base ships under $1B contract
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Aug. 26 (UPI) -- General Dynamics will build two ships for the U.S. Navy under a $1.08 billion contract announced by the Defense Department.

The company's National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. subsidiary, headquartered in San Diego, will build the sixth and seventh ships in the Navy's Expeditionary Sea Base program, the Pentagon announced on Friday. The deal includes an option to build an eighth ship, which would push the contract's value to $1.63 billion.

The vessels are regarded as seagoing platforms used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases.

"ESBs have proven to be affordable and flexible," Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said in a press release. "As the fleet has gained experience with the platform, we have worked with the Navy and Marines to develop even more capabilities and mission sets."

Acting as a mobile sea base, the ships, originally called Mobile Landing Platform Afloat Forward Staging Bases, are part of the critical access infrastructure to support deployment of forces and supplies. Their design is modeled after Alaska-class crude oil carriers, another General Dynamics NASSCO product.

The first two ships in the program were started in 2011. The USNS Montford Point was launched in 2012, and the USNS John Glenn was launched in 2013.

The contract announced on Friday is a fixed-price-incentive modification to a prior contract. Most of the work will be performed in San Diego, with January 2025 targeted as the completion date.
Further reading on the Expeditionary Sea Base ships:

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball returns to homeport after final sea trials
Defense Blog said:
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Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) returns to its homeport in Honolulu after conducting final sea trials near Hawaii Aug. 20, 2019.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, Kimball, the seventh National Security Cutter built for the Coast Guard, is scheduled for a unique dual-commissioning ceremony with Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757), the eighth NSC, at both cutters’ new homeport in Honolulu Aug. 24, 2019.

Known as the Legend-class, national security cutters are capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders. They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and 4,600 long tons in displacement.

They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.

While national security cutters possess advanced capabilities, over 70 percent of the Coast Guard’s offshore presence exists in the service’s aging fleet of medium endurance cutters. Many of these ships are over 50-years-old and approaching the end of their service life. Replacing the fleet with new offshore patrol cutters is one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s top priorities.

The Kimball’s namesake, Sumner Kimball, served as superintendent of the Revenue Marine, establishing a training school that would later become the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Kimball then was general superintendent of the Life-Saving Service (LSS) from 1878 until the LSS merged with the Revenue Marine to become the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. The ship’s motto is Lead, Train, and Save.
It is a nice little ship.

Speaking of which:
U.S. Coast Guard commissions two newest national security cutters
Defense Blog said:
The United States Coast Guard commissioned two newest Legend-class national security cutters, during a ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 24.
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According to a statement released by U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific, the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) and the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) were ‘brought to life’ during the rare dual-commissioning ceremony at Base Honolulu where the two cutters homeport. The Kimball and Midgett are the seventh and eighth legend-class national security cutters in the Coast Guard’s fleet.

“These national security cutters will continue our 150 years of partnership and commitment to the Pacific region – since September 1849, when Revenue Cutter Lawrence sailed into Honolulu Harbor escorted by Native Hawaiians in outrigger canoes,” said Schultz. “In today’s complex geostrategic environment with rising great power competition, the importance and demand for a strong Coast Guard presence in the Pacific has never been greater.”

The Kimball and Midgett, along with the three fast response cutters also homeported in Honolulu, will further advance the Coast Guard’s longstanding commitment to safeguard the nation’s maritime safety, security, and economic interests through critical deployments across the Indo-Pacific region.

Advanced command-and-control capabilities and an unmatched combination of range, speed and ability to operate in extreme weather enable these ships to confront national security threats, strengthen maritime governance, support economic prosperity, and promote individual sovereignty.

From the Bering Sea and the Arctic to patrolling known drug trafficking zones off Central and South America to working to strengthen the capabilities of our partners across the Indo-Pacific, national security cutters deploy globally to conduct essential Coast Guard missions.

Known as the Legend-class, national security cutters are capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders. They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and 4,600 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.

The Midgett’s transit to Hawaii was punctuated by two interdictions of suspected low-profile go-fast vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the first July 25 and a second July 31. The boardings resulted in a combined seizure of over 6,700 pounds of cocaine, estimated to be worth over $89 million.

National security cutters are responsible for 40 percent of the 460,000 pounds of cocaine interdicted by the Coast Guard in the fiscal year 2018. National security cutter crews have interdicted more than 92,000 pounds of cocaine to date in the fiscal year 2019.

Midgett is named to honor all members of the Midgett family who served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least ten members of the family earned high honors for their heroic life-saving efforts. Among them, the Coast Guard awarded various family members seven gold lifesaving medals, the service’s highest award for saving a life, and three silver lifesaving medals.

The Kimball is the third ship to bear that name, in honor of Sumner Kimball, who served as superintendent of the Revenue Marine and as general superintendent of the Life-Saving Service from 1878 until the two organizations merged in 1915 to become the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard.

“As you take to the seas, you will write the next chapters of the Kimball and Midgett legacies,” said Schultz, addressing the commands and crews of the two cutters. “I charge you with carrying out the operations of these ships in such a manner as to be worthy of the traditions of self-sacrifice, inspirational leadership, and unwavering dedication to duty – traits exemplified by these cutters’ distinguished and storied namesakes.”

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Further reading on the Legend-Class:

Low-rate initial production begins for Raytheon Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles
New guidance system has dual mode active and semi-active radar

Raytheon said:
TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $190 million low-rate initial production contract for ESSM Block 2 missiles featuring a new guidance system with a dual mode active and semi-active radar.

This award follows the Navy's decision to shift from development to production on the enhanced intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile, placing the Block 2 variant on track for initial operating capability in 2020.

The ESSM missile is the primary ship self-defense missile aboard Navy aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious assault ships. It is an integral component of the Navy's layered area and ship self-defense capability for cruisers and destroyers.

"ESSM plays a critical role in protecting navy sailors worldwide and our international partners share our commitment to evolve this missile," said Dr. Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems vice president.

ESSM is the foundation of several allied navies' anti-ship missile defense efforts and is operational on almost 200 naval platforms worldwide.

The ESSM program is a cooperative effort managed by a NATO-led consortium comprising 12 nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States.
Further reading on Evolved SeaSparrow Missile Block 2:
TL;DR: Sea Sparrow has its own radar illuminator now.

US Naval News Roundout:
Pentagon’s Investor-Industry Matchmaking Program Will Focus on Small UAS in First Event

USNI said:
THE PENTAGON – The Defense Department’s effort to connect sources of capital with small companies that need investment will begin with a focus on those that design and manufacture small unmanned aerial systems, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief told reporters today.

The Trusted Capital Marketplace, which USNI News first reported on in April, will begin with a first meeting of investors and tech companies in October, Ellen Lord said today in a briefing at the Pentagon.

That meeting will target the small UAS industry sector due to concerns that China currently dominates the market, she said.

“It’s because of where we are right now in terms of having our entire U.S. marketplace eroded, and also because it’s very intuitive – people can understand what these small quadcopters are,” she said when asked why the Trusted Capital Marketplace would kick off with a focus on small UAS.
“So essentially we don’t have much of a small UAS industrial base because (Chinese company) DJI dumped so many low-priced quadcopters on the market and we then became dependent on them, both from the defense point of view and the commercial point of view. And we know that a lot of the information is sent back to China from those, so it is not something that we could use.”

By bringing investors to meet with companies interested in designing and building small fixed-wing or quadcopter UAS in the United States, the American industrial base could regain that capability and, once Defense Department needs are satisfied, potentially compete American drones against Chinese ones on the commercial market.

Since announcing the public-private partnership earlier this year, Lord said a team has stood up to begin managing the vetting requirements for the trusted sources of capital – ensuring that money funding sensitive defense capabilities doesn’t come with ties to China, Russia or other potential adversaries – as well as beginning industry outreach and the industry/capital matching process.

Lord previously thought that DoD might be able to set up a matchmaking website of sorts, where citizens or companies interested in spending money to help shore up gaps in defense capability or capacity could be paired with tech companies working on critical defense needs for which there may not be much potential for profit in the commercial world or who otherwise need a cash infusion to continue working in the defense sector.

Instead, Lord said today, an initial model pointed to a “complicated and expensive website” and caused her team to change plans, instead opting for a series of events around the country instead of working through a website.

Lord said her office already has a list of other topics for tech investment focus areas, and after the October event on small UAS she hoped to have another event with a different focus area in January and then again every few months afterwards.

“The idea is, we do not promise business to any of the businesses that would be there [at these events], but these are areas where we definitely have a strong demand signal,” she said.
“What we’re working on right now is, how we as DoD can invest a little bit in many of these companies as well, so they could be branded as having DoD contracts? We think that would be helpful,” she added.

Additionally, Lord said during her media briefing that the Office of the Secretary of Defense was standing up an “Intellectual Property Cadre” to look at both how to manage intellectual property and data rights between the government and industry and also how to protect IP from China and others who may steal that data. That organization should be formally stood up by October.

“They will develop DoD policy within the whole-of-government effort to address concerns on data rights,” she said.
“[Defense Secretary Mark] Esper, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and the president have all spoken about the impact Chinese intellectual property theft is having on our national security, American commerce and our defense industry. Again, we need to go on the offense to protect our technology versus merely acting defensively.”

Despite the urgency of the Chinese theft issue, she said the organization would primarily focus on IP and data rights between the government and the contractors it works with. That continues to be a challenge, as the military services want to own data rights so they can re-compete a program later on, build their own spare parts through additive manufacturing, and so on, while companies want to keep those rights to ensure they make money throughout the life of a program.

“My experience says that typically we have problems with intellectual property when we don’t clearly define what is owned by industry and what will be owned by government at the outset of a program. So a lot of this really has to do with good program planning,” Lord said, adding that the group will leverage work the Army has already done on the topic and seek to establish policy that everyone can live with going forward.

Lord noted that the establishment of an intellectual property cadre was mandated by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and that her office has been in close contact with Capitol Hill as the group nears being stood up.
Six Major Navy Commands Now Using Cloud-Based System for Financial and Supply Management
USNI said:
THE PENTAGON – Navy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the service’s financial and supply chain management system, has migrated to a cloud computing system following a 10-month program replacing a server-based system.

The Navy ERP migration to cloud computing is part of a larger three-year, $100-million effort to upgrade Navy computing systems, James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said during a media briefing last week. The cloud-based Navy ERP gives some 72,000 Navy users better access to data, such as the availability of parts, the status of supplies and the ability to quickly run reports.

“My experience has been, anytime you can increase transparency and ability for users – wherever they are in the system – to get as close to real-time actual data, then that adds efficiencies across the board,” Geurts said.

Since Navy ERP is in the cloud, Geurts said future expansions, upgrades and connections to other Department of Defense systems should be relatively simple to accomplish.

“Now that it’s on a cloud-based system, it gives us tremendous flexibility technically and from a business standpoint for the future – both being important – so we weren’t locked into a particular IT infrastructure or business arrangement,” Geurts said.

The Navy ERP is a Systems, Applications and Products (SAP) high-performance analytic appliance (HANA) cloud-based platform, managed by the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems’ (PEO EIS) Navy Enterprise Business Solutions program management office. The Navy’s legacy system was a SAP server-based Oracle platform.

Moving to the cloud is an essential step for the Navy to take because it allows the sea service to simplify and modernize its financial reporting process, Thomas Harker, the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller, said during the Friday briefing. Cloud computing helps the commands update data quicker and run reports more frequently.

“For example, there is one we only run on Sundays because the system is not being used, and it would take five or six hours to do; and they can now do that in about 30 minutes, and they’re doing it daily now. So it’s one where that increased accuracy has helped us with operations,” Harker said.

The goal is for all Navy financial systems to consolidate into a single general ledger within the next couple of years. Doing so is essential to producing accurate financial information, obtaining a clean audit opinion and improving the service’s analytics capability.

Six major Navy commands are now using Navy ERP. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) and the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR, formerly SPAWAR) are all using Navy ERP.

“The magnitude of this accomplishment is incredible,” Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said in a statement. “The Navy ERP tech refresh is our largest system cloud migration to date and will enhance the performance of our force.”

Geurts said his team initially planned for a 20-month process to build the system and migrate the six major commands. The work was accomplished in 10 months.

“I am proud of the team efforts to accomplish this on an accelerated schedule, cutting the projected timeline nearly in half,” Spencer’s statement said. “The team managed this through innovative approaches to problem solving and close collaboration with integration teams, network engineers and industry partners.”

Putting the ERP in the cloud also adds a layer of protection to the data, Geurts said. The Navy now has only one cloud-based depository of data to protect instead of a myriad of computing hardware.

“I think it is a widely accepted practice, if you can move from many different disparate systems that you’ve got to independently always be checking and protecting and dealing with vulnerabilities and get that into a more coherent single system that reduces the attack surface and allows you to much more efficiently ensure that you’re always keeping that infrastructure safe,” Geurts said.

The process of setting up Navy ERP could prove to be an essential pathway to use in the future as the Navy considers moving other systems to the cloud, Geurts said. For example, the Navy could follow a similar acquisition strategy with the use of small businesses and a similar process used to migrate the data to the cloud. Advanced Solutions Inc., a small-tech firm, is the prime contractor for the Navy ERP migration.

“You’ve heard me talk last year about how we see small businesses having big impacts on the Navy; this is a great example of that,” Geurts said. “Last year we did over $15 billion to small businesses as primes, and this is a great example of a small business as a prime.”
USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Aug. 26, 2019

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**Warning Format cancer.**
USNI said:
These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Aug. 26, 2019, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:
Ships Underway
Deployed Ships UnderwayNon-deployed Ships UnderwayTotal Ships Underway
Ships Deployed by Fleet
Fleet Forces3rd Fleet4th Fleet5th Fleet6th Fleet7th FleetTotal
In Yokosuka, Japan

Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Reginald Hobson, from San Antonio, signals the landing of a CV-22 Osprey from the Air Force’s 21st Special Operations Squadron on the flight deck aboard the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) during low-light flight operations on Aug. 22, 2019. US Navy Photo
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has returned to its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, after its summer patrol.

Carrier Strike Group 5

Capt. Pat Hannifin, the commanding officer of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), holds an all-hands call in the hangar bay on Aug. 23, 2019. US Navy Photo
Aircraft carrier
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan

Carrier Air Wing 5

Aviation Ordnancemen transfer missiles onto a F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck aboard the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) during flight operations Aug. 22, 2019. US Navy Photo
CVW 5, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, is embarked aboard Ronald Reagan and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Royal Maces” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Diamondbacks” of VFA-102 from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Eagles” of VFA-115 from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Dambusters” of VFA-195 from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Shadowhawks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Tiger Tails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
  • The “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
  • The “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
  • The “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
U.S. 7th Fleet has not named all the escorts for the Reagan CSG, but it includes Japan-based guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and USS Antietam (CG-54).

In the Sea of Japan

USS Wasp (LHD-1) transits the Coral Sea on Aug. 1, 2019. US Navy Photo
The Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group is underway between Korea and Japan.

In the Gulf of Aqaba

An MH-60S Knight Hawk Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 sits on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD-4) as the ship transits the Red Sea on Aug. 20, 2019. US Navy Photo
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Amphibious Squadron 5 (PHIBRON 5) is the ARG commander. In addition to the Wasp-class USS Boxer (LHD-4), the ARG also includes Whidbey Island-class USS Harper’s Ferry (LSD-49) and San Antonio-class USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26).

The ARG includes the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 5, and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.

The Camp Pendleton-based 11th MEU comprises Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines; Marine Attack Squadron 214 equipped with AV-8B Harriers; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion 11.

In the North Arabian Sea

Cmdr. Shannon Walker, the supply officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), observes an MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopter attached to the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 transports cargo from the Abraham Lincoln to the fast combat support ship USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14) during a replenishment-at-sea on Aug. 23, 2019. US Navy Photo
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is underway in the North Arabian Sea. Tensions remain high in the area in and around the Strait of Hormuz.

Carrier Strike Group 12

Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Cameron Neeley helps sort mail by department in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) during a replenishment-at-sea on Aug. 23, 2019. US Navy Photo
Aircraft carrier
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), homeported in Norfolk, Va. (shifting to San Diego, Calif., upon completion of deployment)

Carrier Air Wing 7

An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to the ‘Pukin’ Dogs’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143 makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) on Aug. 21, 2019. US Navy Photo
CVW 7, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked aboard Lincoln and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:

  • The “Fist of the Fleet” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA-143 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
  • The “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140 from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • The “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Night Dippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
  • The “Griffins” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
Destroyer Squadron 2

Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Danny Alano, assigned to the ‘Grandmasters’ of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46, inserts a hose into an airbrush to paint aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) on Aug. 22, 2019. US Navy Photo
The leadership of DESRON 2 is embarked aboard Lincoln and commands the guided-missile destroyers that are operating as part of the CSG.

  • USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Mason (DDG-87), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • USS Nitze (DDG-94), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
  • ESPS Méndez Núñez (F 104), Ferrol Naval Base, Spain
Guided-missile Cruiser

  • USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), homeported in Norfolk, Va.
In the Western Atlantic

Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), direct a Landing Craft, Air Cushion into to the ship’s well deck on Aug. 24, 2019. US Navy Photo
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) and 26th MEU are conducting an ARG/MEU exercise near Camp Lejeune, N.C. The ARGMEUEX provides essential and realistic ship-to-shore training, designed to enhance the integration of the Navy-Marine Corps team prior to deployment.

Sailor directs a T-45C Goshawk training aircraft, assigned to Training Air Wing (TW) 2, as it launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 23, 2019. US Navy Photo
USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is underway off Jacksonville, Fla., conducting carrier qualifications for pilots in training.

In addition to these major formations, not shown are thousands of others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Gro

Doc Cassidy

Notorious Bum Driller
True & Honest Fan
What ever happened to the new destroyers they were working on a while ago? I think they were calling them a DDX.
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That Defense Sperg.
What ever happened to the new destroyers they were working on a while ago? I think they were calling them a DDX.
DDX, AKA Zumwalt class. A fucking travesty of bad design decisions, political gamesmanship, and the Naval command being spastics.

What happened to it? It bombed out so hard that only three of the class were built and is being succeeded by an upgraded version of its predecessor: The Arleigh Burke class Flight III.

It was only matched in failure by the original LCS.
Last edited:

Capsaicin Addict

Just a fellow who loves spicy food.
Yeah, I used to read CdrSalamander a while back, and he had nothing good to say about the LCS, and there were some WEIRD fucking things going around about it too. Like how the hull had to be welded together in this weird way, and how the engines were consistently getting water into the oil.
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That Defense Sperg.
State clears $4.2 billion in potential arms sales to Japan, S. Korea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark
Defense News said:
WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Tuesday cleared over $4.2 billion in potential weapon sales for Japan, South Korea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark.

The sales, announced by State on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website, would bring the total foreign military sales cases cleared by State to $51.9 billion with roughly five weeks to go in fiscal year 2020.

The largest dollar value for the package comes from Japan’s purchase of 73 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, with an estimated price tag of $3.295 billion. This marks the third purchase of SM-3s announced for Japan this fiscal year, following November ($561 million) and April ($1.150 billion). The Block IIA is jointly developed by Japan and the United States, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in charge of some components of the missile.

Hungary is seeking to spend an estimate $500 million on 180 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. The prime contractor will be Raytheon. This marks the third AIM-120 announcement of the fiscal year, following two packages for Japan previously. The weapons will be used to support Hungary’s fleet of Gripen fighters.

Denmark wants to spend $200 million on nine AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems and 600 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys, to improve its anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The announcement comes months after the Pentagon began seeking ways to fund sonobuoy production in light of increased need from both American and allied forces.

Lithuania has requested 500 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles with associated equipment, with an estimated price tag of $170.8 million. The prime contractor will be Oshkosh Defense.

Finally, South Korea plans to buy 31 MK 54 All Up Round lightweight torpedoes for an estimated $72 million. Raytheon is the primary contractor for the weapons, which also come with support equipment such as recoverable training torpedoes. The weapons are intended for its fleet of P-8 sub hunter aircraft.

The dual announcements of sales to Japan and South Korea notably come at a delicate time, as military relations between the two nations are becoming more strained.

As with all DSCA announcements, the sales must first be cleared by Congress before entering contract negotiations, during which quantities and dollar figures can change.
More from the Japan Deal:
Defense Security Cooperation Agency said:
PDF Version:
PDF icon
Media/Public Contact:
Transmittal No:

WASHINGTON, August 27, 2019 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of up to seventy-three (73) Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA with support for an estimated cost of $3.295 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 27, 2019.

The Government of Japan has requested to buy up to seventy-three (73) Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles. Also included are MK 29 Canisters with packing, handling, storage, and transportation (PHS&T) kits; up to ten (10) Special Assignment Airlift Mission (SAAM) flights; U.S. Government and contractor representatives' technical assistance, engineering and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $3.295 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability.

The proposed sale will provide Japan with increased ballistic missile defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor for the SM-3 Block IIA All Up Rounds will be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona. The prime contractor for the MK 29 Canisters and PHS&T kits will be BAE Systems, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Japan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight for approximately five years.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,
Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA Missiles
major arms sales
TL;DR has a better discrimination radar, as well as better maneuvering capability.
Hungarian Deal information:
DSCA said:
PDF Version:
PDF icon
Media/Public Contact:
Transmittal No:

WASHINGTON, August 27, 2019 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Hungary of one hundred and eighty (180) AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM ) with support for an estimated cost of $500 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 27, 2019.

The Government of Hungary has requested to buy one hundred and eighty (180) AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), and four (4) spare AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance sections. Also included are four (4) spare AIM-120C-7 control sections, six (6) AMRAAM training missiles (CATM-120C), missile containers, classified software (for the AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel Radar requested by Hungary through Direct Commercial Sale), spare and repair parts, cryptographic and communication security devices, precision navigation equipment, other software, site surveys, weapons system equipment and computer software support, publications and technical documentation, common munitions and test equipment, repair and return services and equipment, personnel training and training equipment, integration support and test equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor, engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $500 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally, which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. This sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S forces and increase security.

Hungary intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense. This sale will contribute to Hungary's interoperability with the United States and other allies. Hungary should not have any difficulties absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support does not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor and integrator will be Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Hungary.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,

AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM)
major arms sales
AMRAAM: decently long range air-to-air missile

Denmark Deal Info:
DSCA said:
PDF Version:
PDF icon
Media/Public Contact:
Transmittal No:
WASHINGTON, August 27, 2019 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Denmark nine (9) AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems and six hundred (600) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys with support for an estimated cost of $200 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 27, 2019.

The Government of Denmark has requested to buy nine (9) AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems; six hundred (600) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $200 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the military capability of Denmark, a NATO ally that is an important force for ensuring political stability and economic progress within Europe.

The proposed sale will improve Denmark’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The ALFS and Sonobuoys will provide the capability to perform anti-submarine warfare missions.

Denmark will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Denmark will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Oswego, New York. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Denmark.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,

Airborne Low Frequency Sonar System and Sonobuoys
major arms sales
Lithuania Deal Information:
Defense News said:
Lithuania’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle buy clears State Dept. hurdle

WASHINGTON — Lithuania’s plan to buy the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle from the U.S. has been cleared by the State Department, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification.

The department notified Congress Aug. 27 that it had approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Lithuania of 500 JLTVs — the U.S. Army’s humvee replacement — for an estimated cost of $170.8 million.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence first contacted the U.S. Defense Department regarding a potential acquisition of about 200 Oshkosh Defense-made JLTVs in late 2017.

The purchase, if approved by Congress, would include the vehicles as well M1278A1 Heavy Gun Carriers as well as kits including ones for ballistic armor, explosive protection, shot detection and GPS.

Lithuania would also get the M153 Common Remote Weapon Station, M2 QCB .50 caliber machine guns, and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems.

The country has invested a great deal in recent years in its modernization of its defensive capabilities and plans to increase the investments in the coming years as Russia continues to build up its military power in Kaliningrad and its Western Military District while gaining influence with Lithuania’s neighbor Belarus.

The JLTV procurement was recently made possible as the U.S. Army approved the full-rate production of the vehicle in June after a six-month delay. With the approval, it is expected to see exports ramp up.

Slovenia has already placed an order for a small number of JLTVs, and it’s likely the United Kingdom will be a future customer as well. The State Dept. cleared the UK’s possible purchase two years ago for 2,747 vehicles worth up to $1 billion.

Lithuania’s Ministry of Defence told Defense News in May that it was hoping to sign a contract with the U.S. for roughly 200 JLTVS by the end of the year. The country has said it intends to consider a follow-on purchase of additional JLTVS — possibly up to 300 more — after the first lot is under contract.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, replacement to the venerable HMMWV (a.k.a Humvee). Get to know it well, it will be around for a while.

DoD Contract releases for August 27
It is all in DoD speak, proceed with caution.
Department of Defense said:
Contracts For Aug. 27, 2019

Southwest Construction & Property Management,* San Bruno, California (N62473-19-D-1231); Bishop Inc.,* Orange, California (N62473-19-D-1232); J. Davis Construction Management Inc.,* Oxnard, California (N62473-19-D-1233); Trumble Construction Inc., doing business as RBT Construction,* Texarkana, Texas (N62473-19-D-1234); B.C. Schmidt Construction Inc.,* Williams, California (N62473-19-D-1235); and Heffler Contracting Group,* El Cajon, California (N62473-19-D-1236), are each awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract. The maximum dollar value including the base period and one option period for all six contracts combined is $240,000,000. The contract covers new construction, renovation and repair, primarily by design-build or secondarily by design-bid-build of roofing systems at various government installations located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Types of roofing projects may include, but are not limited to, roof condition assessment, emergency leak response and testing for hazardous material on various roofing systems. It also covers all roofing related work such as, but not limited to, demolition and disposal of roofing materials that may contain asbestos and lead paint, removal and reinstallation of equipment, piping and heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) ductwork, painting and installation of gutters, downspouts, fascia, sheet metal flashing, sealants, caulking, insulation, vents, and drainage assemblies. No task orders are being issued at this time. All work on these contracts will be performed at various government installations located in California (80%); Arizona (16%); Nevada (1%); Utah (1%); Colorado (1%); and New Mexico (1%). The terms of the contracts are not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of August 2024. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (O&M) (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $30,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by military construction (Navy); O&M (Navy and Marine Corps); and Navy working capital funds. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with 11 proposals received. These six contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

CDM Federal Programs Corp., Fairfax, Virginia, is awarded a not-to-exceed $49,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services to support the Navy's public works business line. The work to be performed includes, but is not limited to, the following type of services: evaluate, analyze, development of plans, standard operating and maintenance procedures, and recommend improvements for utility management; utility operation and maintenance; electric and steam production; electric and steam distribution; natural gas distribution; water and wastewater treatment; water distribution; wastewater collection; utility privatization and out-sourcing; cybersecurity and control systems; advanced metering; energy management; energy security; energy and water conservation; project financing; utility regulation; utility rate making and analysis; commodity and service pricing and procurement; supply and demand practices; market design; and fuel sourcing. No task orders are being issued at this time. Work will be performed primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic area of responsibility, and the term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of August 2024. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $10,000 are obligated on this award and expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with four proposals received. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-19-D-2012).

Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems, Littleton, Colorado, is awarded an estimated $44,308,222 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity hybrid contract with cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract line item numbers. The contract is in support of Navy and other agencies' Radiant Mercury (RADMERC) operations to securely transfer data across different security domains. The contract provides for installation, program management, maintenance, modernization and sustainment of RADMERC systems. The contract will also provide system security authorization support, and logistics and training services. This contract includes a five-year ordering period and a five-year option period. The option period, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $92,213,609. Work will be performed in various U.S. locations (80%), with work in locations outside the U.S. (20%) based on the requirement for each delivery order placed. Work is expected to be completed by August 2024. If the option is exercised, work could continue until August 2029. No funding is obligated on the contract at time of award. Contract funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $5,000 will be obligated on the first delivery order. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured because it is a sole-source acquisition pursuant to the authority of 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source (Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 6.302-1). The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N00039-19-D-0006).

Phoenix International Holdings Inc., Largo, Maryland, is awarded a $37,775,336 cost-plus-fixed fee bridge contract for Submarine Rescue Operations Maintenance contractor. The contractor is responsible for providing appropriate and sufficient personnel and services necessary for the mobilization, operation, storage, logistic support, repair and maintenance of the submarine rescue systems. The contractor will provide appropriate and sufficient personnel and services necessary to mobilize and operate the submarine rescue systems that support the response requirements. The contractor is responsible to ensure the Navy's submarine rescue systems are maintained in a high state of readiness to support a rapid worldwide deployment on a 24-hour-per-day, 7-day-a week basis. This contract includes one option, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $40,828,728. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and is expected to be complete by June 2020. If the option is exercised, work will continue through August 2020. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $2,100,000 will be obligated at the time of award, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-19-C-4307).

DynCorp International LLC, McLean, Virginia, is awarded a $27,079,693 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for base operations support (BOS) services at Naval and Defense Intelligence Agency Facilities in Washington, District of Columbia; Maryland; and Virginia. The BOS services to be performed include: general information, management and administration, supply services, facility management, facility investment, custodial, pest control, integrated solid waste management, grounds maintenance and landscaping, pavement clearance, and utility management, chiller plant, and transportation services. The maximum dollar value including the base period and six option periods is $173,819,122. Work will be performed in Washington, District of Columbia (54%); Maryland (32%); and Virginia (14%), and is expected to be completed by May 2026. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2020 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $23,355,530 for recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the base period. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with six proposals received. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-19-D-2013).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded $25,252,703 for modification P00052 to previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive-firm, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract N00019-16-C-0004. This modification is for an F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter regional maintenance repair and upgrade facility for the Government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Work will be performed in Nagoya, Japan (65%); Ft Worth, Texas (26%); Greenville, South Carolina (7%); Orlando, Florida (2%); and El Segundo, California (1%), and is expected to be completed no later than September 2022. FMS funds in the amount of $25,252,703 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.


Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $50,871,700 hybrid (cost-no-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price) contract for production, integration, fielding, and training of the Huntsman secure network radio. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2022. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone, Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-19-D-0041).

Lockheed Martin Rotary Mission Systems, Owego, New York, was awarded a $42,734,799 hybrid (firm-fixed-price and fixed-price-incentive) domestic and Foreign Military Sales (United Kingdom) contract to procure Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometer kits and spares. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Owego, New York, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2022. Fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 aircraft procurement, Army and foreign military sales funds in the combined amount of $42,734,199 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W52P1J-19-F-0634).

DLT Solutions, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $15,928,239 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of multiple Red Hat software items. Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of Aug, 23, 2021. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $15,928,239 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56JSR-19-F-0117).

General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan, was awarded a $14,678,125 modification (P00070) to contract W56HZV-13-C-0319 for facilities modifications at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2023. Fiscal 2019 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $14,678,125 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

Triumph Engine Control Systems LLC, West Hartford, Connecticut, was awarded a $7,473,340 firm-fixed-price contract for the overhaul of a minimum of the fuel control main for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 26, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-19-F-0640).

Trident Technologies LLC,* Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $7,450,142 modification (0001 35) to contract W31P4Q-16-A-0018 to provide Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft Project Office programmatic support services. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 25, 2020. Fiscal 2019 Foreign Military Sales funds in the combined amount of $7,450,142 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.


BAE Systems, Nashua, New Hampshire, has been awarded a maximum $83,934,598 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-no-fee contract for the AN/AAR-57A(V) Common Missile Warning System. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is New Hampshire, with an Aug. 26, 2024, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 Army working capital funds; and Army operations and maintenance funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland (SPRBL1-19-D-0075).

General Electric Co., Lynn, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $42,846,000 firm-fixed-price delivery order (SPRPA1-19-F-QH07) against a five-year basic ordering agreement (FA8122-19-G-0001) for combustion chambers. This is a 42-month contract with no option periods. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S .Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Location of performance is Massachusetts, with a Feb. 28, 2023, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 Navy working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Packet Forensics LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia, was awarded a $10,000,000 modification (P00004) to previously awarded HR0011-18-C-0056 for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Harnessing Autonomy for Countering Cyberadversary Systems (HACCS) research project. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $21,200,000 from $11,200,000. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach, Virginia, with an expected completion date of August 2020. Fiscal 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $10,000,000 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

*Small Business
GenDyn contracted for Knifefish UUV production after approval from Navy
UPI said:
The U.S. Navy gave Milestone C approval to the Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program, which is designed for use by littoral combat ships.
Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 2.26.10 AM.png

Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program has been approved to enter low-rate initial production, with the Pentagon awarding a contract for the work days later.

General Dynamics Missions Systems was awarded a $44.6 million contract on Monday by the Department of Defense to start production of the undersea drones. The Knifefish is part of the littoral combat ship's mine countermeasures mission package, though they can be launched from a variety of vessels if needed.

The Navy's Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants granted the approval on August 23, officially approving the start of production of the drones. The branch ran tests of prototype systems from January to May earlier this year, pitting the systems against deployed, simulated mine fields off the coasts of Massachusetts and Florida.

"Knifefish is a critical element of the LCS Mine Countermeasures Mission Package and will reduce risk to Navy personnel and equipment," Navy officials said in a press release.

The system consists of two undersea drones, with support systems and equipment, that uses low-frequency broadband sonar and automated target recognition software technology to detect and classify buried, bottom and volume mines. This allows the host ship to stay away from potential mine fields while still investigating the area.

Under the new contract, the full value of which was obligated to General Dynamics at the time of award, production of the initial systems for testing will be performed mostly in locations in Massachusetts, with the rest spread across the continental United States. Work on the contract is expected to completed in August 2021.

UUVs produced under the low-rate production contract are expected to be provided for the Navy to both test and operate as Knifefish development continues to move forward.

The Navy plans to eventually acquire 30 of the systems -- 24 for LCS vessels and six for others -- but said it will not make a decision on full-rate production until 2022.
Underwater Drone capability for the LCS. I guess it can do minesweeping now.
Other sources:
More Info on the KnifeFish UUV:

USS George Washington More Than Halfway Through RCOH, Will Leave Dry Dock Next Month
USNI said:
Aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) is more than halfway through its refueling and complex overhaul and is set to leave the dry dock at Newport News Shipbuilding next month to begin the next phase of a four-year overhaul.

The ship’s crew announced this week it had reached the 50-percent completion mark in its portion of the carrier’s RCOH, with each department onboard working to restore their equipment and spaces to keep the ship ready to operate for another 25 years.

Each nuclear-powered aircraft carrier goes through a four-year refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at the midway point of its 50-year service life. Newport News Shipbuilding handles the most complex work, including refueling the nuclear reactor plant, tearing out the flight deck and catapults to repair corrosion and damage, and upgrading networks and systems.

“USS George Washington (CVN-73) currently is in our dry dock for hull and freeboard blast and paint; repairs to its propellers, sea chests, shafts, and rudders; and defueling and refueling of its power plant. The overhaul is more than 50 percent complete, and we are on track to flood the dry dock next month and transition to the next phase of the RCOH – final outfitting and testing. The RCOH is expected to be completed in late 2021,” Newport News Shipbuilding spokesman Duane Bourne told USNI News.

“We are pleased with the progress we are making on the USS George Washington (CVN-73), and continue to work closely with our Navy partners and more than 680 suppliers from 40 states on this extremely complex engineering and construction project,” he added.
“We look forward to starting our final outfitting and testing program to redeliver a fully recapitalized carrier capable of supporting current and future warfare doctrine for another 25 years.”

The ship’s crew stays busy during RCOH working through their own ship’s force work package (SFWP), which the crew announced this week is halfway complete.

“During George Washington’s time in the shipyard, she will overhaul and upgrade the combat systems and other warfighting capabilities, improve the ship’s material condition, and refuel the reactors. The work put in for the SFWP during RCOH, with additional work completed by Newport News Shipyard, ensures that George Washington will leave the shipyard as the world’s most technologically-advanced capital warship, a validation of the type of work that can only be accomplished at one shipyard in the entire nation,” according to a Navy news release.

In addition to getting the work done faster, having the crew participate in the midlife overhaul gives sailors a chance to learn the ins and outs of their gear, which should help them better understand how to maintain and troubleshoot the equipment later on.

“Transitioning from normal operations to RCOH has given us the opportunity to completely disassemble our equipment and learn the proper way to rebuild it, in order to restore it to an operational state,” Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Larissa Pruitt, the auxiliary division’s leading petty officer, said in the news release.
“I wouldn’t do anything differently, as this shipyard period has made us better machinist’s mates and a stronger family.”

George Washington began its RCOH in August 2017 and is expected to wrap up in late 2021.

Ahead of flooding the dry dock and moving into the next stage of work, George Washington’s deck department in particular has been working closely with Newport News officials to ensure the ship is ready for that milestone, according to the Navy news release.

“The biggest challenge for us [so far] was coordinating with the shipyard and working together to get the anchors put on in a timely manner,” Chief Boatswain’s Mate Myren Fripp, a leading chief petty officer in deck department, said in the release.
“Making sure all of the equipment needed for this evolution was up and running and making sure we had all of the right people in the right places at the right times definitely helped the process run smoothly.”

Even as final outfitting and testing on GW will span the next two-plus years, early work on the next RCOH is already underway.

Newport News Shipbuilding has been conducting advance planning for the RCOH on USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) since last summer.

“As part of our planning, we have completed onboard ship checks using the latest laser scanning technology in preparation for the ship’s arrival at Newport News Shipbuilding in January 2021,” Bourne told USNI News.

Chris Miner, vice president of In-Service Aircraft Carrier Programs at the shipyard, told USNI News last summer that technologies such as laser scanning and digital modeling were being used on George Washington and would be applied to Stennis and future carriers as well to cut down on the cost and time of planning the work package.

“So a ship check: we used to send hundreds of people to go manually track systems, do drawings and everything. 73 – and it was a forward-deployed carrier, it was in Yokosuka – so think about the cost of sending hundreds of people to Yokosuka, Japan, to manually ship check all these systems,” Miner said in August 2018.
“So on 73 we used the laser scanning technology, sent a significantly smaller team, were able to use the scanners to scan systems and bring those back and use them to build our work packages. And between just the cost of scanning, the people we didn’t need, and the travel costs, we saved on the order of $2 million, a couple million dollars, just in the ship checking cost.”

He said those scans and the lessons learned would pave the way for planning for Stennis, which began around that time last year.
Another Source:

On to a bunch of fluff/opinion/speculative pieces.

U.S. Army develops stealthy, hydrogen fuel cell tanks

Defense Blog said:
Scientists from the U.S. Army Combat Capability Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) and U.S. Army Research Laboratory continue developing new hydrogen combat vehicles, includes tanks and infantry fighting vehicle.

According to new data from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, U.S. Army seeks to explore and evaluate fuel cell power generation technologies, including hydrogen fuel cell technology and their support equipment, that enable tactical advantages for ground vehicle systems.

Fuel cells generate electricity quietly, efficiently and without pollution. The new fuel cells are more energy-efficient than combustion engines and the hydrogen used to power them can come from a variety of sources: any water-based liquid like coffee, sports drinks or even urine. More than, existing fuels like gasoline, propane, and natural gas can also be used to extract hydrogen.

Hydrogen, the most plentiful element in the universe, has the potential to power fuel cells and provide energy to future Soldiers and their combat vehicles.

Although сutting-edge hydrogen fuel cell technologies will reduce environmental damage, they are primarily aimed at reducing oil dependency. Also, the hydrogen fuel cell technology to provide an important element of stealth: because its drive system does not produce smoke, noise, odor or thermal signature.

Army researchers with commercial companies currently developing unified hydrogen platforms for creating future tanks and infantry fighting vehicle.

The new hydrogen powerpack provides a number of advantages for future tanks among which will high torque that enables it to negotiate rough and steep terrain; silent mobility; acoustick and thermal benefits; reduction in weight of combat vehicle, common fuel from multiple sources.

The future tanks will be equipped with a special module that generated from highly compressed hydrogen that is stored in the vehicle by an electrochemical reaction, storage batteries and electric engines.

Multiple options for hydrogen generation based on the operational scenario and available local resources offer endless opportunities for future combat vehicles.

Fuel Cells and the Hydrogen Infrastructure are significant enablers for the electrification of military ground vehicles and support equipment.
Navy, Marine Corps leaders expressed interest in buying futuristic unmanned maritime systems
Defense Blog said:
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leaders have expressed interest in buying a futuristic weaponized unmanned maritime systems during the 2019 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX).

According to a statement released by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Navy and Marine Corps witness new Expeditionary Warfare Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) in Action at ANTX Demonstration at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The Navy-industry Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) team – comprised of Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) and Textron Systems scientists and engineers – demonstrated the Expeditionary Warfare USV’s ability to control inshore and littoral areas while identifying and engaging remote targets. NSWCDD unmanned system experts worked with their industry partner under the CRADA to integrate expeditionary warfare payloads they developed and integrated onto Textron’s Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle.

The Marine Corps general emphasized that the Marines need new capabilities for their concept of operations to work and that they need them quickly.

“We are also interested in showing the Navy that this type of system is available,” said Gripshover. “As unmanned boats are integrated into the force structure, these weapon automation technologies will be critical to their success. We want the Navy to be aware that putting weapons on unmanned boats involves more than bolting them on the deck. The weapons have to be controlled effectively.”

Gripshover and his team of NSWCDD scientists and engineers worked with their industry partner, Textron Systems, under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to integrate expeditionary warfare payloads they developed and integrated onto the company’s Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle.

“There are certain things you can do with these systems that you will never be able to do with manned vehicles,” said Gripshover regarding the Expeditionary Warfare USV his team created. “These types of systems opens up new ways of fighting as well as new missions. If fully implemented, these unmanned systems could revolutionize the way we fight.”

Specifically, the Expeditionary Warfare USV could transform how the Navy and Marine Corps provide maritime force protection and maneuver with payloads that include a Longbow Hellfire Missile Launcher and a 50 caliber machine gun on a Sea deFNnder Remote Weapon Station.

“Large numbers of these small, weaponized unmanned vehicles for use in distributed maritime operations and littoral operations in a contested environment will saturate the adversaries’ defenses, and can provide protection for the manned vessels,” said Gripshover. “In the long run, these unmanned systems save lives on both sides. It’s better to have machines fighting machines than to have humans fighting humans.”

At one point during ANTX, the Expeditionary Warfare USV autonomously located potential threats in the open ocean off Onslow Beach and at Mile Hammock Bay in Camp Lejuene while its NSWCDD operators made decisions related to engaging those targets. As the ANTX assessors watched the action, they could see how valuable the USV’s ‘leap-ahead’ capabilities would be in protecting Navy and Marine Corps manned high value assets.

The Expeditionary Warfare USV consists of a 40-foot self-driving boat, a HellFire Longbow missile system, and a .50 gun mounted on a remote weapon station. The boat uses radar and video to navigate, find and track surface contacts while providing tactical behaviors such as automated patrol, intercept, and chase. The gun and missile system use video and infrared systems to automatically identify targets, alert the weapon operator, and provide fire control. The system is operated remotely, either from an ashore site or a ship.

“With these autonomous systems and automated weapons, we are trying to automate enough of the kill chain to allow the human-machine team to react fast enough to deal with multiple incoming threats,” Gripshover explained. “We’re not trying to develop weapons where the machine is in control. We are trying to find the right balance – where the human and machine are both doing what they do best. The machine can search autonomously for potential threats and targets while the human can make the decision on those targets and decide when to engage them. ”

The Navy and Marine Corps are currently assessing the results of the ANTX – including the Expeditionary Warfare USV’s capability of performing expeditionary, littoral, and force protection operations as well as its long-range USV missions in support of expeditionary advanced based -operations. The services will determine if there is potential for further development of any of the technologies demonstrated at the July ‘Fight the Naval Force Forward’ ANTX.

NSWCDD invested approximately $5 million in Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) Section 219 investments in fiscal year 2018-2019 to enable the command’s scientists and engineers to mature the automated targeting, adaptable missile launcher, and weapons control systems and integrate them into the autonomous Textron System’s CUSV platform creating the Expeditionary Warfare USV.

“This effort represents the gold standard in leveraging NISE 219 funding as a force multiplier to achieving advanced technological capabilities,” said Kathleen Jones, NSWCDD chief technology officer. “We take great pride in the innovation of our scientists and engineers and their efforts to partner with industry and collaborate across warfare centers to bring this capability to fruition.”
Uncle Sam Wants YOU To Compete For Army Network Upgrade: CS 21

Breaking Defense said:
Gone are the days of a stately, deliberate, laborious acquisition process in which the Army would plan out the future in detail before going to industry. "We’d almost always guess wrong," said Maj. Gen. David Bassett. “Eventually we’d deliver yesterday’s technology tomorrow.”

TECHNET AUGUSTA: No incumbent contractor should feel safe, and all comers should consider taking a shot, Army network modernization officials told me here. Even for its upgrade coming in the next few months– Capability Set 2021, aimed at infantry brigades — the service is still thrashing out which technologies to include, let alone who gets paid to build them.

Subsequent biennial upgrades — Capability Set 23, CS 25, CS 27, and beyond — are even more in flux, by design, to leave room to add the latest tech. In fact, even an upgrade already being fielded to specialized communications units, the Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced (ESB-E) kit, is open to change.

On the flipside, if the Army decides your product isn’t ready for the upcoming upgrade cycle, or it just doesn’t fit the available budget, you should still aim for the next upgrade, or the one after that. And you should take that shot ASAP, because the early work on those later upgrades has already begun.

Gone are the days of a stately, deliberate, laborious acquisition process in which the Army would plan out the future in detail before going to industry. “We’d almost always guess wrong,” said Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Program Executive Officer for Command , Control, & Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T). “Eventually we’d deliver yesterday’s technology tomorrow.”

That said, Bassett doesn’t want to overcorrect by delivering tomorrow’s technology today, before it’s ready for the harsh conditions and high demands of erecting a wide-area wireless network in a war zone.

“I know y’all won’t believe this, but some of the things that vendors show me as mature, it turns out they’re not,” Bassett snarked at the TechNet Augusta conference last week. “What we’re not doing is holding up a Capability Set for any given technology. If it’s ready, bring it to us. … If it’s not ready yet, look to a future Capability Set.”

For any given product, he said, “we need you to help us understand … whether you see that as something that’s part of the network of ’23, part of the network of ’25, or whether it’s something we really ought to be trying to add in to the network of ’21 at the last minute.”

Bassett has held industry “outreach sessions” recently in Nashville and Baltimore, with another this November in Austin. These are forums for the Army to solicit white paper proposals to solve specific problems and then award small demonstration contracts using Other Transaction Authority (OTA).

Larger-scale procurement for Capability Set 21 should start in April, Bassett said. “The contracts, the logistics, the testing,” he said, “we’re in the midst of that right now, so we can buy the network in ’20, we can integrate and test it next summer, and we can deliver to brigades in ’21.”

Competition, Accelerated

To test new network concepts and designs as fast as possible, the Army is using a lot of “stand-in” technology — that is, whatever is available, from existing contracts or inventory, that works well enough to run the test. But those stand-ins aren’t necessarily, or even probably, the final products the Army plans to use, and their manufacturers don’t have any incumbent advantage over other contenders.

“Believe us when we say that we’re not vendor locked and that we’re going to open this up for a competitive environment in FY 20, after we decide what the final network architecture needs to be,” said Col. Garth Winterle, who works for Bassett as project manager for tactical radios. So the Army has two main messages for industry about Capability Set 2021, Winterle told me. “Be prepared for competitive procurement in FY 20,” he said, “[and] be open to providing information, including some stuff they may not share typically, like potential price points.”

It’s not just stand-in systems that are subject to competition and change, Winterle continued. It’s also formal Programs Of Record with incumbent vendors, established contracts, and painstakingly negotiated budget lines.

Even today, “all of my radio contracts are multi-vendor,” Winterle told me. That means one vendor on the contract may win the first lot of radios, but a different vendor may win the second — or the Army may bring in a new vendor that wasn’t even in the initial award, all without having to redo the POR.

“All Programs of Record are being compared to potential commercial systems as part of the experimentation, so if elements of [the existing] WIN-T architecture come up against new commercial that are more affordable or more affective…they have to participate in a run off,” Winterle said. “Gen. Bassett’s been clear: There’re no sacred cows.”

Yes, large chunks of the current Warfighter Information Network – Tactical will remain in Army service for years to come, despite former Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley calling WIN-T inadequate for highly mobile high-tech war and truncating the program back in 2017. For all the Army’s urgency about advancing, the service is just huge, so on any plausible budget it will take a decade to overhaul everything. The Army’s target date for total modernization is 2028.

But key pieces of WIN-T will be replaced much sooner, and some select units will be rid of it entirely in the near term. First up is the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, which deploys teams worldwide to keep frontline units connected.

The 50th ESB started turning in all its WIN-T kit this past October. Not only are all three companies within the battalion now using a new kit called ESB-Enhanced: Each company got a different version of the new equipment, which it field-tested, modified, and tested again. A council of generals approved proposed changes “at least every month,” said Col. Mark Parker, until recently the Army’s capability manager for networks & services.

Now, after about a dozen revisions in less than 12 months, the Army has a radically new ESB-E. That means not just new kit, but new personnel, training, organization — even a reorganized motor pool. The streamlined formation needs 18 percent fewer soldiers and half as many vehicles. It can deploy on commercial aircraft instead of heavy-duty Air Force transport — the basic network kit actually fits in the overhead bin — but it can provide communications to 60 percent more command posts. (48, up from 30).

The final ESB-E design is due before the new Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, in October — a year after the first new kit was fielded — so he can decide whether to reorganize the other Expeditionary Signal Battalions across the Army on the new model.

“Not all ESB-Es are going to look alike,” however, Parker told the conference. A battalion supporting the 18th Airborne Corps (as the 50th ESB-E does at Fort Bragg) might need parachute-qualified communications techs, while one supporting fast-moving armored divisions might need different ground vehicles to keep up. The Army also keeps hoping to add new technology to each ESB-E as it becomes available, Bassett told the conference.

To 2028 & Beyond

The way Army upgraded the Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced is preview of what it hopes to do across the force, Bassett said. That means streamlining or bypassing the traditional requirements process, and using existing contracts and authorities to get new tech to the troops fast — and then get their feedback to make it better in the next round.

“We’re a little late” with Capability Set 21, Bassett said frankly, because Congress didn’t approve an Army request to reprogram already-appropriated funds to speed field-testing.

But the Army was able to put the entire brigade architecture together in the laboratory — using stand-ins for the final product — and test it “end to end,” Winterle told me. That means sending realistic loads of both voice and data, based on real-world mission requirements, from tactical radios to satellite communications to US-based server farms.

The next big step is to take the hardware into the field, with a full brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to be field tested next year.

While Bassett and his procurement professionals focus on Capability Set 21, the Army-wide Cross Functional Team for network modernization is already working on CS 23. While ’21 is optimized for infantry units, ’23 will take on medium-weight brigades of 8×8 armored Strykers and heavy brigades of M1 tanks and M2 Bradleys. These vehicles can carry a lot more hardware than infantry on foot, so they can field more powerful transmitters and larger antennas. But they’ll really need that added power, because they can cover much more ground in a day and need to transmit signals over longer distances, without revealing their location to eavesdropping enemy electronic warfare units.

By Capability Set ’25, if not before, “we should be able to have constant communications where you can come up or drop off as required, depending on threat,” said the CFT’s unified network lead, Col. Curtis Nowak. This ability to connect, get essential data, and then go dark to avoid detection is central to the Army’s emerging concept of high-tech warfare, what’s called Multi-Domain Operations.

The Army’s goal is to modernize the entire force to wage multi-domain operations by 2028. That’s why the Army has already scheduled successive network upgrades in ’21, ’23, ’25, and ’27. But that’s not the end, officials have made clear.

“The reality is there will be a Capability Set ’29,” Nowak told me. “We’re no longer going to have a finish line.”
Oracle’s Hail Mary Appeal Against JEDI

Breaking Defense said:
The Pentagon’s plan to consolidate many — but not all — of its 500-plus cloud contracts into a single Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). Note the suggestion that the single “pathfinder” contract for JEDI might evolve into multiple JEDI contracts.

With nothing to lose, Oracle took one last shot yesterday at the Defense Department’s $10 billion JEDI cloud competition, filing an appeal against last month’s court ruling against the company. In its statement about the new appeal, however, Oracle appears to bend the words of Court of Federal Claims Senior Judge Eric Bruggink in his 60-page ruling to their benefit.

The most obvious discrepancy? Oracle says Bruggink called the procurement, as structured, “unlawful.” But that word doesn’t show up once in those 60 pages.

Here is Oracle’s full statement, attributed to the company’s general counsel Dorian Daley (we’ve bolded key words for emphasis): “The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle’s purported lack of standing. Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the Court in its opinion clearly found DoD did not satisfy these requirements. The opinion also acknowledges that the procurement suffers from many significant conflicts of interest. These conflicts violate the law and undermine the public trust. As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds.”

And here’s the official response to Oracle’s appeal, sent to us today by Department of Defense spokesperson Elissa Smith:

“DOD is aware of Oracle’s intent to appeal and will review it along with the Department of Justice. As DOD has asserted throughout this litigation, and as confirmed by the court, DOD reasonably evaluated and equally treated all offerors within the framework of a full and open competition. DOD’s priority remains delivering critically needed capabilities to the warfighter while protecting taxpayer resources.”

So who’s telling the truth?

Before breaking down Oracle’s statement, here’s a quick review of how we got here. In late 2017, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan issued a memorandum saying that a DoD-wide enterprise cloud that could support unclassified, secret, and top secret requirements was fundamental to its modernization efforts. He called for its accelerated adoption using commercially available cloud solutions under the 10-year $10-billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud acquisition program.

The final JEDI Request for Proposal was issued in July 2018, with four qualified proposals received by the October 2018 deadline from Amazon Web Services, IBM, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle America. In April 2019, DoD downselected AWS and Microsoft to continue the competition. Oracle protested to the Court of Federal Claims, but in July, Judge Bruggink denied Oracle’s protest. He wrote that it was appropriate to ultimately award JEDI to a single company, and even though he said there was a whiff of conflict of interest in the competition, it wasn’t enough to overcome Oracle’s inability to meet all of the key qualifications necessary to compete. He cited the Pentagon’s reasons for rejecting Oracle’s bid as sound.

At that point, and after President Donald Trump’s repeated disparagments against Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stepped in to review the entirety of the JEDI cloud competition. That’s part of the reason it will no longer be awarded by the end of August as both the Pentagon and industry had expected. Pentagon CIO Dana Deasy said the Defense Department won’t award a contract until Esper’s review is finished, but he also didn’t expect it to take too long.

So let’s break down Oracle’s statement and compare it to Bruggink’s extensive ruling to see if it is anything more than a Hail Mary or delaying tactic.

Oracle dismisses its lack of standing and its inability to meet JEDI’s basic contract requirements as “legal technicalities.” RPFs are typically very clear, however, that if a company doesn’t meet or sufficiently address the Technical Requirements volume in an RFP or Statement of Work — which in the case of JEDI specified the “gate criteria” required — than it likely won’t win the contract.

Judge Bruggink’s ruling here? “t is now possible to determine whether Oracle had a substantial chance of winning this award,” he wrote. “We have the necessary factual predicate, because Oracle’s proposal was evaluated and excluded from competition based on its failure to meet Gate Criteria 1.1 and Oracle concedes that it also could not meet Gate Criteria 1.2. Thus, while Oracle meets the most basic element of standing—it submitted a serious proposal—we have to consider whether it was prejudiced, even if some of its substantive arguments are valid.”

Note the word “prejudiced,” as it addresses Oracle’s other claims claims, as well. “Because the court finds that Gate Criteria 1.2 is enforceable, and because Oracle concedes that it could not meet that criteria at the time of proposal submission, we conclude that it cannot demonstrate prejudice as a result of any other possible errors,” said the ruling.

In addition, Oracle claims that the procurement was bedeviled by significant conflicts of interest that violated the law when certain Pentagon employees who played a role in the JEDI procurement have since found jobs at Amazon.

On that matter, the court ruling states, “In short, the merits of Oracle’s arguments are wrapped around the axle with the prejudice question. We believe the tidiest approach, therefore, is to deal with the merits of Oracle’s arguments, and if any survive, determine if they are nevertheless off limits because Oracle cannot demonstrate that it was prejudiced.”

Oracle argues that federal procurement laws prevent single awards at a certain cost threshold unless one or more or six specific exceptions are present, and that the court did not find such exceptions. The judge’s ruling, however, states clearly that the contracting officer (CO) identified three specific exceptions that favor a single award – when it offers better price and more favorable terms, lower administrative costs, and a blanket “best interests of the Government” clause. What’s more, Bruggink said those exceptions were sound.

“The regulation is unambiguous: even in light of the multiple award preference, [t]he contracting officer must not use a multiple award approach if one of six listed conditions exists,” Bruggink wrote. (Emphasis ours). “The question is whether the CO rationally determined that any of the three chosen conditions exist. We believe she did. Plaintiff offers us no real no basis for questioning any of these conclusions. They were completely reasonable, and we have no grounds to disturb her conclusion that multiple awards cannot be used.”

So far, despite Oracle’s predictions, the Force has been with JEDI.

Astroscale US Targets DoD Sat Servicing Market

Breaking Defense said:
"DoD is a customer like any other, with a future need for servicing its own satellites to extend mission life," says Astroscale US President Ron Lopez.

WASHINGTON: Japanese start-up Astroscale thinks its space junk technology can be used by the Pentagon for on-orbit satellite servicing, to build a foundation for its ultimate goal of building a space debris removal business, says Ron Lopez, president and managing director of the company’s new US unit.

“Debris removal is the immediate focus for the company, but there is a lot of [technology] applicability to adjacent areas of the market that end up leading to capabilities that the military needs,” Lopez explained in an interview. “DoD is a customer like any other, with a future need for servicing its own satellites to extend mission life.”

For example, Astroscale’s sensor and guidance technology that allows it to precisely rendezvous with a piece of debris could also be used by the Air Force to do the same with an active satellite, he said, to inspect it or to make repairs. Likewise, the firm’s docking technology is applicable to many types of servicing missions, such as re-fueling, that are of interest to DoD.

Astroscale US thus is seeking American partners to help it break into the military space marketplace — starting small with component and tech demos. “We are still in early stage of discussions, and trying to understand what the requirements are,” Lopez said. “We’ve been busy building partnerships with a lot of small- and mid-sized companies,” he added, to bring together “a very innovative set of technologies and capabilities” that can bring “value-added to the commercial marketplace and DoD as well.”

Astroscale launched its US subsidiary in April, opening an office near Denver and is slowly building a staff (currently number four full time employees.) The US subsidiary expands the company from the Japanese headquarters, and branches in Singapore and the United Kingdom. It recently garnered another $30 million to its Series D funding that brings the total amount of capital raised in the round to $132 million, according to the corporate website.

The company, founded by Japanese tycoon Nobu Okada in 2013, is fully aware that it is cannot make a business case for orbital debris removal today. There simply isn’t a country or a customer ready to pay to fully develop the technology required at the moment; nor is it clear that even if the technology is there customers would be incentivized to pay someone to take out their trash if there is no legal requirement to do so. Indeed, there may even be legal obstacles since the 1967 Outer Space Treaty deems debris the property of the launching state, meaning that a garbage collector would need permission of the owner to do so.

Therefore, on-orbiting servicing is a nearer-term mission that will allow the company to continue to thrive and grow. “On-orbit servicing can enable space debris removal,” Lopez summed up. “We are working with customers who have an interest in adjacent missions; those interests help us develop our core techology.”

The Air Force actively has been exploring on-orbit servicing technologies through a series of small business and tech demo projects. For example, in July, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) updated its request for information (RFI) designed to help the service get a grip on the available industrial base for autonomous Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) and “InspectorSat capabilities,” as well as the limits of current commercial technologies. Responses were due Aug. 9.

Further, the space industry is lobbying hard for the Commerce Department to issue new US government rules to ease development of on-orbit servicing technologies and spur the market via more coherent licensing obligations. Licensing for satellites that can perform proximity operations — that is, can safely maneuver around another satellite or a piece of debris, dock with that object, and perform some function such as re-fueling — currently falls between agency cracks. Meanwhile, the CONFERS consortium, led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working to develop industry-created best practices for such tricky space operations.

Despite the hurdles for a non-US company to get its subsidiary fully credentialed to compete for DoD contracts, Lopez says being a wholly-owned Japanese company is a help, not a hindrance, because of the high level placed on cooperation in space by Tokyo and Washington. While bilateral and multilateral collaboration is often equated with simply “trying to fulfill political objectives,” Lopez stressed that it also helps the countries involved to reduce schedule and cost risks. “When we have real and evolving threats, the need is urgent and we have an environment where our tax dollars are constrained,” he said, “what that translates into is that collaboration is a way to reduce risks.”
Esper: Pentagon Evaluating How To Expand Indo-Pacific Presence
USNI said:
NEWPORT, R.I. – The Pentagon is evaluating how to expand its Indo-Pacific region presence, including freedom of navigation operations and adding new bases, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Tuesday morning.

Speaking to the student body of the U.S. Naval War College, Esper told the group of mostly lieutenant commanders and commanders that the challenges posed by Russia and China require new strategies and a commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.

“We must be present in the region. Not everywhere, but in the key locations,” Esper said during his first speech as defense secretary in an academic setting.
“This means looking at how we expand our basing locations, investing more time and resources in certain regions we haven’t been to in the past. It also means we have to continue to fly, to sail and to operate wherever international rules allow to preserve freedom of navigation for both military and commercial operations, whether it’s the Strait of Hormuz or the Malacca Strait.”

Esper said his first major trip as secretary was a tour of the Indo-Pacific region because of its significance. The Department of Defense Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, released in June, highlights the region’s significance and provides a synopsis of the Pentagon’s plans.

“The department is reinforcing its commitment to established alliances and partnerships, while also expanding and deepening relationships with new partners who share our respect for sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law,” the strategy states.

The Indo-Pacific stretches from the west coast of the U.S. to the western shores of India. More than half of the world’s population lives in the region, the report states. Seven of the world’s largest standing armies are in the region, and six nations have nuclear weapons.

Esper told the students they would be asked to develop strategies for facing the activities of Russia and China. Both nations seek to undermine the western global order established over the course of decades, and they seek to challenge the leadership of the world.

“As future senior leaders, you must have this larger context in mind because it affects how we organize, train and equip the force and certainly impacts how we deploy and how we posture ourselves around the world,” he said.
Pacific Deputy: Coast Guard a Continuing ‘Force Multiplier’ with Navy in Global Missions

USNI said:
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Coast Guard’s ability to fold into the U.S. joint armed forces to protect America’s interests globally has “never been more relevant,” a senior Coast Guard officer in the Pacific region told a Navy audience.

The Coast Guard, “always a law enforcement agency but also a military force, is well-positioned to do home military security missions and homeland defense missions and defense operations around the world, right alongside their Navy brothers and sisters,” said Rear Adm. Dave Throop, deputy commander of the Alameda, Calif.-based U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.

The 50,000-member Coast Guard “is a force multiplier for our nation,” Throop told the Surface Navy Association West Symposium Thursday at Naval Base San Diego.

The Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security and has a wide range of law enforcement missions under federal law that the Department of Defense’s armed services don’t have. “To ensure maximum application of those authorities, the Coast Guard and Navy partner up to ensure that law enforcement actions can be taken, no matter what the situation,” Throop said.

“We bring to the fight unique authorities, dozens of bilateral and multilateral agreements with partner nations, unique capabilities from law enforcement all the way up until and to include lethal force,” he said. “It includes short-notice maritime response, taking control of a ship in a contested environment with an opposing force.”

This month, for example, the USS Tornado (PC-14), a 107-foot Cyclone-class patrol ship, is patrolling the waters of the Eastern Pacific, a major sea corridor for illicit, covert drug-smuggling operations. On board with Navy personnel is a Coast Guard detachment, a 10-member tactical law enforcement team stationed in San Diego, Throop said. “It’s that team effort that we’re able to get after some of these problems.”

Across the Pacific, the Coast Guard’s focus and the commandant’s “ready-relevant-responsive” guiding principles “have never been more important than they are today,” Throop told the audience. “In the far reaches of the world, presence equals influence – and that applies to the Western Pacific, the Arctic and the Antarctic.”

The extended deployment of National Security Cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750 ) provided the U.S. 7th Fleet and foreign partners in the region a credible force to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions against the North Korean regime and enforce international maritime policies in the East China Sea. The USCGC cutter Stratton (WMSL-752) is two months into a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific with similar DoD-supporting missions, Throop said. China’s continuing expansion of its sphere of influence, and its military and economic footprint, across the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific is a major U.S. strategic concern in a region already home to potential hot spots.

The Coast Guard “shares a strong commitment with our Navy in pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific, governed by a rules-based international system that promotes peace, security, prosperity and sovereignty among all nations,” Throop said.

In places like the South Pacific and Oceania, the Coast Guard’s “soft-power approach … allows for greater access where Big Navy would otherwise have challenges,” he said. Small island-nations, with local coastal patrol forces, dot the region, and “their naval forces look a lot more like your Coast Guard.”

The Coast Guard’s presence in the region, and in particular events like the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training exercise held in Singapore, helps strengthen ties as Coast Guardsmen and women work with those forces in areas of law enforcement, maritime domain awareness and other missions. Earlier this summer, Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team joined in a WESTPAC fisheries mission in Oceania, a region where small island-nations depend on security of local fisheries in their exclusive economic zones for sustainment.

“What we in America often don’t realize is the vast majority of the world relies on fish stocks as their primary protein source,” Throop said, noting the U.S. maintains 20 percent of the world’s fish stocks in its EEZs. “If the fish stocks crash, that’s food security for those nations. It’s also economic security, since most of their GDP is based on fisheries. When you have food insecurity and economic insecurity, it results in national security problems.

“That’s what we’re trying to get after, before they become to be a problem,” he continued. Illegal fishing “is a multi-billion dollar a year problem set, with very real consequences. Our services, together, must carry the banner for those nations.”

In the Middle East too, where Coast Guard forces have operated in U.S. Central Command since 2002, units continue to work alongside the Navy’s 5th Fleet in maritime missions in the Persian Gulf and along the Arabian Peninsula, where suspicious actions by Iran continues to vex U.S. and military officials. “The Navy and Coast Guard must remain vigilant and ready,” Throop said.

The Coast Guard is planning to replace its six Island-class patrol boats stationed in the region with some of its newest cutters. “We will soon be bringing over our Fast Response Cutters,” he said.

The FRC’s “are much more capable than a patrol boat,” he said, in response to a USNI News question. “We are still figuring out how to leverage those. We are having that internal conversation as a service: What should that concept of operations actually be? Are those assets that should be employed at the sector level, the district level or the area level?”

FRC’s “are extremely capable assets,” he added, noting their “longer staying power” at sea compared to the patrol boats. Currently, they operate in the Pacific with a 225-foot buoy tender for refueling. “They are basically a small surface action group in Oceania right now, taking care of some of that mission and building capacity with our partner nations,” he added.

The Coast Guard’s aging icebreaker, USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10) is undergoing a dry dock maintenance availability, and its replacement is slated to arrive sometime in the 2023 to 2025 time frame, Throop said – but the Arctic is a growing national security hot spot, driven by warming oceans and reduced sea ice coverage.

“If you pay attention to the news, everyone has a stake in the Arctic,” he said. “With the changing climate, there’s a new ocean up there.”

Last year’s crossing of a Maersk container ship through the Northwest Passage, saving 17 days of commercial transit, is sure to pave the way for a new, significant shipping route, and increased access for other maritime operations and forces across the polar region. The Russians have outposts along its northern coast, which “they say they’re for air defense – but they are militarizing the Arctic,” he said. “Canada, the Netherlands and Russia all have competing claims on territory because of the gas, oil and mineral reserves up in the Arctic.

“If the U.S. isn’t there, we are not going to have a say in the fight,” Throop noted.

At least three heavy icebreakers – or potentially as many as six – will be needed to get access to the Arctic as well as Antarctica, where the Coast Guard supports Operation Deep Freeze, “something where we have got to be there,” Throop said. Still, a half-dozen icebreaker fleet still would pale in comparison to Russian’s fleet of 40-plus icebreakers, he said. China’s declaration as “a near-Artic nation” will pose a challenge, too, Throop added.
Pentagon Allowing Subsystems to Leverage Rapid Prototyping Authorities, Different Cyber Standards
USNI said:
THE PENTAGON – As the Defense Department continues its push to speed up and simplify acquisition, it’s doing so in part by allowing select subsystems within larger programs to be exempt from more stringent rules on acquisition and cybersecurity.

The trend of looking at subsystems individually rather than at the larger program in which they reside is meant to allow the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the services to apply authorities that normally wouldn’t come into play for major defense acquisition programs (MDAPs), such as rapid prototyping and rapid fielding efforts.

“On middle tier of acquisition, since November 2018 we have expanded from zero to more than 50 programs,” Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told reporters this week, noting that a program has to be reviewed by her office and deemed appropriate to leverage middle-tier acquisition authorities.
“We’re scheduled to publish formal policy in December, and I’m happy that we’re seeing positive results for our warfighters, taking an average of over two years out of each of the programs.”

Even for larger programs that require more oversight and would not be eligible for these rapid acquisition authorities, Lord said that, “because you can take a subcomponent of an MDAP, whether it be a center system or something else, and you can do mid-tier acquisition on that one subsystem, that can buy you a lot of time back in the program and mature it.”

Noting that her office needs to be “careful” in how they allow these authorities to be used, Lord said that ultimately “I think we are getting capability down-range to the warfighter faster because of this.”

Lord’s office is taking a similar approach to cyber standards, which are being overhauled within the Pentagon but risk alienating small businesses that can’t afford to comply with some cyber standards.

Lord said in April that “cybersecurity is probably the largest emerging threat we have” but that “we have these high-level [National Institute of Standards and Technology] standards that we say industry has to comply with. It is not particularly easy to understand how to comply with a hundred and twenty-some separate requirements.”

Instead, this year the Pentagon is establishing its own cyber standards and creating the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.

“The CMMC establishes security as the foundation to acquisition and combines the various cyber-security standards into a unified standard,” she told reporters Monday.
“The CMMC framework will be made fully available in January 2020, and by June 2020 industry will see CMMC requirements as part of requests for information. By fall of 2020, CMMC requirements will be included in requests for proposals and will be a go/no go decision.”

Lord told reporters that her office had met with industry to talk about these new cyber standards and “how we will apply them, what that will mean to procurement, how we have industry audited and so forth.”

Additionally, she said, “what is particularly utilitarian about how we’re doing this is there are five levels of this standard, and when you have a program, different subsystems can be held at different levels. So in other words, the entire system doesn’t require a rating of a 4. Different parts can have a lower and then higher amount. So if you have a hardware portion that really doesn’t have a cyber-security requirement, there won’t be much levied on that,” she said, which presumably could allow programs to save cost or to bring in companies that may not be able to support working on a higher cyber risk program but could work on that subsystem with a lower cyber risk.

“That being said, we are extremely concerned that we support small business with this, because we know small business is where most of our innovation comes from. So to that end, we’ve been encouraging small businesses to work with the industry associations to learn about it,” she continued.

“I always think of our industrial policy team as the big help desk for DoD. So I’m hoping that industry will call in where they have challenges. Our small business group is particularly focused on it. So we are trying to help people help themselves and work with us.”
Oh Boy, The Pentagon is making a new cybersecurity standard, separate from the NIST standard. I hope that they know what they are doing there. Other than that, moving major product subcomponents over to the prototyping authority is a good thing.

The Army wants these new defensive cyber tools
Fifth Domain said:
The Army is looking to provide its units, commands and installations with new critical defensive cyber tools and platforms.

Col. John Transue, capability manager for cyber at the Cyber Center of Excellence at TechNet Augusta described several capabilities that the Army has already approved requirements for. These include, a garrison defensive cyber platform, a deployable defensive cyber system, cyber analytics, a defensive cyber tools suite, defensive cyber planning, a tactical defensive cyber infrastructure, a tool for insider threats and a tool for forensics and malware.

Many of these tools are suited more for the mobile and expeditionary force, though they can be used for larger installations. For example, on the tactical infrastructure side, Transue noted that commanders are often using mission command platforms that are susceptible to cyber intrusions and need to be protected.

But because the cyber landscape is evolving quickly, the equipping community wants to get tools to the force in real time.

“We are not committing to ‘This is the tool,’ and then we’re going to buy it to field to everyone. What is the problem set we’re facing today, what’s the best tool for it and let’s put it in the tool kit,” Brendan Burke, deputy program executive officer at Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, told Fifth Domain.

Burke said the approach his office is using allows staffers to identify needs and pick the best of breed before buying. He pointed to the office’s Forge, where industry officials can test their cyber tools, as a chance to put their money where their mouth is.

“It’s not show me a PowerPoint of how you do it. It’s prove to me that your tool solves my problem. Okay it does? We’ll buy it, we’ll sustain it until the next one comes around. Then we don’t need it anymore,” he said.

The Army is also pursuing capabilities in advanced sensors, threat discovery and counter-infiltration, threat emulation and a defensive cyber development environment. Transue said.
The Pentagon wants to solve a deep space problem with three vehicles

C4ISRNET said:
The Pentagon wants to know what its adversaries are up to in the area immediately beyond geosynchronous orbit, and the Space Development Agency has a plan to deliver.

Currently, that blueprint involves three rapid, semi-autonomous Advanced Maneuvering Vehicles operating in cislunar space, the area between geosynchronous orbit and the moon’s orbit.

The SDA was launched in March to develop a proliferated architecture to address several Department of Defense needs in space, from detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons to providing alternative position, navigation and timing data. One part of the agency’s notional architecture is a so-called deterrence layer focused on activities in cislunar space.

That layer is meant to discourage bad behavior in deep space by other nations, said Jerry Krassner at the agency’s industry day July 23. Krassner heads up the SDA’s deterrence layer project. It does this by providing two types of information: Who owns the objects in space, and what those objects are up to. By providing that information, the deterrence layer will allow the military to respond in a way that it hopes will makes those missions too costly for adversaries to continue.

The SDA’s notional architecture proposes a four part deterrence layer. The first part, located in low earth orbit, would be made up of outward facing space situational awareness sensors capable of providing data on deep space objects located immediately beyond geosynchronous orbit. The second part would be two satellites operating in highly elliptical orbits providing other angles for detecting objects in deep space. The third part would include sensors operating in lunar orbit, and the fourth and final part would have them operating three Advanced Maneuvering Vehicles.

The AMVs appear to be a deep space counterpart to the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites. Operating in near-geosynchronous orbit, the GSSAP satellites are capable of rendezvousing with space vehicles in geosynchronous orbit to provide more data on them. While information on the proposed AMVs is limited, SDA leaders explained how they see the vehicles operating.

“The notional AMVs fit with the deterrence layer of the National Defense Space Architecture in that by flying to rendezvous with a suspect object returning from deep space (e.g. the region of the moon), the U.S. could communicate to a threatening nation that we know the location of their vehicle and, if we consider it an object of concern, the information provided from the AMV could support diplomatic demarches or similar responses that could deter the ultimate use of a weapon by the enemy,” an SDA official told C4ISRNET.

The agency is considering “equipping them with a camera or similar payload to demonstrate to the operator that ‘we know where it came from.’”

Furthermore, the agency insists the vehicles are not offensive weapons. An agency official said there was no plan to arm the vehicles or have them come into physical contact with any satellites while in operation.

The proposed vehicles would likely operate semi-autonomously in terms of execution with a man-in-the-loop for decision making and monitoring.

The SDA proposed three vehicles at their industry day July 23, but in a follow up email the agency clarified that the concept is still being defined and that officials weren’t wed to a specific number or size of the vehicles.

Responses to the notional architecture, including thoughts on the AMVs, were due Aug. 5.
The Department of Homeland Security's Newest Agency Outlines its Future

Signal said:

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency presents its strategic plan to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, is charged with coordinating the protection of America’s critical infrastructure from cyber as well as physical attacks. Director Christopher Krebs recently released the agency’s top operational priorities. CISA, which was created in November 2018, will initially tackle supply chain risks, election security and industrial control system security, among other measures, according to the document, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Strategic Intent.

The agency serves as a central coordinator of analysis, planning and response to attacks on critical infrastructure—especially when no other federal agency has a designated response. “CISA is the pinnacle of national risk management for cyber and physical infrastructure,” the report indicated.

As part of CISA, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) supplies round-the-clock cyber situational awareness, analysis, incident response and cyber defense capabilities to federal, state and local governments, the private sector and international partners. The agency also provides cybersecurity tools, incident response support and assessment capabilities.

With a goal of providing secure and resilient critical infrastructure to the nation, CISA will take a “defend today, secure tomorrow approach,” the report stated. In order to defend against urgent near-term threats, the agency will increase or improve information sharing, stakeholder engagement, risk management planning, risk visibility and analysis, and incident management and response capabilities, according to the report.

To strengthen critical infrastructure in the long term, CISA will provide analysts, risk models and technical alerts; collaborative planning teams and task forces; policy actions; technical assistance teams and security advisors; deployed tools and sensors; exercises and training; and supporting grants and contracts, the report specified.

In addition, Krebs identified five areas of focus for the agency: (1) China, the Supply Chain and 5G; (2) election security; (3) soft target security; (4) federal government cybersecurity; and (5) industrial control systems.

“China presents the most pressing long-term strategic risk to the United States,” the report noted.

As such, CISA will focus on risk management related to national security, working to reduce the risks of supply chain weaknesses presented by 5G or other technologies.

Election security, especially going into the 2020 Presidential Election, is a key priority for CISA, Krebs said. The agency will assist state and local governments in their efforts to improve election infrastructure security. “CISA’s objective is to reduce the likelihood of compromises to election infrastructure confidentiality, integrity and availability, which are essential to the conduct of free and fair democratic elections,” the report indicated.

In regard to protecting so-called soft targets—such as stadiums, schools, churches, shopping malls and theaters—CISA will support the identification and development of solutions to mitigate risks to those places, “many of which serve an integral role in the country’s economy,” the report stated.

Citing cyber threats that are outpacing a slow implementation of cyber policy, CISA will help federal agencies make risk-informed decisions to improve their cybersecurity posture.

“CISA’s authorities present the capability and opportunity to create federal cybersecurity approaches that address the speed of change,” the report said. “We will also use our insight, expertise, capabilities and reach to assist our state and local government partners in improving their cybersecurity posture and defending against the outbreak of ransomware.”

For industrial control systems that monitor the operations of critical infrastructure in the transportation, telecommunication, manufacturing, electric power and oil and natural gas sectors, CISA will guide the government’s effort to reduce risk and strengthen control system security, the report said.

Overall, Krebs acknowledged that the report was an interim approach to guide the agency and its partners while officials develop a longer-term strategic plan.

“The 21st century brings with it an array of challenges that are often difficult to grasp and even more difficult to address,” the director stated. “We immediately think of our reliance on networked technologies, or perhaps our interdependent supply chain, as significant risk factors. Making matters more complicated, it’s not just human-driven threats; we must also plan and prepare for Mother Nature, as well as for the fact that sometimes technology just fails and bad things happen as a result.”
Sensors Signal Flooding Dangers
Signal said:

Company funded to enter next phase of detection technology.

Deployable flood inundation sensors based on the Internet of Things are being developed to monitor flood-prone areas in real time to rapidly detect them and alert officials, industry and citizens to potential threats. State and local government jurisdictions operationally field tested early versions of the technology over a nine-month period. During the next phase, the sensors will be enhanced for production and commercialization to both domestic and international partners to help densify their flood sensing networks for alerts, warnings and notifications.

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded $3.2 million to Intellisense Systems Inc. for third-phase work on the sensors as part of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This project focuses on designing, developing and testing a network of inexpensive inundation sensors that can be part of a scalable wireless mesh network that rapidly measures rising water and reports flood conditions to operations centers, first responders and citizens.

DHS S&T previously funded three phase-two awards that were completed in July 2019. Under those awards, organizations received up to $1 million each to develop prototypes based on the feasibility of their flood monitoring technologies demonstrated in their phase one efforts in 2016.

“I fully expect the Intellisense flood sensors to be a disruptive technology,” DHS Jeff Booth, S&T program manager, says. “The accuracy, performance and dependability of the sensors and their projected cost points will provide federal, state and local governments—as well as industry sectors like critical infrastructure—a capability to help protect life and property, making communities more resilient from flooding events.”

Earlier this year, Intellisense Systems received two contracts through the U.S. Air Force Pitch Day program. In March, the company was one of 20 companies to receive to funding at the service’s first Pitch Day.

Earlier this month, Intellisense received another Air Force contract for its Aerial Environment Sensor (AES), a technology with applications for a low-cost-light-weight flying weather sensor.

Additional information about the flood inundation phase three award is available via email.
DOD Sees Progress in Acquisition, Sustainment
Department of Defense said:
The Defense Department is reducing timelines and lowering costs to provide the best military capabilities, a senior DOD official told reporters at the Pentagon.

"All of our efforts directly support our national defense strategy and our warfighters," Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord said at a news conference today.

Lord specifically thanked Congress for passing a two-year budget agreement, noting that it provides budgetary certainty that the department needs to implement the National Defense Strategy. "The department cannot go back to the unpredictability of a continuing resolution," she added. "Our men and women in uniform deserve better."

The undersecretary's mission is to ensure the delivery and sustainment of secure and resilient capabilities to warfighters and international partners quickly and cost effectively. There are six goals under this mission, she said, and the first is all about people.

Lord said she wants to recruit, develop and retain a diverse acquisition and sustainment workforce. "We want to modernize the acquisition workforce talent management tools and processes as well as deliver content consistent with adult learning," she said.

Acquisition and sustainment professionals need to be innovators, Lord said, and the office encourages experimentation and learning from experience. This will "enable contracting at the speed of relevance," Lord said.

The office strives to build a safe, secure and resilient defense industrial base that addresses the impacts of prohibited foreign investments, she said.

In addition, Lord said, the office is responsible to ensure safe and resilient DOD installations, so she looks to enhance the quality of housing and to ensure energy resilience and cyber-secure military facilities.

The office further looks to increase weapon system mission capability while reducing operating costs, Lord said, citing the F-35 joint strike fighter program as an example.

Finally, Lord said, she looks to promote sustainment with key international partners. She needs to enable "timely foreign military sales deliveries via contracting, dialogue with industry, tech release and plans for exportability," she said.
Exercises In the News:

US Air Force B-2s deploy to Europe

USAF said:
A Bomber Task Force deployment of B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft, Airmen and support equipment from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, have arrived in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility for a deployment to conduct theater integration and flying training.

The aircraft will operate out of RAF Fairford, England. The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers.

The deployment also includes joint and allied training in Europe to improve bomber interoperability. Training with partners, allied nations and other U.S. Air Force units contributes to our readiness and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.
iirc: three B-2s were deployed over there.

U.S. Marines compete in annual Abrams tank gunnery competition
Defense Blog said:
U.S. Marine Corps Abrams tank crews compete in annual Tiger Competition at Range 409A on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

The competition pits the best tank crews from all three Marine Corps tank battalions against each other, each competing to represent the Marine Corps in the Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, between U.S. and international tank crews.

During the Tiger competition holds tests tank crews capabilities to hit targets accurately, assess their communication and decision-making skills, and evaluate their knowledge of armored vehicles.

For tank crews across the Marine Corps, the annual Tiger Competition impacts them throughout the entire year, every year. It isn’t just a competition that begins and then ends, it has lasting influence on the crews throughout the year.

Not only is the annual competition important because of the quantifiable aspects resulting in a winner each year, but it also improves the morale and overall welfare of the Marines involved.

Each year the competition is hosted at a different range, cycling through the home bases of the three battalions. This unpredictability improves the combat readiness of the tank crews and their ability to fight whenever and wherever they are called to.
Apache helicopter ‘capable to take out’ 16 enemy’s tanks during sortie
Defense Blog said:
A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter is one of the most dangerous helicopters ever to lift off.

Apache is more than capable to take out 16 enemy’s tank or other armored vehicles during one combat sortie. Designed to get into trouble fast and put it down even faster, the AH-64 Apache comes bristling with ordnance, from an M230 chain gun firing 30mm rounds to Hellfire missiles and rockets.

During the semiannual multinational exercise, Combined Resolve XII, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany the 1st Squadron 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and their eight AH-64 Apache have confirmed its ability to change the course of a critical moment in the battle.

“We’re able to go out there and maneuver effectively and get down low in the trees and really find those targets out far, up to eight kilometers, and engage and destroy them before they can affect friendly lines,” explains U.S. Army Capt. Eric Moore, apache commander, with 1st Sqn. 6th Cav. Reg., 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div.

With the Apache helicopters, we’re able to get low in the trees to reduce our radar cross section from ground based radar systems, said Moore. Hovering low also allows us to mask ourselves against ground observation and provides better survivability should we be engaged. We can then break line of sight and move safely to another location.

The ability to get low also enables the Apaches to effectively support ground troops like the forty cavalry scouts from 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, who were out providing reconnaissance for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

“For attack aviation, we play a critical role in terms of bringing a lot of firepower to the fight,” said Moore.

Each of the eight Apaches are capable of firing 16 hellfire missiles and 300 rounds of 30mm, giving them the ability to take out 16 tanks were they to engage each one with a missile.

“Everyone loves seeing the Apaches hovering that close, it really ups the morale,” added Connor.

“One Apache can change a lot but we bring three to four per mission, so ultimately were able to destroy and suppress a substantial amount of the enemy,” concluded Moore. “We are kinda the one that can come in and finish the fight once it’s starting to develop.”
DVIDS link to Combined Resolve XII:

Bonus Round: A piece on Worst Korea

South Korea is playing into the hands of North Korea and its allies
Defense News said:
South Korea announced Thursday it will not renew its bilateral military information-sharing pact with Japan, known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA. Amid ongoing South Korea-Japan trade disputes and North Korea’s latest wave of short-range missile tests, this decision heightens regional tensions, undermining not only South Korea’s national security interests but also America’s and Japan’s.

South Korea and Japan signed the GSOMIA in November 2016 to provide both countries with a direct line of communication for the exchange of classified military information regarding both North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and conventional military operations. South Korea’s satellite intelligence, after all, is limited to domains south of the military demarcation line. By contrast, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have several intelligence satellites monitoring North Korean activity north of the military demarcation line. The GSOMIA thus fills intelligence gaps that both countries have.

The GSOMIA builds upon a December 2014 trilateral information-sharing agreement among South Korea, Japan and the U.S. aimed at enhancing the transparency of intelligence regarding North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile threats. Yet this agreement was limited only to information sharing with regard to North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles while ignoring intelligence on conventional military threats.

Additionally, the agreement stipulated that South Korea and Japan could only exchange intelligence by using the U.S. as an intermediary.

Both Washington and Seoul have repeatedly hailed the GSOMIA’s importance. As recently as this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and South Korea President Moon Jae-in not only reaffirmed the GSOMIA’s value, but stressed the need to resolve any concerns about it amicably.

Intelligence sharing, said Esper, “is key to us in our common defense against North Korea.” Despite this, Moon’s deputy national security adviser, Kim Hyun-chong, insisted Seoul’s termination of GSOMIA was a legitimate “product of extensive deliberations and taken in accordance with national interest.”

Recent North Korean actions illustrate the imperative of allied cooperation. On Aug. 23, shortly after Seoul’s GSOMIA announcement, North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its east coast. In the last month alone, North Korea conducted five separate tests of short-range missiles that are capable of striking both Seoul and Tokyo. Japan’s new 2019 defense whitepaper assessed that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and warheads for ballistic missiles. This is the first time Japan or any other government has reached such a conclusion.

By failing to renew the GSOMIA, South Korea undercuts its own national security, playing directly into the hands of North Korea and its Chinese and Russian allies. Moreover, Seoul’s move weakens U.S.-South Korea relations and undermines the deterrence posture of the United States and its regional partners against Pyongyang.

Seoul’s decision also exacerbates prospects for upcoming burden-sharing talks between Washington and Seoul. In February, the two sides wrapped up months of negotiations that saw Seoul settle on agreeing to increase its contribution by 8.2 percent more than the previous level. With another annual review coming up, there is concern U.S. demands for greater South Korean financial contributions could widen fissures in the alliance.

Additionally, following the GSOMIA decision, any opponents of the U.S.-South Korea alliance may use Seoul’s latest decision as a rationale to question why the U.S. should continue supporting South Korea when it appears to care so little about its own national security.

Eliminating the GSOMIA in turn provides Pyongyang with an indirect concession, as it not only undermines South Korea-Japan security cooperation, but also weakens the U.S. and its allies’ extended deterrence posture against North Korea. Moreover, the Moon administration’s inclination to provide direct concessions through economic incentives — namely reopening Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Kumgang Mountain resort — further compounds the GSOMIA decision’s damaging impact.

Seoul’s GSOMIA decision likely stems not from strategic considerations, but from an ongoing trade dispute that reflects decades of animosity between South Korea and Japan. Specifically, the heart of the dispute falls back on Seoul’s grievances against Japan’s historic role as its former colonizer. After weeks of retaliatory trade measures against one another, President Moon seemed to hint at a potential reconciliation during his speech on Liberation Day on Aug. 15. Moon extended an olive branch to Japan when he stressed Seoul will “gladly join hands” with Tokyo through dialogue. Yet, his administration choose to act otherwise.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced Washington’s “strong concern and disappointment” regarding the GSOMIA decision. A State Department spokesman added: “This decision would have a negative effect on U.S. security interests and those of our allies.” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has sought to deflect criticism by arguing that the decision “is a separate issue from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, and the alliance will incessantly strengthen cooperation.”

To mitigate the negative effects of Seoul’s actions, the U.S. must work to bring its two feuding allies together. Last week, Stephen Biegun, Washington’s special representative for North Korea, visited Seoul after completing a trip to Tokyo. While Biegun’s primary focus was on preparing for working-level talks with North Korea, the Moon administration’s sudden decision, which can arguably be described as national security malpractice, forced him to address this issue.

Resolving the historical and sociopolitical disputes will take time. However, Seoul’s erratic and arguably irrational decision should be a wake-up call for Washington to help its two allies resolve this persistent conflict. Without bold leadership from Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, this situation will only get worse in a manner that favors North Korean interests.
That is all for today folks.


True & Honest Fan
Huh, Denmark stands out. The Asian countries make sense, especially after the news about Taiwan buying some F-16s. Ditto for the eastern Euro countries.

Are they getting antsy regarding Russia?
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That Defense Sperg.
Huh, Denmark stands out. The Asian countries make sense, especially after the news about Taiwan buying some F-16s. Ditto for the eastern Euro countries.

Are they getting antsy regarding Russia?
The one thing that NATO and the EU relies on Denmark doing is detecting the Russian Baltic Submarine fleets as they leave. Buying a few million dollars of air-droppable sonobouys and helicopter deployable dip-scan sonars, is where a heck of a lot of their defense budget goes.

I will have to check into it, but I think it has been a while since they upgraded their equipment too.

But to answer your question, they aren't any more worried than usual. Probably just standard used-up/worn-down replacement cycle.

I think this site explains quite a bit. From 2013-2017 Danish defense spending went through the floor. In 2018 and 2019 it has returned to previous levels therefor allowing a renewal of forces and equipment.
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That Defense Sperg.
News round up for August 29, 2019

The most important news no-one is talking about:
Up In Arms: Ukrainian Aircraft-Engine Plant Caught Up In U.S.-China Rivalry

Radio Free Europe said:
WASHINGTON -- Ukrainian tycoon Vyacheslav Boguslayev is having a hard time parting with the company he has controlled for the past three decades, and it's not just because it is close to his heart.

The 80-year old is caught up in the global rivalry between the United States and China as he seeks to sell his defense company, Motor Sich.

At stake for Ukraine is potentially billions of dollars of investment from China, thousands of jobs, and eventual membership in NATO, analysts say.

The possible sale of Motor Sich -- a maker of engines for missiles, helicopters, and jets -- to the Chinese provoked a raid of its Zaporizhzhya headquarters by Ukraine's Security Service in early 2018 and the seizure of its shares.

The issue has become so important to Washington that U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton said he will raise his "concerns" about the sale during his current visit to Ukraine.

"This is an issue that I think is significant for Ukraine, but [also] significant for the U.S., for Europe, for Japan, for Australia, Canada, other countries," Bolton told RFE/RL in Kyiv on August 27.

China is using its "trade surpluses to gain economic leverage in countries around the world, to profit from defense technologies that others have developed," Bolton said.

Ukrainian media reported on August 19 that two Chinese firms had reached an agreement with state-owned military concern Ukroboronprom to jointly purchase the engine maker. No price was disclosed. Ukroboronprom Chairman Aivaras Abromavicius declined to comment.

Controlling Stake

The Chinese companies would receive a controlling stake, while Ukroboronprom would receive at least a 25 percent blocking stake, according to Ukrainian media. The Chinese firms are believed to be close to the government in Beijing.

Motor Sich, which employs more than 20,000 people in the southwestern city of Zaporizhzhya, is one of the world's largest makers of helicopter and airplane engines. Its products are used to fly the Mi family of choppers, as well as Antonov cargo jets.

It is one of the few plants in the former Soviet Union that can build an entire aviation engine from scratch and offers a wide variety of products that "fit the Chinese requirements really well," said Reuben Johnson, a military analyst based in Kyiv.

China would be able to significantly enhance its air defense capabilities with domestic production of the engines, Johnson said.

But China may be more interested in the company's engine for cruise missiles, said Denys Kalachov, a board member of the Association of Ukrainian Defense Manufacturers. China has developed missile capabilities over the past decade that rival those of the United States, and the acquisition of Motor Sich could potentially help it advance its program.

Boguslayev was running the plant as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and scooped up its shares through the messy privatization of state assets that ensued.

His Motor Sich later received the right to export its products, a rare privilege for private Ukrainian defense companies and a sign of Boguslayev's power. Shares of Motor Sich are owned by several onshore and offshore holdings, so it is hard to say how much Boguslayev owns, analysts said.

Plenty Of U.S. Leverage

Despite the importance of the company to Ukraine's defense industry, no laws prevent him from selling his stake, Alexander Paraschiy, an industry analyst at Kyiv-based Concorde Capital, wrote in a note last year.

Bolton, though, is hoping Kyiv will block the sale, and Washington has plenty of leverage to apply. The United States has been by far Ukraine's biggest supporter since Russia annexed its Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and backed separatist formations in parts of eastern Ukraine.

The United States has given Ukraine more than $3 billion in aid, including $1.5 billion of military goods over the past five years and has promised to increase the annual allotment.

Ukraine's Antimonopoly committee is currently reviewing the proposed Motor Sich sale.

"I do think a government operating in its own sovereign sphere has the right to protect its defense industries and to look out for the well-being of the Ukrainian people. So, I think President Zelenskiy's new government obviously has that as its highest priority, and he's going to make sure before some transaction is allowed to go through that it is really the Ukrainian people who benefit," Bolton told RFE/RL.

The United States is advising Ukraine on the reform of its military, a necessary step before it would be eligible to join NATO, which Kyiv has said is its goal.

"If this deal [to the Chinese] happens, we will never be in NATO," said Denys Hurak, a former Ukroboronprom executive.

Officials 'Freaking Out'

Earlier this month, a U.S. defense industry consultant, who asked not to be named, told a small gathering at a Washington-based event dedicated to Ukraine that U.S. officials were "freaking out" about the sale.

Boguslayev told RFE/RL he was on vacation and declined to comment further. A spokesman for Motor Sich also declined to comment.

Under former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, state authorities took steps to derail the sale and plans to build a factory in China, which were first announced three years ago.

Ukraine's SBU security service raided the company's headquarters in April 2018, citing as state sabotage the firm's plans to transfer technology by opening a plant in China. The nation's stock exchange announced the same day that it would halt all trading in the company's shares.

Boguslayev defended his decision to consider the Chinese offer, saying he stood to lose significant business. Concorde's Paraschiy estimates Motor Sich generates as much as 40 percent of its revenue from China.

Paraschiy said the SBU raid may have been an attempt to force Boguslayev, who had been a member of parliament from the pro-Russian Party of Regions, "to surrender his control to well-connected individuals."

Motor Sich was valued at nearly $500 million when it ceased trading on the stock market. Only a handful of people in Ukraine could afford to buy it at that valuation.

'Soviet DNA'

Washington too may struggle to find a buyer for Motor Sich, said the American defense industry consultant. U.S. defense companies capable of making such large purchases are publicly owned, and management must answer to shareholders, he said.

Motor Sich has "Soviet DNA" that would be hard to integrate with an American company, while part of its sales is to China and other countries with which a U.S. defense company may not be allowed to do business, the consultant said.

"Regardless of what the U.S. government would like them [American companies] to do -- if they have a couple hundred million dollars, I am not sure Motor Sich would be in the top 10 of their lists," he said.

Sikorsky, a U.S.-based helicopter maker, approached Motor Sich in 2012 to install Ukrainian engines in its S-61 helicopter, Boguslayev said at the time. The cooperation never materialized. Jet-fighter maker Lockheed Martin bought Sikorsky three years later.

When asked about interest in Motor Sich, Lockheed spokeswoman Leah Foley said the Maryland-based company does not comment on any potential or future business transactions.

Pratt & Whitney, an aircraft engine-maker, expressed interest in Motor Sich in the early 2000s, but Boguslayev believed the company's future was tied to Russia, then its largest market, and not the United States, Johnson said.

Jenny Dervin, a spokeswoman for Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney, said the company doesn't comment on potential business activity or possible past negotiations.

Motor Sich declined to comment on any talks with other potential partners.

Johnson said Washington has taken "too long" to act and needs to quickly figure out what Motor Sich "can do well for us and our allies" if it wants to come up with an alternative to a Chinese takeover.

Hurak said Washington has woken up to the immediacy of the situation.

"The strategic importance of Motor Sich was known for a long time, but until now, no one was treating it so seriously," Hurak said. "I think the U.S. is finally serious."
So, why is this important? Chinese military aircraft engine technology has traditionally been weak. Specifically the manufacturing has been hard for them. They know the theory (as they stole it). Having the controlling interest would not only give them more insight into the manufacturing tooling, but also a facility that is able to make relatively high end engine.

SPOILER="Just to source some background on my engine strength claim. Feel free to ignore."]

What is being done about it? Well, probably several things, NATO is pressuring Ukraine to stop the sale. Additionally the Trump administration is threatening to withdraw a large amount of military aid to Ukraine. The media says that this is because Trump wants Ukraine to investigate Biden's son. Personally I think it is over this sale. Make of that what you will.

SPOILER="Sources of Trump may be pulling funding from Ukraine. "]

Next issue:
51 F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Jets Remain In Inventory, None Destroyed Since 2008 (Updated)

Warzone said:
We finally have an official accounting of the F-117s, nearly all of which remain at Tonopah, but that is still set to change over the coming years.

More than a decade after the F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack jet's official retirement, it remains a hot topic of discussion and speculation, especially given that some of the aircraft are still flying. The War Zone can now confirm that the Air Force still has 51 of the aircraft in its inventory and has not destroyed any of the aircraft since 2008, despite a Congressional mandate two years ago to dispose of four of them annually. We can also explain what happened to an F-117 that bystanders recently spotted on a flatbed semi-trailer on a road near the Air Force's Plant 42 complex in southern California.

The War Zone has been working for months to obtain new details about the state of the F-117s, both by contacting the Air Force directly and through the Freedom of Information Act, which continues to prove to be curiously difficult. Brian Brackens, an Air Force spokesperson at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, provided the updated information in an Email on Aug. 28, 2019. The remaining Nighthawks are still at the secretive Tonopah Test Range Airport in Nevada. Lockheed Martin only ever built 59 F-117s, along with five pre-production YF-117s, so 51 aircraft represent the bulk of the total production run. This largely dispells persistent rumors over the years that the Air Force had been quietly destroying the remaining aircraft, possibly by simply burying them out at Tonopah.

Until 2016, there was a legal requirement to keep the F-117s in so-called "Type 1000" storage, meaning that they would be maintained in a state where they could be returned to active service relatively quickly, if necessary. The annual defense policy bill, or National Defense Authorization Act, for the 2017 Fiscal Year nullified this and replaced it with the four-per-year disposal plan. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio subsequently developed what it calls a "migration plan" for how to get rid of the F-117s.

"The Air Force planned to dispose of one F-117 in FY17 and approximately 4 every year following, however, there was a requirement for an environmental impact study prior to operating a Media Blast Facility," Brackens, the Air Force spokesperson, told The War Zone in his Email. "That study delayed construction and completion of the facility until this year."

"Media blasting" in this instance refers to using abrasives to remove the sensitive radar-absorbing material coatings that cover the F-117's skin. This is a notoriously complex process. The material also happens to be highly toxic and requires personnel performing the blasting to wearing head-to-toe protective gear and utilize specialized facilities.

The Air Force had to go through this process with a YF-117 pre-production aircraft, serial number 79-10781, in order to send that aircraft to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1991 for display. Workers went so far as to spray-paint the phrase "Toxic Death" on the aircraft's bare skin afterward. You can read all about that Nighthawk, and the other work required to make it ready for display, in this past War Zone piece.

So, it's not surprising that the Air Force would have to complete a rigorous environmental impact study before opening up the new dedicated facility at Tonopah to perform this work on dozens of F-117s. At a rate of four-a-year, this site will have to be active for nearly 13 years in order to dispose of 51 Nighthawks.
It is also not clear how, or if, the Tonopah media blasting facility's operations might differ from how Air Force has performed this work in the past. The Air Force initially told The War Zone that it had destroyed an F-117 at Plant 42 in the 2017 Fiscal Year, as planned, as a proof of concept, but this turned out to be in error. As such, it remains unclear where the Nighthawk that bystanders had spotted on a highway in southern Nevada back in 2017 was headed and why.

Lockheed Martin did destroy a YF-117, with the serial number 79-10784, at its facilities at Plant 42 in 2008. This was as a proof of concept for a possible method of disposing of the Nighthawks, which may have helped inform the Air Force's current "migration plan."

Brackens, the Air Force spokesperson, did confirm that another Nighthawk did arrive at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 22, 2019. This was very likely the aircraft that bystanders saw near Plant 42 the week before, where it could have undergone media blasting or other demilitarization before getting flown to Wright Patterson.

It also is possible that the one that emerged in 2017 was in the process of being demilitarized in order to go to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and this second wrapped-up example is headed for a different fate. There are indications that a number of other museums are trying to acquire F-117s, as well.

With the new media blasting facility, the "remaining F-117A aircraft will continue to be disposed of in accordance with the Migration Plan at the rate of approximately four aircraft/year," Air Force spokesperson Brackens explained in his Email to The War Zone.

It remains unclear what the Air Force, or private contractors, might be doing with the remaining F-117s in the meantime. It is obvious from pictures and video that seem to emerge with relative regularity that some of them are still flying, despite there no longer being a requirement to keep them in Type 1000 storage.

There have been rumors that some of the aircraft might have returned to service secretly, flying missions in the Middle East, but there is no hard evidence to support those claims and there are also alternative explanations. The War Zone has previously explored the possibilities in a pair of features you can find here and here.

For what it's worth, U.S. Central Command, Air Force Material Command, and Hill Air Force Base, have all responded to Freedom of Information Act requests regarding possible regeneration of the Nighthawks for combat missions by saying they could find no such records. The Air Force Safety Center also said it had no record of any mishaps involving F-117s anywhere in the world since 2014 in response to another FOIA, despite reports of an inflight emergency that led to an emergency landing during purported combat operations in the Middle East.

It remains more plausible that some of the F-117s are involved in ongoing research and development efforts. This could include using them as stealthy targets to test new sensor systems, including infrared search and track (IRST) systems that are set to become prevalent on U.S. military fighter jets in the coming years. You can read more in detail about how the Nighthawks remain valuable assets for supporting this kind of work here.
The lessons the Air Force learns at the media blasting facility at Tonopah, and otherwise during the disposal of the remaining F-117s, may also be useful in the future. The service will face similar issues when it finally retires its fleet of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers.
If there are no more delays in the Air Force's disposal plans, it will still take more than a decade before the service destroys its last F-117. So, while it seems like the jets have truly entered their twilight period, we may still be seeing some of them flying over the American southwest for years to come.

Author's note: The original version of this story said that an F-117 with the serial number 80-0784 was destroyed in Fiscal Year 2017, but this appears to have been in error. There is no known F-117 with this serial number. YF-117, serial number 79-10784, was destroyed at Plant 42 in 2008. We have reached out to the Air Force for clarification.

Update 8/29/2019: The Air Force now says that its original statement that it had destroyed an F-117 in Fiscal Year 2017 was entirely in error and this story has been updated to reflect this clarification. The full statement that Air Force Spokesperson Brian Brackens sent in an Email on Aug. 29, 2019, is as follows:
"The previous info was a mistake on our part as we misread older documentation. No F-117 aircraft was destroyed in FY17 and the YF-117 with the serial number 79-10784 was destroyed at Plant 42 (Palmdale, CA) in 2008.
Sorry for the confusion."
Key Phrase: "The Air Force planned to dispose of one F-117 in FY17 and approximately 4 every year following, however, there was a requirement for an environmental impact study prior to operating a Media Blast Facility," Brackens, the Air Force spokesperson, told The War Zone in his Email. "That study delayed construction and completion of the facility until this year."

Simply amazing. When the air-force wants to slow roll something, not much can stop them. I remember when the Obama Administration tried to get rid of our cluster munitions. The Air Force resisted that long enough for the Trump Administration to reverse that decision.

Link dump because I don't have time:

DoD Releases for the day:

Here is a bundle of new articles related to Bill Moran:

That is all for today folks, check back tomorrow for more.


That Defense Sperg.
So, this thread is a ghost town. I don’t blame any of you. I blame myself for not picking the interesting stuff out for you all. So, I am going to break out the most interesting stuff into their own threads on A&H. Wee will see how the Mods react to that. We shall see what will happen.

For those of you fellow autists, My reading list for the past day and a half is below.

If you have a favorite defense site, let me know. I like to look at everything I can.

And if you have any concentrated defense new autism you would like to talk about, this place is as good as any.
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Hey I like it and think it’s interesting!

Speaking of: That Zumwalt destroyer... 10 billion dollars R&D and 4 billion dollars per ship?

Holy shit!

I guess that’s part of the reason why defense spending is through the roof.

Problem is, that the Russians and Chinese make hardware that might be slightly less advanced, but is a lot more affordable.

Just take the F35. You’d get what... A dozen 5,5 generation Russian fighters for the price of one F35?

YW 525

Yeah I only just noticed this thread. Good stuff.

I would like to know what the Russian government thinks of the sale of the aircraft engine factory. They can't be too pleased that the United States is interested. And as much as the Russians have been buddy-buddy with the Chinese, I can't imagine that Russia would be happy to see China get better at making engine parts. High quality aircraft engines are one of the few things that Russia has left, along with vodka and doomsday weapons.

Yeah I only just noticed this thread. Good stuff.

I would like to know what the Russian government thinks of the sale of the aircraft engine factory. They can't be too pleased that the United States is interested. And as much as the Russians have been buddy-buddy with the Chinese, I can't imagine that Russia would be happy to see China get better at making engine parts. High quality aircraft engines are one of the few things that Russia has left, along with vodka and doomsday weapons.
Meh, the Russians got their own engine factories. And probably more advances than the Ukrainian ones.
(Keep in mind, the Ukrainian factory is mostly Soviet legacy technology. Ukraine, unlike Russia, haven’t exactly been in a position to invest in R&D)

As for what Russia thinks about China or the US buying the factories, I think they mostly chuckle.

If the US buys it, they’ll be wasting half a billion dollars on a purchase just so the Chinese don’t get it. The factories are integrated with the Russian defense industry, and would be totally incompatible with US defense industry.

If the Chinks buy it, it’s a little less amusing, but still no disaster. Things like jet engines aren’t something you can just buy your way to.

(At one point the US bought the design for a Russian rocket engine with the idea being that they’d produce it in the US. After trying to do that for a couple of years they gave up, and just started buying the engines from Russia instead. It wasn’t enough to have the plans without the Russian knowhow and industrial legacy.)


That Defense Sperg.
Hey I like it and think it’s interesting!

Speaking of: That Zumwalt destroyer... 10 billion dollars R&D and 4 billion dollars per ship?

Holy shit!

I guess that’s part of the reason why defense spending is through the roof.

Problem is, that the Russians and Chinese make hardware that might be slightly less advanced, but is a lot more affordable.

Just take the F35. You’d get what... A dozen 5,5 generation Russian fighters for the price of one F35?
I am glad that you like the content, I will still post my new round up here roughly every day.

I will just be posting the "more interesting" articles straight to A&H and hope that the Mods don't kick my shit in for it. A good compromise would be for them to append the articles to this thread after a day of no activity on a post. I don't know.

Both the F-35 and the Zumwalt programs were some of the worst disasters in defense procurement history.

Concurrent engineering practices (misused or not) caused most of the problems with the F-35 program (aside from the F-35B). It got swept under the rug, but over a hundred F-35s were built that were severely deficient in many areas. To oversimplify, they were still designing and refining the aircraft when they were in Low Rate Initial Production. We are only just now getting decent combat ready F-35s.

There are several doctrinal problems with trying to switch over to a completely stealth airfleet, and how over rated stealth is as an asset. But I don't know if anyone would be interesting in having that spergfest of a conversation.

As for the Zumwalt. Well, All I can say is that DoD procurement (and DC politics that drives it) has been stupid since 1992 and had been truly exceptional since 2000-2001. It has only really started to get better under the current administration, not that that is saying much.

Yeah I only just noticed this thread. Good stuff.

I would like to know what the Russian government thinks of the sale of the aircraft engine factory. They can't be too pleased that the United States is interested. And as much as the Russians have been buddy-buddy with the Chinese, I can't imagine that Russia would be happy to see China get better at making engine parts. High quality aircraft engines are one of the few things that Russia has left, along with vodka and doomsday weapons.
The Russians don't like the idea of China getting their manufacturing tech, at least without a significant fee.

To put it in perspective, the Russians and the Chinese have started a joint-research medium jet engine laboratory together. The Russian contribute a couple of knowledgeable guys, and the Chinese pay for it all along with sending their massive teams. Then the research that comes from the facility will go to both parties.

And that is for just theoretical and prototyping research. I can't imagine how restrictive they are when it comes to manufacturing techniques and practices (which really is the hard part for China.

Unfortunately for the Russians, They don't have much of a say in the matter here. This is Ukraine we are talking about after all, and the Russian backed separatist conflict is still simmering. Russia might have enough political leverage to keep a state like Moldavia from selling everything they have to everyone who will buy, but What they can openly do to Ukraine has already been done.

You also have the fact that this Ukrainian factory was not frozen in time at the end of the Soviet Union. Ukraine was (barely) rich enough to continue some development on their own. So you have their advances you need to worry about too.

So, yeah... Russia is probably not happy about it, but there is nothing they can do.

Noticed that story about Textron developing two new weapons for the army: A rifle and a SAW, both using casetelescoped ammo.

Does anyone here doubt that we won’t end up with an $8000 rifle that uses ammunition that costs a couple of dollars per round?

The concept behind isn’t bad, and caseless ammo has some definite advantages.
It’s not a new concept either, H&K made the groundbreaking MP7 that used caseless ammo and could fire 3 shots in less than a second or some crazy shit like that.

And what exactly happened with the MP7 and caseless ammo? Oh yeah... It turned out to be an over engineered, hugely expensive debacle that ultimately wasn’t adopted.

Shit like this is exactly the problem with the military today.


That Defense Sperg.
Noticed that story about Textron developing two new weapons for the army: A rifle and a SAW, both using casetelescoped ammo.

Does anyone here doubt that we won’t end up with an $8000 rifle that uses ammunition that costs a couple of dollars per round?

The concept behind isn’t bad, and caseless ammo has some definite advantages.
It’s not a new concept either, H&K made the groundbreaking MP7 that used caseless ammo and could fire 3 shots in less than a second or some crazy shit like that.

And what exactly happened with the MP7 and caseless ammo? Oh yeah... It turned out to be an over engineered, hugely expensive debacle that ultimately wasn’t adopted.

Shit like this is exactly the problem with the military today.
For large caliber weapon systems the idea is great. For instance:

Telescoping allows much higher energy than would traditionally be available in form factor of that size. It also has a potential to be much lighter pound over pound.

The same applies to small arms technology. Weapon weight is a huge deal for the modern soldier. Especially if you have to hump it over 30 miles of Afghan Mountains.

At the same time, We are going to have to start considering ammunition that is higher powered than the 5.56 as body armor advances in other major powers have started to put into question how lethal a shot to center mass will be.

So, they are testing the platform. If this project works, It will be revolutionary.

All that being said however, I do agree with you. We should have just switched over to a 7.62 round.

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