Defense Watch: Spending the Opponent; palletized ammunition; New DDG start

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China / Russia budgets. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on June 10 that Russia and China’s joint defense budgets are likely to exceed US defense spending. “On an unclassified level, I would tell you that if all the cards are put on the table, the Russian and Chinese budgets combined will exceed our budgets. Both governments don’t put all cards on the table when it comes to their budget. It’s very difficult to tell what is being spent on their defense versus other priorities, ”Milley said.

KC-46 communications. The US Air Force plans to have an initial operational capability (IOC) for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) on the service’s KC-46 tankers under ABMS Capability Release 1 by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 – an IOC that come before the tanker receives an IOC to refuel. This ability has encountered a number of problems in recent years, including depth perception for the far vision system. But the Air Force claims efforts to make the KC-46 a central ABMS communications hub had nothing to do with the fueling problems. The service said the idea of ​​turning tankers into communication relays has been around since the “smart tanker” concept of the late 1990s, but the latter noted that simultaneous communication and refueling would not go together as refueling was safest outside from environments with significant emissions.

Palletized ammunition. This year, the US Air Force announced that it would test whether transport aircraft like the Lockheed Martin C-130 and Boeing C-17 could drop dozens of palletized ammunition – cruise missiles with extended range like the Lockheed Martin Joint air-to-surface-proximity missile with extended range Range – as part of an Air Force research laboratory. As such ammunition advances, the transport aircrews will need additional training on the rules of engagement. “We’ll have to adjust our training when the system hits the market,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, Assistant Commandant of Air Mobility Command. Such training has not yet started “as we are currently focusing on the technical piece of palletized ammunition as we see the feasibility of it,” said Robinson.

Cyber ​​force? Army General Paul Nakasone, the chief of US Cyber ​​Command and the National Security Agency, told lawmakers on June 11th that he did not consider it necessary to create a separate, independent cyber force. “We are currently focused on developing the US Cyber ​​Command’s 133 teams,” said Nakasone during a hearing for the House Armed Services Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee. “My concern at the moment when transitioning to a cyber force is the infrastructure, the other elements that deviate from what we want. We want the best cyber operators to complete the mission every day. And I think we have based on the experiences I’ve had and also the results we’ve seen in [helping to secure] the last two elections. ”

DDG-125. Huntington Ingalls Industries announced the launch of the first Navy Flight III on June 11th. known Arleigh Burke-Class (DDG-51) destroyer, the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), at his shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. HII has so far delivered 32 DDG-51s to the Navy and is currently also building the Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), Ted Stevens (DDG-128) and Jeremiah Denton (DDG-129). The Flight III destroyers will be equipped with a new, larger SPY-6 airborne and missile defense radar to improve the performance of air and missile defense operations. To accommodate the new radar, the Flight III ships will be larger to accommodate both the radar and its energy and cooling needs.

Big radio deal. The Army signed a $ 3.3 billion contract with L3Harris on June 10 for radios and communications equipment. Work on the fixed price contract should be completed by June 2026. An L3Harris spokesperson said that under the latest contract, the company will “provide a wide range of communications solutions and services to international customers through the FMS process”.

OPC offers. Bollinger Shipyards said it had tabled a proposal for the second round of the Coast Guard’s program to build medium-life offshore patrol cutters (OPCs), one of the service’s top acquisition priorities. Eastern Shipbuilding Group is building the first four OPCs, but the Coast Guard decided to reopen the program for a new round of competition after the shipbuilder ran into trouble following a massive hurricane that struck its facilities in October 2018. Bids for up to 11 additional OPCs were due last Friday. In total, the Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 of the ships. Bollinger supplies the Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters typically used in coastal areas. Winning the new OPC round would support Bollinger’s workforce through 2031, the company said.

Nominations. The Senate Armed Forces Committee proposed seven candidates by vote on June 10. The list includes Frank Kendall as Secretary of the Air Force, Heidi Shyu as Sub-Minister for Research and Technology, Susanna Blume as Director of Cost Assessment and Program Assessment of the DoD, Jill Hruby as Sub-Minister of Energy for the NNSA for Nuclear Safety and Administrator, Frank Rose becomes Deputy Administrator of the NNSA, Deborah Rosenblum becomes Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Program and Christopher Maier becomes Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflicts. The nominations were presented to the entire Senate for review.

Grenzmauer $$ for MILCON. The Pentagon on June 11 announced plans to divert $ 2.2 billion in funds to uncommitted military construction (MILCON) previously withdrawn by the Trump administration for border wall construction. Funding will cover 66 MILCON projects in 11 states, three territories and 16 countries, according to the Pentagon. Projects now funded include $ 89 million for Navy Pier and maintenance facilities in Washington state and $ 64 million for aircraft hangar maintenance in Puerto Rico.

NCD role explained. Chris Inglis, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the newly authorized position of National Cyber ​​Director (NCD) in the President’s Executive Office, said the determination that creates the new role is “coherence, unity of effort, and unity of purpose across all “wants to create what are already impressive, profound and distinctive skills within the federal company and a partnership with the private sector in which most of the cyber is built, operated, innovated and defended.” Inglis said before one Senate panel is absent during its confirmation hearing on 10 and ensuring that national strategy and our implementation of that strategy ultimately result in a coherent effort. ”The creation of the NCD was one of the key recommendations of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission 2020, which has widespread bipartisan support, though some in Congress are skeptical of anything between the director of Cybe rsecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and a deputy national security advisor on cyber and emerging technology, there may be too much overlap in cybersecurity responsibilities and a lack of accountability in the White House.

HII setting. Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss., Plans to hire around 3,000 full-time shipbuilders for its future growth plan. “We are continuously adding new team members to our growing workforce. Shipbuilding is a challenging, extremely rewarding, and potentially life-changing career and we are excited to offer our community so many stable, full-time opportunities with full benefit, ”said Kari Wilkinson, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, in a statement. The company is specifically hiring ship fitters, electricians, pipe fitters, pipe welders and construction welders and is looking for applicants with experience in the fields of mechanics, hot work or carpentry.

T-AGS 67. The Navy granted VT Halter Marine a $ 149 million modification on June 4 to define an earlier contract for the detailed design and construction of an oceanographic survey vessel (T-AGS 67). The works will primarily take place in Pascagoula, Mississippi, are mandatory at the time of allocation and will not expire after this fiscal year. T-AGS 67 is said to be a modified successor scout-Class ship, similar to the USNS Maury (T-AGS-66). The Navy had originally announced that it would issue a Sole Source Solicitation for this ship to VT Halter Marine in 2018.

DDG-91. The Navy contracted General Dynamics’ National Steel and Shipbuilding Company on Jan. Pinckney (DDG-91). This work includes a combination of maintenance, upgrading and repair of the Pinckney. It contains options that, if exercised, would increase the total value of the contract to $ 121 million. The work will take place in San Diego, California and is expected to be completed by July 2023. The announcement states that this contract was competitively sourced with three bids, but the other competitors were not disclosed.

Fed makes it easy for itself. In its response to a ransomware attack on its Colonial Pipeline information technology network last month, the company found that working with its federal partners through one-stop shop saves a tremendous amount of time and frees up resources to deal with the impact of the attack, said Joseph Blount, CEO from Colonial last week. Colonial learned of the attack on May 7 at 5 a.m. EDT and reported it to the FBI within hours, which shortly thereafter included the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in a follow-up discussion, he said. The company also reported to a number of other regulators and supervisors. Ultimately, the Department of Energy created a single point of contact for the company to resolve recovery and fueling issues, and the FBI was the only government contact for working with other agencies in investigating the attack, he added. “So for anyone exposed to such an attack, you have the time and space and the ability to react and thus have the opportunity, both on the investigation side and in the restoration and supply side has been very helpful,” he said .

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