FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of March 6, 2017

LOCAL COVERAGE

  1. FRCSE mustang makes leap at Mayport commissioning
  2. FRCSW Paints Its First MV-22 Osprey
  3. FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

  1. USAF and Navy could team up on E-6 recap
  2. Marine Corps considers opening Hornet maintenance to industry
  3. Foreign Cyber Weapons ‘Far Exceed’ U.S. Ability To Defend Critical Infrastructure, Defense Panel Says
  4. Commentary: The looming crisis for US tritium production
  5. A Pilot Explains All of the Amazing Reasons Why the F-35 Is a Stealth Super Weapon
  6. Three Chinese Air Force Officers Scout AFA Show — In Civvies
  7. Defense Services Contractors Brace For Pentagon Spending Shakeup
  8. Trump Is Right To Spend More On Defense. Here’s How To Do So Wisely
  9. FY ’17 Defense Spending Bill Slams F-35 Program; Air Force, Navy Programs Get Boosts
  10. Pentagon Advisers Want Cyber ‘Tiger Teams,’ More Authorities For Cyber Command
  11. Embracing Creativity: A Leadership Challenge
  12. Enabling Leadership From The Bottom

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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FRCSE mustang makes leap at Mayport commissioning

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ruby Richey choked-up as tears welled in her eyes when asked how she felt watching her son be commissioned as chief warrant officer in U.S. Navy on March 1.

 

She raised CWO2 Daniel Richey and his four siblings on her own in Aliceville, Alabama by working in factories and restaurants to make ends meet.

 

“I just did what I needed to do as a mother,” she said. “It’s a very proud moment for me.”

 

CWO2 Richey’s wife, daughter, son and brother were also on hand for the ceremony, along with detachment Mayport Sailors and officers in charge both past and present.

 

Cmdr. Claude Taylor, Richey’s former officer in charge at the detachment came to Mayport from his new command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River to be the guest speaker.

 

“He’s a man of the highest integrity and embodies the virtues of honor, integrity and commitment,” Taylor said of Richey. “He’s a godly man, and he walks that same walk whether he’s at work or at home.”

 

Richey joined the Navy out of high school in 1996, but left active duty in 1999 for the Navy Reserve. But by 2001, he wanted back in.

 

“I missed it, to be quite honest with you,” he said. “You get out, assuming the civilian world is just like the military, then you quickly realize it is not.

 

“I missed the camaraderie, and just missed the people.”

 

With a renewed focus, Richey threw himself into his work. Then an encounter with a division officer, who was a prior-enlisted Sailor and then warrant officer, planted a seed of ambition that grew to fruition with the ceremony Wednesday.

 

“It felt like he really understood the issues that junior sailors were facing,” he said. “The more I learned of what that position was about, it really made me want to become a warrant officer.

 

“I’ve been tracking ever since.”

 

Unfortunately for detachment Mayport, Richey’s promotion means he’ll be leaving for his new position with the “Skinny Dragons” of Patrol Squadron four at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington in June.

 

“I’ve valued PRC Richey’s leadership and assistance since I came to this detachment last year, and I’m sorry to see him go,” said detachment Mayport Officer in Charge Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Tindell. “But I know that CWO2 Richey will be a valuable asset for his new squadron and the United States Navy.”

 

The bittersweet emotions ran both ways.

 

“I love the Sailors, the leadership and the opportunities this command afforded me,” Richey said. “FRC detachment Mayport is the best command I’ve ever been a part of, hands down.”

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6497

 

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FRCSW Paints Its First MV-22 Osprey

 

From FRC Southwest Almanac – Volume 9 – February 9, 2017

 

All roads lead to the paint complex in Building 466, where Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) aircraft

products are concerned.

 

Most recently, that road was traveled by the first MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to undergo painting at the command. The Osprey was inducted in November and flown from its Planned Maintenance Interval-2 (PMI-2) event that was completed at FRCSW Site Miramar.

 

This course of events was quite unique: FRCSW Site Miramar completed the PMI-2 earlier in the year, returning the aircraft to the Marines of Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) for build-up and testing before flying it to FRCSW for final painting and weight/balance as part of the PMI-2 process.

 

Final paint at FRCSW is typically applied before the build-up and testing of the aircraft prior to delivery to the customer; however, adequate paint facilities and the proper certifications are not available at Site Miramar, and so, required a different flow of events.

 

Preparation for the MV-22 paint event began more than a year ago when two journeyman, crew leader David Powers and painter Charles Broadnax, traveled to FRC East (FRCE) at Cherry Point to receive training on the MV-

22’s strip and paint operations.

 

While FRCE’s operations and facilities differ from those of FRCSW’s, the team learned the unique differences and challenges involving the removal the aircraft’s original coatings, preparing the surfaces for painting, and applying the new Type IV paint, including the required stenciling and markings.

 

Logistics preparations continued throughout the year with stakeholder meetings that included materials lab engineers; deputy IPT leads; production control; production managers; planning department; paint crew leaders and artisans; supervisors; financial; safety office; and business office personnel. These critical preparations

ensured the right materials were ordered along with the appropriate source documentation, and solutions to concerns were tailored to successfully assist the paint complex.

 

As an airframe, the MV-22 is a unique configuration both in its body and its large nacelles and subsequently massive 38- foot propellers.

 

The propellers require appropriate masking for sanding, and then separately for paint operations to include rotation during the painting process. Planning when to rotate the propellers, as well as the stenciling/marking of the areas, was critical due to the need to raise or lower the aircraft’s struts to allow clearance in the dual-bay operation.

 

The V-22 fuselage and empennage are comprised of aluminum, carbon/epoxy composite, and carbon/epoxy composite overlaid with 5 thousandths-of-an-inch copper mesh. The wing and nacelles are comprised of carbon/epoxy composite and fiberglass.

 

This mix of substrate materials and subsequent treatments fell under the expertise of materials engineer Esther Chan. Her dedication was critical in the timely success of the project, as she became respirator-certified and suited up to provide the necessary guidance to the artisan team.

 

Pre-training on the copper mesh (Astro- Strike) and the new primer and Type IV paint were stepping stones to success for the paint complex. Powers and Chan developed a training regimen consisting of an eight-hour education and lab environment for the artisans.

 

Using donated aircraft surfaces from the composite shop so as not to damage the Astro- Strike surface, the artisans learned new sanding techniques with new sanding materials, as well as painting with the new Type IV paint.

 

After induction of the MV-22, artisans and materials lab engineers overcame their first objective: fitting the new fall protection stands to the airframe under the instruction of FRCSW safety specialist Javier Trujillo.

 

FRCE crew leader James Kanuck and materials lab engineer Ryan Glembocki provided direct support and guidance to the FRCSW crew leaders and team members. The experience of the FRCE members translated directly to the paint artisans, reducing a potential 30-day estimated turn-around-time to a 14-day delivery from the paint complex to the weight/ balance team.

 

The MV-22 paint process requires hand/ scuff sanding of the entire surface of the airframe; and with such a large aircraft, the paint complex team needed to ensure enough members were trained. The aircraft was swarmed, creating a “leopard” pattern look on the airframe without sanding into the Astro-Strike.

 

Wiping the aircraft down following sanding, the artisans masked it for painting the tri-color paint scheme. The stenciling and marking of the aircraft with several hundred stencils of various sizes was another challenge, as well.

 

Since FRCE and FRCSW are the only FRCs to provide paint services to the fleet for this aircraft and with a growing population of MV-22s on the horizon that includes Navy models, it is anticipated that FRCSW will paint upwards of 15 units per year.

 

Currently, the paint complex is scheduled for three units in fiscal year 2017, with a goal to reduce the TAT through experience gained from this and future evolutions.

 

The success of FRCSW’s first MV-22 paint operation may be attributed to excellent logistics integration planning and good material sourcing. But success is also truly rooted within the people involved: the artisans, engineers, logisticians, P/Cs, QAs, and other members who take pride in their work, teaming together, determined to succeed for the fleet.

 

For FRCSW aircraft, all roads lead to paint: Taking the “Pain” out of Paint, leaving the “T” for on target delivery!

 

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FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement

 

From FRC Southwest Almanac – Volume 9 – February 9, 2017

 

In a move that exemplifies teamwork and cooperation, Fleet Readiness Centers Southwest (FRCSW) and Southeast (FRCSE) recently joined forces to ensure the timely return of E-2C Hawkeye components to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).

 

Work on the JASDF E-2C assets was derived from a 2011 Repair Commercial Services Agreement (CSA) between FRCSW and Aeronautical Systems Incorporated (ASI). ASI provides maintenance, repair, overhaul and logistical support to foreign militaries.

 

The JASDF operates approximately 13 E-2C aircraft, and was in need of crucial repairs to the nose steering assembly units of eight aircraft to meet mission requirements. Steering assembly units enable pilots to taxi the airplane prior to takeoff and after landing.

 

Under the terms of the CSA, FRCSW ordered all repair materials through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and provided the touch labor to service the steering assemblies, said Lee Strother, performance-based logistics program coordinator, who ensured the on-time delivery schedules and cost requirements of the project.

 

“We do a complete overhaul to these,” said hydraulics/pneudraulics shop supervisor Jack Jackson. “That means we’ll completely disassemble the unit, evaluate, order any outstanding material required; then send it out for cleaning, remove any corrosion, run a non-destructive inspection on them and assemble and test them

before they’re sent to paint and returned to the customer.”

 

The units were inducted into the FRCSW components program in Building 472 last August and September and were returned in less than five months, thanks to cooperative problem solving between the two FRCs.

 

“As the first few units were nearing completion of repair, ASI was notified that the test bench for the nose steering assembly was down for service,” wrote Carlos Pichardo, ASI director of operations in his April 12, 2016, letter of commendation to FRCSW.

 

“(Then FRCSW Components IPT Lead) Wade Wendell took initiative to identify solutions for testing. Mr. Wendell worked directly with engineering at FRCSW to see if there was any way to bring the test stand back up, and when it was deemed that it would take a number of weeks, Mr. Wendell identified that there was an active test bench located at FRCSE. This out-of-the-box thinking allowed ASI to work with FRCSW for the repair of the assets and the final testing was performed by FRCSE so that the final delivery made it to the customer within their fiscal year requirement.”

 

Pichardo noted that “… any items not delivered within the JASDF fiscal year lose funding.”

 

“ASI has recently sent additional JASDF assets to FRCSW for repair and with the assistance of the Components Integrated Product Team at FRCSW and its management, we look forward to continued success in the support of availability delivered for United States allies,” Pichardo wrote.

 

The FRCSW test bench used to assess the E-2C nose steering assembly units is currently under an update modification.

 

In addition to E-2C components work, FRCSW also services legacy Hornet Aircraft Mounted Accessory Drives (AMAD) under its service agreement with ASI.

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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Flight Global

 

USAF and Navy could team up on E-6 recap

 

BY: Leigh Giangreco

 

The US Navy is looking at recapitalising its airborne command and control fleet, which could produce a joint venture with the US Air Force.

 

The Navy’s E6-B aircraft supports the service’s ballistic missile submarines and allows the USAF to launch missiles from the air should command centres on the ground become inoperable during a nuclear crisis. During an 8 March Congressional hearing, the head of US Strategic Command told lawmakers he directed the Navy to examine the E-6B’s replacement. The service is analysing options, including the possibility of leveraging a common platform with the USAF.

 

The Navy last refreshed the E-6B Mercury in 2002, when Boeing upgraded the 707s with a new flight deck, broadband communications system and battle management, command and control equipment, FlightGlobal reported. Boeing completed retrofits on all 16 aircraft in 2003. That extends the fleet well into the 2030s, but the Navy must attack the recapitalisation now, US Strategic Command head Gen John Hyten says.

 

“We’re only 20 years from 2038, but if you’re going to build large aircraft with huge command and control you need to start thinking about those things right now,” he told reporters. “That’s what the Navy is starting to do, I’ve requested that they start looking at defining what comes next.”

 

The E-6B, which is equipped with an airborne launch control system, can fulfill the legacy E-6A’s ballistic submarine mission or the airborne strategic command post mission. The Navy is considering whether separate aircraft should fulfill those missions or a common aircraft that can complete both, Hyten says.

 

A joint USAF and Navy programme could piggyback off of the air force’s ongoing command and control recapitalisations. The Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and Boeing E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS), both 707-derived aircraft, are undergoing a protracted replacement. The OC-135B Open Skies aircraft, another close cousin of Boeing’s 707 manufactured in 1962, is experiencing sustainment issues. Subsystem failures aside, the USAF expects to phase out the OC-135 around 2040. Last month, the USAF released a request for information seeking viable options for the Open Skies Treaty aircraft.

 

The E-6B’s 2038 replacement timeline could align with those other 707 aircraft, according to Admiral Bill Moran, vice chief of Naval Operations.

 

“We should look at doing this together because the requirements on the air force side, the size and shape of the airplane, the capacity, the endurance are very similar missions,” he says. “We’re always looking for places where we cannot be duplicative.”

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-and-navy-could-team-up-on-e-6-recap-434963/

 

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Marine Corps considers opening Hornet maintenance to industry

 

Inside the Navy, March 03 | Lee Hudson <https://insidedefense.com/authors/Lee-Hudson>

 

Faced with increased demand, the Marine Corps said the service is considering turning to industry to help maintain legacy F/A-18 Hornets, according to a service official. Bill Taylor, assistant deputy commandant for aviation focused on sustainment, told Inside the Navy that the size of the inventory and the jets’ condition are putting pressure on turnaround time. “It’s like peeling back an onion — you don’t know what you don’t know until you start reworking these aircraft at the depot. As you pull a panel off, you see corrosion; pull another panel off and the corrosion is worse,” he said during an interview at his Pentagon office on March 2. “There have actually been cases where we have inducted aircraft into the depot rework, only to have to turn around and strike the aircraft halfway through the depot repair process because it was not salvageable.”

 

Though Taylor said that example is rare, it makes clear the intensity of the Marine Corps’ challenge. At times, the service must wait months for a particular spare part. It’s difficult for suppliers to forecast demand, Taylor said, because it could be the first time in five years that a particular part needs to be replaced. One option under consideration to address the throughput at Navy depots is contracting out legacy Hornet maintenance to a vendor, he said. Indeed, the Navy has turned to this option in the past.

 

“An example of that is Boeing has augmented the Navy’s organic capability to rework the legacy Hornet down at Cecil Field, [FL],” he said. “They’re under contract to augment that capacity.” The Navy and Marine Corps are also prototyping a new planned maintenance interval to streamline activities at the depots. The initiative consolidates intermediate-level and organization-level maintenance into two PMI events, according to Taylor. “Right now, you could literally turn out an aircraft from the depot, and literally a couple of weeks later put it back into a field event for something different,” he said. “It was illogical. [This] is a logical consolidation of maintenance requirements.” The services kicked off the prototyping period in February and expect it to take about 18 months, Taylor said. Additionally, the Marine Corps is conducting recurring executive support suitability summits (ESS) for each type of model series that has undergone an independent readiness review.

 

To date, the service has conducted independent readiness reviews for the AV-8B Harrier, H-1, H-53, V-22 Osprey and ground mishaps. The service may also perform an independent readiness review for the legacy Hornet, Taylor said. The ESSs are meant to allow the Marine Corps to effectively execute its readiness recovery plan by involving all stakeholders. For example, representatives from the prime contractor, the Defense Logistics Agency, Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Supply Systems Command attend, Taylor said.

 

Two weeks ago, the Marine Corps held three ESSs — for AV-8B, H-1 and V-22 — in Yuma, AZ, he said. The summit for the AV-8B assessed parts obsolescence and forecasting depot maintenance availabilities. For the H-53, the biggest risk for sustainment is basic supply support. Thirty percent of those helicopters are down on the flight line because of spare parts availability, Taylor said. The Marines have a maintainer-to-aircraft issue for the H-1 because of the different configurations. The H-1N is transitioning to the H-1Y, and the AH-1W is transitioning to the AH-1Z, he said.

 

Budget

Taylor detailed four priorities if the near-term budgets allot additional funding for aviation sustainment. The top priority is sending more funding to the flight-hour program, both for fuel and depot-level repair. The second priority for aviation readiness is adding more spare parts to the inventory. Those priorities, Taylor said, are followed by performance-based logistics and procurement.

 

Procurement plays a role in aviation readiness because the service thought it would transition from the legacy Hornet and the Harrier fleet to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter years ago. Since completing an independent readiness review for the Harrier two years ago, the aircraft’s reliability has greatly increased, according to Taylor. Instead of transitioning from three Harrier squadrons to the F-35, the Marine Corps instead selected three legacy Hornet squadrons because the Harrier is having fewer readiness problems, he said.

 

https://insidedefense.com/inside-navy/marine-corps-considers-opening-hornet-maintenance-industry

 

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Foreign Cyber Weapons ‘Far Exceed’ U.S. Ability To Defend Critical Infrastructure, Defense Panel Says

 

(WFED AM RADIO WASHINGTON DC 07 MAR 17) … Jared Serbu

 

The Defense Science Board’s latest study on the state of cyber defense in the U.S. reaches some worrying conclusions, both for civil infrastructure and for military capability. The panel assesses that even after foreign intrusions into election systems, financial institutions and Defense contractors, the U.S. has only seen the “virtual tip of the cyberattack iceberg.”

 

On the civilian side, the new report warns that for at least the next five-to-10 years, other nations will have offensive cyber capabilities that “far exceed the United States’ ability to defend and adequately strengthen the resilience of its critical infrastructures.”

 

To make matters worse, the traditional weapons systems the military relies on to deter countries from actually launching those attacks are themselves vulnerable to cyberattack, undermining a deterrence policy one Defense official articulated six years ago: “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we’ll put a missile down one of your smokestacks.”

 

Consequently, the advisory panel says the Pentagon needs to devote “urgent and sustained attention” to making its strike systems immune from cyberattack and make it clear to adversaries that it’s done that. Otherwise, its threats vis-a-vis missiles and smokestacks will rightly be seen as – well, blowing smoke.

 

“To be able to credibly impose unacceptable costs in response to cyberattack by major powers, Russia and China, the U.S. needs its key strike systems – cyber, nuclear and nonnuclear strike – to be able to function even after the most advanced cyberattack,” James Miller, a former undersecretary of Defense for policy and a co-chair of the task force that authored the report, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “And this is not a simple task.”

The board gave several examples of complex systems that need urgent attention in order to harden them against cyberattack. Strike platforms like guided missile submarines and heavy weapons bombers are on the list, and the authors advise that that new nuclear weapons systems not be “networked by default.”

 

But so is IT infrastructure for command and control and logistics, because a cyberattack on military systems “might result in U.S. guns, missiles, and bombs failing to fire or detonate or being directed against our own troops; or food, water, ammo, and fuel not arriving when or where needed; or the loss of position/navigation ability or other critical warfighter enablers.”

 

That’s just part two of the report.

 

Part one strongly hints that the federal government doesn’t have a unified national policy on how to deter cyberattacks and says it must develop one, and then implement ongoing, tailored campaigns to deal with the most potentially troublesome attackers, including not just China and Russia, but also countries with mid-level capabilities, like North Korea and Iran.

 

The panel said the U.S needs a pre-exercised, tailored playbook of options that, above all, makes clear that the government will respond to any and all cyberattacks, rather than a piecemeal approach which inevitably lets at least some of them slide.

 

“The question should be not whether we respond, the question should be how,” Miller said. “You have to look at what [another nation’s] leadership values across a range of potential targets that we could hold at risk. The value of campaign planning is you have a sense of what level of response and what specific types of targets might be most appropriate for a given scenario.”

 

The DSB report was, in many ways, concordant with the views of Sen. John. McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who frequently criticized the Obama administration for failing to come up with a coherent cyber policy that, in his view, would help deter future attacks. But McCain also acknowledged that Congress contributed to the problem by dividing its cyber oversight responsibilities among numerous committees.

 

Keith Alexander, who served as the commander of U.S. Cyber Command from its inception in 2010 until his retirement in 2014, agreed that both the executive and legislative branches had a hand in creating dysfunction. Alexander, who frequently championed a “team sport” and “whole of government” approach to cyber while he headed CYBERCOM, said last week that the government’s current approach to cyber suffers from fundamental structural problems.

 

“It’s not working. There are four stovepipes,” he said, referring to the Defense Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community. “If we were running this like a business, we’d put them together. You also have all these committees in Congress looking at all this, and it’s messed up.”

 

Alexander said he and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had, at one time, discussed a proposal to rearrange the government’s cyber defense responsibilities so as to bring a more unified approach to tasks that are now performed by federal law enforcement agencies and DHS; they believed that DoD and the intelligence community were already fairly well-integrated.

 

“I think that’s where we ultimately need to go, but before we do that, I would highly recommend that we get those four groups together and practice: do a couple of exercises with Congress and with the government and potentially with industry and show how this should work. What you have now is agencies acting independently, and with those seams, we will never defend this country. When industry looks at our government, they are quite frankly dismayed. We’re all over the map, and no one can answer who’s responsible.”

 

But if the current state of cyber defense is partly a matter of deterrence and retaliation, it’s important to keep other domestic agencies in mind. The Treasury and Justice departments, for example, have played key roles in prior responses to cyber attacks, including through crippling financial sanctions targeting key leaders of state-sponsored hacks and criminal prosecutions of those officials.

 

“I don’t see duplication of effort, I see gaps in effort. We don’t have an orchestra conductor to ensure that we don’t have those gaps,” said Dr. Craig Fields, the chairman of the Defense Science Board. “On the board, we’ve talked about the National Security Council playing that role, but we’re not completely comfortable with that. It’s an unsolved problem, because we do need a campaign strategy to make this a continuous process, including exercises … We have a long list of execution issues like whether we have the right number of offensive cyber folks or whether the intelligence community is collecting the right stuff at the right time, but unless we have policy and the orchestra conductor and the strategy, we’ll never go where we need to go.”

 

Foreign cyber weapons ‘far exceed’ US ability to defend critical infrastructure, Defense panel says

 

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Defense News

 

Commentary: The looming crisis for US tritium production

 

By: John R. Harvey and Franklin C. Miller

 

Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is an essential component in all U.S. nuclear weapons and bombs. It is radioactive with a decay half-life of 12 years and, thus, must be replenished in U.S. warheads every few years. Absent timely replenishment, our warheads become duds.

 

The United States, however, will be unable to produce enough tritium in coming years to support the nuclear stockpile. How did this dire prospect come about?

 

Today, the U.S. produces tritium by irradiating special rods in a single light water reactor run by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This reactor burns low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and also produces electricity to power homes in the Southeast. To meet demand, a second TVA reactor will begin producing tritium early next decade.

 

U.S. nonproliferation policy generally seeks to separate atomic energy defense activities, including past production of “special nuclear materials” — plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons — from peaceful activities enabling domestic nuclear power.

 

The U.S., however, determined in 1998 that production of tritium in government-owned TVA reactors would be cost effective and consistent with nonproliferation interests so long as the reactors burned U.S.-origin LEU fuel.

 

Unfortunately, the U.S. does not now have a domestic source to produce that fuel. In 2013, its one remaining uranium enrichment plant, the aging and costly-to-operate gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, was shutdown. Moreover, funding to support a U.S. company seeking to build a centrifuge enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, was terminated.

 

Existing U.S.-origin LEU will run out by mid next decade given the two-reactor production strategy. Reasonably low-cost options are available to extend stocks until 2030 or so. Beyond that, it would force down-blend of HEU now reserved for the nuclear stockpile and naval ship propulsion. This is imprudent from a national security perspective, and wasteful given the initial large cost to highly enrich this material.

 

By the early 2030s, the viability of the entire U.S. nuclear deterrent is at risk from an inability to produce tritium for nuclear warheads. The Trump administration will need to take action soon to manage this long-term problem.

 

Cheap oil and gas today make new enrichment plants uneconomical. There is thus a national security imperative for the U.S. government to either renew subsidies to U.S. firms willing to take on this mission, or do this itself.

 

The Department of Energy estimates many billions of dollars and a decade or more to design and build a U.S.-origin centrifuge plant. Given DOE’s sorry experience in failing to field critical nuclear infrastructure on time and cost — for example, facilities to produce plutonium and HEU parts for nuclear warheads, and for mixed oxide (MOX) fuel — we anticipate these estimates are overly optimistic. Therefore, it is not too soon to start now.

 

Failure to restore domestic enrichment by the early 2030s leaves only one alternative: use of foreign-origin LEU. But there are many drawbacks. Some exporting countries will not sell LEU for tritium production because agreements in place limit use solely for peaceful purposes. Earlier, an international consortium (URENCO) agreed to provide LEU for TVA reactors, whether tritium producing or not, but previous administrations rejected this on the grounds that it further weakened separation of national defense-related and commercial nuclear activities. And, to be clear, because nuclear weapons play such a critical role in U.S. security, and the security extended to allies, our nation cannot rely on global markets, or other countries’ decisions, to provide means to ensure that security.

 

Restoring domestic enrichment capacity offers security benefits beyond a viable nuclear deterrent. HEU reserves to fuel nuclear-powered ships will run out in about 40 years; capability for high enrichment assures the long-term viability of the nuclear Navy. While it may not, in itself, restore U.S. global leadership in shaping the future of nuclear power, building and operating a modern enrichment plant would help reverse declining U.S. technical capabilities in the commercial nuclear arena.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/commentary-the-looming-crisis-for-us-tritium-production

 

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The National Interest

 

A Pilot Explains All of the Amazing Reasons Why the F-35 Is a Stealth Super Weapon

 

Kris Osborn

 

Apart from its individual technologies, weapons, sensors and systems, the F-35 is perhaps best appreciated for its multi-role capabilities, meaning it can perform a wide range of different missions from close-air support and air-to-ground attack to air-to-air engagements and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.

 

The aircraft’s sensor technologies allow the platform to perform a much greater ISR function than previous aircraft can, giving it a “drone-like” ability to gather and disseminate surveillance information. As part of this, the F-35 can also use a specially engineered data-link to communicate in real-time with other F-35s and other aircraft and fighter jets.

 

“With the data-link’s network interoperability, we can talk to each other and talk to fourth-generation aircraft as well,” Canterbury explained.

 

The F-35A can function as a reconnaissance aircraft, air-to-air fighter, air-to-ground fighter or stealth aircraft engineered to evade enemy air defenses, Canterbury explained.

 

The Air Force’s new F-35A multi-role, stealth Joint Strike Fighter brings an unprecedented ability to destroy targets in the air, attack moving enemies on the ground and beam battlefield images across the force in real time, an Air Force pilot told Scout Warrior in a special interview.

 

The stealth fighter makes it much easier for pilots to locate, track and destroy enemy targets across a wide range of combat circumstances — including attacks from farther ranges than existing fighters can operate, the F-35A pilot said.

 

Speaking to Scout Warrior as part of a special “Inside the Cockpit” feature on the F-35A, Air Force Col. Todd Canterbury, a former F-35 pilot and instructor, said the new fighter brings a wide range of new technologies including advanced sensors, radar, weapons for attack and next-generation computers.

 

Although he serves now as Chief, Operations Division of the F-35 Integration Office at the Pentagon, Canterbury previously trained F-35 pilots at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Canterbury is uniquely positioned to know the F-35’s margins of difference because he has spent thousands of hours flying legacy aircraft such as the service’s F-15 and F-16 fighters.

 

“The F-35 is a dream to fly. It is the easiest airplane to fly. I can now focus on employment and winning the battle at hand as opposed to looking at disparate information and trying to handle the airplane,” Canterbury told Scout Warrior.

 

Canterbury was referring to an often-discussed technological advance with the F-35 called “sensor fusion,” a system which places radar, targeting, navigation and altitude information on a single integrated screen for pilots to view.   As a result, pilots can rely upon computer algorithms to see a “fused” picture of their battlespace and no longer need to look at different screens for targeting coordinates, air speed, mapping and terrain information, sensor feeds or incoming data from a radar warning receiver.

 

The F-35s Electro-Optical Targeting System, or EOTS, combines forward-looking infrared and infrared search and track sensor technology for pilots – allowing them to find and track targets before attacking with laser and GPS-guided precision weapons.

 

“I can turn my head and look left or right. There is an aiming cross on my helmet, an aiming symbology that tells me how to get there. The system will swivel over to the point on the ground I have designated,” Canterbury described.

 

The EOTs system is engineered to work in tandem with a technology called the Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, a collection of six cameras strategically mounted around the aircraft to give the pilot a 360-degree view.

 

“I can look through the airplane and see the ground below me. I can look directly below me without having to obscure my vision,” Canterbury said.

 

The DAS includes precision tracking, fire control capabilities and the ability to warn the pilot of an approaching threat or missile.

 

The next increment, Blocks 3i will increase the combat capability even further and Block 3F will bring a vastly increased ability to suppress enemy air defenses.

 

The Air Force plans to reach operational status with software Block 3i this year. Full operational capability will come with Block 3F, service officials said.

 

Block 3F will increase the weapons delivery capacity of the JSF as well, giving it the ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb, 500-pound JDAM and AIM 9X short-range air-to-air missile, Air Force officials said.

 

Canterbury also talked about how Air Force engineers and experts were making progress building a computer library in the aircraft called the Mission Data Files.

 

“Experts are working feverishly to catalogue all of the threats we might face,” he said.

 

Described as the brains of the airplane, the mission data files are extensive on-board data systems compiling information on geography, air space and potential threats in known areas of the world where the F-35 might be expected to perform combat operations, he explained.

 

Consisting of hardware and software, the mission data files are essentially a data base of known threats and friendly aircraft in specific parts the world. The files are being worked on at reprogramming laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Air Force officials have said.

 

The mission data packages are loaded with a wide range of information to include commercial airliner information and specifics on Russian and Chinese fighter jets. For example, the mission data system would enable a pilot to quickly identify a Russian MiG-29 if it were detected by the F-35’s sensors.

 

The mission data files are being engineered to accommodate new threat and intelligence information as it emerges. For instance, the system might one day have all the details on a Chinese J-20 stealth fighter or Russian T-50 PAK FA stealth aircraft.

 

The first operational F-35A fighters have already been delivered to Hill Air Force Base in Utah, and Air Force leaders say the service has launched some small mini-deployments within the US to prepare the platform for deployment.

 

The F-35 is also engineered with an Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar which is able to track a host of electromagnetic signals, including returns from Synthetic Aperture Radar, or SAR. This paints a picture of the contours of the ground or surrounding terrain and, along with Ground Moving Target Indicator, or GMTI, locates something on-the-move on the ground and airborne objects or threats.

 

The F-35’s software packages are being developed in increments; the Marine Corps declared their Short-Take-off-and-Vertical-Landing F-35B with software increment or “drop” 2B.

 

Block 2B builds upon the enhanced simulated weapons, data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the earlier Block 2A software drop. Block 2B enables the JSF to provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile), JDADM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) or GBU 12 (laser-guided aerial bomb), JSF program officials have said.

 

Apart from its individual technologies, weapons, sensors and systems, the F-35 is perhaps best appreciated for its multi-role capabilities, meaning it can perform a wide range of different missions from close-air support and air-to-ground attack to air-to-air engagements and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.

 

The aircraft’s sensor technologies allow the platform to perform a much greater ISR function than previous aircraft can, giving it a “drone-like” ability to gather and disseminate surveillance information. As part of this, the F-35 can also use a specially engineered data-link to communicate in real-time with other F-35s and other aircraft and fighter jets.

 

“With the data-link’s network interoperability, we can talk to each other and talk to fourth-generation aircraft as well,” Canterbury explained.

 

The F-35A can function as a reconnaissance aircraft, air-to-air fighter, air-to-ground fighter or stealth aircraft engineered to evade enemy air defenses, Canterbury explained.

 

“While stealth is important in the early phases of warfare to knock out integrated air defenses and allow fourth-generation fighters to fly in, we don’t need stealth all the time,” Canterbury said. “I can use my stealth and electronic attack to see an adversary well before he sees me.”

 

For instance, the F-35A is well-suited to loiter over an area and provide fire support to units on the ground in a close-in fight. In order to execute these kinds of missions, the F-35 will have a 25mm Gatling Gun mounted on top of the aircraft operational by 2017.

 

The F-35 has 11 weapons stations, which includes seven external weapons stations for bombs or fuel.

 

“If we don’t need stealth, I can load this up with weapons and be a bomb truck,” Canterbury explained.

 

Eventually, the Air Force plans to acquire more than 1,700 F-35As.

 

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/pilot-explains-all-the-amazing-reasons-why-the-f-35-stealth-19683

 

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Three Chinese Air Force Officers Scout AFA Show — In Civvies

 

By Colin Clark

 

ORLANDO: Three PLA Air Force (PLAAF) were identified by a senior defense official roaming this year’s Air Force Association conference here.

 

The exhibit floor here boasts scale models of a wide array of America’s highest tech weaponry. Just outside the main hall, for example, is a large scale model of Boeing and SAAB’s offering for the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition.

 

The senior defense official, who clearly wanted reporters to note the Chinese presence, was sanguine about their attendance but a bit miffed they were walking around in civilian clothes. After all, it makes such folks harder to spot. Many of their colleagues from other countries wore uniforms. (They may all have, but we can’t confirm that).

 

The PLAAF officers were spotted by the senior defense official who knew at least one of them from a previous encounter. One of the PLAAF officers may have been a J-20 pilot. Folks manning the booths at the show said they had seen the PLAAF officers taking photos all around the floor. Those who’ve read Nick Eftiamedes’ groundbreaking book, Chinese Intelligence Operations, and the occasional reports by American counterintelligence on foreign espionage know how prevalent this behavior is. The FBI mounts serious counterintelligence efforts at some events to discourage, or at least monitor and complicate, the lives of foreign intelligence and military officers.

 

Foreign militaries are welcome at the conference, but the great majority come from allied and partner nations — America’s friends, in other words. Foreign military get a special rate to attend the conference. Military and intelligence industry events are notorious centers of espionage by both friendlies and what we can smilingly call our competitors: Russia and China et al.

 

I heard about these gentlemen too late in the day to get a chance to find and interview them. Here’s hoping they got better photos than they could download from defense company websites (or this reporter could shoot) and didn’t overhear any unguarded hallway conversations.

 

Three Chinese Air Force Officers Scout AFA Show — In Civvies

 

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Defense Services Contractors Brace For Pentagon Spending Shakeup

 

(POLITICO 01 MAR 17) … Ellen Mitchell

 

President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated pitch to expand the Army and Navy and invest more in the nuclear arsenal and missile defenses is also expected to spell a big boost for defense services like equipment maintenance and training.

 

But at the same time it could lead to cuts in other areas of the vast services market that accounts for more than half of what the Pentagon buys each year and its own advisers say is ripe with waste and fraud.

 

I would not say that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said Doug Berenson, managing director of Avacent, a defense consultancy. “There will be some categories of services that will do better, and I think that there are some categories of services that clearly will not.”

 

For example, he said, “some professional and administrative services related to headquarters will not. In certain categories of professional and administrative services you probably will see a near-term decline.”

 

Defense services are the connective tissue of the military, covering everything from basic needs like base air conditioning, food service, construction and snow removal to more complex tasks such as providing IT and cybersecurity services, compiling studies for Pentagon offices and even running many military headquarters.

On the campaign trail Trump pledged to help pay for a military buildup by initiating a Pentagon audit and “eliminating government waste and budget gimmicks.”

 

“Everybody remembers Trump talking about increasing the military during the campaign; nobody seems to remember that he said he was going to cover a lot of those costs by cutting Pentagon waste,” Loren Thompson, another defense industry consultant.

 

Trump first trumpeted those defense spending cuts on NBC’s Meet the Press in October 2015.

 

“I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less,” Trump said.

 

Shortly following his inauguration, Trump set out to do just that, initiating an executive memorandum on Jan. 27 that directs Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to conduct a 30-day review of military personnel, training, equipment and maintenance, the nuclear triad and missile defenses.

 

The memo notably calls for “reducing commitments not directly related to the highest priority operations, in order to make resources available for training and maintenance.”

 

The document did not offer specifics on which commitments will be reduced, but Trump’s campaign promises – including expanding the Army to 540,000 troops, building a 350-ship Navy, and increasing the number of Marine Corps battalions to 36 and the number of fighter aircraft to 1,200 – are likely to take precedent over services that don’t support such efforts.

 

Following the memorandum, Mattis issued guidance for reviewing the Pentagon’s budget proposals. In it, he acknowledges that directing new dollars to the Pentagon this year could lead to cuts in “lower priority programs.”

 

CACI International chief executive Kenneth Asbury told POLITICO he expects such Pentagon changes to possibly put the IT services firm at a disadvantage.

 

“Changing a program that we’re working on today – somebody decides they want to go in a different direction and somebody’s got a better mouse track to that – that could have an impact,” Asbury said. “It’s a potential threat as somebody changes the priority about something.”

 

One lower priority area likely on the chopping block is what Thompson refers to as “term papers,” the numerous and constant stream of studies that recommend various improvements to the Pentagon, its personnel and its weapons systems.

 

Firms that generate the studies “could be in for a rough ride,” he said.

 

“The department spends a lot of money on studies and the fact of the matter is that there’s not going to be a whole lot of money for growing the military,” Thompson said. “I think at some point here Mattis and the new administration are going to ask themselves whether a lot of these studies – and the other sort of intellectual products that get generated out of the service sector – will be needed.”

 

There are other reasons to be concerned.

 

Service contractors have reason to fear Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney who is eager to slash and shape federal spending levels, including the Pentagon’s budget. Company lobbyists may find it difficult to defend their projects thanks to a turbulent change of administration at the Pentagon.

 

Trump still must appoint and have the Senate confirm about 50 DoD positions. So far only Mattis has made it through the confirmation pipeline.

 

“The transition is not far enough along for companies to know precisely who they should be lobbying,” Thompson said. “So far this seems very much like a Trump-centric administration and so companies like Lockheed and Boeing have gone directly to [Trump] to plead their case. But if you can’t do that or you don’t want to do that, then it’s not clear yet who you should be talking to underneath him because nobody is in place yet.”

 

Thompson added that the response to the administration’s goals has been mixed. “Among the companies that have indicated what they’re doing it’s a pretty diverse approach; everybody is not on the same sheet of music.”

As one defense services industry official phrased it, “we’re kind of in some uncharted territory here. D.C. is in a frenzy.”

 

One potential way to stay on the new administration’s good side: Advertising.

 

IT services giant CSRA launched a new marketing campaign following Trump’s inauguration. The date was “not entirely a coincidence,” said George Batsakis, the chief growth officer of the Falls Church, Va.-based company.

Batsakis said the campaign – which he insisted would be running regardless of who was elected – conveys “the position of CSRA versus the competition and the value of things we bring to the government,” with advertisements strewn across the Pentagon Metro station starting Jan. 30 and broadcast on local radio.

 

The company, which holds $1.5 billion in defense contracts – a third of its portfolio – also ran two local 30-second ads in the DC area during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

 

The forecast for service contractors is not all doom and gloom, however.

 

In addition to a boost for training, logistics and maintenance support contracts needed to increase the size of the military, Leidos CEO Roger Krone told POLITICO the government-services company is also readying itself to pick up work as a result of the Trump’s Jan. 23 directive to freeze federal hiring.

 

The military is exempted from the order’s constraints, but the Pentagon’s civilian workforce is not.

 

“I would think that once [Trump] better understands his priorities that they will continue hiring in some of the agencies, but in the short term, if those agencies have an expanded scope of work they will have to rely on contractors,” Krone said. “I think we’re going to do OK.”

 

https://www.politicopro.com/defense/story/2017/03/defense-services-contractors-brace-for-pentagon-spending-shakeup-146438

 

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Trump Is Right To Spend More On Defense. Here’s How To Do So Wisely.

 

(WASHINGTON POST 02 MAR 17) … Michèle Flournoy

 

In his address Tuesday to Congress, President Trump promised to make sure that the U.S. military gets what it needs to carry out its mission by securing “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” More funding would surely be a good thing, although the issues of how much and what for are complicated. No one should be under any illusions that a higher Defense Department topline guarantees a more capable armed forces.

 

Trump is reportedly seeking $54 billion over the sequester caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which would bring 2018 defense spending to $603 billion. While Trump may view this proposal as historic, it’s only 3 percent more than President Obama’s final budget request. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called for a much larger increase – to nearly $640 billion.

 

And as the post-9/11 defense buildup taught us, throwing more money at the Pentagon is not a panacea. What matters is how the money is spent. So what should we look for in the president’s budget request?

 

First, how is spending allocated across readiness, force structure and modernization?

 

There is broad consensus in the Pentagon and Congress that the most urgent priority is addressing readiness shortfalls that affect the military’s ability to respond quickly to crises and other near-term demands. Every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has highlighted readiness problems – such as inadequate training time and maintenance and replacement of equipment – as a source of accumulating risk. While Congress’s willingness to provide war funding – “overseas contingency operations” funds – above baseline defense spending has helped, it has not solved the problem.

 

The larger challenge will be striking the right balance between building a bigger force and building a better one. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has rightly defined his priority as building a “larger, more capable, and more lethal joint force” to contend with a more challenging international security environment and increasingly capable adversaries. But there are tradeoffs between paying for additional personnel and force structure vs. investing in the technology and capabilities necessary to prevail in more contested air, land, maritime, cyber and space domains. Although some increases in force size may be warranted, such as a larger Navy fleet and modest increases elsewhere, the dramatic across-the-board hikes in force structure that Trump proposed during his campaign are both unaffordable and unwise.

 

The bulk of any additional defense investment must focus on maintaining and extending our technological and warfighting edge, including in cyber, electronic and anti-submarine arenas, unmanned systems, automation, long-range striking and protected communications. U.S. military leaders should moderate their appetite for a bigger force today to protect critical investments in cutting-edge capabilities that will determine whether we succeed on the battlefield tomorrow.

 

Second, are deterrence and alliance capabilities being strengthened?

 

Critical to the United States’ ability to deter aggression and prevent conflict in regions where we have vital interests is deploying U.S. military forces forward and helping allies and partners build their own defense capacity. Some of these costs, such as those associated with routinely deploying naval forces around the world, reside in the base defense budget. Others, such as the European Reassurance Initiative, will be covered by annual overseas contingency funding. Still others, such as helping Israel field more robust missile defense systems, are enabled by the State Department’s foreign military financing. These investments, although relatively small in dollars, are disproportionately important to reducing the risk of more costly U.S. military engagements.

 

Third, does the budget keep faith with the men and women who serve? Any budget that claims to strengthen the U.S. military must put people first. Doing so requires reform. For example, does the budget adopt sensible reforms to military health care to improve quality while reining in costs? Does it improve education and professional development? Does it enable more flexible career paths to retain the best and brightest? Does it include a round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to shed the 30 percent of infrastructure the service chiefs say they no longer need, enabling savings to be reinvested in better training and equipment for those we send into harm’s way?

 

Fourth, how will we pay for the increase in defense spending? The Trump administration has promised dollar-for-dollar cuts in non-defense programs, reportedly targeting State Department and USAID funding for cuts of 30 percent or more. This would create an even more imbalanced national security toolkit limit on our ability to prevent crises through diplomacy and development and result in an overreliance on the military. As Mattis said while head of the U.S. Central Command, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” Furthermore, this approach is unlikely to fly in Congress. Absent a larger budget deal that includes tax reform and reins in non-discretionary spending on Social Security and Medicare, the most likely result is a larger deficit.

 

Finally, if this defense spending increase isn’t part of a larger budget deal providing predictable spending levels for the next several years, it won’t have the desired impact. If the Pentagon is forced to operate under the threat of sequestration, it will not have the predictability necessary to make smart multiyear investments in the capabilities on which our security will hinge.

 

Trump is right to raise the need for more defense dollars, but Congress should scrub his request carefully to ensure that the money is spent wisely and not at the expense of non-defense programs that are critical to U.S. national security.

 

Michèle Flournoy, chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, was undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-right-to-spend-more-on-defense-heres-how-to-do-so-wisely/2017/03/01/ca776f74-fe8e-11e6-8f41-ea6ed597e4ca_story.html

 

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FY ’17 Defense Spending Bill Slams F-35 Program; Air Force, Navy Programs Get Boosts

 

(DEFENSE DAILY 02 MAR 17) … Pat Host

 

The fiscal year 2017 defense appropriations bill released Thursday slams the F-35 program, accusing it of, among other things, allegedly not contracting for the proper number of aircraft in each year as appropriated by Congress.

 

The bill, drafted by the House Appropriation Committee (HAC), said four F-35s included in the FY ’15 Defense Appropriations Act and 13 aircraft included in the FY ’16 Appropriations Act were not part of their respective low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts to the contracting strategy of F-35 Program Executive Officer (PEO) Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan. Specifically, the bill said, only four F-35Cs were included on LRIPs nine and 10, rather than the 10 F-35Cs enacted the fiscal years 2015 and 2016 National Defense Authorization acts, impeding production efficiencies.

 

The bill directs the F-35 PEO to use a contracting approach that would award all aircraft included in each appropriations act on the respective production contract for that fiscal year. The agreement includes funding for 74 F-35 aircraft. The F-35 PEO is also directed to brief the congressional defense committees no later than 45 days after the enactment of the bill on the contracting strategy of the aircraft.

 

The F-35 is being developed and produced by Lockheed Martin.

 

The bill also accuses the F-35 program of providing insufficient justification and incomplete information in an untimely manner. It said the potential alternative management structures for the F-35 program being reviewed by the defense secretary will provide an opportunity to improve communication between the F-35 PEO, the military services and the congressional defense committees to ensure the program’s funding requirements are fully understood, communicated and justified. The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) did not return a request for comment by press time Thursday.

 

The bill provides $578 billion, an increase of $5.2 billion over the FY ’16 enacted level and $1.6 billion more than the request by the former administration of President Barack Obama. This includes $516 billion in base funding, an increase of $2 billion above current levels, and $62 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO), or wartime, spending.

 

Andrew Hunter, director of the defense-industrials initiatives group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington, said Thursday appropriations bills providing more than authorized amounts happen from time to time. He said usually the authorizers will retroactively authorize the money in the following year’s bill to retain the notional authority to authorize, but it doesn’t have a substantive effect.

 

Hunter said the only defense accounts where the lack of an authorization has a material effect is military construction and intelligence programs. Multi-year procurements, he said, also have to be authorized.

 

When combined with the $5.8 billion in supplemental funding enacted in the continuing resolution (CR) passed in December, the total defense funding for FY ’17 is $583.7 billion, an increase of $10.9 billion over FY ’16. The current CR expires April 28. The appropriations bill will be considered on the House floor next week, according to a HAC statement. CSIS defense budget guru Todd Harrison said on Twitter because the spending bill doesn’t include military construction and family housing, it is not the full DoD budget.

 

Among Air Force programs, the bill bans obligating or expending funds made available by the legislation for pre-milestone B activities after March 31, 2018, for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). The bill provides $4.6 billion for the F-35 program, an additional $414 million more than the roughly $4.2 billion authorized by the FY ’17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It also provides $2.6 billion for the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker program, roughly $200 million less than authorized by the NDAA.

 

Among Air Force programs, the bill provides $4.6 billion for the F-35 program, $414 million more than the roughly $4.2 billion authorized by the FY ’17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It also provides $2.6 billion for the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker program, roughly $200 million less than authorized by the NDAA. Boeing is developing the tanker.

 

The bill provides $93 million for the UH-1N helicopter replacement effort, roughly $75 million more than authorized by lawmakers. The bill also provides more than twice the amount of money authorized for the Lockheed Martin-built C-130J program. The bill provides $306 million, which includes two additional aircraft for the Air National Guard. But only $146 million was authorized by the NDAA.

 

Among munitions, the appropriations bill funds to authorized levels the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM – $432 million), The Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM – $60 million) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB – $92 million). But the bill provides slightly less than authorized for Raytheon-built Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM). The bill provides $337.8 million, roughly $1.5 million less than authorized. The bill also provides $291 million for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), nearly $7 million less than requested.

 

For space programs, the bill funds to authorized levels the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program at $646 million and the Global Positioning System III (GPS III) space segment at $34 million. The bill provides $717 million for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) capability program, $26 million less than the authorized amount. The bill cites a change to acquisition strategy for the program. The bill funds to the authorized amount of $536 million for the EELV space vehicle program.

 

In Navy programs, the bill funds the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program at $332 million, $17 million less than the nearly $349 million authorized. The bill provides roughly $1.4 billion for the V-22 program, $143 million more than authorized. The bill funds the P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft program with $1.8 billion, roughly $43 million less than requested.

 

The bill also funds $1.3 billion for the Navy’s F-35C carrier variant, providing two additional aircraft for the Navy and two more for the Marine Corps. The $1.3 billion is $421 million more than authorized in the FY ’17 NDAA. The bill funds roughly $2.3 billion for the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) portion of the F-35 program, $255 million more than authorized.

 

For Navy ships, the bill provides $3.6 billion for the DDG-51 program, reducing two ships from the amount requested for FY ’17. The $3.6 billion funded for DDG-51 is roughly $300 million more than authorized. The bill also provides the $3.2 billion authorized for the Virginia class submarine program. It funded $1.7 billion for the CVN refueling overhaul, roughly $44 million less than authorized.

 

The bill provides $150 million in advanced procurement funding for the Navy to buy long-lead time material for the lead ship of an affordable polar icebreaker. The bill directs the Navy and Coast Guard to refine requirements and an acquisition strategy for procurement. This collaboration, according to the bill’s explanatory statement, continues to refine program costs and requirements in an effort to award a detailed design and construction contract for the lead ship in FY ’19. No funding was provided for this in the Obama administration’s request.

 

FY ’17 Defense Spending Bill Slams F-35 Program; Air Force, Navy Programs Get Boosts

 

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Pentagon Advisers Want Cyber ‘Tiger Teams,’ More Authorities For Cyber Command

 

Pentagon advisers: We need more infrastructure cybersecurity. Congress: We want more election-hacking security.

 

(DEFENSE ONE 02 MAR 17) … Patrick Tucker

 

U.S. critical infrastructure and military responsiveness is at such high risk to Chinese and Russian hacking that Pentagon advisors are recommending a special task force, or “an offensive cyber capability tiger team,” to help the military acquire new weapons of cyberwar. But the real worry for senators on the Armed Services Committee, who hear from Defense Science Board members Thursday, was not how to respond to Russia shutting off the lights but how to respond to an attack like the DNC hack and John Podesta hack – attacks on sovereignty that are not necessarily an act of war.

 

While the group came to warn Congress about attacks to things like the U.S. electric grid and other “vital U.S. interests,” Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., quickly brought the discussion to the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was using spearphishing campaigns to destabilize elections, both in the U.S. and abroad. “If an enemy or an adversary is capable of changing the outcome of an election, that’s a blow at the fundamentals of that country’s ability to govern,” said McCain. “The election is a system of democracy … if you destroy it then you have basically dealt an incredible blow to the country, which is far more severe than shutting down an electrical grid.”

 

“Describe the range of options the U.S. has for deterrence?” against that sort of thing demanded Warren.

 

Jim Miller, a member of the Defense Science Board and a former under secretary of defense for policy, squirmed a bit at the question. “One thing we want to do is deny the benefits” of that sort of operation, he said. “Getting that information out earlier would have been very helpful.”

 

The board is a group of civilian experts who advise the Department of Defense on technical matters. On Thursday they presented a new report on cyber deterrence.

 

The military conversation about cyber capabilities and threats (at least the conversation that the public hears) is typically big on buzz words and small on substance. The most recent report breaks somewhat from that tradition. “Major powers’ (Russia and China) have significant and increasing ability to hold U.S. critical infrastructure at risk or otherwise use the information domain to harm vital U.S. interests, and their more limited but growing capability to thwart our military response through cyberattack.”

 

The proposed tiger team would “develop options and recommendations for improved and accelerated acquisition of scalable offensive cyber capabilities, including additional authorities to USCYBERCOM, and the establishment of a small elite rapid/special acquisition organization.”

 

The idea echoes what U.S. Cyber Command head Adm. Michael Rogers has said he wants to do with CYBERCOM in the years ahead. Rogers would structure Cyber Command teams much more like special operations forces and give commanders more license to use offensive cyber weapons, the same way you would use regular weapons largely determined by the guy with the gun or his immediate superior.

 

“At the moment, we tend to differentiate between the offense and defense,” Rogers, said last month at the AFCEA West conference, in San Diego. “Offensive cyber in some ways is treated almost like nuclear weapons in the sense that their application outside of the defined area of hostility is controlled at the chief executive level and not delegated down. What I hope to see in the next five to seven years is can we engender enough confidence in our decision makers and policy makers … you should feel comfortable pushing this down to the tactical level.”

 

Rogers means he wants fast reaction cyber-squads answering to combatant commanders and outfitted with better tools. On the defensive side, he stressed a need for “machine learning at scale,” using robust artificial intelligence methods applied to detecting and understanding what the enemy is doing and what new tools the enemy is working with. On the offensive side, Rogers said he wants to go to industry for more.

“In the application of [conventional] weapons, we go to the private sector and say, build us a JDAM [a Joint Direct Attack Munition]. On the offensive side [in cyber] to date, we do all of our development internally … is that a sustainable model?” he asked.

 

The newly released Task Force report sounds a similar note to Rogers. “Rapidly establishing and sustaining an array of scalable offensive cyber options, including strategic cyber options, will require a different approach to acquisition … Because target systems and software can change, sometimes unexpectedly and at a moment chosen by the adversary, a quick reaction capability with flexible acquisition authorities will be essential.

 

Needless to say, throwing lots of money at private outfits to develop break-in tools for adversarial networks, databases, devices, etc. will likely prove controversial since civilians and may use similar networks and devices. If you find the perfect hack against, say, a Cisco networking product, can Cisco sue you for damages? Can Cisco customers sue you if an outside party then uses the access tool you developed to steal their data? It’s one reason why following the rules of armed conflict becomes much harder when the battle terrain is, in part, other people’s phones and equipment and not physical space.

 

Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One.

 

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/03/pentagon-advisers-want-cyber-tiger-teams-more-authorities-cyber-command/135861/

 

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Embracing Creativity: A Leadership Challenge

 

(CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SECURITY 08 MAR 17) … David Andre

 

In January 2017, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, released the Navy Leader Development Framework, outlining how the United States Navy will develop future leaders capable of meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing and complex world. The framework recognizes three values that are integral to developing leadership  –  compliance, creativity, and character.

 

Of the three values, creativity represents the biggest challenge to naval leadership. It is challenging because it defies easy characterization and represents a divergence from the traditional values associated with developing Naval leadership. While there is an institutional framework and culture that develops, values, and supports compliance and character from seaman to admiral, the same cannot be said of creativity. Certainly creativity has always existed within the Navy, but until recently, it was not recognized as an integral value of leadership. Placing it on the same level as compliance and character requires change. And balancing the tension that exists between these values is one of the biggest challenges facing the Navy.

 

Creativity is More than just Being Different

 

In order to effectively harness creativity leaders must clearly understand what creativity is and how it differs from more traditional naval leadership values. Naval leaders are accustomed to dealing with issues of compliance and character. These values are well-defined within the Navy’s core values and evaluation process and feature prominently throughout a sailor’s career, regardless of rating or community. Naval culture views compliance and character dichotomously  –  one has either complied or not; one either has good character or not. In both instances, success and failure are easily identifiable. Leaders and followers feel comfortable using these metrics as ranking tools.

 

Creativity  –  using imagination or original ideas to create something  –  defies such simple characterization. Creativity is different; it is subjective and exists on a spectrum not seen with compliance and character. Creativity courts risk, is not easily manageable, and often results in failure. It follows that creativity will likely be costly in terms of resources and egos  –  there’s rarely an immediate payoff in any tangible terms. However costly, creativity and the innovation it sparks holds the key to developing future leaders that are adaptable. The creative mind holds multiple perspectives simultaneously. As such, creative decision-making produces more options, thereby increasing the likelihood of success. This idea is the bedrock for the SECNAV’s Naval Innovation Network, which seeks to bring together disparate ideas from across the ranks in the hopes of fostering creativity.

 

Establish a Direct Relationship with Creativity

 

While acknowledging the importance of creativity is important, leaders need to take concrete actions that encourage and make effective use of that creativity. The difficulty for today’s leaders is how to cultivate that creative environment for leaders and followers within an organization that traditionally measures success and failure objectively. Doing so requires adjustments to the way in which the organization reacts to failure and the way compliance and character are typically measured. These changes need to occur vertically as well as horizontally because, like character and compliance, when properly cultivated creativity is infectious.

 

Making creativity an effective part of the Navy’s leadership model presents some practical challenges. These challenges range from the bureaucratic to the operational and vary from community to community. While forward-leaning leaders speak of thinking outside the box, enlarging the box, or thinking like there is no box, the words can be difficult to translate into action. That is primarily because these well-intentioned challenges to become creative thinkers rarely address the practical limitations that box sailors in every day. From evaluation cycles and ranking boards to tour lengths and qualifications, the personnel organization of the Navy was not designed with creativity in mind. The bureaucracy, when coupled with operational tempos, stifles creativity; sailors simply don’t have the time or luxury to be creative. However, creativity must have time and room to flourish.

 

Creating this time and space within the disciplined constraints of the Navy is the primary issue facing today’s deckplate leaders. To meet this challenge, these leaders need to move beyond encouraging creativity and provide defined pathways through the bureaucracy and operational tempo. To create these pathways, it is essential that leaders first acknowledge the limitations and potential of creativity. Acknowledging limitations and potential allows leaders to adopt the CNOs line of effort toward High Velocity Learning, whereby leaders strive to accelerate learning through the adoption of the “best concepts, techniques, and technologies.” In doing so, leaders can set aspirational goals while ensuring that creativity yields results and is not wasted time.

 

Foremost, leaders need to identify where and when to tolerate creativity within their particular missions. A sailor performing a Planned Maintenance System (PMS) check is not an acceptable time for encouraging creativity. Yet, a junior officer conducting Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) activities or an Information Systems Technician identifying systems installations onboard a new platform could flourish in a creative environment. Making these differences clear to subordinates will set the stage for creativity to become an effective tool. Meanwhile, adapting processes outlined in the model of high velocity learning that embolden innovation and creativity will leave sailors feeling confident in exercising their creativity, while leaders will feel confident encouraging creativity.

 

Along with creating an environment conducive for creativity, leaders need to establish a balance between creativity and compliance. In many practical ways, creativity opposes the Navy’s concept of compliance. By its nature, creativity eschews following the standard rules as it searches for new and innovative ways to achieve something. Resolving the tension that exists between these values will involve sustained involvement from leadership. The CNO’s guidance makes specific mention of the tension created when the notions of competence and character meet the principles of creativity and compliance. Within this tension lies the potential for failure.

 

There’s an immediate danger in too much creativity and not enough compliance, but there’s a long-term danger in too much compliance and not enough creativity.

 

Moving Past the Fear of Failure

 

Perhaps the greatest impediment to embracing creativity is the potential for failure. Fear of failure does more to stifle creativity than any bureaucracy or operational tempo ever can. The fear manifests itself in two distinct ways: individual and institutional. There is the individual fear that people have of failure and the repercussions of failure. And then there is the institutional fear that comes from the reticence that peers and leaders have of acknowledging failure in others. While each begets the other, it is important not to conflate the two because they come from different places and, thus, need different solutions. Institutional failure is abstract, while individual failure is personal. Studies show that followers who fear failure focus on that fear rather than the task, while leaders who fear failures tend to ignore the failures. In both instances, people lose the ability to learn lessons.

 

Therefore, mandating reforms to foster an institutional environment that embraces failure is only one part of the equation. The individual must also be convinced of the need to accept and learn from failure, which involves a more nuanced approach. To change the attitude sailors have toward failing the Navy must introduce the concept of failureship. Like the name implies, failureship is the ability to fail; and like leadership, it is a learned concept. Considering the relationship that people have with failure, learning to fail constructively is an important lesson for new sailors. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson that the Navy spends little time teaching.

 

Navy culture encourages success at every stage, and rightly so, because lives often depend on that success. The Navy cites historical examples of battles won and lost, each replete with astounding examples of sailors overcoming staggering odds and arduous circumstances to rise to the occasion. The CNOs Professional Reading Program is replete with these stories of heroism. Often overlooked within these stories are examples of creativity – sailors taking chances when there’s nothing else to lose. While these tales illustrate that creativity can lead to success, there’s a deeper, less obvious lesson. That is, too often creativity is treated as a last-ditch effort, that failure is an acceptable outcome when there’s nothing else to lose. It is time to recognize that, in the proper context, creativity and failure will promote success. Creativity does not need to be reactive; it has a preventative dimension. It’s time to move failure to the forefront.

 

To promote this thinking, the discussion needs to move beyond mere acceptance of failure. It needs to move into a realm where leaders encourage failure and followers embrace the lessons of failure. Instead of getting over failure we need to rally around failure. As the aphorism goes: someone who’s never failed has never tried.

 

Discussions of failure need to move from the posters and books and into wardrooms, messes, and galleys. This involves a paradigm shift in how the Navy treats failure. Unlike success, where we champion and personalize the effects, we take a distanced approach to failure. Failure, when accepted, is something that happens to others.

 

Aside from these cultural biases, failure has psychological limitations – people have a tough time dealing with failure. For some, anonymity may encourage creativity, for others, the motivation to be creative may come from the promise of rewards. Despite these differences, the underlying premise remains the same – leaders must look for ways to foster creativity within themselves and their subordinates.

 

Conclusion

 

For good reason, the Navy has long promoted successful execution over thoughtful rumination. However, global forces are at work today that require a paradigm shift in the way the Navy develops future leaders. To remain on the cutting edge, keep the brightest talent, and sustain the element of surprise, the Navy needs to cultivate a culture that believes in the value of failure, adopts an organizational behavior that encourages creative minds, and balances the application of creativity with its practical limitations. After all, creativity embodies the Navy’s core values: it takes honor to try, courage to fail, and commitment to overcome failure.

 

While incorporating creativity into leadership development presents challenges, the good news is that the Navy already possesses many strengths and initiatives to leverage the creative spirit. From traditional concepts like intrusive leadership to new proposals like career sabbaticals and the Tours with Industry program, the Navy is well poised to begin developing creative leaders. The diversity of the Navy’s workforce is another key component that will bolster creativity through exchanging ideas and experiences. As the Navy strives to innovate and overcome, developing and sustaining creative thinkers will determine the future course.

 

Lt. David M. Andre is a former Intelligence Specialist, has served as an Intelligence Officer and Liaison Officer assigned to AFRICOM and is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School. He is currently serving as N2 for COMDESRON Seven in Singapore.

 

Embracing Creativity: A Leadership Challenge

 

 

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Enabling Leadership From The Bottom

 

(CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SECURITY 07 MAR 17) … Jacob Wiencek

 

As a junior enlisted Sailor in the U.S Navy, developing as a leader is one of the crucial, overarching aspects of my new naval career. As someone on the lower rungs of the ladder I often think about how I can currently develop my leadership capabilities and how I am capable of leading from where I am now.

 

While we should all strive to develop as a leader, to grow, rise up the ranks, and become a senior leader, what we do now can have a profound impact in how we act as we move further up the chain. What I often see neglected is not so much “How do I improve and move on to the next rung of leadership?” but rather “How can I be a leader now?”

 

After reading through the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) new Navy Leadership Development Framework I see many positive ideas to grow and modernize the Navy as a whole. As we adapt to the needs of the 21st century and the challenges we face, it is important to be engaged in these discussions moving forward. The decisions agreed on today will shape not only our Navy in how it operates, but also in our individual outlooks on leadership, and we how we fit in together within the framework of the Navy.

 

Always an Opportunity to Lead

 

I would argue that junior Sailors can provide more than what the framework envisions. While it is very important for us to be engaged in our own professional leadership development, as both junior Sailors and junior leaders, we can provide unique insight and perspective not available to some levels of leadership. From working on the lower rungs of the leadership ladder we can provide not only a unique view into how things are operating, but also provide our experiences to new Sailors, peers, and superiors that can help better shape informed decision making.

 

Anyone can be a leader at any time, no matter where they are in the chain of command. Even though I am a junior enlisted Sailor at the moment, there are still those who are below me that I can benefit from my example and experiences. I am not far removed from being a Seaman, and I can freshly recall the challenges I experienced as I began my naval journey. From working on qualifications at my first duty station, learning the ropes of my job, and adjusting to Navy life, these are just some of the many challenges I faced starting out. While I have overcome many of these challenges, some still remain, and my experiences are recent enough to where I can provide assistance to those who are also on their journey to develop their naval careers. Experience enables leadership.

 

To those Seamen who are just arriving at my command and to my peers as well, my experiences in meeting these challenges can provide a resource to overcome similar challenges. Having recently completed the processes of becoming qualified in my positions, and having stood them for some time now, I can provide that type of on-the-job training that would help ease the path of others who will come after me. Furthermore, this experience would also translate into helping new Sailors qualify for their positions more rapidly. There is little sense in making each sailor reinvent the wheel to learn their particular job. While I am respectful of the issue that each person should at some level be able to independently learn and operate their tasking on their own, as leaders, even a junior ones, we should seek new ways to pass on what we have learned from our particular experiences, to build on the past experiences of others with our own, and to pass that collective knowledge and development onto the next sailor who can continue to add to that.

 

I am particularly encouraged by how the Navy seeks to reform enlisted occupational training and development. “A” School and subsequent “C” schools are obviously important in not only establishing an initial and basic understanding in the many Navy rates we can join, but it also provides the continuing education piece to where skills are refreshed or augmented by new developments in our particular career tracks. Focusing on my own personal development as a leader, these new changes are highly encouraging and positive in helping chart the path to my career growth and success.

 

Leadership is not just a top-down process where my peers and I provide guidance and assistance to those under us. We can also be leaders to those superior to us and use our experiences and knowledge to help those new higher ups who come to our commands. For instance, my experiences at the command can be drawn from by those above me as they adjust to the new structure of the command. Having that kind of understanding can aid those leaders above me as they work to integrate successfully into the command. My on-the-job knowledge can provide workplace experience in how to navigate the department and division while my direct expertise on the mission itself can better help those above me make better decisions and present them with a greater underlying awareness of the mission itself.

 

Conclusion

 

This new Navy Leadership Development Framework is an important step in growing all levels of the Navy in different ways for senior and junior leaders. As a junior Sailor I am encouraged by the positive developments regarding continued rate education development and the steps outlined that can lead to personal improvement as well. Implementing these changes and developments will no doubt increase the overall operational effectiveness and professional development of the service and I am excited that I can add my voice and perspective to the ongoing conversation. Moving forward, I hope more attention can be paid to how junior leaders in the Navy are already leading and how our experiences can enrich our continuing leadership development as a whole.

 

Jacob Wiencek is a Petty Officer Third Class in the United States Navy and currently stationed with Navy Information Operations Command, Hawaii.

 

Enabling Leadership from the Bottom

 

 

 

 

 

FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of February 27, 2017

LOCAL COVERAGE

  1. Harper assumes command at FRC East
  2. First 3D-printed aircraft component takes to skies at FRCSE
  3. Fabric Hangars Help FRCSW Preservation Program
  4. FRCSW Shop Saves Navy Thousands in Tooling Costs

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

  1. The F-35: A Big Mistake or Wonder Weapon?
  2. The Legacy Of Better Buying Power: DoD’s Gambit To Reform Acquisition ‘From Within’
  3. Did China Just Make ALL Stealth Fighters (Think the F-22 and F-35) Obsolete?
  4. Navy Opens New ‘Digital Warfare’ Office, Aiming To Exploit Advances In Data
  5. Defense Services Contractors Brace For Pentagon Spending Shakeup
  6. Info Warfare’s Biggest Challenge: The Crowded Chaos Of Cyberspace
  7. Industry offers multiple authentication tech for SIPRNet
  8. Latest-generation Chinese combat drone makes maiden flight
  9. Navy Drafting 30-Year Research-And-Development Roadmap
  10. Fleet Commanders View ‘Innovation’ As A Challenge To Operate Smarter

 

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Follow us on Twitter @COMFRC_Sustains,

Facebook at http://facebook.com/COMFRC

and YouTube at www.youtube.com/channel/UCKGMKvAQuJ_L6qnM0DZravQ

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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Harper assumes command at FRC East

 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – As the guidon passed from the hands of Col. Vincent E. Clark to those of Col. Clarence Harper III, so too did the command authority and accountability of Fleet Readiness Center East during a change of command ceremony here Feb. 24.

 

Nearly a thousand people gathered to witness the change in the “premiere aviation maintenance and overhaul” organization’s history as Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski, commander, Fleet Readiness Centers – subsumed under Naval Air Systems Command – presided over the ceremony that also culminated Clark’s 29-year military career.

 

Clark was retired by the U.S. Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters. Walters reflected on Clark’s impeccable career by highlighting his achievements and sharing comments made by other senior officers.

“Your impact on the Marine Corps has been tremendous,” said Walters.

 

Clark, who took charge of the command Jan. 31, 2015, led the organization during a period when the NAVAIR was confronted with the challenge of remedying an insufficient inventory of ready-based aircraft that hindered fleet readiness.

 

While Clark was at the helm, in 2015 FRC East cleared 14,000 excess components to meet the newly defined daily component work in progress level standard of 8,000 components. FRC East increased the number of H-53 airframes available to the fleet by seven aircraft, reducing work in progress from 16 to nine aircraft while improving turnaround time and on-time delivery rates.

 

Zarkowski highlighted other achievements by the FRC East workforce under Clark’s command that included:

.               Reinstituting the Theory of Constraints, Critical Chain Project Management methodology that accounts for variability and resource sharing across projects;

.               Standing up capabilities for the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning depot modifications as it reached its initial operational capability phase;

.               Developing and implementing the first DoD-wide Industrial Connectivity – Engineering Configuration Management – Additive Manufacturing digital network, which is a new COMFRC enterprise standard used to assist other sites and other DoD Services, including the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.

 

Zarkowski said the achievement is being heralded as a “trailblazing benchmark for fleet readiness centers and other Department of Defense industrial activities.”

 

The rear admiral also noted that the Data Innovations Negating Obsolescence Team’s (six members of the Propeller Integrated Product Team based at FRC East’s In-Service Support Center) victory in the NAVAIR first Data Challenge in 2016 – beating out 32 other teams for the initiative that focused on improving readiness by using NAVAIR data source – is a “reflection of his leadership.”

 

“Their win is a reflection of the culture promoted by FRC East leadership – one of empowerment, collaboration and desire to continuously provide value to the fleet,” said Zarkowski.

 

Zarkowski welcomed Harper, who has served as the FRC East executive officer since June 2015, into his new role of commanding officer.

 

“You are taking over a command that is core to the readiness of Naval Aviation,” said Zarkowski, explaining that it is the only source of repair within the continental United States for several jet and rotary wing engines, as well as turbofan vectored thrust engines. “You have some challenges to overcome as we get the CH-53 Sea Stallions, F/A-18 Hornets and V-22 Ospreys back to readiness health. I know that your training and experiences as a Marine and as FRCE’s executive officer have more than prepared you for what lies ahead.”

 

Harper, a native of Eatonton, Georgia, is the 34th officer to command the organization since its establishment in 1943. Before his assignment to the position at Cherry Point, he was the director for Warfighter Integration at the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office in Arlington, Virginia. His previous command assignments include Marine Aviation Logistics Squadrons 14, which provided aviation logistics support to forward deployed elements of Marine Air Group 14, and MALS-40 in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6492

 

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First 3D-printed aircraft component takes to skies at FRCSE

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -Military pilots have to stay cool under pressure, and the first 3D-printed component at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast will help them stay that way.

 

The forearm-length piece of air duct tubing, constructed with a composite material known as Ultum 1085, marked a major step forward for the Navy command that is charged with maintaining, repairing and overhauling aircraft.

 

“This is an awesome milestone for our facility,” said FRCSE Commanding Officer Capt. Chuck Stuart. “It shows the innovative approaches our artisans and engineers incorporate to help support the U.S. military every day.”

 

The facility’s first 3D printer became operational in June 2014. Since then, artisans and engineers have put it to good use making parts for support equipment, for prototypes to save on costly material and for tooling – but never before for an actual piece of an aircraft.

 

That all changed in January when Matthew Hawn, an aerospace engineer at the facility’s trainer aircraft program, sought help from the manufacturing department after the original manufacturer of the T-44 Pegasus exhausted its supply of a piece of air duct used to circulate air throughout the plane’s cockpit. Randy Meeker, a tooling maker at the facility who runs the 3D printer, put forth another option.

 

“We went over to manufacturing and took a look at making a vacuum form of the tube, which is how the original part was made,” Hawn said. “Then Randy brought up the possibility of 3D printing the part.

“From there, the cost analysis between the two showed 3D printing was cheaper and offered a better material.”

Not only did Meeker replicate the piece using the 3D printer, he improved on the design.

 

“The original piece was made out of two pieces of clear plastic tubing that had a flange all the way down its length,” he said. “I redesigned it to work better than the plastic model.

 

“It didn’t need to be two pieces when I could print it as one piece.”

 

Meeker, who works as a pit crewman on a racing team, said some teams have begun printing parts for race cars. However, the process for an aircraft demands a bit more caution because the plane most likely won’t be on the ground if a part fails.

 

“There is a lot of responsibility on the engineer for these parts that are actually used in aircraft,” he said. “It’s a whole new world of technology, and it’s their responsibility to make sure it can be used safely.

 

“That’s why this particular project was a good first candidate because it’s not a flight-critical part, but it’s a step forward in incorporating 3-D printed parts into aircraft.”

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6494

 

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Fabric Hangars Help FRCSW Preservation Program

 

From FRC Southwest Almanac – Volume 9 – February 9, 2017

 

We have a mishmash of full birds and darts in here,” said Tim Guilbert as he walked between the F/A-18

legacy and Super Hornet aircraft stored in a cavernous new tension fabric aircraft hangar at the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Test Line.

 

The “full birds” have wings, the “darts” don’t.

 

About 115 feet in width and almost as long as a football field, the hangar is well lit, ventilated and climate-controlled by two gas and electric units located outside of the building to regulate the humidity inside.

 

“Our optimum health and humidity for is 35 percent relative humidity plus or minus five. We want to be in the 30 to 40 percent range,” Guilbert said.

 

The production line manager and preservation supervisor and Naval Aviation Maintenance Program (NAMP) aircraft preservation manager, Guilbert oversees the FRCSW preservation program.

 

And thanks to Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) the program recently received two hangars to help the command manage its F/A-18 preservation program.

 

Costing approximately $2.5 million each and able to accommodate up to 16 full Super Hornets, or 36-40 legacy “darts,” the hangars’ sole purpose is for storage. They are not outfitted for repairs or maintenance

activity. Construction took about eight months.

 

The fabric “skins” are made of flame-resistant polyester pulled over a framework of steel. The materials can last five to 10 years, dependent upon environmental factors.

 

“The new hangars will minimize the cost of our level 2 preservation maintenance cycles,” Guilbert said. “We had 60 plus aircraft, and at one time we had almost 90 Hornets in level 2.”

 

There are four levels within the preservation program.

 

Level 1, not applicable to FRCSW, is preservation at the squadron level.

 

Level 2 occurs upon an aircraft’s induction, and encompasses the preservation procedure which includes fuel system preservation, caps and plugs. Aircraft in a level two preservation are typically seen wrapped with a laminated metal foil to prevent moisture contamination at intake openings.

 

Aircraft may remain in a level two state for up to one year. “After one year you have to refresh them and do the whole thing over again. In the meantime, there are maintenance schedules that include daily inspections, seven-day, 28 and 56-day inspections all with different requirements. And there are heavy weather inspections where we inspect any wrapped areas and check for water intrusion,” Guilbert said.

 

“The goal of level 3 is if the shelter is there, the aircraft are put into a `dynamic level three,’ which means to take the whole aircraft and put it in a climate-controlled environment,” he said.

 

Level 4 signifies when the aircraft have reached an overhaul or Planned Maintenance Interval (PMI) cycle, a time when the requirements for a stringent level two or three can no longer be met.

 

If parts are unavailable during the analysis of overhaul or PMI, work must stop and the aircraft may revert back to a level 3 preservation state depending upon the parts arrival date.

 

“If it was level 2 (under this scenario) we would have to wrap them back up expending more labor hours and material costs, but now that we have the level 3 capability with the hangars, we can prep them for storage

with minimal labor and material costs and store them indefinitely or until they are pulled back in for repairs,” Guilbert noted.

 

“Overall, the new level 3 preservation process takes about 50 hours per aircraft per year. That is a much better deal than the 350 that we were currently executing for level 2,” he said.

FRCSW is currently slated to receive a third tension fabric aircraft hangar at its test line in late June 2017. It will exclusively store H-60 Seahawk helicopters.

 

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FRCSW Shop Saves Navy Thousands in Tooling Costs

 

From FRC Southwest Almanac – Volume 9 – February 9, 2017

 

Would you want to pay $200 to replace one drill bit or $500 for a new reamer? No? The Navy doesn’t want

to either.

 

Many of the artisans at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) routinely use a variety of drill bits,

reamers and cutting tools in the course of their work.

 

Instead of replacing these tools as they become dull or buying new ones vice modifying to a specific task, FRCSW turns to toolmakers Luis Quiambao and Henrico Fulgencio in the cutter and tool grinder shop in Building 379 for sharpening and adapting the command’s tools to meet the artisans’ needs.

 

A department of the command’s jig and fixture shop, the cutter and tool grinder shop is a sprawling area containing about a dozen grinding and milling machines where Quiambao and Fulgencio handle 200 to 500 tools quarterly.

 

“Both of us were machinist repairmen while serving in the Navy. We had been to Machinery

Repairman ‘C’ School, grinding school, and we were able to revive this shop and start accepting jobs from different production shops here,” Quiambao said.

 

Both toolmakers were previously assigned to the production shop in Building 94, repairing F/A-18 Hornet wings. Quiambao left in December 2014 and Fulgencio joined him in the cutter and tool grinder shop this past January.

 

“In the wing shop you could be told that you need to work from a half inch to five thousandths or until you remove enough corrosion from the surface so a new bushing could be installed. Since you don’t have that exact size of reamer, you would send them to this shop for modification to a new dimension specified by engineers,” Quiambao said.

 

In grinding reamers and cutters the work is typically within ½ of a thousandth tolerance; the thickness of copier paper is roughly 4 thousandths of an inch.

 

The shop recently completed work on 87 reamers for FRCSW Site Yuma, Fulgencio noted.

 

Another recurring customer is the production shop in Building 472 that consistently requests sharpening of milling cutters. Milling cutters are tools normally used in milling machines that remove material by movement

within the machine. The production shop’s handheld teardrop cutters that are used to cut finished machining metals are also routinely modified.

 

“We can get an urgent request for a two or three day turnaround time. I have an urgent call now from FRCSW Site Camp Pendleton for a reamer to fix a helicopter panel. For modifying reamers we use about four different machines, one step at a time. We have each machine setup to cut a certain way so we don’t have to re-set

for each step,” Quiambao said.

 

“Before, these were contracted out for sharpening. But Louis noticed that the company that sharpened the reamer did it at the wrong angle, which is why it wouldn’t cut properly. So the command decided to save money and bought the diamond wheels and started having us provide that sharpening service,” Fulgencio said.

 

The F/A-18 canopy shop in Building 250 routinely sends its one-pass drill bits to the shop for sharpening and adjustment. The bits, made of carbide, are solely used by artisans to ream holes in the Hornet canopies.

 

In addition to carbide, the shop also modifies and sharpens tools and bits made of high speed steel and cobalt, saving FRCSW tens of thousands of dollars annually in replacement costs.

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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The National Interest

 

The F-35: A Big Mistake or Wonder Weapon?

 

Brendan Nicholson

 

Perhaps apocryphal, the story goes that a senior US Air Force officer on the Joint Strike Fighter Program found himself sitting next to a Chinese general. ‘I like your aeroplane,’ the General said. That’s nice,’ said the American, How many would you like?’ The general smiled and raised a single finger. ‘Just one,’ he said.

 

While China has long been concerned enough about the JSF’s capabilities to have plundered its plans in cyber files in the hope of reverse engineering it, critics in Australia have created the broad impression that the aircraft, now officially named the F-35 Lightning ll, is a ‘dog’. That criticism was loud enough to trigger a parliamentary inquiry [3] into whether the RAAF should buy the JSF.

 

The Senate inquiry, concluded that ‘. the F-35A is the only aircraft able to meet Australia’s strategic needs for the foreseeable future, and that sufficient progress is being made in the test and evaluation program to address performance issues of concern.’ Its report also said that ‘in light of the serious problems that led to a re-baselining of the F-35 program in 2012, and the ongoing issues identified by the US Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, the committee retains a healthy skepticism towards assurances by Defense regarding cost, schedule and capability outcomes of the F-35A.’

 

That reflected the long held view of the director of ASPI’s defense and strategic program, Dr Andrew Davies, that while the early years of the JSF program were plagued by cost overruns and schedule slippages it had performed much better since action was taken to tighten it up. Costs were now coming down [4] and the production schedule was stabilising.

 

The committee gave little credence to more extravagant assertions the JSF was outdated and would be outperformed by potential rivals.

 

It’s often claimed that the RAAF would be better off with the US F-22 Raptor, a bigger, twin-engine cousin of the F-35 produced in the 1990s. In reality, the F-22 is an air superiority fighter very good at clearing the skies of enemy aircraft but not designed to do other tasks as well as the JSF can. It was expensive to buy and operate and the assembly line closed years ago.

 

The JSF is a multi-purpose aircraft, designed for many roles, from achieving air superiority to sinking enemy warships, attacking targets on the ground and providing close air support for troops. It is, in the words of Group Captain Glen Beck who heads the RAAF’s Air Combat Transition Office, an all rounder-‘a flying batsman/bowler’. The head of the RAAF’s JSF Capability and Sustainment Group, Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon, says the Raptor is ‘a wonderful, dated aeroplane which we couldn’t have even if we wanted it.’ The JSF is much more sophisticated with about 8.5 million lines of computer code compared to fewer than 2 million in the F-22.

 

Donald Trump caused consternation by suggesting that, to wind back Lockheed-Martin’s cost overruns, he’d ask Boeing if it could produce an alternative. But within days, the new Defence Secretary, James Mattis, told a US Senate hearing ‘the JSF is critical for our own air superiority’ [5] because of the jet’s electronics which magnifies its capability. Mr Trump just wanted to bring the price down to get ‘best bang for the buck’, General Mattis said. In truth, the decisions needed to reduce the price were made years ago [4].

 

Various prices have been claimed for the RAAF’s JSFs, ranging up to $300 million each. The head of the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Project Office, US Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, said in Australia this week [6] that he was confident the price of each jet-we have 72 on order-would come down to $80 million each. That’s close to the price tag of a much-less sophisticated fourth-generation fighter.

 

In 2010, alarms rang in the US bureaucracy because the project was running well over budget and two years late. It was ‘rebaselined’ and largely brought under control.

 

The project is staggeringly complex and it is still having issues but the Americans and the RAAF are confident the fighter will work very well. One recent problem was that the designers had to abandon the guided weapon intended to hit moving ground targets [7] because it was a form of cluster munition which the US no longer uses. A replacement is being worked on.

 

As well, there’s a delay in producing a suitable anti-ship missile for Australia’s needs. One is being worked on by the Norwegians and Australian defense scientists are developing a sensor for it.

 

Gordon says the problems are being solved as they emerge and he’s confident the RAAF’s JSFs will meet the new schedule, with the first aircraft arriving in December 2018 and three squadrons and a training unit fully operational in 2023.

 

It was suggested recently that women (or slighter men) won’t be able to fly the JSF because the helmet was so heavy [8] it would break their necks if they ejected. The RAAF says that’s been resolved by making the helmet lighter, modifying the ejector seat head support panel and slightly slowing the opening of the parachute.

 

Several countries have increased their JSF orders in recent months after thoroughly examining its capabilities. Israel, which spends defence dollars very carefully, says it’s very pleased with its purchase and it could buy 75 aircraft.

 

The US Marines say their pilots love the JSF and want them as fast as they can be delivered.

 

One of Australia’s most experienced military aviators, Squadron Leader Andrew Jackson, is a RAAF instructor teaching pilots from a range of nations, including the US, to fly the JSF. Jackson is one of two Australians who are flying the F-35s from the US to the Avalon air show in Victoria over the coming days. He says it’s vastly better than any fighter he’s flown. ‘This aircraft will give fighter pilots a level of situational awareness that far exceeds legacy platforms,’ Jackson says. ‘Experiencing this level of capability first hand is something every pilot dreams of.’

 

This first appeared in ASPI’s The Strategist.

 

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-f-35-big-mistake-or-wonder-weapon-19629

 

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The Legacy Of Better Buying Power: DoD’s Gambit To Reform Acquisition ‘From Within’

 

(WFED AM RADIO WASHINGTON DC 28 FEB 17) … Jared Serbu

 

Frank Kendall is not a fan of “acquisition reform.” By that, he mostly means the instinct that seems to be triggered on Capitol Hill every few years, when members of Congress come to believe they can remedy the Pentagon’s procurement problems with wisely crafted legislation.

 

Instead, during his nearly eight-year tenure – first as the deputy undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics and then the undersecretary – he argued the best thing would be to let the acquisition workforce work with one consistent set of policies for more than a couple years at a time so it was possible to tell what was working and what was not.

 

“Reform,” he argued, would have to come from within.

 

It turns out he may have been onto something.

 

The Pentagon’s internal improvement plan, known as Better Buying Power, coincided with several consecutive years of declines in the rate of cost growth for the Pentagon’s major weapons systems, from more than 9 percent in 2011 to 3.5 percent in 2015, the lowest level since 1985. For the first time since 2000, the Pentagon in 2015 recorded no substantive breaches of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, a law that requires DoD to notify Congress when a weapons systems’ costs balloon well beyond its previously-planned baseline. By comparison, there were eight separate breaches in 2009, including seven “critical” ones.

 

“Cost overruns have been coming down significantly for several years. It’s an important outcome, and we shouldn’t ignore it as we think about acquisition reform,” Kendall said a few weeks ago during his final public address as undersecretary. “Given the results we’ve achieved, we should be reinforcing the things that are succeeding, not trying to take a fundamentally different direction.”

 

Over seven years and three separate iterations, Better Buying Power encompassed dozens of separate initiatives organized around several main themes, such as controlling costs in major weapons systems (including an insistence on not starting programs without a clear plan to make them affordable), creating incentives for industry to cut costs and deliver more innovation, boosting the training of the acquisition workforce, increasing competition and boosting DoD’s “tradecraft” in buying professional services, not just products.

 

The blueprint did not fix all that is wrong with Defense acquisition. Indeed, DoD weapons procurement retained its inauspicious place amid the list of a handful of “high-risk” government programs the Government Accountability Office identified in the biennial update it released on Feb. 15.

 

And Kendall admitted Better Buying Power didn’t do nearly enough to tackle long-term sustainment costs, which are far-and-away the most expensive aspect of any major system’s lifecycle.

 

But even GAO acknowledges that Better Buying Power represents exactly the sort of management attention the Defense Department must apply if it ever plans to remove itself from the high-risk list.

 

“I think these initiatives have helped a lot in changing the way the department is buying these big systems. As far as leadership commitment to these issues, we consider that complete,” said Michael Sullivan, GAO’s director for acquisition and sourcing management, referring to one of five criteria the office uses to determine whether a government program should graduate from its high-risk status. “That could change, of course. It could go back down because this leadership is out, we’re going to get new leaders. We’re going to have to see how the continuity works and how the agendas change, but for now, things look very good. Things have been trending in a positive light in terms of cost and schedule.”

 

Beginning in 2013, DoD began publishing detailed data in an aptly-named annual volume, “Performance of the Defense Acquisition System.” The department acknowledged that its own figures purporting to show positive results from Better Buying Power are drawn from extremely “noisy” data since the acquisition system is influenced by numerous factors, including year-to-year budgets and the deployment demands placed on the military.

 

But Andrew Hunter, the director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said his think tank’s own analysis of DoD contract data largely support the conclusion that Better Buying Power succeeded in driving costs down.

 

“It’s pretty clear that there’s been an actual improvement that you can measure in several ways. That’s no small achievement,” said Hunter, a former House Armed Services Committee staff member who also served in the Defense Department for several years, including as Kendall’s chief of staff. “Ten years ago, when Congress told DoD to measure its performance, a lot of people considered it an impossible thing to do. But we now have measures that show us things are getting better, and I give a lot of credit for that to things like ‘should cost’ management and affordability caps.”

 

By “should cost,” Hunter was referring to a Better Buying Power initiative that required all of DoD’s program managers to deliver the best possible value by hunting down and eliminating cost-drivers specific to their own programs, rather than managing them according to independent Pentagon cost estimates that generally assume prior cost growth will lead to future cost growth.

 

The idea goes back to the first iteration of Better Buying Power in 2011, and Kendall said it had been embraced by the vast majority of DoD’s roughly 50 program executive officers.

 

“I still got a few that said, ‘I’m fine, I’m under my budget.’ But that’s not the definition of success,” he said. “The definition of success is you’ve set targets for yourself that will actually reduce costs and you’ve done something to achieve that. I think if there’s any one thing we’ve done in terms of cultural change, in terms of a consistent set of policies that affects outcomes, that’s it.”

 

Areas Where Better Buying Power Fell Short

 

But in myriad other areas of the Defense acquisition system, the effects of Better Buying Power fell short of their goals – or, at least can’t be measured as easily as the development cost of major weapons systems.

 

David Berteau, who has been a student of acquisition reform since his tenure as the executive secretary of the Packard Commission, the Reagan-era blue ribbon panel on Defense management that laid the ground for Goldwater-Nichols Act, said principles like should-cost worked well for the systems the Pentagon already knows how to manage: tanks, bombers, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

 

“But the larger questions of how you translate that into something for the services industry, for logistics, for sustainment – that’s much tougher, and we’re further away from seeing real results in terms of knowing how you’re getting real value for money,” said Berteau, who is now the president of the Professional Services Council. “Better Buying Power never really got at the services end, the logistics end, the sustainment end. The next undersecretary is probably going to have to pick that one up.”

 

Indeed, services now make up the lion’s share of what the Pentagon buys. In 2016, it spent $119 billion to procure products and $156 billion on services ranging from lawn care to complex information technology integration projects.

 

It’s not as though Better Buying Power completely ignored services. Through the initiative, DoD ordered each of the military services to assign a senior leader to oversee all of their contracted services. Eventually, in 2016, it established “contract courts” to weed out unjustifiable contracts as part of its first-ever formal instruction on managing service acquisition. The same guidebook included provisions that categorize service procurements and set oversight roles and checkpoints according to their size – much in the same way large weapons programs are managed.

 

But Hunter acknowledged services did not receive as much attention as they could have during the time he served in the Pentagon and was helping to draw up the Better Buying Power guidance.

 

“Part of the reason for that is that the department always tends to focus more on the signals it’s getting from the media and from Congress, and the focus is almost always on the weapon systems side,” he said. “It was the same when I was on the Hill: we always told ourselves, ‘Next year’s going to be the year when we tackle services.’ We were classic procrastinators. But I do think the new DoD guidance was a substantial effort, even if it was a little late. It’s not done by any measure of the imagination and it’s going to take a lot more work, but it was a serious effort.”

 

Some Areas Difficult To Measure

 

Hunter said there are many other aspects of Better Buying Power that may have had a positive impact but can’t yet be seen in data that can be presented on simple charts, mainly because of the long lifecycles involved in Defense procurement.

 

“Perhaps the latest F-35 contract is an example of that,” Hunter said, referring to President Donald Trump’s claiming of credit for having reduced the strike fighter’s per-unit price through a few conversations with Lockheed Martin executives and the F-35 program manager, seemingly ignoring multiple other factors like previously-planned larger quantities and years of difficult work by Lockheed and the acquisition workforce to reduce the program’s cost.

 

“I think it’s great that an incoming administration can claim credit for work that was done by their predecessors, but our research shows that when any new policy is implemented, it takes a minimum of two years to see any measurable effect,” Hunter said. “So when objectives were set to, for example, change small business goals, to reduce the number of competitions where the department only receives one bid, some of those had an impact.

 

But it took years for the impact to really show up in the data. That’s a tough situation, because in Washington, people are looking for immediate results. That demand is hard to satisfy in the world of acquisition.”

Better Buying Power also sought to make changes in DoD’s acquisition workforce, and the results from those initiatives are not only lagging indicators, it’s probably impossible to plot their results on a chart or in a report to Congress.

 

DoD framed the initiative’s second iteration, in 2012, around the acquisition workforce as “a guide to help you think.” Kendall’s wanted to send the message that no two programs are alike and that the department’s acquisition professionals should use their skills and training to tailor their strategies within the Better Buying Power program’s principles, as long as they have the technical skills to understand the program they’re trying to build. Kendall emphasized at the time that he wanted to avoid the mistakes of previous acquisition leaders who indicated a blanket preference for, for example, fixed-price contracts.

 

“I don’t start with the DoD instruction on acquisition and a specific set of milestones that I then have to fit my program into, I start the other way around,” Kendall said. “I start with the product. What’s the most efficient way to develop this product? Everyone is unique in terms of the complexity, the urgency, the amount of risk the government is willing to take.”

 

Kendall re-wrote DoD instruction 5000.02, DoD’s main guidebook for acquisition in 2015. It offered several possible templates for structuring a potential program depending on what sort of product the department was buying, but emphasized that managers would need to tailor it to their needs.

 

Stacy Cummings, the program executive officer for Defense health management systems, said that philosophy turned out to be pivotal to the main project in her portfolio, MHS Genesis, the $4.3 billion commercial-off-the-shelf replacement for DoD’s aging electronic health record systems.

 

DoD awarded the contract for the system in July 2015, and it went live at its first site, Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington earlier this month, a rapid turnaround that probably could not have been achieved without top-cover and encouragement from senior Defense management to combine the acquisition authorities the department already has in more creative ways.

 

“Our program is very tailored,” she said. “There are certain DoD acquisition processes we were able to leverage to tailor this program in a way that let us do a lot of things concurrently, as opposed to a traditional acquisition program where you’d have to do a lot of things in serial. It allowed us to implement this quicker, to get it out to the users quicker, and we’re going to learn so much more by putting it out in a military treatment facility than if we didn’t have that firsthand experience. That’s the best thing that’s come out of our implementation of Better Buying Power.”

 

Cummings is a career DoD acquisition professional who took a brief hiatus from DoD to work at the Department of Transportation in 2011 – about the time Better Buying Power started – and returned to lead the electronic health record project in 2016, after the initiative was well into the third iteration, which focused on technological superiority.

 

She said one takeaway from that before-and-after experience was that DoD has recognized that acquisition is a team sport that doesn’t only include government positions that are traditionally coded or thought of as members of the acquisition workforce.

 

“There’s always been a focus on making sure our workforce is certified and trained, but I think there’s a recognition that there’s a broader group of people in a program office that need to work together as part of an integrated team if you’re going to successfully deploy a program,” she said. “And the openness to encourage tailoring based on the needs of the program, good decision making, getting our requirements right, the focus on affordability – I think all of that messaging was coming through much more loud and clear from AT&L than I recall from my past.”

 

From its inception, DoD intended Better Buying Power’s audience to primarily be the department’s own acquisition workforce. But Defense officials also emphasized from the beginning that they wanted input from industry, particularly in the areas that most impacted defense contractors, such as the initiative’s focus on reducing the particular bits of bureaucracy that add to cost and schedule without producing any meaningful value.

 

Defense vendors at first welcomed what seemed like might have been a unique opportunity to help influence acquisition policy. But they quickly realized that the department’s request for input was far from a guarantee that their concerns about the acquisition process would be addressed as part of Better Buying Power.

A prime example is an alleged overuse of contract competitions that DoD awards on a lowest-price technically acceptable (LPTA) basis.

 

Within the Defense industry, the common view is that the first version of Better Buying Power’s emphasis on lowering costs led the acquisition workforce to interpret the guidance as a preference for LPTA contracts whenever possible. Although DoD has largely denied that the problem exists, defense vendors and trade associations say it persists to this day.

 

“Their subsequent attempts to modify or make clear what they really meant still haven’t turned that ship around, and many, many contracting officers within DoD still use LPTA as their default method for selecting solutions,” said David Drabkin, a former deputy chief acquisition officer at the General Services Administration, who now runs a private consulting firm. “That’s not to say that the government shouldn’t try to negotiate the best price it can get, but the government should want to get value. [LPTA] denies the department the opportunity to take advantage of the values that a slightly more expensive but more technically advanced solution might deliver. In today’s environment, there’s no telling what something that you buy today might be adapted to in the future, and in today’s marketplace, no commercial company wants to get into a bidding war just to do business with the government despite the fact that they might have an excellent product.”

 

Hunter said DoD was well aware of industry concerns like LPTA and other complaints such as the thresholds at which companies would have to submit certified cost and pricing data throughout the Better Buying Power policy development process.

 

At various intervals, Kendall tried to address them, including through a March 2015 policy memo in which he admonished contracting officers that LPTA contracts are a poor choice when the government is asking industry to deliver innovative products or services.

 

“Industry was not always satisfied about how much of their input was taken into consideration. I think that changed in the later iterations of Better Buying Power, but it’s a fair critique,” he said. “But it bears mentioning that LPTA was not ever a Better Buying Power initiative. It’s not something the department’s leadership was pushing. You won’t find it in any of the guidance, it was never there. The tricky part is that nobody quite agrees on what an LPTA-type solicitation is. The department didn’t want to fall into the trap of telling people, ‘Never use LPTA,’ and then ending up with a bunch of competitions where best value was winning where there really wasn’t a significant difference between the competitors. That can give you a lot of trouble in the bid protest world.”

 

Also, despite Kendall’s repeated and consistent insistence that competition was the single best tool at the Defense Department’s disposal to drive costs down and achieve better results, the results from Better Buying Power are, at best, mixed on that front. He deserves credit for collecting and publishing data on how Defense components have been doing in fostering more competition in their contracts, but the latest results showed that by some metrics, DoD is getting worse, not better: in 2016, less than half of the department’s contract spending went into meaningful competitions where there were two or more bidders.

 

Whatever deficiencies from which Better Buying Power suffered, many of its attributes are certainly worth carrying forward into the new administration, GAO’s Sullivan said.

 

“The stuff that they’ve done that helps to create a better business case at the outset of a program are the things that we think have really made a change in the investments they’re making,” he said. “But also, in our ‘quick look’ reports every year, we always look at how they’re doing with should-cost, and they’ve been able to capture $21 billion in savings. I think it’s been a positive thing.”

 

That said, any internal acquisition improvement initiatives that endure into the tenure of Kendall’s successor will almost be certainly called something different.

 

“The history of changes in administration is that everything has to look new,” Berteau said. “You don’t pick up names and nomenclature from the prior administration, but the initiatives will probably maintain themselves. The idea of performance-based logistics, for instance – if the government can define the performance it’s trying to achieve and then figure out what the right value of that is and produce better outcomes for less cost over time – that’s an objective that I think will survive well into the next administration.”

 

Speaking at a conference in San Diego last week, Kendall put his hopes for the future of acquisition rather succinctly.

 

“At the end of the day, it’s about professionalism,” he said. “You have to have incentives for professionals in government and industry to do the right thing, and you need to have close cooperation with the operators to make sure their requirements are reasonable. It’s not that hard an equation. But the variety of circumstances we deal with is almost infinite. You’ve gotta give people a chance to do their jobs, do them well, and then hold them accountable for that.”

 

The legacy of Better Buying Power: DoD’s gambit to reform acquisition ‘from within’

 

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The National Interest

 

Did China Just Make ALL Stealth Fighters (Think the F-22 and F-35) Obsolete?

 

Dave Majumdar

 

Could Beijing’s quantum radar technology render stealth aircraft obsolete?

 

While theoretically, if such a radar existed, it would be able to detect and track stealth aircraft with impunity, but it is unclear if China truly mastered such technology. The Chinese defense industry has claimed a breakthrough in mastering quantum radar technology, but Western defense industry officials said that such a system is not likely to exist outside a laboratory. Even then, the quantum radars would be difficult to build and test reliably even in a lab environment. Indeed, it is likely that networked low-frequency radars-which can also detect and track fighter-sized stealth aircraft-are more likely to be a more pragmatic development.

 

Last year, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) announced it had tested such a radar at ranges of roughly 60 miles. While 60 miles is not particularly huge feat, the fact that such a radar would be able to provide a weapons quality track on a stealth aircraft at those distances is impressive.

 

Most radars operating in the fire-control bands such X or Ku are only able to paint a low observable aircraft at much shorter ranges. And indeed, Chinese sources claim that the range for an operational version of the quantum radar is likely to be much greater. “The figure in declassified documents is usually a tuned-down version of the real [performance],” a Chinese military researcher told the South China Morning Post [3] last year.

 

As the paper describes, quantum radar uses a novel concept in physics, which scientist are only just starting to understand. “Quantum physics says that if you create a pair of entangled photons by splitting the original photon with a crystal, a change to one entangled photon will immediately affect its twin, regardless of the distance between them,” the paper states. “A quantum radar, generating a large number of entangled photon pairs and shooting one twin into the air, would be capable of receiving critical information about a target, including its shape, location, speed, temperature and even the chemical composition of its paint, from returning photons.”

 

However, even Chinese researchers are skeptical about the CETC development. Nanjing University physicist Ma Xiaosong told the South China Morning Post that in a quantum radar, photons have to certain quantum states-such as upward or downward spin to remain entangled. However, the quantum states could be disrupted-resulting in “decoherence.” Decoherence is a potential limiting factor to the maximum effective range of an operational quantum radar.

 

According to the South China Morning Post, CETC has made a breakthrough in single-photon detectors. Indeed, once the technology matures, the Chinese believe that it could have a wide range of applications for quantum radar technology.

 

The fact that Beijing is working hard to counter stealth technology should not come as a surprise.

 

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/did-china-just-make-all-stealth-fighters-think-the-f-22-f-35-19608

 

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Navy Opens New ‘Digital Warfare’ Office, Aiming To Exploit Advances In Data

 

(WFED AM RADIO WASHINGTON DC 24 FEB 17) … Jared Serbu

 

The Navy has just stood up a new “digital warfare” office, prompted by the notion that the service is awash in valuable, but largely untapped data in areas ranging from acquisition, maintenance and audit readiness to the ways it trains and equips its sailors.

 

In doing so, the Navy says it’s trying to emulate companies, particularly in heavy industrial sectors, who’ve leveraged their own data into new digital strategies to make smarter business decisions, including by feeding raw information from their business units into tools that take advantage of new advances in data science and machine learning.

 

“An example might be an engine on an aircraft wing,” Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, said in an interview with Federal News Radio. “How do we make decisions on how many hours that engine can fly before it needs to come off and be inspected? In the past, we’ve just used an average. Whether the plane was flown in very harsh or very favorable conditions, they were all treated the same. With the data coming off those engines, you have a better ability to predict failures in blades, etcetera. That’s an industrial example, but there are so many ways to take advantage of the data that we already have. It could be our financial systems, it could be any of our functional areas.”

 

The digital warfare office won’t have much of a budget nor a large staff, but that’s mainly because most of the legwork involved in implementing the Navy’s new digital strategies will fall to service’s system commands (SYSCOMs) that engineer and acquire new systems and the type commands (TYCOMs) in charge of manpower and training for the Navy’s various functional communities.

 

Tighe, who will oversee the office, said its main role will be to champion and facilitate smarter uses of data throughout the fleet. It was intentionally set up within the top echelon of the Navy’s command structure – within the staff of the office of the chief of naval operations (CNO) – so that it has the institutional heft to iron out any bureaucratic roadblocks.

 

“It’s the obstacle-knocker-downer,” she said. “For companies that have taken this journey, one of their biggest lessons on both the IT side and the industrial side is that the only way this works is top-down leadership. You have to have the leader of the organization driving the cultural change necessary to do things differently than we’ve done in the past, and that’s who CNO is. He needs a bit of a staff to pay attention to the trends and what we can learn from industry partners, but it’s mainly the SYSCOM functions. It might be how we do financial management as well, or how we handle the manpower, personnel and training and education side of the house. This is all dealing with large amounts of data. We need to spend less time going and finding the data we need to make a decision and come to a better construct where the machine can gather the information, do some analysis and present it to the person who needs to make the decision.”

 

In standing up the digital warfare office, the Navy is applying a similar approach to the one it took to cybersecurity two years ago.

 

There too, top leaders concluded they had a pervasive problem that could only be addressed if the CNO’s office first got the attention of commanders throughout the Navy and made it a priority to drive more cybersecurity rigor into everything they do. A one-year project, Task Force Cyber Awakening, eventually led to an effort called CYBERSAFE that identifies the Navy’s most critical systems and prescribes standards to the system commands to harden them against cyber attack.

 

“There’s also a bit of overlap between the two, insofar as digital strategies can be applied to improve our cybersecurity outcomes,” Tighe said. “But my cybersecurity division has done unprecedented work across multiple systems commands to, first and foremost, create the standards we intend to build the next generation of platforms to or migrate to. For our acquisition programs, we’ve put a line in the sand that says, by this date, you will conform to these standards and we will measure you. If you’re post-Milestone B, you need to be telling us how you’re going to improve in follow-on modernization.”

 

Tighe said the cybersecurity division’s fingerprints were already on one major Navy acquisition program: the future frigate the service plans as a follow-on to its littoral combat ship.

 

“So because of this work, we’ve provided something a program manager can actually use to begin to drive what that future system will look like based on standards we’ve all agreed to,” she said. “There could be some more standards written over time, but it gives our program managers a better ability to anticipate the changing nature of cybersecurity and build that into the structure of their dealings with industry.”

 

Navy opens new ‘digital warfare’ office, aiming to exploit advances in data science

 

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Defense Services Contractors Brace For Pentagon Spending Shakeup

 

(POLITICO 01 MAR 17) … Ellen Mitchell

 

President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated pitch to expand the Army and Navy and invest more in the nuclear arsenal and missile defenses is also expected to spell a big boost for defense services like equipment maintenance and training.

 

But at the same time it could lead to cuts in other areas of the vast services market that accounts for more than half of what the Pentagon buys each year and its own advisers say is ripe with waste and fraud.

 

“I would not say that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said Doug Berenson, managing director of Avacent, a defense consultancy. “There will be some categories of services that will do better, and I think that there are some categories of services that clearly will not.”

 

For example, he said, “some professional and administrative services related to headquarters will not. In certain categories of professional and administrative services you probably will see a near-term decline.”

 

Defense services are the connective tissue of the military, covering everything from basic needs like base air conditioning, food service, construction and snow removal to more complex tasks such as providing IT and cybersecurity services, compiling studies for Pentagon offices and even running many military headquarters.

On the campaign trail Trump pledged to help pay for a military buildup by initiating a Pentagon audit and “eliminating government waste and budget gimmicks.”

 

“Everybody remembers Trump talking about increasing the military during the campaign; nobody seems to remember that he said he was going to cover a lot of those costs by cutting Pentagon waste,” Loren Thompson, another defense industry consultant.

 

Trump first trumpeted those defense spending cuts on NBC’s Meet the Press in October 2015.

 

“I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less,” Trump said.

 

Shortly following his inauguration, Trump set out to do just that, initiating an executive memorandum on Jan. 27 that directs Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to conduct a 30-day review of of military personnel, training, equipment and maintenance, the nuclear triad and missile defenses.

 

The memo notably calls for “reducing commitments not directly related to the highest priority operations, in order to make resources available for training and maintenance.”

 

The document did not offer specifics on which commitments will be reduced, but Trump’s campaign promises – including expanding the Army to 540,000 troops, building a 350-ship Navy, and increasing the number of Marine Corps battalions to 36 and the number of fighter aircraft to 1,200 – are likely to take precedent over services that don’t support such efforts.

 

Following the memorandum, Mattis issued guidance for reviewing the Pentagon’s budget proposals. In it, he acknowledges that directing new dollars to the Pentagon this year could lead to cuts in “lower priority programs.”

 

CACI International chief executive Kenneth Asbury told POLITICO he expects such Pentagon changes to possibly put the IT services firm at a disadvantage.

 

“Changing a program that we’re working on today – somebody decides they want to go in a different direction and somebody’s got a better mouse track to that – that could have an impact,” Asbury said. “It’s a potential threat as somebody changes the priority about something.”

 

One lower priority area likely on the chopping block is what Thompson refers to as “term papers,” the numerous and constant stream of studies that recommend various improvements to the Pentagon, its personnel and its weapons systems.

 

Firms that generate the studies “could be in for a rough ride,” he said.

 

“The department spends a lot of money on studies and the fact of the matter is that there’s not going to be a whole lot of money for growing the military,” Thompson said. “I think at some point here Mattis and the new administration are going to ask themselves whether a lot of these studies – and the other sort of intellectual products that get generated out of the service sector – will be needed.”

 

There are other reasons to be concerned.

 

Service contractors have reason to fear Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney who is eager to slash and shape federal spending levels, including the Pentagon’s budget. Company lobbyists may find it difficult to defend their projects thanks to a turbulent change of administration at the Pentagon.

 

Trump still must appoint and have the Senate confirm about 50 DoD positions. So far only Mattis has made it through the confirmation pipeline.

 

“The transition is not far enough along for companies to know precisely who they should be lobbying,” Thompson said. “So far this seems very much like a Trump-centric administration and so companies like Lockheed and Boeing have gone directly to [Trump] to plead their case. But if you can’t do that or you don’t want to do that, then it’s not clear yet who you should be talking to underneath him because nobody is in place yet.”

 

Thompson added that the response to the administration’s goals has been mixed. “Among the companies that have indicated what they’re doing it’s a pretty diverse approach; everybody is not on the same sheet of music.”

As one defense services industry official phrased it, “we’re kind of in some uncharted territory here. D.C. is in a frenzy.”

 

One potential way to stay on the new administration’s good side: Advertising.

 

IT services giant CSRA launched a new marketing campaign following Trump’s inauguration. The date was “not entirely a coincidence,” said George Batsakis, the chief growth officer of the Falls Church, Va.-based company.

 

Batsakis said the campaign – which he insisted would be running regardless of who was elected – conveys “the position of CSRA versus the competition and the value of things we bring to the government,” with advertisements strewn across the Pentagon Metro station starting Jan. 30 and broadcast on local radio.

 

The company, which holds $1.5 billion in defense contracts – a third of its portfolio – also ran two local 30-second ads in the DC area during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

 

The forecast for service contractors is not all doom and gloom, however.

 

In addition to a boost for training, logistics and maintenance support contracts needed to increase the size of the military, Leidos CEO Roger Krone told POLITICO the government-services company is also readying itself to pick up work as a result of the Trump’s Jan. 23 directive to freeze federal hiring.

 

The military is exempted from the order’s constraints, but the Pentagon’s civilian workforce is not.

 

“I would think that once [Trump] better understands his priorities that they will continue hiring in some of the agencies, but in the short term, if those agencies have an expanded scope of work they will have to rely on contractors,” Krone said. “I think we’re going to do OK.”

 

https://www.politicopro.com/defense/story/2017/03/defense-services-contractors-brace-for-pentagon-spending-shakeup-146438

 

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Info Warfare’s Biggest Challenge: The Crowded Chaos Of Cyberspace

 

(U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE NEWS 27 FEB 17) … Gidget Fuentes

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Unlike conventional warfare, the vast information environment has no boundaries and few rules, but rapid advances in technologies make it even tougher to keep up with cyber threats and ensure warfighting readiness, senior Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps leaders told WEST 2017 conference attendees in several talks and panel discussions.

 

“In a cyberspace event, you see bits and bytes going around. You don’t know if those are coming from one of your partner countries, adversary countries, some other agency,” Coast Guard Vice Adm. Marshall B. Lytle III said Wednesday during a panel discussion on information warfare. “You have to deconflict that as much as you can, but to some extent you have to operate in that environment.”

 

“Cyber warfare is not like football,” with clear lines of offense, defense and rules, said Lytle, the command, control, communications and computers /cyber (C4) director and chief information officer with the Joint Staff.

 

“Cyber warfare is a soccer game with all the fans on the field with you,” Lytle said. “You’ve got the two teams in the fight, trying to win, but you’ve got all the fans mixed in amongst you, and you don’t know who’s who. Nobody is wearing uniforms, but you’re trying to get that mission accomplished.”

 

“There will always be a battle for territory, but now that battle is prepped, shaped and executed far beyond the boundaries of any city, any country,” Lytle added.

 

Other panelists echoed similar concerns about the challenges in operating or fighting in the vast, unregulated and murky world of cyber. “The rules don’t fit,” Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall, the Marine Corps’ chief information officer and director for command, control, communications and computers, told the audience. Cyber “doesn’t behave like other things do.”

 

Limiting authorities and restrictions on activities in the space “in some cases hamstring our ability to do anything at all,” Crall said, “so the rules have to change.”

 

The speed at activity in the cyber world threatens to far exceed how quickly the military services can respond to threats and keep warfighting units ready and up-to-date with the latest in tech. The services must do more to innovate, but the process of procurement and acquisition ” is too slow,” Crall said. “We can’t get there in time.” He advocated “a fast track” that would poise them to get at the adversary quickly.

 

Rear Adm. David Lewis, head of San Diego-based Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, said “innovation is the only way we can stay ahead of the cyber security threat. In our world, we are never going to patch and scan our way out of a cyber security problem. We are going to modernize our way out of a cyber security problem. That’s the only way to do that.”

 

“If we are taking seven, eight, nine, 10 years to modernize our C4I systems, we will fail,” Lewis said, speaking at a Wednesday panel on procuring the future force. “We need to fundamentally change our business in order to stay ahead of the state-of-the-art and the threat.”

 

Along with congressional support, “we need to team with industry soon in the process” from requirements through development and through the life of the program, said Rear Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller, the Navy’s air warfare director (N98).

 

Another panelist, Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, implored industry attendees to help with modernization. “Deliver what you promise in the contract,” said Shrader, who commands Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. “It’s got to be on time. It’s got to be affordable within costs, and it’s got to work. Just those simple things. There is no time for do-overs. We have no time for do-overs.”

 

“The system has got to be easy to operate and easy to maintain,” Shrader said, noting systems will be deployed with Marines.

 

The Marine Corps also likely will want to buy the technology data package, to build “a print to keep the cost down,” he said. An example, he said, is the cost of some ammunition, which has limited suppliers, has spiked by 600 to 700 percent. “The price of ammunition continues to skyrocket,” he added.

 

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/27/info-warfares-biggest-challenge-crowded-chaos-cyberspace

 

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Defense Systems

 

Industry offers multiple authentication tech for SIPRNet

 

By Kris Osborn

 

The Pentagon and industry are exploring adding layers of security and multiple authentication procedures to determine safe access to the U.S. military’s secret network – SIPRNet.

 

A technology called SafeNet Identity and Data Protection Solutions, engineered by Gemalto, uses Hardware Security Modules (HSM) authentication to add another avenue of identification technology designed to improve network security.

 

“If you have a CAC card, you’ve got certificates on there that provide the ID information about who you are, who you work for, and that’s a PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) system. It’s used for authenticating into the network logically or physically to get into the building or whatever,” said Kirk Spring, CEO of SafeNet Assured Technologies.

 

Users plug a card into a machine and enter a PIN, allowing the machine to read the certificate information on the token and then sign in to validate identity, Spring explained.

 

“For SIPRNet, we basically provide our own authentication chip. It is our own product developed in the U.S.,” he said. “Our HSMs provide all the root key protection, so if you think of a master key that protects all the other keys that are in your system, that’s what the HSMs predominantly do.”

 

Gemalto’s SafeNet approach is consistent with what many U.S. military services are currently working on in terms of adding multiple network authentications to increase cybersecurity. Individual validation through various techniques is aimed at both reducing the insider threat and thwarting external cyberattacks.

 

“I believe multi-factor authentication is going to be a trend you’re going to see in the next two to three years, and that’s going to be something they’re going to be using as a layer in defense,” Spring said.

 

While Spring emphasized that Gemalto’s SafeNet offering is by no means a cure-all, it could facilitate more secure interoperability between networks.

 

The idea is to guard a gateway by following rules and policies for what type of data can be shared between two entities, This could include data exchanges between two agencies or secured interoperability between classified and unclassified networks.

 

“Listen, the CAC card was good when we needed it, but now we need to look at the next-generation technology, and a lot of that I believe is around this multi-factor that I’m talking about,” Spring said.

 

Increased movement to cloud technologies could both enhance and complicate these security efforts, Spring said. Government agencies and industry are now addressing this through a Cloud Security Alliance Group which is analyzing the double-edge sword offered by the cloud.

 

In many instances, the cloud reduces the hardware footprint and server infrastructure in a way that can diminish points of entry for various kinds of intrusions such as “phishing” attacks.

 

At the same time, consolidating hardware and IT networks can also widen the aperture for an attacker to do damage if there is a penetration of some kind. Maximizing the advantages of this kind of  phenomenon, while reducing risk, is paramount to emerging multi-factor authentication technologies.

 

https://defensesystems.com/articles/2017/03/01/safenet.aspx?admgarea=DS

 

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Defense News

 

Latest-generation Chinese combat drone makes maiden flight

 

By: The Associated Press

 

BEIJING – China’s latest-generation combat drone has made its maiden flight in what its developer says is a sign that the country is catching up with industry leader the United States.

 

The Wing Loong II that flew for the first time Monday can carry up to 480 kilograms (1,058 pounds) of bombs and missiles, tucking six under each wing, according to information viewed Wednesday on the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s microblog.

 

The drone has a wingspan of 20.5 meters (67 feet 3 inches), can stay airborne up to 20 hours and fly at a maximum altitude of 9,000 meters (29,500 feet), according to the company known as AVIC.

 

The drone’s successful test flight “allows China to follow the U.S. in producing a new generation of integrated surveillance and combat unmanned aerial vehicles,” the company said in the microblog posting.

 

State media say the drone should become a leading export item for China following the success of the original Wing Loong that has been sold to a number of countries, including several in the Middle East. Along with inexpensive fighter jets and naval patrol boats, drones are a high-tech standout item among China’s substantial exports of more workaday weaponry such as assault rifles and rocket launchers.

 

While both the Wing Loong II’s advertised payload and cruising altitude fall well short compared with the MQ-9 Reaper in service with the U.S. military, it is expected to be highly competitive on price.

 

While AVIC didn’t provide the cost of a Wing Loong II, its predecessor, with a payload of only about 100 kilograms (220 pounds), reportedly sold for about $1 million each, a fraction of the Reaper’s $14.75 million price tag.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/latest-generation-chinese-combat-drone-makes-maiden-flight

 

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Navy Drafting 30-Year Research-And-Development Roadmap

 

(NATIONAL DEFENSE 23 FEB 17) … Yasmin Tadjdeh

 

The Navy’s research-and-development arm is drafting a 30-year plan to help it map out the introduction of new technologies, a service official said Feb. 23.

 

The plan will provide a “framework for aligning and focusing Navy R&D investments as well as technological and engineering efforts to deliver game changing warfighter capabilities over the next three decades,” said Allison Stiller, who is performing the duties of assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition until a permanent replacement is nominated.

 

“Our adversaries are exploiting speed and precision through new technologies to counter U.S. military advantages,” she said during a meeting hosted by the Navy League of the United States in Arlington, Virginia. “Over the next 30 years the department’s R&D investments must develop and deliver dominant warfighting capabilities to outpace emerging and disruptive threats and ensure operational advantage and technological superiority of our U.S. naval forces that make our adversaries ineffective.”

 

The roadmap – which has been in development for the past year – will focus on a number of areas including accelerating the development of promising technologies and engaging with industry and small businesses to better inform them of future Navy plans, she added.

 

The Navy intends to update the document every two years, Stiller said. Critical technology areas include autonomous and unmanned systems, electromagnetic warfare, high-energy lasers, advanced power and energy management and electric weapons, she said.

 

The Navy will have to learn to take risks as it invests in these technologies, she noted.

 

“Some things will work, some may not. But we will leverage lessons learned from those experiences,” Stiller said. “We can’t shy away from what some call failure. We can’t be controlled by the fear of a bad headline or a critical audit or we’ll never be able to move ahead with the speed and innovation the warfighter demands.”

Rapid acquisition is critical for the Navy, she said. Putting technology into the hands of users within a two-year window is ideal, she said.

 

Last year the Navy said it would stand up a maritime accelerated capabilities office to create a speed lane to field technology. The Air Force and Army have recently established similar organizations, though Stiller noted those are set up more as program executive offices.

 

“Inside the Department of the Navy, that’s not how we’re going to approach it. We’re going to approach it program by program,” she said. By doing so, the Navy can leverage support from U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command or Naval Sea Systems Command.

 

“What we will do is look at the program, the maturity of the technology, how much risk there is in the program, figure when we can enter the acquisition process [and then] we’re going to tailor documentation. We’re going to tailor the people that can oversee it,” she said. “For each program it’s going to be a little different.”

 

Stiller noted that specific programs already have been picked and will be announced at a later time.

As the Navy drafts its fiscal year 2018 budget, it hopes it will be able to put money toward rapid prototyping, she added.

 

“We’d like to have money that’s identified for that … [though] we may not be able to say today exactly what we’re going to do,” she said. “There’s a lot of reluctance to have a pot of money unidentified … so we’ve got to work through that and make sure we’re explaining exactly what we’re doing when we make that decision so that money is traceable.”

 

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=2423

 

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Fleet Commanders View ‘Innovation’ As A Challenge To Operate Smarter

 

(U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE NEWS 27 FEB 17) … Megan Eckstein

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Amid continued calls for innovation, several current and former fleet commanders say the Navy needs to focus on how it employs the force it already has rather than seeking brand new technologies to fight with.

 

U.S. Pacific Command commander Adm. Harry Harris used the old “innovate or die” catchphrase during his speech at the West 2017 conference, where his keynote speech mentioned innovation eight times. While Harris was talking specifically about new hardware, three current and recent fleet commanders said they heard the Navy’s call for innovation as an operational challenge.

 

“Let’s stop thinking about the technology, let’s think about how we fight and be more innovative in how we fight,” Vice Adm. James Foggo, the current Director of Navy Staff at the Pentagon and former U.S. 6th Fleet Commander, told USNI News during a panel question and answer session.

 

Foggo said when he led 6th Fleet – from December 2014 to October 2016 – the steady presence of carrier strike groups, amphibious ready groups and submarines he saw pass through his area of responsibility was generous for Phase 0 peacetime operations but not sufficient for Phase 2 operations with sustained strike campaigns in Libya and Iraq and Syria. Given the high demand for forces in 6th Fleet and next-door 5th Fleet, Foggo said the Navy employed some innovative tactics to make the most of the presence the Navy could provide – chiefly, conducting strikes against the Islamic State from either 5th or 6th Fleet and allowing the carrier strike group to carry out that mission from either area of responsibility as conditions dictated.

 

“We saw it last summer when the [aircraft carrier USS] Harry S. Truman both went through the 6th Fleet and into the 5th Fleet and came back out again,” he said, with strikes against the Islamic State conducted from both 5th and 6th Fleet waters.

 

“She continued to do strikes (in Iraq and Syria) while she was in the Mediterranean. And that worked. There were some healthy skeptics there; it took a little bit of innovation, a little creativity, a lot of hard work and some pushups. When the (carrier USS Dwight D.) Eisenhower came through we did the same thing.”

 

“This is distributed maritime ops across unified command lines, seamless integration, and two combatant commanders in one theater supporting one another with an effective strike capability that really made no difference – it’s about the same distance, about the same number of tankers in the air, and about the same number of kinetic weapons delivered during Operation Inherent Resolve,” he continued. This ability to conduct the OIR mission from either 5th or 6th Fleet meant the carrier strike group could go to either location to deter other adversaries or respond to other emerging events as needed, all the while launching planes to go drop ordnance on Islamic State targets.

 

For Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, commander of U.S. 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, the operational innovation he needs is in finding access to targets from Navy platforms that his forces might not be able to target from ashore.

 

“Ships, aircraft, submarines can get to places where ground forces cannot go sometimes, or air forces cannot go. And so we do a lot of creative thinking on how to fight,” he told USNI News during the same event.

 

“For us, the best work that comes out of our command – in terms of new ideas, in terms of how to fight – comes from our cyber teams, comes from our basic level people in their early 20s who are just simply given the charge, ‘give me options that make me gag.’ And so whether or not we actually execute those are a whole different ballgame: we put money against some of them, we experiment with ships, aircraft, UAVs, submarines.”

 

Where technical innovations are needed to support Navy cyber activities, Gilday said he’s trying to look to industry rather than duplicate efforts within the Navy.

 

“We really are trying to leverage things that come out of industry. And I say that because the things that are being developed to solve problems in companies that have legacy networks just like we do have the same solution sets, they’re just applied to different networks,” he said.

 

“So it’s up to us to find those right solution sets, find those right technical solutions, and the ones that are attractive to us are the ones we can scale appropriately.”

 

For Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, U.S. 3rd Fleet commander, the need for innovation comes at the intersection of new technology and the operating force.

 

“Where we need to leverage innovation the most is in preparing these forces to go fight at the highest end they may be required to. So a lot of work has been done in the live, virtual and constructive training world,” she said.

 

“Because we don’t have as many ships, aircraft, submarines at our disposal as we’d like to have to prepare these forces for the highest level of warfighting that they may find themselves in, we have really really got to leverage that live, virtual and constructive training to make sure that we are using it to the best of our ability, because we don’t have 100 [opposing force] ships while a strike group is out there doing workups, we don’t have supersonic missiles that we’re shooting at them, we don’t have three or four spare air wings sitting around that we can use as opfor to prepare these forces to go forward. So I would answer your question that way, that we have really got to make sure that we are being very innovative in using all the technology that’s out there, both on the basic phase and the integrated phase so we can get to that high-end training and preparation of those forces.”

 

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/27/fleet-commanders-view-innovation-as-a-challenge-to-operate-smarter

 

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