Lots of stuff to get to on this Wednesday INSIDER, including news from a Defense Writers Group breakfast this morning:
The civilian chief of the National Nuclear Security Administration hopes a congressionally mandated panel charged with assessing nuclear enterprise management gaps at NNSA will see recent improvement efforts as evidence of progress.
Frank Klotz, chief of NNSA and a retired Air Force lieutenant general, said he hopes the panel of assessors who released a scathing interim report in April will sing a different tune when they issue their final report in November. Klotz took the helm at NNSA, which is a part of the Energy Department, in April.
"There are many issues associated with the management of nuclear security enterprises on both DOE and [the Defense Department] that, quite frankly, we have to fix," he said at a Wednesday breakfast with reporters in Washington.
Also posted this morning:
The Pentagon recently purchased retrofit modification kits for the Marine Corps F-35 variant that are critical to the service declaring its jets operational in July 2015, according to a program spokesman.
On Oct. 22, the Defense Department awarded a $110 million delivery order to Lockheed Martin for 281 retrofit modification kits. These kits will be installed on all three variants of Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, Joe DellaVedova, F-35 communications director wrote, in an Oct. 28 email to Inside the Navy.
"This is a substantial package of depot modifications to include On-Board Inert Gas Generator (OBIGGS), upgraded US16E Ejection Seat, upgraded Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (EODAS) sensors, and Block 2B software," DellaVedova wrote.
The Missile Defense Agency has new plans for the GMD program:
The Defense Department has revised the test plan for the $41 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, replacing a previously scheduled intercept attempt with a new non-intercept test flight next summer that will further assess capabilities of the Raytheon-developed second-generation exoatmospheric kill vehicle -- a weapon that successfully hit a target for the first time earlier this year.
In July, the Missile Defense Agency, in coordination with the Pentagon's policy shop, scrapped plans to conduct Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-09 (FTG-09) and replaced it with a new test, Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Control Test Vehicle-02+ (CTV-02+), according to agency spokesman Rick Lehner.
"FTG-09 is no longer a planned test event in the Integrated Master Test Plan (IMTP)," Lehner said in a statement to InsideDefense.com. "This test has been replaced with CTV-02+ in late FY-15. CTV-02+ is a developmental non-intercept test; the primary objective is to evaluate Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle alternate divert thruster performance in a flight environment, and to evaluate improved discrimination performance."
The first of many stories to come from IWP Defense Group returnee and new Defense Business Editor Marjorie Censer:
Government services contractor Engility said Tuesday it has agreed to buy TASC, a services contractor divested by Northrop Grumman about five years ago.
The deal is the second major acquisition for Engility, which was spun off from L-3 Communications in 2012, and marks an even more aggressive attempt to consolidate the government services market. The $1.1 billion, all-stock transaction will create an 11,000-employee company with about $2.5 billion in 2014 sales, Engility said Tuesday.
"We truly see this as transformational," said Tony Smeraglinolo, chief executive of Engility, in an interview with InsideDefense.com. "If we take a look at this marketplace . . . it's ripe for consolidation."
News on a CSBA study on future warfare:
A think tank with close ties to the Pentagon has published a vision of U.S. future warfare dominated by sophisticated air and naval weaponry, to be financed by cutbacks in ground forces and associated equipment.
The analysis by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is meant to offer a solution to the Defense Department's search for a new "offset" strategy. Such a strategy would aim to preserve U.S. combat power with less money, fewer forces and a growing global parity in military technology, defense leaders have said. CSBA previously has been a driving force behind the Pentagon's exploration of an "Air-Sea Battle" concept and its core tenet of breaching sophisticated defensive systems of future adversaries.
The new paper by analyst Robert Martinage, a former top Navy official, is titled, "Toward a New Offset Strategy -- Exploiting U.S. Long-Term Advantages To Restore U.S. Global Power Projection Capabilities." It builds on the think tank's body of work devoted to promoting standoff combat in highly contested areas -- a form of conflict that U.S. forces have not had to face in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Pentagon's OCO account could become a permanent piece of the budget:
The Defense Department is discussing the future of its overseas contingency operations account with the Office of Management and Budget, including the possibility of making OCO a long-lasting piece of the DOD budget.
"That's something that we're going to have continued discussions with OMB on," Michael McCord said Tuesday after a conference appearance when InsideDefense.com asked him to what extent he believed OCO needed to remain a permanent part of the DOD budget.
"We see certainly the need for it for the next couple of years for sure," he added.
Northrop Grumman wants the Navy to buy the company's new integrated avionics suite:
Northrop Grumman is pitching its new digitized, integrated avionics suite to the Navy for use on both rotary and fixed-wing platforms, according to company officials.
Northrop's new digital cockpit solution, currently planned for the Army's newest UH-60V Black Hawk aircraft, features an integrated architecture that can be applied to many platforms through a single software package, Jeffrey Palambo, vice president and general manager of the company's land and self-protection systems division, said during an Oct. 28 breakfast briefing in Washington.
If one looks at any airframe over a 40-year period, "it really doesn't change that much," Palambo said during the briefing. "What changes are the electronics. The electronic warfare system, the aircraft survivability, the pilot-machine interface are the things that really change." He asked: "How often do we want them to change, but they don't change because it takes too much time and too much money?"
Be on the lookout for a new draft rule that would integrate small UAVs into the national airspace:
The Federal Aviation Administration is weeks, if not days, away from releasing a draft rule on the safe integration of small unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
Speaking at a conference in Maryland last week, the manager of the FAA's small airplane directorate, Earl Lawrence, said he expects the notice of proposed rulemaking to be published "at any time" before the calendar year's end.
The final rule -- once reviewed, revised and adopted -- would regulate the certification and operation of small unmanned aircraft systems, or SUAS, in regular airspace for commercial and civil purposes.
From yesterday morning:
The Defense Department is not yet prepared to disclose what percentage of the overall research and development budget it will use to finance the upcoming technological "offset" strategy aimed to guide long-term R&D spending, but a top acquisition official did provide a list of likely investment areas.
U.S. naval forces and coalition partners will experiment with the Joint High Speed Vessel as well as employ cyber tactics during an amphibious exercise focused on high-level crisis response operations that begins tomorrow, according to a Marine Corps official.
-- John Liang