The Pentagon's assistant secretary for acquisition spoke at a TechAmerica conference this 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.
Katrina McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, listed autonomous systems, human systems and cognition, electronic warfare quantum sciences, hypersonics, and the handling of large data as focus areas in which the Pentagon was preparing to direct R&D investments to create "technological surprise" as other nations race to outmaneuver America.
"A great deal of emphasis is being put on these areas because we believe that's going to create for us an advantage and we're very interested in them," she said Tuesday at a TechAmerica conference in Falls Church, VA.
The Joint High Speed Vessel will be used in an upcoming amphibious warfare exercise:
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.
Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, U.S. Marine Corps Forces commander, told reporters Oct. 28 during a media roundtable that his office is coordinating the amphibious exercise, Bold Alligator 2014, along with his Navy and coalition partner counterparts.
"Amphibious operations are arguably the most difficult type of operation for any force," he said.
The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have agreed on the next lot of Joint Strike Fighters:
Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have reached an agreement on the next lot of F-35 aircraft, the JPO announced on Monday, noting that the average unit price for all three variants of the airframe would be approximately 3.6 percent lower than the previous contract.
Officials anticipate the low-rate initial production Lot 8 contract will be finalized in the next few weeks, according to the JPO statement. The contract is for fiscal year 2014, with deliveries starting in 2016.
The LRIP 8 contract is for the production of 29 U.S. aircraft, including 19 Air Force F-35As, six Marine Corps short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35Bs and four Navy carrier-based F-35Cs. The contract also includes production of international aircraft: the first two F-35As for Israel; the first four F-35As for Japan; two F-35As for Norway; two F-35As for Italy; and four F-35Bs for the United Kingdom.
The continuing resolution won't impact the Navy's Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine program, Inside the Navy reports this week:
The Navy's top shipbuilding modernization priority, the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine, will not be impacted by the continuing resolution passed by Congress because the service convinced Pentagon officials of the importance of the program, according to a service official.
Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines, said Oct. 23 at the Naval Submarine League's annual symposium in Falls Church, VA, that the Navy has been very good at supporting the cash flow requirements for the Ohio-class submarine.
The program office explained to Navy leadership the significance of keeping the effort on pace and the impact it would have if the program had to "live under traditional continuing resolution limitations," he said. The continuing resolution funds the government at FY-14 levels in lieu of an appropriations bill. These limitations include no new start programs and no production increase over prior fiscal year levels.
Northrop Grumman has won a Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar system contract:
The Navy last week awarded Northrop Grumman a $207.3 million low-rate initial production contract for procurement of four Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar systems and released a request for proposals for Block 2 software production, according to a Marine Corps spokesman.
The contract includes operating spares, contractor engineering services and support, developmental and operational test support and transition to production, according to the Oct. 23 Defense Department announcement. The award consists of fiscal year 2013 and FY-14 dollars: $81.9 million in FY-13 Marine Corps procurement funds; $80.9 million in FY-14 Marine Corps procurement funds; and $12.7 million in FY-14 Navy research, development, test and evaluation funds, according to the announcement.
The G/ATOR program achieved its LRIP decision in January, Inside the Navy reported last month.
The Littoral Combat Ship's ASW mission won't be supported by the Fire Scout unmanned system just yet:
The Navy has decided to defer Fire Scout support for the Littoral Combat Ship's anti-submarine warfare mission due primarily to fiscal constraints, according to a defense official.
The Navy concluded Fire Scout support to the ASW mission package could be postponed because support to the surface warfare (SUW) and mine-countermeasures (MCM) missions is of more immediate importance for LCS, the official said. Another factor in the decision was that the ASW mission package is the least mature of the three as far as technology integration, the official added.
"In a fiscally constrained environment, there has to be trade-offs," the official said. "The more important missions for LCS initially are the SUW and the MCM. The ASW was deemed the one that could -- given its state of development and all that -- could be deferred."
Last year's hiring freeze is still impacting the Navy's nuclear maintenance work for submarines and aircraft carriers:
The Navy continues to catch up on nuclear maintenance work for submarines and aircraft carriers at public shipyards after last year's hiring freeze slowed down the process, according to senior service officials.
Naval Sea Systems Command chief Vice Adm. William Hilarides said Oct. 22 at the Naval Submarine League's annual symposium that nuclear maintenance is an area where the service is in a "tail chase."
The service's nuclear maintenance workload increase is due to three factors: The first is the Navy now has 11 aircraft carriers. The Navy did not reach 11 carriers until the George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) came online in 2012. The second factor is the service began refueling its boomers that did not previously require maintenance work. The third factor is the service's attack-submarine inventory is due for its maintenance overhaul, Hilarides said.
-- John Liang