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16 Jul 20. Lord hopes to loosen weapon export restrictions in next six months. The Pentagon’s top weapons acquisition official on Thursday called for another review of what defense technology is export-restricted, in an attempt to ensure the United States remains a defense technology provider of choice for other nations.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Reagan Foundation, Ellen Lord said she has in recent months become “passionate” about revisiting export controls.
“In the next six months, I very much hope to open the envelope, particularly on some of the weapons technology that we can export,” Lord said.
“I am concerned that sometimes we are losing international competitions, because we have — as we have increased our capability, we have not increased the capabilities that we export in a commensurate fashion,” she added. “And we sometimes are having some of our potential customers, typically in the Mideast turn to Russia or China — you see the same thing in India, for instance.”
Export control reform is hardly a new issue. In 2018, the Trump administration unveiled new defense export policies that it said should increase sales of U.S. weapons abroad; during the rollout, officials used some of the same phrasing about the need to think “strategically” as Lord did on Thursday.
And in a process that started under the Obama administration and continued into the Trump administration, the U.S. State Department reviewed the 21 categories on the U.S. Munitions List, moving thousands of pieces of technology into categories that allow for straight commercial sales without a government review.
Many of those technologies that were reviewed are systems that are no longer unique to America, or are so prevalent in commercial systems that to restrict them would be to harm broad swathes of American industry. But Lord’s comments indicated that she feels not enough has been done in the realm of making it easier to export defense items.
“We are having a very focused discussion on: Let’s rethink this from a strategic point of view” she said. “A lot of this technology — frankly, the magic sauce is in the manufacturing of it, the technical data package doesn’t always give it to you. So obviously we have to make sure we’re very careful not to have things that could be disassembled and understood and so forth.”
Lord also noted a desire to “beef up” the National Technology and Industrial Base, or NTIB, which currently covers Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Countries in the NTIB are considered part of the American defense industrial base, making it easier to collaborate on materiel.
The U.S. remains the largest arms exporter in the world. Per data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, America represented about 35 percent of all arms exports from 2015-2019; Russia, at 18 percent, was a distant second. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
16 Jul 20. The Air Force cancels its Open Skies recapitalization program after US pulls out from treaty. The U.S. Air Force on July 14 officially rescinded its solicitation to overhaul the OC-135 Open Skies aircraft, cancelling the program two months after President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty.
“On 22 May 2020, the United States provided formal notice of its intent to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies. As a result, this announcement is hereby cancelled,” the Air Force wrote in a statement on beta.sam.gov.
The Open Skies Treaty permits its 34 signatory nations to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territory of other member-states for the purposes of monitoring military activity and controlling nuclear arms. The U.S. has relied upon two Boeing OC-135B aircraft flown by the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron out of Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., to carry out Open Skies missions since 1993.
As the aging OC-135s become increasingly difficult to maintain, the Air Force had planned to modify two modern business jets with a digital sensor, processing and control suite that would replace the wet-film cameras currently in use.
But although the service received $125m from Congress in fiscal year 2019 for the first replacement aircraft and continued to survey industry about recapitalization options, it never moved past the request for information stage, with the final solicitation posed in December 2019.
In March, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that recapitalization efforts were stalled as the Pentagon waited for instructions from the White House on how to proceed.
“At this point and time, until we make a final decision on the path forward, I’m not prepared to recapitalize aircraft,” Esper said. “We’re holding until we get better direction.”
Although the OC-135B replacement program may be canceled for now, the United States’ withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty is by no means a done deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on May 21, that the US would “reconsider our withdrawal should Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty.”
The United States also has a six-month window before a formal exit occurs in November — after the presidential election. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has voiced support for remaining in the treaty, and if elected, could reverse plans to pull out. (Source: Defense News)
15 Jul 20. The Pentagon wants a $10bn defense industry cash injection. Is Congress listening? Pentagon leaders need “around $10bn” in the next pandemic aid package to cover defense contractors’ coronavirus-related costs, according to a top defense leader.
But it’s unclear how the hefty funding handout will square with Republican skepticism of new deficit spending after already approving aid packages worth trillions.
On Monday, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment Alan Shaffer said the money is needed to cover a host of defense contractors’ coronavirus-related expenses. Without it, the Department of Defense will have to dip into modernization and readiness funds, potentially jeopardizing smaller firms in the defense industrial base waiting for the cash.
“If there is another supplemental or stimulus package for realistic economic adjustment, we could be looking at somewhere around $10bn in additional program costs,” Shaffer said on the Government Matters television show that aired Monday.
Last week, the leaders of Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Huntington Ingalls, Textron, and L3Harris Technologies sent letters to Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and acting White House budget chief Russell Vought, worried about the health of their smaller subcontractors without additional aid.
The CEOs, noting their sector employs 2 million people, warned such a defense budget disruption “would create a ripple effect throughout the defense industrial base, leading to less investment in new technologies and significant job losses in pivotal states just as we are trying to recover from the pandemic,” they wrote in the letter to Vought.
It’s potentially a potent message for the White House as recent polls show President Donald Trump faces a rockier path to reelection. Trump is trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in six battleground states he won in 2015, according to a New York Times survey, and a Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Biden leading Trump by nine points Tuesday.
Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act allows defense firms to seek reimbursement for pandemic-related expenses, for which Lord has said DoD would request in the “lower end” of “tens of billions of dollars.” But the Democrat-led House Appropriations committee passed a fiscal 2021 defense spending bill Tuesday that included far less: $758m.
“We need to do something,” the subpanel’s ranking member Ken Calvert, R-Calif., told Defense News. “The defense industry is not immune to what’s happening from COVID-19, like every other sector of the economy, and they’ve suffered the last few months, just like any business. They’ve had slowdowns, cost increases, they’ve had to acquire a lot of [personal protective equipment], and implement new safety guidelines.”
Loren Thompson, a defense-industry consultant and analyst with the Lexington Institute, estimates the sector’s pandemic-related expenses could total more than $20bn.
Additional emergency money is thought to not only help major firms, but small and medium-sized firms whose slim profit margins and minimal cash reserves mean they’re more apt to furlough employees in a pinch — potentially triggering production breaks for major programs.
“As far as I know, the big system integrators have not been furloughing defense workers, but at the subcontractor level, some of those shops just don’t have a choice,” he said.
Still, many GOP lawmakers under pressure from conservative groups have been lukewarm about President Donald Trump’s push for tax cuts and infrastructure spending on top of the $3trn in funds approved so far.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., — who has been in weeks-long discussions with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the next phase of coronavirus relief — outlined a proposal last week that emphasized a liability shield for companies operating during the pandemic, but with no mention of defense industry aid.
In a recent appearance in Kentucky, McConnell acknowledged the concerns of GOP colleagues who are worried about the mounting deficit.
“It does raise a good deal of concern because we now have a debt, a cumulative debt, the size of our economy for the first time since World War II,” he said. “Believe me, we would not have done that under any circumstances.”
Some lawmakers from both parties have been wary of new spending that favors a specific industry, particularly after the Pentagon won a timely budget at record levels, said an industry source.
Defense firms pleading their case are being asked whether they have tapped other provisions in the CARES Act, like payroll tax deferrals, the employee retention tax credit or a $17bn emergency loan fund. (Many defense firms have resisted applying for the loans, which allow the government an equity stake.)
“You talk to some Democratic offices, and some Republican, and they say the defense bill is already one big stimulus for the defense industry,” said the industry source. “I think that’s a mischaracterization because the taxpayer dollars aren’t spent to make Lockheed Martin more profitable, it’s for planes, ships and submarines that you need, but it’s really hard.”
In May, Democratic lawmakers questioned Pentagon leaders sharply about why they had spent just 23 percent of the $10.5bn DoD had received under the CARES Act. The Pentagon responded with with its spending plan for the aid, which allocated $688m to aid suppliers of aircraft engine parts, shipbuilding, electronics and space launch.
This June, the country incurred its biggest monthly deficit ever, $864bn, which topped the previous single month deficit record, $738bn in April. With the long-term debt totaling more than $26trn and the Congressional Budget Office predicting the deficit will reach $3.7trn for the year, some Republicans have voiced concern about the unpredictable effect adding more could have on the economy.
“If we’re spending a lot of money, we have to be careful that we don’t break the country,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., recently told the Wall Street Journal.
Fiscally conservative groups have stepped up their lobbying of Republican lawmakers, many of whom consider themselves fiscal hawks but voted to lift budget caps for roughly $1.5trn in defense spending in 2019′s two-year budget deal. A coalition of conservative leaders sent a letter to Trump and McConnell last month warning Congress’s coronavirus spending must stop because the total is approaching $10trn.
FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye said Republican lawmakers are justifiably concerned about alienating deficit-conscious conservatives ahead of the next election, but they’re also genuinely wary.
“Most of the members I’ve talked to are saying they want to either limit the size of the next phase or they don’t want to spend any more money,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
15 Jul 20. Airbus US pivots business strategy away from selling big platforms to the Pentagon. After decades of trying to break into the U.S. military aircraft market, Airbus is shifting course with a new strategy that prioritizes selling off-the-shelf sensors, data, space and intelligence capabilities that have been customized for U.S. government buyers.
During a Wednesday discussion with reporters about the new direction for the business, Chris Emerson, the new chief executive of the Airbus U.S. Space and Defense division and formerly the president of Airbus Helicopters, said he wanted to move the company’s focus in the United States away from the major fixed-wing platforms that are the company’s bread and butter in Europe.
Instead, he hopes to expand the company’s presence in the growing space and intelligence markets, particularly with low-cost satellites like those made by its joint venture One Web, geospatial intelligence and imaging, and space-based sensors.
“We know the Air Force needs an A400M, but I can spend 10 years trying to convince the Air Force and all the politicians that they should buy an A400M. And ultimately they will buy C-130s,” Emerson said.
“So let me focus this energy, this great leadership team, on achieving something that is tangible today that the customer really needs. Yes, it’s not traditional for Airbus, but it will bring the value and we’ll have a better foundation if one day my successor says, ‘You know, I want to be a big platform competitor.’ At least we’d have built up trust and proven that we could really meet the requirements that are demanded of it.”
Although Airbus is a juggernaut in the international military and commercial aerospace market, it has always struggled to find its place among the U.S. defense prime contractors as major aircraft manufacturers. It famously lost the KC-X contract to Boeing in 2011 after a bloody and prolonged battle. Since then, the company’s biggest procurement victory has been continued sales of its UH-72A Lakota helicopter to the Army.
“I remember I spent eight years thinking we could bring real value on air-to-air refueling for the Air Force. But I spent eight years, and I’m frustrated because I look at it and we didn’t succeed,” Emerson said. “I’ve asked the team, ‘Let’s find a roadmap where we can actually make a mark with the customers.’ And that means, I’m not going to go look at competing with Boeing and the Lockheeds and Northrop, but I’m going to look at other areas.”
The U.S. customer is increasingly making investments into technologies that can augment or accelerate decision-making, he said.
“That’s where we start to look everything beyond an air breathing platform. We started to look at the data, the intelligence, that they need,” he said. “It could be intelligence that is geospatial-related, either Earth observation, or electro-optical, or synthetic aperture radar, or a blend that we’re pulling in multi-source information.”
Airbus already develops those types of capabilities in its commercial air and space businesses, and could quickly adapt them to U.S. demands, he said.
When there are opportunities to offer Airbus aircraft to the U.S. military, the strategy will be to partner with American primes, Emerson said. For instance, last year Airbus and Lockheed signed a memorandum of understanding to market aerial refueling services to the U.S. Air Force using the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport.
Asked on Wednesday whether the two companies planned to compete for tanker leasing opportunities currently being considered by the Air Force, Emerson said Lockheed takes the lead on interactions with the U.S. military on aerial refueling.
He added that UH-72s will continue to be manufactured alongside Airbus’s commercial H125 helicopter in Columbus, Miss., but modifications, support and contracting will be performed by the Airbus U.S. Space and Defense.
In addition to naming Emerson as head of the company’s U.S. defense and space business, Airbus also appointed a five-person board of directors — which includes former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency director Letitia Long and William Shelton, a retired Air Force four-star and former head of Air Force Space Command — aimed at deepening ties with the U.S. military, space and intelligence agencies. It also named a seven-person team of advisers made up of former national security officials.(Source: Defense News)
15 Jul 20. Defense execs press lead lawmakers for COVID reimbursements. Eighty defense industry executives have written to top congressional leaders to ask for emergency appropriations to reimburse defense contractors’ coronavirus-related costs.
Led by the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents 300 large and small suppliers to the Department of Defense, the letter called for, “an appropriate level of funding for these reimbursements and respectfully request your support of the Department of Defense’s request for emergency funding.”
The letter was one of two this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., their minority party counterparts and the leaders of the defense committees. The other letter came Wednesday from the Professional Services Council, which represents more than 400 government contracting firms.
Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act allows firms serving the federal government to seek reimbursement for pandemic-related expenses, but Congress hasn’t passed corresponding appropriations. Defense officials have said they need roughly $10bn and that without added funding from Congress, the Pentagon would have to dip into modernization and readiness funds.
Both the PSC and the defense executives called for an extension of the 3610 authorities beyond their Sept. 30 expiration date, to Dec. 31.
While federal civilian workers and uniformed personnel will be paid whether they can come to work or not, that’s not often the case for contractors, Berteau said. Contractors need the 3610 reimbursements to hold onto highly skilled workers, many with high-level security clearances.
“Failure to sustain the employees in that workforce will lead to negative impacts on the agencies which they support as well as on the workers themselves, their families, and their employer companies,” the PSC’s president and CEO, David Berteau, said in its letter. “Such a failure could also lead to furloughs and layoffs that would further damage an already faltering economy. Extending Section 3610 authorities will help prevent these negative consequences.”
The defense execs, in their letter, said their firms face COVID-19-related costs associated with “travel restrictions, facility closures, social distancing within facilities, enhanced cleaning measures, the purchase of personal protective and sterilization equipment, and costs associated with supply chain disruptions.”
The pandemic has created weapons program slowdowns, temporary factory closures and cash flow problems, particularly for smaller firms. The Pentagon was been working in close communication to respond to the problems, largely by making billions of dollars in advance payment to contractors.
The AIA-led letter asked for consideration for the Defense Department’s request for emergency funding as congressional leaders draft their next tranche of coronavirus aid.
“Absorbing the magnitude of the Department’s estimated costs without appropriations would threaten recent improvements to readiness, jeopardize critical defense sector jobs which have helped stabilize communities across the country during the pandemic, and further erode the domestic supply base,” the letter reads.
“During a period of massive unemployment, the defense industrial base has risen to the challenge and gone above and beyond to keep essential manufacturing sites safe and open, and to ensure critical national security programs are not delayed indefinitely. The defense industrial base continues to be an economic driver during a period when many elements of commercial industry have been shaken by the pandemic.”
The advocates appear to face an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans in particular are skeptical of new deficit spending after already approving aid packages worth trillions. McConnell outlined a proposal last week that made no mention of defense spending or Section 3610.
The House Appropriations Committee passed a fiscal 2021 defense spending bill Tuesday that included $758bn, which is far less than the figure the Pentagon is seeking. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash. ― has said repeatedly that the Defense Department should draw from its existing budget.
A smaller group of top defense firms sent similar letters last week to Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and acting White House budget chief Russell Vought last week warning a defense budget disruption would lead to “significant job losses in pivotal states.” (Source: Defense News)
14 Jul 20. Air Force’s Roper Sparks Debate On ‘Nationalizing Advanced Aviation’ Industry. The Air Force should field several iterations of improved drones before 2030 — not just to replace the MQ-9 — but to do everything from ISR to strike to counter-air missions. Air Force acquisition head Will Roper is worried the ever-shrinking US defense industrial base may force DoD to nationalize major programs in the not-so-distant future — expressing surprise that other senior leaders are not more concerned.
“I think it’s really important that we find a new model where there are no big winners, and no big losers, but continual competition,” he told reporters today. “Because if our industrial base collapses any more, we’ll have to nationalize advanced aviation — and maybe other parts of the Air Force that currently aren’t competitive.”
While rushing to say that, as of now, there has not been any internal Pentagon discussion about nationalization of the aerospace industry, he told reporters today: “I don’t think that’s out of the tea leaf reading.
“It has surprised me in this job that there’s not more concern in the Pentagon about the continual shrinking of the defense industrial base,” he added. “And it’s not because the defense industrial base has gotten worse — it’s just that programs are so few and far between.”
He explained that this reality forces defense companies to acquire “a pretty diversified portfolio” because the only competitions “may be a fighter one year, a satellite the next year, and a helicopter the next year.
“We’ve seen this trend of major acquisitions to get those portfolios diverse enough so that you can deal with the chutes and rapids of few and far between major acquisitions. So that should be a huge concern to us, especially with our research and development dollars in defense only accounting for 20 percent of the total nation’s.”
A shrinking base means less competition; combine with that the fact that innovation now happens primarily in the commercial sector, not the defense sector.
“I don’t have to tell you that, eventually, we will nationalize warfighting capabilities and the defense industrial base, it will happen by necessity — by national security necessity, but I don’t think that that’s a fait accompli,” he said.
Digital Century Series
That concern is one of the reasons Roper is betting on the Digital Century Series concept as the Air Force considers its development plans and procurement strategy for the highly classified Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD).
“My hope in the Digital Century Series is to stabilize, at least for tactical aircraft, the collapse of our aviation industrial base any further,” he said.
The new Program Executive Office for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft working on those programs has drafted a study to determine whether that concept — where new versions of aircraft are rotated into the fleet every 15 or so years — is actually cheaper than traditional programs, where up front unit costs are low but vendors make bank on modernization and sustainment.
In major acquisition programs where one winner takes all, he explained, “there is no way to tell industry, in a way you can enforce, not to significantly invest — it’s too big of a deal, they have to win. That internal investment is then what creates that strong incentive to lock into the program, to put intellectual property into all different interfaces, no matter how good we are at trying to police it out of the system.”
“The designer always have mechanisms to skirt around our best policy and oversight,” he said wryly, because without being able to ensure future contracts for upgrades and upkeep, the firm wouldn’t have a business case. But for the Air Force, modernizing and sustaining aircraft after year 15 results in increased costs of somewhere between three and eight percent per year, he said.
The idea with Digital Century Series, by contrast, is to break out of this model into one where the up-front price the Air Force pays for new aircraft — “somewhere between X-planes and mass production” — is essentially the “total price of ownership.” The hope, he said, is that while the up-front unit prices will be higher, the cost over time will be significantly lower than a traditional major program buy. And in fact, he said, Air Force’s “compare and contrast” study of the two different acquisition models so far has found that the Digital Century Series concept is “slightly cheaper.”
“Maybe significantly cheaper,” he added, “but slightly cheaper than a traditional acquisition,” even one leveraging digital engineering to help keep the costs of future modernizations down.
However, Roper said he has now brought in independent experts to “check our assumptions, check our math,” and is awaiting the results of their assessment.
“I think in three weeks, I’ll be able to go from pencil to ink and say whether this is viable or not,” he said.
MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-Next
In the wide-ranging briefing, Roper also touched on the hot-button MQ-9 Reaper replacement effort that has piqued congressional concern. The reason the service is taking a bit of time to study future options, he explained, is the belief that future peer combat will require not just a new unmanned aerial vehicle for ISR/strike — but instead a multi-mission family of drones to do everything from air-to-air missions to ISR/strike to base defense.
“We need these UAVs to be true utility players, to use the baseball analogy,” he suggested.
But Roper knows he’s got to keep a close eye on the Hill, because “building a utility player that can meet multiple mission demands is not something that our acquisition system has historically been good at. And we’ve got to get good quickly to convince Congress that this is a good pivot, and I look forward to having those discussions that summer.”
Roper said he met with the development team studying concepts for the “Next Generation UAS ISR/Strike Platform” two weeks ago to discuss everything from how high-end drones could be teamed with relatively inexpensive and attritable ones to how to do “smart automation” that limits the number of people needed to operate them.
“We made the pivot to divest MQ-9 to pivot into high-end warfighting, and we’re gonna have to build new systems for high-end warfighting and teamed systems for high-end fighting. So I think the litmus test for ‘MQ-Next’ is going to be what other letter can we assign to its name because it’s doing a mission other than is ISR strike,” he said, with a chuckle.
“Ones that that jumped to the forefront for me,” he added, “are arming systems with air-to-air weapons, not just air-to-ground, so that you could play a role with forward tac air, but also being able to pull said system back to defend high-value assets that don’t have defensive systems that are able to hold adversary air at risk. I think that would be a wonderful combination.”
Roper said it’s necessary for the Air Force “to explore more than just the MQ-9 mission” of gathering ISR data and striking targets in places like the Middle East, because there simply isn’t enough budget leeway to do otherwise as the service shifts focus to combat with peer competitors.
Lawmakers are concerned that the service doesn’t yet have a solid acquisition strategy for replacing the venerable MQ-9 — a platform that has flown more than 4 million operational flight hours.
Thus there has been a wave of congressional opposition to the Air Force’s decision in its 2021 budget request to begin divesting of the aircraft, and its February stop-order on production by prime General Atomics.
The full House Appropriations Committee today approved its subcommittee’s decision to add $343.6m for 16 MQ-9s to the Air Force’s budget — with Rep. Ken Calvert noting the importance of the drone to combatant commanders. Report language accompanying the bill highlighted concerns among lawmakers — also voiced by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees — that the Air Force’s replacement effort is moving too slowly could result in a gap in capability.
Roper, however, said that not only can the Air Force have new drones fielded by 2030, but that there should be several iterations of improved platforms developed over the next decade.
“Absolutely we can get there by 2030. In a digitally engineered future,10 years is an eternity. I would hope we could spiral multiple times within that 10 years,” he stressed.
Responses to the Air Force’s June request for information are due July 24, and judging by discussions so far,. vendors are likely to offer a number of approaches.
“I expect to see a lot of high-end tech options in the submissions that are trying to help us do a current mission, other than ISR strike, differently,” he said, noting that if a system can do that, it also makes ISR easier especially in a permissive environment. “If you can do those high-end missions, then I’m willing to hit the ‘I believe’ button,” he said.
On the other hand, he also expects contractors to come in with “a different approach to survivability” — perhaps proposing large quantities of cheap attritable drones; or concepts that team sensor carrying drones with others carrying munitions, Roper said.
“You can imagine, designing things that may not return is a complete cultural shift for us and for industry, but I’ve been pretty pleased with the informal engagements thus far,” he said, “and I expect to see some really creative thinking.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jul 20. USS Bonhomme Richard’s Fire Suppression System Not Operational As Blaze Destroys Ship; 34 Sailors Injured. A fire suppression system aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard was under maintenance and not operational when the devastating fire, believed to have originated in the cargo hold of the ship, broke out Sunday morning, a senior Navy officer said Monday.
As of Monday, 34 sailors and 23 civilians have been treated for minor injuries while firefighters battle the fire aboard the ship for a second day, said Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman with Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Of the 17 sailors who were hospitalized Sunday, five sailors have remained in the medical facility for observation and are in stable condition. So far, minor injuries include heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, according to Schwegman.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the origin of an explosion that also occurred on the ship Sunday is still unknown, The Associated Press reported.
A fire was reported aboard the amphibious assault ship at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday while it was moored at the pier, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. At the time of the fire about 160 sailors were on the ship, which was undergoing maintenance, according to Raney. The ship typically has a crew of about 1,000. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Stars And Stripes)
13 Jul 20. HAC-D Cuts ABMS By $50m; Raps DoD Budget Mismanagement.
“Since the Department has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to disregard congressionally mandated reprogramming procedures, the Committee cannot agree to provide the additional budget flexibility the Air Force requested,” the 2021 spending bill says.House appropriators are raising a collective eyebrow at the rapid budget growth planned for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), chopping $50m from the service’s $302.3m request.
Noting that the service’s Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP) shows the ABMS budget jumping to nearly $1.1bn in 2024, the House Appropriations defense subcommittee says in report language in its draft 2021 defense spending bill that it simply isn’t happy with the service’s acquisition strategy — which lawmakers suggest lacks due “discipline.” Further, the report complains that the Air Force’s ABMS budget justification documentation “poorly describes how the requested funds will be executed.”
“While the Committee acknowledges the need for a robust and agile ‘sensor-to-shooter’ network to meet the challenges of future operating environments, and supports broad principles of the ABMS approach such as open architecture and the avoidance of ‘vendor lock,’ the Committee currently lacks enough confidence in the Air Force’s structuring and execution of ABMS to support the rate of budget growth beginning with the fiscal year 2021 request,” the report states.
The skepticism about ABMS from the HAC-D should not come as a surprise, the Air Force has been hard pressed to sell the program’s novel acquisition approach to Congress. Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees also have expressed similar concerns in their versions of the 2021 defense policy bills.
The HAC-D echoes the scathing report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on ABMS issued in April — a report that caused a dust up between the watchdog agency and the service following comments by Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein that the report had “latency issues.”
“The Committee notes several weaknesses within the current ABMS program that should be addressed before the Committee agrees to the budget growth for ABMS envisioned in the current FYDP. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified several of these weaknesses, such as the absence of firm requirements, acquisition strategy, or cost estimate, as well as the unclear definition of responsibilities of the Chief Architect of the Air Force and other offices involved in executing the ABMS program,” the HAC-D says in the report language.
In particular, HAC-D is concerned the Air Force has not articulated a strategy for transitioning successful ABMS technologies into existing platforms and programs of record. As Breaking D readers know, ABMS is being designed as a family of systems to underpin DoD’s high-priority Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort to tie together sensors and shooters on the battlefield.
“It is unclear how the costs of fully integrating elements of the ABMS family of systems will be accounted for through their lifecycles across multiple programs without simply being handed down as unfunded mandates to individual program managers. Finally, the Committee is not confident that existing Air Force programs of record have been adequately reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with the Air Force’s vision for ABMS and its requirements, to the extent they are actually known,” the report says.
Lastly, the appropriators also are worried about the potential for the costs of the three ABMS OnRamp exercises planned for 2021 to balloon — thus caps spending on each one to no more than $25m.
HAC-D also expresses concern that the Air Force’s budget planning for the development of hypersonic missiles has been inadequate. While it would fully fund the service’s request for $381.9 for hypersonics prototyping, it bemoans the cancelling of the hypersonic conventional strike weapon (HCSW) and what it sees as startling 60 percent cost growth in the the air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW) since its 2018 start. The service cancelled HCSW in February.
HAC-D’s concerns about ABMS and ARRW are linked to a broader lack of trust in DoD-wide budget management as it seeks to boost modernization to counter Russia and China in a future peer conflict.
“The Committee increasingly finds that the Department-wide mantra of increasing speed and accepting greater risk in acquisition programs has not been matched by the necessary discipline when it comes to programming, budgeting, and transparency,” the report says.
Indeed, the lawmakers deep-seated lack of trust is directly cited as the reason lawmakers have rejected the Air Force’s effort to consolidate a number of research and development program elements into broad, portfolio programs with multiple sub-elements — an approach that the service also intends to push for the Space Force.
The 2021 budget request would have “eliminated funding for 14 program elements within the budget activities for applied research and advanced technology development, and consolidate funding for multiple budget program activity codes totaling approximately $955,000,000 into one existing and five new program elements,” the report states.
Noting that while lawmakers do not necessarily reject the Air Force’s intent, they are uncomfortable with the fact that this would give DoD increased authority to move funds around without congressional approval.
“The granting of additional budget flexibility to the Department is based on the presumption that a state of trust and comity exists between the legislative and executive branches regarding the proper use of appropriated funds. This presumption presently is false. Since the Department has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to disregard congressionally mandated reprogramming procedures, the Committee cannot agree to provide the additional budget flexibility the Air Force requested,” the report states.
The full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the defense spending bill tomorrow. And of course the language will then need to be sorted out with the Senate side. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jul 20. Air Detachment Brings Extended Combat Capability to Rotationally Deployed LCS. With advanced technology, the air detachment aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) is an integral part of crew complement, delivering situational awareness and combat capability well beyond ship-based sensors during their rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.
A part of the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, Air Detachment (Det.) 8 adds an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter and two MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), all part of a vital war-fighting component providing surveillance and lethal over-the-horizon capability in a critical region.
“The MH-60S serves as a logistics, search and rescue, and anti-surface warfare platform while the MQ-8B is designed to increase the ship’s lethality, contributing to the global presence of U.S. Naval power,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Keeley, “Wildcards” Det. 8 officer-in-charge. “They are very capable machines, however, our most important assets are the hard-working Sailors of Det. 8. Without them, these aircraft wouldn’t fly.”
A Coronado-based expeditionary squadron under Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, HSC-23 was the first squadron to deploy a composite MH-60S and radar-capable MQ-8B detachment aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) during her maiden deployment to the Indo-Pacific in 2014. HSC-23 continues to sustain deployed detachment rotations onboard Independence-variant LCS, to include the entirety of USS Montgomery’s (LCS 8) maiden deployment to the Indo-Pacific from May 2019 to June 2020. Currently embarked on Gabrielle Giffords, Det. 8 continues to lead the efforts of demonstrating the dynamic and integral roles between traditional Navy-manned helicopters and unmanned assets.
Onboard Gabrielle Giffords, Det. 8 and its preceding detachments bring UAV operations to the fleet on a greater scale than ever before. The MQ-8B provides situational awareness and precision targeting support in distributed maritime operations through a manned/unmanned “system of systems” concept. The aircraft can also provide communications-relay and battlespace management beyond visual range to support the tactical commander.
“Our aviation detachments forward-deployed on littoral combat ships represent the best that the ‘Wildcards’ have to offer – regularly pushing the operational and tactical envelope of both the MH-60S and MQ-8B in some of the most challenging environments possible,” said Cmdr. Jeff Schwab, HSC-23 Commanding Officer. “Every day, they continue to write the book on manned and unmanned teaming, work through the inherent challenges of being independent deployers, and provide much-needed capabilities to the USS Gabrielle Giffords’ crew, DESRON 7, and CTF 76.”
Det. 8 consists of five pilots, four aircrewmen and 16 maintainers or maintenance professionals, with the majority of the detachment consisting of enlisted personnel. They consistently maintain the aircraft, keeping both the MH-60S and MQ-8B fully mission capable and operating at peak readiness, prepared to execute tasking when called upon. The naval aircrewmen control the MQ-8B radar and sensors as well as fly in the MH-60S, operating crew-served weapons and performing search and rescue (SAR) when required.
Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Blas Vital emphasized the crucial role that each person on the detachment plays, noting their extensive training and commitment are essential to support the “Wildcard” mission.
“Each member of our detachment provides vital elements to the safe operation and mission readiness of the aircraft and we all rely on one another to accomplish the mission,” says Vital. “From the maintainers to the aircrewmen and the pilots, Det. 8 is a solid team and we all work really well together.”
To date, Gabrielle Giffords has completed high visibility tasking in and around Southeast Asia to include patrols in the South China Sea; presence operation near the Spratly Islands, drillship West Capella, and Chinese survey vessel Hai Yang Di Zhi 4 Hao; integrated operations with USS America (LHA 6); and bilateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Singapore Navy. Additionally, the MH-60S utilized Hellfire missiles during a sinking exercise as a part of a bilateral event with Republic of Singapore Navy, exercise Pacific Griffin in 2019.
“The MH-60S and MQ-8B carried onboard LCS continue to provide enormous operational flexibility and add to the overall value that LCS brings to the region,” said Capt. Ann McCann, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. “The air detachment onboard Gabrielle Giffords has been a force multiplier, which is exemplified by continued mission successes and the ability to meet any 7th Fleet tasking.”
HSC-23 is one of two expeditionary squadrons based at Naval Air Station North Island, California, that operates MH-60S Seahawk helicopter and the MQ-8B Fire Scout. The squadron deploys helicopter detachments that conduct anti-surface warfare, special operations support, SAR, humanitarian relief and logistics throughout the U.S. Pacific Fleet AOR.
Attached to Destroyer Squadron 7, Gabrielle Giffords is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Jul 20. New nuclear warhead funding would be blocked by House appropriators. Energy and water appropriators voted Monday to block funding sought by the Trump administration to develop a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead design, known as the W93.
The members of the House Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee voted in favor of language saying that “no funding” may be used on the new warhead design, which the Pentagon hopes to have fielded by 2040. The language was adopted as part of the overall bill that passed by a 30-21 vote Monday.
The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous agency inside the Department of Energy that tests and produces American nuclear warheads, is seeking $53m for early development of the W93.
Defense appropriators in the House have already approved the $32m sought by the Pentagon to start early design work on the aeroshell of the W93. While NNSA has oversight on warheads, the delivery mechanisms come out of Department of Defense funding.
The appropriators raised concerns that the NNSA “has provided limited details on why starting Phase 1 Concept Assessment is needed in fiscal year 2021, the drivers for this decision, or how such a decision is likely to impact retirement of any of the Navy’s existing strategic systems.”
“The NNSA proposed to manage the W93 modernization activity using the joint Department of Energy-Department of Defense nuclear weapons lifecycle process, but the Committee is concerned that this process is out of date and does not include current best practices,” the appropriators added. “Until such questions and concerns are adequately addressed, the Committee will not consider funding for this activity.”
While the $53m in NNSA funds is not a major figure, any delay in the development of the W93 could push the expected deployment not just for America, but for the United Kingdom, which plans to buy a version of the warhead. And there is speculation in the nuclear community that former Vice President Joe Biden, should he win the presidency in November’s election, would look to cancel the nascent program.
In February, a senior defense official told Defense News that the W93 would be based on existing designs, and likely be somewhere between the W88 and W76 in size — the two other submarine-launched warheads. The official said the W93 is to come online around the same time the other two systems are hitting dangerous ages, but opponents say despite this, the new system is another step in a nuclear arms race.
The House Appropriations Committee’s bill is not the last word, and Republicans, who control the Senate and the White House, will negotiate over the final numbers.
In addition to blocking the W93 funds, the committee language includes a requirement to brief Congress within 60 days of the enactment of the bill “on the benefits, drawbacks, and implications of extending the need date of the first and last production unit” of the W80-4 warhead by one year, a sign committee members are concerned about the timeline for that system, planned for use with air-launched cruise missiles.
The bill also contains language barring the use of appropriations funding that would involve “working through the Nuclear Weapons Council to guide, advise, assist, develop or execute a budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” a direct shot at language in the Senate Armed Services Committee bill that would give the Pentagon-led Nuclear Weapons Council greater say in how NNSA develops its budget.
Members of the subcommittee and the Department of Energy have pushed back on that proposal on the basis it would give the DoD control over how NNSA spends its funds, even over objections from the energy secretary. But Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, warned during Monday’s markup hearing that there may be unintended consequences in the committee’s language.
“I support what they are intending to do with this language. I support the current structure, as an important component of maintaining civilian control over the nuclear weapons program. But as drafted, Section 309 likely would upend current law with respect to the functioning of the Nuclear Weapons Council,” Simpson said. (Source: Defense News)
13 Jul 20. Appropriators to deny DoD budget flexibility in border wall spat. Fired-up House appropriators are expected to vote Tuesday to reject the Pentagon’s requests for added budget flexibility over the President Donald Trump’s diversion of military funds to build his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
In a sign of fraying relations between the Department of Defense and Capitol Hill, the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee ― chaired by Indiana Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky ― “condemned” the Pentagon’s past approvals of nearly $10 bn over two years toward the border wall, saying it had fueled the panel’s growing skepticism over the department’s budget requests.
“The granting of additional budget flexibility to the Department is based on the presumption that a state of trust and comity exists between the legislative and executive branches regarding the proper use of appropriated funds. This presumption presently is false,” the subpanel said in its 400-page report accompanying its fiscal 2021 defense spending bill.
The full House Appropriations Committee is set to mark up and approve the bill on Tuesday.
The Pentagon relies on legal authorization to transfer funding between accounts and manage contingencies, and it requested $9.5bn this year. But a key provision in the bill would cap the authority at $1.9bn.
The defense spending bill contains multiple provisions aimed at reversing Trump’s move, in February, to divert $3.8bn from weapons programs and other DoD accounts for the wall. One provision in the defense bill would require the DoD return unobligated funds taken for the wall in fiscal 2020 to their original accounts.
It’s the latest in a series of countermoves by lawmakers since Trump, after being denied billions of dollars he requested for the wall, declared a national emergency in 2019 to siphon the money from defense accounts. The project was Trump’s signature campaign promise in 2015, but his method has sparked bipartisan claims he’s usurping Congress’ power of the purse.
The defense subpanel’s top Republican, Rep. Ken Calvert of California, blamed Democrats for their refusal to fund the wall but also expressed sympathy with his infuriated colleagues.
“I’m all for the wall, but I understand the tension here because these were duly passed appropriations bills,” Calvert told Defense News. “I don’t care if the president is a Republican or a Democrat. We don’t want presidents unilaterally bypassing Congress to do their will.”
Still, he said, “the absolute inability for the Democrats to negotiate, the frustrations in the administration [led it to] just grab the money and go ahead because the president made a promise, he made a commitment to do this.”
Beyond the border wall, the word “disappointed” appears 12 times in the report, which rapped the Pentagon on weapons programs, transparency and its repeated requests to fund off-budget overseas contingency operations. Multiple administrations and Congress have repeatedly used wartime funding to absorb base budget costs.
Though the U.S. is withdrawing forces from war zones, the Pentagon had planned to request $60bn in OCO through 2025.
“The OCO experiment has been an abject failure and has given the Department a budgetary relief valve that has allowed it to avoid making difficult decisions,” the report read.
The defense report ripped the DoD’s “dismissive attitude toward oversight exhibited by the Department,” despite Congress’ approval of large budget increases over the last several years.
“When coupled with the Department’s disturbing actions over the past two years to fund the border wall, the contravention of the constitutional authority of the United States Congress has now become habitual,” the report read. “The Committee finds this to be both unacceptable and unsustainable.” (Source: Defense News)
13 Jul 20. COVID-19 Sharpened Focus on Trans-Atlantic Security Gaps, Defense Official Says. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a range of security issues that previously hadn’t made it into NATO’s discussions, a senior Defense Department official said.
Michael C. Ryan, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, spoke on NATO and trans-Atlantic security at the Brookings Institution’s European Union Defense Washington Forum July 9, participating in the discussion via video from the Pentagon. Ryan also serves as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy.
Russia and China already were conducting disinformation campaigns, but the pandemic only accelerated it, Ryan said, noting disinformation in the areas of medicine and diplomacy that were designed to ”sway our populations away from commitments to security, commitments to the alliance and commitments to trans-Atlantic cooperation.”
Harmful foreign investment from authoritarian regimes that don’t share democratic values has also been exposed, he said. Ownership of critical infrastructure by authoritarian regimes can result in that infrastructure becoming unavailable in a crisis, he added.
Also, dependencies on supply chains that are unreliable have clear security ramifications are ”very much on our mind in the Pentagon,” Ryan said.
Military readiness and resilience in NATO, while very important, aren’t enough — nations also need political, economic and information readiness and resilience, he said.
One other area that needs to be improved, he said, is finding a way to merge law enforcement intelligence with military intelligence. Instead of confronting NATO’s military directly, adversaries are conducting criminal activities that diminish trans-Atlantic security, he explained.
At a meeting of NATO heads of state and government held in London in December, leaders reiterated their declaration that NATO is the indispensable forum for trans-Atlantic consultations on security and defense, Ryan said.
“Those consultations drive decisions in specific areas [that] are absolutely critical for bringing Washington together with allies and partners, and even European Union members who are not NATO members, to move in an effective direction so we can defend consensus, sustain deterrence and be prepared to act in our own defense when necessary,” he said.
North America and Europe working together cooperatively can deal effectively with any malign influence coming from Russia or China, he added. (Source: US DoD)
10 Jul 20. US government’s Huawei ban moving too fast, contractors say. With the Trump administration poised to impose a government-wide ban on contractors using Huawei and other Chinese-made telecommunications equipment, trade groups say that companies, still reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, should get more time.
The administration plans to finalize regulations that would prohibit government contracting with companies whose supply chains contain products from five Chinese companies including Huawei, Reuters reported Thursday. The administration, confronting China on trade and a host of issues, has deemed Huawei an espionage threat.
“The danger our nation faces from foreign adversaries like China looking to infiltrate our systems is great,” Russ Vought, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement to Reuters.
“The Trump Administration is keeping our government strong against nefarious networks like Huawei by fully implementing the ban on Federal procurement.”
But leaders of the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council have been calling for the deadline, now Aug. 13, to be moved. They argue the focus should be on recovering from the fallout caused by the COVID-19 crisis. And citing the far-reaching implications of the government’s rules, NDIA says companies should get a yearlong extension.
Ordered by a 2019 law, the new rule from the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council would touch any company that sells goods and services to the U.S. government, requiring them to either obtain a government waiver or certify they do not use products from those companies, even though some of the banned telecommunications and surveillance equipment is among the top sellers.
“While it’s difficult to project the impact of a FAR rule that we haven’t seen, the potential impact under the statute could affect nearly every contractor and subcontractor across the entire federal government,” PSC President and CEO David Berteau said in an email to Defense News.
“Compliance with a complex rule, one with consequences that reach beyond prime contractors, could be confusing, complicated, and technically challenging. An extension of the deadline would actually strengthen U.S. security by ensuring better planning and execution of the statutory prohibitions.”
The Defense Department’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord, told lawmakers last month that contractors need more time to comply with the governmentwide ban or risk throwing the defense industrial base into disarray.
“The thought that somebody in six or seven levels down in the supply chain could have one camera in a parking lot and that would invalidate one of our major primes being able to do business with us gives us a bit of pause,” Lord testified at a House Armed Services Committee hearing last month.
NDIA supports the aim of the regulation but argues it’s too broad for implementation. It’s asking for a legislative fix in the next tranche of coronavirus aid, likely to be passed this month, according to NDIA’s director of legislative policy, Kea Matory.
It’s so broad, Matory said, a government contractor with a sales office in India that uses local internet, for example, would have to know the manufacturer of every piece of telecommunications equipment. Likewise, she added, a trucking contractor traveling cross-country would have to know whether his or her mobile phone is interfacing with the banned gear.
“We all understand the intent of the law, and companies are not only supportive of national security interests but protecting their own intellectual property ― and no one wants that to be taken by Huawei or any bad actor,” Matory said. “It’s just the fact it’s not a workable law, as written, and especially not in this time frame.” (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
10 Jul 20. DOD Announces $84.4m in Defense Production Act Title III COVID-19 Action. Today, the Department announces seven Defense Production Act Title III actions to help sustain and strengthen essential domestic industrial base capabilities and defense-critical workforce in the small unmanned aerial systems, space technology, and shipbuilding industries. These actions will help to retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic. The Department remains closely partnered with FEMA and HHS, providing almost $2.9bn in life-saving medical services, supplies and equipment to service members and federal agencies in the nation’s whole-of-government approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
DoD Announces $13.4m DPA Title III Investments in U.S. Small Unmanned Aerial System Industrial Base
As part of the national response to COVID-19, and to support the domestic small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industrial base, the Department of Defense awarded contracts totaling $13.4M to five companies to sustain the capabilities of this critical domestic industrial base. Using funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act, these DPA Title III investments will further enhance the U.S. warfighter’s situational awareness, improve human-machine teaming, and provide engineering support for aiding the integration of sUAS capabilities into DoD programs.
The DPA Title III funds across five companies saved 14 jobs, created 20 new positions, and will support continued advancement of capabilities providing the companies additional paths for recurring revenue. The following is an overview of each company’s award:
- AirMap, located in Santa Monica, California, received $3.3m to aid product development and engineering support for integration of sUAS mission planning, post-mission analysis, and unmanned traffic management software.
- ModalAI, located in San Diego, California, received $3m to develop their next generation U.S.-made flight controller that will enable advanced autonomy including GPS-denied navigation, and all-environment obstacle avoidance.
- Skydio, located in Redwood City, California, received $4M to improve the flight controller hardware/software and data link for their sUAS so that highly capable components can be purchased and used across U.S. Government unmanned systems.
- Graffiti Enterprises, located in Somerset, New Jersey, received $1.5m to modify their commercial data link for DoD’s sUAS use including operation in restricted frequency bands, reduction in the size, weight, and power of the hardware, and software developments to improve security and resiliency of their data link.
- Obsidian Sensors, located in San Diego, California, received $1.6m to build a low-cost, dual thermal sUAS camera that can be mounted onto a stabilization gimbal and then integrated and flown on small, packable, ISR systems.
The five awards were provided under Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Commercial Solutions Opening. DIU is leading the Department’s UAS framework development intended to provide secure, trusted sUAS capability to the Department of Defense and other Federal Government stakeholders.
DoD announces $15m Defense Production Act Title III Agreement with LeoLabs to Strengthen Domestic Space Industrial Base
As part of the national response to COVID-19, the Department of Defense entered into a $15m agreement with LeoLabs, Inc. to ensure the continued viability of space surveillance capability through the operation and maintenance of a world-wide highly capable phased-array radar network. The ability to surveil and analyze spacecraft in low earth orbit is essential to national defense. LeoLabs, Inc. is the only domestic commercial supplier with demonstrated capability in this critical area.
Using funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act, this DPA Title III investment will offset direct workforce and financial distress brought about by the coronavirus pandemic to a sole-source capability within the defense industrial base and ensure resultant critical capabilities are retained within the U.S.
LeoLabs, Inc. is based in Menlo Park, California, with operating locations throughout the United States.
DoD announces $56m Defense Production Act Title III Agreement to Strengthen Domestic Shipbuilding Industrial Base
As part of the national response to COVID-19, the Department of Defense (DoD) entered into a $56m agreement with ArcelorMittal Inc. to sustain critical domestic industrial base shipbuilding capability and capacity. This investment will expand ArcelorMittal’s plate processing footprint and heat-treating capability, subsequently increasing its alloy steel plate production and ensure the U.S. Government gets dedicated long-term industrial capacity to meet the needs of the nation.
Using funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act, this DPA Title III investment will protect jobs in a region hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure critical capabilities are retained in support of U.S. Navy operational readiness.
ArcelorMittal is a steel and mining company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The principal place of performance is at ArcelorMittal’s facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. (Source: US DoD)
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