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17 Aug 22. Boeing, Northrop to join White House-backed advanced manufacturing program. Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) are joining a White House-backed compact to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers increase the use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies.
The voluntary program, unveiled by President Joe Biden in May, seeks to boost suppliers’ use of additive manufacturing (AM).
Driven by 3D printing, the technology allows complex shapes to be built in layers from particles of plastic or metal. The Biden administration views it as an innovation that will enable U.S. manufacturers to flourish and create jobs.
The program, Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward) is organized by non-profit Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).
“The supply chain crisis isn’t just about building out ports. It’s about building up parts – right here in America’s small business factories,” said ASTRO America’s CEO, Neal Orringer.
GE Aviation (GE.N), Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE), Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N), Honeywell (HON.O) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) were the initial companies to make commitments.
The manufacturers say they will purchase additively produced parts from smaller U.S. suppliers; train supplier workers on new additive technologies; provide technical assistance; and engage in standards development and certification.
Boeing and Northrop Grumman both aim to increase the number of small- and medium-sized suppliers competing over quote packages for products using additive manufacturing. Boeing will also aim to increase its qualified small and medium supplier capacity by 30% and provide technical guidance to meet qualification requirements.
“We know the competitiveness of the U.S. industrial base, including Boeing, relies on the capability of a wide spectrum of suppliers producing and post-processing critical aerospace parts,” said Melissa Orme, Boeing’s vice president for additive manufacturing.
Such technologies can reduce part lead times and materials cost by 90%, and cut energy use in half.
The White House says not enough American companies are using 3D printing or other high-performance advanced manufacturing technologies.
A Biden administration official told Reuters the program could expand to the automotive or semiconductor sectors. (Source: Reuters)
17 Aug 22. Air Force Special Operations Command grounds CV-22 Ospreys due to safety issue. AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife ordered the safety standdown on Tuesday in the wake of two safety incidents that had occurred over the past six weeks, with a total of four such events occurring since 2017, AFSOC said.
Air Force Special Operations Command has grounded all 52 of its CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft indefinitely as the result of a “increased number of safety incidents” involving an unknown and potentially dangerous issue with the clutch, Breaking Defense has learned.
AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife ordered the safety standdown on Tuesday in the wake of two safety incidents that had occurred over the past six weeks, with a total of four such events occurring since 2017, AFSOC spokeswoman Lt. Col. Becky Heyse said in a statement.
AFSOC describes the problem as a “hard clutch engagement.” Basically, the clutch inside a gearbox that connects one of the CV-22’s two Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines to the propeller rotor is slipping for an unknown reason, Heyse said. When that happens, the power load transfers nearly instantaneously to the other engine — a design feature that would allow the Osprey to keep flying even if one engine fails. Then, in most cases, the initial clutch re-engages, and the power load rapidly shifts back to the original propeller rotor and engine.
As a result of the rapid movement of power across engines, however, the aircrew is forced to land the CV-22 immediately, and Heyse added that “if the aircrew were unable to control the aircraft when the incident occurs, it could result in loss of control and uncontrolled landing of the aircraft.”
Heyse said the issue has not caused any injuries or deaths “due in large part to the skill and professionalism of our Air Commandos who operate the CV-22.”
“The safety of our Airmen is of the utmost importance, therefore no AFSOC CV-22s will fly until we will determine the cause of the hard clutch engagements and risk control measures are put in place,” she said.
In many cases, both gearboxes and engines require replacements after the incident — making them Class A mishaps with damage in excess of $2.5 m.
“In coordination with the Joint Program Office, AFSOC has been unable to gather enough engineering data analysis to accurately identify root cause, so it’s unknown if it’s mechanical, design, software or some combination of any of those,” Heyse said.
She said AFSOC staff would “work with the Joint Program Office and industry partners to fully understand this issue and develop risk control measures to mitigate the likelihood of catastrophic outcomes… Ultimately, the goal is to determine a viable, long-term materiel solution.”
The V-22 Osprey is the US military’s first tiltrotor aircraft, capable of taking off vertically and hovering like a helicopter as well as — after rotating its nacelles — flying forward at high-speeds like an airplane. Bell-Boeing builds three variants of the Osprey: the CV-22, which AFSOC declared operational in 2009; the Marine Corps’ MV-22; and the CMV-22B used by the Navy to fly supplies and personnel to aircraft carriers.
The V-22 has generated controversy over its 30 years of operations due to a history of a range of safety issues, which have sometimes led to crashes and fatalities. Recently, a March 2022 MV-22 crash in Norway resulted in the deaths of four Marines, while a June 2022 crash in California killed five. (A Marine Corps investigation found that the March crash was due to pilot error, according to the investigation report. A Marine official said at the time of the June crash that its cause was under investigation.) In late June the Marines ordered a brief safety standdown of all Marine Aircraft Wing units to review best practices and safety procedures.
The Marine Corps and Naval Air Systems Command, which runs the V-22 Joint Program Office under PMA-275, did not immediately respond to questions about whether the issue also impacts Marine Corps and Navy V-22s. Bell-Boeing deferred comment to the Defense Department. This report will be updated with additional information as it becomes available. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
17 Aug 22. Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks and Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk Visit Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon: “Today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks and Deputy Secretary of Energy David M. Turk visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”
“Research and education programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are cutting edge and teach the critical skills American workers need to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks. “The advanced manufacturing innovations here are already transforming defense production through major productivity, quality, and business model gains. The program also incorporates student learning opportunities that will provide the talent and creativity needed for the next era of American manufacturing.”
While there, they toured Oak Ridge’s Battery Manufacturing Facility, the largest U.S. open-access battery manufacturing research and development center. The Department of Energy’s Battery Manufacturing Facility provides scientists with the ability to analyze every aspect of battery production. Scientists use advanced computational modeling to accelerate prototyping of cell designs, to screen new battery materials, and to develop accurate lifetime predictions. Open to any U.S. battery manufacturer, material supplier, equipment manufacturer, or battery end user, the center offers the ability to integrate any component into a complete battery and analyze how well it works and how it can be improved.
Deputy Secretary Hicks and Deputy Secretary Turk also visited the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility which is home to “America’s Cutting Edge” (ACE), a joint effort between the Department of Defense and Department of Energy to strengthen America’s machine tool sector, which is essential for defense and clean energy production.
Since March 2020, DoD has invested $42m in ACE, a national machine tools innovation hub seeking to restore the prominence of the U.S. machine tool sector, as well as the training program run by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)—The Composites Institute.
Finally, they visited Frontier, the first computer to achieve exascale computation threshold. Delivered in 2021 and open for early operations in 2022, Frontier is accelerating innovation in science and technology and maintaining US leadership in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. Frontier users will model the entire lifespan of a nuclear reactor, uncover disease genetics, and build on recent developments in science and technology to further integrate artificial intelligence with data analytics and modeling and simulation. Frontier is part of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility located at ORNL.
The visit highlighted the importance the Biden-Harris Administration is placing on American manufacturing capabilities and building supply chain resilience.
The Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides as much as $8.2bn to solve domestic battery supply chain challenges. DoD is coordinating with Energy, State, Commerce, and others to ensure those investments are dual-use and benefit national security where possible.
During the tour, Deputy Secretary Hicks and Deputy Secretary Turk had the opportunity to interact with the scientists and students who are doing research in energy storage, materials science, and other critical areas.
The deputy secretary is on a two-day, four-state tour of the Midwest. Throughout her travel, Deputy Secretary Hicks will focus on linking the department’s resources to our strategic competition priorities, including the pacing threat of China, and ensuring DoD remains the world leader in cutting-edge innovation. (Source: US DoD)
16 Aug 22. Defense innovation stymied as gridlock in Congress bars emerging tech. With a little over six weeks in the government’s fiscal year, Congress faces the uphill battle of passing a defense appropriations bill and avoiding a continuing resolution.
CRs keep funding at the previous year’s levels with limited exceptions. A divided Congress has frequently relied on the practice in recent years to evade a government shutdown while lawmakers negotiate appropriations for the next fiscal year, and it’s increasingly likely that a CR will be required for fiscal 2023, the law firm Alston & Bird said in a note to clients on July 26.
While a CR keeps the lights on, its impacts can be detrimental to the Pentagon’s efforts to keep pace with rival nations in emerging technologies. Because funding is fixed at the previous year’s level, CRs delay the start of new programs and contracts, many of which fall under the sphere of defense tech.
“It pauses our modernization efforts and it gives China the advantage of continuing to innovate while we’re in that pause,” said Kea Matory, director of legislative policy at the National Defense Industrial Association trade group, in an interview. “It’s essentially a self-inflicted wound, but unfortunately, it’s kind of become the norm.”
“The government is not always the easiest customer and when you add on CRs, it’s not a business model that would work in the commercial sector,” she said.
As the Pentagon strives to incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning and other cutting-edge innovations into warfighting, defense officials and lawmakers have sought to create programs and offices to oversee the modernization.
Under a CR, such “new starts” are denied the funding needed to hire a workforce and the cash to begin issuing contracts since the office didn’t exist in the previous year’s appropriations bill. They add uncertainty to the contracting timeline, and without consistent appropriations, many emerging technology initiatives may end up delayed or abandoned.
The impact is similarly felt on the industrial side, according to Elaine McCusker, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Large companies have learned to deal with the disruptions caused by CRs and adjust for the government’s episodic funding. But many emerging technologies come from smaller companies that do not have the same level of resources or expertise in navigating the disjointed timeline, she said.
“They just don’t have the same kind of breadth and depth to be able to absorb those types of changes,” McCusker said in an interview.
What happens to government contractors in a CR?
For companies dependent on federal dollars, the cost of the delay is borne out by the small business owner, said ML Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Beacon Interactive Systems, a maker of information management software for the U.S. military.
When a CR is issued and a contract put on pause, companies are still responsible for payroll and other expenses, Mackey said. In many cases, companies have to find ways to make up for the lack of cash flow.
Mackey said small business owners regularly have to resort to personally financing, whether it be through a loan or by putting expenses on a credit card.
Although a contract will ultimately come through when Congress issues an appropriations bill, a business owner carries the financial burden created during the delay.
For small tech companies looking to get into the defense sector, the prospect of taking on that financial burden could dissuade owners from doing business with the government.
In June, the House Appropriations Committee reported 12 pieces of funding legislation, including the defense appropriations bill, and said it will attempt to pass them on the House floor by the end of July. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
In recent years, Pentagon officials have faulted lawmakers for their frequent use of CRs as a funding measure, citing their heavy costs and damaging impact.
At a hearing in January, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger testified to a House Appropriations subcommittee that CRs negatively impact the Pentagon because no amount of resources in the future can bring back lost time.
“We actually stand to be outpaced by China, not because of their speed but because of our failure to comply with our own budgetary processes,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Aug 22. DOD Releases First Departmentwide Social Media Policy. The Defense Department today released a policy that for the first time spells out, from the highest levels of the defense community, how DOD military and civilian personnel should use official social media accounts to best advance the mission of the U.S. military and further instill trust in the credibility of the DOD.
DOD Instruction 5400.17, titled “Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes,” provides principles for social media use within DOD, direction regarding records management procedures for social media accounts, and guidance to ensure personal social media accounts are not misrepresented or misinterpreted as official accounts.
While some of the military services and other agencies published social media policies years ago, DODI 5400.17 is the department’s first instruction that provided Pentagon-level, departmentwide guidance that specifically addresses the use of social media. The DOD chief information officer previously issued DODI 8170.01, “Online Information Management and Electronic Messaging,” to provide broad policy guidance on the secure and appropriate use of social media. The new policy specifically addresses public affairs uses and responsibilities.
“It’s long overdue,” Andy Oare, director of digital media for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said. “There have been efforts in the past to do this, but in an organization of this size and magnitude, you need to fully coordinate and ensure all viewpoints are heard and represented. We wanted to make sure the services were collaborators from the very beginning.”
Because social media changes rapidly, Oare said policies that the department may have started developing in the past but had never finalized would quickly show their age. That won’t happen with the newly published instruction, and he stressed that this policy will be continually refined and updated based on the evolving social media landscape.
“We’ll work across the department to be agile and responsive in our day-to-day operations as we implement this policy and update it where and when we should,” Oare said.
“Social media has an effect on every one of our service members, civilians, contractors and their families — whether they run an official account or have never heard of Twitter,” Oare said. “We owe it to all of them to have one central policy that provides a clearly articulated standard of operation and accountability.”
The DOD social media policy applies to Office of the Secretary of Defense personnel, the military departments, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and other DOD offices and agencies. In some cases, this means the new policy will supersede preexisting social media policies, but close coordination throughout its development ensured that all perspectives were considered and integrated.
“We deliberately wrote it in a collaborative manner, and it encourages component heads to continue establishing component-specific social media regulations,” Oare said. “Our aim is not to be prescriptive or restrictive, but rather to lay out some commonsense rules that simply have not been formally articulated at this level.”
In addition to detailing the roles and responsibilities of DOD leadership in enforcing responsible social media practices, the new policy offers guidance to department personnel who generate content on official social media platforms to ensure responsible use of the medium, key elements to consider when establishing a new presence or expanding into new platforms, and on the authority to close unused accounts.
“If social media is mismanaged or mishandled, the U.S. government’s reputation with the American public; relationships with interagency, international, state, local and tribal entities; military operations; and reputation for a high ethical and professional standard may be compromised,” the policy warns social media practitioners.
The guidance in DODI 5400.17 is meant to ensure DOD’s credibility and avoid controversy, while using social media to share its missions with the public, Oare said.
“In a digital world where lines of truth and authenticity are so often blurred, it’s important that institutions like us have trusted, verifiable and reliable presences,” Oare said. “We have a duty to the American people to show the work we’re doing, to tell the story of our service members, and to present that information though channels they use in their daily lives.” (Source: US DoD)
15 Aug 22. US: Warning of potential explosives attack against FBI raises incidental physical risks. On 14 August, US media reported that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that law enforcement agencies continue to face an increase in threats of attacks by domestic extremists, including with explosives. Reportedly, the bulletin says that threats continue to be made on social media following the FBI’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence last week, which is believed to have motivated an attempted armed attack on the FBI offices in Cincinnati (see Sibylline Daily Analytical Update – 15 August 2022). The social media statements include “a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of the FBI Headquarters’” in Washington D.C. The bulletin adds that other potential targets include federal officials and other facilities, noting that some of the threats are specific, naming proposed targets, tactics and weapons to be used. The bulletin reflects the heightened incidental threat to assets and staff located near potential targets.(Source: Sibylline)
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