Bertuca, Tony. Inside the Pentagon's Inside Missile Defense; Arlington Vol. 24, Iss. 14, (Jul 4, 2018).
Senate appropriators seek to direct nearly $4 billion in additional funding to key areas of weapon system innovation including hypersonics, artificial intelligence, cyber, space, microelectronics and directed energy.
The area of hypersonics, which the Pentagon has identified as one of its top research and development priorities, would receive an additional $929 million, according to a summary of the fiscal year 2019 defense appropriations bill provided by the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.
One hypersonics prototype program for prompt global strike managed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense would receive a boost of $345 million, while another hypersonics program for conventional strike and air-launched rapid response overseen by the Air Force would receive an additional $300 million.
The bill would also increase military space R&D investments by $564 million, including $100 million for advanced sensors for Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared, the successor to the Space Based Infrared System and $200 million for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.
The Pentagon's artificial intelligence program would be appropriated an additional $308 million, including $150 million for the controversial program known as Project Maven and $83 million to establish a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Google, the contractor for Project Maven, decided not to renew its contract with the Defense Department after company employees protested involvement with the Pentagon.
In cyber, the bill would provide an additional $356 million to accelerate research across the Defense Department, including $117 million for Army efforts and $116 million for the Missile Defense Agency.
The bill would also appropriate an additional $447 million to ensure access to "trusted microelectronics and develop manufacturing processes for next-generation chips," according to the summary. The microelectronics plusup includes an additional $347 million to accelerate the "next- generation microelectronic development efforts to reestablish U.S. primacy in microelectronics technology," as well as $30 million for programs managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The bill directs an additional $846 million "to increase testing range space and availability, including an additional $200 million for Army test ranges and facilities; an additional $206 million for Navy test and evaluation infrastructure; an additional $280 million for Air Force test and evaluation support; and an additional $160 million for Operational Test and Evaluation infrastructure including funds to support expanded hypersonic and directed energy testing," the summary states.
Total defense funding in bill adheres to a bipartisan deal work out earlier this year, funding the Defense Department's base budget at $607.1 billion and its Overseas Contingency Operations account at $67.9 billion.
Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (RAL) said during a June 26 hearing he is "pleased" that lawmakers could find the additional money for defense innovation.
"Our military must maintain its technological superiority," he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (DIL), the subcommittee's top Democrat, said during the same hearing he supports the additional funding in the bill, but still worries it could be squandered by the Pentagon's acquisition system.
"We are wasting money in our procurement process," he said. "Time and again we are told by those coming before us from the Department of Defense, from the contracting community that we are just wasting too much money."
Durbin said he has been told by DOD officials in charge of the Pentagon's innovation agenda that "people are afraid to be the last person to say 'yes.'"
"We've challenged the Department of Defense to keep us safe during some periods of underfunding and gross uncertainty, and now we're
challenging the Department of Defense to spend taxpayers' dollars wisely," he said.
Albon, Courtney. Inside the Pentagon's Inside Missile Defense; Arlington Vol. 24, Iss. 14, (Jul 4, 2018).
The head of the Missile Defense Agency said last week the focus and streamlined decision-making that would likely come with the creation of a Space Force would assist his agency's mission.
Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, head of MDA and former commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, said during a June 26 Air Force Association breakfast one of the keys to speeding up acquisition cycles is streamlining the approval process for programs. Consolidating space organization and acquisition into one Defense Department organization, a Space Force, could help, Greaves said.
"I believe that if this comes to fruition, that those are the benefits of doing it," Greaves said. "When it's approved, because the president has already said we're going to go do it, I will say the focus and speed and intent of that Space Force will reflect positively with our mission."
President Trump announced last month he was directing the Pentagon to "immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces." The establishment of a new organization must be led by Congress, but strong support from the White House could reduce barriers to an ongoing effort to reorganize the military space mission.
The Pentagon has said it will begin working with the services to stand up the new service.
"This will be a deliberative process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders," spokeswoman Dana White said in a June 18 statement. In a recent letter to airmen, Air Force leadership said the service does not expect any immediate changes in light of the president's direction.
"We look forward to working with Department of Defense leaders, Congress, and our national security partners to move forward on this planning effort," the June 19 message states. "Our focus must remain on the mission as we continue to accelerate the space warfighting capabilities required to support the National Defense Strategy."
The House Armed Services Committee proposed the creation of a Space Corps - a separate service that would be housed within the Air Force, similar to the Marine Corps' relationship to the Navy - in its mark of fiscal year 2018 defense policy legislation. However, the Senate was hesitant to embrace it and the final version of the bill instead required further study of the issue.
Pentagon officials, particularly Air Force leadership, have pushed back against the proposal, saying it would add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and would segregate the space mission at a time when the department is working to better integrate space as a core DOD mission.
Greaves said last week that the president's announcement indicates to him the debate over a Space Force or Space Corps is over.
"We have to go through the process, as the secretary of defense has said. The secretary of the Air Force, the chief of staff of the Air Force, have to look at what's really required," he said. "But the president has made the decision. It's not up for debate. At least, I didn't take it as being up for debate anymore."
Doubleday, Justin. Inside the Pentagon's Inside Missile Defense; Arlington Vol. 24, Iss. 14, (Jul 4, 2018).
The State Department has given the green light to a potential $860 million sale of Aegis combat systems to Spain.
The approved sale involves five Aegis combat systems and associated equipment for installation on Spanish frigates, according to a June 26 Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement.
Spain's navy already operates five Aegis-equipped frigates, DSCA states.
Adding Aegis to five new frigates in Spain's fleet "will afford more flexibility and capability to counter regional threats and continue to enhance stability in the region," according to DSCA.
"Spain has demonstrated the capability, flexibility, and responsibility necessary to acquire this Aegis system into its fleet and will continue to operate it as required to ensure interoperability as a highly valued NATO partner," the agency continues.
Principal contractors on the proposed sale would include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics.
Albon, Courtney. Inside the Pentagon's Inside Missile Defense; Arlington Vol. 24, Iss. 14, (Jul 4, 2018).
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency this fall plans to choose a single vendor for its Hallmark program - an effort to mature a space battle management command and control testbed to verify new software and tactics and improve joint space operations.
DARPA's Hallmark program aims to support ongoing efforts within the Defense Department and intelligence community to develop a more joint approach to space command and control by providing a means for validating software tools that could be fielded within BMC2 architectures.
Lt. Col. Jeremy Raley, a program manager for the agency, told Inside Defense in a June 15 interview the program chose four companies last year to conduct software testbed design and cognitive evaluation work for Hallmark. The agency chose Ball Aerospace to design one of the testbeds and paired it with General Dynamics as its cognitive evaluator. BAE Systems is designing the second and is teamed with Northrop Grumman as its evaluator.
Raley said one of the program's goals is to create an open, modular framework for evaluating and fielding tools. To prove the testbeds meet that requirement, DARPA has also awarded 11 contracts to developers creating applications meant to assess the testbeds' open concept.
"The testbeds, the winning proposals, did what I asked in [the original broad agency announcement], which was to tell me about how they're going to have open standards," he said. "That's all well and good. The government gets that in proposals all the time. What I wanted to make sure I did in Hallmark was have a way to test that."
The 11 tools contracts, which DARPA awarded to eight contractors, are developing capabilities including improved space situational awareness, orbital tracking and conjunction and threat analysis.
DARPA issued a BAA for additional tools last December and is in the process of determining contract awards for that solicitation. Raley said those awards will likely come in October or November - around the time the program selects a single testbed provider.
The primary objective of Hallmark is to prove it's possible to continuously upgrade command-and control capabilities to keep pace with constantly evolving threats in space -- and, according to Raley, it's been successful so far in early demonstrations.
"The problem that we have now is that our adversaries keep changing, our environment keeps changing in space, our capabilities keep changing and our command-and-control programs are still working on the requirements that were laid out for them years, decades ago in some cases," he said. "What I really wanted to demonstrate with the program is that flexibility . . . to change based on what helps the operator make decisions in challenging situations."
The program conducts demonstrations every three months, and Raley said each one has moved further toward demonstrating that flexibility. Early evaluations were focused on assuring the program could integrate tools into the testbed and then focused on data collection. The most recent event in May included participation from space operators who used the tools in a simulated scenario.
Raley noted that the flexibility Hallmark is demonstrating will also require a more adaptable acquisition model that allows for rapid upgrades and integration as well as continuous operator feedback.
"That acquisition approach that allows us to evaluate every three months if we're headed in the right direction, get some outside feedback from those cognitive evaluators . . . I don't think that's ever been done on a DOD program," he said. "So really a lot of the importance lies in showing how we can use this model to get what we need as the government from the acquisition system."
DARPA is "in talks" with a few organizations about utilizing one of the testbeds and possibly acquiring some of the tools the program has developed, but Raley wouldn't discuss which organizations are interested because no decisions have been made.
Once the program selects a single testbed this fall, Hallmark will transition into Phase 2, which Raley said will work through how to mix new capabilities -- those solicited through the recent BAA- with older applications, some of which may no longer be supported by the original
contractors either because they didn't bid for Phase 2 or there isn't enough funding to carry them into the next phase.
Phase 2 will also consider if there are particular challenges with integrating new tools onto a more mature testbed, and Raley noted that could include architecture that exists in other organizations, including work the Air Force rapid capabilities office is developing.
Raley said one of the biggest challenges his team has faced on the program is with data provisioning- determining how to develop simulation data and make sure that data works well with the applications. However, the difficulty has forced the contractors to communicate on a regular basis to prepare for the regular demonstrations.
"I've seen programs go a lot worse by people operating independently," Raley said. "This really actually forces a lot of discussion early on, which I think saves us some time in the long run.
Sherman, Jason. Inside the Pentagon's Inside Missile Defense; Arlington Vol. 24, Iss. 14, (Jul 4, 2018).
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved legislation that would require the Army to draft a plan to experiment with Iron Dome, an Israeli- developed system designed to shoot down rockets and lowflying threats, in a move that could set the stage for proponents of the system to fight for a slice of future Pentagon spending on air defense for U.S. ground forces.
The Senate panel, in its version of the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill, would direct the Army to prepare a formal assessment of how wellsuited Iron Dome is to meet the service's shortrange air defense needs. The full Senate approved the bill June 18.
By the end of this year, lawmakers want an assessment of Iron Dome's "suitability for the Army's shortrange air defense mission, a plan for experimentation with and demonstration of Iron Dome, and a determination of the feasibility of its use," according to the report accompanying the bill.
Since 2011, Congress has provided Israel more than $1.4 billion to produce Iron Dome batteries, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. In August 2011, Raytheon and Rafael -- which are partnered on David's Sling, a U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense development program - announced a marketing agreement to allow Raytheon to market Iron Dome in the United States.
In 2014, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a coproduction agreement to enable some portions of the Iron Dome system to be produced in the United States.
Rafael touts Iron Dome as "the only dualmission system in the world that provides an effective defense solution for countering rockets, artillery and mortars as well as aircraft, helicopters," unmanned aerial vehicles and precision-guided munitions, according to a company fact sheet.
The targeting system and radar - designed to fire Tamir interceptors- is designed to defeat threats with ranges of up to 70 kilometers as well as defend against missiles launched from as little as 10 kilometers, according to the company.
An Iron Dome battery includes a radar built by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors.
The Iron Dome system received significant international attention in 2012 during hostilities between Israel and Hamas. According to the Pentagon, the system intercepted 85 percent of the approximately 400 rockets fired from the West Bank that November.
"Given the demonstrated success of Iron Dome, the committee sees value in experimentation with the Iron Dome system, including potential integration of the Iron Dome command-and-control system with existing U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense (AMD) systems, to assess its suitability in addressing gaps in U.S. AMD capabilities," according to the Senate panel.
Lawmakers, however, note "there may be some software code limitations and [military specification] standard compliance concerns," according to the report.
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