June 23, 2024

Defense Budget Boosts Funds for New Tech, Innovation

Innovation
Deputy DefSec Kathleen Hicks observes a Defense Innovation Unit site walk-through and capabilities brief during a visit to the DIU in Mountain View, CA, in December 2023. (DoD photo by US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza)

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Morning Coffee logoeconomic community. The opinions expressed here do not reflect opinions of the Leader’s owners or staff.

House lawmakers want to allocate more than $1.3 billion for the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, part of a continued push by Congress to develop commercial technology at a faster pace. The draft of the fiscal 2025 military spending legislation includes a substantial increment for the DIU to quickly deliver capabilities that meet urgent needs from combatant commands and the services, reports TrendyDigest on MSN. The bill would also expand access to classified facilities by innovation centers and the nontraditional companies they work with.

The House Appropriations Committee’s version of the $833 billion draft defense spending bill contains a heavy focus on culture war issues but does increase spending for the F-35 jet and the DIU, reports Breaking Defense. The budget proposal also abides by congressionally mandated spending caps, adds aid for Israel, and blocks a proposal to transfer Guard personnel to the Space Force.

Taiwan said it is establishing a military technology development unit to integrate research on the development of military and civilian defense technology, reports Taipei Times, with the aim of boosting the nation’s warfare capabilities in the face of growing military threats from China. The unit will combine the resources and capabilities of the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and civilian-run technology firms.

The US and the Philippines expanded a recent military drill — the Balikatan exercise — to the island country’s territorial edges amid tension with China, reports Defense News. The exercise’s expansion is a direct reflection of the Philippines’ acknowledgment its territorial defenses are lacking.

DefSec Lloyd Austin, speaking at the 2024 Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore, promoted “a new and stronger network of partnerships” in the Pacific, reports Breaking Defense. He emphasized that the network would be a group of countries “with similar values and a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” not a Pacific NATO as one Chinese official suggested. “Today we are witnessing a new convergence around nearly all aspects of security in the Indo-Pacific. This new convergence is producing a stronger, more recent, more capable network of partnerships,” Austin said.

The US flew a long-range B-1B bomber over the Korean Peninsula last week for its first precision-guided bombing drill with South Korea in seven years, reports Air Force Times. The drill comes as tensions are rising over the North’s recent launches of balloons carrying trash toward South Korea and other provocations, reports AP.

TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, has signed a Partnership Intermediary Agreement with Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, reports citybiz. TEDCO will work to increase the likelihood of success in activities with small business firms and educational institutions that need or can make productive use of technology-related assistance from NSWCDD.

CharLES, the aerospace industry’s high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics solver, is giving engineers a clearer picture of potential solutions to engine health issues, reports NAVAIR News. It is reducing the time and cost it takes to simulate the aerodynamics inside an aircraft’s engine and troubleshoot problems. CharLES as developed through NAVAIR’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs.

The US Space Systems Command asked companies earlier this year for ideas on how to boost satellite sensors, reports C4ISRNET, in an attempt to understand what capabilities can help expand the service’s portfolio of space domain awareness satellites. The service operates a fleet of satellites under its Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program. The command is now sifting through the influx of ideas from companies to determine how they might shape future Space Force requirements.

Former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Army LT GEN Scott Berrier has joined Booz Allen as a senior vice president, reports Yahoo!Finance. He will support and expand business growth and development across Booz Allen’s federal clients with a focus on strategic direction for intelligence, according to the company. At the DIA, he led more than 16,500 military personnel, DoD civilians, and contractors in the largest transformation in DIA’s history focused on the pacing challenge and positioned the organization for strategic competition.

Lockheed Martin has chosen Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket to fly 15 launches and up to 10 optional missions for the defense contractor through 2029, reports Defense News. Lockheed said the partnership with Firefly is a direct response to DoD and other customers who have asked for faster deliveries of advanced space capabilities.

Joby Aviation, a Santa Cruz, CA-based electric air taxi company, said it is acquiring the autonomy division of Xwing Inc., a firm that develops autonomous technology for aircrafts, reports Fast Company. The acquisition will help bring it closer to “fully autonomous operations in the future,” according to a company news release, and that the technology will “play an important role in accelerating the execution of existing contract deliverables with the US Department of Defense and expanding the potential for future contracts.”

The US Space Force is now taking applications from Air Force reservists in certain career fields to become full-time, active-duty Guardians, the latest effort to draw more service members from its sister service, reports Military.com.

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to resign during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing where McDonough testified about bonuses erroneously paid to senior VA executives under a law passed to provide incentive pay to retain employees in jobs with critical shortages, reports Military.com. McDonough said a “series of massive mistakes” led to the approval of nearly $11 million in bonuses to executives who weren’t eligible to receive them, reports Federal News Network.

The latest US Labor Department economic outlook shows that the nation’s economy added 272,000 jobs in May 2024, reports NBC News, bringing good news for workers but potentially complicating the Federal Reserve’s ongoing crusade against inflation. Economists had expected 190,000 jobs to be added.

A new US military aid package will send $225 million to Ukraine, reports Military Times. This includes the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, as well as mortar systems and artillery rounds, Kyiv’s forces could use to strike threats inside Russia.

Breaking Defense examines what a crashed jet means for the F-35 program already thin on test planes. The F-35 that crashed in New Mexico late last month was supposed to add to the small test fleet of 43 aircraft. Limited and aging testing infrastructure could delay or endanger future upgrades to the jet. “While we know that expanding F-35 test capacity is the first step to fundamental F-35 transformation, this incident exacerbates the already urgent need to expand it,” Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) said. The Navy is working on cleaning up the site and assessing environmental damage from the May 28 crash, reports KRQE Albuquerque.

The German government announced at the Berlin Air Show last week that it will buy 20 more Eurofighter combat jets in addition to 38 already on order, reports Reuters. Good news for Germany’s major defense contractors who are eager to display that new contracts have jolted a sleepy industry.

The US military test-fired two unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, reports Defense News. The tests, which involved the Air Force and Space Force, took place June 4 and 6 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Air Force noting the tests were not driven by “current world events.”

The USS Enterprise, the first US nuclear aircraft carrier, played crucial roles in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, and Operation Praying Mantis. The National Interest says the ship, commissioned in 1961, set the standards for all the carriers that have come after, calling the carrier “a game changer.”

The Marines opened a 100,000-square-foot wargaming center at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, reports Marine Corps Times. The center should at least double the service’s wargaming capacity ― giving them the ability to conduct 20 wargames annually, including two large-scale, 250-participant exercises. The General Robert B. Neller Center for Wargaming and Analysis was named for the 37th commandant.

Wildlife biologists have made a surprising discovery on Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay, reports Bay Journal. While 40 different bird species have successfully nested on the island and produced young, one species was missing … until now. Last month, a US Fish and Wildlife Service scientist climbed a tree and observed a stick-laden nest known to have been built by bald eagles the previous fall. Inside were a pair of newly hatched eaglets — a male and a female. The US Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Port Authority have been rebuilding the island over the last 25 years. What was once almost entirely open water is now more than 1,700 acres of rock-ringed land.

Contracts:

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Marlborough, Massachusetts, is awarded a $677,715,433 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract N00024-22-C-5500 to exercise options for hardware production of the AN/SPY-6(V) Family of Radars. Work will be performed in Andover, Massachusetts (31%); San Diego, California (9%); Sykesville, Maryland (9%); Scottsdale, Arizona (8%); Syracuse, New York (5%); Cerritos, California (5%); Stafford Springs, Connecticut (4%); Tulsa, Oklahoma (3%); Indianapolis, Indiana (3%); Portsmouth, Rhode Island (2%); Riverside, California (2%); and various locations across the US, each less than 1% (19%). Work is expected to be completed by September 2028. Fiscal 2024 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $303,501,451 (45%); fiscal 2023 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $202,837,244 (30%); fiscal 2024 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $132,269,344 (19%); fiscal 2021 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $28,255,401 (4%); and fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,851,993 (2%) will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

TEK Fusion Global Inc., Williamsburg, Virginia, is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H9224124D0001) for $41,822,677.99 for the development, non-recurring engineering services and software development in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. Fiscal 2022, 2023 and 2024 procurement defense-wide funds in the amount of $2,084,800 are being obligated at time of the award. The majority of the work will be performed in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by June 2029. This contract was awarded as a noncompetitive action in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. US Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.

B3 Enterprises LLC, Woodbridge, Virginia, was awarded a $16,953,460 modification (P00028) to contract W9124G-19-C-0006 for refuel and defuel services. Work will be performed at Fort Novosel, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of June 26, 2028. Fiscal 2024 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $16,953,460 were obligated at the time of the award. Army Field Directorate Office, Fort Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Amentum Services Inc., Chantilly, Virginia, was awarded a $7,968,260 modification (P00099) to contract W9124G-17-C-0005 for initial rotary wing pilot training. Work will be performed at Fort Novosel, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of June 14, 2024. Fiscal 2024 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $7,968,260 were obligated at the time of the award. Army Field Directorate Office, Fort Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Distributed Computing System Solutions Provider Inc., Herndon, Virginia, is awarded a single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M95494-24-D-0004) in the amount of $99,517,000 (maximum ceiling value) with a five-year ordering period in order to provide the Marine Corps Defense Agencies Initiative end-to-end and portfolio management support services. Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia (99%); and various other places (1%). Fiscal 2024 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $5,000 will be obligated at the time of award. Subsequent funding will be provided on a task order basis with an estimated ordering period expiration of June 2029. This contract was noncompetitively procured as a direct award to an Alaskan Native Corp. 8(a) small business, pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation parts 19 and 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations 124.506(b). The Marine Corps Installation Command Headquarters Contracting Office, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M9549424D0004).

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