Defense Operations

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is developing a new fleet readiness plan that aims to enable more operations amid less funding. It is designed to avoid redundant activities or situations that might delay operations, and it will provide structure as well as flexibility in a coordinated effort across the fleet.

This endeavor was described by Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Speaking at the Wednesday keynote luncheon at West 2014 in San Diego, the admiral said the command faced some tough choices when confronted with substantial funding reductions.

“We can complain, or we can lead,” he offered. “We’re choosing to lead.”

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy must “achieve a balance” between using custom information technology and adopting commercial products, according to its chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen, appearing in the Wednesday keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego, told the audience that this balance must weigh all factors in determining the Navy’s information technology direction.

“We are going to be in a declining resource environment,” Halvorsen said. This will require understanding the value of all data from all aspects. Even cyber, funding for which will increase, also must be balanced.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy of the future will strongly resemble the U.S. Navy of the present, according to a group of admirals. Budget cuts and changing missions are impelling the Navy to rely on its existing platforms and improve them by implementing new technologies.

Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman III, USN, commander, Naval Surface Forces, told a Wednesday panel audience at West 2014 in San Diego that the Navy will not see an increasing budget any time in the next 20 years, so it must “squeeze the best” out of what it has.

“The surface fleet we have sitting in the harbor now is the surface fleet we will have 15-20 years from now,” he predicted.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Having vast amounts of intelligence data will not serve U.S. military needs if it is applied only tactically, according to a U.S. Navy information dominance leader. This data must be used to understand an adversary’s strategic intent, or leaders may not act effectively.

Rear Adm. Paul Becker, USN, director for intelligence, J-2, Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised that issue during the Wednesday morning keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego. Adm. Becker warned that military leaders must be able to glean a deep understanding of an adversary’s mindset, strategy and intent. “We often are at an information deficit in that area,” he stated.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy’s focus on information dominance is increasing along with its reach. Having organized the force along its lines, the Navy now is applying new operational tasks to its menu.

Vice Adm. Ted Branch, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance and director of naval intelligence, declared at a West 2014 keynote panel that information dominance is a warfighting domain just like air, sea, land and space. And, being successful in information dominance is as important as being successful in those four other warfighting domains. Cyber is just a component of information dominance, the admiral pointed out.

February 12, 2014

L-3 Communications Corp., Communication Systems West, Salt Lake City, Utah, has been awarded a $17,919,946 delivery order (0003) on an existing firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contract (FA8620-13-G-4051) for supply of Satellite Communications Terminals, Test and Monitor Sub-Systems, Satellite Earth Terminal Sub-Systems (SETTS) Site Monitor and Radomes for the United States, United Kingdom and France. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

February 12, 2014

Data Link Solutions LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $24,996,802 firm-fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Multi-functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) on Ship (MOS) Modernization (MOS MOD). This contract covers the development, fabrication, integration, testing and delivery of MOS MOD systems, which will be developed to support both the MIDS Joint Tactical Radio System and the MIDS low volume terminal four for shipboard applications. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $66,294,150.

February 12, 2014

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., San Diego, recently announced its Micro Systems Inc. subsidiary of its Advanced Drone and Targets Systems Division recently received a four-year Basic Ordering Agreement from the U.S. Navy valued at up to $29.6 million for unmanned aerial drone command and control systems and services. Kratos can be issued orders to provide engineering support and develop upgrades to unmanned aerial drone command and control electronics and related ground control stations over the next four years.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

A panel of officers at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego, discussed these challenges and explored potential remedies. Lt. P.J. Leon, USCG, team lead, Maritime Law Enforcement Force Protection One, cited what other panelists agreed was “the loss of a level of sincerity with leadership.” When lower ranking personnel lose faith in their leadership, hope for their military careers usually follows.

Career paths often become hazards because they are so regimented. And, if personnel change their specialties, they could lose the chance for advancement. “If you change your specialty, you have a short ticket out of the service,” Lt. Leon offered.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is counting on industry to provide the leading-edge information technologies that it will need to maintain superiority for the foreseeable future. Yet, if those technologies do not meet specific and broad-reaching criteria, they will not be serving the Navy, according to a Navy fleet commander.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, uses Google Glass as a teleprompter at WEST 2014.

The Tuesday luncheon speaker at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego, demonstrated his view of the potential for innovative technologies by donning the latest in visual display systems.

Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, began his luncheon address wearing a Google Glass wearable computer, which was provided by the Space and Naval Warfare Command (SPAWAR) at his request and that he used as a teleprompter. During his address, he doffed the Google Glass and replaced it with a tablet for his speech. Near the end of his talk, he put down the tablet and resorted to paper notes, which he then tore up at the end.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Military and civilian pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II praise its performance and are optimistic about its superiority in the future battlespace. However, even with fixes that have been made, some issues need to be addressed and support crew will need to adopt new ways of maintaining the flight line, these pilots say.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Business as usual will weaken rather than strengthen the U.S. military in this time of budget cuts. The force must rely on technology development to ensure that it does not maintain current force sizes at the expense of enablers.

These points were outlined by Christine Fox, acting deputy secretary of defense, at the opening keynote address at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego. Fox allowed that the military must become smaller over the next five years, and it must maintain capabilities that will enable it to meet any of a number of challenges.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. military must make difficult decisions that will define the force for years to come amid a substantial risk to readiness and effectiveness, according to a Defense Department official. The nation faces new challenges throughout the world coupled with severe budget cuts at home, and the response to these issues must be taken carefully with a long-term strategic look.

February 10, 2014

Navmar Applied Sciences Corp., Warminster, Pa., is being awarded a $12,500,411 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development of a Biometric Identity Approval Sentinel that produces technology that rapidly processes individuals for threat detection and biometric matching. This project will provide a fully integrated, highly accurate, configurable, and deployable solution that combines current and new technologies to dramatically increase the safety, speed, and efficiency of access control. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-14-C-0023).

February 10, 2014

Elbit Systems Ltd., Haifa, Israel, announced today that it was awarded an Israeli Ministry of Defense contract, in the amount of approximately $23 million, for the operation and maintenance of its ground simulators in use by the Israeli ground forces. The 5-year contract includes a variety of simulators, both fixed and mobile, dedicated to training for tanks, armored combat vehicles, driving simulators, intelligence training and other applications.
 

February 10, 2014

Thales has signed a five-year contract with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence to provide support for the Sonar 2050 anti-submarine sensor used on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate fleet. Sonar 2050 is a medium-range bow sonar currently fitted to thirteen Type 23 frigates and is the Royal Navy’s primary hull-mounted anti- submarine warfare sensor. It also provides the ship with passive detection capabilities at lower frequencies. Thales will provide physical support of Sonar 2050 for operational defect rectifications, a worldwide 24/7 helpdesk support service, dry dock and afloat support, and test equipment and handling.

February 10, 2014

Aaski Technology Inc., Ocean, N.J. (W15P7T-14-D-A218); Nexagen Networks Inc., Marlboro, N.J. (W15P7T-14-D-A219J); Linquest Corp., Los Angeles, Calif. (W1PP7T-14-D-A220); Systems Technologies Inc., West Long Branch, N.J. (W15P7T-14-D-A221) were awarded a $497 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for technical administrative operations support services in the development and integration of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

February 7, 2014

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a not-to-exceed  $117,286,467 undefinitized contract action (0118) for an existing firm-fixed-price contract (FA8620-10-G-3038) for the MQ-9 Accelerated Extended Range effort which will field 38 MQ-9 Extended Range aircraft. The company also has been awarded a $16,595,766 delivery order (0114) for an existing contract (FA8620-10-G-3038) for Lead-off Hitter AFSOC MQ-9 Software Line, which will provide MQ-9 software engineering support for the AFSOC fleet of MQ-9 unmanned aerial systems.

February 7, 2014

Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $16,286,396 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract for 22 modified improved target acquisition systems for the Royal Saudi Land Forces SWORD program and three for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-C-0066).

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