Northrop reorganizes; Boeing starts work on new Air Force One; Amazon might deliver troops, and more.

Eight months into her tenure as Northrop Grumman CEO, Kathy Warden has released her long-term vision for the company.

The firm on Wednesday announced a reorganization of its four segments, effective on Jan. 1, to better incorporate Orbital ATK, which Northrop acquired in 2018, into its corporate structure.

“This new operating structure allows us to take full advantage of our company’s portfolio by aligning businesses that have shared markets, customers and technologies,” Warden said in a statement. “It will accelerate our ability to rapidly identify and deliver the technologies, products and services our customers need, and fuel our continued growth and execution.”

The four segments: 

  • Aeronautics Systems will be a simple rebrand of its Aerospace division, which handles aircraft — think B-21 stealth bomber and Global Hawk. Janis Pamiljans will stay on as its chief.
  • Mission Systems will keep its name, and part of its portfolio: cyber, software, and intelligence. Mark Caylor will stay on as its leader. But other work will be hived off to...
  • Defense Systems, which will provide “technology services, sustainment and modernization, including integrated battle command systems, directed energy, tactical weapons and information systems, focused on evolving threats and quick-turn requirements for a wide variety of national security, military and civilian customers.” This division, which appears to be where most of the company’s Technology Services division will be nested, will be headed by Mary Petryszyn, who currently runs the Land & Avionics C4ISR part of the Mission Systems division.
  • Space Systems will handle rocket work, including launches. This will be led by Blake Larson, who runs the soon-to-disappear Innovation Systems, which currently handles launches.

Northrop also announced the upcoming retirements of Patrick Antkowiak, chief strategy and technology officer, and Christopher Jones, president of its Technology Services division.

What does Wall Street think? “They were due for a new structure to better conform [Orbital ATK] to [Northrop Grumman’s] portfolio of capabilities after rebranding it simply as ‘Innovation Systems’ upon closing the acquisition,” Citi’s Jon Raviv wrote in a Wednesday note to investors. And other movements can add value as NOC finetunes its portfolio. “Beyond the strategic benefits of having four more similarly sized segments organized around common capabilities, this also highlights certain narratives and makes them easier to track externally.”

“Meanwhile the previously underperforming (sales-wise) TS [Technology Services] segment is now somewhat obfuscated by being part of a larger segment. This of course doesn't change total numbers but it will be harder to see TS standalone performance. That said, TS growth should improve in 2020 such that it should not weigh down the rest of its new segment.”


You’ve reached the Defense One Global Business Brief by Marcus Weisgerber. Another Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber conference is in the books — and this one seemed to continue the event’s year-over-year growth. The halls seemed even more crowded with attendees, many in uniform, while several companies sported larger and more elaborate, booths in the exhibit hall. Swag watch: forget the golf balls; socks are the new go-to give away. We’ve seen United Launch Alliance pass out rocket-themed footwear at the annual Space Symposium, but others are stepping up their sock game. United Technologies’ Collins Aerospace had some, as did as AFA itself, who gave a pair to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. See anything interesting? Send it along to or @MarcusReports. Check out the Global Business Brief archive here, and tell your friends to subscribe!

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Boeing to Begin Work on New Air Force One

After flying two 747s from a Victorville, California, storage facility to a Boeing facility in San Antonio earlier this year, the company will soon begin work to transform them into the next Air Force Ones. The high-profile project is being run by Brig. Gen. Ryan Britton, who oversees the recapitalization and sustainment of the Air Force’s fleet of executive aircraft that fly government officials and military brass around the world.

“The aircraft are undergoing preparation for VC-25B modification to include interiors and engine removals,” Derek Kaufman, an Air Force Materiel Command spokesman, said in an email. “Formal modification is scheduled to begin in early 2020.”

“We’re meeting the milestones that we’ve established,” Gen. Arnold Bunch, head of Air Force Materiel Command, told reporters Tuesday at the AFA conference. “I know of nothing that tells me we’re running into any hiccups.”

The program office is “working well with Boeing,” Bunch said. “Boeing knows that’s an important program and they’re committed to the program,” he said.

Amazon Could Haul Military Cargo

As Amazon expands its package-hauling airline, an Air Force four-star says the internet retailing giant is interested in joining the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a group of passenger and cargo air carriers that move troops and military equipment.

Gen. Maryanne Miller, the head of Air Mobility Command, said she’s met with Amazon about joining the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, also known as CRAF.

“I visited Amazon and we talked about, ‘Would you consider coming into CRAF?’” she said. “And they said: ‘We’d absolutely consider doing that,’” Miller told reporters Wednesday at the AFA conference. “Amazon is a great patriotic company and if the opportunity would ever present itself, they would consider that.”

Amazon Air does not own its own planes, so it relies on a fleet of Boeing 767s and 737 operated by cargo carriers, like Atlas Air and Southern Air, companies that are already part of the CRAF.

Does the CRAF need to grow for great power competition? The size of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet is “exactly what we need right now,” Miller said when asked if it needed to grow to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy, which predicts a future of competition with China and Russia.

“We’re trying to make sure that we work together to build a robust capability in cyber, in intel and in communications,” she said. “As they environment becomes more threatened, we realize we won’t be able to move them as far forward as we have.”

That means Air Force planes would need to haul cargo closer to the battlefield.

“We’re spending a lot of time just trying to understand the threat environment with them and figure out how we leverage them in the future,” Miller said.

F-35 Program Head Temporarily Running Lockheed Aero

Greg Ulmer is temporarily leading Lockheed Martin Aeronautics while the division president Michele Evans receives medical treatment, Reuters reports. “Evans, 54, who took over as executive vice president of Lockheed’s largest division in October 2018, is widely seen as a leading candidate to succeed Marillyn Hewson, 65, as chief executive of Lockheed, the No. 1 U.S. arms maker,” the wire service reports.

New ICBM Drama Hangs Over AFA

The conference opened on Monday with Northrop Grumman announcing its team of suppliers for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the $85 billion effort to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile and the control centers that would launch the nuclear weapons. The team rather pointedly did not include Boeing, which in July said it would not enter a separate bid because the bidding parameters favor Northrop, and which has since asked the Air Force to hand it a role in the program. 

Will Roper, the head of Air Force acquisition, said on Monday: “My hands are fairly tied on commenting because from an acquisition and legal perspective we are still in source selection, there is still competition...We’re very open to a variety of proposals; we’re open to teaming relationships. We just don’t want to dictate them. We think those should be decided by industry.”

BAE to Put Two Destroyers in Drydock

October will see a first for San Diego’s two-year-old drydock: hosting two ships simultaneously. “Positioned end to end, the USS Stethem and USS Decatur will be lifted together inside BAE Systems’ ‘Pride of California’ dry-dock,” the company said in a statement.

LockMart Nabs Part in Pitt Flick

The company’s logo appears in the new film Ad Astra, which opens tonight. “Lockheed Martin plays a visionary role in the movie, showcasing what’s possible in the near future for space travel,” the company said in a statement. “Over two years, Lockheed Martin experts advised the film’s creators on the art of the possible.”