Defense CEOs have been looking for silver linings in a year when “work from home” has become the norm for many. Tom Arseneault, who in April became president and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc. — the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc — has the same supply-chain and workforce challenges being felt throughout the entire defense industry. But he says there have been positives as well, including more face time, if only virtually, with fellow defense industry CEOs and top Pentagon officials.
"There are calls with other CEOs of the top eight or nine companies, [and] with service acquisition executives at least weekly," Arseneault said on Wednesday. "All of the service acquisition executives have been reaching out. They want to stay plugged in and make sure we're all aligned.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently did a video call with CEOs, he said.
"It would take a year, in normal times, to get the amount of engagement I've experienced just in the [past] three months,” Arseneault said. “While the circumstances are obviously not perfect and we're worried about and talking about things that we wouldn't have a year ago,…the level of interaction has been really, really good. I give DoD a lot of credit here."
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We Don't Have Enough Cash to Build New Nuclear Weapons, Says Air Force Chief // Marcus Weisgerber
Nukes or conventional weapons, "the current budget does not allow you to do both," says Gen. Dave Goldfein, suggesting Congress create a separate account.
GM Believes Army Troop Transport Deal Is Jumpstart to More Military Work // Marcus Weisgerber
Now the company has its sights on Marine Corps, international, and more Army contracts.
Armed Services Chairman Rep. Adam Smith is asking GAO to report on compliance, as companies ask for more time.
HASC Completes NDAA Markup
And they even finished before midnight. This year’s bill is named for retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. The bill passed 56-0. Various provisions in the policy would rename military bases named after Confederate military officers and block President Trump’s plans to remove U.S. troops from Germany. One proposal that didn’t make it in: defunding the Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile replacement, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. Our friends at Air Force Magazine have a good recap of the 14-hour markup here.
Space Force Announces Bureaucratic Structure
Billed as “the most significant restructuring of space units undertaken by the United States since the establishment of Air Force Space Command in 1982, "the U.S. Space Force will have “three echelons of command,” compared to the Air Force’s five.
Here’s how it works, according to the USSF’s June 30 announcement. There will be three “field commands”: Space Operations Command, led by a three-star; Space Systems Command, led by a three-star; and Space Training and Readiness Command, led by a two-star. Within each command, there will be “deltas” — each led by O-6 officers — and then below that, squadrons. “When the field command structure is fully implemented, it will eliminate one general officer echelon and one O-6 echelon of command,” according to a statement. “Functions formerly performed at the eliminated echelons will be realigned where appropriate within the USSF.” One has to wonder: if this streamlined command structure works for the Space Force, could it work for the Air Force and other military branches? More details about what each command will be doing, here.
Envision Tomorrow's Military Base
AFWERX, the Air Force organization that connects tech entrepreneurs with the military, will host a July 28-30 virtual conference to hear ideas for ways it can build more modern military bases. The event will focus primarily on the rebuilding of Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, which was largely destroyed by Hurricane Michael in 2018. “Our intent is to build a 21st-century, digitally integrated installation, one that can be a model for other bases as they move forward,” Brig. Gen. Patrice Melançon, executive director of the Tyndall Program Management Office, said in an emailed statement. “That’s where AFWERX has come into play,” continued Melançon. “We’ve really got to think fundamentally differently about our approach.” More than 300 public-and private-sector teams are expected to participate. More info is here.
Boeing Finished 737 Max Recertification Flights
Now the waiting begins. The FAA will review the data from the three days of flight testing for the troubled airliner this week. Reuters called the completion of the FAA recertification flights “a key milestone toward the plane’s return to service.”
Also, Norwegian canceled orders for 92 737 Max and five 787 Dreamliner aircraft this week as the airline industry continues to struggle with record-low passenger travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And business across the pond at Boeing-rival Airbus is not much better. Airbus will cut 15,000 jobs across its workforce. Boeing earlier this year said it would cut 16,000 workers. The European planemaker also plans to slash production by 40 percent.
HII Destroyer Deal
The Navy has ordered a $936 million Arleigh Burke destroyer from Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi. The deal adds a ship to the six destroyers that the Navy awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries in 2018.
Meanwhile, workers at the Navy’s other destroyer maker, Bath Iron Works, remain on strike. And the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a potential coronavirus outbreak among striking workers, the Bangor Daily News reports. As of Monday, three people had tested positive for COVID-19. Pictures and videos of the picket line show few workers wearing face coverings.
Raytheon Gets $2.3B Saudi Missile Defense Radar Deal
The massive deal — which is being facilitated by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency — includes even gallium nitride-based AN/TPY-2 radars, which are part of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THADD, missile defense system.
Gregory Slavonic was named acting Navy undersecretary on June 22. Slavonic has been Navy assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs since June 2018.