Defense Business Brief: Fall conference season: Masks required; Army wants a new drone; Collins buying FlightAware; and more.

We’re heading into the fall conference season, and after a year of virtual events (with some exceptions), in-person ones are set to resume (with some exceptions). But with the surge in COVID-19 infections, there are many restrictions. The Association of the U.S. Army is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative result from a COVID test less than 72 hours before attending its October conference. Attendees will be required to upload their vaccine records when registering. 

The Air Force Association is asking attendees at its late-September conference to “assert” that they have been vaccinated or received a negative test within 72 hours. In other words, you won’t be asked to show your vaccine card or test results. That said, members of the Air Force, whether uniformed and civilian, can only attend if they are fully vaccinated, according to a Sept. 2 memo from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

Face coverings are required for all attendees at both the AUSA and AFA conferences.

Other conferences on the schedule: Next week, the large DSEI arms show will take place in person and virtually. It has rather extensive COVID protocols, here. The annual COMDEF acquisition and budget heavy conference, usually in Washington, will be held virtually for the second consecutive year; more info about how to join, here.  And finally, the Modern Day Marine trade show has been canceled due to the Delta variant outbreak.

The House Armed Services Committee last week approved the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, 57-2. The bill now heads to the full chamber for approval. Lawmakers approved an amendment from Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the panel’s top Republican, that adds $25 billion to the Pentagon's request.

The U.S. Army is looking for a new drone. “The Army wants to replace the workhorse RQ-7B Shadow with a vertical takeoff and landing, runway-independent, reduced acoustic signature aircraft that can be transported organically while providing commanders with ‘on the move’ reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities,” the service said in a Sept. 2 statement. Industry has until Sept. 17 to reply to a white paper seeking info about a non-developmental drone that could meet its needs.

In mergers and acquisitions news, Raytheon Technologies’ Collins Aerospace plans to acquire the popular FlightAware flight-tracking website and database.

Making Moves

Lockheed Martin has hired Katie Wheelbarger, the assistant defense secretary for international security affairs, to be vice president for future concepts. “Her newly created role will focus on Lockheed Martin Government Affair’s 21st Century Warfighting initiative as the industry leader for future warfighting concepts, capabilities, and outcomes with Government customers,” Christian Marrone, senior vice president of the company’s government affairs office, wrote in an internal announcement.

David Joyce, a former president and CEO of GE Aviation, has been elected to Boeing’s board of directors. He will serve on the Aerospace Safety and Compensation committees. Edmund Giambastiani will retire from the board at the end of the year. Boeing also named Matt Welch vice president of investor relations, replacing Maurita Sutedja who has accepted an opportunity outside of Boeing.

Huntington Ingalls Industries named Stewart Holmes executive vice president of government and customer relations, succeeding Mitch Waldman, who will retire on Sept. 30.

Booz Allen Hamilton hired Frank Calvelli, former principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, (NRO), as a senior vice president within the firm’s national security business. “In this position, he will lead Booz Allen’s work across intelligence and space to drive transformation and integration for critical missions supporting the national security sector,” the company said.

From Defense One

The Pandemic Has Cost the Pentagon at Least $13.6B and Counting // Marcus Weisgerber

And that figure could rise as the Defense Department starts mandatory COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated civilian workers.

How Equipment Left In Afghanistan Will Expose US Secrets // Patrick Tucker

Even rendered inoperable, equipment now in the hands of the Taliban will yield troves of information about how the U.S. builds weapons and uses them.

US Air Force's First Software Chief Steps Down // Brandi Vincent

Nicolas Chaillan, who led a Pentagon-wide DevSecOps effort, said he was leaving in part because of a lack of support from senior leaders.

Marines Ground All New Amphibious Vehicles // Caitlin M. Kenney

Tow-hook problem suspends all 54 ACVs.

USAF Wants Wearables to Spot Outbreaks Faster // Brandi Vincent

Top officials are also looking into data integration and digital traceability tools to help keep staff healthy.

The Kabul Airlift in 5 Charts // Elizabeth Howe

The largest emergency airlift ever handled by the U.S. military started slowly and built to a torrent.

The Defense Budget Process Is Broken // Daniel DePetris

What the U.S. needs isn't more money for the Pentagon, but an honest and tough debate about strategy.