Davidson Receives Gold Boeing Performance Excellence Award

Davidson has received a 2019 Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

The Boeing Co. issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. Davidson maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2018 to September 2019. This year, Davidson is one of only 62 suppliers to receive a Gold level Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

“To be selected as a Gold supplier for Boeing is quite an honor,” said Davidson President John Holly. “We take great pride in the quality of our performance and the criticality of the mission. We are truly honored by this recognition.”

Davidson has received the honor every year since 2009 as the company continues its relationship with Boeing in Huntsville. Performance excellence is fundamental to the success of both companies and Davidson is dedicated to meeting the high-performance standards necessary to meet customer expectations and remain competitive in the global economy.  

“For over 21 years Davidson has had the honor of serving The Boeing Company on the GMD Program as one of our most important customers,” said Joey Leary, senior vice president Eastern Operations, Davidson. “We are honored and grateful to accept this award and look forward to doing our best to continue to support this vital national defense mission.” 

SAIC Adds Innovation Factory Hub in Huntsville

SAIC is adding an Innovation Factory Hub to its Huntsville site, expanding its presence and support to local customers. This marks the latest expansion of SAIC’s Innovation Factory network where the Department of Defense and other federal government agencies can evaluate new technologies and accelerate delivery of new and modernized systems.

SAIC’s Innovation Factory is a nationwide network of physical and virtual environments using a highly automated, cloud-hosted toolset; agile practices; and DevSecOps production chains to rapidly build, test, and deploy first iterations of solutions quickly and then enhance them quickly through close customer collaboration. Innovation Factory hubs connect SAIC’s innovators and toolsets, startups/tech companies, and the customer. 

The Huntsville Innovation Factory Hub will be integrated into SAIC’s Innovation Factory network and showcase uniquely focused technologies enabling end-to-end analysis, experimentation and engineering focused on digital engineering with modeling and simulation and rapid prototyping capabilities.

 

“As we have witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement for true digital transformation has never been greater. This expansion to SAIC’s longstanding presence in Huntsville with a new Innovation Factory Hub allows us to support emerging needs, while also leveraging our solutions and company-wide expertise – developed over four decades supporting local customers,” said Jim Scanlon, SAIC executive vice president and general manager of the Defense Systems Group. “With all sectors rapidly implementing technology to meet and conduct business virtually, our new Innovation Factory Hub will enable our Huntsville-area customers to accelerate solutions to meet their mission requirements.”

With more than 2,800 employees, SAIC’s Huntsville office is the company’s largest single location outside of its Reston, Va., headquarters and the Washington, D.C., region.

In addition to supporting local customers, the Huntsville Innovation Factory Hub will advance innovation for the entire community and be able to integrate solutions from SAIC’s local small and large business partners.

“The Huntsville Innovation Factory Hub is focused on driving Defense modernization initiatives while addressing the technical challenges associated with DOD multi-domain operations and force modernization initiatives,” said SAIC Chief Technology Officer Charles Onstott. “Our researchers and engineers will leverage digital engineering and agile software development to enable the DOD to rapidly explore and implement innovative technologies, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and modeling and simulation, focused on improving mission outcomes.” 

The Huntsville Innovation Factory Hub will open in a phased approach. Phase 1 is an immediate fielding of Innovation Factory cloud-based process and tools focused on app and IT modernization, and teams will use existing conference spaces until hub spaces are ready.  Follow-on phases will leverage “workplace of the future” renovations in SAIC’s Odyssey Drive facility, and incorporate digital engineering, data analytics and modeling and simulation cloud-based tools. Completion of hub spaces is targeted for next spring.

The Innovation Factory relies on robust ecosystems of advanced technology partner companies, including startups and commercial partners, and federal government customers seeking new technologies.

U.S. Army Awards BAE Systems $179M for Next-Generation Missile Warning Systems

BAE Systems recently received $179 million in total awards from the Army as part of the Limited Interim Missile Warning System Quick Reaction Capability program.

This award includes orders for the first two production lots and funding to enable fielding of the next-generation Missile Warning System. The MWS provides crews with advanced threat detection capabilities, improving survivability and mission effectiveness in contested environments.

The new warning system is designed to protect aircraft in “high-clutter environments.” (Photo/BAE Systems)

“Threats are evolving and proliferating at a rapid pace and our aircrews who fly into harm’s way need the most advanced protection systems available,” said Chris Austin, director of Threat Detection Solutions at BAE Systems. “These orders follow an intensive two-year development and qualification program, made possible by a strong industry-government partnership focused on achieving an aggressive schedule.”

The foundation of LIMWS is BAE Systems’ 2-Color Advanced Warning System processor which will allow the Army to outpace the threat. 2CAWS builds upon BAE Systems’ experience in fielding systems for the rotary-wing environment. Optimized for size, weight, and power, 2CAWS features an open system processor, two-color infrared sensors for increased range, and a fiber optic A-kit for faster data transmission.

Work on the LIMWS program will be conducted in BAE Systems’ facilities in Merrimack, N.H., and Huntsville, where the company is building a state-of-the-art facility in Cummings Research Park.

The  Common Missile Warning System is currently fielded on thousands of Army platforms and has saved dozens of aircraft and their crews since it was first fielded in 2005.

Boeing Awarded $150M Missile Defense Agency Contract

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Boeing a three-year, $150 million contract modification to produce four additional boost vehicles for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

GMD is the only defense program capable of protecting the entire U.S. homeland, including Alaska and Hawaii, against long-range ballistic missile attacks.

As the prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.  Boeing also provides training, equipment production and operations support services.

Boeing manages the program in Huntsville and the work will be performed in Chandler, Ariz.

 

Cybersecurity Certification and Intellectual Property: ‘Only Information is Misinformation, Right Now’

Intellectual property is a company’s most valued asset.

Unfortunately, it is also what cybercriminals are hoping to catch on their on their next phishing trip in Hacker’s Pond.

Simple Helix CEO Tracy Collins: “Consultants, suppliers, they all have great opinions, but do your homework.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

It’s a business’s biggest nightmare at worst; a major inconvenience at best. When dealing with government agencies, the risk is even greater.

To that end, the Department of Defense rolled out its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification which surpasses compliance initiatives currently in place. Once implemented, CMMC will be a mandatory certification for all contractors and subcontractors doing business with the government.

To clarify misconceptions and answer questions regarding CMMC, Simple Helix and H2L Solutions teamed up to present, “CMMC: Where Assessment Meets Implementation.”

“We appreciate you meeting with us today,” said Tracy Collins, CEO of Simple Helix. “We’re really excited to discuss a topic that’s top of mind for many of us.

“The only information is misinformation, right now.”

Collins empathized that each business has its own needs and budget; he recommended that companies do their research, keeping those factors in mind.

“Base your decisions on your business. You have choices, despite what you’re told by others, said Collins. “Consultants, suppliers, they all have great opinions, but do your homework.”

“The government will never tell you one way or another,” said Stan Lozovsky, vice president/chief operations officer of H2L Solutions. “They provide the requirement and it’s up to the company to meet those requirements.”

H2L Solutions VP/COO Stan Lozovsky: CMMC “is here to protect your business …” (Photo/Steve Babin)

As CMMC is implemented, companies may not be able to do business with the government without the proper security procedures in place.

“CMMC is not here to hinder your business,” said Lozovsky. “It is here to protect your business and to force businesses to take a posture to protect information, your intellectual property, and how you do business.”

The government is taking a staggered approach to implementation, he said.

“The government has a five-year plan for roll-out,” said Lozovsky. “Whenever there’s a mod (modification), there’s a cost to the government, as well. There’s also a learning curve.

“You can’t really just flip a switch and expect everyone to just start doing everything, right off the bat.”

Self-certification will also be a thing of the past – third-party auditors must verify the certification criteria.

And history has demonstrated that self-certification isn’t always effective.

“It will force people into taking an active role in cybersecurity,” said Lozovsky.

“The CMMC implementation doesn’t have to be expensive,” said Scott McDaniel, vice president of Technology for Simple Helix. “Do your homework; you have choices with the vendors, tools, and the solutions that you choose to implement.”

 

 

 

Q&A with Sen. Jones: On Military Spending, Families and the Widows’ Tax

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) recently sat down with the Huntsville Business Journal at Huntsville West and discussed several issues important to our state and nation. This is the final installment of five reports from the interview. Today’s topic is the military and military families.

HBJ: Huntsville is a military town, nicknamed “Pentagon South.” Tell us what is going on with military spending and families.

 

Sen. Doug Jones met with the Huntsville Business Journal in the Huntsville West co-working collaborative community. (Photo/Steve Babin)

Sen. Jones: I’m on the Armed Services Committee. Alabama is extremely important to the nation’s security and our military forces. One of the things that we are trying to do, working with the administration, is to upgrade our military forces across the board.

We’ve got to spend money to upgrade what they call the “nuclear triad” of missiles for protection. We’ve got to upgrade submarines, planes, you name it. It’s all aging and we’re going to have to spend some money.

What we’re looking at now, is a whole new area of potential war and conflict. It’s not just in the air or sea or land anymore; it’s in space. This year, in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), we’ve created the Space Force. I’m hoping the Space Command will come here to Huntsville. That decision is going to come relatively soon.

The other thing I’ve focused was families, our servicemen and women. There’s a 3.1 percent increase this year in the salaries for service members, which is the first one they’ve had in a while.

We’ve also done things to put extra money into education, trying to help the kids of service members that move around a lot, and also for kids with disabilities.

We’ve done things for military spouses. Military spouses often have professional certifications that are hard to transfer when they move. We’re trying to do things to make that certification transfer easier.

HBJ: What piece of military legislation stands out for you?

Sen. Jones: The biggest thing that I’m proudest of, after a 30-year fight, is the work that I did in the Senate this year to get the military widows’ tax eliminated for good. It was a really, really big deal.

Sen. Jones on widows’ tax: “Getting this tax eliminated was more than just a job for us, it was a mission; it was a cause.”

Although it only affects some 2,000 people in Alabama, it’s 2,000 people that are now going to get $1,200-$1,500 a month more.

There was a statutory set of money that the VA has administered for a long time.

Those funds were to be distributed to widows when a service member dies in combat or of a service-related injury. In many cases, service members buy additional insurance to provide additional benefits for their families. That money is administered by the Department of Defense and it’s something that service members pay for – out of their own pockets.

About 35  years ago, Congress passed legislation allowing the Department of Defense and the VA to offset the two.

If a widow was entitled to both pots of money, they’d only get 55 percent. This means money that service members have paid into – was going to the Department of Defense and staying there.

I didn’t know about it, never heard about it and then some of the Gold Star widows came to us and talked about it.

I just about blew a gasket. How can that be?

They showed me that it has been tried for 20 years to overturn and I told them, “This year, we’re going to do something different.”

It’s a commitment that was made to our service members that the federal government and Congress has fallen down on. Getting this tax eliminated was more than just a job for us, it was a mission; it was a cause. Everyone in the office chipped in; we ended up getting close to 80 co-sponsors in a very partisan senate.

I got Susan Collins (R-Maine) to co-sponsor it with me in the Senate. Together, we got so many co-sponsors, we organized it like a political campaign.

Every recess, every town hall, there was somebody there, asking about the military widows’ tax.

It got to the point that when it went up to Congress, the negotiators for the NDAA said, “We’ve just got do this.”

When it passed, there were about 25 to 30 of those Gold Star widows up in the gallery.

It was awesome. It was really, really awesome.

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never been with a group of people so appreciative of an act of Congress as those military widows, it has been remarkable.

 

Q&A with Sen. Doug Jones: Of Ships, the Wall and Budget Redirection

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones  (D-Ala.) recently sat down with the Huntsville Business Journal and discussed several issues important to our state and nation. This is the fourth installment of five reports from the interview. Today’s topic is defense spending and border security.

HBJ: Mobile is a key player in shipbuilding, especially with Austal and the U.S. Navy. What can you tell us about the shipbuilding industry there?

Sen. Jones: Austal, down in Mobile, I think is the leading shipbuilding company for the Navy right now. They’ve built the LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) ships, they built the EPF (expeditionary fast transport) ships, they’re such a good company; they’ve come in pretty much on time and on budget.

The Mobile-built EPF can transport military units and vehicles, or can be reconfigured to become a troop transport for an infantry battalion. The EPF has a flight deck for helicopters and a load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive on and off the ship.

The Navy is really high on them; I am hopeful that they will get the frigate contract that is going to be let relatively soon.

The problem we’ve got with Austal right now is the number of LCS and EPF ships are winding down and there’s going to be a lag time and a transition period, even if they get the frigate contract. I’m going to assume for a moment that they are.

There will still be a transition where all the workers aren’t going to be utilized. So, one of the things that we’ve done in this year’s budget was to contract an extra EPF ship to be built for this year, to help stabilize the workforce down there.

HBJ: Did President Trump say he is moving money from there to help pay for the wall?

Sen. Jones: Recently, the president has announced that he’s going to do away with that and take the money from the Department of Defense’s budget to fund the border wall.

At the State of the Union address, the President bragged about – and he should have – the number of immigrants and refugees seeking asylum are down. The number of people crossing the borders without their correct documentation; those numbers are down.

This wall is a political issue that is trying shore up some drug smuggling lanes. And I can tell you as a former U.S. Attorney, building a concrete bollard wall that you can stick your arm through is not going to be the way to stop that. There are so many ways that we can do it more cost efficiently.

Sen. Jones: “Mexico is not paying for our wall; Mobile is paying for our wall.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

People may think maybe it’s related to immigration, it’s not. It’s just purely a political issue and the president has taken $261 million out of Austal and that EPF ship that was put in the budget and he’s line-iteming and moving that $261 million over to help build 17 miles of new wall and refortifying about 160 miles of wall.

So, the bottom line is this: Mexico is not paying for our wall; Mobile is paying for our wall.

We went through hours and hours of what they call “posture hearings” on the Armed Services Committee. And Congress, in a very bipartisan way, worked with the budget and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to appropriate money so that we could modernize our military, give our men and women in uniform everything that they need to protect the United States of America and here we’ve got money being taken out of that budget, $3.8 billion to build a concrete bollard wall.

Yes, I shook my head, too, as did everybody.

Again, make no mistake; I’ve supported stronger border security. We need to find out who’s been coming across our borders and try to do the best we can to secure those borders.

There’s just a better way to do it. The wall has become more of a symbol now, than it is an effective reality.

(Tomorrow: Sen. Jones discusses the military and military families)

 

BAE Systems to Purchase Collins Aerospace’s Military GPS, Raytheon’s Radio Businesses

BAE Systems said it intends to buy Collins Aerospace’s military Global Positioning System business  and Raytheon’s Airborne Tactical Radios business for a combined $2.2 billion.

The two high-performing businesses are being sold in connection with obtaining the required antitrust clearances for the previously announced pending merger between Raytheon and United Technologies Corp, BAE Systems said in a news release.

According to BAE, the asset purchase agreement for the Collins military GPS business calls for cash of $1.925 billion, with an expected tax benefit of approximately $365 million. For Raytheon’s ATR business, the purchase agreement calls for cash of $275 million, with an expected tax benefit of approximately $50 million.

“As militaries around the world increasingly operate in contested environments, the industry-leading, battle-tested products of these two businesses will complement and extend our existing portfolio of solutions we offer our customers,” said Jerry DeMuro, CEO of BAE Systems. “This unique opportunity to acquire critical radio and GPS capabilities strengthens our position as a leading provider of defense electronics and communications systems, and further supports our alignment with the modernization priorities of the U.S. military and its partners.”

These proposed acquisitions are subject to the successful closure of the Raytheon-UTC transaction and other customary closing conditions. Upon closure, both business lines would be integrated into the company’s Electronic Systems sector.

BAE Systems, Collins Aerospace and Raytheon have facilities in Huntsville.

“These are strong businesses with talented employees who share our focus on quality and technology innovation,” said Tom Arseneault, President and COO of BAE Systems. “We are confident of a smooth transition that will accelerate our future together and look forward to welcoming these new employees to the BAE Systems team once the transactions are approved.”

Qualis Acquires Bonham Technologies

Qualis, an integrator of technical and engineering services to the Department of Defense and NASA, has acquired Bonham Technologies, a diversified Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business.

Bonham, which like Qualis is Huntsville-based, provides technical, programmatic and logistical support services for combat weapon systems and associated support equipment.

Founded in 2004 by retired Army Col. Louis Bonham, BTI has provided a wide-array of UH-60 fleet support and systems integration, test and evaluation, and training support for ground vehicles.

“The acquisition of such a reputable company as BTI will significantly enhance Qualis’ unmanned and rotary wing aviation capabilities in the competitive Huntsville market,” said Qualis President Roderick Duke.

“We wholeheartedly welcome Lou and team,” said Qualis Founder and CEO Elizabeth Morard. The acquisition “marks a meaningful growth milestone in Qualis’ history to add this capable group of people to the Qualis family.

“I appreciate the initiative and dedication of Rod and team to make this happen.”

BTI has become a proven aviation contractor throughout its history providing aviation and missile weapons systems support to organizations such as the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal. Over the past decade, BTI has provided innovative solutions to the rotary wing industry with both integrity and a commitment to excellence.

“This acquisition will be advantageous for Qualis’ strategic direction as we continue to expand our aviation service offerings,” said Duke.

Booz Allen Digital Soldier Program Aims to Make Soldier ‘Unbeatable’

In a conference room at Booz Allen’s fifth-floor Bridge Street office, anyone wearing virtual reality headgear can instantly be standing in the open door of a military plane flying above a training facility on the United States base of the instructor’s choosing.

Open architecture is aimed at reducing weight and providing faster upgrades to equipment on the battlefield. (Photo/Booz Allen)

A first-timer wearing the contraption looks around the inside of the plane, steps to the edge of the door and is gripped by an uneasy sensation after looking down. Minutes later, the same first-timer shoots “bad guys’’ in an urban environment resembling those seen on battle footage from the Middle East, a realistic M4 that is surprisingly light providing the firepower.

There’s more, and it’s all part of Booz Allen’s Digital Soldier initiative the company displayed to media members. Company site leader and Senior Vice President Lincoln Hudson, a veteran with defense department expertise, said Vice President of Global Defense Joel Dillon and Principal of Global Defense Stephanie Boone-Shaw were on a “road show’’ of sorts.

“Joel and Stephanie are demonstrating some of the capabilities Booz Allen has invested in,’’ Hudson said. “They’re demonstrating these technologies and showing everybody what Booz Allen has to offer.’’

Simulation — which Dillon said could be a big money saver for defense — is just part of Digital Soldier.

A primary talking point is “open architecture,’’ which is intended to make adding, upgrading and swapping components easy. For example, Dillon, a jumpmaster and highly decorated Army officer (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Oak Leaf Cluster are on an impressive resume that includes a master’s from Stanford and bachelor’s from West Point) talks about the “Christmas tree’’ effect.

“Soldiers have all of these great pieces of equipment,’’ he said, “but they’re hanging off them like an ornament.’’

With body armor and all the trappings, a soldier carries an added 130 pounds. That’s more than the bulky equipment soldiers had in World War II.

Open architecture is aimed at reducing that weight and providing faster upgrades to equipment on the battlefield.

“The Army has got to modernize, got to really transform how they do business,’’ Boone-Shaw said. “The acquisition process takes too long, is way too slow. Our enemies and Near Peers have watched how the military fights and the tactics while we’ve been at war for a couple of decades.

“They also have access to technology that allowed them to catch up with their capability to the U.S. The U.S. has to maintain the advantage.’’

Speed, integration using open architecture and combining fast-improving technology such as GPS and satellites, mission adaptability and maintaining military superiority are some of the buzz words and phrases involved in Digital Soldier.

But, Dillon said, Booz Allen sets itself apart from other firms by taking a “holistic’’ approach to consider the individual. He compared the approach to the way an NFL team maintains assets such as a valuable player through everything from nutrition and condition to the best equipment and devices. These allow for better and faster decision making on the battlefield.

“I don’t know if there’s anything more valuable than the sons and daughters of our citizens,’’ he said.

Digital Soldier, Dillion said, has been initiated to give those sons and daughters their best chance at readiness, lethality, and survivability. Combining technology and making it work “synergistically’’ can produce a soldier who will be “unbeatable on the battlefield.’’

“We want to give them the best training and best equipment to get them home safely.”