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By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps is looking for a bullet that can deliver an electric jolt like a Taser.

The service branch wants a wireless human electro-muscular incapacitation (HEMI) round with a range of at least 100 meters (328 feet), a non-lethal weapon designed to temporarily incapacitate individuals for at least thirty seconds,  ideally longer. The goal is a non-lethal weapon that can be used by the joint services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and law enforcement.

HEMI rounds have undergone extensive human effects testing and analysis. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effects Center of Excellence, Naval Health Research Laboratory and contracted researchers from academia have done extensive work to understand and characterize electro-muscular incapacitation effects at various exposure durations.

The bullet would deliver a jolt of around 50 Coulombs, which is a measure of electrical charge, and would utilize a tiny but powerful battery that can fit inside a bullet-sized munition.

Specifications for the HEMI round include having a minimum safe distance of at least sixteen feet, with a velocity slow enough not to injure the target. The bullet price point should also be less than $1,000 per round. Additionally, the HEMI round must be fired from conventional small arms.

The Marines want the ability to incapacitate for more than three minutes, enough jolt to stun but not enough to kill. It should be noted that a civilian police Taser jolts for just five seconds, yet an independent investigation found that more than 1,000 people have died fully or partly from Tasers.

Additional risks associated with Tasers include seizures, collapsed lungs, skin burns or eye damage, injuries to muscles, joints or tendons and head injuries from uncontrolled falls. And there is new evidence that suggests that Tasers may lead to fatal cardiac events.

By Debbie Gregory.

MilCloud 2.0, the Pentagon’s on-premise cloud, is gearing up to handle a great increase in the size of the data it hosts, and the Defense Department is looking for ways to get it there faster.

To that end, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is exploring the capabilities that currently exist to improve the migration of data and applications to MilCloud 2.0 by issuing a request for information (RFI) to industry seeking input on “rapid cloud migration.”

While the RFI, which was due by September 10th, does not constitute a solicitation, there is a possibilty that it could lead to one-on-one discussions with vendors.

MilCloud 2.0 went live earlier this year as part of a three-year, $500 million contract won by CSRA, which has since been purchased by defense contractor General Dynamics.

“We are looking at probably 2-3-4 times the increase of volume than we originally anticipated right off the bat, which is a good news thing. It shows there is a lot of demand for cloud capabilities inside the department,” said John Hale, DISA’s chief of enterprise applications.

The RFI states that MilCloud 2.0 “seeks migration solutions that can accurately duplicate the suite of servers used with an application from their current environment into a cloud environment built on Apache CloudStack technology and KVM hypervisor. The scope of duplication includes all applications used with the system, configuration of network and network security controls when proper APIs are exposed, and identification of interactions within the application system and to external systems when needed network traffic is made available for analysis.”

“What we are spending a lot of time on and where we are making investments now is how to strengthen our ties with off-premise commercial cloud providers, how we strengthen our security relationships with them and how we make sure that all of that works in a much better way,” said Hale. “As commercial cloud evolves, we expect our MilCloud 2.0 capability to evolve in-kind,” he added.

By Debbie Gregory.

What makes California so appealing to the aerospace sector, which for decades has been one of the state’s signature industries?

The state offers a workforce edge that’s significant enough to balance out the high costs and obtrusive regulatory environment. But what tips the scale is the role local and regional officials play in helping these companies succeed. They know it’s a challenging business climate, and they work hard to mitigate it. The aerospace and space business in particular is high revenue generation, it’s high-paying jobs, so it’s a win-win to keep the industry in the state.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)  is a nonprofit, public-benefit organization that works to guide economic development and create more widely shared prosperity. LAEDC, along with help from the state and the City of Los Angeles was responsible for keeping L3 Technologies in Torrance, CA.

“The bigger issues were cost and how to get into a less costly state that’s not taxed so heavily and isn’t so expensive in terms of commercial and residential real estate,” said Glenn Grindstaff, L3’s vice president of human resources and administration.

Before he knew it, says Grindstaff, resources were made available, allowing the company to remain in Southern California.

The California State Employment Training Panel offers training reimbursement, allowing for personnel growth or moving opportunities that require training new staff.

The California Competes Tax Credit, administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) waives part of the tax liability for capital expenditures, allowing for expanded facilities and equipment.

California SmartMatch, administered by LAEDC, help OEMs locate suitable suppliers and supply chain participants.

State Assembly member Autumn Burke has sponsored AB 3197, a bill that would treat property used in spaceflight as business inventory, reducing an unnecessary tax burden on aerospace companies.

Assembly Bill 427 is also on the table in Sacramento. It would establish a 17-member California Aerospace Commission that would serve as a central point of contact for aerospace industry businesses.

“Everything in support of aerospace is hot right now,” says Judy Kruger, LAEDC’s director of strategic initiative and cluster development for the aerospace & defense and advanced transportation sectors. “There is a renewed interest in supporting the aerospace industry in Sacramento, which is fantastic to see. AB 3197 should pass easily — I didn’t see any opposition. And it’s the same thing with the aerospace commission bill. It looks like it’s supported in every committee.”

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Air Force has taken the initial steps to buy commercial, off-the-shelf aircraft for its light attack aircraft fleet by issuing a pre-announcement of solicitation bids in December 2018.

The awardee will be chosen in the fourth quarter of the 2019 Fiscal Year, which runs from July 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2019. The Air Force still has yet to say how many aircraft it expects to purchase

While the program would remain a full and open competition, Air Force officials said the most viable aircraft are the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.

“LAA will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of Irregular Warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years,” the notice explained. “Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Textron Aviation are the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter.”

The Air Force and other branches of the U.S. military have evaluated these aircraft on no less than six separate occasions since 2007. The two single-engine turboprop aircraft were most recently part of the service’s light attack experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

A fatal accident in June 2018 shut down the tests early, with the Air Force declaring it had all the data it needed. Navy Lt. Christopher Carey Short, of Canandaigua, New York, was piloting an A-29 when it crashed over the Red Rio Bombing Range in New Mexico.

Congress has added hundreds of millions into the defense budget in support of light attack aircraft projects, but the Air Force has suggested that a full light attack aircraft program that sees the purchase of between 200 and 300 aircraft in total could cost approximately $2.5 billion between the 2020 and 2024 fiscal years.

It should be noted that these aircraft are not a substitute for high-performance combat jets, but rather a complimentary capability with a smaller logistics footprint that helps reduce the operational and sustainment demands on those other fleets and their pilots.

By Debbie Gregory.

The Air Force wants a new missile warning constellation that would be more survivable against counter space weapons that are currently being developed by China and Russia. To that end, Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $2.9 billion Air Force contract for three missile-warning satellites known as next generation overhead persistent infrared.

The scope of the contract allows for analysis, design/development, hardware procurement, early manufacturing, and risk reduction efforts.

Known as Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Satellites (Next-Gen OPIR), the satellites will replace the current Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS. Military officials had hinted for some time that the SBIR program was due for a correction. SBIRS has not been widely supported. Critics say it has become a poster child for military acquisitions that cost too much and take too long to produce.

The Air Force is the lead agency for procuring next-generation OPIR satellites.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California will manufacture three geosynchronous earth orbit space vehicles, to be completed by April 2021. Northrop Grumman was selected to develop the polar orbit satellites.

“As we develop these new systems, speed matters,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement. “We are focused on providing a missile warning capability survivable in a contested environment by the mid-2020s.”

The Air Force currently operates 77 satellites vital to national security that provide communications, command and control, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, weather and GPS for the world. Legislation passed in 2016 gives the military license to expedite the procurement of next-generation satellites.

Lockheed Martin will be “working closely with the Air Force on the rapid development of next gen OPIR’s more advanced, resilient missile warning capability,” according to Lockheed Martin spokesman Chip Eschenfelder. “We understand the need to ‘go fast’ while improving our national security posture against emerging threats around the world,” Eschenfelder added.

The Air Force has said there will be a separate industry competition for the sensor payloads.

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