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The Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: One Week Later

One week ago, American special operations forces killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in northwestern Syria. The next morning, President Trump described the operation in vivid detail and the story was later amplified with accounts from the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor. While the Islamic State was a … Continue Reading

A New Normal for Foreign Military Sales? Total Sales for FY 2019 Nearly Matches FY 2018

On October 15, 2019, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that foreign arm sales for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 totaled $55.4 billion. This amount nearly matches the total from FY 2018 of $55.7 billion, continuing the significant increase in foreign arm sales under the Trump Administration and potentially signaling that the enormous 33 percent … Continue Reading

United States and European Union Impose Additional Sanctions in Response to Actions by Turkish Government

Introduction On October 14, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria. This Order provides authority for the imposition of sanctions (including secondary sanctions) on certain entities and individuals in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria, which the Order states endanger … Continue Reading

Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable Procurements Not Always Acceptable: New DFARS Rule Continues Shake-Up of LPTA Procurements

On September 26, 2019, the Department of Defense issued a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to establish new restrictions on the use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable source selection procedures.  Effective October 1, 2019, this new rule imposes specific limitations and prohibitions governing when and under what circumstances LPTA procedures are … Continue Reading

Old Conflicts, New Technologies

In 2016 the United States Special Operations Command (“USSOCOM”) witnessed a technological development of grave significance for the future of global conflict. According to the then-Commanding General of USSOCOM, Americans had to contend with armed enemy aircraft during the Battle of Mosul. The United Kingdom at the height of its powers in the 19th century … Continue Reading

Navy Modifies Acquisition Supplement to Tighten Cybersecurity Requirements and Implement the Geurts Memorandum

Almost a year after Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts issued his September 28, 2018 memorandum (Geurts Memo) imposing enhanced security controls on “critical” Navy programs, the Navy has issued an update to the Navy Marine Corps Acquisition Regulations Supplement (NMCARS) to implement those changes more formally across the Navy.  Pursuant to this update, a new … Continue Reading

DoD Releases Public Draft of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification and Seeks Industry Input

On September 4, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition released Version 0.4 of its draft Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for public comment.  The CMMC was created in response to growing concerns by Congress and within DoD over the increased presence of cyber threats and intrusions aimed at the Defense Industrial … Continue Reading

Section 889 Update: First Wave of Acquisition Prohibitions Take Effect

The FAR Council released an Interim Rule in August implementing part of Section 889 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.  In this briefing, we highlight points where the Interim Rule provides clarity; definitional issues that remain unresolved; and new procedural requirements that government contractors should track. The Interim … Continue Reading

The Re-Imagined National Counterterrorism Center

President Trump’s nomination of Vice Admiral (Ret.) Joe Maguire to become the country’s next Director of National Intelligence both elevated the profile of the decorated Navy SEAL and the organization he currently leads, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  The nomination comes in the wake of the El Paso Attack that claimed 22 lives and the … Continue Reading

A Potentially New Tanker War

It was not exactly a scene out of “Captain Phillips,” but it was still dramatic.  Aired on Iranian state TV on July 20th, the UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero is seen in the background, flanked by a flotilla of fast-moving Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) boats.  Simultaneously, an Iranian Mi-17 helicopter variant hovers over … Continue Reading

House and Senate Will Debate Bid Protest Policy

The House of Representatives passed its version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) last week.  The headline story was the remarkably close, party-line vote: in contrast to past years, the bill received no Republican votes, and eight Democratic Members voted against it. Those partisan dynamics obscured the inclusion of two important amendments – … Continue Reading

Department of Defense Releases Annual Report to Congress on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China

The Department of Defense (“DoD” or “the Department”) released its annual report to Congress on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) on May 2, 2019. This annual report details DoD’s assessment of Chinese security strategy and military strategy over the next 20 years, with a particular focus on China’s … Continue Reading

Senators Question the Administration’s Space Force Proposal

The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony last week from Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Marine General Joe Dunford (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and Air Force General John Hyten (Commander of U.S. Strategic Command and the presumptive next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs). … Continue Reading

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity Holds Hearing to Discuss the Responsibilities of the Defense Industrial Base

On March 26, 2019, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity held a hearing to receive testimony assessing how the Department of Defense’s (“DOD”) cybersecurity policies and regulations have affected the Defense Industrial Base (“DIB”). To gain a better understanding of the DIB’s cybersecurity concerns, the Subcommittee invited William LaPlante, Senior Vice President and General … Continue Reading

After the Final Report: Expectations Following the Section 809 Panel’s Third Volume of Acquisition Policy Reforms

The Section 809 Panel recently concluded its monumental analysis of defense acquisition law and regulations and released its third volume of recommended changes.  As we have written previously, the Panel’s work stands out from previous acquisition reform efforts with the appendices of detailed legislative and regulatory changes that accompany the commissioners’ analysis and recommendations. Given … Continue Reading

Towards a European Army?

Until recently, even those in Europe who favour the development of an autonomous EU defense capability avoided referring to the setting up of a “European army”. When the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) was included in the Nice treaty in December 2000, the British government of Tony Blair was adamant about the exclusion of … Continue Reading

Defense Department Releases Artificial Intelligence Strategy

On February 12, 2019 the Department of Defense released a summary and supplementary fact sheet of its artificial intelligence strategy (“AI Strategy”). The AI Strategy has been a couple of years in the making as the Trump administration has scrutinized the relative investments and advancements in artificial intelligence by the United States, its allies and … Continue Reading

Domestic Sourcing Requirement Doesn’t Fit DOD’s Gloves

This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for this blog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a bid protest decision regarding the application of the Berry Amendment’s domestic sourcing requirement to a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) solicitation for leather combat gloves with touchscreen capability.  In that decision, the GAO … Continue Reading

Implications of the 2018 Midterm Elections for U.S. National Defense Policy and Spending

The aerospace and defense industry, including those in the defense trade press, have since late evening of November 6, 2018 been wrestling with the implications of the midterm elections for U.S. defense policy and spending over the next two years.  Quite frankly, it is too early to say with certainty. As Leo Rosten, the famous … Continue Reading

“Economic Security Is National Security”: Key Takeaways from the Defense Industrial Base Report

(This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for the blog.) Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, recently offered in a New York Times op-ed that “[a] strong manufacturing base is critical to both economic prosperity and national defense.” The Trump Administration’s maxim that “economic security is … Continue Reading

2018 DoD Cyber Strategy: The DoD Defends Forward While the DIB Must Defend its Cyber Practices

The Department of Defense (“DoD”) recently released the summary of its cyber strategy for 2018.  The 2018 DoD Cyber Strategy, which replaces the DoD’s 2015 cyber strategy, is focused broadly on “defending forward,” shaping day-to-day competition, and preparing for conflict.  But the strategy includes items that are sure to be of interest to contractors and … Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Supply Chain? New Policy Developments Affect Defense and Security Contractors

Generating and sustaining the United States’ global economic and military superiority over more than the last half century has depended on a dominant U.S. global economic position and perpetual technological innovation. The United States has increasingly relied on a global industrial supply chain and a relatively open environment for foreign investment in early stage technology … Continue Reading

Senate Armed Services Committee Proposes Expansive but Unclear Software Review Provisions

As the Senate approaches the end of its debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, provisions of the bill regarding access to and review of information technology code deserve close attention.  These sections, if enacted, would significantly impact Department of Defense contractors and also would affect matters associated with investments subject … Continue Reading

DFARS Cyber Rule – What Questions Should Contractors Ask Themselves in the New Year?

Since August 2015, defense contractors have been on notice that they were required to implement the security controls in National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171 no later than December 31, 2017 on covered contractor information systems.  Although the focus has been on meeting this deadline, contractors should add to their … Continue Reading
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