UP FRONT.

Author:Magnuson, Stew

Directed Energy Programs Scaled Back

Due to budgetary concerns, the Pentagon had to cut back on some of its efforts to integrate directed energy into different platforms, said Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin.

"There is always a totem pole of priorities and always a set of urgent needs that tend to drown out some of the longer term needs, but we're certainly not giving up on directed energy," Griffin told the Washington Space Business Roundtable. "We have, for budgetary reasons, had to cut back on some of our laser scaling efforts."

Moving forward, the office should focus on operational studies that examine the best circumstances in which to use directed energy weapons, Griffin added.

"Where is it better than a kinetic weapon and where is it not?" he said. "The operational assessments just have not received as much attention as they should."

SOCOM Jonesing for Other Transaction Agreements

Special Operations Command is embracing other transaction authority agreements as it pursues a slew of new technologies for its warfighters.

"We find those ... done right to be a much more flexible and agile way of working with especially our non-traditional commercial partners," SOCOM Acquisition Executive James Smith said at NDIA's vSOFIC conference.

Three years ago, the command did not leverage any OTAs, he noted. Two years ago, that number increased to about half a dozen.

"A year ago we did 15, and we're on step this year to do more that," Smith said. "OTs are not the solution for everything by any stretch. You gotta be careful about when you apply that tool. But we're using those with greater agility," he added.

Read more about SOCOM's acquisitions on page 28.

Navy Prepares for Second Wave of Virus

Epidemiologists are warning that the world could see a second wave of the COVID-19 virus in the fall. The Navy is already preparing for such a scenario.

The service wants to increase resiliency in its acquisition and shipbuilding processes so it can be ready for potential disruptions, said James Geurts, the service's assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition.

"We're really aiming to reset our ability...

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