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A Capitol View: December 2019

Gabriella Armonda, Aarzu Maknojia, and Richa Patel, Friday, December 20, 2019

Client Spotlight: Qorvo Selected to Provide GaN Modules for Army's Radar System

by: Gabriella Armonda

Qorvo, an American semiconductor company that is a leading designer, manufacturer, and provider of core technologies and radio-frequency systems, has been selected by Lockheed Martin to provide GaN modules for the production of the U.S. Army’s Q-53 radar system. The partnership of GaN technology with the Q-53 radar system will provide superior detection technology to allow for the classification and detection of enemy fire.

Qorvo’s GaN will provide additional power to the Q-53. The module will protect U.S. troops in combat, increase system reliability, and reduce life cycle ownership costs.

With 20 plus years of research and leadership in GaN, Qorvo offers the most innovative GaN-on-SiC portfolio to help customers achieve significant improvements in the efficiency and operational capacities of their technologies. In the past, the company has worked to create the world’s first 5G RF front end and enable the New Horizons spacecraft to make its closest approach to Pluto.

Qorvo consistently works to make the world a better place by providing top of the line Radio Frequency solutions. Qorvo's innovations have brought core technologies and radio frequency solutions to mobile, infrastructure, defense, and aerospace markets. Qorvo is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina with another campus in Hillsboro, Oregon. 

Updates from Washington

Appropriations Packages To Pass Before Deadline

by: Richa Patel

On Thursday, December 12, top congressional appropriators announced a deal to fund the federal government. This bipartisan agreement averts both the government shutdown that would have occurred once a stopgap spending bill expired on December 20th and the need for another stopgap that would extend into the new year.

Earlier this week, the House passed the $1.4 trillion spending pact in the form of two year-end funding minibuses. The domestic spending and international assistance package passed 297-120 with money for health, agriculture, transportation, education, and more. The national security package was passed 280-138 with funding for the military and homeland security.

The Senate then passed the non-defense package 71-23 and the national security package 81-11, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

The package includes the repeal of three major health taxes that were projected to offset the Affordable Care Act, money for research into gun violence, election security grants, the age for tobacco purchases being raised to 21, and a pay raise for federal civilian employees.

National Defense Authorization Act Sent to the President

by: Richa Patel

On Wednesday, December 11, the House passed the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, with a vote of 377 to 48. The compromise bill includes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers, the creation of a Space Force, and a repeal of the military ‘widow’s tax’.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed the bill on an 86-8 vote. The bill now heads to the President, who is expected to sign it into law.

Progressives were not thrilled with the end version of the bill, especially over a series of provisions that didn’t make it in. These included those to block money for a border wall with Mexico, requirements for congressional approval for war with Iran, withdrawal of support in Yemen’s civil war, and overturning the Trump administration’s transgender troop ban. The bill also does not include Democrat-supported provisions for the cleanup of toxic PFAS chemicals.

This is radically different from the initial bill passed by House Democrats in July that had no Republican support and fewer progressive opponents.

This $738 billion bill authorizes $635 billion for base spending, $23.1 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department, and $71.5 billion for war operations; it also includes $5.3 billion for emergency disaster recovery for damaged military bases.

Metamagnetics, MicroLink Devices, and Triton Systems Selected in Virtual Transition Marketplace's Eighteenth Cycle

by: Aarzu Maknojia

In early November, the Department of the Navy released the participants of their 18th cycle of the SBIR/STTR Transition Program (STP) and among them were SMI clients Metamagnetics, Microlink Devices, and Triton Systems.

The STP is hosted by the Department of the Navy and aims to provide commercialization, transition, and professional business assistance through a structured program so that the participating Small Businesses are best positioned to obtain Phase III funding. Through the STP, Small Businesses are given access to mentoring, training, product development, promotion, and exhibition space.

Three SMI clients were selected to be a part of the most recent cycle. Metamagnetics is fielding a project related to the synthesis and realization of broadband magnetic flux channel antennas. Microlink Devices is working on novel, high-efficiency, light-weight, flexible solar cells as an electrical power generation source. Triton Systems is working on a number of projects including additive manufacturing technology for sonobuoys, oil-less deep fryers, an autonomous towed array straightening system, and high optical power hull perpetrator for submarine fiber optic systems, among others.

This is an excellent opportunity for our clients and we are glad to support them as they support the Warfighter.

 

Updates from SMI Staff

SMI Team Attends Annual Defense Manufacturing Conference

by: Aarzu Maknojia

Earlier this month, Glen Mandigo, CEO, Mark Gillman, SVP, Ken Wetzel, SVP, and Jeremy Steslicki, VP attended the annual Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) held concurrently with the Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) Conference in Phoenix, AZ. This conference brought together over 600 organizations and about 150 exhibitors. This four-day conference is attended annually by our staff because of the opportunities to hear from high-level military and government officials, connect with clients and engage with key decision makers.

When asked about his experience at DMC, Wetzel noted that he is impressed most by how passionate the community is. "One of the things that struck me at my first DMC over 10 years ago, and has been strengthened every year I’ve come back, is how passionate this community is about defense manufacturing and the industrial base. Although my role at DMC has changed over time, I consider myself very fortunate to be part of this community and to reconnect each year with former colleagues and mentors, and meet new people that dedicate so much of their professional lives to making sure that the most important technology doesn’t sit on a shelf somewhere, but actually becomes available to warfighter," says Wetzel.

Presentations and panels discussed a number of broad and cross-cutting issues such as warfighter dominance, leadership, modernization priorities, acquisition reform, and innovation.

Staff also sat in on sessions that discussed specific programs such as the various Manufacturing Technology Programs, the Defense Production Act Title III Program, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel.

SMI staff will continue engaging with the leading thinkers in this field in order to better support our clients with the most current and cutting-edge information.

Steve Chalk Speaks at Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council

by: Aarzu Maknojia

In October, SMI VP Steve Chalk spoke as part of the opening keynote panel at the ET Summit hosted by the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC). Steve engaged in a moderated discussion on the future of energy efficiency and energy management, both nationally and especially in California.

Steve has over 36 years of energy and defense-related experience. In his 29 years at the Department of Energy, Steve held the roles of Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Renewable Power, DAS for Energy Efficiency, DAS for Sustainable Transportation, and DAS for Operations.

As part of his opening remarks, he noted that current trends and opportunities are consistent with an affordable, sustainable, and low carbon economy. However, he noted that there are still challenges and risks when it comes to integration at-scale, cybersecurity, domestic manufacturing, and materials supply chain. Steve's work is informed by his decades of experience in the Department of Energy alongside his direct client work.

Other panels during the ET Summit grappled with topics such as bringing emerging technologies to underserved public sector buildings, energy solutions for commercial facilities, solutions to super pollutants in commercial refrigeration, and more.

 We are always excited when SMI team members are able to showcase their expertise and are glad that Steve was able to represent SMI's energy practice area at the ET Summit.

Damian Kunko, Paul Gay Attend Conferences on Marine Energy, Ocean Technology

by: Richa Patel

Damian Kunko, SVP and Paul Gay, VP attended various conferences in the last months with focuses on ocean technology and marine energy.

Paul Gay attended energy3: Canada’s Energy Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which occurred from October 6 -18, 2019 and was hosted by Marine Renewables Canada, The Maritimes Energy Association, and the Offshore Energy Research Association. This conference was designed to provide a forum on the future of Canada’s energy sector, highlight industry success, and enable research and development. 

Damian Kunko was present at the bi-annual OCEANS Conference & Exposition in Seattle from October 27-31, 2019. This event is for global marine technologists, engineers, students, government officials, lawyers and advocates to gather to discuss relevant topics and current trends.

The Marine Technology Society and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society partner to present OCEANS, which draws over 2,000 attendees that are advocates for advancing research and policies for the marine field.

Says Kunko, “The Oceans 19 conference in Seattle was a great networking experience and SMI was able to promote client interests and the upcoming International Conference on Ocean Energy in Washington DC, May 19 – 21, 2020.”

They also attended the Ocean Energy Europe 2019 conference in Dublin, Ireland. This year’s theme was around the vision of ocean energy as a mainstream power source. Topics of interest included installing ocean energy, local economic impact, wave and tidal energy technology, and hubs and substations for ocean energy.

SMI's Bill McCann Becomes Executive Director of USFMA

by: Richa Patel

The United States Footwear Manufacturing Association (USFMA), previously known as the Rubber and Plastics Footwear Association (RPFMA), will now have its association’s management and advocacy operations performed by SMI, with Bill McCann at the helm as its Executive Director.

USFMA supports the domestic footwear industry by promoting fair trade, strong manufacturing policies, and policies that protect the industrial base. As RPFMA, the association focused on defending a protected list of sensitive items under the U.S. International Trade Commission. With a new name and an expanded goal, USFMA will begin to also protect and expand federal statues and policies that require our military and other uniformed federal employees to wear domestic footwear.

"Manufacturers of combat boots and of the footwear required for military and government service are not only creating good-paying jobs but are part of our national security. USFMA will fight to create more government opportunities for domestic footwear," said McCann.

In his role, McCann will lead advocacy efforts with federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. McCann is a principal at SMI and previously served as a Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill. He is well known for his lobbying efforts to require the Department of Defense to comply with the Berry Amendment with respect to athletic shoes to enlisted recruits. SMI associate Pat Malloy, a former senior Congressional trade staffer, will be working with McCann on trade advocacy for USFMA. 

 

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