Defense Business Briefing -- Oct. 24, 2023

Welcome to today's Defense Business Briefing, your weekly roundup of the latest defense industry news.

This week's top story

Pentagon moves to expand monitoring of industry mergers

The Pentagon has plans to expand its monitoring of defense contractor mergers and acquisitions with an eye toward potential national security and innovation risks, according to a recent letter sent to the Government Accountability Office.

News & notes

Defense organizations rally together to urge lawmakers to pass DIU funding

Both the House and Senate Appropriations committees have received a letter from the Silicon Valley Defense Group urging them to keep the House-approved provision providing the Defense Innovation Unit $1 billion to establish a hedge portfolio in the fiscal year 2024 Defense Appropriations Act.

Lockheed backs out of competition for next phase of tanker recap

Lockheed Martin has dropped out of the running for the next phase of the KC-135 tanker recapitalization effort, propping up Boeing's chances to extend its KC-36 Pegasus delivery order.

U.S. and Australian AI companies team up in line with AUKUS Pillar 2

Shield AI, a U.S. defense technology company, announced a multiyear agreement with Australia-based Sentient Vision Systems, touting the teaming as aligned with Pillar 2 of the trilateral AUKUS agreement and focused on real-time situational awareness enabled by artificial intelligence.

White House highlights $50B for U.S. defense industry in Biden's emergency spending request

President Biden, calling for the United States to again become the "arsenal of democracy," is seeking more than $100 billion in emergency national security spending from Congress to mostly aid Ukraine and Israel, with the White House highlighting a $50 billion investment in the U.S. defense industrial base, including billions for new attack submarines.

Lockheed: RIG-360 demos potential for GMLRS to strike enemy ships, mobile missile launchers

The Army may soon have the option to expand the striking power of its premier surface-to-surface artillery rocket by adding a new communications device that could allow Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System munitions to hit not only pre-programmed stationary locations, as they can today, but also moving targets such as ships or mobile missile launchers.

Space Force to complete commercial space strategy by the end of this year

The Space Force is expecting to complete a revised commercial space strategy by the end of this year, which will outline the specific requirements of the service and provide concrete guidance to industry, according to a top service official.

SSC introduces renewed partnership between the government and industry partners

U.S. Space Systems Command introduced a "renewed partnership between the government and the industry partners" to deliver resilient capabilities to "win a race" against adversaries, according to a senior official of the command.

AM General details next version of JLTV

With AM General set to produce the next iteration of the Army's light tactical vehicle, the company recently displayed an example it intends to produce.

What's happening

The week ahead

Senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak at several public events this week.

For Inside Defense subscribers

White House seeks $1.2B for laser upgrade to Iron Dome to protect Israel

The Biden administration, in its massive emergency supplemental spending request sent to Congress, is seeking $1.2 billion to help Israel upgrade its Iron Dome defense system to the new Iron Beam, using laser technology to take the place of missile interceptors, according to a letter from the Office of Management and Budget.

DSB highlights China as information espionage threat in academia

The final report of a Defense Science Board task force assigned to make recommendations to Pentagon leaders on "balancing openness and security" pertaining to academic research says China poses a "unique" threat when it comes to information espionage.