The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
May 31, 2023 at 10:31 PM

The House voted 314-117 to pass a spending agreement that would fund national defense at $886 billion in fiscal year 2024 and avert default on the national debt.

The bill was supported by 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats.

The deal, which would provide the amount of defense spending President Biden has requested for FY-24 with a 1% increase in FY-25, now advances to the Senate where it is likely to pass. The Treasury Department, meanwhile, has said the debt limit must be raised by June 5 to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt.

Many congressional Republicans supported the bill, despite having criticized Biden’s defense request for being too small and amounting to a cut once inflation is factored. Biden’s FY-24 request is a 3.3% increase above what Congress enacted for defense FY-23 but less 1% real growth when accounting for inflation.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) praised the bill’s passage in a statement.

“This agreement paves the way for appropriations bills to be signed into law for the next two fiscal years -- with funding prioritized for our military and our veterans,” she said. “At the same time, this agreement reduces and reallocates lower-priority spending.”  

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), who chairs the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said in a statement he believes defense spending can be better prioritized under the caps set by the new agreement.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act reflects that by rejecting Democratic demands for parity between defense and non-defense funding,” he said. “As chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, I intend to work with my colleagues to focus on near-term threats and long-term modernization within the agreed-upon caps. I believe we can meet those goals by cutting funding for misguided Defense Department priorities that aren’t related to national security, optimizing the workforce, and creating incentives for disruption to create competition and lower costs.”

In a press conference after the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) touted the bill’s massive spending cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office has said could amount to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he said.

Biden said in a statement that the bill is a “bipartisan compromise.”

“Neither side got everything it wanted,” he said. “That’s the responsibility of governing.”

By Linda Hersey
May 31, 2023 at 7:09 PM

The Defense Innovation Unit is seeking "commercial solutions" to enable uncrewed and autonomous platforms supporting the Navy to operate in environments with intermittent, contested or denied access to communications that are "common in military operations."

According to a request for a Common Operational Database, DIU states the ability of unmanned vehicles (UxVs) to deliver domain awareness hinges on connected communications that facilitate mobile, autonomous sensing capacity for data exchange.

The request further states DOD “seeks proven commercial solutions for creating and distributing an edge world model amongst a group of UxVs.” 

Responses are due by 11:59 p.m., June 14.

One or more agreements will be awarded to companies to “provide components of an edge world modeling stack to support myriad operations that could be performed by UxV groups,” according to the notice.

DIU notes that “currently available UxVs often require substantial bandwidth to operate effectively and are unable to efficiently exchange information” with each other and with crewed platforms for more effective coordination. 

“This inability to move data to, from, and between UxVs limits DOD’s ability to operationalize data-driven battlefield advantage,” according to DIU.

UxVs need to perform the following tasks, among others, in environments that are “disconnected, denied, intermittent or with limited bandwidth”:

  • Sense the environment (sub-surface, surface, air) using onboard sensors.
  • Create an operational picture of the environment.
  • Share information about the environment.
  • Receive information from other UxVs for an “edge world model.”
  • Use peer-to-peer communications in large groups that may not have a central communications node.

“With a network of unmanned and autonomous platforms to augment its existing forces, the U.S. Navy can maintain Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) more efficiently and effectively,” according to the request.

By Tony Bertuca
May 31, 2023 at 3:06 PM

The Defense Department will be holding a "technological innovation discovery event" later this summer intended to identify potential prototype opportunities for "anticipating technological surprise," according to a new public notice.

The invitation-only event, known as TIDE 2023, is scheduled to take place Aug. 30 at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA, and will feature a structure similar to that of a technology trade show.

“TIDE 2023 focuses on discovering prototype technologies that, at maturity, help maintain U.S. technical superiority while preventing the adversary from gaining advantages through technological surprise,” according to a May 31 request for information.

Developers are encouraged to submit “novel prototypes or modifications to their existing commercial technologies that enable previously unexplored applications and impact,” the RFI states.

Specifically, TIDE 2023 is interested in emerging capabilities that could produce “surprising impacts during future conflicts.”

“This includes the use of existing commercial technologies that may yield unanticipated military utility through technical modifications or unique applications,” the RFI states. “Technological surprise may result from producing an impactful or novel capability, an additive technology that enables a capability to function at a previously unseen scale or speed, or a disruptive countermeasure that neutralizes existing military technologies or capabilities.”

Interested parties must submit their applications for the TIDE 2023 event by June 16.

Meanwhile, the Defense Science Board recently sent senior Pentagon leaders a report on the “new dimensions of conflict that urges DOD to be more “proactive” in terms of coping with and creating surprise.

By John Liang
May 31, 2023 at 2:47 PM

HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division today announced the promotion of three executives to fill the roles of upcoming retirements.

Rob Check will become vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs, succeeding Todd West.

Thomasina Wright will take on the role of vice president of fleet support programs, succeeding Gary Fuller.

West and Fuller announced plans to retire soon.

Les Smith will take over as vice president of Enterprise (CVN-80) and Doris Miller (CVN-81) aircraft carrier programs.

Check most recently served as program director for the Virginia-class submarine program.

Wright most recently served as program director for the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis (CVN-74) refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).

Ron Murray, the vice president of quality, is also planning to retire, according to the company.

Several additional senior leadership team changes were announced when structuring the succession for Murray, HII said. Julia Jones, vice president of manufacturing, will succeed Murray as vice president of quality. Brian Fields, vice president of Enterprise (CVN-80) and Doris Miller (CVN-81) aircraft carrier programs, will take over as vice president of manufacturing.

Smith most recently served as program director for Enterprise and Doris Miller.

The promotions will take effect July 1, according to HII.

By Tony Bertuca
May 31, 2023 at 2:10 PM

The Defense Department today announced it will transfer a package of U.S. weapons to Ukraine valued at up to $300 million.

“It includes key capabilities to support Ukraine’s air defenders as they bravely protect Ukraine’s soldiers, civilians, and critical infrastructure amid Russia’s continuing air strikes killing civilians across Ukraine,” DOD said. “This security assistance package also contains artillery, anti-armor capabilities and ammunition, including tens of millions of rounds of small arms ammunition, valued at up to $300 million to help Ukraine continue to defend its sovereign territory.”

The action marks the 39th presidential “drawdown” of U.S. equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.

The package includes:

•          Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;

•          AIM-7 missiles for air defense;

•          Avenger air defense systems; 

•          Stinger anti-aircraft systems;

•          Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);

•          155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;

•          105mm tank ammunition;

•          Precision aerial munitions;

•          Zuni aircraft rockets;

•          Munitions for unmanned aerial systems;

•          AT-4 anti-armor systems;

•          Over 30 million rounds of small arms ammunition;

•          Mine clearing equipment and systems;

•          Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing;

•          Night vision devices;

•          Spare parts, generators, and other field equipment

In total, the United States has committed more than $38.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including more than $37.6 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022, according to DOD.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon continues to review a significant accounting error that led it to overvalue the drawdown aid it has provided to Ukraine by at least $3 billion.

By Tony Bertuca
May 31, 2023 at 1:56 PM

The Defense Department has announced President Biden has made several major military nominations, featuring some well-publicized names and some that have not yet been reported.

According to the Pentagon:

  • Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory Guillot has been nominated to be chief of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Guillot is currently serving as the deputy commander at U.S. Central Command.
  • Air Force Maj. Gen. Heath Collins has been nominated to be director of the Missile Defense Agency. Collins is currently serving as the program executive officer for MDA’s Ground-Based Weapons Systems.
  • Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kruse has been nominated to be director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Kruse is currently serving as the director’s adviser for military affairs.
  • Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh has been nominated to be director of the National Security Agency and chief of U.S. Cyber Command. Haugh is currently serving as deputy commander of CYBERCOM.
  • Air Force Lt. Gen. Donna Shipton has been nominated to be chief of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Shipton is currently serving as military deputy in the Air Force acquisition chief's office.
  • Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Koscheski has been nominated to be deputy commander of Air Combat Command. Koscheski is currently serving as commander of the 15th Air Force.

Some of the nominations include promotions to higher military rank.

Meanwhile, DOD’s announcement noted the nominations of Air Force Gen. Charles Brown to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith to be commandant of the Marine Corps. Brown is currently Air Force chief of staff, while Smith is serving as assistant Marine Corps commandant.

The announcements come as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues his blanket hold on more than 200 military nominations and promotions over his opposition to Pentagon leave and travel reimbursement policies for servicemembers seeking abortion services.

By John Liang
May 31, 2023 at 1:12 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a Defense Science Board report on the "new dimensions of conflict," a Government Accountability Office report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and more.

A new Defense Science Board report released this week "explored the means by which nations impose their political will, particularly outside the traditional threat or use of military force":

Defense Science Board sees 'new dimensions of conflict' with China and Russia

Future conflicts with China and Russia involve areas of emergent risk -- in cyberspace, under the sea and throughout global supply chains -- where the United States must take a "more proactive posture," according to a new Defense Science Board report shared with senior Pentagon leaders.

Document: DSB study on new dimensions of conflict

A new Government Accountability Office report finds that more actions are needed to explain the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program's cost growth and support its engine modernization decision:

DOD, GAO don't fully agree on management of F-35 upgrades

The Defense Department and Government Accountability Office don't fully agree on how to manage and report on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine and thermal management modernization efforts, according to a report released Tuesday.

Document: GAO report on the F-35 program

The Government Accountability Office's latest report on missile defense references recommendations made by the Institute for Defense Analyses:

IDA recommends changes to help MDA's abysmal annual flight test plan and execution record

The Defense Department is taking steps to improve the Missile Defense System flight test program -- a $1 billion annual project that aims to demonstrate new capabilities, identify limitations, provide combatant commanders confidence in these tools as well as deter North Korea and Iran -- which has suffered a decade of failures.

More from that GAO report:

GAO pulls the curtain back, reveals new details about DOD's plans for Guam Defense System

Congressional auditors have provided a first-ever public accounting of key systems that will be part of a new Defense of Guam capability -- details the Pentagon has kept under wraps since providing lawmakers a September 2021 classified report on the matter -- revealing previously unreported elements of the planned 360-degree air and missile defense system.

Document: GAO report on missile defense deliveries and testing

This past weekend saw agreement on a possible bipartisan debt limit deal:

Defense toplines emerge from debt deal talks

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal over the weekend that would raise the debt limit and fund total defense spending in fiscal year 2024 at President Biden's request of $886 billion, with a 1% increase in FY-25, potentially ending a political standoff that could have brought the nation to the brink of economic catastrophe, but also throwing a wrench into future Pentagon spending plans.

By Apurva Minchekar
May 31, 2023 at 12:22 PM

Northrop Grumman will start testing subsystems on a new space radar after having approved the major system design, the company announced May 30.

Having completed a Deep Advanced Radar Capability critical design review, the company will now focus on factory acceptance testing, which will verify the readiness of the system’s components and reduce program risks associated with supply chain and technical performance, Northrop spokeswoman Stephanie Flyger said.

The company plans to conduct testing over the next year as system components are manufactured and testing approaches will vary by subsystem elements, according to Flyger.

“Each testing is designed to verify subsystem performance against requirements,” she said.

The tests will be conducted by the suppliers, with oversight by Northrop and government officials.

Deep Advanced Radar Capability will monitor the rapidly evolving geosynchronous orbital environment in all weather 24/7, providing the military with enhanced space domain awareness, according to the announcement.

“DARC will be the first to provide an all-weather, at all times capability in support of the space domain awareness mission that’s critical to national and global security,” Northrop Vice President of Integrated National Systems Pablo Pezzimenti said.

In addition, the program will also serve as an additional sensor for the military’s surveillance network to monitor deep space objects and provide full global coverage.

By Nick Wilson
May 31, 2023 at 11:10 AM

The White House has nominated Gen. Eric Smith, presently the assistant Marine Corps commandant, to take the reigns as the service's next top officer, according to a Tuesday notice from the Senate.

If confirmed, Smith would take over as the next Marine Corps Commandant, replacing Gen. David Berger who is set to retire this summer.

As the service’s assistant commandant, Smith has played a leading role in supporting Force Design 2030, the effort pioneered by Berger to modernize the Marine Corps and prepare the service for a future conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

Smith has spearheaded recruitment and retention efforts, advocated for the service’s need for 31 amphibious warships, and publicly defended decisions to divest from platforms like tanks in order to transform the service into a leaner, distributed and more mobile force.

Before beginning his tenure as assistant commandant in 2021, Smith led Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Marine Corps Forces Southern Command, 1st Marine Division and III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Although Smith’s nomination has yet to be announced by the Marine Corps or White House, the congressional notice states the nomination has been received by the Senate and has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

There, Smith will join over 200 other military nominations and promotions that have stalled in the Senate due to opposition by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), who is holding up Defense Department nominations over opposition to the Pentagon’s leave and travel reimbursement policies for servicemembers seeking abortion services.

By John Liang
May 30, 2023 at 1:45 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has a new look at what the fiscal year 2024 defense budget topline will be, plus more coverage of the Government Accountability Office's annual missile defense report along with U.S., British and Australian military cooperation and more.

The Memorial Day weekend saw agreement on a possible bipartisan debt limit deal:

Defense toplines emerge from debt deal talks

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal over the weekend that would raise the debt limit and fund total defense spending in fiscal year 2024 at President Biden's request of $886 billion, with a 1% increase in FY-25, potentially ending a political standoff that could have brought the nation to the brink of economic catastrophe, but also throwing a wrench into future Pentagon spending plans.

The Government Accountability Office, in its annual report on the Missile Defense Agency, provides the most complete explanation of components the U.S. military is working to integrate to bolster defense of the U.S. Western Pacific territory against advanced Chinese air and missile threats:

GAO pulls the curtain back, reveals new details about DOD's plans for Guam Defense System

Congressional auditors have provided a first-ever public accounting of key systems that will be part of a new Defense of Guam capability -- details the Pentagon has kept under wraps since providing lawmakers a September 2021 classified report on the matter -- revealing previously unreported elements of the planned 360-degree air and missile defense system.

Document: GAO report on missile defense deliveries and testing

A recent demonstration is the first time jointly developed Australian, U.K. and U.S. artificial intelligence capabilities have been deployed on coalition autonomous systems for an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission:

AUKUS nations demonstrate AI swarming in 'advanced capabilities trial'

The Pentagon says the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia successfully demonstrated the use of artificial intelligence and autonomous swarming technologies in an "advanced capabilities trial" held in the U.K. last month.

In related AUKUS news, Jessica Lewis, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, testified at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week:

State Department charts AUKUS roadmap with new mechanism to streamline defense trade

The State Department supplied House lawmakers with a plan for enabling AUKUS this week, endorsing legislative changes and unveiling a new "trade authorization mechanism" intended to streamline defense trade between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Document: House hearing on U.S. arms exports and AUKUS

A new draft request for proposals is focused on engineering and manufacturing development efforts within the E-XX TACAMO program:

EXX-TACAMO weapon system has tentative contract date

A contract for the Navy's future aircraft system that allows the president to communicate with ballistic missile submarines during times of crisis will be awarded in September 2024, according to a draft request for proposals.

Document: Navy draft RFP for EXX-TACAMO

By Tony Bertuca
May 30, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Several Washington think tanks are holding events this week featuring current and former defense officials. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is traveling this week to Japan, Singapore, India and France.


Memorial Day.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with the director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization.

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion with the director of the Air National Guard.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on "prevailing in an age of danger."

By John Liang
May 26, 2023 at 3:18 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a Defense Department inspector general report looking into the quality of Army prepositioned stocks, a nascent Air Force homeland defense radar project, future U.S. military talks with China and a lot more.

A Defense Department inspector general's report issued this week "identified issues that resulted in unanticipated maintenance, repairs, and extended lead times to ensure the readiness of the military equipment selected to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces":

DOD IG warns of readiness deficiencies for equipment being sent to Ukraine

The Pentagon's inspector general, in a "management advisory" released earlier this week, found multiple deficiencies related to the quality of Army prepositioned stock equipment that is being sent to Ukrainian armed forces.

Document: DOD IG report on Army prepositioned stock-5 equipment designated for Ukraine

The Air Force is seeking $516 million in fiscal year 2024 for a new homeland defense sensor project:

DOD plans south-facing Over-the-Horizon radar, seeks to begin prototyping in FY-24

The Pentagon is seeking authorization in fiscal year 2024 to begin prototyping a new homeland defense Over-the-Horizon Radar -- with one each planned in the Northeast, Northwest, Alaska and a Southern-facing array -- for improved long-range sensor coverage of aircraft, cruise missiles, maneuvering hypersonic missiles and maritime surface vehicle threats.

Ely Ratner, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, spoke this week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on U.S. hopes for talks with China in the near future:

Defense leaders await China's response to Singapore meeting

Ahead of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's scheduled trip next week to Singapore, U.S. leaders continue to have hope they will hear from Chinese leaders about a proposed meeting on the sidelines of Asia's premier security summit -- the International Institute of Strategic Studies' Shangri-La Dialogue.

The Army this week hosted its Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM X) in Philadelphia:

Army officials say network modernization must reduce logistics footprint

As the Army modernizes its network in preparing for future fights, it must incorporate simplicity and a reduced logistics footprint, top officials said Thursday during the annual Technical Exchange Meeting in Philadelphia.

Document: Army's TEM-X meeting agenda, briefing slides

The Pentagon's top civilian spoke at a press conference following the 12th international meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group this week:

SECDEF predicts international fund to sustain aid to Ukraine, including F-16s

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today he anticipates the United States and its allies will eventually establish an international fund for countries to contribute to the long-term defense of Ukraine against Russia, including the sustainment of soon-to-be provided F-16 aircraft that could cost around $1 billion.

Although the Navy has yet to publish formal requirements for its future destroyer, Lockheed Martin Vice President of Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems Joe DePietro said the company is investing in a new vertical launch system capability because initial DDG(X) requirements include a Conventional Prompt Strike capability:

Lockheed designing new VLS to equip next-generation destroyers with hypersonic missiles

MOORESTOWN, NJ -- With its sights set on the Navy's next-generation large surface combatant, contractor Lockheed Martin is developing a new vertical launch system, resembling its existing Mk 41 launcher, that can fire hypersonic Conventional Prompt Strike missiles from a surface ship.

Northrop Grumman will be providing orbital launch services to the Space Force:

SSC awards $45.5M task order to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.

Space Systems Command awarded Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. a $45.5 million contract to provide orbital launch services, the command announced today in a press release.

In a legislative proposal released last week, DOD pushed for the modification of federal laws it says limit its ability to defend against drones outside of the U.S.:

DOD requests loosening of drone-defense restrictions on foreign bases

Congress should give the Pentagon more authority to defend against unmanned aircraft abroad, the Defense Department says.

A new Navy contract enables General Dynamics Electric Boat, which collaboratively builds Virginia-class submarines with HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding, to purchase long-lead materials and begin assembling components of the two Block V boats, hulls 812 and 813, before the official start of construction:

Navy awards Virginia contract modification, signaling resolution to year-long liability dispute

The Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a contract modification worth over $1 billion to begin procuring materials for two future Virginia-class submarines, according to a Tuesday Defense Department announcement, signaling an end to a year-long liability dispute that had put the contract award on hold.

By Tony Bertuca
May 26, 2023 at 12:35 PM

The Defense Department has sent Congress a classified 2023 Cyber Strategy centering China as the top U.S. competitor in the cyber domain, along with Russia, which poses an "acute threat."

The Pentagon today released a fact sheet highlighting key concepts that will be rolled out in an unclassified summary of the report expected to be released in the coming months.

“The 2023 DOD Cyber Strategy is grounded in real-world experience,” the fact sheet states.

The new strategy will supersede one released in 2018.

“Since 2018, the department has conducted a number of significant cyberspace operations through its policy of defending forward, actively disrupting malicious cyber activity before it can affect the U.S. homeland,” DOD said.

The fact sheet notes that the strategy is “informed” by Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, “which has demonstrated how cyber capabilities may be used in large-scale conventional conflict."

Meanwhile, China remains DOD’s “pacing challenge in the cyber domain” as Beijing has “made significant investments in military cyber capabilities and empowered a number of proxy organizations to pursue malicious cyber activities against the United States,” according to the fact sheet.

While Russia is viewed as an “acute” threat “evidenced by its malign influence efforts against the United States and repeated cyberattacks against Ukrainian civilian critical infrastructure,” North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations all remain “persistent cyber threats.”

Transnational criminal organizations, meanwhile, are judged to be a “unique threat” in cyberspace because of their “technical aptitude and often close alignment with the foreign policy objectives of their host governments,” the fact sheet states.

By John Liang
May 25, 2023 at 2:38 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy and Army unmanned systems, weapons for Taiwan, a delay to the Space Force Range Contract final request for proposals and more.

The Navy's Triton unmanned aerial system's first deployment is expected to take place this summer:

Triton UAV set for summer deployment

The MQ-4C Triton uncrewed surveillance aircraft is on a flight path to meet initial operating capability requirements by Sept. 30, a Navy spokesman told Inside Defense.

A bunch of U.S. weapon systems bought and paid for by Taiwan won't reach the island nation until 2025:

McCaul: Weapons marked for Taiwan will not be delivered until 2025

A list of 22 weapon systems marked for transfer to Taiwan -- including several missile systems and F-16 and MQ-9B aircraft -- will not be delivered until 2025 at the earliest, according to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

AeroVironment is the only contractor who didn't get an other transaction authority to work on the Army's Future Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft Systems:

Army awards first option for FTUAS award to four companies

The Army has awarded the first option for its Future Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft Systems to four companies, the service has announced, narrowing the field from five companies during the base period.

The Air Force has pushed back the release of the Space Force Range Contract final request for proposals:

SFRC final RFP initial release date delayed to June

The Space Force Range Contract final request for proposals release date scheduled for May 24 has been delayed to on or around June 5, the Air Force announced this week.

The Army this week held its Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM X) in Philadelphia:

Army will realign PEOs within acquisition office by October to support unified network plan

To move forward with its unified network strategy, the Army plans to realign multiple program executive offices within the service's acquisition office by October.

Document: Army's TEM-X meeting agenda, briefing slides

The Navy's long-term plan is to build up to 20 John Lewis-class oil tankers:

Contract awarded for next John Lewis-class tanker

Construction of the T-AO 213 -- the ninth ship in the Navy's John Lewis-class tanker program -- is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2025, under a $736 million modified contract awarded to General Dynamics NASSCO.

The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party has released a report on Taiwan:

House select committee on China urges stockpiling of U.S. weapons to back Taiwan

The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party released a bipartisan blueprint calling for, among other things, increased production of long-range missiles and unmanned systems to support the strategy lawmakers say is necessary to deter an invasion or blockade of Taiwan by China.

Document: House select committee on China's report on Taiwan

Northrop Grumman this week announced its Eagle-3 spacecraft -- the company's solution for the U.S. military's Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Space, Block 0 Polar (NGP) requirement -- had completed preliminary design review:

Northrop's Next-Gen OPIR Polar design clears important review; onward toward CDR

Northrop Grumman's proposed blueprint for a pair of polar-orbiting satellites intended to provide next-generation ballistic and maneuvering hypersonic missile detection over Arctic regions passed muster with U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command, clearing the project to proceed toward the next planned milestone: critical design review.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger spoke this week at a Brookings Institution forum:

Berger: LSM fielding bogged down by Pentagon acquisition process

The Marine Corps' highest-ranking officer is calling on lawmakers to streamline the Pentagon's acquisition process, which he says is slowing down the development and fielding of critical capabilities like the Landing Ship Medium.

By Tony Bertuca
May 25, 2023 at 2:00 PM

President Biden today announced that he will nominate Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown, if confirmed, would succeed Army Gen. Mark Milley as chairman. Milley, who has held the post since 2019, is set to retire in September.

Brown’s nomination, however, comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is holding up more than 200 military nominations and promotions over his opposition to DOD’s leave and travel reimbursement policies for military servicemembers seeking abortion services.

Prior to serving as Air Force chief of staff, Brown served as commander of Pacific Air Forces and has also commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.

If Brown is confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he would join Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as one of the Pentagon’s top two leaders, marking the first time in U.S. history that both posts are held by African Americans.

The job has not been held by an Air Force officer since Gen. Richard Myers retired in September 2005.

Brown would also be assuming the post at a time when Milley, the current chairman, has called for significant technological transformation of the U.S. military.

At a recent appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brown said he believes artificial intelligence presents an opportunity to “make decisions much faster, or at least cull through the data, so you can actually [know] where you need to prioritize, as an individual to make decisions or employ weapons.”

Additionally, Brown said he believes the United States must strengthen its relationships with key allies.

“You can't guarantee that they're going to be there one way or another, but you can guarantee they're not going to be there if you don't work with them,” he said.

Earlier this year, news broke than an Air Force commander had released a memo predicting that China would invade Taiwan in 2025. Other defense officials have said the United States should be prepared for the invasion by 2027.

Brown, in a February appearance at the Brookings Institute, said speculation about a Taiwan scenario was “not necessarily helpful.”

“It takes away from what we’re really trying to get to do, which is to make sure we’re going to be ready,” he said. “I can’t predict the future, but I can shape it by being ready.”