The Insider

By Nick Wilson
April 10, 2023 at 1:24 PM

The Navy will hold an industry day later this month before opening a contract competition for the design and construction of a new class of submarine tenders intended to support Virginia- and Columbia-class boats.

According to a March announcement, Naval Sea Systems Command will host the industry event on April 18 to provide an overview of the Navy’s draft requirements before launching an open contract competition in the fall for the production of up to two of the new AS(X) vessels.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request includes $1.7 billion for the first boat in this new-start program. The budget anticipates the procurement of a second tender in FY-26 for $1.1 billion, resulting in a total of two vessels across the five-year future years defense program.

The tenders will perform intermediate-level repair, resupply, rearming and other support for forward-deployed submarines, according to budget documents. The tenders will also be capable of reloading torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles and performing radiological emergency response.

The service plans to award a contract for the first vessel in May 2024, targeting delivery in June 2031, budget justification books indicate. A contract award for the second vessel is planned for May 2026 with delivery in September 2032.

Last week, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson indicated the company is working on a tender design under a study contract, Defense News reported. Wilkinson said this design may be based upon the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, which the company produces.

Presently, the Navy has two tenders -- Emory S. Land (AS-39) and Frank Cable (AS-40) -- which are based in Guam and perform maintenance in the Pacific. The new tenders will eventually replace these aging vessels, which have each been in service for more than 40 years.

By John Liang
April 10, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials are scheduled to speak at public events around the Washington area this week.


The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion with Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with the National Security Agency’s director of cybersecurity.

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on assessing U.S. military force structure.


The Atlantic Council hosts discussion on the interim report produced by the think tank’s Defense Innovation Adoption Commission.


The National Defense Industrial Associations hosts a conference on the fiscal year 2024 science and technology budget.

By John Liang
April 7, 2023 at 1:50 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the possibility of setting up another combatant command, Sikorsky losing its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft contract protest and more.

A new combatant command could be in the offing:

DOD debates possibilities for new Joint Futures Command; Milley lends horsepower

Inside the Pentagon, a small team of experts is preparing to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on options for addressing the future of warfare amid rapid technological change, which could lead to the creation of a new “Joint Futures Command.”

Sikorsky has lost its protest of a multibillion-dollar, next-generation helicopter contract:

GAO denies Sikorsky's protest of Army's FLRAA decision

The Government Accountability Office has denied Sikorsky's protest of the Army's decision to award the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft to competitor Bell, clearing a hurdle for the multibillion-dollar program to move forward.

Lockheed Martin will increasing the number of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles and Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles the company produces:

DOD increasing JASSM and LRASM production quantities

The Defense Department is increasing the production quantities of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles and Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, which will cover JASSM production Lots 22-26 and LRASM Lots 9-12 for quantities up to 5,010 in various configurations and variants, according to a government notice.

Many of the Navy's platforms were not designed with sustainment in mind, according to senior service officials:

Navy faces uphill battle curtailing maintenance delays, service officials say

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Service officials gathered this week at the Navy League's annual Sea-Air-Space conference to chronicle their efforts expediting submarine and surface ship repairs and recapitalizing aging public infrastructure -- presenting a snapshot of measured progress with an uphill battle ahead.

The Space Force's Rapid Capabilities Office has a new component:

Space Force stands up rapid resilient command and control office

The Space Force stood up a Combined Program Office in February for its Rapid Resilient Command And Control effort, according to a request for information on the program posted last week.

The Air Force is looking into adding money to programs funded under Middle Tier Acquisition authorities:

Air Force assessing funding shortfalls for MTA programs

The Air Force is assessing options to address funding shortfalls for Middle Tier Acquisition programs, according to service budget documents.

A Pentagon legislative proposal submitted to Congress would decrease the number of Navy carrier wings required to nine until additional carriers can support a 10th air wing:

Navy seeks to clip carrier wing mandate to nine

The Navy once again is asking Congress to remove the Title 10 requirement for standing up a 10th carrier air wing (CVW) by Oct. 1, 2025.

By John Liang
April 6, 2023 at 2:00 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the Sea-Air-Space Symposium, Oshkosh Defense's protest of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract award, plus space and cybersecurity coverage.

Let's start off with more coverage of this year's Sea-Air-Space Symposium:

Shipping leaders link merchant fleet to defense supply chain

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- U.S. commercial shipping leaders, meeting Wednesday on the closing day of the Sea-Air-Space conference, voiced concern about ensuring strategic sealift capabilities to counter possible military aggression.

Ukraine war influencing Arctic security concerns

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Russia's increased reliance on China since its invasion of Ukraine is heating up Arctic security concerns for the United States and its allies, according to a defense expert speaking at the Sea-Air-Space conference.

Read our full Sea-Air-Space Symposium coverage.

We also have an interview with the head of Oshkosh Defense on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle protest:

Oshkosh exec: Company would suffer 'significant loss' if it had matched competitor's JLTV bid

The head of Oshkosh Defense says the company would have suffered a "significant loss" if it had bid the same amount as its competitor AM General, which recently won the Army's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on production contract.

Plus some space news:

SDA to release first of its Tranche 2 solicitations next week

The Space Development Agency will issue a request for proposals next week on its first set of Tranche 2 satellites for its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, according to SDA Director Derek Tournear.

Saltzman: Rapid data transfer and decision support will be key to Space BMC3

Data transfer with decision-support software is a top priority for the Space Force as it builds out a space battle management command, control and communications network, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said Wednesday.

Space Force to recruit Guardians using digital management process

Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman today highlighted the U.S. Space Force's initiative to recruit Guardians using modern talent management processes.

As well as cybersecurity coverage:

CYBERCOM uses new budget authorities to lay claim to $6B in DOD spending plan

The Defense Department is utilizing new budget authorities granted to U.S. Cyber Command in fiscal year 2024 -- giving the organization service-like acquisition powers for the first time -- to carve out $6 billion in planned research and development as well as procurement projects in the Pentagon's new five-year spending blueprint.

DOD plans to issue rule expanding incident reporting program to entire defense industrial base

Stacy Bostjanick, chief of defense industrial base cybersecurity, says industry should expect to see a rulemaking in June that will expand the Pentagon's incident reporting program for companies who currently have a defense contract to the wider defense industrial base that handles controlled unclassified information.

INSA describes potential industry role in support of offensive cyber ops

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance is proposing steps to improve the private sector's ability to assist in offensive cyber operations, including through creation of a cyber national guard and reserve force, but cautioning against encouraging companies to "hack back" against cyber attackers.

By John Liang
April 5, 2023 at 2:12 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has continuing coverage of this year's Sea-Air-Space Symposium, as well as the Army's proposed unified data reference architecture and the Missile Defense Agency's hypersonic defense system development effort.

We start off again with coverage from this year's Sea-Air-Space Symposium:

CNO: Columbia lags accelerated 78-month delivery timeline, not 84-month schedule

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday today provided clarification on the delivery schedule for the Columbia-class submarine program, saying the lead boat is approximately 10% behind the Navy's accelerated 78-month delivery schedule, lagging by roughly 7.6 months.

ONR doubles down on key tech investments

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Office of Naval Research is doubling down on key technology investments, seeking to inform a strategy that can contend with new global threats and environmental challenges in a rapidly changing world.

Meier: 'I need carriers to come out on time'

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Navy Rear Adm. John Meier, speaking at the Sea-Air-Space conference Tuesday, called the capacity for shipyards to meet construction and delivery dates a "national imperative."

Pentagon seeking trustworthy, reliable AI

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Senior defense officials say they are prioritizing trustworthiness and reliability as they search for new artificial intelligence capabilities.

Navy to expand unmanned operations to 4th Fleet

​NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Navy plans to expand unmanned operations to the 4th Fleet, drawing on experimentation efforts that it has pioneered with Task Force 59 in the 5th Fleet.

Integrated warfighting moving away from 'metal-on-metal solutions'

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- A modernized approach to integrated fighting is transforming strategies and the mindset for future maritime combat operations, according to a panel of Navy and Marine Corps leaders speaking Tuesday at the Sea- Air-Space conference.

BAE looks to expand vehicle offerings with ARV competition

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- BAE Systems is looking to the Marine Corps' next-generation Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle as an opportunity to expand its product line, competing for an ARV contract with a modified version of its amphibious combat vehicle.

Read our full Sea-Air-Space Symposium coverage.

Unified data reference architecture is a decentralized, data-mesh-based architecture the Army has been developing, Jennifer Swanson, the service's deputy assistant secretary for data engineering and software, told reporters this week:

Army standing up 'innovation exchange' lab

The Army is standing up an "innovation exchange" lab at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, to test the implementation of the service's planned unified data reference architecture framework.

The Missile Defense Agency's FY-24 budget request details for the first time a development schedule for the GPI program, which aims to develop a new guided-missile interceptor to thwart an ultra-fast maneuvering glide vehicle in the “glide” phase, or midcourse, of flight:

DOD sets 2034 fielding target for Hypersonic Defense system; 17-year development path

The Pentagon plans to field a hypersonic defense system in fiscal year 2034, a target date that falls 17 years after Congress directed the Missile Defense Agency to begin work on the project and a schedule that doesn't appear to reflect the accelerated plans associated with nearly $300 million in additional funding lawmakers gave to the Defense Department's FY-23 budget for the Glide Phase Interceptor.

By Dan Schere
April 5, 2023 at 12:27 PM

The Army has awarded GM Defense the full-rate production contract for the Infantry Squad Vehicle, the company announced on Wednesday.

The ISV is the Army’s newest light tactical vehicle and is modeled after the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 pickup truck architecture, according to the service. It can carry a nine-soldier infantry squad, can be sling-loaded from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and can fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, according to the service.

The Army awarded the ISV contract to GM Defense in June 2020 with a total award value of $214.3 million to procure 649 ISVs, and an eventual acquisition objective of 2,065 vehicles, Inside Defense reported at the time.

According to the Army, the Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support gave the green light on March 30 to transition the program to full rate production, with the acquisition objective now 2,593 ISVs.

The Army said in a statement that the decision “represents a major Army acquisition programmatic milestone in ‘motorizing’ Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, Security Force Assistance Brigades, as well as Army Ranger units.”

GM Defense President Steve duMont said in a statement Wednesday that the company has delivered more than 300 ISVs to the Army, with many having already been fielded to the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

By John Liang
April 5, 2023 at 12:05 PM

Satellite communications company iDirect Government announced today that Tim Winter has been named interim president by the iDirect Government Proxy Board, replacing John Ratigan as president as of April 3.

Previously vice president of global accounts and global government and defense at ST Engineering iDirect, the parent company of iDirect Government, Winter managed its strategic global account engagements and captured pursuits for international defense opportunities. Prior to joining ST Engineering iDirect, Winter managed businesses across the defense industry at L-3 Communications and Northrop Grumman.

Before his work in the defense industry, Winter was a naval aviator, flying P-3 Orion aircraft and the BAMS-D unmanned aerial vehicle through 2022. He retired from the Navy with the rank of commander in 2022.

Ratigan served as president of iDirect Government for 20 years, managing the Defense Department business "and was instrumental in the company’s growth, bringing advanced satellite communications used for voice, video, Internet, imagery and data to military, homeland security, first responders and other government users," according to a company statement.

By Tony Bertuca
April 4, 2023 at 2:59 PM

Doug Beck, previously the vice president of Apple, has been named to be the next director of the Defense Innovation Unit, which will now report directly to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Beck, a captain in the Naval Reserve, joined Apple in 2009. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan with a joint special operations task force from 2006 to 2007.

“Mr. Beck has previous experience working with DIU, as he founded and led its joint reserve component from inception in 2015 through 2019,” the Pentagon said. “He has also served extensively throughout the Asia Pacific region during his nearly 26 years of service, including command of a large joint reserve unit supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.”

The position of DIU director, which will now report directly to Austin, previously reported to the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

As DIU director Beck will “oversee efforts to accelerate the department's adoption of commercial technology throughout the military and also serve as a senior advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on technology innovation, competition, and strategic impact,” according to the Pentagon.

The Defense Department is seeking approximately $105 million for DIU in fiscal year 2024, a $35 million increase above what Congress enacted in FY-23. However, the final FY-23 DIU topline was boosted by Congress and the Defense Department took criticism from lawmakers for only requesting $36.5 million in FY-23.

Beck will succeed Mike Brown, DIU’s longest serving director who stepped down last September.

Austin, in a new memo, is requiring Beck to provide him with an assessment in 90 days of DIU's capabilities and a proposed plan of action for achieving key goals.

"The DIU director shall serve as a leader inside the department to catalyze engagement with and investment into private sector communities where commercial technology can be adapted an applies to meet our warfighters’ requirements,” Austin said.

Additionally, Austin said, the DIU director will also serve as a “focal point for new and emerging commercial technology sectors to help identifying dual-use pathways and adaptations that enable rapid transition and fielding of new technologies.”

By John Liang
April 4, 2023 at 2:42 PM

The United States "has not yet begun" to train Ukrainian troops on how to use the Abrams tank, according to a senior Defense Department official.

"We're still working on the equipment procurement so we have not yet begun the training, but I would expect that that will happen relatively soon," the official told reporters today during a background briefing.

DOD announced late last month that it would accelerate the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine by several months, now planning for the tanks to arrive sometime this fall.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said March 21 that the department was able to speed up the delivery because, rather than delivering the M1A2 tank variant as originally planned, DOD will now be providing Ukraine with the M1A1 variant.

"This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians," he said.

Ryder said last month that the timeline could be compressed because the M1A1s will be built using "excess hulls in our inventory that we will refurbish."

The U.S. has trained more than 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of Russia's invasion last year, the senior defense official said today. Of those, more than 4,000 have been trained to use Bradley and Stryker combat vehicles at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, the official added.

By John Liang
April 4, 2023 at 1:38 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage from the annual Sea-Air-Space Symposium plus news on an Army effort to develop a multidomain sensing system and more.

We start off with coverage of the Sea-Air-Space Symposium:

Indo-Pacific panel calls out China for campaign of small-scale aggressions

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- "Peace is war without bloodshed for China" is how Naval War College Professor James Holmes described that country's position toward rules-based order and international law that hold sway in the South China Sea and across the Indo-Pacific.

Lockheed prepares to ramp up LRASM production

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- With a block buy expected in fiscal year 2024, Lockheed Martin is preparing to dramatically scale up production of two missile systems -- the Navy's Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and the Air Force's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

Marine Corps prepares for initial CH-53K deployment in 2025

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Marine Corps is targeting 2025 for its initial CH-53K King Stallion deployment, while the heavy lift helicopter's maker, Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky, looks to ramp up production to a rate of two aircraft per month.

Tech innovations yield on-demand training as troops need it

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Better tech and distribution systems are delivering training environments to troops when and where they need them, according to a panel of experts speaking Monday at the Sea Air Space conference here.

Read our full Sea-Air-Space Symposium coverage.

The Army is seeking funding for a system that would operate on a converted corporate jet in which an array of sensors and processors would enable multidomain operations:

Army seeks $200M for multidomain sensing system

The Army has included nearly $200 million in its fiscal year 2024 budget request for research, development, test and evaluation of a modernized aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system.

The Navy is looking to upgrade the aircraft that would be responsible for relaying presidential orders to nuclear submarine crews:

Northrop reveals team to compete for Navy's new NC3 aircraft program

Northrop Grumman today announced it is partnering with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Crescent Systems, Inc. and Long Wave Inc. to compete for an upcoming contract to modernize the Navy's new nuclear command, control and communications aircraft.

By Tony Bertuca
April 4, 2023 at 11:45 AM

The Defense Department today announced a $2.6 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, including additional ammunition, artillery rounds, air defense interceptors and anti-armor systems as well as other weapons.

Part of the package is funded via $500 million in presidential drawdown authority and includes:

• Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;

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

• 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds;

• 120 mm mortar rounds;

• 120 mm and 105 mm tank ammunition;

• 25 mm ammunition;

• Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;

• Approximately 400 grenade launchers and 200,000 rounds of ammunition;

• 11 tactical vehicles to recover equipment;

• 61 heavy fuel tankers;

• 10 trucks and 10 trailers to transport heavy equipment;

• Testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair;

• Spare parts and other field equipment.

Meanwhile, the package also includes items put on contract with vendors via $2.1 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds:

• Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);

• Nine counter-Unmanned Aerial System 30mm gun trucks;

• 10 mobile c-UAS laser-guided rocket systems;

• Three air surveillance radars;

• 30 mm and 23 mm anti-aircraft ammunition;

• 130 mm and 122 mm artillery rounds;

• 122 mm GRAD rockets;

• Rocket launchers and ammunition;

• 120 mm and 81 mm mortar systems;

• 120 mm, 81 mm, and 60 mm mortar rounds;

• 120 mm tank ammunition;

• Javelin anti-armor systems;

• Anti-armor rockets;

• Precision aerial munitions;

• Approximately 3,600 small arms and more than 23,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;

• Seven tactical vehicles to recover equipment;

• Eight heavy fuel tankers and 105 fuel trailers;

• Armored bridging systems;

• Four logistics support vehicles;

• Trucks and ten trailers to transport heavy equipment;

• Secure communications equipment;

• SATCOM terminals and services;

• Funding for training, maintenance and sustainment.

While drawdown authority allows for the rapid transfers of weapons directly from U.S. stocks, USAI involves procuring capabilities from industry and could take months or years before arriving on the battlefield.

By Tony Bertuca
April 3, 2023 at 2:19 PM

The Philippines and the United States today announced the locations of four new sites where U.S. military forces will be based.

The new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement sites include: Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan, according to the Pentagon.

The naming of the locations follows a February announcement in which the United States and the Philippines committed to designate four new EDCA sites.

The locations will complement five existing EDCA sites.

“[T]hese new locations will strengthen the interoperability of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters,” the Pentagon said.

The department said it intends to expand funding on top of the $82 million that has already allocated toward infrastructure investments at the existing EDCA sites.

The announcement is in step with the Biden administration’s National Defense Strategy, which calls for countering China in the Indo-Pacific region, including in any potential conflict over Taiwan.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press conference that the EDCA sites are focused on “regional readiness,” but also “be[ing] able to respond” to natural disasters in the region.

By Apurva Minchekar
April 3, 2023 at 2:11 PM

The Space Development Agency on Sunday announced the successful launch of Tranche 0 satellites, which took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, after postponing the original launch date of March 30.

"This is a major accomplishment for SDA and for the whole Department of Defense,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said in a statement. “It shows that our key pillars, proliferation and spiral development, can deliver for national security space.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable, two-stage rocket was launched with a set of 10 satellites, including eight transport satellites from York Space System and two tracking satellites from SpaceX.

The launched T0 is part of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, the transport and tracking layer satellites intended to demonstrate the low-latency communication links to a network of integrated capabilities, including tracking of advanced missile threats from low-Earth orbit, according to SDA.

For the second T0 launch, scheduled for June, York Space Systems and Lockheed Martin will produce 10 transport satellites each, for a total of 20 T0 transport satellites, according to SDA, while SpaceX and L3Harris will produce four tracking satellites for a total of eight T0 satellites.

T0 demonstration will begin once all 28 satellites are placed in two orbital planes at an altitude of approximately 1,000 km. After undergoing a period of test and checkout of the bus and mission payloads, the tranche will support military exercises, including advanced missile tracking tests in the summer of 2023 and the future, according to SDA.

"Through this launch (T0 initial launch), we've demonstrated that SDA can keep a schedule to deliver enhanced capabilities every two years,” Tournear said. “This revolutionary approach is enabled by the growth in the commercial marketplace, allowing the PWSA to move forward to deliver warfighting capabilities in each future tranche.”

SDA plans the first operational generation of the PWSA, Tranche 1, to begin in late 2024, which will include 126 transport layer satellites, 35 tracking satellites and 12 tactical demonstration satellites.

By John Liang
April 3, 2023 at 1:36 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on tactical aircraft programs, the Pentagon's latest fiscal year 2024 legislative proposal packages and more.

We start off with Government Accountability Office testimony on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter submitted at a congressional hearing last week:

GAO identifies delays in F-35 simulator testing

A new government audit calls out the Defense Department's delay in authorizing the F-35 to begin full-rate production, even though the aircraft program started development more than 20 years ago.

GAO raises concerns about proposed F-35 engine upgrade

A Government Accountability Office official told a House panel that a "full business case" has not been made for addressing F-35 engine and cooling system troubles.

JPO: TR-3 for F-35 to be completed between December and April

Integration of Technology Refresh 3 -- the hardware and software upgrade for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- is running another year behind schedule, officials told lawmakers.

Document: House hearing on fixed-wing tactical aircraft programs

More from the same hearing, but this one is on the F-22 Raptor:

Air Force again seeking F-22 block 20 divestment

In its years-long bid to "divest to invest," the Air Force is once again asking Congress to approve the divestment of its block 20 F-22 Raptors.

The Pentagon has begun submitting its fiscal year 2024 legislative proposal packages:

DOD wants STRATCOM, SPACECOM to use novel personnel system to compete with private industry

The Defense Department is asking Congress to allow U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command to use a novel personnel system to attract and retain highly talented and non-traditional job candidates.

DOD requests cross-fiscal year authority for Ukraine funding

Seeking longer-term Ukraine assistance funding, the Pentagon has requested the renewal and modification of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Document: DOD's first FY-24 legislative proposal package

Document: DOD's second FY-24 legislative proposal package

Late last month, the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 31 Event 1a (FTM-31 E1a) over the Pacific Ocean:

SM-6 salvo intercepts target in simulated terminal defense of aircraft carrier strike group

The U.S. military executed what it says was a successful do-over live-fire of a major ballistic missile defense test when a pair of Standard Missile-6 interceptors -- configured in a new variant -- launched in a single salvo and intercepted a medium range ballistic missile target in a simulated last-line-of-defense protection for an aircraft carrier strike group.

By Nick Wilson
April 3, 2023 at 11:05 AM

The Navy has awarded HII a $1.3 billion contract for the procurement of its third flight II San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, according to a Friday service announcement.

The award paves the way for construction to begin on LPD-32 after Congress approved the ship’s purchase in the fiscal year 2023 budget cycle. Work is expected to be completed by September 2029, the announcement states.

Ingalls Shipbuilding, the sole contractor for the LPD class, received $240 million in advance procurement funding in 2022 for the ship, according to a separate company announcement.

After the Navy omitted amphibious warships from its FY-24 budget request, the Marine Corps listed $1.7 billion for a fourth LPD as its top unfunded priority.

A Pentagon-directed pause in LPD procurement has put Navy and Marine Corps leadership at odds. While Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday argued that cost-reduction measures are necessary before procurement continues, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has urged continued fielding of LPDs to maintain a fleet of 31 amphibious warships.

During a March appearance, Gilday suggested LPD-32 could cost as much as $2 billion by the end of the buy -- 21% to 25% cost growth over the first hull. Berger presented a more moderate cost increase picture, which he attributed largely to inflation.

During last week’s congressional budget hearings, lawmakers indicated support for continued LPD buys and skepticism toward the pause and cost-reduction study, while Marine Corps leadership said the LPD cannot afford to have its capabilities scaled down to reduce costs.

Gilday and Berger steered clear of the LPD debate today when they appeared on stage together at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.

Gilday said the Navy and Marine Corps are in “good shape” in terms of shipbuilding with ample support from Congress. He said LPD-32 was put on contract at a “good price,” adding he hopes to leverage the Navy’s multiyear procurement authority to keep the LPD line active.