The INSIDER daily digest -- April 18, 2023

By John Liang / April 18, 2023 at 3:04 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department doing away with emergency contracting actions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific region and more.

We start off on the Pentagon terminating emergency contracting actions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic:

DOD rolling back emergency contracting actions related to COVID

The Pentagon, in accordance with President Biden's termination of the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, is ending several contracting and acquisition policies aimed at mitigating damage to the U.S. defense industrial base, including payment rates for large contractors that were made more generous at the onset of the pandemic, according to a new memo.

The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this morning on U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific region:

Aquilino: Indo-Pacific conflict 'is not inevitable'

China's expansion and modernization of its nuclear arsenal poses a growing risk to security in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. military leaders told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

Here's our preliminary coverage of the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs:

Dickinson: SPACECOM on track for FOC this year

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- U.S. Space Command is on track to reach full operational capability later this year, SPACECOM Commander Gen. James Dickinson said Tuesday morning at the Space Symposium.

On March 23, Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill approved a new acquisition plan proposed by MDA's Targets and Countermeasures Subscale Program Office to proceed with a sole-source award for a new ICBM target:

Push to accelerate NGI schedule trips up MDA plans for ICBM target competition

The Defense Department is scrapping plans for a notional three-way competition to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile target -- needed to test the $17 billion Next Generation Interceptor program -- and is selecting incumbent Northrop Grumman for the project after determining the new target is needed sooner than originally planned.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing this morning on the Navy's fiscal year 2023 budget request and its 30-year shipbuilding plan:

Lawmakers dissatisfied with flat shipbuilding plans

Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee are dissatisfied with the Navy's near- and long-term shipbuilding plans, saying they fail to adequately increase the service's fleet size to meet its 355-ship requirement.

Document: Navy's FY-24 shipbuilding plan

The Government Accountability Office published reports this week on directed-energy weapons and Future Vertical Lift:

GAO: Navy, Air Force need more 'transition planning' for directed-energy weapon development

The Navy and Air Force risk deploying directed-energy weapons that do not meet operational needs without better processes for transitioning prototypes to fielded products, a new GAO report warns.

Document: GAO report on directed-energy weapons

GAO: Army did not always include proper cost, schedule evaluation for future vertical lift

The Army, in some cases, did not provide the proper cost and schedule evaluations of its Future Vertical Lift programs based on the Government Accountability Office's "leading practices," a new report released Monday found.

Document: GAO report on future vertical lift aircraft