The INSIDER daily digest -- April 5, 2024

By John Liang / April 5, 2024 at 1:53 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on U.S. and Chinese naval officials meeting face-to-face again for the first time in two years, plus the dearth of Air Force aircraft spare parts and more.

This week marked the first in-person engagement between U.S. and Chinese naval officials since 2019, as 2021's meeting was virtual:

U.S. and Chinese Navy officials hold annual meeting after two-year pause

For the first time in two years, military officials from the United States and China met Wednesday and Thursday in Waikiki, HI to engage under the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement -- a practice in place since 1998 meant to safeguard operational safety in the air and sea and reduce clashes between the two militaries.

In more China-related news, the Pentagon wants to develop its own high-altitude surveillance balloons like the one China flew over the continental U.S. last year:

A year after Chinese spy balloon drama, U.S. military seeks its own high-flying balloons

A year after a Chinese stratospheric balloon flew across the United States -- triggering a political furor, discussion about gaps in domain awareness and the eventual combat downing of the airship -- the U.S. military is seeking funding to begin its own high-altitude balloon project to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Having more spare parts would free up 221 Air Force aircraft for mission-ready use:

Air Force to slash number of grounded aircraft by 43% if Congress OKs unfunded request

Roughly 221 aircraft at risk of being grounded can be saved if Congress approves the Air Force’s $1.5 billion unfunded priorities list request to restock spare parts, Inside Defense has learned.

U.S. European Command has submitted its fiscal year 2025 unfunded priorities list:

EUCOM's unfunded priorities list identifies unmet comms needs

U.S. European Command has sent Congress a $23 million unfunded priorities list, highlighting the need for new network technology, according to a document obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: EUCOM's FY-25 unfunded priorities list

The chief executive of HII spoke this week about supply chain issues affecting the delivery of the third Ford-class aircraft carrier:

Enterprise delay due to supply chain, HII CEO says

Supply chain issues are largely to blame for the potential 18-to-26-month delay facing the future Ford-class aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-80), according to HII CEO and President Chris Kastner.