The INSIDER daily digest -- Dec. 14, 2023

By John Liang / December 14, 2023 at 1:33 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on space-based missile defense, Navy munition stocks, the potential for a Space National Guard and more.

The compromise version of the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill calls for the Missile Defense Agency director to commission an “Independent Analysis of Space-Based Missile Defense Capability,” directing the Institute for Defense Analyses to update a 2011 study on the subject:

Space-based interceptors set for new 'independent' assessment; IDA to update 2011 study

The potential for space-based missile defense capabilities -- including orbiting interceptors -- will get another serious assessment in 2024, more than 40 years after President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative and nearly six years after the Pentagon last explored the matter, this time at Congress' direction.

After the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act included new language directing the Navy to engage in “the peacetime promotion of the national security interests and prosperity of the United States" in addition to preparing for future conflict, the Navy tasked the Center for Naval Analyses with formulating recommendations to better prepare the service for this strategic competition:

CNA: Navy must prioritize munition stocks, arm surface fleet for strategic competition

A new report from the Center for Naval Analyses advises the Navy to increase its munition stocks and arm its existing surface fleet with more weapons, sensors and other technology to more effectively contend with China in an era of heightened strategic competition.

The fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill, approved by the House and Senate this week and on its way to the White House for presidential signature, would call on the defense secretary to make a recommendation on whether to establish a National Guard component of the Space Force:

Congress would order studies on Air Force force design and Space National Guard

Congress is set to order the Air Force to come up with a force design detailing what both the Air and Space Forces will look like through 2050.

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board will be conducting studies slated for 2024 on "Enhancing Operational Security," "Protecting Critical Technology," "Winning Strategic Competitions" and "War Winning Weapons":

AFSAB to study weapons quality and quantity ahead of potential near-peer conflict

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board will assess whether the service has the quality and quantity of weapons needed to win in a conflict with a near-peer adversary.

Document: AFSAB terms or reference for 2024 studies

A new Defense Innovation Unit project attempts to strengthen DOD's energy supply chains, solve source dependency challenges and improve lithium battery life cycle through partnerships across the DOD and service branches that will implement commercial technology into DOD soldier-portable systems, ground vehicles and aviation:

DIU awards companies to prototype 'standard aviation batteries' in line with DOD's lithium battery strengthening initiative

The Defense Innovation Unit awarded contracts to five companies to prototype standard aviation batteries to combat energy source needs through the Defense Department's Family of Advanced Standard Batteries (FAStBat) project, which integrates commercially available lithium battery technologies across the Pentagon.