The INSIDER daily digest -- Dec. 15, 2023

By John Liang / December 15, 2023 at 1:04 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the potential damage a full-year continuing resolution would wreak on major defense acquisition programs, the Pentagon's artificial intelligence efforts, AUKUS provisions in the FY-24 defense policy bill and more.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. C.Q. Brown, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall each sent separate letters to Senate appropriators this week, warning of the damage a full-year continuing resolution would do to the U.S. military:

Pentagon leaders tally potential devastation from a full-year CR

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior Pentagon leaders have sent Senate appropriators five separate letters detailing the damage that a first-ever, full-year continuing resolution would visit upon thousands of U.S. weapons programs, resulting in a possible 4.1% across-the-board budget cut.

Document: DOD letters to Congress on yearlong CR

Leveraging technology, like generative AI, requires an entire organizational effort, according to a senior Defense Department official:

DOD working on responsibly integrating generative AI across department

A senior Pentagon official in the chief digital and artificial intelligence office detailed what areas of emerging technology the office is focusing on in attempts to leverage AI usage across the Defense Department.

More on AI:

Air Force official: AI isn't going to create 'Robocop'-like systems that make attack decisions

While artificial intelligence systems may carry out lethal missions, humans will still be the decision-makers, according to a top adviser to the Air Force secretary.

The fiscal year 2024 defense policy conference bill, approved by both the House and Senate this week, includes several AUKUS-focused provisions requested by the Pentagon earlier this year:

Courtney: Authorization bill delivers 'core authorities' for AUKUS

The fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill contains the "core authorities" needed for AUKUS implementation, according to Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), who highlighted provisions in the bill that would grant Australia and the United Kingdom a partial exemption to export control laws and designate the two nations as "domestic sources" under the Defense Production Act.

The Navy's top civilian spoke this week at the National Defense Industrial Association's Naval Nuclear Submarine and Aircraft Carrier Suppliers Conference:

Del Toro: 'Imperative' to retake top maritime power spot from China

The Navy must take decisive action to lessen China's domination over maritime power, according to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro.

The compromise version of the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill authorizes $433 million for MDA’s Hypersonic Defense, in what has become a ritual for the project where the Pentagon proposes a nominal amount for the project and then seeks a substantial increase -- which Congress supports -- in an unfunded priority list:

Congress doubles hypersonic defense funding, directs six-year acceleration

Lawmakers have more than doubled authorized spending for hypersonic defense in fiscal year 2024, fully funding the Missile Defense Agency's off-budget wish to add $225 million to the Pentagon's $208 million formal request and directing an accelerated development and fielding plan for the Glide Phase Interceptor.

Gen. James Rainey, the commanding general of Army Futures Command, spoke this week at a breakfast hosted by the Association of the United States Army:

Futures Command head says rifle squads should be more mobile, survivable and lethal

Army infantry rifle squads need to become more mobile, lethal and survivable on the battlefield, according to a top general.