The INSIDER daily digest -- Dec. 4, 2023

By John Liang / December 4, 2023 at 1:48 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage from the past weekend's Reagan National Defense Forum in California, plus news on AUKUS and more.

We start off with coverage from this past weekend's Reagan National Defense Forum:

Pentagon's draft industrial base strategy calls for 'generational change'

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The Pentagon says it has become "acutely aware of significant challenges" facing the U.S. defense industrial base and has produced a strategy -- to be followed by an implementation plan -- that details key areas where U.S. weapons suppliers can be strengthened, according to a draft copy of the new National Defense Industrial Strategy obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: DOD's draft industrial base strategy

Inaugural RDER prototypes ready for production but stalling out under stopgap spending rules

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The first fruits of the Defense Department's high-profile Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve -- nearly two years in the making -- are at risk of stalling out due to budget uncertainty, potentially slowing delivery to combatant commanders of new capabilities recently validated through experimentation earlier this year as having warfighting utility.

Kendall on AI: 'If you have a human being in the loop, you will lose'

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Top U.S. defense officials said a new era of AI warfare has arrived and that the Pentagon needs to significantly increase funding on artificially intelligence programs to enable new weapon systems, rapidly provide senior military commanders with targets, and, in some cases, do the shooting.

Austin: FY-24 funding instability 'erodes' U.S. security and ability to compete

SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed the 10th gathering of the Reagan National Defense Forum by calling on Congress to provide fiscal year 2024 funding certainty in an address that did not outline any new initiatives or policy objectives but focused on the unique role of the United States leadership in the world.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps and Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles at the Defense Innovation Unit in Mountain View, CA for the second AUKUS defense ministerial meeting late last week:

Defense officials foot-stomp AUKUS progress after second defense ministerial meeting

Military leaders from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom appeared on Friday night to foot-stomp recent progress within the AUKUS security partnership and announce several new initiatives in the agreement’s technology-focused second pillar.

AUKUS nations prepare to launch new pillar II tech development initiatives

Defense officials are preparing to launch multiple new initiatives within the technology-focused second pillar of AUKUS, including a string of joint exercises using autonomous maritime systems and a series of innovation challenges aiming to incentivize companies from the three nations to compete to fill key capability gaps.

Inside Defense recently interviewed Bill Sheehy, the AMPV program director for BAE Systems:

BAE anticipates next 'option year proposal' for AMPV before end of year

BAE Systems expects the Army to award the next "option year proposal" for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle before the end of the calendar year, a company official told Inside Defense last week.

In FY-23, the Navy awarded two contracts worth a combined $116 million to Lockheed Martin and RTX to develop separate prototypes of the Hypersonic Air-Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO) system -- a carrier-based surface strike weapon the sea service aims to field before the end of the decade:

Navy completes HALO initial technical review, will launch EMD competition in second quarter

The Navy has completed the initial technical review for a developing hypersonic weapon system and will publish an official request for proposals for the program's engineering and manufacturing development phase in the second quarter of fiscal year 2024.