The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 11, 2019

By John Liang  
February 11, 2019 at 2:55 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage of a new Defense Intelligence Agency report on space security, a multibillion-dollar foreign military sale of THAAD interceptors to Saudi Arabia, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program and more.

Defense intelligence and policy officials spoke on background with a small group of reporters this morning:

Defense officials: Russian, Chinese organizational shifts signify greater focus on space

A defense intelligence official told reporters today that the biggest threat to U.S. space superiority is likely not a single adversary capability, but rather actions in recent years by Russia and China to better organize and integrate space capabilities within their militaries -- actions that could help the Pentagon as it makes a case to create a new Space Force.

Document: DIA report on 'challenges to security in space'

Saudi Arabia is inching toward getting THAAD interceptors:

MDA readying sole-source Lockheed Martin contract for mega-missile defense deal

The Missile Defense Agency is readying a potential $15 billion contract with Lockheed Martin to buy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems for Saudi Arabia, a deal in the works for years that would in a single package outfit the desert kingdom with seven batteries -- equivalent to the Army's current THAAD ballistic missile defense capabilities for the entire globe.

Document: MDA notice on THAAD sale to Saudi Arabia

A spokesman for the program executive office of combat support and combat services support said the government -- which has spent more than $1 billion on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle -- is now considering potential changes to the vehicle to improve visibility, make the truck less noisy and add more seats in the utility variant:

Army delays JLTV full-rate production to consider potential design changes

The Army is delaying plans to begin full-rate production of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, originally slated for December 2018, until as late as early summer to assess options for vehicle-design changes suggested by soldiers and Marines during testing and evaluation in a move that could push the $28 billion program toward a schedule breach.

A recent Government Accountability Office report focused on non-operational positions that require aviation expertise, including those in the RPA career field:

GAO finds inefficiencies in Air Force management of RPA pilots

Despite progress in career advancement for remotely piloted aircraft pilots, the Air Force has not evaluated its process for efficiently managing certain staff positions, according to a congressional watchdog.

Document: GAO report on UAS non-pilots

Inside Defense is closely following the Pentagon's plans for the FY-20 Overseas Contingency Operations budget request. In case you missed it, here's a free version of a story we ran last week:

Pentagon planning a mammoth FY-20 war budget to avoid spending cap

The Defense Department is preparing to ask Congress for an increase of more than $100 billion in its controversial warfighting account to skirt a mandatory budget cap, but some government officials are worried it will only further the account's appearance as a slush fund.