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The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 16, 2017

February 16, 2017 |
John Liang
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The Joint Strike Fighter program and Navy shipbuilding are among the highlights of this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Coverage of today's House hearing on the JSF program:

Bogdan provides public account of private phone calls with Trump, Boeing chief

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' directive to review the Joint Strike Fighter program stems from a pair of phone calls then-President-elect Donald Trump had in January with F-35 Joint Program Office director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the senior Air Force officer told lawmakers.

Bogdan says 'better deals' on F-35 production contracts could mitigate development costs

The head of the F-35 joint program office told lawmakers this week he is 'confident' he won't be asking lawmakers for more money to complete development, stating that favorable future negotiations could free up funds to mitigate additional costs.

Bogdan: Pentagon is testing F-35C nose gear fix and hopes to have results by March

The Pentagon is testing a fix to the F-35C's nose gear at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst, NJ, and hopes to have results in March, according to the F-35 program executive officer.

Air Force concerned near-term F-35A procurement spike could drive retrofit costs

The Air Force may consider speeding up its procurement plans for the F-35A, but has cautioned that doing so prior to the delivery of Block 4 in the early 2020s would add considerable retrofit costs to the program.

Navy shipbuilding news:

Huntington Ingalls CEO: Major shipbuilding increase would require 'hard work'

The chief executive of shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls said Thursday that growing the Navy's fleet to the level President Trump has advocated would not be "a light switch that you just turn on."

Navy expects to finalize initial requirement for future surface combatant by July

The Navy has determined three types of vessels it would develop as part of future surface combatant programs, and the service expects to complete the initial capabilities document for the family of vessels by July, according to officials.

A look at how SECDEF Mattis could benefit from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation:

Mattis seeks to calm waters as Flynn resignation reverberates through defense circles

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose primary public role in the fledgling Trump administration has been the reassurance of foreign allies, could stand to benefit from the exit of Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, who the White House said was forced from his job by the president after an "erosion" of trust stemming from statements he made about a wiretapped conversation with Russian officials.

News on the Commerce Department from this morning's Inside the Pentagon:

Survey finds circuit board industry is small and could be shrinking

Responses to a Commerce Department survey designed to gather information on U.S. companies that produce bare printed circuit boards found that the fragile industry is contracting, possibly forcing the federal government to turn to China, according to a source with knowledge of the study.

Commerce Department tracking facilities with classified defense contracts

The Commerce Department is in the midst of a three-year effort to gather information on all the facilities that have a classified contract with the Pentagon, according to a source with knowledge of the effort.

The Army will set up more security force assistance brigades:

Army plans Security Force Assistance Brigade units

The Army intends to establish six security force assistance brigades and a new academy to train them, according to an announcement from the service.