The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 16, 2023

By John Liang / February 16, 2023 at 2:19 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ships, Defense Department innovation, a recent congressional delegation trip to Europe and more.

The Navy is looking at other uses for its Littoral Combat Ship fleet:

Navy considering use of Freedom-class LCS as 'mothership' for unmanned platforms

As the Navy continues to explore alternative uses for its fleet of Littoral Combat Ships, it's evaluating the class' potential to serve as "motherships" for a variety of future unmanned systems.

Many lawmakers have signaled recently that the Pentagon needs to be a more agile innovator:

Harnessing start-ups to scale innovation seen as stubborn challenge for DOD

Concern over the Defense Department's inability to scale emerging technology has permeated the Pentagon and Capitol Hill in recent years, with criticism coming from Washington insiders and outsiders on the barriers -- and controversy -- surrounding start-ups in the defense industrial base.

Seven House lawmakers recently went on a congressional delegation trip to Europe to evaluate U.S. aid being sent to Ukraine:

Rogers 'confident' in U.S. aid to Ukraine after oversight trip

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) recently returned from Poland and Romania where he and other lawmakers went to conduct oversight of U.S. aid being sent to Ukraine, coming away with what he said is a "clear understanding of the various safeguards" that have been put in place to ensure donated weapons are tracked and accounted for.

A new Defense Department inspector general probe comes as U.S. lawmakers are pushing for closer scrutiny of purchases of U.S. farmland by Chinese nationals, labeling them threats to national security and economic sovereignty:

Pentagon IG to probe land purchases near military bases

The Defense Department's inspector general has opened a probe involving the national security risks associated with purchases of land near military installations by foreign entities.

Document: DOD IG memo on foreign buyers of land close to military bases

Over the last nine months, the Defense Information Systems Agency has been building a prototype -- known as Thunderdome -- that brings together a number of capabilities to enhance cyber defense:

DISA's Thunderdome prototype period ends, now scaling across enterprise

The Defense Information Systems Agency's zero-trust security program has finished its operational assessment period and has rolled out a series of technologies to demonstrate that its new program can deliver "all of the tenants of zero trust" for the Defense Department, an official announced this week.