The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 22, 2021

By John Liang / February 22, 2021 at 1:55 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on China's challenge to NATO, defense contractor cash flow, the Navy's shipbuilding budget and more.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently held his first press briefing as SECDEF:

Austin makes clear to NATO allies that China is the 'pacing challenge' for U.S.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today he discussed challenges posed by "an increasingly aggressive China" during recent meetings with NATO officials.

The COVID-19 pandemic has moved the Defense Department in the direction of freeing up greater cash flow to defense contractors:

DOD launches new contractor cash flow and pricing study rooted in controversy

The Pentagon has entered arrangements with three universities to study key areas related to contract finance and pricing that could impact the way defense contractors are paid.

House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Chairman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) both spoke at a recent event hosted by the Hudson Institute:

Courtney, Wittman call on Biden's first budget to prioritize Navy

Congressional seapower leaders are calling on the Biden administration's first budget to prioritize the Navy and shipbuilding to counter the growing threat posed by China.

A senior Lockheed Martin executive late last week talked about the Air Force embarking on a portfolio review of its tactical fighter force that will, in part, consider options to replace the F-16 and inform force structure decisions in the fiscal year 2023 budget request:

Lockheed emphasizes integrated fighter capabilities as USAF considers F-16 replacement

The new executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's aeronautics business told reporters today that as the Air Force evaluates the makeup of its tactical aircraft portfolio -- and considers a clean-sheet 4.5-generation fighter to replace the F-16 -- he thinks the three fighter aircraft the company already builds for the service provide a holistic, family-of-systems approach to meet a spectrum of capability needs.

Last but by no means least, the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon plans to conduct 'gap analysis' between FedRAMP and CMMC for reciprocity

The Defense Department is working with the General Services Administration's Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program team to develop a "gap analysis" that will compare the cloud services effort with the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification initiative, according to DOD's Stacy Bostjanick.