The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 7, 2023

By John Liang / February 7, 2023 at 1:02 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on China's ICBM launchers, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman's remarks at a Defense Writers Group meeting this morning and more.

Gen. Anthony Cotton, the head of STRATCOM, has told lawmakers that, as of October 2022, the "number of land-based fixed and mobile ICBM launchers in China exceeds the ICBM launchers in the United States":

Chinese nuclear ICBM launchers now outnumber U.S. totals

The chief of U.S. Strategic Command has informed Congress that China has now surpassed the United States in its number of intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, though America still has the edge regarding the total number of ICBMs and nuclear warheads, according to a memo sent to senior lawmakers.

Document: STRATCOM chief's letter to Congress on Chinese ICBMs

The Senate Armed Services Committee's top Democrat spoke to reporters this morning in a call with the Defense Writers Group:

Reed anticipates Senate 'pressure' to boost defense budget, despite House GOP's talk of cuts

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said today he expects there will likely be "pressure" in the Senate to increase defense spending above President Biden's anticipated March 9 budget request, though House Republicans are on the hunt for savings at the Pentagon.

Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters this week that the U.S. military took advantage of the airship’s flight across the continent to conduct counter-intelligence -- securing approval to activate capabilities that typically are forbidden from collecting in domestic airspace:

NORAD chief: Chinese balloon offered U.S. chance to collect intel

The heads of U.S. Northern and Strategic commands took "maximum precautions" to prevent the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon from collecting intelligence on domestic military sites during its flight over states with sensitive installations -- including key strategic nuclear locations.

Several V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft have been grounded recently:

Portion of Osprey fleet grounded as clutch issue drags on

The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have grounded an undisclosed number of V-22 Ospreys in response to a recommendation from the V-22 Joint Program Office that warned of further risks of hard clutch engagements.

Next week, DOD plans to invite proposals -- using non-traditional acquisition rules -- for a "competitive cornerstone initiative request (CIR)" administered by an Army organization at Rock Island, IL, on behalf of the Pentagon's Innovation Capability and Modernization Program run by the Office of the Secretary of Defense's industrial base shop:

DOD charts path, competition for new, large rocket motor production for hypersonic weapons

The Defense Department is clearing a path this month to establish additional domestic large solid rocket motor production, opening a competition to qualify a supplier to support Navy and Army plans for surging offensive hypersonic missile production in the coming years.