The Insider

The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 8, 2018

By John Liang  
February 8, 2018 at 2:08 PM

The Defense Department's upcoming missile defense assessment, the two-year budget deal, DARPA and more highlight this Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest.

The Pentagon's upcoming missile defense review will look at more than just ballistic missiles:

Coming DOD missile defense assessment drops focus on 'ballistic' from title

The Defense Department is dropping the "ballistic" from the Ballistic Missile Defense Review President Trump asked for last year, a change that reflects the assessment -- set to be released soon -- aims to provide a new policy, strategy and architecture blueprint accounting for a wider array of threats than one released in 2010.

A new budget deal, according to congressional sources, would raise the limit on national defense spending in FY-18 by $80 billion and in FY-19 by $85 billion:

Two-year budget deal would lift spending caps, boost DOD base budget above $600B

Senate leaders today broke a political logjam over federal spending, announcing a two-year budget agreement that would raise statutory caps on defense spending for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 by $165 billion, a deal that -- if agreed to by the House and enacted -- would exceed increases for the Pentagon proposed last year by the Trump administration.

A possible failure by Congress to pass the two-year budget agreement raising the spending caps for defense "would be devastating," senior Army leaders testified this week:

Generals address Army's pursuit of modernization priorities, seek further reforms

During a Feb. 7 hearing of the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee, a quartet of Army senior leaders issued a familiar call for funding increases and budget stability, while seeking greater flexibility to pursue the service's modernization priorities.

Document: Senior Army leaders' joint testimony on modernization

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been working on a "duality of research both in the platform domain, as well as in the pure autonomy domain":

DARPA focused on platforms with 'a significant amount of autonomy'

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is focused on developing platforms and systems containing a "significant amount of autonomy," as the Defense Department pushes for technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and manned-unmanned teaming.

The Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office wants to produce a modern, reliable and reasonably priced torpedo that can transition to industry with minimal or no redesign:

SCO embarks on effort to increase MK 48 heavyweight torpedo range

The Strategic Capabilities Office is embarking on a new project, dubbed the Contender, to help the Navy increase the range of the MK 48 heavyweight torpedo.

Document: SCO solicitation on MK 48 heavyweight torpedo

Over time, the amount of funding needed to add onto vehicle platforms built for AI could become insurmountable without the right planning, according to the head of TARDEC:

TARDEC director lays out strategy for Army AI integration

The Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center is figuring out the expanses of artificial intelligence as it applies to ground vehicles and is forming a strategy for implementation, according to its director.

The Interoperability Clearinghouse filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office Feb. 5 over DOD's $6.7 million sole-source award to Eagle Harbor Solutions last month:

Pentagon cloud steering group's support contract under protest

The Pentagon's cloud executive steering group's award to an obscure company for "contractor support services" is under protest, raising more questions about the group's push for commercial cloud adoption across the Defense Department.

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Army Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon spoke at an unmanned systems conference this week:

Cardon pushing CFTs on artificial intelligence, unmanned systems

Autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities "should be central components to future war" and the Army has to prepare to integrate and protect those capabilities, according to the director of the service's Office of Business Transformation.

A senior House lawmaker on Navy physiological episodes regarding service aircraft: "This has got to be fixed":

Navy 'not declaring victory' on physiological episodes

The Navy is "not declaring victory" over the problem of pilots suffering physiological episodes in the T-45C Goshawk trainer or the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet although rates of occurrence have greatly decreased in the trainers.