The INSIDER daily digest -- Feb. 9, 2024

By John Liang / February 9, 2024 at 2:00 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar Army helicopter program, a successful missile defense intercept test over the Pacific Ocean, the ongoing congressional fight over military funding and more.

We start off with the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar Army helicopter program:

Army canceling Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program

The Army has announced it is canceling the multibillion-dollar Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, one of the service's highly touted Future Vertical Lift programs, at the conclusion of prototyping activities this fiscal year.

The Navy and Missile Defense Agency conducted a successful missile defense intercept test over the Pacific Ocean:

Major test over Pacific pairs next-gen missile interceptor, next-gen Aegis radar for first time

The U.S. military executed one of the "most complex" ballistic missile defense tests to date, pairing for the first time the most advanced Aegis guided missile interceptor with its next-generation Air and Missile Defense Radar to shoot down a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, speaking this week at a RAND Corp. event in Arlington, VA, said the White House intends to submit the FY-25 budget on March 11 regardless of whether Congress, which has been mired in stopgap continuing resolutions and partisan debate for months, can pass an FY-24 appropriations package:

Senior DOD officials say Capitol Hill dysfunction threatens their race against China

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said today that ongoing congressional dysfunction is hobbling their ability to compete with China, detailing some of the specific financial stress that lawmakers have put the department under as the government continues down an uncertain path toward the fiscal year 2025 budget submission.

Blake Stone, a policy analyst with the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, spoke this week on the sidelines of the SAE Media Group's Counter UAS Homeland Security USA Conference in Arlington, VA:

Updated counter UAS strategy will include homeland security annex

The Pentagon's Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) will include a "homeland security annex" in the next update to its CUAS strategy, according to an official from the office.

Adm. Samuel Paparo, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander nominated to replace retiring Adm. John Acquilino as the top U.S. military official in the region, said the U.S. military must think deeply about conducting mobility and logistics missions across the region where the vast spaces between locations that need to be covered is referred to as the "tyranny of distance":

INDOPACOM nominee concerned about U.S. ability to refuel in a fight against China

The presumptive new U.S. Indo-Pacific Command boss is concerned about the adequacy of the United States' refueling capability in the event of a regional conflict, presumably against China, vowing -- if confirmed -- to work with lawmakers to "close the gaps" to keep bombers, destroyers, cargo trucks and more in the fight.

Don't expect to see a public version of a congressionally mandated spectrum band report anytime soon:

Pentagon will not publicly release spectrum band report senators asked for

The Pentagon will not publicly release a report that senators requested the publication of after lawmakers voiced concerns about the National Spectrum Strategy's request for a deeper inquiry into the lower 3 GHz Band, Inside Defense has learned.

The Senate has approved an updated national security supplemental spending bill:

Senate Dems pare back security supplemental after GOP blocks border provisions

The Senate voted 67-32 to advance consideration of a $95.34 billion security supplemental spending package that would aid Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after Republicans forced Democrats to remove border security and immigration reform provisions.

The Navy wants to develop a multimission affordable capacity effector (MACE) weapon through digital engineering and its range would be complementary to the Long-Range Anti-Ship missile (LRASM), which is estimated to be more than 200 nautical miles:

Navy asks industry if it can quickly build new low-cost, standoff air-launched weapon

The Navy wants to develop a low-cost, air-launched standoff weapon that would be funded starting in fiscal year 2026 and fielded as early as 2027 and has notified industry partners it is open to an exchange of ideas.