The INSIDER daily digest -- Jan. 16, 2024

By John Liang / January 16, 2024 at 2:05 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on strategic deterrence, the Air Force's Collaborative Combat Aircraft program, the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program and more.

The Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that requires the defense secretary by the end of March to contract a university-affiliated research center with expertise in strategic deterrence "to conduct research and analysis on multipolar deterrence and escalation dynamics":

DOD to solicit independent assessment of multipolar strategic challenges

The Defense Department is looking for help thinking through the complexities of deterrence and escalation dynamics in a world with more than two major nuclear-armed powers, fulfilling a statutory mandate to seek outside expertise in thinking anew about strategic deterrence with the advent of China as a second near-peer strategic competitor.

The Air Force's Collaborative Combat Aircraft program is at a virtual standstill, with Congress being so far unable to reach a long-term deal to fund the federal government since the fiscal year ended in September:

Congressional spending debate may cause CCA experimental unit progress to stall

Congressional back and forth over the annual appropriations bill is stalling progress on a key experimentation effort led by the Air Force to field autonomous fighter platforms.

The latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Professional Services Council raises concerns over implementing CMMC program through contracting supply chain

The Professional Services Council is supportive of the Pentagon's plans to allow self assessment for less sensitive information held by defense contractors under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, while recognizing that contracting officers could still decide to choose a higher level of security than needed to ensure adequate protection of the information on nonfederal systems.

A new Defense Department inspector general's report determines "the extent to which the DOD conducted enhanced end-use monitoring (EEUM) of designated defense articles to Ukraine in accordance with DOD policy":

DOD says sensitive weapons sent to Ukraine were not 'diverted'

The Defense Department inspector general says that the U.S. military has failed to comply with enhanced tracking requirements for thousands of technologically sensitive weapons sent to Ukraine, but the Pentagon asserts there is "no credible evidence" that the unaccounted-for weapons have been stolen or diverted elsewhere.

Document: DOD IG report on EEUM to Ukraine

Rocket Lab National Security is a third vendor joining the team of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, who were previously awarded a total amount of $1.5 billion to build 72 T2TL Beta variant satellites in August last year:

Rocket Lab to build additional 18 T2TL Beta space vehicles for SDA

The Space Development Agency announced Monday it has awarded a $515 million contract to Rocket Lab National Security to build 18 additional Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta variant satellites, an increase in the size of the constellation from 72 to 90 space vehicles.