The INSIDER daily digest -- June 7, 2024

By John Liang / June 7, 2024 at 1:53 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon seeking more funding flexibility, plus the latest on an effort to develop a next-generation airborne laser and more.

Heidi Shyu, defense under secretary for research and engineering, said this week that DOD lacks the amount of funding needed and the ability to maneuver that funding to deal with emergent threats as they appear:

Senior Pentagon official calls on Congress to grant DOD more flexible funding

A senior Pentagon official is calling for more flexibility in the Defense Department's budget so threats can be tackled as they emerge, comments coming a week before the House Armed Services Committee is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill.

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Heath Collins added new details to the agency’s plan for a new directed-energy project -- first reported earlier this week -- during remarks at a June 6 event hosted by a Washington think tank:

MDA plans 'tracking,' 'characterization' projects in initial exploration of new airborne laser

The Missile Defense Agency plans to begin work on tracking technology as a first step in a potential project that could build the case for arming uncrewed aircraft with a next-generation airborne laser powerful enough to defeat long-range ballistic missiles, according to a senior official.

Unmanned systems news from the Navy and Army:

Navy seeks industry input on small, long-endurance USVs

The Navy is seeking to expand its unmanned surface vessel portfolio -- specifically small, long-endurance vessels -- according to a request for information posted Thursday.

Army issues notice with intent to field larger, multipurpose drones

The Army is formulating a plan to field larger classes of unmanned systems that can perform a variety of mission roles such as surveillance, reconnaissance, security, attack, precision strike, intelligence collection and command and control.

Last but by no means least, some artificial intelligence news:

AFRL using AI to clean up data sets, tag data as it comes in

The Air Force Research Laboratory is running experiments to bring artificial intelligence into the field and bring data to the warfighter, but first it’s using AI to clean up the existing mounds of data.