The INSIDER daily digest -- March 17, 2023

By John Liang / March 17, 2023 at 1:27 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on conservatives' ideas for reducing defense spending, the Navy's budget proposal for Project Overmatch, amphibious warship readiness levels and a lot more.

The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute recently hosted a private meeting with top conservative experts to figure out potential savings in defense spending:

Conservative think-tank huddle IDs billions in uphill DOD savings, not much in 'woke' cuts

A private meeting hosted last month by two right-leaning Washington think tanks has identified areas where the Pentagon could save billions of dollars annually, including military health care reform and base closures, but also found that cuts to other "politically controversial programs" -- often focused on by some Republicans who deride them as "woke" -- would save far less.

The Navy's fiscal year 2024 spending proposal for Project Overmatch represents a $16 million increase over the service's FY-23 budget request:

Classified Project Overmatch funding targets operational architecture

A $192 million request for Project Overmatch, the Navy’s portion of a classified project to connect the military with command-and-control intelligence, will focus on accelerating delivery of naval operational architecture, the Navy said Thursday.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said this week that readiness levels for amphibious warships have been well below 50% for the past decade:

Berger: Marines need 'sustained resourcing' for amphibious fleet readiness

Bringing the amphibious fleet up to the Navy's 80% readiness goal is not a one-year budget fix but will require several fiscal years of "sustained resourcing," according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

The Navy's top civilian spoke about his service's 30-year shipbuilding plan at this week's McAleese & Associates Defense Conference:

Del Toro: Navy's upcoming 30-year shipbuilding plan likely to present three options

The Navy's forthcoming 30-year shipbuilding plan is likely to again present three procurement options to lawmakers, according to the service’s secretary who said the multiscenario plan provides flexibility to adapt to emerging threats.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill this week revealed new developments regarding U.S.-Japan cooperation on a hypersonic missile defense interceptor:

U.S. considering co-development role for Japan on 'front end' of hypersonic-killing interceptor

The U.S. government is eyeing a key role for Japan in the Pentagon's marquee hypersonic defense program that could give Tokyo responsibility for helping design and build some of the most advanced components of a Glide Phase Interceptor, and plans to facilitate exploratory meetings soon between defense companies on both sides of the Pacific.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have the latest defense cyber news:

NSA issues zero-trust guidance targeted at national security systems, civilian agencies request their own FY-24 cyber funding

The U.S. government's transition to a zero-trust architecture will continue to be a top priority as the National Security Agency and Defense Department continue on their journey with new guidance for national security systems, while civilian agencies reveal cost estimates for the move to ZTA as part of their fiscal year 2024 budget requests.

Even with more funding, the E-7 Wedgetail early warning aircraft won’t reach initial operational capability before fiscal year 2027, service officials and Boeing executives have said:

Quicker timeline to field much-needed E-7 Wedgetail not likely, officials say

The Air Force is trying to rapidly replace its decaying E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System platform, but efforts to speed up the timeline for fielding the E-7 Wedgetail aren’t looking fruitful, service Secretary Frank Kendall said.

The Air Force's top civilian is second-guessing his service's decision to upgrade the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine rather than doing a full replacement:

Kendall: 'I worry a little bit' about F-35 engine decision

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said this week that if he had one regret with his fiscal year 2024 budget request, it would be the decision not to move forward with the Adaptive Engine Transition Program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.