The INSIDER daily digest -- March 23, 2021

By John Liang / March 23, 2021 at 1:52 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the overall defense budget, the Air Force's Long-Range Standoff Weapon program and more.

Navy Adm. John Aquilino, nominated to be chief of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning:

Upcoming defense budget fights teased during INDOPACOM nomination hearing

A nomination hearing today for the admiral tapped to lead the U.S. military in the Asia-Pacific region showcased several emerging debates over the Pentagon's budget, the embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and the overall approach to countering China.

Document: Senate hearing on INDOPACOM nomination

The House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat spoke this week at an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation:

Smith: DOD innovation, climate change efforts key to pushing back on progressive calls to cut defense

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said boosting the Pentagon's efforts to drive U.S. technology innovation and combat climate change could help get progressives to back down from calls to cut the defense budget.

The Air Force is striving to reach the initial operational capability milestone for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon in FY-30:

USAF looking to restore LRSO funding after FY-21 budget cut

The Air Force is aiming to restore the nearly $90 million Congress cut from its fiscal year 2021 budget proposal for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon after the service pushed one of its two main contractors out of the program.

The Government Accountability Office this week released a report on hypersonic weapons:

GAO report reveals depth, scope of U.S. hypersonic weapons projects: 70 efforts, $15 billion

Congressional auditors have identified 70 projects focused on hypersonic weapons research and development backed by $15 billion through 2024 across the U.S. government, shining light into the breadth and scope of a campaign to field a new class of maneuvering ultra-fast weapons with the potential to shape the balance of power between the U.S. military and other major powers such as China and Russia.

Document: GAO report on hypersonic weapons

Vice Adm. William Galinis, head of Naval Sea Systems command, recently testified at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing:

Galinis: Navy looking to accelerate shipyard improvement program

The Navy is seeking to accelerate its efforts to improve the infrastructure of its public shipyards, following calls from members of Congress to do so.

The Next Generation Interceptor project has been approved to proceed to the next phase of development:

Hicks approves NGI to proceed; contract award imminent for $2 billion, three-year initial design phase

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has approved the Next Generation Interceptor project to proceed, clearing the way for the Missile Defense Agency to award a pair of contracts as well as seek $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2022 and FY-23 for the new Ground-based Midcourse Defense guided missile, according to a source familiar with the decision.