The INSIDER daily digest -- March 25, 2020

By John Liang / March 25, 2020 at 1:53 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on COVID-19's effect on the Defense Department, the Pentagon's FY-21 information technology budget and more.

We start off with our ongoing coverage of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Defense Department:

Pentagon's defense industry team still in early stages of COVID-19 response

The Pentagon's senior acquisition team has only just begun their first fully coordinated efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and pledged today to move aggressively to prop up economically vulnerable defense contractors and field "demand signals" for medical supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Launch procurement effort deemed 'mission essential' amid COVID-19 outbreak

The director of the Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center's launch enterprise said today the service has characterized the Launch Services Procurement source selection as "mission essential," and hasn't faced any significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NGI launch temporarily tripped up by COVID-19, expected soon

The planned launch of the Next Generation Interceptor competition was tripped up last week when plans for a review by the Missile Defense Executive Board -- whose approval is needed to release a request for proposals -- were postponed as Pentagon leaders grappled with responding to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, sources said.

Army does not expect contract award delays amid coronavirus outbreak

While the Army has canceled several training exercises in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service is not currently expecting any contract awards to be affected, according to an official statement.

(For full coverage of COVID-19's effect on the Defense Department, click here.)

The Pentagon this week released details of its fiscal year 2021 information technology budget:

DOD claims increasing cost savings and efficiencies through IT consolidation initiatives

The Defense Department claims it will recoup nearly $1 billion in fiscal year 2021 through its various "IT cost savings initiatives," as defense officials look to consolidate IT infrastructure and services across the department's "fourth estate" agencies and field activities, according to new budget documents.

The Government Accountability Office has a new report out on Navy shipbuilding:

Watchdog says Navy underestimated ship sustainment by $130 billion

A government watchdog's analysis has found the military racked up billions in unforeseen shipbuilding bills as a result of poor planning for sustainment, a conclusion a top Navy official rebutted as "lacking context."

Document: GAO report on Navy shipbuilding

The Mk21A program, intended to replace the legacy Minuteman III system's Mk21 reentry vehicle, successfully passed a system requirements review on Feb. 11:

ICBM reentry vehicle program passes system requirements review

The Air Force completed a key milestone last month in the development of a new reentry vehicle that will deliver the W87-1 warhead from the military's next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile system, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

Last but by no means least, some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon revises CMMC to clarify requirements for handling encrypted data

The Defense Department has issued revisions to its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, less than two months after it was released as final, to clarify requirements for encrypted data among other "administrative" changes.

Pentagon signs MOU with accreditation body kicking off cyber certification process

Defense Department acquisition chief Ellen Lord has signed a legally binding memorandum of understanding with an industry-based accreditation body that will certify the auditors who will validate the cybersecurity practices of contractors, sources say, a move that marks a significant milestone for implementing the landmark program which will eventually affect all 300,000 defense contractors.