The INSIDER daily digest -- March 26, 2020

By John Liang / March 26, 2020 at 1:42 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on DOD's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Heritage Foundation report on Air Force aircraft procurement, a proposed Navy Light Amphibious Warship and more.

We start off with our continuing coverage of the Pentagon's response to the coronavirus pandemic:

Senate passes coronavirus rescue bill with $10.5B for defense

The Senate voted 96-0 to pass a final $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package that would provide an additional $10.5 billion in defense spending.

Geurts urges Navy R&D to push OTAs, rapid prototyping during COVID-19 pandemic

A new memorandum by the Navy's acquisition executive directs the service's research and development enterprise to make greater use of other transaction authorities and prototyping as a way to maintain the health of the industrial base during the coronavirus pandemic.

Document: Geurts memo on R&D funding response to COVID-19

Geurts says Navy is accelerating, not delaying, contract awards in response to COVID-19

The Navy's acquisition executive says he is pushing the service to accelerate upcoming contract awards in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Heritage Foundation recently released a new report on Air Force aircraft procurement:

Heritage recommends Air Force prioritize near-term aircraft procurement over long-term R&D

A new report from the Heritage Foundation highlights concerns about the Air Force's capacity and readiness shortfalls and suggests the service should shift some funding away from research and development to boost fighter and tanker procurement and reprioritize its F-35 beddown schedule to assure that forward-based, active-duty units receive the jet sooner.

The Navy is looking into a proposed Light Amphibious Warship:

Navy begins pursuit of Light Amphibious Warship V

The Navy is asking industry for input on a future Light Amphibious Warship, as the Marine Corps recalculates its force design to prepare for a near-peer fight in the Pacific.

Document: Light amphibious warship RFI

Sikorsky and Bell Flight have been chosen to build Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft prototypes:

Sikorsky, Bell move on to FARA phase 2

The Army has chosen Sikorsky and Bell Flight to build prototypes for the competitive flight test phase of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, the service announced today.

Inside Defense this week interviewed Brig. Gen. Matt Easley, director of the Army's Artificial Intelligence Task Force:

Army developing cloud-based AI ecosystem to be used across service

The Army's Artificial Intelligence Task Force is developing an "AI ecosystem" to host data across all units.