The INSIDER daily digest -- March 3, 2023

By John Liang / March 3, 2023 at 2:26 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the future of Navy surface ships, the latest on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's engine woes, countering small, uncrewed aerial systems in Ukraine and more.

Rear Adm. Fred Pyle, director of the office of the chief of naval operations' surface warfare division (N96), spoke this week at a Navy League event:

Pyle: Surface warfare roadmap includes DDG upgrades and new weapon systems

Over the next 15 years, the surface Navy will focus on upgrading its fleet of destroyers and investing in new weapon systems like hypersonic missiles and directed energy, a top surface warfare officer said today while laying out the service's future years defense program forecast.

Joint Strike Fighter aircraft are getting their engines retrofitted with a fix that should allow them to return to flight:

JPO orders retrofit for F-35 engines following 'harmonic resonance' incident

F-35 Joint Strike Fighters grounded by an engine problem discovered in December will undergo an immediate retrofitting procedure to return to flight, the Joint Program Office said Thursday, and all other F-35s should be retrofitted within 90 days.

Fortem Technologies, based in Pleasant Grove, UT, has evolved its work with miniature radar into an end-to-end counter-drone system that has captured not only 5,000-plus drones during developmental tests but also the attention of investors as well as foreign countries like Ukraine:

Drones armed with precision-fired nets protecting U.S. strategic, Ukrainian critical sites

The U.S. government is protecting select strategic sites from small-uncrewed air systems with new counter-drone technology developed by a Utah startup that nabs a threat mid-air with a net, a system that is also proving itself in operations over Ukraine by thwarting some Russian intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as kamikaze drone strikes.

Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, spoke this week at a Hudson Institute event:

DOD officials anticipate additional MLR in Indo-Pacific

The Marine Corps' newly announced Okinawa-based Marine Littoral Regiment is not the only MLR the service plans to stand up in the region, according to senior Pentagon policy officials who underscored the importance of forward-deployed forces to deter an increasingly aggressive Chinese military.

The Planning, Programming, Budget and Execution Reform Commission is on track to release an interim report with initial findings and recommendations this August, followed by a final report in March 2024:

Pentagon reform commission highlights challenges facing decades-old budget system

A key congressional commission tasked with reforming the Pentagon's much-criticized budget planning and programming process today released a "status update" on its ongoing work to understand the challenges facing the 1960s-era system currently in place.