The INSIDER daily digest -- March 6, 2019

By John Liang / March 6, 2019 at 2:02 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on unspent DOD funds, services contractors turning to supplying actual, physical products to the Pentagon, the Joint Strike Fighter program and more.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a longtime critic of defense spending, has made cutting the defense budget a central focus of his 2020 presidential campaign:

DOD draws fire from Sanders for returning $80B in funding between FY-13 and FY-18

The Government Accountability Office recently found that the Pentagon has returned more than $80 billion in canceled funds to the U.S. Treasury since fiscal year 2013, drawing criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who says the unspent cash raises questions about defense budgets that continue to climb year after year.

Services contractors are more and more looking into building actual, physical products for the Defense Department:

Services contractors look to product expansion for growth

Several services contractors say they're increasingly turning to products as a way to boost growth and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

The Air Force is working with Lockheed and the JPO on an ALIS re-architecture project dubbed Mad Hatter:

Pentagon, JPO ask Air Force to consider additional F-35 software intervention efforts

As the Air Force works with the F-35 joint program office and prime contractor Lockheed Martin to re-architect the jet's Autonomic Logistics Information System, the service has been asked to consider other intervention opportunities that could lower the program's life-cycle sustainment costs.

Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts notified Congress earlier this year the service will contract out the "engineered overhauls" for the attack submarines Hartford (SSN-768) and Montpelier (SSN-765) in fiscal year 2020 and FY-21, respectively:

Navy will redirect two SSN maintenance availabilities from public shipyards to private sector

Citing the years-long delays plaguing the attack submarine Boise (SSN-764), the Navy has opted to divert scheduled maintenance for two other subs from public shipyards to the private sector, according to documents viewed by Inside the Navy.

The Air Force recently issued a memo that implements new Defense Department energy management policies established in a November 2016 Air Force policy directive:

New Air Force instruction presents operational energy guidelines for acquisition process

An Air Force instruction published last month mandates the use of energy-specific key performance parameters and supportability analyses for new acquisition programs.

Document: Air Force instruction on operational energy guidelines

The chief of U.S. Transportation Command testified this week before the Senate Armed Services Committee:

TRANSCOM chief highlights tanker shortfall despite conflicting MCRS findings

The head of U.S. Transportation Command told lawmakers today the Defense Department predicts it will need to grow its mobility capacity, particularly its tanker fleet, in the near term, despite the findings of a recent Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study that validated the current fleet size.

News from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Lawyers say acquisition rule will drive cybersecurity beyond vendor community

Leading industry lawyers on data privacy and security requirements say an upcoming federal acquisition rule will affect industries beyond contractors by extending strict controls currently used by the Defense Department to all federal agencies.

Some defense news from our colleagues at Inside U.S. Trade:

Commerce initiates Section 232 probe into titanium sponge imports

The Commerce Department on Monday initiated a Section 232 investigation into titanium sponge imports, the fifth national security-based trade probe initiated by the Trump administration.