The INSIDER daily digest -- March 8, 2024

By John Liang / March 8, 2024 at 11:12 AM

The bulk of this Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the annual McAleese and Associates conference in Washington.

Let's start off with what the deputy defense secretary, Pentagon acquisition chief and comptroller had to say:

Hicks touts data quality to drive AI countering China's influence

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks is touting the superiority of the Defense Department's data to power the artificial intelligence that will counter China's efforts for global dominance, while stressing the Pentagon's commitment to human control of emerging AI uses.

DOD acquisition chief predicts surge in counter-drone production; investment protected in FY-25

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said today that he wants to move about half of the department's approximately 40 counter-drone prototypes into production, noting that the programs have been protected from scheduled fiscal year 2025 procurement cuts.

DOD comptroller says FY-25 will emphasize 'innovation,' notes inflation is easing

Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said today that the fiscal year 2025 defense budget request slated to be rolled out on Monday will emphasize innovation by continuing the Defense Department's focus on investments in emerging technologies, despite a 1% topline cut driven by a congressional spending agreement reached last year.

Moving on to Air Force leaders' remarks:

Allvin: Air Force FY-25 request likely to be 'unsatisfying'

The Air Force's fiscal year 2025 budget request that will be announced Monday will be "unsatisfying," Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin said today, as the service looks to modernize for what it calls "great power competition" amid congressional calls for fiscal moderation.

Air Force leaders preview FY-25 fighter force mix, again eye F-22 divestment

As the Air Force envisions a future fighter fleet, it wants to divest aging Block 20 F-22 Raptor jets to instead fund the modernization of more recent F-22 configurations, according to top service officials.

. . . and Army:

Army is 'OK' with non-standard buys

The Army is willing to buy "non-standard equipment" and let units experiment with new technologies, according to a senior Army official.

. . . Then Navy:

Del Toro: U.S. shipbuilding stands to benefit from foreign investment

The United States shipbuilding industry could benefit from foreign investment, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said today, indicating a "cash infusion" from an international shipbuilder could boost production capacity, drive down prices and inject competition into the domestic market.

. . . And last but not by no means least there was missile defense:

U.S., Japan finalizing co-development agreement for hypersonic-killing missile interceptor

The governments of the United States and Japan are finalizing a formal agreement to co-develop a next-generation, ship-launched guided-missile interceptor designed to defeat long-range, hypersonic weapons during the glide phase, according to a senior U.S. military official.