The INSIDER daily digest -- May 22, 2020

By John Liang / May 22, 2020 at 1:55 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's fleet size, the Air Force's KC-46 airborne refueling tanker program, the nascent Space Force's acquisition system and more.

The Pentagon's top civilian thinks the Navy will need more ships than it thinks:

Esper: A 355-ship Navy is 'too few'

Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently argued the Navy needs a fleet larger than the 355-ship goal it has eyed for the last several years.

Inside Defense interviewed the chief financial officer of Huntington Ingalls Industries this week:

Huntington Ingalls CFO: 'There's no doubt' DOD will need additional funding for delayed programs

As Congress debates whether the Pentagon needs more money to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, Huntington Ingalls Industries' chief financial officer said the Defense Department will certainly need additional funding to cover the increased costs of delayed programs -- even if it opts not to help contractors.

Several senators are concerned that remaining deficiencies and the delayed initial operational capability timelines are having a significant impact on KC-46 airborne refueling tanker operations:

Senators call for periodic GAO reviews of KC-46 delays

Three Senators are pushing for the Government Accountability Office to investigate continued KC-46 tanker delays and review the status of prime contractor Boeing's work to address current deficiencies with the aircraft.

Document: Senators' letter to GAO on KC-46

Inside Defense recently obtained an Air Force report that details the nascent Space Force's acquisition system:

Air Force proposes alternate Space Force acquisition system with new authorities

A new report from the Air Force makes nine recommendations for a tailored, clean-sheet Space Force acquisition system -- proposals the service says will streamline the way the Defense Department develops and acquires space capabilities.

A new White House report discusses the Trump administration's whole-of-government approach to China, including the Defense Department's commitment to investing in new technologies:

White House report on China sets stage for new Indo-Pacific investments

The White House has released a new report laying out the broad contours of its plan to confront a rising China, while House and Senate lawmakers prepare to pitch legislation that would give the Pentagon new resources in the Indo-Pacific region.

Document: White House report to Congress on China

News on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program:

JLTV program office using new engine for A2, accepting technical enhancement offers

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program office is seeking ideas for technical enhancements to the vehicle's engine "that can be integrated without significantly altering the design or performance level of the current platform" to inform the JLTV family of vehicles follow-on contract, according to an industry notice.

Document: Army Q&A on RFI for JLTV tech enhancement

Mike Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, spoke this week during an online event hosted by the Washington Space Business Roundtable:

Griffin: DARPA hypersonic projects 'going well' despite delayed flight tests

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's two high-profile hypersonic weapon technology efforts -- one a boost-glide vehicle the other an air-breathing missile -- are both "going well" despite an apparent delay in planned first flight tests, according to the Pentagon's top technology official.