The INSIDER daily digest -- May 9, 2024

By John Liang / May 9, 2024 at 3:11 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, Air Force modernization programs, plus continuing coverage from the AI Expo for National Competitiveness.

A senior Army official spoke this week about challenges in the Indo-Pacific region at the Fires Symposium in Lawton, OK:

Flynn: Army is 'out of position' in the Indo-Pacific

Army units need to be in better position to maintain an advantage against potential adversaries in the Indo-Pacific region, according to the commander of Army forces in the Pacific.

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee held a hearing this week on Air Force modernization programs:

Hunter: Air Force 'closing gap' on E-7A Wedgetail cost negotiations with Boeing

Despite an initial proposal that was about twice the anticipated cost, the Air Force is nearing an agreement with Boeing for the E-7A Wedgetail prototypes, according to service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter.

Document: Air Force modernization testimony

Senior defense officials spoke this week at the AI Expo for National Competitiveness in Washington:

Army hashing out a tiered approach to fielding UAS capabilities

The Army is in the process of determining its approach to unmanned systems, which service officials envision to be a combination of UAS systems at echelon, launched effects and more urgent capability needs such as loitering munitions.

Kendall: Autonomy in the air a done deal

There is no question that autonomy will be useful in the air domain, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said today, and it will be implemented through the Collaborative Combat Aircraft program and others.

Russian aircraft patrols will typically fly around the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, especially if the U.S. is conducting an exercise in the Arctic. But about a month ago, two or three flights "in a short period of time" approached the continent off the Northeast of Maine, near Iceland and Greenland, according to a DOD official:

Senior defense official: Russian aircraft flew near Northeast ADIZ

In the last month, several Russian aircraft have attempted to enter North American airspace from the East for the first time in two or three years, a senior defense official told a group of reporters at the Pentagon this week.

A new congressional maritime strategy calls for several actionable steps to deter China’s advances in the Pacific Ocean, including the establishment of a presidentially appointed position to "synchronize all national maritime affairs and policy," as well as a national maritime council:

Bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers calls for national maritime strategy

The creation of a national maritime strategy is necessary amid "great power competition, aging infrastructure and the threat of high-intensity war," according to a bipartisan, bicameral document released by lawmakers this week.

Some follow-up news from last week's Modern Day Marine conference:

Marine Corps will award I-CsUAS contract before year's end, advancing effort to defend bases from drones

The Marine Corps is evaluating counter-drone technology proposals and plans to select a vendor in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024 to produce a system to defend buildings, bases and other assets from small, unmanned aircraft systems.

(Full Modern Day Marine 2024 coverage)