The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 16, 2020

By John Liang / September 16, 2020 at 2:31 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's new fleet plan, the Defense Innovation Board's latest meeting, coverage of the Air Force Association's virtual conference and more.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke today during an event hosted by RAND Corp. in Santa Monica, CA:

Esper says new Navy fleet plan will include 355 manned and unmanned ships

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today he is preparing plans for a "balanced" future Navy fleet of 355 ships that will include manned and unmanned vessels and require an increase in shipbuilding funding.

During a Sept. 15 virtual meeting, Defense Innovation Board members discussed their preliminary work to develop recommendations for artificial intelligence Test, Evaluation, Validation and Verification processes:

Pentagon tech advisers to deliver recommendations on how the military can test, validate AI systems

The Defense Innovation Board will recommend ways the Defense Department can test and validate artificially intelligent systems are meeting safety and performance goals, considered a key hurdle to the military's goal of rapidly fielding AI capabilities.

The top uniformed officers of the Air Force and Space Force spoke this week at the Air Force Association's virtual conference:

Air Force chief says proposed aircraft inventory levels could restrict needed force structure changes

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown told reporters today congressional proposals to set minimum aircraft inventory requirements put constraints on the service's ability to make necessary force structure changes to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy.

Long-term CR could delay work on GPS III and National Space Defense Center

As the Space Force prepares for the likelihood of a continuing resolution, the service chief Gen. John Raymond said this week he's concerned about programmatic impacts, operations and maintenance shortfalls and the transfer of space accounts from the Air Force to the Space Force.

Russ Vought, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, recently sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) highlighting the administration's concerns over the panel's fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill:

White House highlights opposition to Senate defense bill that would re-name bases

The White House has sent the Senate Armed Services Committee a list of provisions in the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill it does not like, but chose to lead with one President Trump has said would make him veto the entire must-pass bill -- the re-naming of U.S. military bases that currently honor Confederate leaders.

Document: OMB letter to Senate on the FY-21 defense policy bill

The Navy has, so far, reduced days of maintenance delay by 80% in fiscal year 2020 compared to FY-19:

Navy says despite COVID-19 slowdown, maintenance delays reduced in 2020

Despite slowdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Navy has reduced maintenance delays this year, service officials said Tuesday.

The Air Force has flown its newest fighter aircraft:

Air Force confirms it has flown NGAD demonstrator

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper announced today the service has flown a full-scale Next-Generation Air Dominance flight demonstrator and has "broken a lot of records in the doing."