The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 18, 2023

By John Liang / September 18, 2023 at 2:10 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the potential effect of partisan gridlock on how European allies perceive the United States, the Pentagon's use of the mid-band electromagnetic spectrum and more.

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante, who will be accompanying Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin next week to meet with the coalition of European nations who have committed to supporting Ukraine, said it can be difficult to explain Capitol Hill's partisan gridlock to U.S. allies:

LaPlante worries about how Hill dysfunction will look to NATO allies

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante is going to Brussels this week to urge NATO armaments directors to continue surging weapons production to assist Ukraine and deter Russia, but he noted Thursday that he will be doing so as Congress, unable to pass defense spending bills and other appropriations packages, is sliding toward a government shutdown.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who has raised concerns all year about the risk of repurposing 3.1–3.45 GHz for telecommunications companies to develop the 5G commercial market, last week disclosed a key finding of what he said is a joint, not-yet-public report by the Defense and Commerce departments:

DOD's prized mid-band spectrum to be protected from 'carte blanche' auction, lawmaker says

The telecommunications industry will not receive "carte blanche" to auction off lower portions of the mid-band electromagnetic spectrum that are critical to U.S. military air and missile defense capabilities, the Defense and Commerce departments have determined in a long-anticipated report, according to a lawmaker briefed on not-yet-public findings.

We move on with more coverage from last week's confirmation hearing of Adm. Lisa Franchetti to become the Navy's top uniformed officer:

Franchetti presses for increase in Virginia-class submarine production

The Navy needs to produce at least one additional Virginia-class submarine per year to maintain undersea advantage in the Indo-Pacific and globally, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, acting chief of naval operations, told lawmakers.

Franchetti outlines backup plan as Columbia schedule risks persist

The Navy has a backup plan to keep the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad operational if next-generation Columbia-class submarines are not delivered on time -- a plan that would see service-life extensions for selected Ohio-class boats beginning as early as fiscal year 2029.

Franchetti cites billion-dollar financial headwinds for F-35C updates

Cost overruns of more than $1 billion for modernizing F-35C Joint Strike Fighters are creating financial headwinds for the follow-on development of the fifth-generation aircraft, acting Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti told lawmakers Friday.

Document: Franchetti's answers to advance policy questions

Mieke Eoyang, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington last week that China is also gathering information to enhance its already sophisticated cyber techniques and determine how cyber best enables military activities:

Top DOD cyber official cites lessons learned in Ukraine that could help Taiwan

A senior Pentagon official said today that the United States is not alone in learning lessons from Ukraine's cyber battles with Russia, noting that China is likely doing the same as it eyes potential conflict with Taiwan.

A recent Defense Department report outlines plans on how the U.S. and its allies can respond to and protect against space threats from China and Russia and provides guidelines for national security space activities and identifies space systems priorities:

DOD responds to Congress' directives on protection of in-orbit satellites

In response to two congressional directives, the Defense Department Thursday published an unclassified report describing its approach to space-related policies and strategies on how it plans to protect the U.S. and its allies from threats in space.

Document: DOD's space policy review, strategy on satellite protection