The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 21, 2022

By John Liang / September 21, 2022 at 1:04 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Space Force acquisition, directed energy for missile defense, Navy ship maintenance and more.

Space Force acquisition chief Frank Calvelli spoke this week at the annual Air and Space Forces Association's Air, Space & Cyber conference:

Space Force should 'stop' long-term, cost-plus contracts, Calvelli says

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Space Development Agency’s model of rapid satellite acquisitions is poised to shake up the Space Force's procurement strategy, the service's top acquisition official said today, who heralded SDA's operations ahead of the agency's planned transition into the Space Force next month.

The Missile Defense Agency this week awarded Lockheed Martin a nearly $2 million contract for a study on "Directed Energy Lethality for Fast Threats" to explore an idea the company proposed in response to the agency’s 2021 innovation, science and technology solicitation:

MDA taps Lockheed for new study on feasibility of laser integration into Missile Defense System

The Missile Defense Agency has tapped Lockheed Martin to conduct a study that aims to explore whether directed-energy weapons can be integrated into the Missile Defense System, a project that comes as a company leader voiced optimism about the potential for speed-of-light technology to scale up to power levels needed to defeat intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Navy currently has 41 surface ships available for maintenance -- with over 100 in planning, according to Rear Adm. William Greene, the Navy's fleet maintenance officer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command:

Navy heading in 'wrong direction' with on-time shipyard repair

A top Navy official said fewer ships are being delivered on time out of maintenance availabilities -- citing workforce shortages as a "national crisis."

The Senate this week quietly approved a bipartisan plan to extend the Small Business Innovation Research and complementary Small Business Technology Transfer programs by three years, teeing up a possible House vote in the coming days:

SBIR reauthorization bill includes three-year extension, multiple programmatic changes

Lawmakers are looking to move forward with a standalone, three-year extension for a key, decades-old program that administers small business grants across nearly a dozen federal agencies, including the Defense Department, according to a bill draft and summary.

Air Force Central Command's Detachment 99 is a team of "super empowered" airmen who will rapidly innovate digital capabilities, uncrewed aircraft and artificial intelligence and machine learning programs, according to AFCENT Commander Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich:

AFCENT Detachment 99 to tackle C-UAS, digital innovation

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Air Force Central Command has launched a new group charged with experimenting with off-the-shelf technologies to identify capabilities that can be used in the Middle East theater.