The Insider

By Abby Shepherd
June 5, 2024 at 10:50 AM

BAE Systems has received a $95 million contract from the Navy to design electronic warfare advanced countermeasure pods that will allow the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to detect and counter incoming threats.

The engineering and manufacturing contract follows “successful airworthiness and effectiveness testing” of the pod system, according to a BAE news release issued Wednesday.

The aircraft is the Navy’s maritime patrol plane, used for reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.

“We’re working closely with the U.S. Navy to deliver innovative solutions to protect this critical, high-value aircraft,” Don Davidson, director of advanced compact electronic warfare solutions at BAE, said in a statement. “We quickly prototyped a very capable system using proven technology to defend against air-to-air and surface-to-air guided threats.”

The system will allow for modernization, compatibility with future threat detection, decoy countermeasure capabilities and third-party EW techniques, according to BAE. Work on the pod system will be done in Nashua, NH and Austin, TX.

By Tony Bertuca
June 5, 2024 at 10:42 AM

Kelly Magsamen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's chief of staff, plans to leave her job at the end of the month, according to a statement from Austin.

Austin said Magsamen, who was criticized by lawmakers amid the controversy and secrecy surrounding the defense secretary’s unannounced medical absence earlier this year, has “proved instrumental in navigating difficult international challenges, from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to the devastating Israel-Hamas war after the October 7th Hamas atrocities, from evacuations of embassies under extraordinary pressure to standing up to bullying and coercion by the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea.”

“I am deeply grateful for her tremendous service over three and a half pivotal years to me, the Department, and the country as the Chief of Staff,” he said. “From day one of this administration, Kelly’s leadership, counsel, and selfless service made our nation safer, made the lives of our people better and more rewarding, and rendered the heavy burden of this office of mine a good bit lighter. At every stage, she provided a steady hand guiding our staff and the Department. I am -- and will remain -- in her debt.”

By Tony Bertuca
June 5, 2024 at 10:06 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has voted to advance its version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill to the full committee, which is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The bill, which the subcommittee advanced in closed session, does not include funds for a second Virginia-class submarine and increases procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two key areas that differ from the defense authorization bill being advanced by the House Armed Services Committee.

The appropriations bill, which honors the defense spending cap mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, would fund procurement at $165 billion and put $146 billion toward research, development and test and evaluation for a total “modernization account” of $311 billion. House authorizers have a bill that would approve $163 billion for procurement and $143 billion for RDT&E for a total of $307 billion. An FY-24 spending deal, meanwhile, appropriated $320 billion in combined procurement and RDT&E.

Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) touted the bill’s increased investment in the Defense Innovation Unit and emerging technologies. The bill also cuts $18 billion in spending that Calvert and other Republicans have deemed “wasteful” and redirects it toward other defense priorities but details have not yet been released.

House Democrats, however, say they do not support the GOP’s defense appropriations bill over its inclusion of “harmful policy riders” related to politically divisive issues like abortion, climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“There is a path laid out for us to responsibly strengthen America’s national security and support our armed servicemembers. But instead, we are considering a bill that chooses chaos over our national security, and sows division instead of supporting our servicemembers’ morale and unity,” committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said in a statement.

Several Washington analysts have noted that the bill stands little chance of passage in the narrowly divided House if it includes divisive “culture war” provisions and will certainly be blocked by the Democrat-led Senate.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), who is leading the push to fund a second Virginia-class submarine, released a statement yesterday saying the House GOP’s “first take” at the FY-25 defense spending bill “will never become law.”

By Dan Schere
June 4, 2024 at 4:37 PM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has included $240 million for procurement of MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M unmanned aircraft systems in its draft defense spending legislation for fiscal year 2025.

The aircraft would be used in the Army National Guard, according to a bill summary released with the bill text Tuesday morning.

The GE25M is a modernized version of the Gray Eagle that maker General Atomics states is built for multidomain operations capability and can be used in active duty and National Guard units. It features a multimode radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors and can “host a wide range of additional kinetic and non-kinetic payloads,” according to the company.

In recent years, the Army has not included funding in its base budgets for procurement of additional Gray Eagles due to having already met its acquisition goal of 204 aircraft by the end of 2019. However, in the years since, Congress has continued to provide funding to procure additional aircraft beyond that total. In FY-23, Congress included $350 million in its defense spending legislation for the procurement of 12 Gray Eagles for the Guard.

Separately, General Atomics announced May 31 that the Army had ordered 12 of the new GE 25M aircraft that are being paid for with FY-23 congressional funding. Leaders in the Guard asked for the aircraft in order to ensure its divisions “mirror the active component in being Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) capable, deployable and better able to team with newly formed Division Artillery Brigades,” according to General Atomics. The aircraft can also support homeland defense, disaster response and other domestic missions.

Adding the new Gray Eagles to the Guard will give its divisions “divisional reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition for the first time.”

Patrick Shortsleeve, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ vice president of DOD Strategic Development, said in a statement last week that the Gray Eagle platform has a “proven record of performance with over a million hours of safe operations, including automatic takeoff and landing capability.”

“The aircraft excels as an enabler for fires, maneuver, network and intelligence operations. It is also an integral part of the Army aviation team, working closely with manned rotary-wing systems to achieve overmatch against pacing threats,” he said in the statement.

By Vanessa Montalbano
June 4, 2024 at 3:59 PM

Electric aviation company Joby today acquired the autonomy division of Xwing, a start-up that has worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory on several unmanned cargo missions since it was founded in 2016.

“The acquisition covers all of Xwing’s existing automation and autonomy technology activities and was paid for with Joby shares. Terms of the deal were not disclosed,” according to a Joby news release.

The Air Force in February awarded Xwing a Military Flight Release to fly cargo missions across California after the small company successfully completed the AGILE FLAG 24-1 Joint Force exercise, making it the first-ever to receive such a designation under the AFRL’s AFWERX Autonomy Prime program.

Autonomy Prime is an arm of the AFWERX program, which intends to bring small businesses and startups to the table to address the Air Force’s top priorities, including artificial intelligence and strengthening the industrial base. The goal is to better facilitate the transition from research and technology to operational capability.

Joby hopes this new acquisition can help build out its defense portfolio, as technology development will remain a top priority for the newly integrated business, the company said in the news release. Joby is already also collaborating with the Pentagon on electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxis. The idea, the company said, is for these air taxis to eventually fly autonomously to make for even safer and more efficient missions.

“The aircraft we are certifying will have a fully qualified pilot on board, but we recognize that a future generation of autonomous aircraft will play an important part in unlocking our vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility as accessible as possible,” Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said in a statement. “The exceptionally talented Xwing team has not only made unparalleled progress on the development and certification of vision systems, sensor fusion and decision-making autonomous technologies, but they’ve also successfully demonstrated the real-life application of their technology, flying hundreds of fully autonomous flights in the national airspace.”

By John Liang
June 4, 2024 at 2:21 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's military spending bill and more.

Here's our preliminary coverage of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's fiscal year 2025 spending bill:

House defense appropriators draft bill without additional sub and would increase F-35 buys

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has released a draft version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill that differs in several ways from their colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, specifically by forgoing funds for an additional Virginia-class submarine and increasing procurement for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

House appropriators break with authorizers on shipbuilding, cutting frigate, LSM and second VA sub

A draft defense spending bill released today by House appropriators would fund only four battle force ships and only one Virginia-class submarine in fiscal year 2025, marking a significant break from both the Navy's budget request and from House authorizers' defense policy bill.

Gen. James Rainey, the head of Army Futures Command, spoke this week at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event:

Rainey: It is too early to set up a drone branch for the Army

The Army's top modernization officer says it is too early to set up a drone branch for the service, becoming the latest service official to oppose a congressional proposal supporting the idea.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO spoke to the media this week at a Defense Writers Group breakfast:

NATO looks to give global arms industry clearer demand signals by sharing defense plans

U.S. NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said today the alliance intends to make new defense production announcements at a key summit in July that could give arms manufacturers insight into NATO's defense planning guidance in the hopes the information will serve as a multiyear "demand signal" to spur new investments in munitions capacity.

The Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Armament Directorate are working on a new autonomous vehicle program:

DIU, Air Force Armament Directorate announce four companies selected for enterprise test vehicle project

The Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force Armament Directorate (EB) announced today that the partnership selected four companies that will support their Enterprise Test Vehicle (ETV) project.

By Tony Bertuca
June 3, 2024 at 5:15 PM

While NATO may not be planning to deploy combat trainers to Ukraine, a new warfighting analysis center slated to be established in Poland will be a place for the Ukrainians to teach NATO.

U.S. NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said today that the alliance recently approved the creation of a new Joint Analysis Training and Education Center at a to-be-determined location in Poland where the Ukrainians will be able to share the tactical and strategic “lessons learned” in their ongoing fight against Russia.

“People look at the NATO-Ukraine relationship often in a one-way direction -- that it's NATO to Ukraine -- but increasingly we're looking at it as a two-way street,” she said today at a Defense Writers Group event in Washington.

“What can we NATO allies learn from our friends in Ukraine about one, combatting Russian troops in real time -- who has better experience right now than the Ukrainians? -- and two, how have they incorporated technology into the fight,” she said.

The Ukrainian military’s use of commercial technology, especially small drones, has made headlines since the first weeks of the Russian invasion.

“I've heard stories about apps that they’ve designed, you know swipe left for more munitions,” Smith said.

The JATEC, she said, “will be more for NATO allies to learn from the Ukrainians themselves.”

Meanwhile, Smith said Ukraine’s desire to join NATO will be discussed at an upcoming Washington summit in July, where she expects a policy “package” will be unveiled to begin to address the matter.

“Allies will be putting forward a whole package of deliverables that will serve as a bridge to their membership inside the alliance,” she said. “Part of the package will be the language we use to describe Ukraine’s membership aspirations in the declaration itself.”

Smith said things like the JATEC demonstration that Ukraine has much to offer NATO.

“We’ve talked so much about their membership aspirations -- what NATO will bring to Ukraine,” she said. “I think we have to remember the other way around, what Ukraine brings into the alliance.”

By John Liang
June 3, 2024 at 1:50 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Innovation Unit, the Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle program and more.

The Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Armament Directorate are working on a new autonomous vehicle program:

DIU, Air Force Armament Directorate announce four companies selected for enterprise test vehicle project

The Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force Armament Directorate (EB) announced today that the partnership selected four companies that will support their Enterprise Test Vehicle (ETV) project.

More DIU news:

DIU updates Blue UAS program, adding new systems

After receiving user feedback, the Defense Innovation Unit has updated its Blue Uncrewed Aerial System program, including adding approved capabilities to its "Blue List," increasing the program's framework options and reducing update approval time through consistent software monitoring.

The Marine Corps' Advanced Amphibious Assault program office is polling industry to see if "more than one vendor" can produce an ACV-30 turret system:

Marine Corps seeks additional vendors capable of building remote turret system for ACV-30

The Marine Corps is testing the waters to see if any additional vendors can produce a remotely operated turret system for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle 30mm cannon variant, according to a sources-sought notice published late last week.

The Pentagon's Open Data and Application Government Owned Interoperable Repositories is meant to be a multivendor ecosystem that purchases the infrastructure needed so the government can own its data:

CDAO announces new 'Open DAGIR' approach to government and industry data collaboration

The Chief Digital Artificial Intelligence Office today announced its intent to embark on a new approach to accessible government data and a smoother acquisition process for digital capabilities through enterprise-level contracts and licenses called Open DAGIR.

In fiscal year 2023, contractors Kaman and Leidos secured rapid prototyping contracts to develop solutions for the Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle-Expeditionary Logistics program:

Marine Corps prepares for July flight test of mid-sized logistics drones

The Marine Corps is preparing for an initial "fly-off" test that will evaluate two drone prototypes competing for a future program of record that will field a medium-size uncrewed aircraft system to deliver supplies to forward-deployed forces.

By Tony Bertuca
June 3, 2024 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several public events this week.

Monday

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown speaks at the Global Leadership Coalition's Global Impact Forum.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Gen. James Rainey, chief of Army Futures Command.

Tuesday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion with four former NATO supreme allied commanders.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a closed hearing on the fiscal year 2025 national security space budget.

Wednesday

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a closed mark-up hearing of its version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill.

Thursday

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Heath Collins speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on MDA's fiscal year 2025 budget request.

The Center for a New American Security hosts its 2024 National Security Conference.

Friday

The Arms Control Association holds its Annual Meeting 2024.

By John Liang
May 31, 2024 at 2:18 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on uncrewed aircraft systems being developed by both the Defense Innovation Unit and Marine Corps along with the Pentagon seeking accessible government data and more.

The Blue UAS program, which began in 2020 in response to legislation in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting Defense Department procurement of foreign-made UAS, aims to accelerate and scale the prototyping phase of reliable commercial UAS technology:

DIU updates Blue UAS program, adding new systems

After receiving user feedback, the Defense Innovation Unit has updated its Blue Uncrewed Aerial System program, including adding approved capabilities to its "Blue List," increasing the program's framework options and reducing update approval time through consistent software monitoring.

Open DAGIR, which stands for Open Data and Application Government Owned Interoperable Repositories, is meant to be a multivendor ecosystem that purchases the infrastructure needed so the government can own its data, procures enterprise licenses for mature applications and creates a competitive environment for future software development, according to the Defense Department:

CDAO announces new 'Open DAGIR' approach to government and industry data collaboration

The Chief Digital Artificial Intelligence Office today announced its intent to embark on a new approach to accessible government data and a smoother acquisition process for digital capabilities through enterprise-level contracts and licenses called Open DAGIR.

In fiscal year 2023, contractors Kaman and Leidos secured rapid prototyping contracts to develop solutions for the Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle-Expeditionary Logistics program, solutions which are scheduled to be test-flown in July:

Marine Corps prepares for July flight test of mid-sized logistics drones

The Marine Corps is preparing for an initial "fly-off" test that will evaluate two drone prototypes competing for a future program of record that will field a medium-size uncrewed aircraft system to deliver supplies to forward-deployed forces.

A House lawmaker is planning to introduce an amendment to the fiscal year 2025 defense policy bill that would require the placement of Apache helicopters at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, MI, if the bill is passed by both the House and Senate:

Michigan congressman wants Apache helicopters for Selfridge Air National Guard Base

Without a clear commitment from the Air Force to replace retiring A-10 Thunderbolt IIs at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, MI, with another fighter mission, a Michigan congressman is now asking the Army to deliver AH-64E Apache helicopters to the installation, according to documents shared exclusively with Inside Defense.

Document: Lawmaker's letter on basing Apaches at Selfridge

The chief executive of HII spoke this week about how his company is working to bolster its labor force:

HII CEO talks bolstering workforce, fighting back against delays

Labor is shipbuilder HII’s “biggest risk,” CEO Chris Kastner said Wednesday, and the company is implementing several programs and incentives to mitigate this -- amid a decline in the company’s workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Abby Shepherd
May 30, 2024 at 4:30 PM

Over 100 vehicles and 200 U.S. Marines took part in the recent ninth Native Fury exercise -- a biennial event that brought together the Marine Corps and U.S. Army along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and concluded May 24 in the UAE.

The Marines' convoy, along with other soldiers and partner forces crossed “the Trans-Arabian Network from Saudi Arabia to the UAE, consisting of more than 1,200 miles of roads and infrastructure,” according to a Marine Corps news release issued Thursday.

As well as displaying the interoperability capability of U.S. and partner forces, the exercise also executed training with off-load and on-load commercial maritime logistics, mounted assault training, long distance tactical convoys and bilateral machine gun ranges, among other objectives.

“The successful conclusion of NF24 marks a historic chapter in military cooperation, emphasizing the shared commitment to security and readiness in the Middle East,” the news release stated. “This exercise not only showcased the technical proficiency of the forces involved but also laid the foundation for continued collaborative endeavors in the future.”

By John Liang
May 30, 2024 at 2:16 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on HII's efforts to bolster its labor force, the Army's Maven Smart System prototype, the Air Force's Sentinel ICBM program and more.

The chief executive of HII talked yesterday about how his company is working to bolster its labor force:

HII CEO talks bolstering workforce, fighting back against delays

Labor is shipbuilder HII’s “biggest risk,” CEO Chris Kastner said Wednesday, and the company is implementing several programs and incentives to mitigate this -- amid a decline in the company’s workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, led the “firm-fixed-price” contract for the Maven Smart System prototype, which is meant to allow users to scan the battlefield to predict, screen and counter threat activity:

Army awards $480M contract to Palantir for Maven Smart System prototype

Palantir has received a $480 million contract to supply the Army with its Maven Smart System prototype, the Defense Department announced yesterday.

The House Armed Services Committee’s Chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2025 defense policy bill would authorize the Air Force's modification of its in-service aircraft request for $55 million in FY-25 for SLP-A, which is considered a Sentinel capability improvement, according to Air Force budget documents:

Sentinel SLP-A finds FY-25 new-start backing in draft legislation

The Air Force has secured backing in draft legislation for new-start procurement authorization in fiscal year 2025 of the Secondary Launch Platform-Airborne (SLP-A) for the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program, even as the Pentagon works to revise the program in the wake of cost growth that triggered a statutory acquisition review.

Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Pat Fallon (R-TX) have proposed an amendment that would task the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and the director of the Office of Strategic Capital with forming a new dual-use technology program:

Bipartisan amendment seeks pilot program to accelerate DOD technology buys

A proposed bipartisan amendment to the House version of the fiscal year 2025 defense authorization bill seeks to establish a pilot program at the Pentagon to incentivize new investment in dual-use military technologies.

A liquid hypersonic engine currently under development can maneuver objects in orbit without fully depleting its propellant store, making it a key defense technology ready for use against Russian and Chinese anti-satellite systems:

Ursa Major tests liquid hypersonic engine, drawing combatant command and PEO interest

Ursa Major has announced it has "hot fire" tested Draper -- its developmental liquid hypersonic engine -- over 50 times since March, meeting the project's 12-month timeline through a contract with the Air Force Research Lab, noting new interest from a U.S. combatant command and a program executive office.

A new Defense Department inspector general's report determines "whether the Army effectively managed contractor execution of storage, maintenance, and accountability requirements for Army Prepositioned Stock–5 equipment in accordance with Federal and DOD regulations and whether Army contracting officials reviewed and approved invoices to verify contractor‑reported costs before payment":

DOD IG: Army delivered inoperable equipment to units in Middle East

Army units deployed in Europe and the Middle East received inoperable equipment after being stored in poor environmental conditions, impacting their mission readiness, according to an audit report from the Defense Department's inspector general.

Document: DOD IG audit of Army's management of prepositioned stock-5 equipment

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 30, 2024 at 11:53 AM

Space Systems Command is planning to award multiple contracts for satellites that can carry experimental payloads as part of its Space Test Experiments Platform 2.0 program, according to a solicitation posted last week.

The service plans to award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts for commercial space vehicles as a way to provide “rapid access to space for science and technology payloads” on different sized satellites in low-Earth or geosynchronous orbits, the request for proposals states.

STEP 2.0 is part of the Space Test Program, which serves each branch of the Defense Department by providing access to space for experimentation. Congress appropriated $30 million for STP in fiscal year 2024, and the Space Force is requesting about the same for FY-25.

The contracts are a way to buy “cradle-to-grave” solutions for experimentation, an SSC news release states.

“The DOD Space Test Program is looking to leverage all the successes from industry to provide proven spacecraft to host DOD’s next generation of space technologies,” program director Lt. Col. Brian Shimek said in the news release.

SSC expects to announce awards by the end of July.

Businesses would be expected to include all hardware, software, data, labor, materials and documentation needed to design, develop, produce, integrate, store and deliver the space vehicle. The provider would also run technical support and end-of-life disposal or transfer to another user.

The contracts will last five years with an additional five-year option period.

By Vanessa Montalbano
May 29, 2024 at 4:53 PM

The Air Force is asking industry whether it can construct a sturdy shelter fit to protect F-15E Strike Eagles from small unmanned aerial systems, according to a request for information posted today.

“Small Unmanned Aerial Systems disrupt airfield operations and agencies have limited response capabilities due to restrictions on countermeasures posed by the Federal Aviation Administration,” the service said in the solicitation. The FAA bars the Pentagon from using kinetic means within the homeland airspace to protect the nation's bases, systems and other infrastructure.

The new passive barriers, which are needed to “prevent a Group 1 or Group 2 sUAS from making physical contact with an F-15E Strike Eagle using commercial-off-the-shelf material,” will be tacked onto existing Big Top Shelters, or fabric structures already built to store the jets and other assets.

Any material selected will need to be strong enough to stop one or more 55-pound drones traveling 125 miles-per-hour, the posting stated, and any gaps in the material or design should not be larger than six inches.

These kinds of barriers typically have no moving parts but can deter threats by absorbing energy caused by impact and transferring it to the structure’s foundation. The Air Force said in the request the chosen material should be flame-retardant, low-weight and able to be swiftly opened or closed. Likewise, the F-15E housed inside “needs to be tightly secured in both open and closed positions,” the service said.

Wednesday’s announcement doesn't necessarily indicate the government is committed to purchasing the barriers.

“All interested firms should submit a capabilities package that outlines the firm’s capabilities in providing the required services. The capabilities package should be brief and concise, yet clearly demonstrate an ability to meet the stated requirements,” the service said in the posting. “After reviewing all packages, firms will be contacted about the possibility and interest of conducting an onsite demonstration of their capabilities on an actual shelter.”

The notice comes as the Air Force and other services are working to bolster military bases against a growing mass of low-cost and attritable threats from foreign adversaries. A senior defense official told reporters on May 8 there are about two to three random instances per week of drones flying near U.S. military bases in America. These have not necessarily been nefarious, the official said at the time, and are more likely to be hobbyists. But, they said, these kinds of incursions are still a cause for concern.

By Dan Schere
May 29, 2024 at 4:48 PM

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George said today that modernizing the network will require the service to take a harder look at the budget in terms of programmatics going forward.

“I think we’re going to have to stop doing some things,” he told attendees at the service’s 12th Technical Exchange Meeting in Philadelphia.

“We have a finite budget. I spend a lot of time looking at our budget . . . but if something we're spending our money on doesn't fit with where we're going, then I think that programmatically we have to look and say, ‘Hey, are we spending our money wisely?’” he said.

Since taking the reins as chief last year, George has stated that modernizing the network is one of the Army’s most important priorities. On Wednesday, he reiterated the need for formations to become lighter and more lethal, and to use technology that is more compact.

George also noted that he just signed off on the “characterization of need” for the Army’s C2 Next initiative. C2 Next refers to a prototyping effort for command and control the service is working on with industry that involves experimenting with a “data-centric” system, Breaking Defense reported in March.

George said Wednesday that the “characterization of need” means the Army must be flexible with its technology requirements.

“Because you all out there know what technology is available, and you will know how to satisfy those kinds of things so that we're not so specific,” George said.

Mark Kitz, the program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical, added that there must be better synergy between Army Futures Command and the acquisition community going forward.

“Today’s version of C2 Next is not what we’re going to fight with three years from now. And so, iterating our requirements and getting much more volatile, [in terms of] how we get after capability is critical to the programmatics,” he said.