The Insider

By John Liang
May 2, 2024 at 2:21 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy shipbuilding, a nascent Russian anti-satellite capability and more.

A legislative proposal submitted by the Navy to Congress would allow up to six voyage repair ship availabilities of about 15 to 30 days in an international shipyard -- opening the door for emergent voyage repairs during peacetime and in times of conflict:

Lawmakers, Navy officials go back and forth on resolving shipbuilding issues

Capacity for ship repairs and construction continues to be a top issue for the Navy and Marine Corps, service officials told lawmakers today on Capitol Hill. Outsourcing ship repairs to foreign countries is a potential solution, the officials added, one already raised last month by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro.

Assistant Defense Secretary for Space Policy John Plumb testified before the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee this week:

Plumb: Russia developing satellite with a nuclear weapon

Russia is developing a satellite to carry a nuclear weapon on-orbit that could wipe out satellites for a year or more, a top Defense Department official confirmed today at a congressional hearing.

The top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee wants to make sure that if the Defense Department gets to spend more than the congressionally mandated budget cap, so should non-defense spending:

Top Senate appropriator insists on 'parity' if defense spending caps are to be broken

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) said today that any effort to increase defense spending in fiscal year 2025 above the cap set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act must also be matched by a boost in non-defense funds.

Keep an eye out this summer for a counter-small uncrewed aircraft system demonstration:

SAIC will be among industry participants in summer CUAS demonstration

DENVER -- SAIC will be among the industry participants in a demonstration to be conducted by the Pentagon's Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft System Office (JCO) this summer, according to a company employee.

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington this week, appealed to defense contractors to develop "alternative" positioning, navigation and timing for the U.S. military:

Grady says electronic warfare has become a dominant feature of Ukraine conflict

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady said today that electronic warfare, though it didn't play a major role in earlier phases of Ukraine's conflict with Russia, has now become a "defining feature of that battlespace."

Originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024, the Army delayed the critical design review on a certain missile program to the following fiscal year, according to the Army’s FY-25 budget request:

Army delays design reviews and flight tests for extended range GMLRS

The Army has delayed a critical design review and qualification flight tests for the Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket system by about eight months, according to a service spokesperson.

William Streilein, chief technology officer for the chief digital artificial intelligence office, said at Adobe’s 2024 Government Forum today that some areas of the department, like intelligence analysis, are already prepared and ready to adopt generative AI into their processes:

DOD tech official says intel analysis and back-office functions are ready to adopt generative AI

A senior Pentagon technology official said today that Task Force Lima has found intelligence analysis and back-office functions are the two largest application areas within the Defense Department for generative artificial intelligence, noting DOD is prepared to accept the role of AI as a "teammate."

The State Department has issued a proposed rule that would exempt the British and Australians from certain export control regulations:

State moves to ease weapons export regulations in support of AUKUS

The State Department is proposing to exempt the U.K. and Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to better bolster the trilateral AUKUS agreement and "foster defense trade and cooperation between and among the United States and two of its closest allies."

By Nick Wilson
May 1, 2024 at 5:29 PM

The Marine Corps has reorganized its radar systems portfolio to meet evolving force design goals, expanding the scope of a program office that was once focused solely on the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar to encompass multiple future expeditionary systems.

The former G/ATOR program office was redesignated as Program Manager for Expeditionary Radars (PM ExR) in September 2023 and now includes a few distinct “product lines,” including G/ATOR and a group of unnamed future radar systems, program official Mark Lamczyk said today at the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington.

In addition to G/ATOR, “the other product line is our future radar systems,” Lamczyk said. “I won't be speaking too much, deliberately, about that. But those are initiatives to achieve integrated air and missile defense [and] enabled integrated fire control, which are concepts in the commandant’s force design strategy.”

“Lastly, we do have a small portfolio of foreign military sales cases which are our former, legacy Marine Corps programs that are still out with our coalition partners that we support mainly with training and some sustained capability,” he added.

Gen. Eric Smith, who was confirmed by the Senate as Marine Corps commandant in September, has not publicly released an official Commandant’s Planning Guidance, though he has issued multiple interim guidance documents affirming the service’s force design trajectory.

Today, Lamczyk said the G/ATOR program is roughly halfway through full-rate production with contractor Northrop Grumman. The program office is placing increased focus on the sustainment of deployed systems and is looking for alternate producers of system components to aid in sustainment, he said.

Additionally, PM ExR is preparing to “recompete” an acquisition support contract in an effort to combine support work for G/ATOR and the future radar systems product line.

“I mentioned that we had two primary product baselines in the PM ExR and that's the G/ATOR and the future radars,” Lamczyk said. “Those are currently separate support contracts and we'll be releasing a [request for proposals] later this summer which combines those support contracts into one, overarching expeditionary radar acquisition support requirement.”

The office will publish the RFP in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024 and plans to award the contract in the first quarter of FY-25, Lamczyk added.

The Marine Corps’ FY-2025 budget request includes $72 million for G/ATOR and anticipates full operational capability in FY-28.

By John Liang
May 1, 2024 at 2:45 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Virginia-class submarine program, a Marine Corps air defense system, Navy readiness issues and more.

In a letter to defense appropriators, 120 House lawmakers state U.S. undersea supremacy must be preserved to deter an increasingly emboldened China and Russia:

Courtney rallies 120 bipartisan lawmakers to push appropriators to restore submarine cut

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, today released a letter to defense appropriators with 120 signatures from lawmakers seeking the restoration of funding for a Virginia-class submarine in fiscal year 2025.

The Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or MADIS, is "going to [Initial Operational Test and Evaluation] here in the next couple of months, and then that looks like fielding early next fiscal year," a senior Marine Corps official said during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington this week:

MADIS and L-MADIS air defense systems advance toward FY-25 fielding decisions

Two of the Marine Corps' developing mobile air defense systems are advancing toward fielding decisions, expected before the end of fiscal year 2025, according to Steve Bowdren, program executive officer for land systems.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee held a hearing this week on Navy readiness:

Lawmakers question Navy officials, again, on readiness issues

The Navy's and Marine Corps' sealift capacity is not where it needs to be, lawmakers told service officials Tuesday at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing, which largely revolved around availability delays, recapitalization plans and potential solutions to construction backlogs.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi said during a National Defense Industrial Association webinar that four RDER programs were first approved last year:

Pentagon tech chief announces four RDER projects headed into production

Pentagon technology chief Heidi Shyu announced that four Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve projects are headed into production.

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee would prefer the congressionally mandated defense spending limit was higher:

Rogers set to mark defense bill to spending cap as lawmakers question DOD modernization plans

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) today said he intends to honor the defense spending cap mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act when he leads the panel in its mark-up of the annual defense authorization bill, though he stressed that he thinks the $895 billion limit is far too low.

The Boeing- and Leonardo-made Grey Wolf helicopter is set to replace the UH-1N Iroquois in its mission to patrol U.S. Global Strike Command nuclear silos:

Grey Wolf helo program cost growth triggers Nunn-McCurdy breach

Costs for the MH-139 Grey Wolf grew enough to trigger a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach, the Air Force notified Congress last week, because of a reduction in the number of helicopters the service plans to buy.

The Space Development Agency this week announced a potential $414 million contract to build eight satellites for launch in 2027 “to accelerate fire-control capability for global detection, warning and precision tracking of advanced missile threats” including maneuvering hypersonic weapons:

Boeing nabs FOO Fighter to build new space-based, missile tracking fire-control 'efforts'

The Defense Department has tapped Boeing's Millennium Space Systems to build eight satellites for the FOO Fighter program -- a project whose exact capability remains classified but is tied to the efforts to rapidly develop a low-earth orbit Resilient Missile Warning and Missile Tracking capability against the most advanced threats.

By Abby Shepherd
May 1, 2024 at 2:29 PM

After hundreds of Red Sea attacks on Navy and commercial vessels over the past few months, there's a need for a steady supply of munitions like the Standard Missile-3, which Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told lawmakers today the service needs more of.

SM-3s will be needed in greater numbers, Del Toro said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that touched on shipbuilding delays, faltering recruitment numbers and future unmanned technology the Navy plans to invest in.

“I truly believe that SM-3s will be needed in greater numbers in the future, given the operations that took place in defense of Israel here recently, where some were fired and very effectively, so I think given the future threat and our deterrence mission in the Pacific, we are going to need more SM-3s in the future,” Del Toro said.

In April, ahead of Congress’ approval of a $95 billion supplemental spending package, Del Toro called for $2 billion dedicated to replenishing weapons stocks -- including SM-2s, SM-6s and SM-3s -- following heavy defense against Houthi rebel and Iranian attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

By Nick Wilson
May 1, 2024 at 12:04 PM

A new missile facility in Camden, AR will begin producing SkyHunter interceptors in late 2025 or early 2026 for a developing Marine Corps air defense system, according to Ground Based Air Defense Program Manager Col. Andrew Konicki.

In February, RTX Technologies and Israeli company Rafael broke ground on the facility, which will eventually produce Tamir interceptors for the Israeli Iron Dome and SkyHunter missiles for the Marine Corps’ developing Medium Range Intercept Capability.

“We're tracking right now that the facility is going to be up online within calendar year 2025, so, the latter end of 2025 and then they'll start producing things there towards the tail end of 2025 and into calendar year 2026,” Konicki told Inside Defense today during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington.

The Marine Corps has been working with industry to establish a domestic source of MRIC interceptors. SkyHunter is “essentially the same thing” as the Tamir missile, Konicki said, sharing about 95-99% commonality.

MRIC is a system “derivative” of Iron Dome that is being “Americanized” for use by the Marine Corps in detecting, tracking and shooting down cruise missile threats, he continued.

The Marine Corps’ FY-25 budget request includes $111 million for the program to support the purchase of 12 launchers and 242 missiles as it transitions from rapid prototyping to rapid fielding.

The service plans to begin fielding an initial MRIC battery in the second quarter of fiscal year 2025 following a quick reaction assessment scheduled for September, Konicki confirmed.

By Dan Schere
April 30, 2024 at 4:41 PM

The Army has canceled the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) task order due to "evolving requirements and a strategic realignment within the program," the service announced today. The task order was under the RS3 Enterprise contract.

EWPMT is a tool for commanders to plan, control and manage the electromagnetic spectrum, and was identified by the Army as one of 28 key modernization efforts in 2021, Inside Defense reported at the time.

The realignment, according to the Army, will involve the fielding of current EWPMT capability as well as software architecture modernization. The Army and Marine Corps are collaborating on a pilot to shift EWPMT’s “electromagnetic warfare and spectrum management capabilities” to the Tactical Assault Kit framework, used for “presenting situational awareness data” and creating visualizations. Using this framework will help deliver capability to the joint force, the Army stated today.

The use of the Tactical Assault Kit framework will ensure “microservice-based, modular software architecture,” which will satisfy Army and joint force requirements, as well as ensure agile development and integration, according to the service.

For fiscal year 2025, the Army has requested about $2 million for the EWPMT program, which would be used for the “transition and integration” of Navigation Warfare Situational Awareness software, according to service budget documents.

By Nick Wilson
April 30, 2024 at 2:35 PM

The Marine Corps is prioritizing the rapid development of counter-drone technologies with a new "fusion center" established within the past few months at Quantico, VA, service officials said today during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington.

The new center will absorb the existing Rapid Capabilities Office and will look to aid promising technologies in bridging the “valley of death,” or transition from early research and development efforts into production and fielding.

“The fusion center and the fusion framework is larger than just the RCO. So, you bring in elements of the programs of record and the acquisition systems and sustainment elements,” said Brig. Gen. David Walsh, commanding general of Marine Corps Systems Command. “It's the RCO plus a lot of additional stakeholders around that, that'll enable that full, enduring capability.”

The new center’s initial focus will be developing air defense systems that can protect Marine forces from increasingly prevalent unmanned aircraft systems, Walsh said.

While the Marine Corps is rapidly advancing land-based air defense systems like its Medium Range Intercept Capability to defend ground forces from UAS, the Navy’s ongoing engagement in the Red Sea has demonstrated the need to protect surface ships from drones.

Today, Steve Bowdren, the Marine Corps’ program executive officer for land systems, said the two service branches are considering the application of Marine Corps ground-based platforms for use in shipboard defense, though he provided few details on the specific systems that might be used.

“There is collaboration between our program offices, specifically between [Ground Based Air Defense] and with the appropriate portions of PEO [Integrated Warfare Systems]. We are looking at what they're looking at from a shipboard perspective, and then seeing how that can be applied,” he told Inside Defense on the sidelines of the event.

While Bowdren declined to name specific systems, Kevin Murray, the chief technology officer for Headquarters Marine Corps, said the service is already using the Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or MADIS, for ship defense within its Marine Expeditionary Units.

“We’re already putting MADIS systems on the MEU because they’re organic to the battalions. We’re using that for our own self-preservation in partnership with the Navy,” he said.

Earlier this month, Navy officials revealed a rapid capability effort to mount two adjunct, kinetic, counter-UAS weapon systems on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer The Sullivans (DDG-68) for testing in an upcoming June demonstration. While the officials did not name the weapon systems, they indicated they are commercially available capabilities designed for land-based operations.

By John Liang
April 30, 2024 at 1:40 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a delay to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle replacement program, the Defense Innovation Unit seeking a novel cyber defense kit, the Marine Corps developing a smaller littoral connector ship and more.

Intended to replace the current Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the XM30 will feature an unmanned turret with an interchangeable gun along with drive-by-wire and fire-by-wire capabilities:

XM30 transition to major capability pathway delayed to 2025

Due to a three-month delay in contracting, the Army will now make a similar three-month delay in moving the Bradley replacement program to its next acquisition phase, according to a service spokeswoman.

The Defense Innovation Unit describes a new requested solution as a "mobile 'security operations center (SOC) in a box' that can be transported by a nine-person team anywhere in the world":

DIU searching for cyber hunt kit to spot vulnerabilities

The Defense Innovation United posted a new solicitation today seeking a "Joint Cyber Hunt Kit" (JCHK), which would be a secure, portable box that could find and analyze advanced persistent cyber threats.

The Marine Corps is developing a new vessel custom-designed for littoral maneuver, distribution and sustainment, according to service officials, who labeled the new platform the "Ancillary Surface Connector":

Marine Corps procuring new littoral connector ahead of LSM fielding

The Marine Corps is buying a new connector vessel designed for littoral maneuver and sustainment that could help deliver a "bridging solution" for forward-deployed forces ahead of Landing Ship Medium fielding.

An Army aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system was discussed at last week's AAAA Conference in Denver:

Army anticipates deployment of first HADES system around late 2026

DENVER -- Army officials anticipate that the first High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System will be deployed sometime in late 2026 or early 2027.

The Survivable Airborne Operations Center design is based around a commercial aircraft that will be modified to meet military requirements and will include secure communications and planning capabilities:

Sierra Nevada wins $13B contract for SAOC

The Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada a $13 billion contract to design and develop the Survivable Airborne Operations Center, a key component of Nuclear Command, Control and Communication modernization, the service announced late last week.

By Georgina DiNardo
April 30, 2024 at 10:41 AM

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) will serve as the new chairman of the House Armed Services cyber, information technologies and innovation subcommittee, according to an announcement yesterday from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL).

The subcommittee chairmanship has been left open since Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) resigned from the House effective April 19, a move Gallagher announced in March.

Before this appointment, Bacon served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Agricultural Committee.

“As chairman of the Quality of Life Panel, Rep. Bacon has been a tireless advocate for our servicemembers and military families. Rep. Bacon is a proven leader for national defense, and I am proud to announce that he will serve as chairman of the subcommittee on cyber, information technologies and innovation,” Rogers said in a statement.

“Staying ahead of our adversaries in the digital space is vital. I know Rep. Bacon will bring valuable knowledge and expertise to the subcommittee and I look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen our military,” he added.

Bacon, who previously served in the Air Force where he specialized in electronic warfare, intelligence and reconnaissance, thanked Rogers for the appointment, noting future priorities for the subcommittee.

“In order to maintain the world’s most capable and lethal military, we must make modernization and innovation a priority,” Bacon said. “As chairman, I will continue to support enhancing our cybersecurity and will work to advance artificial intelligence and emerging technologies that will be vital for our success on the battlefields of the future.”

Gallagher’s departure also left open the chairmanship position on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, although quickly after Gallagher announced his resignation, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) named Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) to fill the position.

Gallagher’s resignation also left Johnson with a one-seat GOP majority in the House.

By Georgina DiNardo
April 29, 2024 at 2:39 PM

The Defense Innovation Unit announced today that Liz McNally has been named as the organization's first deputy director of commercial operations.

DIU said the creation of the position is a “key milestone in executing DIU’s 3.0 strategy of scaling commercial technology innovation across the U.S. Department and delivering maximum strategic impact to the warfighter.”

DIU said that this position will also amplify the Defense Department’s demand signal while making the acquisition process of technology from the commercial sector easier by providing “procedural on-ramps to the DOD.”

“In this role she will bring her diverse experiences from the private sector, the military, and the not-for-profit sector to lead DIU’s collaboration with the commercial tech sector and investment community,” DIU said. “This includes enhanced portfolio company scaling support and related Department partnerships, as well as the defense innovation on-ramp, talent, and investment capabilities resident in National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) and National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC).”

DIU Director Doug Beck said it is “is critically important to the Department of Defense” that partnerships with the commercial sector be taken “to the next level.”

“Liz’s expertise and dual fluency across the commercial and military sectors, combining deep experience with both operating businesses and investors as well as downrange in uniform, and on top of her hands-on experience with inspiring service-and purpose-oriented talent, represent an incredible asset to our mission of delivering real change to the DOD at speed and scale,” he said.

Prior to her job at DIU, McNally was a military police officer in the Army before working a variety of private sector and not-for-profit positions, most recently serving as the co-CEO of Schmidt Futures, which is a philanthropic initiative funding technology and innovation research.

DIU said she will work with people across the department, including “teammates” in the Office of Strategic Capital, Office of Industrial Base Policy and its Office of Small Business Programs and partners in DOD’s Defense Innovation Community of Entities.

“I look forward to working across the commercial sector, the DOD and our allies to bring critical solutions to our warfighters on a timescale that matters,” McNally said.

By John Liang
April 29, 2024 at 1:55 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on an Army aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, a multibillion-dollar Air Force contract for an airborne command and control center and more.

We start off with coverage of an Army aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system discussed at last week's AAAA Conference in Denver:

Army anticipates deployment of first HADES system around late 2026

DENVER -- Army officials anticipate that the first High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System will be deployed sometime in late 2026 or early 2027.

The Survivable Airborne Operations Center design is based around a commercial aircraft that will be modified to meet military requirements and will include secure communications and planning capabilities:

Sierra Nevada wins $13B contract for SAOC

The Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a $13 billion contract to design and develop the Survivable Airborne Operations Center, a key component of Nuclear Command, Control and Communication modernization, the service announced late last week.

The Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) framework software was delivered to the Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Battle Awareness Center at Buckley Space Force Base, CO:

FORGE framework delivered to OPIR Battlespace Awareness Center

Space Systems Command today delivered the first operational software to set up its framework for the ground systems of space-based missile warning and tracking, the command announced late last week.

The Army's fiscal year 2025 budget request dramatically slashes plans for the Stryker Upgrade program between FY-25 and FY-28 compared to plans the service forecasted in the FY-24 spending blueprint, cutting total spending by 43% and total vehicles upgraded by 62%:

Stryker Upgrade program now a billpayer in new Army POM; annual procurement slashed from 184 to 11

The Army's Stryker Upgrade program -- a project that as recently as last year enjoyed a $1.2 billion annual budget to up-gun and expand improvements across the armored wheeled vehicle -- is now a billpayer, with service leaders siphoning $1.3 billion from future plans to finance other projects.

The Marine Corps is requesting $111 million for the Medium Range Intercept Capability -- a system that combines the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, the Common Aviation Command and Control System and parts of the Israeli Iron Dome to shoot down airborne threats including cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft:

Marine Corps looks to begin rapidly fielding MRIC air defense system in FY-25

The Marine Corps plans to raise procurement spending on its portfolio of air defense systems in fiscal year 2025 as it looks to begin rapidly fielding the initial battery of a mid-range interceptor system before the end of the upcoming fiscal year.

By Vanessa Montalbano
April 29, 2024 at 1:05 PM

The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $178 million production and sustainment contract for an additional seven MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters, according to a company news release.

“Building the Grey Wolf fleet and paving the way towards full rate production is a critical step in supporting the Air Force’s modernization priorities,” Azeem Khan, MH-139 program director at Boeing, said in a statement. “Delivering on these commitments and getting more capability into the hands of our customers is important to their mission protecting vital national assets.”

The new award, which is allocated using fiscal year 2024 dollars, brings the total number of aircraft under contract to 26. It comes after the Air Force in its FY-25 budget request chopped the number of MH-139s it originally planned to buy in half due to spending limits imposed by the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Prior budget requests specified the service would purchase 74 Grey Wolfs overall, but that buy has now been reduced to 36. The service is instead asking to buy eight helos next year, per FY-25 justification documents, and two per year after that through 2029.

The MH-139s will replace Vietnam war-era UH-1N Huey helos that are deemed to have unresolvable capability gaps, the service has said. They will be used to patrol nuclear silos and will be primarily operated by U.S. Global Strike Command.

Boeing said it expects to deliver the first low-rate initial production aircraft to the Air Force this summer. The program entered LRIP about one year ago following negotiations over a technical data package to support long-term organic sustainment.

“With the first production aircraft currently undergoing additional testing and other aircraft in various stages of production, Boeing is on track to deliver the first LRIP aircraft to the Air Force this summer,” the news release stated.

In December 2023 the first operational MH-139 began flight testing at the Leonardo Helicopters facility in Philadelphia. The company in January said it plans to deliver the first 13 helos to the Air Force this year.

By Shelley K. Mesch
April 29, 2024 at 12:03 PM

Governors from nearly every U.S. state and territory sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today opposing the Defense Department's proposal to absorb Air National Guard space operations into the Space Force.

The letter -- signed by 53 governors, or all except Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) -- says the proposal “disregards gubernatorial authorities regarding the National Guard and undermines over 100 years of precedent as well as national security and military readiness.”

About 700 guardsmen would be transferred into the Space Force under the DOD proposal, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has said, to complete the remainder of their enlistments, should they choose to switch services. No guardsmen would be required to make the transfer.

The proposal “poses a threat to the careers of state-based service members who will be forced to choose between state service or continuing in their current field at a time when there are already significant recruitment challenges,” the governors’ letter states. “An action like this will violate the trust of the brave women and men who have volunteered to serve our states and our nation.”

Across Alaska, California, Colorado, Ohio, New York, Hawaii and Florida, 14 units would be assigned new federal missions or be deactivated.

National Guard leaders have publicly opposed the proposal, saying it guts the Guard and states of space capabilities.

Kendall and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman have said the proposal streamlines the command of space operations.

Several lawmakers have pushed for the creation of a Space National Guard, but Saltzman said at a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing earlier this month that the Space Force cannot afford to fund another structure while keeping “administrative bureaucracy” levels down.

By Tony Bertuca
April 29, 2024 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to appear at several congressional hearings and think tank events this week.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the future of the Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacific region.


The Modern Day Marine conference gets underway in Washington and runs through Thursday.

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the fiscal year 2025 defense budget request with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on military readiness.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on nuclear forces and atomic energy activities.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Air and Space Forces' FY-25 budget requests.


The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Navy’s budget request.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on the budget request for national security space programs.

The Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on the current readiness of the joint force.

The Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee holds a hearing on Navy and Marine Corps modernization.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts its Capstone conference at the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command.

CSIS hosts a discussion on the Joint Warfighting Concept with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Christopher Grady.

Adobe holds its 2024 Government Forum.


The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a worldwide threats hearing.

Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Intelligence Maj. Gen. Gregory Gagnon speaks at a session of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies' Schriever Spacepower Series.

Defense One holds a virtual Navy service branch spotlight event.

By Tony Bertuca
April 26, 2024 at 2:58 PM

The Defense Department, tapping new funds provided by a supplemental spending bill recently signed into law by President Biden, today announced a $6 billion long-term military aid package for Ukraine, which follows closely behind a $1 billion immediate transfer of U.S. weapons.

The package, provided through the previously empty Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, includes:

  • Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;
  • Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);
  • New equipment to “integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles, and radars” with Ukrainian air defense systems;
  • Counter-drone systems and equipment;
  • Munitions for laser-guided rocket systems;
  • Multimission radars;
  • Counter-artillery radars;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 152mm artillery rounds;
  • Precision aerial munitions;
  • Switchblade and Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS);
  • Tactical vehicles to tow weapons and equipment;
  • Demolition munitions;
  • Components to support Ukrainian production of UAS and other capabilities;
  • Small arms and additional small arms ammunition; and
  • Other items and support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.

“We're going to do everything we can to get that security assistance to the Ukrainians as quickly as possible,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today during a Pentagon press conference.

Prior to today’s announcement, the last tranche of USAI funding was announced in November, at which point the fund was exhausted and in need of congressional replenishment. Additional funding was not granted until last week when Congress, after months of partisan arguing, agreed to a massive supplemental spending deal that would aid Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the U.S. defense industrial base.

The USAI package, unlike the $1 billion immediate transfer of DOD weapons to Ukraine via Presidential Drawdown Authority, is used to put specific weapons systems on contact with the U.S. defense industrial base, something Austin said will benefit national security in the long run.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown said both aid packages will help “shape the future” because the additional munitions capabilities will mean that the Ukrainians “don't necessarily have to ration they way they have because the Ukrainians know things are coming out of this package.”

The aid package released today commemorates the two-year anniversary of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a coalition of more than 50 nations that has pledged continued support for Ukraine. Austin, who hosted a virtual meeting with the group today, said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also part of the call.

“This coalition is still standing strong,” Austin said.