The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
September 21, 2023 at 12:10 PM

House Republicans have again failed to advance the fiscal year 2024 defense appropriations bill, with several members of the GOP siding with Democrats to help to sink it by a vote of 212-216.

Today marks the third time in recent days that the House was unable to begin debate on the bill, which would provide $826 billion for the Pentagon, in line with the overall $886 billion for national defense -- which includes funding for other government agencies, like the Energy Department -- sought by President Biden. The House lost a similar vote yesterday and had to pull the bill from consideration last week because it lacked support.

The failure of the measure comes despite previous media coverage saying that Republican lawmakers believed the bill would be successful this time because GOP hardliners had been appeased.

Because Democrats uniformly oppose the bill as they say it is filled with conservative “culture war” provisions, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is having difficulty gaining support from the far-right of his party, has only a slim margin by which legislation can be passed by his own caucus. Thus far, he has been unable to win the support of several Republicans who demand deep cuts to non-defense spending. At least one holdout, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), has said she wants the bill to block military aid for Ukraine.

McCarthy has also been unable to muster the 218 votes required to pass a stopgap continuing resolution required to stave off a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, compared the process to the film “Groundhog Day,” where star Bill Murray is relegated to re-living the same day over and over again.

House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) said he believes the process, though chaotic at the moment, will eventually result in a compromise between House Republicans -- and then between the GOP-led House and Democrat-led Senate -- ultimately bringing both sides together. The government, however, may shutter before that can happen.

Cole noted, however, that “Groundhog Day” had a “happy ending.”

"Everybody learned some lessons and they got where they needed to be,” he said. “I think we may be involved in a process something like that.”

By Tony Bertuca
September 20, 2023 at 8:22 PM

The Senate has voted 83-11 to confirm Air Force Gen. Charles "C.Q." Brown to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after months of being stalled by Sen. Tommy Tuberville's (R-AL) ongoing hold on military nominations.

In advance of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he decided to schedule individual votes for Brown and two other senior defense nominees, even though the chamber often advances such picks through a speedier, bipartisan process that Tuberville is blocking over his opposition to the Pentagon’s leave and travel policies for servicemembers seeking abortions. His hold covers more than 300 military nominations.

The other two nominees, who are scheduled to receive confirmation votes tomorrow, are Gen. Randy George to become Army chief of staff and Gen. Eric Smith to become Marine Corps commandant.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances of Sen. Tuberville’s reckless decisions, Democrats will take action,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Democrats have said all along that these promotions should move forward together, as these nominations have for decades in the past. They should have happened a long time ago; they should have happened the way these promotions have been done in the Senate until Sen. Tuberville arrived.”

Schumer had previously said he did not want the Senate to confirm the nominees individually as it could set a precedent in the future that could further slow the nomination process.

Meanwhile, a Congressional Research Service report found that it would take the Senate more than 30 days to confirm the nominees impacted by Tuberville’s hold if lawmakers worked 24 hours per day without stopping. It would take 89 days if the Senate worked eight hours a day on the nominations, CRS said.

Tuberville, using a privilege granted to senators, is holding up the speedy consideration of the nominations over his opposition to a DOD policy that provides leave and travel assistance for servicemembers seeking abortions if they are stationed somewhere the procedure is outlawed or cannot be obtained. The Biden administration established the policy following the June 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized Tuberville’s blanket hold, while defense officials have said for months it threatens national security.

Brown’s confirmation as chairman comes as Gen. Mark Milley prepares to retire from the post at the end of this month.

Following the news that Schumer would allow the three nominees to be considered individually, Tuberville took to X, formerly Twitter, to vow that he would never give up his holds unless DOD changed its abortion policy.

“One of us was bluffing. It wasn't me,” Tuberville wrote. “Democrats are taking the same action they could've taken months ago. As long as the Pentagon keeps the unlawful elective abortion policy in place, my holds will remain.”

By John Liang
September 20, 2023 at 2:16 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the influence of the Ukraine war on U.S. Army training, the potential impact of the looming government shutdown on the military services and industry, the proposed creation of a new critical infrastructure sector for space and more.

The Army's top civilian and uniformed officials spoke this week at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Acting Army chief, SECARMY say Ukraine war is shaping training

Acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George and Secretary Christine Wormuth say the Russian invasion of Ukraine is transforming the way the U.S. Army trains, particularly when it comes to unmanned systems.

The Army's acquisition chief added his voice to the growing chorus of DOD officials warning of the perils of a government shutdown:

Army acquisition head says potential shutdown would hurt contracting workforce

If fiscal year 2024 begins with a government shutdown, one of the biggest negative impacts to the Army would be on the contracting workforce, service acquisition chief Doug Bush told reporters Tuesday.

More shutdown news:

Business group tells defense contractors to prep for government shutdown

An influential Washington business association that represents Pentagon contractors said today that companies should prepare for all contingencies related to a possible government shutdown on Oct. 1, even if they believe their work is fully funded.

AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning sent a letter to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan opposing the creation of a new critical infrastructure sector for space:

AIA urges NSC to conduct 'cost-benefit' analysis on space sector designation

The Aerospace Industries Association is asking the National Security Council to conduct a "cost-benefit" analysis when considering whether to designate any specific space capabilities as critical infrastructure, and to consider "space" itself as a domain, rather than creating a new critical infrastructure sector.

Keep an eye out tomorrow for a new solicitation seeking contractors interested in working on putting the Navy's nuclear missile submarine communication system onto a C-130 aircraft:

Navy RFP advances Super Hercules as E-6B TACAMO replacement

Naval Air Systems Command will issue a request for proposals Thursday for integrating "take charge and move out" (TACAMO) mission systems into a modified C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft.

Last but by no means least, more coverage from last week's Air, Space, Cyber conference:

Air Force moving ahead with Agile Combat Employment in Indo-Pacific

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Air Force's Agile Combat Employment concept for basing will need more funding for logistics as it aims to improve resiliency in the Indo-Pacific, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach told reporters.

By Nickolai Sukharev
September 20, 2023 at 9:20 AM

The Army awarded BAE Systems a contract to produce additional Bradley Fighting Vehicles, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

Following an earlier contract last month, BAE will produce M2A4 and M7A4 Bradley vehicles for $128 million to be completed by Jan. 31, 2026, according to the announcement.

While earlier contracts for the Bradley were completed at BAE’s facility in York, PA, the work sites for this contract will be determined with each order, the announcement reads.

Serving as the Army’s primary infantry fighting vehicle, the M2A4 is designed to carry and support dismounted troops in combat. It has a 25mm cannon, a coaxial 7.62mm caliber machine gun and can carry antitank missiles.

The M7A4 Bradley Fire Support Team Vehicle carries sensor and sighting systems designed to relay targeting information to support artillery fire.

Entering service in 1981, other variants of the Bradley include the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, M3 Cavalry Vehicle, a command vehicle and engineer vehicle.

The Army previously operated the M6 Bradley Linebacker, a now-retired air defense variant that carried Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

The Army is slated to replace the Bradley with the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle, previously called the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

By Tony Bertuca
September 19, 2023 at 5:44 PM

House Republicans and Democrats have named conferees to begin negotiations with the Senate over the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has named as "core" conferees:

  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (AL)
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (SC)
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO)
  • Rep. Robert Wittman (VA)
  • Rep. Austin Scott (GA)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY)
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN)
  • Rep. Trent Kelly (MS)
  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (NE)
  • Rep. Jim Banks (IN)
  • Rep. Jack Bergman (MI)
  • Rep. Michael Waltz (FL)
  • Rep. Mike Johnson (LA)
  • Rep. Lisa McClain (MI)
  • Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX)
  • Rep. Pat Fallon (TX)
  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez (FL)
  • Rep. Nancy Mace (SC)
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA)

Additional "outside conferees" were also named.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), meanwhile, has also named conferees.

The Democratic conferees who are members of the House Armed Services Committee are:

  • Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA)
  • Rep. Joe Courtney (CT)
  • Rep. John Garamendi (CA)
  • Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ)
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ)
  • Rep. Seth Moulton (MA)
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA)
  • Rep. Ro Khanna (CA)
  • Rep. William Keating (MA)
  • Rep. Andy Kim (NJ)
  • Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA)
  • Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI)
  • Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ)
  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX)

Other Democratic conferees are:

  • Rep. Bobby Scott (VA)
  • Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (CA)
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY)
  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ)
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD)
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA)
  • Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY)
  • Rep. Rick Larsen (WA)
  • Rep. Mark Takano (CA)
By Tony Bertuca
September 19, 2023 at 4:25 PM

The House voted 212-214 against beginning debate on the fiscal year 2024 defense spending bill, dealing another blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has seen his efforts to pass legislation frustrated by the far-right flank of his own party.

Five Republicans broke ranks in voting against a rule to begin consideration of the bill, a significant defeat for McCarthy, who had to pull the measure from the floor schedule last week amid concerns that it could not garner the 218 votes needed for passage. Republicans who opposed the procedural vote to begin debate on the defense spending bill today are demanding steeper cuts to federal spending elsewhere in the appropriations process.

House GOP appropriators held a press conference last week urging support for the bill, which has drawn a veto threat from the White House for its inclusion of "culture war" provisions related to abortion, diversity initiatives and climate change.

"What's happening is the military is being held hostage to these procedural votes, so that can't happen," Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said on Friday. He restated his position today on X, formerly Twitter.

Meanwhile, the House GOP is divided by an intraparty fight over federal spending that has stalled legislation intended to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

The five Republicans who voted against moving the defense spending bill are Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) Dan Bishop (R-NC) and Ken Buck (R-CO).

The House floor became raucous during the vote as House Democrats screamed for “regular order” while some Republicans crowded around Norman in a vain attempt to get him to change his vote and keep the defense bill from being voted down.

“You don’t have the votes,” one Democratic lawmaker screamed.

By Tony Bertuca
September 19, 2023 at 3:21 PM

The House voted 393-27 today to begin conference negotiations with the Senate over the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill.

The House version of the bill, which barely passed in July by a 219-210 vote, is opposed by Democrats because it contains “culture war” provisions targeting diversity initiatives, climate change mitigation and the Pentagon’s leave and travel policy for servicemembers seeking abortion.

The massive defense policy bill was passed out of the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 58-1 but was amended to include the politically controversial provisions sought by GOP conservatives.

The Senate, meanwhile, passed a version of the bill by a vote of 86-11.

The House bill authorizes -- but doesn't appropriate -- $886 billion in total national defense funding as sought by the Biden administration.

Congress has passed the defense authorization bill for more than 60 consecutive years and it is considered one of the most reliable pieces of legislation in Washington.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are embroiled in a chaotic fight over federal spending that could lead to a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

By John Liang
September 19, 2023 at 2:18 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on cruise missile defense, a Navy hypersonic missile program and more.

A Missile Defense Agency-led cruise missile defense project is a nearly two-year effort in response to a U.S. Northern Command requirement for an improved homeland defense capability to counter advanced air-breathing missiles:

DOD completes 'successful' demo of data exchange key for domestic cruise missile defense

The Defense Department earlier this month completed a joint tactical integrated fire control demonstration that culminated with simulated missile attack and response in skies over the Washington, DC area that will now inform an ongoing Air Force effort to design a program of record for a domestic cruise missile defense capability.

An upcoming technical review is the first of five such assessments scheduled over the next four years to monitor and validate the Hypersonic Air-Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO) program -- a carrier-based surface strike weapon the Navy plans to field before the end of the decade:

Navy to conduct first HALO technical review this month ahead of FY-24 RFP

The Navy will conduct the initial technical review of a developing hypersonic weapon system before the end of September, ahead of an official request for proposals expected in the first half of fiscal year 2024, a Navy spokesperson confirmed to Inside Defense.

The chances a Republican-backed continuing resolution makes its way successfully through the Senate are slim to none:

Congress poised for funding fight this week following GOP's opening bid to avert shutdown

The House Rules Committee has voted to advance a stopgap continuing resolution backed by some GOP conservatives that stands little likelihood of passing the Democrat-led Senate as it contains politically controversial and divisive provisions and doesn't include funding for disaster relief or Ukraine.

The Navy is pulling every lever in its authority to grow active-duty enlistments, Adm. Lisa Franchetti said at her recent confirmation hearing to be the next chief of naval operations:

Franchetti: The Navy is in a 'war for talent'

With the Navy projecting it will fall short of fiscal year 2023 recruitment goals, acting Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti told lawmakers last week the sea service is fighting "a war for talent."

Last but by no means least, the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

OMB kicks off meetings with industry stakeholders ahead of CMMC proposed rule release

The White House Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is meeting with stakeholders in the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, as the interagency process gets underway to review a proposed rule that will implement major changes to the Defense Department initiative.

By Linda Hersey
September 19, 2023 at 10:40 AM

Acting Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith ordered a two-day standdown of aviation operations Monday following an F-35B Lightning II "Class-A mishap" over South Carolina.

The accident was the third aviation incident since August involving the Marine Corps.

The Pentagon issued a statement Monday announcing that Marine Corps aviation operations were grounded for two days as the service reinforced safety fundamentals and best practices.

“During the standdown, aviation commanders will lead discussions with their Marines focusing on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures and maintaining combat readiness,” according to the Pentagon statement, posted to the Marine Corps website.

The Marine Corps, meanwhile, was investigating a debris field north of Charleston, after the pilot safely ejected from the stealth fighter jet Sunday night.

“Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, in close coordination with local authorities, have located a debris field in Williamsburg County. The debris was discovered two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston,” according to a Joint Base Charleston Facebook post.

The debris site was discovered Monday following a search for several hours, as the plane had continued its programmed flight path after the pilot ejected.

“Teams from Joint Base Charleston, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of MCAS Cherry Point, Navy Region Southeast, the FAA, the Civil Air Patrol, as well as local, county, and state law enforcement across South Carolina have been working together to locate the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B,” according to the Facebook post.

The Pentagon’s statement Monday on the aviation pause noted two other recent Class-A aviation mishaps.

On Aug. 24, an F/A-18D Hornet crashed in southern California during a training flight, killing the pilot. The crash occurred on remote government property east of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

An MV-22B Osprey crashed days later, on Aug. 27, off the Australian coast during a transport training exercise. The accident killed three Marines on board the tiltrotor aircraft. Five others were hospitalized in serious condition.

The standdown announced Monday is to ensure “operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews,” the Pentagon said.

The statement continued: “This standdown invests time and energy in reinforcing the Marine aviation community’s established policies, practices and procedures and ensures Marine Corps remains a ready and highly trained fighting force.”

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

By John Liang
September 18, 2023 at 11:52 AM

AeroVironment announced today it has completed its acquisition of Tomahawk Robotics, a maker of artificial intelligence-enabled robotic control systems, for $120 million in a mix of cash and stock.

"Now that the acquisition is finalized, we’re able to further integrate both companies' technologies and accelerate our implementation of AI and autonomy into AeroVironment's platforms, enabling us to offer the best solutions for our customers' operational needs," Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment's chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. The company announced the purchase last month.

Tomahawk Robotics will become part of the small uncrewed aerial systems business unit within AeroVironment's Unmanned Systems segment.

By Tony Bertuca
September 18, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak around the Washington area this week.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George.

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on furthering U.S.-India security cooperation.

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on defense cooperation with Taiwan.


The House Armed Services cyber, innovation and information technology subcommittee holds a hearing with industry officials on the defense innovation ecosystem.

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing on the military promotions process.

The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion with the chief of Army Training and Doctrine Command.

The Reagan Institute hosts a discussion on artificial intelligence and the National Defense Strategy.

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion on emerging technology and the AUKUS alliance.


By Apurva Minchekar
September 15, 2023 at 3:42 PM

The Air Force is seeking solutions from industry to "deliver commercial-derivate air refueling systems," according to a notice posted Thursday.

Recently, Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told Congress the service is expecting a gap period between the end of KC-46 tanker aircraft production and the delivery of the next-generation replacement and plans to close that gap by recapitalizing its current tanker fleet.

Along with the request for information, the service has also released the “System Requirement Document (SRD) for the KC-135 Replacement Aircraft System,” both of which are in controlled unclassified information format.

“The draft SRD will capture the current requirements for the Tanker Recapitalization Program with projected deliveries to begin after the last KC-46A delivery,” the service said earlier this month.

Last month, Scott Boyd, deputy program executive for mobility aircraft at the Air Force Life Cycle Industry Day in Dayton, OH said this is the first time the industry will see formal requirements and have an opportunity to respond to it.

Boyd at the event also said after the responses are reviewed, the service will build a business case analysis followed by an acquisition strategy, which is expected to be completed by the third quarter of fiscal year 2024.

Additionally, the House Appropriators Committee, in its draft fiscal year 2024 spending bill, expressed concern about tanker availability during the recapitalization phase and asked the service to continue competition throughout all stages of tanker recapitalization.

The committee has also asked the Air Force secretary to submit a report to the House and Senate Appropriations panels that will provide details on a 10-year schedule for the recapitalization of the tanker fleet, planned tanker aircraft divestitures over the same period as well as a risk assessment of a reduced bridge tanker procurement prior to the delivery of the Next-Generation Air refueling System.

The report should be created in coordination with the FY-25 budget request, the committee noted.

By Georgina DiNardo
September 15, 2023 at 3:29 PM

House Republican committee chairmen are requesting the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security and other government agencies brief them by Sept. 28 on the national security implications of granting licenses to companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

“We are extremely troubled and perplexed about the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) inability to effectively write and enforce export control rules against violators, especially China,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Commerce Under Secretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez.

The letter requested BIS coordinate with the Defense, State and Energy departments for the briefing and urged placement of “additional pressure” on export controls for U.S. adversaries and competitors, like China.

“For more than two years, our committees and numerous members of Congress have written you regarding loopholes in BIS rules attempting, unsuccessfully, to restrict technology to Huawei and [Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC)], among others,” the letter stated. “Despite this knowledge and continued Congressional pressure to adopt stricter policies, BIS has continued to grant licenses to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled companies, such as SMIC, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. These companies support the CCP’s military and have been responsible for manufacturing semiconductors that power Huawei’s 5G devices, in violation of BIS’ export controls.”

The letter comes in response to reports which revealed that Huawei Technologies Co. developed a smartphone containing 7-nanometer chips capable of supporting 5G, produced by the Chinese state-owned SMIC, which the lawmakers say violates U.S. export-control regulations.

The letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Robert Latta (R-OH), Young Kim (R-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

The lawmakers suggested seven immediate steps that BIS should take, stating they were already explained to the Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.

These suggestions included establishing a sanctions authority through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act on Chinese companies, barring the import of SMIC produced semiconductors, placing SMIC and Huawei on the Entity List with a Foreign Direct Product Rule designation, implementing a policy of denial for all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for Huawei subsidiaries and SMIC, removing all license exceptions for all items subject to the EAR to SMIC and pursuing criminal charges against SMIC and Huawei executives.

“We need to enforce laws under your authority against them and not play into their hands,” the letter states. “Times have changed in our relations with China. It is beyond time for our bureaucracy to as well.”

By John Liang
September 15, 2023 at 2:42 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Space Force's classification process, a radar to be based in Palau, Navy amphibious vessels and more.

We start off with more coverage from this week's AFA Air, Space and Cyber Conference:

Space Force is 'actively' working to tackle overclassification problem

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Space Force is "actively" reviewing the classification process to perform its duties effectively and collaborate with allies and partners, a top service official said Tuesday.

The Air Force this week announced plans to issue a request for proposals for the Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar (TACMOR) during the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 -- sometime between January and March:

2024 start set for new Palau radar needed to plug huge Indo-Pacific surveillance gaps

The Defense Department has unveiled plans to compete a new, high-priority radar project in the Indo-Pacific region -- a long-range surveillance sensor slated for emplacement in the Republic of Palau that top brass say is needed to plug air domain awareness gaps in the Western Pacific by providing thousands of square miles of wide-area surveillance.

Document: Air Force TACMOR industry day briefing slides

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing Thursday to fill the Navy's top uniformed position:

Franchetti pledges support for 31-amphib mandate, delivering Columbia submarines on time

Stating the amphibious force is critical to the fleet, acting Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti told lawmakers Thursday she is committed to the 31-ship legal mandate.

News on the Army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System:

Army greenlights IVAS 1.2 for next phase of development

The Army has given the OK for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System's 1.2 variant to transition to the next phase of development, following positive soldier feedback from a test last month.

Air Force Gen. David Allvin submitted answers to advance policy questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week regarding his nomination to become Air Force chief of staff:

Air Force chief of staff nominee's written testimony provides updates on major acquisitions

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Allvin laid out key dates on the service's major acquisition programs this week in his written testimony to the Senate, which held a hearing for his nomination as chief of staff.

Document: Allvin's answers to advance policy questions

The Air Force issued a request for information on the Mobility Cross-Cutting Operational Enabler this week:

Air Force looking for solutions to develop NGAS, NGAL for mission needs

The Air Force is seeking information to identify potential capabilities and technologies to develop Next Generation Refueling and Airlift Teams of Systems built for specific mission requirements, according to a notice posted Tuesday.

Document: Air Force mobility COE RFI