The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
April 4, 2023 at 2:59 PM

Doug Beck, previously the vice president of Apple, has been named to be the next director of the Defense Innovation Unit, which will now report directly to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Beck, a captain in the Naval Reserve, joined Apple in 2009. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan with a joint special operations task force from 2006 to 2007.

“Mr. Beck has previous experience working with DIU, as he founded and led its joint reserve component from inception in 2015 through 2019,” the Pentagon said. “He has also served extensively throughout the Asia Pacific region during his nearly 26 years of service, including command of a large joint reserve unit supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.”

The position of DIU director, which will now report directly to Austin, previously reported to the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

As DIU director Beck will “oversee efforts to accelerate the department's adoption of commercial technology throughout the military and also serve as a senior advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on technology innovation, competition, and strategic impact,” according to the Pentagon.

The Defense Department is seeking approximately $105 million for DIU in fiscal year 2024, a $35 million increase above what Congress enacted in FY-23. However, the final FY-23 DIU topline was boosted by Congress and the Defense Department took criticism from lawmakers for only requesting $36.5 million in FY-23.

Beck will succeed Mike Brown, DIU’s longest serving director who stepped down last September.

Austin, in a new memo, is requiring Beck to provide him with an assessment in 90 days of DIU's capabilities and a proposed plan of action for achieving key goals.

"The DIU director shall serve as a leader inside the department to catalyze engagement with and investment into private sector communities where commercial technology can be adapted an applies to meet our warfighters’ requirements,” Austin said.

Additionally, Austin said, the DIU director will also serve as a “focal point for new and emerging commercial technology sectors to help identifying dual-use pathways and adaptations that enable rapid transition and fielding of new technologies.”

By John Liang
April 4, 2023 at 2:42 PM

The United States "has not yet begun" to train Ukrainian troops on how to use the Abrams tank, according to a senior Defense Department official.

"We're still working on the equipment procurement so we have not yet begun the training, but I would expect that that will happen relatively soon," the official told reporters today during a background briefing.

DOD announced late last month that it would accelerate the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine by several months, now planning for the tanks to arrive sometime this fall.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said March 21 that the department was able to speed up the delivery because, rather than delivering the M1A2 tank variant as originally planned, DOD will now be providing Ukraine with the M1A1 variant.

"This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians," he said.

Ryder said last month that the timeline could be compressed because the M1A1s will be built using "excess hulls in our inventory that we will refurbish."

The U.S. has trained more than 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of Russia's invasion last year, the senior defense official said today. Of those, more than 4,000 have been trained to use Bradley and Stryker combat vehicles at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, the official added.

By John Liang
April 4, 2023 at 1:38 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has coverage from the annual Sea-Air-Space Symposium plus news on an Army effort to develop a multidomain sensing system and more.

We start off with coverage of the Sea-Air-Space Symposium:

Indo-Pacific panel calls out China for campaign of small-scale aggressions

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- "Peace is war without bloodshed for China" is how Naval War College Professor James Holmes described that country's position toward rules-based order and international law that hold sway in the South China Sea and across the Indo-Pacific.

Lockheed prepares to ramp up LRASM production

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- With a block buy expected in fiscal year 2024, Lockheed Martin is preparing to dramatically scale up production of two missile systems -- the Navy's Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and the Air Force's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

Marine Corps prepares for initial CH-53K deployment in 2025

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- The Marine Corps is targeting 2025 for its initial CH-53K King Stallion deployment, while the heavy lift helicopter's maker, Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky, looks to ramp up production to a rate of two aircraft per month.

Tech innovations yield on-demand training as troops need it

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD -- Better tech and distribution systems are delivering training environments to troops when and where they need them, according to a panel of experts speaking Monday at the Sea Air Space conference here.

Read our full Sea-Air-Space Symposium coverage.

The Army is seeking funding for a system that would operate on a converted corporate jet in which an array of sensors and processors would enable multidomain operations:

Army seeks $200M for multidomain sensing system

The Army has included nearly $200 million in its fiscal year 2024 budget request for research, development, test and evaluation of a modernized aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system.

The Navy is looking to upgrade the aircraft that would be responsible for relaying presidential orders to nuclear submarine crews:

Northrop reveals team to compete for Navy's new NC3 aircraft program

Northrop Grumman today announced it is partnering with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Crescent Systems, Inc. and Long Wave Inc. to compete for an upcoming contract to modernize the Navy's new nuclear command, control and communications aircraft.

By Tony Bertuca
April 4, 2023 at 11:45 AM

The Defense Department today announced a $2.6 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, including additional ammunition, artillery rounds, air defense interceptors and anti-armor systems as well as other weapons.

Part of the package is funded via $500 million in presidential drawdown authority and includes:

• Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;

• Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);

• 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds;

• 120 mm mortar rounds;

• 120 mm and 105 mm tank ammunition;

• 25 mm ammunition;

• Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;

• Approximately 400 grenade launchers and 200,000 rounds of ammunition;

• 11 tactical vehicles to recover equipment;

• 61 heavy fuel tankers;

• 10 trucks and 10 trailers to transport heavy equipment;

• Testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair;

• Spare parts and other field equipment.

Meanwhile, the package also includes items put on contract with vendors via $2.1 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds:

• Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);

• Nine counter-Unmanned Aerial System 30mm gun trucks;

• 10 mobile c-UAS laser-guided rocket systems;

• Three air surveillance radars;

• 30 mm and 23 mm anti-aircraft ammunition;

• 130 mm and 122 mm artillery rounds;

• 122 mm GRAD rockets;

• Rocket launchers and ammunition;

• 120 mm and 81 mm mortar systems;

• 120 mm, 81 mm, and 60 mm mortar rounds;

• 120 mm tank ammunition;

• Javelin anti-armor systems;

• Anti-armor rockets;

• Precision aerial munitions;

• Approximately 3,600 small arms and more than 23,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;

• Seven tactical vehicles to recover equipment;

• Eight heavy fuel tankers and 105 fuel trailers;

• Armored bridging systems;

• Four logistics support vehicles;

• Trucks and ten trailers to transport heavy equipment;

• Secure communications equipment;

• SATCOM terminals and services;

• Funding for training, maintenance and sustainment.

While drawdown authority allows for the rapid transfers of weapons directly from U.S. stocks, USAI involves procuring capabilities from industry and could take months or years before arriving on the battlefield.

By Tony Bertuca
April 3, 2023 at 2:19 PM

The Philippines and the United States today announced the locations of four new sites where U.S. military forces will be based.

The new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement sites include: Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan, according to the Pentagon.

The naming of the locations follows a February announcement in which the United States and the Philippines committed to designate four new EDCA sites.

The locations will complement five existing EDCA sites.

“[T]hese new locations will strengthen the interoperability of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters,” the Pentagon said.

The department said it intends to expand funding on top of the $82 million that has already allocated toward infrastructure investments at the existing EDCA sites.

The announcement is in step with the Biden administration’s National Defense Strategy, which calls for countering China in the Indo-Pacific region, including in any potential conflict over Taiwan.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press conference that the EDCA sites are focused on “regional readiness,” but also “be[ing] able to respond” to natural disasters in the region.

By Apurva Minchekar
April 3, 2023 at 2:11 PM

The Space Development Agency on Sunday announced the successful launch of Tranche 0 satellites, which took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, after postponing the original launch date of March 30.

"This is a major accomplishment for SDA and for the whole Department of Defense,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said in a statement. “It shows that our key pillars, proliferation and spiral development, can deliver for national security space.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable, two-stage rocket was launched with a set of 10 satellites, including eight transport satellites from York Space System and two tracking satellites from SpaceX.

The launched T0 is part of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, the transport and tracking layer satellites intended to demonstrate the low-latency communication links to a network of integrated capabilities, including tracking of advanced missile threats from low-Earth orbit, according to SDA.

For the second T0 launch, scheduled for June, York Space Systems and Lockheed Martin will produce 10 transport satellites each, for a total of 20 T0 transport satellites, according to SDA, while SpaceX and L3Harris will produce four tracking satellites for a total of eight T0 satellites.

T0 demonstration will begin once all 28 satellites are placed in two orbital planes at an altitude of approximately 1,000 km. After undergoing a period of test and checkout of the bus and mission payloads, the tranche will support military exercises, including advanced missile tracking tests in the summer of 2023 and the future, according to SDA.

"Through this launch (T0 initial launch), we've demonstrated that SDA can keep a schedule to deliver enhanced capabilities every two years,” Tournear said. “This revolutionary approach is enabled by the growth in the commercial marketplace, allowing the PWSA to move forward to deliver warfighting capabilities in each future tranche.”

SDA plans the first operational generation of the PWSA, Tranche 1, to begin in late 2024, which will include 126 transport layer satellites, 35 tracking satellites and 12 tactical demonstration satellites.

By John Liang
April 3, 2023 at 1:36 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on tactical aircraft programs, the Pentagon's latest fiscal year 2024 legislative proposal packages and more.

We start off with Government Accountability Office testimony on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter submitted at a congressional hearing last week:

GAO identifies delays in F-35 simulator testing

A new government audit calls out the Defense Department's delay in authorizing the F-35 to begin full-rate production, even though the aircraft program started development more than 20 years ago.

GAO raises concerns about proposed F-35 engine upgrade

A Government Accountability Office official told a House panel that a "full business case" has not been made for addressing F-35 engine and cooling system troubles.

JPO: TR-3 for F-35 to be completed between December and April

Integration of Technology Refresh 3 -- the hardware and software upgrade for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- is running another year behind schedule, officials told lawmakers.

Document: House hearing on fixed-wing tactical aircraft programs

More from the same hearing, but this one is on the F-22 Raptor:

Air Force again seeking F-22 block 20 divestment

In its years-long bid to "divest to invest," the Air Force is once again asking Congress to approve the divestment of its block 20 F-22 Raptors.

The Pentagon has begun submitting its fiscal year 2024 legislative proposal packages:

DOD wants STRATCOM, SPACECOM to use novel personnel system to compete with private industry

The Defense Department is asking Congress to allow U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command to use a novel personnel system to attract and retain highly talented and non-traditional job candidates.

DOD requests cross-fiscal year authority for Ukraine funding

Seeking longer-term Ukraine assistance funding, the Pentagon has requested the renewal and modification of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Document: DOD's first FY-24 legislative proposal package

Document: DOD's second FY-24 legislative proposal package

Late last month, the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 31 Event 1a (FTM-31 E1a) over the Pacific Ocean:

SM-6 salvo intercepts target in simulated terminal defense of aircraft carrier strike group

The U.S. military executed what it says was a successful do-over live-fire of a major ballistic missile defense test when a pair of Standard Missile-6 interceptors -- configured in a new variant -- launched in a single salvo and intercepted a medium range ballistic missile target in a simulated last-line-of-defense protection for an aircraft carrier strike group.

By Nick Wilson
April 3, 2023 at 11:05 AM

The Navy has awarded HII a $1.3 billion contract for the procurement of its third flight II San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, according to a Friday service announcement.

The award paves the way for construction to begin on LPD-32 after Congress approved the ship’s purchase in the fiscal year 2023 budget cycle. Work is expected to be completed by September 2029, the announcement states.

Ingalls Shipbuilding, the sole contractor for the LPD class, received $240 million in advance procurement funding in 2022 for the ship, according to a separate company announcement.

After the Navy omitted amphibious warships from its FY-24 budget request, the Marine Corps listed $1.7 billion for a fourth LPD as its top unfunded priority.

A Pentagon-directed pause in LPD procurement has put Navy and Marine Corps leadership at odds. While Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday argued that cost-reduction measures are necessary before procurement continues, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has urged continued fielding of LPDs to maintain a fleet of 31 amphibious warships.

During a March appearance, Gilday suggested LPD-32 could cost as much as $2 billion by the end of the buy -- 21% to 25% cost growth over the first hull. Berger presented a more moderate cost increase picture, which he attributed largely to inflation.

During last week’s congressional budget hearings, lawmakers indicated support for continued LPD buys and skepticism toward the pause and cost-reduction study, while Marine Corps leadership said the LPD cannot afford to have its capabilities scaled down to reduce costs.

Gilday and Berger steered clear of the LPD debate today when they appeared on stage together at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.

Gilday said the Navy and Marine Corps are in “good shape” in terms of shipbuilding with ample support from Congress. He said LPD-32 was put on contract at a “good price,” adding he hopes to leverage the Navy’s multiyear procurement authority to keep the LPD line active.

By Tony Bertuca
April 3, 2023 at 5:00 AM

The Navy League's Sea Air Space Exposition will be held this week, along with other key events in the Washington area featuring senior Pentagon officials.

Monday

The Sea Air Space Exposition begins at National Harbor, MD, and runs through Wednesday.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on how the war in Ukraine has changed ground combat.

Wednesday

The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute hosts the Spacepower Security Forum.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts its Global Security Forum.

Defense News hosts a webcast on how lessons learned from Ukraine are shaping industrial base policy.

Thursday

The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute hosts the Air Force deputy chief of staff for plans and programs.

By Dan Schere
March 31, 2023 at 4:13 PM

The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $1.2 billion contract to provide a Patriot air defense system to Switzerland.

The Defense Department announced in a March 28 contract notice that $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2023 foreign military sales were obligated at the time of the award.

The contract is for five Patriot fire units and Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T), which are designed to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and enemy aircraft, according to a Raytheon press release.

The offer includes projects for “local industry participation” in Switzerland, and Raytheon will work with Swiss companies to deliver the system “to meet Switzerland’s air defense needs and safeguard its sovereignty,” according to the company.

Switzerland will become the 18th nation to use the Patriot, according to Raytheon.

By Shelley K. Mesch
March 31, 2023 at 3:55 PM

Unspecified problems on Thursday delayed the first launch of the Space Development Agency's satellites until Saturday morning at the earliest, according to the agency.

Contractor SpaceX was set to launch 10 of SDA’s communications and missile warning and tracking satellites into low-Earth orbit Thursday morning, but that launch was aborted and rescheduled for Friday morning, according to an SDA post on LinkedIn.

The launch for Friday morning was also postponed, according to the agency.

SpaceX is “working quickly to resolve issues discovered during yesterday’s launch attempt,” the post states.

The launch, from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, will mark the first of dozens to go on orbit for SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

By John Liang
March 31, 2023 at 2:13 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from this week's AUSA Global Force Symposium, Oshkosh's ongoing protest of a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract award, the Air Force's T-7 trainer aircraft and a lot more.

Let's start off with the latest on Oshkosh's protest of a multibillion-dollar Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract award to AM General:

In JLTV protest, Oshkosh alleges problems with AM General's production process, corrosion testing

In protesting the recent award of the follow-on contract of the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to AM General, Oshkosh claims that the government ignored problems related to AM General’s production process, corrosion testing and the cost evaluation.

Here's more coverage from this week's AUSA Global Force Symposium:

New-start counter-drone budget proposed for FY-25 to align with Army strategic priorities

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Army leaders drafting the service's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal are considering establishing a dedicated program element for counter-drone technology, a move that if adopted would stake out a consolidated place in long-term spending plans for projects currently dispersed across multiple air defense research and development funding lines.

PAC-3 armed with new software intercepts advanced medium-range ballistic missile target

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army last week executed a live-fire test of the Patriot air defense system -- pitting a developmental PAC-3 software upgrade to address more advanced threats -- against a medium-range ballistic missile target at a test site in the Western Pacific.

Army executes prototype cannon-launched, hypervelocity guided projectile, sets record

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army achieved record-setting distance when demonstrating a cannon-launched hypervelocity projectile prototype -- a munition capable of maneuvering in flight and striking moving targets -- in an event that points to a future where artillery units will be able to reach targets at ranges that today require missiles at a fraction the cost.

BAE making room to ramp up AMPV production by moving other combat vehicle lines

HUNTSVILLE, VA -- BAE Systems today announced a major realignment of its combat vehicle manufacturing operations -- including repositioning significant industrial capacity -- as part of a long-term plan to increase manufacturing rates and speed delivery of fighting vehicles to the Army and Marine Corps.

The U.S. military's top uniformed officer spoke this week about a potential new combatant command:

Milley highlights plans for new joint futures 'command' or 'entity' for innovation

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the Defense Department is preparing to stand up a new joint futures "command" or "entity" sometime this summer to focus on military innovation.

News on Army night-vision goggles:

Lawmaker questions Army secretary over night-vision goggle funding

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned Army Secretary Christine Wormuth during a congressional hearing Thursday about the service's lack of funding for one night-vision goggle program, and its faith in another program that has had challenges.

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter was on Capitol Hill this week:

Hunter says Boeing will proceed with T-7 production at company's 'own risk'

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers on Wednesday that Boeing has notified the service of its intent to begin production of the initial T-7 aircraft without a formal contract and the company will assume all risk if the initial aircraft do not meet service requirements.

Hunter: Air Force not planning ARRW procurement

The Air Force isn't planning to procure more Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missiles, service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers Wednesday.

Hunter: Air Force aiming to field CCAs in late 2020s

The Air Force plans to field its uncrewed Collaborative Combat Aircraft concept by the end of the decade, service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers Wednesday.

The Navy's top civilian official talked about a dispute between the government and Boeing over Super Hornet intellectual property rights:

SECNAV weighs in on Super Hornet IP dispute

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro defended the service's push to acquire intellectual property related to 20 F/A-18 Super Hornets that have yet to be put on contract with Boeing, saying the Navy needs this data package to perform repairs in the field.

The lead boat of the Columbia-class submarine program is facing delays:

Del Toro: Lead Columbia sub is 10% behind schedule

The lead Columbia-class submarine is now 10% behind schedule, trailing its 84-month timeline by roughly 8.4 months, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told lawmakers at today's House Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing.

Lawmakers want the Army to speed up replacing the weapons it's giving to Ukraine:

Some on House Appropriations defense subcommittee want faster Army weapons procurement

Some members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee during a hearing Tuesday pushed the Army to replenish its weapons stock faster as it continues to send aid to Ukraine.

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

DOD CIO acknowledges CMMC launch challenges, commits to rollout as program review continues

DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman assured lawmakers at a Thursday hearing on the rollout of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, acknowledging it has faced delays following an internal review while committing that it will be carried out successfully.

By Dan Schere
March 31, 2023 at 1:33 PM

The Army found that the operation and support costs for the CH-47F Block I Chinook helicopter increased nearly 27% from 2004 to 2021 and the costs for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System increased 136% from 2007 to 2021, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Congress included a provision in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that requires each military service to conduct sustainment reviews for major weapon systems within five years of declaring initial operational capability. The FY-21 NDAA amended the provision to require that the secretary of each military branch provide sustainment reviews for weapon systems to the congressional defense committees.

The Army conducted reviews of the CH-47 Block I, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected MAXX Pro, Bradley Fighting Vehicle and GMLRS, and found there was “critical” O&S cost for the Chinook and GMLRS.

“Critical” is defined either as O&S cost growth at least 25% more than the most recent cost estimate of a system, or at least 50% more than the original baseline cost estimate of the system, according to the report.

The CH-47 Block I O&S cost increased from $16.2 billion in 2004 to $20.6 billion in 2021, the review found. The increased costs were largely due to the fleet of aircraft increasing by 31 over the 17 years, and because of installation and maintenance costs of the Common Avionics Architecture System, or digital cockpit.

GMLRS O&S costs increased from $160.7 million in 2007 to $379.2 million in 2021, according to the review. The Army attributed the boost to an increase in the number of rockets from 44,000 to 118,000, and an upgrade to the steel casing on the original rocket that did not meet safety requirements.

The GAO report, released Thursday, was submitted to both the House and Senate Armed Services committees, as well as House and Senate Appropriations defense subcommittees.

By Nick Wilson
March 31, 2023 at 11:34 AM

The Navy has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $650 million low-rate initial production contract for its next-generation airborne electronic attack jamming system, which will replace the legacy ALQ-99 jamming pod carried by the service's fleet of EA-18G Growlers.

The Lot III LRIP contract funds the production and delivery of 15 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) ship sets -- with two pods per ship set -- including 11 sets for the Navy and four for the Australian government, according to a Thursday Navy release.

Work is expected to conclude in April 2024, the announcement states.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request contains $40.5 million for NGJ-MB research and development and forecasts funding to climb to more than $87 million in FY-25 and continue through FY-28.

FY-24 R&D will focus on “delivering pod operational flight program software builds that address deficiencies identified during completion of developmental flight testing,” budget documents state.

According to the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation’s annual report, the program is still working to remedy reliability and performance issues that were identified prior to milestone C -- which was achieved in May 2021, enabling LRIP procurement to begin.

The NGJ-MB pods have not proven mature enough to conduct operational test flights, the report states, although it notes that some progress has been made to improve system performance through software updates. Due to these lingering issues, test flights were postponed until after the start of initial operational test and evaluation.

The program is slated to begin operational testing in May 2023, budget documents state.

Although the Navy’s budget request predicts the program will achieve initial operational capability before the end of FY-23, the DOT&E report warns that the service should prepare to extend IOT&E due to “uncertainty around the availability and reliability of operational test ready LRIP pods.”

By Tony Bertuca
March 30, 2023 at 3:14 PM

The Senate has voted 63-27 to confirm Laura Taylor-Kale to be an assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

Taylor-Kale was first tapped for the job in May 2022, but her nomination stalled for months amid partisan protests from Senate Republicans.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has said strengthening the defense industrial base has become one of its top priorities, citing capacity vulnerabilities highlighting ongoing U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Taylor-Kale is currently the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations. She previously served in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.