The Insider

By John Liang
February 6, 2023 at 12:58 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on domestic large solid-rocket motor production, the Navy's Integrated Combat System concept and more.

Next week, DOD plans to invite proposals -- using non-traditional acquisition rules -- for a "competitive cornerstone initiative request (CIR)" administered by an Army organization at Rock Island, IL, on behalf of the Pentagon's Innovation Capability and Modernization Program run by the Office of the Secretary of Defense's industrial base shop:

DOD charts path, competition for new, large rocket motor production for hypersonic weapons

The Defense Department is clearing a path this month to establish additional domestic large solid-rocket motor production, opening a competition to qualify a supplier to support Navy and Army plans for surging offensive hypersonic missile production in the coming years.

Rear Adm. Fred Pyle, director of the office of the chief of naval operations' surface warfare division (N96), spoke last week at the American Society of Naval Engineers combat systems symposium:

Surface Navy sees Integrated Combat System concept as imperative for future fleet

The Integrated Combat System concept, an idea for using software to connect all surface ships and unmanned platforms to enable rapid and cohesive decision-making, is a priority for the future fleet according to a top surface warfare officer.

Textron's Bell, and Sikorsky, part of Lockheed Martin, are competing against each other for a big reconnaissance helicopter contract, and each company has said their prototypes are nearly complete, other than not having the engines:

Army 'continuing to assess' delivery dates of ITEP engines for FARA

As the defense industry continues to face supply chain challenges, Army officials say the service is "continuing to assess" the delivery date for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) engines that will power the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Aiming to scale private capital, the Pentagon stood up the Office of Strategic Capital in December to bridge the "valley of death" by connecting defense companies with private investors:

Pentagon's new private capital office will release first funds for SBIC this year

Following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's recent establishment of the Office of Strategic Capital, the Defense Department will approve the first funds for its Small Business Investment Company initiative by the end of the summer to put money behind critical technologies.

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee will have a major challenge in balancing the need to fund the Defense Department adequately while at the same time finding places to cut spending:

Rogers looks to thread GOP needle between cutting DOD and investing in modernization

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, pledged today to cut Pentagon spending, yet stressed that the investments needed to compete with China will be expensive.

By Dan Schere
February 6, 2023 at 11:14 AM

The Army has awarded Oshkosh Defense an $84.9 million contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles Family of Vehicles, the service announced last week.

Oshkosh won the initial contract for the JLTV in 2015 and has received three orders for the vehicles in the last two months, according to a press release from Oshkosh on Monday. 

Collectively, the three orders are worth $730 million and call for the production of more than 2,000 JLTVs for nine different customers.

To date, Oshkosh has produced 19,000 JLTVs, company Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs George Mansfield said in a statement Monday.

The contract has an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2024, according to the contract notice posted Feb. 3.

Oshkosh is competing for a follow-on production contract for the JLTV that could be worth up to $6.5 billion over 10 years. The Army plans to award that contract in the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, service officials have said.

By Tony Bertuca
February 6, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to speak at various events next week, while Congress holds several hearings on national security.

Tuesday

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the “pressing threat of the Chinese Communist Party to U.S. national defense.”

Wednesday

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the state of the U.S. defense industrial base.

The House Armed Services intelligence and special operations subcommittee holds a hearing on the role of special operations forces in great power competition.

The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion with Gen. James Rainey, chief of Army Futures Command.

Thursday

The House Armed Services cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee holds a hearing on "The Future of War."

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on building a “more resilient Indo-Pacific security architecture.”

HII hosts its quarterly earnings call.

Friday

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on geostrategic competition and overseas basing.

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion on the roles of allies and partners in the U.S. National Defense Strategy.

By Tony Bertuca
February 4, 2023 at 4:47 PM

The United States has successfully shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Austin said President Biden on Wednesday ordered the balloon be shot down “as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path.”

Austin said the balloon was being used by the Chinese to “to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters,” though China has said the balloon was a civilian airship that was blown off-course. Meanwhile, activity from two other balloons has also been reported, with one loitering over Latin America.

“After careful analysis, U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload,” Austin said. “In accordance with the president’s direction, the Department of Defense developed options to take down the balloon safely over our territorial waters, while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities.”

Austin thanked the Canadian government for helping to track and analyze the balloon through North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the [People's Republic of China's] unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Austin said.

The Pentagon disclosed the balloon’s presence over the United States on Thursday but said at the time it was too risky to shoot it down given the harm that could be caused on the ground by the debris field.

Biden today said he told the Pentagon on Wednesday to shoot down the balloon as soon as possible.

“I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible,” he said. “They decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water. They successfully took it down and I want to complement our aviators who did it.”

Some Republicans, however, have criticized the Biden administration for not shooting the balloon down sooner.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he believes “it is clear that standard protocol for defense of U.S. airspace was ignored.”

“Allowing a spy balloon from the Communist Party of China to travel across the entire continental United States before contesting its presence is a disastrous projection of weakness by the White House,” he said. “The White House owes Congress and the American people answers about this failure.”

Meanwhile, the incident led to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to cancel a diplomatic trip to China.

A senior defense official who briefed reporters on Thursday said the balloon’s flight path took it over “sensitive” U.S. nuclear sites but likely provided little information the Chinese could not gather from other more sophisticated systems.

“Our best assessment at the moment is that whatever the surveillance payload is on this balloon, it does not create significant value-added over and above what the [People’s Republic of China] is likely able to collect through things like satellites and low-earth orbit,” the official said.

By John Liang
February 3, 2023 at 4:46 PM

General Dynamics announced today that retired Army Gen. Richard Clarke has joined the company's board of directors.

Clarke retired from the military in August 2022 after serving as the head of U.S. Special Operations Command.

Prior to SOCOM, Clarke served as director for strategic plans and policy (J5) on the Joint Staff. He has also worked as the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, commandant of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the 10th Mountain Division's deputy commanding general for operations.

By John Liang
February 3, 2023 at 1:19 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program, the latest on the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Capital and more.

Textron's Bell, and Sikorsky, part of Lockheed Martin, are competing against each other for a big reconnaissance helicopter contract, and each company has said their prototypes are nearly complete, other than not having the engines:

Army 'continuing to assess' delivery dates of ITEP engines for FARA

As the defense industry continues to face supply chain challenges, Army officials say the service is "continuing to assess" the delivery date for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) engines that will power the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Aiming to scale private capital, the Pentagon stood up the Office of Strategic Capital in December to bridge the "valley of death" by connecting defense companies with private investors:

Pentagon's new private capital office will release first funds for SBIC this year

Following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's recent establishment of the Office of Strategic Capital, the Defense Department will approve the first funds for its Small Business Investment Company initiative by the end of the summer to put money behind critical technologies.

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee will have his work cut out for him in balancing the need to fund the Defense Department adequately while at the same time finding places to cut spending:

Rogers looks to thread GOP needle between cutting DOD and investing in modernization

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, pledged today to cut Pentagon spending, yet stressed that the investments needed to compete with China will be expensive.

The Pentagon's Cyber Accreditation Body held a "town hall" meeting this week:

CMMC ecosystem leader sees opportunities to continue prep for certification program as rulemaking timeline shifts

Matthew Travis, CEO of the accreditation body behind the CMMC program, says he is encouraged by the Pentagon's "commitment" to move forward with establishing a cyber certification initiative for defense contractors, despite a potential shift in the rulemaking timeline.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman spoke to reporters during a roundtable at the Pentagon this week:

Space Force developing new OTTI infrastructure, Saltzman says

The Space Force is developing a new operational test and training infrastructure (OTTI), according to the service's top uniformed official.

By Tony Bertuca
February 3, 2023 at 12:13 PM

The Defense Department today announced a new military aid package for Ukraine featuring $425 million in immediate weapons transfers from U.S. stocks and $1.75 billion in funds to procure new capabilities.

“Today’s announcement includes critical air defense capabilities to help Ukraine defend its people, as well as armored infantry vehicles and more equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery ammunition, and conventional and long-range rockets for U.S.-provided [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems],” DOD said.

The $425 million in presidential “drawdown” authority includes:

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

• Additional 155mm artillery rounds; 

• Additional 120mm mortar rounds;

• 190 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights and associated ammunition to counter unmanned aerial systems;

• 181 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles;

• 250 Javelin anti-armor systems;

• 2,000 anti-armor rockets;

• Claymore anti-personnel munitions;

• Demolitions munitions;

• Cold weather gear, helmets, and other field equipment.

The $1.75 billion in aid being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative includes:

• Two HAWK air defense firing units;

• Anti-aircraft guns and ammunition;

• Equipment to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukraine’s air defense systems;

• Equipment to sustain Ukraine’s existing air defense capabilities;

• Air defense generators;

• Counter-unmanned aerial systems;

• Four air surveillance radars;

• 20 counter-mortar radars;

• Spare parts for counter-artillery radars;

• Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems;

• Precision-guided rockets (the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb);

• Secure communications equipment;

• Medical supplies;

• Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the package includes the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, which will give Ukraine a “longer rage capability” to strike Russian targets and “take back their sovereign territory.”

The United States has now committed more than $29.3 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's invasion last February.

By Tony Bertuca
February 2, 2023 at 6:09 PM

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.)

The Pentagon is currently tracking a high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon flying above "sensitive sites" in the United States, though U.S. officials have decided it's too risky to shoot it down.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the balloon is being monitored closely by North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” he said. “The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect the collection of sensitive information.”

A senior defense official who briefed reporters said the U.S. government has “very high confidence” that the balloon is Chinese but declined to provide specifics.

The official said the balloon has been flying over the United States for “some time” and that it entered U.S. airspace “a couple days ago.”

“We have had custody of it the entire time it has been over U.S. airspace,” the official said.

The U.S. military considered shooting the balloon down over Montana yesterday and mobilized F-22 jets to possibly do so but eventually determined that the shot was not worth it, given the risk to the safety of people on the ground, according to the official.

“Currently, we assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective,” the official said. “But we are taking steps nevertheless to protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information.”

The official would not provide the specific dimensions of the balloon but said it is “sizeable” and has been seen by U.S. aircraft and is large enough to cause damage from the “debris field if we downed it over an area.”

The official acknowledged the balloon’s flight path took it over possible “sensitive” U.S. nuclear sites, though the official said it is unlikely the Chinese have been able to learn much from it.

“Our best assessment at the moment is that whatever the surveillance payload is on this balloon, it does not create significant value-added over and above what the [People’s Republic of China] is likely able to collect through things like satellites and low-earth orbit,” the official said.

The U.S. military, however, is taking classified steps to be “extra vigilant” to mitigate any risk of foreign intelligence collection.

“I’m not going to go into what those are,” the official said. “But we know exactly where this balloon is, what it is passing over.”

The official said this is not the first time a balloon of this nature has passed over the continental United States, though this one is spending more time loitering over “a number of sensitive sites.”

“It happened a handful of other times over the past few years to include before this administration,” the official said. “It is appearing to hang out for a longer period of time this time around.”

When asked if it's possible the Chinese wanted the lingering balloon to be detected, the official said the question is better directed at the Chinese.

“I will say over the past number of times it did not loiter over the continental United States for an extended period of time; this is different,” the official said.

The official said the United States is now discussing the matter with Chinese officials.

“We have communicated to the them the seriousness with which we take this issue,” the official said. “We have made clear we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our homeland.”

The news comes as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to visit China next week and as the United States has announced new military basing agreements with the Philippines.

Update:

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying the balloon is a “civilian airship” that was blown off-course.

“It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” the ministry said. “The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure. The Chinese side will continue communicating with the U.S. side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure.”

By John Liang
February 2, 2023 at 2:19 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a senior Air Force general asserting that some large defense contractors buy smaller companies to protect their legacy profits, the Space Force's new OTTI infrastructure, a Congressional Budget Office report on hypersonics and more.

While briefing the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon this week, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote said when a start-up discovers a "disruptive way of fighting," it threatens the profit margins of prime contractors that are built on sustaining equipment over a period of time. The story is free to read below:

Three-star says prime contractors 'kill' small start-ups to protect profits

A three-star Air Force general today alleged that some of the Pentagon's largest prime contractors sometimes acquire small, innovative start-up companies so they can "kill them" and protect legacy profits.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman spoke to reporters during a roundtable at the Pentagon this week:

Space Force developing new OTTI infrastructure, Saltzman says

The Space Force is developing a new operational test and training infrastructure (OTTI), according to the service's top uniformed official.

A new Congressional Budget Office report "analyzes the hypersonic missiles being developed by the U.S. military and compares them with less expensive existing or potential weapons that might fill similar roles, such as cruise missiles or ballistic missiles":

CBO: DOD paying 33% premium for hypersonic strike compared to existing missile technology

Defense Department plans to develop and field long-range offensive hypersonic missiles could cost one-third more than ballistic missiles of the same range with maneuverable warheads, a Congressional Budget Office analysis finds in a new report that provides the most detailed, government-published, unclassified discussions of U.S. hypersonic weapon programs.

Document: CBO report on U.S. hypersonic weapons and alternatives

The Next Generation Air-Refueling System (NGAS), according to a request for information posted by the Air Force this week, will be the program to deliver the tanker widely known as KC-Z:

Air Force kicks off preliminary AOA for next-gen tanker; eyes 2040 capability

The Air Force has formally begun market research for a new tanker, setting a timeline of delivering initial operational capability (IOC) by 2040.

The latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

CMMC ecosystem leader sees opportunities to continue prep for certification program as rulemaking timeline shifts

Matthew Travis, CEO of the accreditation body behind the CMMC program, says he is encouraged by the Pentagon's "commitment" to move forward with establishing a cyber certification initiative for defense contractors, despite a potential shift in the rulemaking timeline.

By Tony Bertuca
February 2, 2023 at 11:30 AM

The House Armed Services Committee has finalized its subcommittee rosters, naming chairs, ranking members and members.

The full committee is chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and the vice chairman will be Rob Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) will be ranking member and Rep. Pay Ryan (D-NY) will be vice ranking member.

The committee also released its subcommittee rosters.

Cyber, Information Technology and Innovation:

Mike Gallagher (R-WI) -- Chairman

Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Lisa McClain (R-MI)

Pat Fallon (R-TX)

Dale Strong (R-AL)

Morgan Luttrell (R-TX)

Jen Kiggans (R-VA)

Nick LaLota (R-NY)

Rich McCormick (R-TX)

Ro Khanna (D-CA) -- Ranking Member

Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Bill Keating (D-MA)

Andy Kim (D-NJ)

Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)

Jared Golden (D-ME)

Pat Ryan (D-NY)

Chris Deluzio (D-PA)

Intelligence and Special Operations:

Jack Bergman (R-MI) -- Chairman

Austin Scott (R-GA)

Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Trent Kelly (R-MS)

Ronny Jackson (R-TX)

Nancy Mace (R-SC)

Morgan Luttrell (R-TX)

Cory Mills (R-FL)

Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) -- Ranking Member

Bill Keating (D-MA)

Jason Crow (D-CO)

Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)

Sara Jacobs (D-CA)

Jeff Jackson (D-NC)

Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

Military Personnel:

Jim Banks (R-IN) -- Chairman

Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Jack Bergman (R-MI)

Michael Waltz (R-FL)

Brad Finstad (R-MN)

James Moylan (R-Guam)

Mark Alford (R-MO)

Cory Mills (R-FL)

Andy Kim (D-NJ) -- Ranking Member

Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA)

Veronica Escobar (D-TX)

Marilyn Strickland (D-WA)

Jill Tokuda (D-HI)

Don Davis (D-NC)

Terri Sewell (D-AL)

Steven Horsford (D-NV)

Readiness:

Michael Waltz (R-FL) -- Chairman

Joe Wilson (R-SC)

Austin Scott (R-GA)

Mike Johnson (R-LA)

Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)

Brad Finstad (R-MN)

Dale Strong (R-AL)

Jen Kiggans (R-VA)

James Moylan (R-Guam)

John Garamendi (D-CA) -- Ranking Member

Jason Crow (D-CA)

Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)

Veronica Escobar (D-TX)

Marilyn Strickland (D-WA)

Gabriel Vasquez (D-NM)

Jill Tokuda (D-HI)

Don Davis (D-NC)

Seapower and Projection Forces:

Trent Kelly (R-MS) -- Chairman

Rob Wittman (R-VA)

Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)

Mike Gallagher (R-WI)

Jack Bergman (R-MI)

Mike Johnson (R-LA)

Ronny Jackson (R-TX)

Nancy Mace (R-SC)

Jen Kiggans (R-VA)

Mark Alford (R-MO)

Joe Courtney (D-CT) -- Ranking Member

John Garamendi (D-CA)

Donald Norcross (D-NJ)

Jared Golden (D-ME)

Sara Jacobs (D-CA)

Chris Deluzio (D-PA)

Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

Strategic Forces:

Doug Lamborn (R-CO) -- Chairman

Joe Wilson (R-SC)

Mike Turner (R-OH)

Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)

Don Bacon (R-NE)

Jim Banks (R-IN)

Michael Waltz (R-FL)

Dale Strong (R-AL)

Seth Moulton (D-MA) -- Ranking Member

John Garamendi (D-CA)

Donald Norcross (D-NJ)

Salud Carbajal (D-CA)

Ro Khanna (D-CA)

Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA)

Gabriel Vasquez (D-NM)

Tactical Air and Land Forces:

Rob Wittman (R-VA) -- Chairman

Mike Turner (R-OH)

Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Sam Graves (R-MO)

Don Bacon (R-NE)

Lisa McClain (R-MI)

Pat Fallon (R-TX)

Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)

Nick LaLota (R-NY)

Rich McCormick (R-GA)

Donald Norcross (D-NJ) -- Ranking Member

Joe Courtney (D-CT)

Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)

Salud Carbajal (D-CA)

Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)

Pat Ryan (D-NY)

Jeff Jackson (D-NC)

Steven Horsford (D-NV)

By Michael Marrow
February 2, 2023 at 11:11 AM

The Space Development Agency is asking for industry input on a draft solicitation for satellites that will "establish the foundation for Tranche 2," according to a Jan. 31 SDA notice.

The solicitation centers on what SDA calls the Beta satellites in Tranche 2 of the Transport Layer that will provide S-band and ultra-high frequency tactical satellite communications along with low-earth orbit integrated broadcast service payloads. The Beta satellites are scheduled to start launching in one-month intervals no later than Oct. 31, 2026, the draft solicitation says.

The Transport Layer is planned to serve as a data transfer system that will connect warfighters around the globe, which SDA calls the “backbone” of DOD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative. Launched in two-year tranches, the first satellites that will compose SDA’s newly renamed Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture are set to go up in March.

Data transport is one half of SDA’s mission; the other is missile warning and tracking, which will be performed by satellites in the Tracking Layer.

SDA anticipates issuing awards to three vendors for building a total of 72 Beta space vehicles. The satellites will be split between six orbital planes, the notice says, with each vendor tasked with building 12 satellites for two of the planes and providing associated ground support.

Vendors are also expected to make their satellites interoperable with each other and able to send beyond-line-of-sight messages to ground, maritime and airborne users, the notice adds.

SDA asks for all interested vendors to provide feedback on the draft solicitation by March 1.

By Shelley K. Mesch
February 2, 2023 at 10:29 AM

The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $1.6 billion contract to sustain the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile's guidance subsystem, according to the Defense Department.

The sustainment contract runs for 16 years, tasking Boeing with maintaining readiness and accuracy of the ICBM’s guidance systems into 2039, according to a company news release.

“We built the Minuteman’s guidance system, so no one knows it like Boeing,” Program Director of Strategic Deterrence Systems Ted Kerzie said. “Our highly specialized facilities and top-flight engineers enable us to sustain it with unmatched quality and precision.”

Boeing has continuously supported the guidance, ground, propulsion and re-entry subsystems, according to the company, since it was fielded in 1970.

Northrop Grumman is developing the Sentinel ICBM system, which will replace the aging Minuteman. Initial operational capability for Sentinel is expected in 2029.

By Audrey Decker
February 2, 2023 at 10:22 AM

While briefing the Defense Innovation Board, a three-star Air Force general alleged that some of the Pentagon's largest prime contractors sometimes acquire small, innovative start-up companies so they can "kill them" and protect legacy profits.

This story is now available for all to view. Read the article.

Watch Inside Defense for continued coverage on this issue.

By Tony Bertuca
February 1, 2023 at 5:29 PM

Democrats and Republicans today announced the members who will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The committee will continue to be chaired by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), while Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) will succeed retired Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as ranking member. 

Democrats named to the committee include:

• Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH)

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

• Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT)

• Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI)

• Sen. Tim Kaine (VA)

• Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)

• Sen. Gary Peters (MI)

• Senator Joe Manchin (WV)

• Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL)

• Sen. Jacky Rosen (NV)

• Sen. Mark Kelly (AZ)

Sen. Angus King (I-ME), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, will also serve on the committee.

Republicans named to the committee include:

• Sen. Deb Fischer (NE)

• Sen. Tom Cotton (AR)

• Sen. Mike Rounds (SD)

• Sen. Joni Ernst (IA)

• Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK)

• Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND)

• Sen. Rick Scott (FL)

• Sen. Tommy Tuberville (AL)

• Sen. Markwayne Mullin (OK)

• Sen. Ted Budd (NC)

• Sen. Eric Schmitt (MO)

Reed said in a statement he looks forward to working with Wicker on the annual defense authorization bill.

“Together with our colleagues on the Committee, we will continue our bipartisan traditions of rigorous oversight of the Department of Defense and working together to pass a strong National Defense Authorization Act,” Reed said.

Wicker said he would work to uphold the committee’s tradition of bipartisanship.

“During the most dangerous time since the Cold War, it is crucial to work as partners to enhance deterrence and counter our adversaries for the long haul,” he said.

Reed, meanwhile, promised an “ambitious schedule of hearings” that will help the committee work to “match resources with strategic objectives while providing our forces with an enduring advantage, now and in the future.”

Subcommittee leaders and rosters will be announced in the near future when the full committee organizes.

By John Liang
February 1, 2023 at 2:34 PM

This INSIDER Daily Digest for the first day of February has news on several lawmakers' opposition to the Pentagon practice of submitting unfunded priorities lists to Congress plus a fair amount of Navy coverage.

Six House and Senate lawmakers are calling on the Defense Department "to rein in DOD's use of wasteful 'unfunded priorities' lists that help DOD increase spending beyond its core priorities":

Lawmakers ask Austin to 'curtail' post-budget 'gamesmanship' in unfunded priorities lists

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and Senate, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), is asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to "curtail" the Pentagon’s practice of sending Congress billions of dollars in "unfunded priorities lists" not included in the president's initial budget submission.

Document: Lawmakers' letter to DOD on unfunded priorities

On to Navy shipbuilding and maintenance news:

GAO: Navy faces growing sustainment challenges for surface ships

For several of the Navy’s key ship classes, steaming hours are falling while maintenance problems and costs are growing, according to government auditors, who say the Navy has not fully implemented many prior recommendations to improve ship sustainment.

Document: GAO report on Navy ship sustainment

Navy officials highlight labor shortages, other key challenges for submarine production and maintenance

The hiring and retention of a skilled industrial workforce is a top strategic challenge across both the public and private sectors in the delivery and fielding of submarines and surface ships, according to Navy officials who discussed efforts to fortify the industrial base.

. . . followed by some Navy unmanned systems news:

Navy plans inaugural industry day for unmanned and surface combatants under FY-23 law

The Navy program executive office for unmanned and surface combatants plans a three-day series of briefings for industry to outline the current state of projects and new opportunities for companies in a portfolio that is expected to grow in coming years.

In case you missed it, Oshkosh executives discussed the company's quarterly earnings yesterday:

Oshkosh reports sales growth in fourth quarter, lower profits for 2022 overall

Oshkosh reported sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, but profits for the year were lower due to continuing supply chain issues, company executives said during an earnings call Tuesday.