The Insider

By John Liang
June 24, 2024 at 1:23 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has more coverage of the Government Accountability Office's annual weapon systems assessment report and more.

The Government Accountability Office, in its latest annual report on selected weapon system programs, noted the previously unreported failure of a ballistic missile intercept test:

LTAMDS, IBCS failed to intercept classified ballistic missile target, GAO reveals

A classified ballistic missile target was able to sneak by the Army's newest radar and integrated battle command system during an operational assessment last year, a setback the service did not disclose -- but which came to light in a new report by congressional auditors on the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS).

Document: GAO's annual weapon system assessment report

RTX didn't meet expectations on a satellite warning system and its contract has subsequently been canceled:

RTX cut from MEO missile warning/missile tracking program

As Space Systems Command attempts to quickly field its missile warning/missile tracking satellites, it has canceled a contract with RTX for failing to meet cost and timeline schedules.

At least one lawmaker thinks U.S. shipbuilders will need foreign workers to build submarines for Australia:

Kaine: Increasing shipbuilding workforce will require immigration reform

Expanding the defense industrial base workforce to produce the Virginia-class submarines needed to satisfy the AUKUS security pact will require immigration reform, according to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Pending regulatory approvals, South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha has reached a purchase agreement with the current owner of Philly Shipyard, Norwegian investment group Anker ASA:

SECNAV endorses South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha's $100 million bid to buy Philly Shipyard

A $100 million offer from South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Systems and Hanwha Oceans to buy the Philadelphia-based Philly Shipyard has the support of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, who has previously encouraged foreign investment in the U.S. industrial base.

A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee thinks "negotiated, fixed-cost contracts is the way to go on software":

Wittman: Fixed-price deals are the 'way to go' on software

As the Air Force shifts its primary acquisition model to favor software above platforms, House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman (R-VA) said firm, fixed-price contracts are the best fit.

By Tony Bertuca
June 24, 2024 at 10:15 AM

Derek Chollet, whose nomination for under secretary of defense for policy remains stalled amid GOP opposition, has now been named as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's new chief of staff, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Chollet, currently an aid to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is scheduled to start his new job in July, succeeding Kelly Magsamen, who will step down at the end of June.

“I am delighted that Derek Chollet will start in July as my Chief of Staff,” Austin said. “He is one of the most distinguished, far-sighted and skillful national-security practitioners of his generation, and I am grateful to him for taking on this key assignment at such an important moment.”

Chollet was nominated for the Pentagon’s top policy post in July 2023 but faced Republican opposition during a contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in September 2023 about his involvement in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

By Tony Bertuca
June 24, 2024 at 5:00 AM

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

Monday

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, MD.

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies hosts a discussion with Gen. Stephen Whiting, chief of U.S. Space Command.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the state of the Russian defense industry.

Tuesday

The Houe Rules Committee meets to debate proposed amendments to the fiscal 2025 defense appropriations bills.


AFCEA hosts its TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, MD.

Wednesday

The House Oversight and Accountability government operations and federal workforce subcommittee holds a hearing on the Defense Department's background check system.

DefenseOne hosts a discussion on artificial intelligence and its impact on defense.

Senior defense official speak at the AWS Summit in Washington, which runs through Thursday.

Thursday

The Center for a New American Security hosts a discussion on the possible use of drone swarms to defend Taiwan.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on expanding defense cooperation between the United States and South Korea.

Friday

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on "production diplomacy" for Indo-Pacific deterrence, readiness and resilience.

By Vanessa Montalbano
June 21, 2024 at 3:51 PM

The Air Force is asking industry about various potential solutions to integrate counter-small unmanned aircraft system capabilities onto its mobility fleet as the threat posed by inexpensive drone swarms is making the larger, slower platforms increasingly more vulnerable, according to a request for information the service posted today.

“The purpose is to enhance aircrew situational awareness of sUAS operating in proximity to the aircraft and improve aircraft safety of flight in response to sUAS threats or hazards,” the Air Force writes in the filing. “The scope of this request includes the functional ability to detect, track, and identify sUAS (passive and/or active detection methods); and/or defeat sUAS threats or hazards (kinetic and/or non-kinetic means).”

Specifically, the service is targeting defenses against drones which fit into the Defense Department’s Group 1 and 2 categories, with Group 5 drones being the largest among its counterparts. The Air Force wants the capability to eventually include means to defeat Group 3 drones, but that is not the immediate objective.

The RFI also states officials are primarily interested in “providing on-aircraft C-sUAS capability during critical phases of fixed-wing flight operations below 16,000 feet, with an objective capability for aircraft ground operations,” including when the aircraft is taxiing or parked. Of particular concern is moments when maneuverability of the aircraft is limited, such as during takeoff and landing.

According to a concept of operations document accompanying the RFI listing, the mobility fleet typically relies “on the security provided by the local airfield, which may be civilian-controlled or completely uncontrolled,” to provide safety when conducting missions including transporting cargo and personnel, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, humanitarian relief and executive travel.

But that ground-based scheme to protect the area and defend against occasional threats “does not account for many of the common [Air Mobility Command] operating locations (domestic and international airfields, of certain types of austere temporary locations),” the document states.

As a result, the service said in the posting it wants to attach “an aircraft-centric defense capability to protect aircraft when operating outside the airbase defense concept . . . intended to defend individual aircraft when operating at locations not having established airbase defense systems.” The request comes as the Air Force is working to close logistics gaps vulnerable to enemy attack in a potential fight with a near peer adversary.

Because some mobility aircraft, like presidential airlift and tankers, do not have ramps, the C-sUAS kits would need to be designed to be able to be hand carried and easily set up by crew members, the notice indicated. Additionally, the service is concerned about friendly or commercial drones that may be operating nearby during peacetime or in humanitarian operations.

“It would be counter-productive to defeat these drones, so systems deploying some type of friendly-drone detection with discernment not to attack blue drones would be beneficial,” while simultaneously being capable of jamming, spoofing and in some cases kinetically attacking identified threats, the service wrote in the CONOPS.

AMC indicated in the RFI that it is interested in solutions which have already been demonstrated on other platforms or able to integrate with other industry-generated components and can operate under harsh environmental conditions that may impair the system.

Businesses are asked to respond by August 28.

By John Liang
June 21, 2024 at 3:16 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on RTX losing a satellite warning contract, the U.S. shipbuilding industry getting a foreign boost and more.

RTX didn't meet expectations on a satellite warning system and its contract has subsequently been canceled:

RTX cut from MEO missile warning/missile tracking program

As Space Systems Command attempts to quickly field its missile warning/missile tracking satellites, it has canceled a contract with RTX for failing to meet cost and timeline schedules.

At least one lawmaker thinks U.S. shipbuilders will need foreign workers to build submarines for Australia:

Kaine: Increasing shipbuilding workforce will require immigration reform

Expanding the defense industrial base workforce to produce the Virginia-class submarines needed to satisfy the AUKUS security pact will require immigration reform, according to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Pending regulatory approvals, South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha has reached a purchase agreement with the current owner of Philly Shipyard, Norwegian investment group Anker ASA:

SECNAV endorses South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha's $100 million bid to buy Philly Shipyard

A $100 million offer from South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Systems and Hanwha Oceans to buy the Philadelphia-based Philly Shipyard has the support of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, who has previously encouraged foreign investment in the U.S. industrial base.

A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee thinks "negotiated, fixed-cost contracts is the way to go on software":

Wittman: Fixed-price deals are the 'way to go' on software

As the Air Force shifts its primary acquisition model to favor software above platforms, House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman (R-VA) said firm, fixed-price contracts are the best fit.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) spoke this week about Russia's nuclear anti-satellite program:

Turner: Biden 'sleepwalking' on Russian nuclear ASAT threat

The Biden administration is "sleepwalking" in the face of the threat of a Russian nuclear weapon placed in space, the House Intelligence Committee's top lawmaker said today while calling for more information on the capability to be released publicly.

Jennifer Swanson, the Army deputy assistant secretary for data, engineering and software, spoke this week during a roundtable with reporters at the Pentagon:

Lack of sharable digital engineering data causing challenges for Army programs

A lack of ability to share digital engineering data caused challenges in the Army's next-generation infantry combat vehicle program, according to a service engineering official.

By Shelley K. Mesch
June 21, 2024 at 2:31 PM

The Space Development Agency is requesting proposals for infrastructure and mission integration for its Advanced Fire Control efforts, according to a solicitation posted yesterday.

The Advanced Fire Control Ground Infrastructure will be used with agency programs including Fire-control On Orbit support to the warfighter, or FOO Fighter, and future demonstration programs.

“The AFCGI acquisition will provide a common, enduring ground infrastructure and resources to minimize the cost and complexity for multiple AFC prototype efforts,” a notice from SDA states.

The selected contractor, according to the solicitation, will deliver and manage ground segment resources including ground entry points and terrestrial network connections; outfit and manage the government-owned, contractor-operated Demonstration Operations Center; manage a cloud service to host space vehicle operations center software, archive data, enable remote access to data for on-orbit demonstrations and interface with mission partner systems; and provide program management, systems integration and operations and maintenance for AFC.

AFCGI has previously been called the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture Futures Ground Integration, but SDA renamed the program after focusing on fire control efforts, the agency said.

A separate request will be released later this year for Advanced Fire Control Mission Integration to see mission partner interfaces, sensor orchestration and data fusion, according to SDA.

By Sara Friedman
June 21, 2024 at 10:44 AM

Longtime National Security Agency official Kristina Walter is returning to her cyber roots, becoming chief of the intelligence agency's Cybersecurity Collaboration Center after a stint in charge of a federal initiative on workforce development.

“Walter is returning to the Cybersecurity Collaboration Center after her integral role in helping to establish the center in its infancy. Her roles as the strategist for the CCC and chief of Defense Industrial Base (DIB) cybersecurity helped shape the standards and operations of NSA’s DIB Services and overall mission of the CCC,” NSA said in a June 13 release.

Walter, who has worked at NSA for 15 years, most recently led its Future Ready Workforce Initiative, which the agency says “plays a critical role in ensuring that NSA is a premier workplace that combines a fulfilling mission, engaged leadership, and a positive, healthy, and supportive work environment.”

The new CCC leader succeeds Morgan Adamski, who left NSA in May to become the executive director of U.S. Cyber Command.

NSA Director Gen. Timothy Haugh said in a statement, “Kristina’s role in the initial standup of the CCC makes her the perfect person to take on its leadership.” He added that “her recent work as the Director of NSA’s Future Ready Workforce Initiative illustrates her strong commitment to advancing an innovative NSA workforce, which will prove critical for advancing the future-focused mission of the CCC and its efforts to partner with industry, the DIB, and others. I look forward to working with her on this important collaborative endeavor to help safeguard the Nation against malicious cyber activity.”

Walter’s new role at the CCC follows the announcement of David Luber as NSA’s new director of cybersecurity. Luber previously was deputy director of the NSA Cybersecurity Directorate; he succeeded longtime NSA official Rob Joyce, who retired in March after 34 years at the agency, as cybersecurity director.

By John Liang
June 20, 2024 at 2:30 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's F-22 Raptor program, a lawmaker urging the Missile Defense Agency to consider Ft. Drum, NY as a possible missile defense base and more.

The Government Accountability Office this week released a report on the Air Force's F-22 fighter program:

GAO: Air Force F-22 retirement plan is unsubstantial

The Air Force did not make necessary considerations before requesting to divest its fleet of Block 20 F-22 Raptors, according to a report released Tuesday from the government's top watchdog.

Document: GAO report on the F-22 program

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) recently urged Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Heath Collins to commit to using $10 million appropriated for planning and design of a notional East Coast site to execute work with a Ft. Drum-specific blueprint:

MDA pressured to commit to Ft. Drum, new classified assessment questions NY site

An influential House lawmaker is stepping up pressure on the Missile Defense Agency to tailor designs for a notional East Coast missile defense site to a location at Ft. Drum, NY, even as lawmakers last month disclosed a classified Pentagon assessment that raises questions about the efficacy of the upstate New York location to protect the nation.

Defense Innovation Unit Chief of Policy Sunmin Kim spoke about the Pentagon's Replicator program at Defense One's Tech Summit this week:

Replicator has identified testing capability gaps within DOD

The Replicator initiative has unearthed testing and evaluation infrastructure capability gaps in the Defense Department, which has required the Defense Innovation Unit to work closely with the Pentagon to test capabilities, according to a DIU official.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Adrian Spain, deputy chief of staff for operations, spoke at an Air and Space Forces Association event this week:

Air Force aiming for 24 deployable combat wings; first expected by 2026

The Air Force wants to generate 24 deployable combat wings as part of its massive structural overhaul to ensure the service is postured for success in a potential fight with a near peer adversary.

Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith signed a "Memorandum of Understanding on Amphibious Warfare Ship Terms of Reference." The document follows an amphibious ship readiness study directed by the two service chiefs earlier this year:

Navy and Marine Corps adopt new guidance to streamline amphib readiness criteria

The Navy and Marine Corps have adopted a new guidance document intended to streamline amphibious warship readiness criteria in a bid to improve fleet performance and facilitate better planning and joint decision making, according to a Monday announcement from the two services.

More coverage from this week's Government Accountability Office annual weapon systems assessment report:

Fielding for B-52 engine replacement delayed 3 years

The B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program’s schedule for initial operational capability slipped by about three years into 2033, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

GAO: Flight III DDGs could deliver six-to-25 months late

The Navy’s Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer program could see delivery delays of six-to-25 months for the 13 vessels following lead ship Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), according to the Government Accountability Office’s annual weapon system report, which points to performance issues with the program's two prime contractors.

GAO: Soonest Dark Eagle will be equipped for testing is summer of 2025

Next summer is the soonest the Army could test an initial Dark Eagle unit with a full complement of missiles, assuming the service -- and Lockheed Martin, maker of the new two-stage missile and bespoke launcher -- can successfully demonstrate an end-to-end flight of the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon.

Document: GAO's annual weapon system assessment report

Some Army tactical truck news:

Tactical truck program to include autonomous movement and predictive logistics capabilities

The Army’s program to develop a new tactical truck will include capabilities to move autonomously and predict when to conduct maintenance, according to a program official.

By Tony Bertuca
June 20, 2024 at 1:00 PM

The United States intends to pause a host of foreign military sales for air defense munitions over the next 16 months and redirect them toward Ukraine as the latter continues to be pounded by Russian attacks.

“The United States government has made the difficult but necessary decision to reprioritize near term planned deliveries of foreign military sales to other countries of particularly Patriot and [National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System] missiles to go to Ukraine instead,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said today during a press gaggle.

Kiby stressed that the FMS pauses would not impact shipment to Taiwan or Israel, according to an unofficial transcript of the gaggle provided by the White House.

“We have continued to dig deep and provide Ukraine with a variety of air defense systems and interceptor missiles from our own stockpiles,” Kirby said. “Many of our allies and partners have stepped up in historic ways as well. But obviously more is needed. And it's needed now.”

Reprioritizing deliveries to Ukraine, Kirby said, will occur over the next 16 months and will "ensure that we'll be able to provide Ukraine with the missiles they need to maintain their stockpiles at a key moment in the war and as we get again towards the end of summer and into the fall.”

An administration official told Inside Defense that the exact cost is still being determined, though it is anticipated to be more than $1 billion that will be drawn from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative fund authorized by Congress in the most recent supplemental spending package.

Kirby said any U.S. ally impacted by the paused sales would still receive the missiles they have ordered.

“It's just that the delivery timelines will now take a little longer,” he said. “If any of our other partners were ever in a situation similar to Ukraine's, we would go to extraordinary lengths to support their security as well. This decision demonstrates our commitment to supporting our partners when they're in existential danger.”

Kirby declined to name specific countries that will be impacted but said it is “a range.”

The move, Kirby said, is also intended to send a “broader message” to Russia.

“If you think you're going to be able to outlast Ukraine, and if you think you're going be able to outlast those of us who are supporting Ukraine, you're just flat out wrong,” he said. “We're going to make sure that we give Ukraine the critical air defense capabilities they need now and into the future.”

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, said during a press conference that the Defense Department would work closely with contractors on the “resequencing of deliveries.”

“We're working closely with industry on the appropriate contracting actions from this resequencing to ensure that we're able to continue to support our security assistance requirements,” he said. “We're going to make sure that not only are we supporting Ukraine but that we're continuing to keep on track with those FMS deliveries as quickly as possible.”

Ryder said Ukraine urgently needs the air defense munitions to fend off continued attacks against key infrastructure, calling it an “existential threat.”

“In this particular case in terms of why now, what we’re seeing is Russia once again trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy system and infrastructure ahead of winter,” he said. “Practically what that means is it will increase their inventories more quickly to enable them to continue to defend that critical infrastructure and the civilian population as we go into the winter.”

By Nick Wilson
June 20, 2024 at 12:41 PM

The Navy is seeking industry input on the future of shipboard power and energy as the service looks to update its Naval Power and Energy Systems Technology Development Roadmap, according to a request for information published today.

According to the notice, the Navy is updating the NPES TDR -- a 2019 guidance document that provides a strategy to meet future sensor and weapon system power requirements -- to better prepare for new technologies likely to emerge in the next five to 10 years.

Through the RFI, the Navy requests an update on industry trends and a prediction of technology advancements “that will make NPES more agile to accommodate future loads, and improve our ability to operate, maintain and provide logistics support,” the notice states.

These shipboard power systems supply the energy needed to operate a ship’s weapons, sensors, combat systems and other equipment.

The Navy is interested in “benchmarking emerging (five to 10 years) and/or breakthrough technologies in the research and development pipeline that could benefit P&E systems and align our investment strategies to prepare the introduction of these enhancements to the fleet,” the RFI continues.

The notice requests information on specific technology areas including propulsion motors; prime movers; power generation, distribution and conversion; electric plant controls; energy storage systems; thermal management; integration and systems engineering; modeling, simulation and digital twins; as well as reliability, maintainability and availability.

The updated NPES TDR will be aligned with various other Defense Department strategic guidance documents, the RFI adds, including the National Defense Strategy (NDS), the Navy’s Navigation Plan (NAVPLAN) and the Navy secretary’s strategic guidance -- which all look to build a hybrid fleet of manned and unmanned platforms.

Responses to the solicitation are requested by Aug. 19.

By Dan Schere
June 20, 2024 at 11:45 AM

The Army issued a request for information this week focused on radio frequency/electronic warfare object detection and recognition, with the goal of identifying companies that will "support enterprise model training."

The RFI would be used to support Project Linchpin, which is the Army’s first pipeline for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Army has recently placed a greater emphasis on EW capabilities as the service pivots to large-scale combat operations and addresses the need to provide information to commanders at echelon quickly, the RFI notes.

The Army aims to identify companies that can develop models that are “integrated and deployed in various form fit factors in the tactical environment.” The government is asking for companies to submit white papers of no more than seven pages by July 15.

Separately, the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) issued another RFI on June 3 that seeks solutions around “multilayered deliberate and dynamic targeting and battle damage assessment for both kinetic and non-kinetic effects.” That notice aims to find solutions that leverage AI/ML for capabilities such as targeting that can be done by computers faster than humans.

The June 3 notice will be used to fund “software augmentation capabilities” that would reside in the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) ground stations, according to a statement from the DEVCOM C5ISR center provided to Inside Defense June 18. Those capabilities could also be used in the Army Intelligence Data Platform, Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool and Joint Targeting Integrated Command and Coordination Suite (JTIC2S), according to DEVCOM.

Among the initial use cases that Project Linchpin will support are TITAN and large language models that will be used to support the Army Intelligence Data Platform, service officials have said. The Army awarded Palantir a prototyping contract for TITAN in March.

Companies must respond to the DEVCOM RFI by July 18. Within 30 days of that deadline, all submissions will be reviewed, and top candidates will be notified for a follow-on meeting, according to the Army. An industry day is not currently planned.

By Abby Shepherd
June 20, 2024 at 11:37 AM

The Navy is collaborating with academia to advance its capabilities in uncrewed technology and warfare, with planning expected over the next four years for future demonstrations.

Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC) announced a partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi, detailing future research and demonstration plans in a press release from the university earlier this month.

The partners plan to use recent developments in artificial intelligence, uncrewed systems platforms and sensors to “address crucial challenges in Naval Meteorology and Oceanography,” according to the press release.

Scientists and engineers from the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise and the Naval Oceanographic Office will spearhead the effort. CNMOC Chief Technology Officer Betty Jester called the partnership with the university a “very real step” in the Navy’s mission of ensuring maritime superiority.

"This [Cooperative Research and Development Agreement] exemplifies our commitment to fostering innovation and securing a technological edge for the Navy,” Jester said in a statement.

The partnership follows a February announcement from the Navy and Defense Innovation Unit, which tasked Oceaneering International, Kongsberg Discovery and Anduril Industries with prototyping and developing Unmanned Underwater Vehicle platforms.

“Undersea capabilities are critical to success in a potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific or elsewhere and providing autonomous underwater sensing and payload delivery in dispersed, long-range, deep and contested environments is key,” a DIU statement said at the time.

By Shelley K. Mesch
June 18, 2024 at 4:58 PM

The Air Force yesterday ran a test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile reentry vehicle, the service announced today.

The Lockheed Martin-made unarmed Mk21A RV launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA late last night aboard a Minotaur I rocket, according to the announcement.

Mk21A is in the engineering and manufacturing development phase to carry the W87-1 nuclear warhead. It will be used on the LGM-35A Sentinel missiles that are set to replace the Cold War-era Minuteman III system.

Lockheed won the $996 million EMD contract in December.

Lockheed is still maturing the reentry vehicle’s design, according to a statement from the company, which includes the arming and fuzing subsystem and support equipment. Data from the test will further inform the design and future flight tests.

By Abby Shepherd
June 18, 2024 at 2:45 PM

The Navy plans to deploy several medium unmanned surface vessels in an accelerated time frame, and is conducting market research to identify existing resources to support this mission.

The Navy’s Unmanned Maritime System program office is “interested in vessels less than 200 feet in length and under 500 tons of displacement” that can meet certain payload requirements, according to a request for information posted Monday. The RFI comes amid continued Navy investments in developing unmanned technology, with the notice calling for an accelerated schedule.

“PMS 406 is contemplating an accelerated approach with industry to leverage existing, manned or unmanned surface ship designs that can be modified to enable rapid delivery of an unmanned or optionally unmanned surface ship capability,” the notice states.

This “accelerated schedule” means using existing ship designs and making minor modifications or converting existing vessels. The Navy wants the first vessel to be delivered within 12 months of a contract award, with delivery of all other vessels by 24 months.

Through this RFI, the Navy wants to know if industry can meet specific requirements within the accelerated timeline and is seeking details on “technical and manufacturing capabilities, technical quality of solutions, knowledge, experience level, and qualifications of industry to meet the government’s needs to build or convert up to seven MUSVs,” according to the notice.

This notice follows other steps aimed at expanding the Navy’s unmanned portfolio, with Navy leadership committing to increasing unmanned technology capacity.

In February, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti signaled a hybrid manned-unmanned fleet could be operational by fiscal year 2029.

“I think unmanned systems have an enormous potential to multiply our combat power by complementing our existing fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft through manned-unmanned teaming, especially in areas like maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, mine countermeasures operations seabed exploration and carrier airwing support,” Franchetti said at this year’s West 2024 conference.

By Thomas Duffy
June 18, 2024 at 12:27 PM

Today’s INSIDER Daily Digest looks at the Government Accountability’s Office annual weapons assessment report, the Navy is making moves with its nuclear cruise missile program, more from the Senate Armed Services Committee, and more.

The GAO calls into question the Defense Department’s acquisition process:

DOD agrees with GAO’s recommendations to improve outdated acquisition system

The Defense Department concurred with recommendations outlined in a Government Accountability Office report released today that found the Pentagon’s acquisition process is not set up to deliver innovative systems to the warfighter at speed and scale.

A contract award is coming for a Navy nuclear effort:

Navy advances SLCM-N program with contract award

The Navy continues to take steps to implement its nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile program, with plans to award a research and development contract next month.

The Army has renamed a major air defense weapon system:

With new name, Army aims to have initial M-SHORAD air defense battalions fielded by FY-26

The Army is targeting the second quarter of fiscal year 2026 to complete fielding of the initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) systems to four air defense battalions, service officials said this week.

A Senate bill would pare back Air Force aircraft divestment plans:

Air Force would retain F-22, F-15EX fleet under Senate authorization bill

The Air Force’s legacy fleet may see fewer cuts than the service anticipated next year, according to an executive summary of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill released today. But legislators would still support service officials' requests to boost dollars for modernization efforts.

A Senate committee wants to see a second attack submarine built in 2025:

Senate policy bill supports second Virginia sub and third destroyer, fences frigate and LSM funding

The Senate Armed Services Committee supports the purchase of a second Virginia-class submarine and a third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in fiscal year 2025 while restricting funding for two of the Navy’s surface ship programs, according to an executive summary of the committee’s defense authorization bill.