The Insider

By John Liang
April 21, 2023 at 2:45 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the military services' readiness budgets and more.

Adm. John Aquilino, who leads Indo-Pacific Command, testified yesterday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing:

Lawmakers dig into INDOPACOM's unmet needs

Lawmakers scrutinized U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's list of unfunded priorities during a Thursday budget hearing, focusing on funding requests to support the development of three future missile systems as well as electromagnetic spectrum capabilities and additional operations in the region.

Aquilino signals support for Taiwan-focused weapons transfers

The head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command today signaled support for the use of presidential drawdown authority to "surge" capabilities to defend Taiwan and enhance deterrence in the region.

The No. 2 top military service officials testified before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee this week about their respective fiscal year 2024 readiness budgets:

Space Force to take over Army's Theater Missile Warning

The Army will transfer its key missile warning functions to the Space Force in fiscal year 2024, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David Thompson told lawmakers in congressional testimony on Wednesday.

Document: House hearing on military readiness

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense System could resume testing soon:

DOD readies re-start of GMD testing after RKV termination with major flight test later this year

The Defense Department this year plans to break the "strategic pause" imposed on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program after the 2019 termination of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle project with the maiden flight of a guided missile against a target using a booster that utilizes only two of three available rocket stages.

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter testified before the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee this week:

Air Force sees gap between end of KC-46 deliveries and newest tanker

The Air Force expects a gap period between the end of KC-46 tanker aircraft production and the delivery of the next-generation replacement and plans to close that gap by recapitalizing its current tanker fleet, a top service official told Congress yesterday.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman testified before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee this week:

Space Force proposes absorbing Reserves now handling space ops

The Space Force has sent Congress a legislative proposal to take the Air Force Reserve component handling space missions and integrate it into the active-duty Space Force, according to the head of the service.

By Sara Friedman
April 21, 2023 at 12:03 PM

The annual RSA conference in San Francisco kicks off Monday with a focus this year on the national cyber strategy, operational collaboration, hardware and software security and more in keynote sessions and panels running through Thursday.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency cyber leader Eric Goldstein and acting Principal Deputy National Cyber Director Rob Knake participate in a Wednesday session on the national cyber strategy. It also features State Department cyber official Liesyl Franz and the FBI’s Bryan Vorndran.

Hardware security and software supply chain security are among the hot topics Monday at the RSA Security Conference.

The Information Technology Industry Council’s Courtney Lang moderates a session on what’s next for hardware security following the CHIPS Act featuring NIST’s Jon Boyens, Amit Elazari of Intel and National Security Council official Steven Kelly, while Office of the National Cyber Director official Camille Stewart Gloster participates in a panel on how to secure the software supply chain.

CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative is in the spotlight with a Monday panel moderated by CISA’s Maria Probst. It features Jason Barrett of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Stephanie Kiel of Google and Robert Sheldon of CrowdStrike.

Monday’s sessions also include a keynote from former CISA Director Chris Krebs and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on the Justice Department’s approach to evolving cyber threats, and CISA’s Goldstein with Cyber National Mission Force Commander Major Gen. William Hartman discussing the partnership between CISA and U.S. Cyber Command.

The FBI’s Vorndran moderates a panel on hardening AI/ML and Dragos CEO Robert Lee provides an update in a separate session on the industrial cyber threat landscape.

On Tuesday, keynotes focus on responsible AI, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity and the music industry, and an overview on next-generation tactics, techniques and procedures from CrowdStrike.

There’s also a panel on the U.S. national cyber label program for consumer connected devices featuring the Consumer Technology Association’s David Grossman and Michael Bergman, Intel’s Elazari, NIST’s Katerina Megas and Eric Tamarkin of Samsung.

Other Tuesday sessions include NSA cyber director Rob Joyce moderating a panel on building international coalitions to scale defense, a panel on aviation industry issues, Software Bill of Materials with Charis Blask of Cybeats and Kate Stewart of the Linux Foundation, a discussion on cyber insurance claims trends and an FBI-led panel on the U.S.-Ukraine cyber partnership.

Wednesday’s schedule features a panel on the Cyber Safety Review Board featuring DHS Under Secretary for Policy Rob Silvers and Google’s Heather Adkins. Keynotes include a panel on cyber diplomacy and Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia providing a year-in-review on the state of cybersecurity.

The diplomacy panel features State Department cyber leader Nate Fick, Nathalie Jaarsma from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Mandia and Wendi Whitmore of Palo Alto Networks.

Another Wednesday panel focuses on systemically important critical infrastructure with former CISA officials Bob Kolasky and Daniel Kroese, Norma Krayem of Van Scoyoc Associates and Henry Willis of the RAND Corp. ONCD official Cheri Caddy and McCrary Institute’s Frank Cilluffo participate in a separate session on the Energy Department’s National Cyber-Informed Engineering Strategy.

Representatives from the healthcare industry respond on Wednesday to the latest cyber proposals from the Securities and Exchange Commission, while ONCD’s Stewart Gloster participates in a session on diversity and inclusion with Walmart’s Rob Duhart.

NSA’s Joyce speaks at a Wednesday track session called “State of the Hack 2023 -- NSA's Perspective.”

Thursday highlights include Cheri Pascoe and Amy Mahn discussing what’s next for the NIST cybersecurity framework; officials from the FBI and the Defense, Treasury and Energy departments on operational collaboration; and an exploration of the Federal Aviation Administration’s cyber efforts.

There’s also a keynote panel on ransomware featuring CSIS’ Suzanne Spaulding and Glen Gerstell, Tenable’s Robert Huber, Phyllis Schneck of Northrop Grumman and Preston Golson of the Brunswick Group. NIST Director Laurie Locascio participates in an afternoon keynote panel focused on setting standards, while ONCD’s Stewart Gloster moderates a session on developing the cyber workforce strategy.

By Tony Bertuca
April 21, 2023 at 10:38 AM

President Biden has announced his intent to nominate Cara Abercrombie to be assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, according to a White House announcement.

Abercrombie currently serves as deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council.

A career member of the senior executive service, Abercrombie previously served as acting deputy director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and as the first president of the Defense Security Cooperation University.

She has also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for south and southeast Asia.

Though Radha Plumb was confirmed as deputy assistant secretary of defense for acquisition by the Senate earlier this week, things have stalled for Pentagon nominees as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continues to block all nominations and military promotions on the grounds that he opposes military travel policies related to abortion services.

By Dan Schere
April 21, 2023 at 10:15 AM

Oshkosh Defense filed two supplemental protests this month in addition to its original protest of the Army's award of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on contract to AM General.

The Army announced Feb. 9 that it had awarded the contract to AM General to produce more than 20,000 JLTVs and more than 9,000 trailers. The contract could be worth as much as $8 billion over a decade.

Oshkosh filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office on March 6, alleging the Army did not conduct a thorough cost evaluation in examining AM General’s ability to produce the vehicles, and overlooked other flaws in the company’s production process, according to a redacted copy.

According to GAO’s website, Oshkosh filed additional protests on April 13 and 17 in the matter. Those refer to supplemental protest allegations that were filed, according to Edward Goldstein, GAO managing associate general counsel for procurement law.

Goldstein wrote in an email to Inside Defense Thursday that the supplemental allegations are expected to be resolved by the June 14 deadline in the case, which is 100 days after the original protest was filed in March.

Oshkosh, in a statement to Inside Defense Friday, said: “Supplemental protests noted on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) site are part of the normal protest process filed under a GAO protective order and are not available at this time. We are unable to comment further.”

Oshkosh, which won the original JLTV contract in 2015, can continue to produce the vehicles through 2024.

By John Liang
April 20, 2023 at 2:15 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the defense implications of congressional Republicans' proposed spending cap plan, Marine Corps combat vehicles and helicopters, coverage of this year's Space Symposium and more.

We start off with coverage of congressional Republicans' proposed spending cap plan, and its implications for defense funding:

Defense cuts not addressed in House GOP's new spending cap plan

House Republicans have released a proposal agreeing to lift the national debt limit to pay the nation's bills if the increase is paired with steep cuts to discretionary federal spending, but senior appropriators will ultimately decide what would be slashed under the proposal and defense spending does not appear to be on the menu.

News on Marine Corps combat vehicles and helicopters:

Marine Corps to retrain and recertify ACV operators

The Marine Corps will establish a new training program within its Assault Amphibian School to retrain and recertify operators of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, following training incidents in which ACVs capsized in choppy waters.

Naval leaders update CH-53K production

Meeting delivery schedules and managing the lingering effects of COVID-related supply chain delays continue to be headwinds in the production of rotary wing aircraft, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Cederholm, deputy commandant for aviation, told House lawmakers Wednesday.

We also have coverage of this year's Space Symposium out in Colorado:

'Overclassification' hindering international cooperation in space, officials say

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Space has an overclassification problem that is hindering collaboration efforts with allies and industry, officials said this week at Space Symposium.

Kendall: Air Force needs authority to do early work on new starts before congressional approval

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall Wednesday pushed for the passage of a legislative proposal that would allow the Defense Department to get a head start on research before securing new-start approvals from Congress.

Senior Army officials testified on Capitol Hill this week:

Army secretary says continuing resolution would tie down $5.3B in procurement programs

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told Congress Wednesday morning that a two-year continuing resolution would tie down roughly $5.3 billion in procurement programs included in the fiscal year 2024 request.

Bush: FARA eight months behind schedule due to delays with engine deliveries, AOA

The Army's top acquisition official told Congress during a Wednesday afternoon hearing that the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft is about eight months behind schedule, stemming from delays with engine deliveries and an uncompleted analysis of alternatives.

Bush says Army is 'absolutely prepared' to ask for new competition if IVAS 1.2 fails in testing

Doug Bush, the Army's top acquisition executive, told Congress during a hearing Tuesday that the Army would consider a new competition for the 1.2 variant of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System if testing is not successful.

Navy Vice Adm. Ricky Williamson, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, testified to Congress this week about challenges to the service's shipyards:

Construction budget to 'strengthen the backbone' of U.S. shipyards

A $2.3 billion proposal to improve critical naval infrastructure at the nation's four public shipyards is part of the Defense Department's $14.7 billion request for military construction projects in fiscal year 2024.

By John Liang
April 19, 2023 at 2:32 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on missile defense, the Navy's construction budget, Army modernization and more.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee held a hearing this week on missile defense:

DOD, NATO exploring expanded mission for Aegis Ashore sites in Europe: countering Russia

Defense Department and NATO policymakers are considering expanding the mission of Aegis Ashore sites in Europe -- originally established to counter Iranian ballistic missile threats -- to also defend the continent from Russian air attacks in the wake of Moscow's blistering ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missile attacks against Ukraine over the last year.

In related coverage, the Missile Defense Agency is going to need a new director:

Search for new MDA director is on after Hill requests retirement

The Pentagon is seeking a new Missile Defense Agency director after Vice Adm. Jon Hill recently requested permission to retire this summer -- marking the second consecutive MDA director to vacate the post prior to completing a six-year term that Congress created to help foster management stability over the agency's complex projects portfolio.

The House Appropriations military construction, veterans' affairs and related agencies subcommittee heard testimony this week on proposals that range from funding shipyard optimization at the nation’s four public shipbuilding facilities to adjusting the H2-B visa program for hiring and retaining labor for military construction in Guam:

Defense leaders emphasize FY-24 construction dollars for naval infrastructure

The Navy's fiscal year 2024 construction budget includes $6 billion in projects to develop platforms and weapon systems, modernize utilities and reinvest in infrastructure, Defense Department leaders told a House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday.

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee held a hearing this week focused on Army modernization:

Army acquisition chief says PrSM could be a 'very good candidate' for multiyear procurement

Doug Bush, the Army's top acquisition official, told the ranking member of a congressional defense subcommittee Tuesday that the Precision Strike Missile could be "a very good candidate" for multiyear procurement in the future.

Document: Senate hearing on Army modernization

Lockheed Martin released its quarterly earnings report yesterday:

Lockheed executives enthused by strong demand in Pentagon budget

Lockheed Martin executives claimed a "solid" first quarter consistent with the company's 2023 expectations, and applauded the Defense Department's fiscal year 2024 budget request that looks to invest in F-35 procurement and several of Lockheed's missile systems.

The Navy finally released its 30-year shipbuilding plan:

Navy's 30-year plan presents three options; only one sees fleet reach 355-ship requirement

The Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan again presents three alternative paths, each envisioning modest growth for the total fleet, with only one option exceeding a 355-ship Navy before fiscal year 2053.

Document: Navy's FY-24 shipbuilding plan

By Tony Bertuca
April 19, 2023 at 2:04 PM

The Defense Department announced today it intends to transfer $325 million in U.S. weapons to Ukraine, specifically highlighting long-range munitions.

The aid, being funded via presidential “drawdown” authority that will transfer weapons directly from U.S. stocks, is the 36th such package that has been authorized by the Biden administration since August 2021.

The package includes:

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

• 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;

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

• AT-4 anti-armor weapon systems;

• Anti-tank mines;

• Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing;

• Over nine million rounds of small arms ammunition;

• Four logistics support vehicles;

• Precision aerial munitions;

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

• Port and harbor security equipment;

• Spare parts and other field equipment.

By Tony Bertuca
April 19, 2023 at 10:28 AM

U.S. Central Command has hired the former director of Google Cloud AI to serve as its first-ever adviser on artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing and data analytics.

Andrew Moore, who is also a former dean of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, is one of the world’s leading experts on machine learning, according to a statement from CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla.

“Dr. Moore brings a level of expertise in AI, Cloud Computing, and Robotics that is unmatched,” Kurilla said. “He is the leading figure in all the areas in which we plan to expand CENTCOM. This hire is a tremendous win for the culture of innovation we’re building across CENTCOM. Dr. Moore will significantly accelerate our innovation initiatives.”

Moore said in a statement that he wants to see AI “applied where it really makes a positive difference and CENTCOM’s mission is seriously inspiring to me.”

With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing Pentagon pivot to countering China in the Indo-Pacific region, CENTCOM is transitioning from its role as a wartime command center. Earlier this week, CENTCOM announced a successful helicopter raid in northern Syria that killed an Islamic State leader “after intelligence revealed an ISIS plot to kidnap officials abroad to use as leverage.”

Schuyler Moore, CENTCOM’s chief technology officer, said in a statement the command is specifically prioritizing digital transformation.

“We are focused on collecting, organizing, and leveraging our data in a more efficient and effective way to support our missions,” she said. “With Andrew's exquisite experience in AI, network architecture, and data science, he will be able to provide critical guidance and advice to the command on these issues and drive further momentum behind our efforts to embrace data-centric warfighting.”

By Dan Schere
April 18, 2023 at 5:03 PM

Editor's note: This has been updated with the latest information that Lockheed Martin would not be taking additional legal action

Lockheed Martin won't pursue additional legal action following a ruling by the Government Accountability Office this month denying its protest of the Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft award to a competitor.

The Army selected Bell, owned by Textron, in December, to produce its V-280 Valor aircraft, which will gradually replace the UH-60 Black Hawk. Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin, then filed a bid protest with the GAO, that was denied earlier this month.

GAO’s redacted copy of the protest decision shows that Sikorsky’s DEFIANT X proposal was $4.45 billion, compared with Bell’s, which was just over $8 billion.

The Army ultimately selected the V-280 in spite of the cost difference, for reasons related to the engineering and design of each proposal.

Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday afternoon that the company had decided not to pursue any additional legal action.

“We are disappointed with the Government Accountability Office decision and remain convinced that our DEFIANT X offering represented both the best value for the taxpayer and the transformational technology that our warfighters need to execute their complex missions. We value our long-standing partnership with the U.S. Army, and serving their missions remains our top priority,” the company said in the statement.

The company added that it is focusing on developing the RAIDER X, which is its proposal for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, as well as modernized Black Hawks and other future technologies.

Lockheed’s chief financial officer said during a 2023 first quarter earnings call Tuesday that the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft bid from Sikorsky was competitive, despite losing out to rival bidder Bell.

During Tuesday’s earnings call, an investor mentioned the cost difference between Bell and Sikorsky’s proposals, and asked executives what they can say to investors to assure them that “the bid process is consistent with generating adequate returns on new work?”

Lockheed CFO Jay Malave said Sikorsky’s FLRAA proposals featured “aggressive pricing” but there were efficiencies built in that “significantly improved” cost competitiveness.

“The business case itself was favorable, and that’s what enabled the pricing that we were able to offer. I think generally speaking, that’s how we evaluate these proposals,” he said.

Malave said the company looks at various metrics such as net present value, initial rate of return and current affordability, when making a business case.

“And so, we go through all of that as part of the management decision making,” he said. “The technology that we can provide, as you would expect, we have the leverage, we have the capability, the wherewithal to provide favorable pricing and outstanding technology offerings to our customer. We don’t do it at the expense of financial returns.”

By John Liang
April 18, 2023 at 3:04 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department doing away with emergency contracting actions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific region and more.

We start off on the Pentagon terminating emergency contracting actions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic:

DOD rolling back emergency contracting actions related to COVID

The Pentagon, in accordance with President Biden's termination of the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, is ending several contracting and acquisition policies aimed at mitigating damage to the U.S. defense industrial base, including payment rates for large contractors that were made more generous at the onset of the pandemic, according to a new memo.

The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this morning on U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific region:

Aquilino: Indo-Pacific conflict 'is not inevitable'

China's expansion and modernization of its nuclear arsenal poses a growing risk to security in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. military leaders told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

Here's our preliminary coverage of the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs:

Dickinson: SPACECOM on track for FOC this year

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- U.S. Space Command is on track to reach full operational capability later this year, SPACECOM Commander Gen. James Dickinson said Tuesday morning at the Space Symposium.

On March 23, Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill approved a new acquisition plan proposed by MDA's Targets and Countermeasures Subscale Program Office to proceed with a sole-source award for a new ICBM target:

Push to accelerate NGI schedule trips up MDA plans for ICBM target competition

The Defense Department is scrapping plans for a notional three-way competition to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile target -- needed to test the $17 billion Next Generation Interceptor program -- and is selecting incumbent Northrop Grumman for the project after determining the new target is needed sooner than originally planned.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing this morning on the Navy's fiscal year 2023 budget request and its 30-year shipbuilding plan:

Lawmakers dissatisfied with flat shipbuilding plans

Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee are dissatisfied with the Navy's near- and long-term shipbuilding plans, saying they fail to adequately increase the service's fleet size to meet its 355-ship requirement.

Document: Navy's FY-24 shipbuilding plan

The Government Accountability Office published reports this week on directed-energy weapons and Future Vertical Lift:

GAO: Navy, Air Force need more 'transition planning' for directed-energy weapon development

The Navy and Air Force risk deploying directed-energy weapons that do not meet operational needs without better processes for transitioning prototypes to fielded products, a new GAO report warns.

Document: GAO report on directed-energy weapons

GAO: Army did not always include proper cost, schedule evaluation for future vertical lift

The Army, in some cases, did not provide the proper cost and schedule evaluations of its Future Vertical Lift programs based on the Government Accountability Office's "leading practices," a new report released Monday found.

Document: GAO report on future vertical lift aircraft

By Tony Bertuca
April 18, 2023 at 2:02 PM

The Senate voted 68-30 today to confirm Radha Plumb to be a deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

The White House said Plumb has also held senior staff positions at the Defense and Energy departments as well as the National Security Council.

Plumb was first nominated in June 2022 but had to be resubmitted to Congress by the White House because Congress failed to confirm her last year amid partisan disagreements.

Prior to her confirmation, Plumb served as chief of staff to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and was the director of research and insights for trust and safety at Google. She also previously worked as the global head of policy analysis at Facebook and as a senior economist at RAND Corp.

By Tony Bertuca
April 18, 2023 at 11:34 AM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new information security review following the leak of hundreds of classified documents on the Discord online platform and the arrest of an airman charged in connection with the matter, according to a new Pentagon memo.

On April 14, Austin ordered the under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, in coordination with the Pentagon’s chief information officer and the director of administration and management, to lead a comprehensive 45-day review of Defense Department security programs, policies and procedures.

“Leaders must reinforce their expectation that their workforce will immediately report all security incidents to the chain of command and their security manager or the Office of the Inspector General and must ensure individuals in their workforce are empowered to make these reports,” Austin wrote in the memo.

Austin also advises the department to make use of counterintelligence and security teams to provide workforce training.

“This training should address the risks and consequences of unauthorized disclosures, which may include, administrative penalties, such as termination of employment, or criminal prosecution, as appropriate,” Austin wrote. “Adverse security incidents are a stark reminder that adherence to required security procedures underpin all aspects of the Department of Defense (DOD) mission, and we must continually reinforce these requirements to keep pace with evolving threats. It is therefore essential to carefully examine the sufficiency of, and compliance with, all security policies and procedures.”

Last week, 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was arrested and charged with the online leaking of classified documents that included sensitive information on the war in Ukraine and the covert surveillance of U.S. allies.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters yesterday that DOD is reviewing email distribution lists for classified information and has purged a number of unnamed individuals from them.

“We need to make sure that it is on a need-to-know basis,” she said. “A very simple example would be a distribution list that has 10 people on it and one of those people have left the organization but they moved within the department and still have that email. So, it's culling through some of those lists, making sure that people that are sent information actually need to have that information to do their jobs.”

By John Liang
April 17, 2023 at 1:49 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on planned upgrades to the Standard Missile-3 fleet, the Defense Department seeking greater prototyping authority and more.

The Missile Defense Agency has published a request for information seeking feedback on notional proposals by the government for three batches of capability enhancements to the most-advanced Aegis guided-missiles interceptors in the Navy fleet:

MDA preparing 10-year upgrade program for SM-3 fleet; three different capability areas

The Missile Defense Agency is laying the foundation for a 10-year program to upgrade the Standard Missile-3 family of guided missile interceptors -- seeking feedback from industry on a range of notional improvement to the Block IB and Block IIA variants -- in a project that aims to begin as soon as fiscal year 2024.

On April 12, the Defense Department sent Congress its third package of fiscal year 2024 legislative proposals:

DOD seeks greater rapid prototyping authority from Congress

The Pentagon, citing the need to maintain technology overmatch with China, wants to empower military service secretaries to initiate their own weapons development programs without wading through the traditional budget and acquisition oversight process, according to a new legislative proposal sent to Congress.

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

The Space Development Agency's NExT program will demonstrate warfighter utility of emerging mission partner payloads prior to potential incorporation in future tranches:

Ball Aerospace, Microsoft and Loft Federal team up for SDA's NExT program

Ball Aerospace announced its collaboration with Loft Federal and Microsoft on Tuesday to work on the Space Development Agency's experimental testbed program, called NExT, that will carry 10 satellites with experimental payloads into orbit.

Senior Defense Department leaders offered their strategic visions for advancing critical technologies last week:

Navy research chief emphasizes accelerating warfighting capabilities

The Navy seeks to bring more urgency to moving innovative technologies in the lab to warfighting capabilities in the field, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby said Thursday at a National Defense Industrial Association conference.

In case you missed it, the Government Accountability Office released more details on the reasoning for its dismissal of Sikorsky's protest of a multibillion-dollar helicopter replacement contract:

GAO: Army found engineering design and development of Sikorsky FLRAA bid 'unacceptable'

A newly released Government Accountability Office ruling denying a bid protest by Sikorsky of the Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft states the government found the engineering design and development "unacceptable," due to a lack of detail in the proposal.

Document: GAO decision on Sikorsky's FLRAA protest

By John Liang
April 17, 2023 at 11:23 AM

Saab announced today it has hired retired Navy Capt. Michael Brasseur as the company's new vice president and chief strategy officer.

Brasseur was the first commodore of the Navy's Task Force 59, a Middle East-based organization designed to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence.

In the newly created chief strategy officer role, Brasseur will help Saab leverage emerging disruptive technologies, according to a company statement.

Brasseur is recently retired after 26 years of service in the Navy.

By John Liang
April 17, 2023 at 5:00 AM

The National Space Symposium takes place this week and senior uniformed and civilian Defense Department officials will be on Capitol Hill as various House and Senate committees receive testimony on the fiscal year 2024 budget request.


The National Space Symposium takes place in Colorado Springs, CO and runs through Wednesday.

The Pentagon hosts an Earth Day celebration.


The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the U.S. military posture and national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Navy's fiscal year 2024 budget request.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Air Force and Space Force FY-24 budget request.

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on missile defense programs.

The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Air Force projection forces aviation programs and capabilities.

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee holds a hearing on Army modernization.

The Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on nuclear weapons programs.

The House Appropriations Committee holds a hearing on Navy and Marine Corps military construction and family housing.

The House Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific subcommittee holds a hearing on China's influence in the Indian Ocean.


The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Army's fiscal year 2024 budget request.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee holds a hearing on Army, Navy and Marine Corps rotary-wing aviation programs.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on the FY-24 military readiness budget request.

The Senate Armed Services cybersecurity subcommittee holds a hearing on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on "the mission activities, oversight and budget of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office."

The Senate Armed Services readiness and management support subcommittee holds a hearing on military construction, energy, installations, environmental and base closure programs.

The House Appropriations Committee holds a hearing on the Coast Guard's FY-24 budget request.

The Senate Appropriations military construction and veterans affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on the services' FY-24 military construction and family housing budget requests.


The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

The House Appropriations Committee holds a hearing on Air Force and Space Force military construction and family housing.