The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
May 22, 2023 at 9:57 AM

The Defense Department on Sunday announced a $375 million aid package for Ukraine.

The package, being funded via presidential “drawdown” authority that will directly transfer weapons from U.S. stocks includes:

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Laser-guided rocket system munitions;
  • Demolition munitions;
  • Armored bridging systems;
  • Armored medical treatment vehicles;
  • Trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment;
  • Logistics support equipment;
  • Thermal imagery systems;
  • Spare parts and other field equipment.

The action is the 38th drawdown from U.S. inventories being sent to Ukraine since August 2021.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that, due to a significant accounting error, it had overvalued $3 billion more for Ukraine than it originally projected.

By Tony Bertuca
May 22, 2023 at 5:00 AM

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

Tuesday

FedScoop hosts its UiPath Together event in Washington.

The Brookings Institution hosts Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

Wednesday

The Middle East Institute hosts the assistant defense secretary for strategic plans and capabilities.

The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute hosts a conversation with the chief of U.S. Space Command.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee hosts a hearing on modernizing U.S. arms exports and strengthening the AUKUS alliance between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Thursday

Washington Technology hosts a breakfast with the deputy director of the Defense Innovation Unit.

The Army Network Technical Exchange Meeting X event is held in Philadelphia, PA.

By Linda Hersey
May 19, 2023 at 2:46 PM

The Coast Guard released its strategic plan this week for unmanned systems with goals that include working with the Navy to implement uncrewed platforms to "fulfill defense capabilities" aboard cutters.

In the Coast Guard’s “Unmanned Systems Strategic Plan,” Vice Adm. Peter Gautier, deputy commandant for operations, outlined objectives that include building and sustaining partnerships across the Defense and Homeland Security departments to “ensure interoperability and realize efficiencies” for implementing uncrewed systems and capabilities.

Efforts and initiatives are to include exchanges with the Navy and other defense partners for evaluating uncrewed systems and capabilities.

The Coast Guard said it will work with partners to “leverage parallel efforts, ensure interoperability and realize efficiencies for deployment.”

The service intends to leverage expertise through its partners for developing, certifying and transitioning uncrewed systems.

It also plans to seek opportunities to engage with DHS and other departments for acquisitions, contracting and sustainability of uncrewed systems.

By John Liang
May 19, 2023 at 2:28 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the cost of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the State Department revamping the foreign military sales process and more.

GOP lawmakers aren't exactly happy about a multibillion-dollar accounting error that has to do with U.S. military aid to Ukraine:

Senior Republicans whack DOD over 'extremely problematic' $3B accounting error

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) released a joint statement today criticizing the Defense Department for making an "extremely problematic" $3 billion accounting error related to the value of U.S. weapons transfers to Ukraine.

A new State Department foreign military sales fact sheet states that key reforms are focused on everything from strategic planning to case adjudication to administering implementation of current and future FMS cases:

State Department 'retooling' foreign military sales process to accelerate weapons deliveries

The State Department, citing "shifting global security conditions" related to Russia's war in Ukraine and U.S. competition with China in the Indo-Pacific region, has unveiled a new 10-point plan to streamline the U.S. foreign military sales process.

The Pentagon has submitted a legislative proposal to Congress dealing with innovation at NATO:

DOD wants to contribute to NATO defense innovation accelerator

The Defense Department is seeking congressional authority to contribute funds to NATO's burgeoning Defense Innovation Accelerator of the North Atlantic (DIANA), according to a new legislative proposal.

Naval Sea Systems Command is undertaking a market survey for the design and construction of amphibious ships, according to a request for information issued this week:

Navy's market survey charts course for acquiring new amphibs

The Navy is undertaking initial steps to acquire at least a half-dozen medium landing ships (LSMs) -- formerly known as Light Amphibious Warships -- through fiscal year 2028.

In 2020, the Defense Department announced $600 million in contract awards for 5G experimentation and testing at five military sites, including the development of smart warehouses at the Marine Corps’ Albany base and Naval Base San Diego, CA:

KPMG demonstrates 'smart' warehouse prototype at Marine Corps Logistics Command

Contractor KPMG completed a successful live demonstration of its 5G-enabled "smart" warehouse prototype at Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, GA, showcasing a prototype designed to improve the efficiency and speed of warehousing logistics.

The Air Force this week issued a classified solicitation to industry which formally begins the source-selection process for the service's next-generation fighter aircraft:

Air Force begins NGAD source selection

The Air Force plans to award an engineering and manufacturing development contract for its Next Generation Air Dominance platform next year, according to a Thursday news release from the service.

The Air Force is conducting market research as part of its effort to compete the Cloud One follow-on contract, Cloud One Next:

USAF issues presolicitation for Cloud One Next contract

The Air Force is seeking information for data modernization and migration into commercial cloud environments, the service said in a May 18 notice.

By John Liang
May 18, 2023 at 2:17 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on missile defense, the Air Force's B-1 bomber program, several recent Defense Department legislative proposals and more.

A new Government Accountability Office report issued today "addresses the extent to which [the Missile Defense Agency] (1) achieved its fiscal year 2022 baseline delivery goals and (2) completed its testing planned for fiscal year 2022":

MDA, in response to audit, raises technical bar in NGI contest; aims to promote design stability

The Missile Defense Agency has raised the bar in the $17 billion Next Generation Interceptor competition, requiring Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team to demonstrate critical technologies in their respective guided-missile designs at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher, a change from the initial requirement of TRL 5 or higher.

Document: GAO report on missile defense deliveries and testing

Boeing flew members of the media out to its bomber engineering facility in Oklahoma City:

Air Force testing Boeing-developed pylons for B-1

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- The Air Force is conducting tests through the summer on pylons developed by Boeing to add payload capacity to the B-1 Lancer, a Boeing executive said Wednesday.

The Pentagon has submitted a legislative proposal to Congress regarding allowing U.S. investment in British and Australian military suppliers:

DOD wants to include UK, Australia in new Defense Production Act investments

The Pentagon is asking Congress to expand its authority under the Defense Production Act to include investments in military suppliers based in the United Kingdom and Australia, according to a new legislative proposal.

More U.K.-Australia-U.S. news:

DOD asks Congress for AUKUS provisions in FY-24 defense authorization bill

The Defense Department is asking Congress to include legislative language supporting AUKUS in its upcoming defense authorization bill, including provisions that would enable the transfer of Virginia-class submarines to Australia and allow the United States to expand its submarine industrial base using Australian funding.

Another recent legislative proposal focused on joint warfighting operations:

Pilot program would improve funding access in joint operations

A legislative proposal in the fiscal year 2024 budget would jumpstart a mission management pilot program for selective joint warfighting operations established in FY-22 without funding.

Inside Defense recently interviewed the chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee:

Lamborn cites 'strong suspicions' Trump played favorites with SPACECOM choice

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) says he would like the debate over where to station U.S. Space Command to be kept separate from politics, but he acknowledges that just isn't the reality of the current situation, which has pitted Republicans from Alabama against those from his home state of Colorado based off a decision former President Trump announced during his final days in office.

Working hand-in-hand with industry partners, Space Systems Command will collect and integrate MEO data into the existing missile warning architecture:

SSC awards Parsons MEO MW/MT contract

Space Systems Command awarded an operations and integration contract to Parsons Corp., the command announced on May 16. The contract is worth $55 million and is for resilient missile warning, missile tracking and missile defense mission set.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 18, 2023 at 1:49 PM

The Air Force is seeking technical support for its Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile in a contract worth up to $25.5 million, according to a solicitation posted Thursday.

Engineering, technical, test and logistical task support will also be needed through HACM’s Middle Tier Acquisition contract, the listing states. This would include engineering and exportability studies, weapon analysis, aircraft integration, software updates, simulation, modeling and analyses relating to the program’s roadmap, it states.

HACM is the service’s scramjet-powered hypersonic effort. It is a focus for the Air Force after the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon program has suffered inconsistent testing results, service Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress in March.

The Air Force awarded Raytheon nearly $1 billion in September to develop HACM.

By Shelley K. Mesch
May 17, 2023 at 4:15 PM

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to prevent the Air National Guard from closing any fighter squadrons.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) has authored a bill with Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO), John James (R-MI), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) that would require the Air Force to maintain 25 Air Guard squadrons.

The bill, which would be called the Fighter Force Preservation and Recapitalization Act, would ensure Air National Guard fighter squadrons “continue to support the Total Force as the Air Force undertakes a massive modernization and recapitalization effort,” a media release from Bacon’s office states.

“The Air National Guard represents 30 percent of the Air Force fighter force and is responsible for 94 percent of homeland defense missions,” the release states. “On average, the pilots and maintainers are twice as experienced as their active duty counterparts. The Air Force must retain these valuable service members as it seeks to divest legacy equipment predominately found in the Air National Guard.”

By Tony Bertuca
May 17, 2023 at 3:14 PM

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl is slated to leave his post in mid-July after two years in office, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement he is grateful for Kahl’s service.

“Our department is stronger and better prepared for future security challenges because of Colin’s distinguished service,” Austin said. “Under his leadership, the department rolled out its National Defense Strategy, focusing on the pacing challenge of the People’s Republic of China, the acute threat of Russian aggression, and other dangers. And he has helped ensure steadfast U.S. support for Ukraine through billions of dollars of security assistance since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war of choice.”

Kahl, whose planned departure was first reported by NBC News, intends to return to Stanford University where he was given a two-year leave of absence to serve at the Pentagon, according to a person familiar with his plans.

“As the two-year mark approached in April 2023, Dr. Kahl secured agreement from Stanford to extend his timeline through mid-July so that he can support the secretary of defense and the president in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Vilnius,” the person said.

Kahl was confirmed in April 2021 following a bruising confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans voted against him over what they deemed “hyper-partisan” tweets ;prior to joining the Biden administration.

Kahl’s announced exit comes amid gridlock on Capitol Hill, where Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has issued a blanket hold on all civilian and military nominees that would force the Senate to consider each one separately amid a crowded legislative schedule already burdened by partisan fights over the national debt, the budget and judicial nominees.

Tuberville, citing what he says is a violation of federal law, is holding the nominees over his opposition to the Pentagon’s travel policies regarding servicemembers seeking abortion services.

Austin, meanwhile, has said the hold, which is blocking nearly 200 military nominees, risks “every domain” of national security.

By John Liang
May 17, 2023 at 3:06 PM

Retired Space Force Gen. Jay Raymond has joined Cerberus Capital Management as a senior managing director on the company's supply chain and strategic opportunities platform, the firm announced today.

Raymond will help "pursue investments in areas that advance supply chain and security integrity for the United States and its partner nations," a company statement reads. "In this role, he will focus primarily on technology, aerospace and defense modernization investments and provide strategic guidance to the broader platform and its portfolio of investments, including in the space domain."

Raymond served as the Space Force's first chief of space operations, leading the military branch from its creation in 2019 until his retirement in 2022.

By John Liang
May 17, 2023 at 2:02 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the delay of a hypersonic missile intercept attempt, the defense secretary warning of the dangers of continuing resolutions and more.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill told Congress last week that the agency now plans to deliver a counter-hypersonic capability in 2025, not this year as originally planned:

DOD delays by two years maiden intercept attempt of hypersonic glide vehicle target

The U.S. military has delayed by two years the planned first test of a naval counter-hypersonic capability, pushing from 2023 to 2025 an intercept attempt by a Standard Missile-6 against an ultra-fast maneuvering target to validate a new version of the Aegis Sea Based Terminal capability designed to protect aircraft carrier strike groups from the new class of threats.

The Pentagon's top civilian official is reiterating the damage that continuing resolutions can do to the defense budget:

Austin sounds alarm on specific CR damages, previews new weapons aid to Taiwan

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Senate appropriators Tuesday that a stopgap continuing resolution would seriously hinder key weapons modernization programs needed to compete with China, including a $9.7 billion pause in Navy shipbuilding.

A component of Space Systems Command's Enhanced Polar System has been delivered:

SSC accepts delivery of EPS-R Control and Planning Segment

Space Systems Command has accepted formal delivery of the Control and Planning Segment of its Enhanced Polar System, the command announced May 11.

The Marine Air Defense Integrated Systems (MADIS) Increment One -- a research and development initiative that mounts a short-range air defense system on a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle -- is expected to enter low-rate initial production in the near future:

Marine Corps poised to begin low-rate production of MADIS Inc 1 air defense system

The Marine Corps has completed operational analysis and is preparing for a milestone C decision for a prototype ground-based air defense capability intended to protect forward-deployed forces from missiles, aircraft and unmanned systems.

On April 25, the president signed the Unified Command Plan 2023 that establishes the missions and geographic responsibilities among the 11 U.S. combatant commands, and one of those missions has been shuffled from one command to another:

Biden approves shift of global missile defense ops support from STRATCOM to SPACECOM

President Biden has codified changes to the U.S. military's command structure in an update of the Pentagon's Unified Command Plan that includes a major shift: moving global missile defense operational support responsibilities from U.S. Strategic Command to U.S. Space Command.

By John Liang
May 16, 2023 at 2:01 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on congressional concerns over the monitoring of U.S. weapons sold abroad, a recent joint U.S.-Israeli maritime unmanned systems exercise and more.

In a pair of recent letters to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Michael Lee (R-UT) raise "concerns about failures of the departments' tracking and monitoring of U.S.-origin weapons":

Senators seek answers on monitoring of U.S. weapons sold abroad

A bipartisan team of senators say they have serious questions about how the Pentagon and State Department track and monitor U.S. weapons sold around the globe, especially those used in the civil war in Yemen, and they are seeking answers from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Document: Senators' letters on monitoring of U.S.-origin weapons

The U.S. and Israeli militaries recently held a maritime exercise using unmanned surface vessels:

U.S.-Israel fleets stage hybrid exercise with uncrewed platforms

Integrating unmanned surface vessels into daily maritime operations in the Red Sea was the goal of Digital Shield, a U.S. 5th Fleet exercise with Israeli Defense Forces that just ended in the Gulf of Aqaba.

The mission of the Red Skies exercise is to ready space warfighters to attack, defend and support specified targets in support of on-orbit combat and non-combat engagements:

Space Force to launch Red Skies exercise this summer

The Space Force is planning to launch its first Red Skies series of orbital warfare exercises for space warfighters in the summer, Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander of Space Training and Readiness Command, said last week.

An estimated $147 million in savings combined between the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement contracts represents "potential savings at the initial estimate levels" that, "if realized, can be used for other critical Army needs," a service spokeswoman tells Inside Defense:

Army could save more than projected $147M for GMLRS, PAC-3 MSE multiyear requests

The Army anticipates that it could save more than the projected $147 million combined in its requests for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, according to a service spokeswoman.

The Defense Department is procuring a constellation of up to 100 T2TL Alpha variant satellites:

SDA issues draft solicitation notice for Tranche 2 satellite Alpha variant

The Space Development Agency has issued a draft request for proposals for a Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Alpha variant for its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

By John Liang
May 15, 2023 at 1:40 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on potential savings for a couple of Army missile systems, Space Force satellites and more.

An estimated $147 million in savings combined between the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement contracts represents "potential savings at the initial estimate levels" that, "if realized, can be used for other critical Army needs," a service spokeswoman tells Inside Defense:

Army could save more than projected $147M for GMLRS, PAC-3 MSE multiyear requests

The Army anticipates that it could save more than the projected $147 million combined in its requests for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, according to a service spokeswoman.

The Defense Department is procuring a constellation of up to 100 T2TL Alpha variant satellites:

SDA issues draft solicitation notice for Tranche 2 satellite Alpha variant

The Space Development Agency has issued a draft request for proposals for a Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Alpha variant for its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

Document: SDA draft RFP for Tranche 2 satellite Alpha variant

Earlier this month, the office of the Army's project manager for Short and Intermediate Effectors for Layered Defense (SHIELD) in the program executive office for missiles and space published a notice asking whether any other companies have the interest and ability to produce the new Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 air-defense system:

Army considering IFPC Inc. 2 production competition; technical data package not available

The Army is exploring whether to compete the planned production of Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 (IFPC Inc. 2) beginning in fiscal year 2024 after the service receives the 16 systems and 60 interceptors Leidos subsidiary Dynetics and Raytheon Technologies developed under a short-term prototype agreement.

A new government cyber document offers a set of requirements for controlled unclassified information with new details on how to tailor the security controls to meet an agency’s needs and the assessment process:

NIST sets June webinar to review proposed guidance changes for handling controlled unclassified information

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will hold a webinar on June 6 to provide an overview of changes in the first draft of revision three for Special Publication 800-171, a foundational document that guides how agencies set cyber policy for contractors on protecting sensitive federal data.

Rear Adm. Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, spoke about mine warfare last week:

Navy planning FY-25 operational deployment for LCS mine countermeasures mission package

The Navy is targeting fiscal year 2025 for an initial deployment of its Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasures mission package, which achieved initial operational capability earlier this month.

By Tony Bertuca
May 15, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several events this week, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is slated to appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss U.S. competition with China.

Tuesday

The Senate Appropriations Committee holds a hearing with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the "path ahead" for the U.S.-China relationship.

The House Armed Services Committees hosts a “member day” for lawmakers.

The Association of the United States Army hosts its LANPAC symposium in Honolulu, HI. The event runs through Thursday.

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on naval statecraft in the 21st century.

Wednesday

The Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee holds a hearing on the role of U.S. special operations forces related to competition with China and Russia.

The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute hosts a discussion with the Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations.

GovExec's Cyber Summit 2023 begins. The event runs through Thursday.

The Nexus 23 event begins at the National Press Club featuring current and former senior defense officials and lawmakers. The event runs through Thursday.

By John Liang
May 12, 2023 at 2:32 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on naval mine warfare, the Navy's next-generation destroyer, unmanned systems, future missile defense technologies and more.

Rear Adm. Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, spoke about mine warfare this week:

Navy planning FY-25 operational deployment for LCS mine countermeasures mission package

The Navy is targeting fiscal year 2025 for an initial deployment of its Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasures mission package, which achieved initial operational capability earlier this month.

Rear Adm. Thomas Anderson, program executive officer for ships, testified this week on the Navy's next-generation destroyer development effort at a hearing of the House Oversight subcommittee on national security, the border and foreign affairs:

Navy taking 'evolutionary' approach to DDG(X) design, drawing lessons from Zumwalt pitfalls

The Navy is taking an "evolutionary" rather than "revolutionary" approach to designing its next-generation large surface combatant, building on the existing Arleigh Burke-class destroyer design and minimizing the addition of untested new features, according to a senior Navy official.

U.S. Pacific Fleet this week held an exercise for vetting uncrewed systems for their capabilities in surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control and re-constituting intelligence:

Pacific Fleet exercise aims to 'increase lethality' in uncrewed missions

With a focus on operating with "infrequent human interaction," the U.S. 3rd Fleet is testing uncrewed aircraft and vessels in a multidomain exercise off the coast of California that prioritizes warfighting capabilities on, above and below the sea.

The Missile Defense Agency is looking at what technologies it will need by 2045:

MDA seeking 'innovative,' 'disruptive' proposals for missile defense in the '2045 time epoch'

The Missile Defense Agency -- created nearly 20 years ago -- is beginning to think about the next 20 by launching a new initiative to explore future technologies and associated architectures that could be needed in 2045, asking industry to propose "new, innovative and potentially disruptive" concepts to protect the nation from anticipated future threats.

Space Systems Command has completed qualification and characterization testing of the GPS Receiver Application Module-Standard Electronic Module/M-Code hardware and software:

SSC'S GPS MGUE program achieves acquisition baseline program milestone

The Space Force has completed its first increment of military code receivers, Space Systems Command announced in a May 8 press release.

The Government Accountability Office, in an information paper shared with congressional appropriators and authorizers, states that as of March 2023, DOD has "understated" its fuel costs for FY-24 by around $1.6 billion, projecting a per-barrel cost of $111.73, while GAO projects $134.05:

GAO finds Pentagon has 'understated' fuel costs by $1.6B

The Government Accountability Office has found the Defense Department has underestimated its fuel costs for fiscal year 2024, creating a $1.6 billion shortfall that has gotten the attention of a senior Senate appropriator.

Document: GAO info paper on DOD fuel costs

By Nick Wilson
May 12, 2023 at 12:34 PM

The Navy is looking to expand the pool of companies providing contractor-owned and operated unmanned aircraft systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Following a February industry day, the Navy published a request for information signaling its intent to broaden industry participation to competitively procure future COCO UAS services supporting Navy and Marine Corps operations.

According to the RFI, Textron Systems and Boeing subsidiary Insitu are currently providing land- and sea-based ISR services under performance-based Basic Ordering Agreements issued in March 2021. These existing BOAs are firm-fixed-price and are set to expire in March, 2026.

Now, the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263) intends to award additional BOAs to enable more contractors to compete to provide future COCO ISR services, the notice states.

The UAS systems will support land-based and sea-based operations by providing imagery and other sensor data, with contractors assuming responsibility for producing, operating and maintaining the UAS equipment.

They will support “domestic and collation military partners in combat and contingency operations,” the notice adds.

Performance requirements include an operational range of 75 nautical miles from the launch site; on-station time of 10 hours at maximum range; multi-intelligence capabilities with an electronic warfare type sensor; and the ability to launch and recover without a runway and operate in adverse weather conditions.