The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
March 22, 2023 at 10:04 AM

Inside Defense has obtained several of the U.S. military’s fiscal year 2024 unfunded priorities lists. Subscribers can access them below.



Air Force

Space Force

Marine Corps

U.S. Special Operations Command

U.S. European Command

U.S. Northern Command

U.S. Southern Command

U.S. Central Command

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

U.S. Africa Command

U.S. Transportation Command

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting as additional UPLs are obtained.

By Tony Bertuca
March 21, 2023 at 3:00 PM

The Defense Department announced today that it will accelerate the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine by several months, now planning for the tanks to arrive sometime this fall.

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

“This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians,” he said during a Pentagon press conference.

Ryder said the timeline can be compressed because the M1A1s will be built using “excess hulls in our inventory that we will refurbish.”

Though DOD never detailed a specific delivery timeline when it tapped Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds in January to award $400 million to General Dynamics Land Systems to provide 31 M1A2 tanks, Ryder said the department’s initial projection was that it would probably take more than a year.

Ryder declined to say where the work will be performed, though GDLS builds the Abrams at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, OH.

The M1A1 will now provide the Ukrainians a “very similar” capability much sooner than planned, Ryder said.

Ryder said he does not anticipate the new deal will cost “very much beyond” what GDLS was originally awarded.

“This was the approach we landed on and we feel confident we’ll be able to get those tanks to them by the fall,” he said.

Ryder said the expedited delivery to Ukraine is not expected to delay foreign military sales to other nations.

By John Liang
March 21, 2023 at 2:40 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army's efforts to overcome delays to the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, the Marine Corps' fiscal year 2024 unfunded priorities list and more.

The Army's top uniformed officer spoke this morning at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington:

Army chief emphasizes patience and persistence on IVAS, despite program delays

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said Tuesday that despite the multiyear delays with the service's Integrated Visual Augmentation System, he remains confident in the ability of the 1.2 variant to be transformative on the battlefield.

The Marine Corps this week sent its fiscal year 2024 unfunded priorities list to Congress:

Marines' $3.6B unfunded priorities list includes San Antonio-class amphib

The Marine Corps has sent Congress an unfunded priorities list totaling $3.6 billion, including $1.7 billion for a San Antonio-class amphibious dock ship that was not included in the Pentagon's fiscal year 2024 budget request.

Document: USMC's FY-24 unfunded priorities list

The Marine Corps has also released its latest doctrine document on logistics:

Marine Corps updates logistics framework, looks to develop resilient 'sustainment webs'

The Marine Corps is modernizing its logistics framework as the service looks to improve the resiliency of its supply networks and elevate the self-sufficiency of stand-in forces.

Document: Marine Corps logistics doctrine

The Air and Space Forces Association hosted a discussion this week with the chief of Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Command:

PACAF commander calls for more anti-ship munitions

The Air Force will need more anti-ship weapons to gain air superiority in a conflict with China over Taiwan, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach said Monday.

In its latest budget request, the Air Force is seeking $40 million in FY-24 to replace the Hawaii Air Route Surveillance Radar Version 4 (ARSR-4) with what is called the ARSR-Replacement Hawaii (ARSR4-HI) Long Range Radar:

AF seeks FY-24 new start for Hawaii radar to meet 'urgent' cruise missile detection need

The Air Force wants to launch a competition for a new "state-of-the-art" long-range radar in fiscal year 2024 to defend Hawaii from cruise missile threats in response to an "urgent mission need" from U.S. Indo-Pacific and Northern commands along with the Federal Aviation Administration and have the new sensor operational by 2027.

By John Liang
March 20, 2023 at 2:08 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's response to proposed defense budget cuts, the Air Force's successor to the Minuteman III ICBM and more.

Bringing fiscal year 2024 discretionary spending back to FY-22 levels, as Republicans are reportedly considering, would result in a nearly $100 billion cut to DOD based on President Biden's FY-24 request, the Pentagon is telling lawmakers:

Pentagon says House GOP's reported budget cuts would be 'potentially devastating'

Should House Republicans support returning federal discretionary spending to levels not seen since fiscal year 2022, the nearly $100 billion reduction in funding to the Defense Department could have "harmful and potentially devastating" effects, according to a new letter from the Pentagon comptroller.

News on the Air Force's successor to the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile:

USAF to seek $1B down payment to support new ICBM production start in FY-26

The Air Force's fiscal year 2024 budget advances the first part of a planned $1 billion down payment needed to launch production in FY-26 of the U.S. military's next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, seeking $539 million in advanced procurement for the LGM-35A Sentinel.

The head of the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Capital spoke late last week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

DOD planning new initiatives to attract private investments to critical technologies

The Defense Department's new Office of Strategic Capital is looking to launch several initiatives this year to attract "patient investment" to areas of emerging technology deemed critical for national security, with an eye toward loan guarantees and potentially co-funding the development of new capabilities.

The first of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers is getting a new lease on life:

Arleigh Burke gets five-year service extension

The first-of-its-class destroyer Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), which was scheduled to be retired in fiscal year 2026, will get five more years of service, the Naval Surface Force Atlantic announced this week. The warship will continue operating through FY-31, when it will turn 40.

The Navy's fiscal year 2024 budget request looks to alleviate fleet-wide maintenance delays with $13.9 billion to fund 75 ship availabilities across public and private yards and additional dollars to accelerate Virginia-class repairs:

Navy budget aims to speed submarine maintenance and production

The Navy's latest budget proposes substantial investments in submarine production and sustainment as the service looks to cut down on maintenance delays, ramp up deliveries of Virginia- and Columbia-class boats and prepare to deliver on a new agreement between the U.S., U.K. and Australia to supply the latter country with nuclear-powered subs.

Last but by no means least, a look at how inflation could impact the Army's budget:

Analysts say inflation will be higher in FY-24 than Army projects, but what will take the biggest hit in the budget?

There is general agreement that the Army has less buying power in its fiscal year 2024 budget request compared with the FY-23 enacted budget. But analysts believe inflation will be higher than the Defense Department's projection of 2.4%.

By Tony Bertuca
March 20, 2023 at 12:18 PM

The Defense Department today announced a $350 million security aid package for Ukraine that will transfer weapons directly from U.S. stocks.

The package, funded via presidential “drawdown” authority, includes:

• Ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;

• 155mm artillery rounds;

• 25mm ammunition;

• High-speed Anti-radiation missiles;

• 81mm and 60mm mortar systems and mortar rounds;

• AT-4 anti-armor weapon systems;

• Grenade launchers, small arms, and associated ammunition;

• Demolition munitions and equipment for obstacle clearing;

• Mine clearing equipment;

• Heavy fuel tankers;

• Thermal imagery systems, optics, and laser rangefinders;

• Riverine patrol boats;

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

• Spare parts and other field equipment.

The announcement represents the 34th drawdown of U.S. equipment to aid Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Last month, Pentagon policy chief Colin Kahl said DOD had about $12 billion remaining in congressionally appropriated security assistance funds for Ukraine in fiscal year 2023.

Mike McCord, Pentagon comptroller, said last week that DOD is not requesting funds to support Ukraine as part of the regular fiscal year 2024 budget request and would continue to rely on supplemental appropriations from Congress. He said DOD was not yet crafting an additional supplemental funding request for Ukraine, though he noted it could be done fairly quickly.

By Dan Schere
March 20, 2023 at 11:26 AM

Boeing has been awarded a $1.9 billion modification to produce 184 AH-64E Apache helicopters for the U.S. Army, Australia and other international customers, the Defense Department announced in a March 17 notice.

The U.S. Army will receive 115 remanufactured Apaches, and another 15 will be procured as options, according to a Boeing press release. The other 54 Apaches will be sent to Australia and other nations as part of foreign military sales.

The Apaches delivered to Australia will be the first sent to the country, according to Boeing. Christina Upah, Boeing’s vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs, said in a statement that the company is “enhancing the U.S. Army’s attack fleet, while supporting additional partner nations and welcoming our newest Apache customer, the Australian Army.”

The $1.9 billion award increases the value of the Army’s contract with Boeing to $2.1 billion, and could potentially increase to more than $3.8 billion with future obligations, according to the company.

The Army’s Apache fleet recently surpassed 5 million flight hours, and there are currently more than 1,275 of the aircraft operating globally, according to Boeing.

The estimated completion date is Dec. 31, 2027, according to the announcement.

By Tony Bertuca
March 20, 2023 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials are heading to Capitol Hill this week to testify on the fiscal year 2024 budget request.


The Air and Space Forces Association hosts a discussion with the chief of Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Command.


AFA hosts a discussion about the B-21 bomber program with the director of strategic plans, programs and requirements at Air Force Global Strike Command.

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville on modernization and readiness.

AFCEA NOVA hosts Space Force IT Day 2023.

DefenseOne hosts a “State of the Air Force” event.


The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on U.S. military recruiting challenges.

The Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on DOD “small business tools” to enhance the industrial base.

AFA hosts a discussion with the chiefs of Air Combat Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Air Forces Africa and Allied Air Command.


The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the defense budget with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord.

The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion on the Army budget.

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with the chiefs of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command.

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on U.S. military posture on the Middle East and Africa.

The House Armed Services cyber, information technology and innovation subcommittee holds a hearing on DOD science, technology and innovation.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall speaks at a "future of defense" event hosted by The Hill.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on missile defense and extended deterrence.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. John Hill.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on the U.S. defense industrial base.

By Ben Dupont
March 17, 2023 at 3:05 PM

Legislation to change the U.S. approach to regulating technology threats from foreign adversaries is picking up steam, with 18 senators now in support.

Six senators have recently co-sponsored the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology” bill, according to a March 17 statement from Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA), co-authors of the bill.

The RESTRICT bill would give the Commerce Department the authority to “review, prevent and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security,” according to the statement.

The senators believe moving the regulation responsibility to the Commerce Department will streamline the process, which Thune described in a statement this month as “disjointed.”

New co-sponsor Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said in the statement that the bill “provides a holistic approach to dealing with current and emerging technologies emanating from our foreign adversaries that pose an undue risk to the national security of our country.”

Nine Democrats and nine republicans are now signed on to the bill, with the recent additions of Capito and Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Blumenthal said in a statement that “The risks are unacceptable -- foreign powers exploiting tech platforms like TikTok and Huawei to undercut our national security must be stopped.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has also published support for the bill in a March 7 statement.

By John Liang
March 17, 2023 at 1:27 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on conservatives' ideas for reducing defense spending, the Navy's budget proposal for Project Overmatch, amphibious warship readiness levels and a lot more.

The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute recently hosted a private meeting with top conservative experts to figure out potential savings in defense spending:

Conservative think-tank huddle IDs billions in uphill DOD savings, not much in 'woke' cuts

A private meeting hosted last month by two right-leaning Washington think tanks has identified areas where the Pentagon could save billions of dollars annually, including military health care reform and base closures, but also found that cuts to other "politically controversial programs" -- often focused on by some Republicans who deride them as "woke" -- would save far less.

The Navy's fiscal year 2024 spending proposal for Project Overmatch represents a $16 million increase over the service's FY-23 budget request:

Classified Project Overmatch funding targets operational architecture

A $192 million request for Project Overmatch, the Navy’s portion of a classified project to connect the military with command-and-control intelligence, will focus on accelerating delivery of naval operational architecture, the Navy said Thursday.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said this week that readiness levels for amphibious warships have been well below 50% for the past decade:

Berger: Marines need 'sustained resourcing' for amphibious fleet readiness

Bringing the amphibious fleet up to the Navy's 80% readiness goal is not a one-year budget fix but will require several fiscal years of "sustained resourcing," according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

The Navy's top civilian spoke about his service's 30-year shipbuilding plan at this week's McAleese & Associates Defense Conference:

Del Toro: Navy's upcoming 30-year shipbuilding plan likely to present three options

The Navy's forthcoming 30-year shipbuilding plan is likely to again present three procurement options to lawmakers, according to the service’s secretary who said the multiscenario plan provides flexibility to adapt to emerging threats.

Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill this week revealed new developments regarding U.S.-Japan cooperation on a hypersonic missile defense interceptor:

U.S. considering co-development role for Japan on 'front end' of hypersonic-killing interceptor

The U.S. government is eyeing a key role for Japan in the Pentagon's marquee hypersonic defense program that could give Tokyo responsibility for helping design and build some of the most advanced components of a Glide Phase Interceptor, and plans to facilitate exploratory meetings soon between defense companies on both sides of the Pacific.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have the latest defense cyber news:

NSA issues zero-trust guidance targeted at national security systems, civilian agencies request their own FY-24 cyber funding

The U.S. government's transition to a zero-trust architecture will continue to be a top priority as the National Security Agency and Defense Department continue on their journey with new guidance for national security systems, while civilian agencies reveal cost estimates for the move to ZTA as part of their fiscal year 2024 budget requests.

Even with more funding, the E-7 Wedgetail early warning aircraft won’t reach initial operational capability before fiscal year 2027, service officials and Boeing executives have said:

Quicker timeline to field much-needed E-7 Wedgetail not likely, officials say

The Air Force is trying to rapidly replace its decaying E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System platform, but efforts to speed up the timeline for fielding the E-7 Wedgetail aren’t looking fruitful, service Secretary Frank Kendall said.

The Air Force's top civilian is second-guessing his service's decision to upgrade the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine rather than doing a full replacement:

Kendall: 'I worry a little bit' about F-35 engine decision

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said this week that if he had one regret with his fiscal year 2024 budget request, it would be the decision not to move forward with the Adaptive Engine Transition Program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

By Ben Dupont
March 17, 2023 at 12:30 PM

The National Security Agency should take a stronger approach to restrict Russia's supply of nuclear material to China, the chairmen of three key House committees said on Friday.

In a March 17 letter to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and other administration officials, the three focus on the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom in arguing for increased sanctions -- among other measures -- against Russia.

“Make no mistake, the PRC and Russia’s actions constitute an acceleration of their ongoing arms race,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) wrote in the letter.

Rosatom’s movement of uranium to China is helping fuel the latter’s “nuclear breakout,” they said.

“Every dollar and euro that Rosatom brings in directly finances the death and destruction we see in Ukraine, China’s nuclear weapon expansion, and is a direct threat to the American way of life,” the letter reads.

The chairs urge the administration to employ “the full application of sanctions, export controls, and diplomacy to stop Putin from using Rosatom to challenge U.S. interests across the globe.”

The chairs give some credit to the administration for sanctions against Rosatom last month but claim that “these actions do not begin to scratch the surface as to what needs to be done, however. Stronger action is required, and it needs a whole-of-government approach.”

The letter was also sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

By Tony Bertuca
March 16, 2023 at 4:02 PM

The State Department has approved Poland for a possible $150 million foreign military sale of 800 Hellfire missiles, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice.

The sale would include 800 AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles, four M36 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles, and associated equipment and contractor support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” DSCA said.

The prime contractor would be Lockheed Martin.

“The proposed sale will improve Poland’s military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” DSCA said. “Poland intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats.”

By Tony Bertuca
March 16, 2023 at 3:58 PM

The State Department has approved Australia for a possible $895 million foreign military sale of Tomahawk missiles, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice.

The sale would potentially include up to 200 Tomahawk Block V and up to 20 Block IV All Up Rounds and related equipment and support, the notice states.

“The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to interoperate with U.S. maritime forces and other allied forces as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest,” according to DSCA. “By deploying the Tomahawk Weapon System, Australia will contribute to global readiness and enhance the capability of U.S. Forces operating alongside them globally.”

Raytheon Missiles and Defense would be the prime contractor involved.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific,” DSCA said. “The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

The notice follows a major announcement by the United States, the U.K. and Australia to begin a multiyear plan to provide Australia with conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines through the AUKUS security pact.

By John Liang
March 16, 2023 at 2:06 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the annual McAleese & Associates conference in Washington, where top service officials spoke.

Senior Defense Department and service officials spoke at this week's annual McAleese & Associates conference in Washington, from the Pentagon's comptroller:

DOD finalizing $1B spending plan to mitigate inflation on some contracts

The Defense Department is finalizing a proposal for how to spend more than $1 billion lawmakers appropriated for fiscal year 2023 for "revised economic assumptions" related to specific contracts beset by historic inflation, according to Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord.

. . . to the Army chief of staff:

With a flat budget for FY-24, Army chief says 'you'll see some structure changes' in the future

With an Army budget request for fiscal year 2024 that is relatively flat compared to the FY-23 enacted budget, "structure changes" are possible as the service carries out its modernization goals, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said Wednesday.

. . . to the chief of naval operations:

CNO: LPD pause is cost-driven, budget growth will not last

The Navy's pause in amphibious warship procurement is driven by a need to alleviate rising production costs, according to the service's top officer, who said the service must prepare for its topline budget to flatten in the near future.

. . . plus the Marine Corps commandant:

Berger: LSD decommissioning would violate amphib requirement; unfunded priorities coming soon

The decommissioning of three amphibious warships proposed by the Navy's fiscal year 2024 budget request would sink the service's fleet below the legally mandated floor of 31 L-class ships according to the Marine Corps commandant, who told reporters the Marine Corps' unfunded priorities list will be published within the next eight days.

. . . as well as the Army acquisition chief:

Army acquisition chief says ITEP engine deliveries delayed until early next year

Doug Bush, the Army's top acquisition official, told reporters on Wednesday that the deliveries for the Improved Turbine Engine Program that will power the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft have been delayed until early calendar year 2024.

We also have some big naval shipyard news:

Navy floats $2.72 billion in shipyard updates for FY-24

The Navy is continuing its mission to modernize aging shipyard infrastructure with a request for $2.72 billion in fiscal year 2024 to make phased-in improvements at the nation's four public shipyards: Portsmouth (ME), Pearl Harbor (HI), Norfolk (VA) and Puget Sound (WA).

The Pentagon this week released its fiscal year 2024 budget justification book for the Pacific Defense Initiative:

DOD recalibrates, ratchets up Pacific Defense Initiative funding in FY-24 by 33%

The Biden administration is fundamentally recalibrating Indo-Pacific plans in the fiscal year 2024 budget request, increasing total spending to counter China by nearly 33% compared with last year's Pacific Defense Initiative forecast, increasing scores of projects by more than $3 billion in part by shifting $850 million away from previous PDI priorities.

Document: DOD's PDI budget justification book

Last but by no means least, Nickolas Guertin testified on Capitol Hill this week on his nomination to be the Navy's next acquisition chief:

Infrastructure needs underscored at Guertin's Senate nomination hearing

The Senate Armed Services Committee focused Wednesday on "crumbling" infrastructure at defense installations, including naval shipyards, during Nickolas Guertin's nomination hearing to be Navy assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition.

Document: Senate hearing on Keohane, Guertin nominations

By Shelley K. Mesch
March 16, 2023 at 10:27 AM

The Air Force plans to buy 268 Norwegian-made Joint Strike Missiles over the next five years, according to a notice posted Wednesday.

The service announced its plan to buy 48 of the missiles with the release of its fiscal year 2024 budget request Monday.

The service plans to procure 50, 54, 57 and 59 in the four years following, according to the notice.

The JSM is complementary to the service’s ammunition capabilities and will work as a “bridge” until more Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles can be procured, Maj. Gen. Mike Greiner, deputy assistant secretary for budget, told reporters in a briefing Friday.

The service is conducting research and seeking input from businesses with potential to support the JSM System Program office, according to the sources-sought notice.

By John Liang
March 15, 2023 at 5:08 PM

L3Harris Technologies announced today it has received a request for additional information -- what's known as a "second request" -- from the Federal Trade Commission regarding the company's proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne.

"The second request extends the waiting period imposed by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act until 30 days after L3Harris and Aerojet Rocketdyne have substantially complied with the request, or the waiting period is terminated sooner by the FTC," an L3Harris statement reads. "The transaction is expected to close in 2023, subject to approval by Aerojet Rocketdyne's shareholders tomorrow and other customary closing conditions."

L3Harris announced its plan to acquire Aerojet for $4.7 billion this past December.

Aerojet manufactures propulsion systems for customers including the Defense Department and NASA. It's one of only two U.S. manufacturers of solid-rocket motors -- the other being Northrop Grumman, which purchased Orbital ATK in 2018.

In a Jan. 26 letter to the FTC, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) opposed the proposed acquisition.

"This deal between Aerojet and L3Harris would reduce competition in the shrinking defense industry to a new low, and I encourage the FTC to oppose this dangerous transaction," she wrote.