The Insider

By John Liang
January 10, 2024 at 2:25 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from this week's Surface Navy Association annual symposium plus coverage of the Missile Defense Agency needing a deputy director and more.

We start off with coverage from this week's SNA symposium:

Navy developing 'Global Maritime Response Plan' in preparation for high-end conflict

The Navy is developing a new "Global Maritime Response Plan" that will enable naval forces to rapidly transition from peacetime to wartime operations if a high-end conflict begins, according to Adm. Daryl Caudle, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Delay on CVN-82 could have negative effects, Newport News executive warns

A delay in awarding a contract for future aircraft carrier CVN-82 would have negative effects on the supply chain and production of other infrastructure like submarines, a Newport News shipbuilding executive told reporters Monday.

(Read our full SNA symposium coverage.)

The Missile Defense Agency has been mandated by Congress to reinstate a deputy director:

MDA required to reinstate deputy director position, must be two-star uniformed officer

The Missile Defense Agency, which limped along last year without a Senate-confirmed three-star director for an extended period during which some of its top projects were nominated for budget cuts, is reinstating a post eliminated as part of a 2020 organizational overhaul: a deputy director who must be a two-star general or flag officer.

Michael Horowitz, the deputy defense assistant secretary for force development and emerging capabilities, said at a CSIS event this week that Replicator is a great demonstration of how the department is launching initiatives to tackle challenges:

DOD policy official details Replicator update and international AI agreement opportunities

The Defense Department's Replicator initiative appears to be on track to achieve its goals with a defense official expressing optimism at a Center for Strategic and International Studies webcast today that an international political declaration about artificial intelligence responsibility will gain more signatures.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have ongoing coverage of the Pentagon's recently released Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program rule:

Pentagon details process to submit CMMC assessment results as part of information collection request

The Defense Department is asking for input on the process to report assessment results under its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program and proposed parameters to address potential gaps.

Powered by Microsoft's HoLoLens headsets, the Integrated, Immersive, Intelligent Environment is an "augmented reality space simulation" that will enable Space Force users to interact in a space-like environment with orbital objects on display in real-time:

SSC renews Microsoft contract to build I3E prototype for Guardians' readiness

Space Systems Command has renewed its contract with Microsoft to develop a new immersive simulated environment to increase Guardians' readiness for current and future space situations, according to a Jan. 5 announcement.

By Georgina DiNardo
January 10, 2024 at 2:04 PM

The head of the Aerospace Industries Association sent a letter to congressional leaders today, calling on them to pass full-year appropriations bills for national security and defense.

Eric Fanning, president and CEO of AIA, addressed the letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Fanning called on Congress to pass an appropriations package with “topline budget numbers for FY-24” that lawmakers announced on Jan. 7 and the “related side agreement on offsets and additional resources for non-defense programs.”

The aerospace and defense industry, Fanning said, needs consistent “demand signals” from the federal government.

“Unfortunately, with fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding still in flux, our industry continues to face the harmful consequences of a broken budget process,” he said. “If this impasse is not resolved soon, the country could face severe damage to our defense posture and our ability to enhance aviation safety. The uncertainty could also hinder our progress in developing next-generation space technologies and in supporting a growing commercial space industry.”

The federal government is operating under continuing resolutions that run through Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. The CR covering the Pentagon expires Feb. 2.

By the time the CRs expire, DOD and non-defense agencies will have been operating under CRs for “roughly one-third of the fiscal year,” according to Fanning.

“We cannot ask them to shoulder further delays or additional short-term CRs,” he said.

Fanning laid out two possible scenarios that could occur if the government does not pass full-year appropriations bills soon.

One scenario details what would happen if Congress fails to pass a full-year appropriations bill for the entire government by April 30. In that situation, the White House Office of Management and Budget is required to impose a “sequestration order” which gives agencies a budget that is 1% lower than FY-23. This scenario results in defense spending needing to be cut by $36.5 billion, causing many programs to fail due to lack of funding.

The second of Fanning’s scenarios outlines what he believes will happen if Congress introduces a CR for the entire year, something that has never been done before. This scenario ends with cutting DOD spending by $28 billion below its request, eliminating $5.8 billion for military personnel funding, causing significant health care challenges.

“The current topline agreement would resolve this impasse, provide modest increases to help agencies address urgent priorities and inflationary increases, avoid the worst effects of deep, across-the-board reductions, and allow Congress to turn its attention to the fiscal year 2025 budget, which is due in February,” Fanning said. “We urge you to move these bills as quickly as possible under the framework announced on January 7, 2024.”

By Abby Shepherd
January 10, 2024 at 12:10 PM

The national defense and Navy budget is on an "unsustainable course," Sen. Angus King (I-ME) told attendees gathered at today's annual Surface Navy Association Symposium. The speech follows months of uncertainty around the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act and funding appropriations.

“We’re on an unsustainable course, everyone knows that, not everybody knows how to fix it, but the budget issues are real and there’s not going to be a time where everybody is going to say, ‘Oh, we have an extra $100 million for shipbuilding’ -- I don't think that’s going to happen anytime soon,” King said.

King also called for the modernization of the nuclear triad, including the Air Force’s B-21 strike stealth bomber, the Columbia-class submarine and the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile system. Strengthening these programs is necessary for deterrence, he added.

“If we have a nonexistent or weak nuclear deterrent, it invites aggression,” the senator continued.

King also highlighted ongoing industrial base challenges, especially as the Navy develops the DDG(X) next-generation warship, meant to succeed the current Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.

The industrial base “can’t turn off and on,” King said, and cooperation between the Navy and private sector when it comes to design and development of these ships can “be very useful and have positive budgetary outcomes.”

Multiyear procurement is also a tool that proves beneficial for taxpayers and the industrial base, King said.

With President Biden signing the FY-24 NDAA into law in December, no funding has been appropriated yet, with the Pentagon currently operating under stopgap continuing resolutions until Feb. 2.

By Abby Shepherd
January 9, 2024 at 6:48 PM

Warfighting, warfighters and a foundation that supports them are three key priorities for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti, which she outlined for attendees at today's annual Surface Navy Association Symposium.

Franchetti, who was confirmed as CNO in early November, said these three priorities will ensure the Navy is the “most ready, combat-critical force that we can be.”

“We must have the best systems, the best weapons and platforms that will deter or defeat any adversary, anytime, anywhere,” Franchetti said.

Increased partnership with the private sector is necessary to strengthen the defense industrial base, she added, and the Navy is providing industry with a “clear demand signal.” This includes pursuing multiyear contracts, advance procurement timelines, supply chain investments and large-lot procurement of munitions, she said.

Franchetti also discussed the importance of what she called “getting more players on the field,” or increasing the number of operational ships and other platforms at the Navy’s command.

This effort, she said, will involve improving maintenance rates to keep more of the Navy’s existing ships active, fielding new ships on time and utilizing larger numbers of uncrewed platforms. Asked about the impact of this initiative on shipbuilding budgets, Franchetti declined to discuss future budget plans.

“It's about more platforms, getting our platforms that are on contract delivered on time [and] on cost. It's about getting the ships we have in maintenance out on time,” she explained.

“It's about stewardship, which is something a lot of us in this room have a big responsibility for -- how do we get the most out of our platforms as long as we can?” Franchetti continued. “It's also about integrating new and hybrid autonomous, unmanned technology to get more players on the field because again, this gives us more options.”

By Tony Bertuca
January 9, 2024 at 2:49 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has been hospitalized since Jan. 1, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to a statement from Walter Reed Medical Center officials.

Austin underwent a "minimally invasive" prostatectomy at Walter Reed to “treat and cure prostate cancer” on Dec. 22 and was discharged without complications, the officials said. But Austin experienced complications from a urinary tract infection that led him to be hospitalized on Jan. 1.

“His prostate cancer was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent,” according to a statement from Dr. John Maddox, Trauma Medical Director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center Director, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Austin was transferred to the intensive care unit on Jan. 2. Doctors later discovered Austin was suffering from “abdominal fluid complications impairing the function of his small intestines.”

“This resulted in the back up of his intestinal contents which was treated by placing a tube through his nose to drain his stomach,” the doctors said. “The abdominal fluid collections were drained by non-surgical drain placement.”

Austin has “progressed steadily” and his infection has cleared.

Doctors said they anticipate Austin will make a full recovery though it can be a lengthy process.

The doctors said Austin never lost consciousness and never underwent general anesthesia.

Prior to now, the Pentagon has not released any specific information about Austin’s condition.

Austin and his staff, meanwhile, have faced criticism from lawmakers for failing to immediately notify the White House and Congress about his condition, with some Republicans calling for his resignation.

Austin has released a statement taking responsibility for the lack of transparency regarding his absence and Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, has apologized for not alerting the public to Austin’s condition shortly after he learned of it on Jan. 2. President Biden was not made aware of Austin's condition until Jan. 4.

Ryder said Austin’s chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, was sick and unable to immediately notify the National Security Council about Austin’s absence.

The doctors, meanwhile, note in their statement that prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer among American men, impacting one in every eight -- and one in every six black men -- during their lifetimes.

“Despite the frequency of prostate cancer, discussions about screening, treatment and support are often deeply personal and private ones,” the doctors said. “Early screening is important for detection and treatment of prostate cancer and people should talk to their doctors to see what screening is appropriate for them.”

Ryder, during a Pentagon press conference, said Austin is in full contact with his staff and continues to monitor U.S. military operations worldwide.

Ryder said the department has launched a new 30-day review of the department’s notification process for assumption of the duties of the defense secretary.

By John Liang
January 9, 2024 at 1:42 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the annual Surface Navy Association symposium, the Army's recently released "Space Vision" and more.

We start off with coverage of this week's Surface Navy Association symposium:

Navy looks to field directed-energy weapons to counter increasingly cheap and prevalent drones

The Navy aims to accelerate the fielding of counter-drone capabilities -- including directed-energy weapons -- while increasing its total munition stocks after a series of recent attacks on Navy vessels in the Red Sea, according to senior surface warfare officers.

On Jan. 5, Naval Sea Systems Command announced plans for a new five-year procurement beginning in fiscal year 2026 of 31 radar sets for a range of surface warfare ships that aims to entice competitors -- such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman -- who in 2022 conceded the initial production contract to Raytheon, that developed the SPY-6 sensor:

After fumbling first SPY-6 production competition, Navy readies new FY-26 contest

The Navy -- which failed to draw more than a single bid during its inaugural $3.2 billion air-and-missile-defense radar production competition -- is readying a follow-on contest for the SPY-6 family of radars likely worth billions of dollars that appears to reflect a lesson learned from the initial acquisition stumble.

The Army's recently released Army "Space Vision Supporting Multidomain Operations" discusses the need to "integrate friendly joint and coalition space capabilities and interdict adversary space capabilities in support of ground force commanders":

Army's new space vision emphasizes role of 'space professionals' in multidomain operations

The Army today released a new "Space Vision Supporting Multidomain Operations" that emphasizes the need to "invest more in space capabilities and formations," and outlines a role for "Army space professionals."

Document: Army's space vision for MDO

The Army is retrofitting humvees with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control systems made by Ricardo Defense that are designed to prevent rollovers, thus protecting the occupants from injury or death:

Army needs more funds to speed up humvee safety retrofits, says acquisition chief

More cash from Congress would allow the Army to accelerate by six years an effort to retrofit humvees with safety kits that prevent rollovers, the service's acquisition chief told Inside Defense.

The Army is seeking to modernize its remaining Black Hawk fleet:

Modernization the goal as Army aims to downsize Black Hawk fleet

As the Army lays out a plan to downsize its Black Hawk helicopter fleet by 157 of the oldest aircraft, the service says it is with the end goal of balancing modernization and readiness.

By Shelley K. Mesch
January 9, 2024 at 11:45 AM

The Defense Department awarded RTX a $345 million contract to produce 1,500 StormBreaker bombs, some of which will be sold in foreign military sales.

The GBU-53/B bombs, previously called Small Diameter Bomb II, will be purchased primarily by the Air Force, according to a DOD announcement last month. Breaking down the funding at the time of the award, $284.5 million comes from the Air Force, $58 million from the Navy and $2.1 million from foreign military sales.

DOD expects the bombs will be delivered by the end of August 2028.

The StormBreaker bombs are fielded on the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18E/F SuperHornet, and testing is underway to field on each of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants, according to an RTX news release.

The Joint Program Office expects the bombs to reach initial operational capability on the F-35 in fiscal year 2025, spokesman Russ Goemaere said.

The StormBreaker program was at risk in 2022 when the manufacturer of a needed microchip announced it would cease production. RTX spokeswoman Alyssa Shaffer said the program was able to purchase all of the needed chips, which are used to integrate the military M Code GPS signal.

Unit costs for the bomb increased by more than 20%, above the Nunn-McCurdy significant cost threshold, triggering a notice to Congress in 2022. The program has since been rebaselined, according to FY-24 budget request documents.

By Nick Wilson
January 9, 2024 at 9:40 AM

Shipbuilder HII has delivered the stern of the lead Columbia-class submarine to its construction partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat, HII President and CEO Chris Kastner said Monday.

The two companies are collaboratively building the next class of ballistic missile submarines with HII’s Newport News responsible for the bow and stern sections, or about 23% of total vessel construction, company executives said during a November earnings call.

Delivery of the lead vessel’s stern marks a step forward for the program, which is on a tight 84-month production schedule with a desired delivery date of October 2027.

“It's a pressurized schedule,” Kastner told reporters ahead of the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium. “But we're delivering modules, and we delivered the stern this week.”

In November, service officials said the program is holding to its schedule, with lead boat Columbia (SSBN-826) approximately 40% complete.

However, officials also said Ohio-class submarine Alaska (SSBN-732) will receive a service life extension to reduce the risk of gaps appearing in the fleet as Columbias come online. Alaska is the first of five Ohio boats that could receive extensions to mitigate risk.

Construction of the second Columbia submarine, Wisconsin (SSBN-827), has also begun thanks to a carveout contained in Congress’s continuing resolution allowing shipbuilders to begin on the vessel without fiscal year 2024 defense spending legislation.

By Nick Wilson
January 9, 2024 at 9:00 AM

As instability grows in the Middle East, the Navy is considering deploying more Littoral Combat Ships to the Mediterranean and Red Sea to expand U.S. naval presence in the region, the commander of Naval Surface Forces said Friday.

A string of missile and drone attacks on U.S. warships has spurred the Navy to consider increasing the number of hulls in the Red Sea, Vice Adm. Brendan McLane affirmed, saying Freedom-variant LCS Indianapolis (LCS-17) is already operating in the area.

“It certainly is possible, long-term, to be able to use our LCS from both coasts, the Freedom-class and the Independence-class, really worldwide,” McLane told reporters ahead of the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium.

Despite continued attempts by the Navy to retire LCSs early -- the most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan looks to decommission seven of the ships over the next three years, including two in fiscal year 2024 -- the service has been working to boost the offensive firepower of the LCS fleet.

By FY-26, The Navy plans to outfit all trimaran-hulled Independence ships with the Naval Strike Missile -- an anti-surface cruise missile with a range of up to 300 nautical miles -- and equip all monohull Freedom-variant ships with the missile by FY-32.

The Navy has also indicated it is considering equipping LCSs with Tomahawk missiles following an October demonstration in which Savannah (LCS-28) test-fired a Standard Missile-6 using a containerized launch system.

“The exercise demonstrated the modularity and lethality of Littoral Combat Ships and the ability to successfully integrate a containerized weapons system to engage a surface target,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told Inside Defense Friday. “The exercise will inform continued testing, evaluation and integration of containerized weapons systems on afloat platforms.”

The addition of these offensive strike capabilities would expand the LCS’s firepower and add new relevance for the ships, originally designed for near-shore operations, in a fight against a near-peer adversary.

By Dan Schere
January 8, 2024 at 5:10 PM

With a $65 million contract awarded to AeroVironment last month, the Army has fulfilled an order for loitering munition systems to support a service requirement for lethal unmanned systems.

The Army awarded the contract for the Switchblade weapon system on Dec. 22, according to a Pentagon notice. The contract has an estimated completion date of April 30.

The contract fulfills funded orders for the Switchblade 600, Army spokesman Darrell Ames wrote in an email to Inside Defense on Jan. 8. It will support a directed requirement for lethal unmanned systems and foreign military sales, he wrote.

Switchblade 600 is an anti-armor munition that can loiter for more than 40 minutes, using high-resolution, electro-optical/infrared sensors and advanced precision flight controls.

Switchblade drones are among the weapons the United States has been sending in aid packages to Ukraine.

In July, the Army rolled out its new Low Altitude Stalking and Strike Ordnance (LASSO) initiative, which will give dismounted infantry man-portable, tube-launched uncrewed aircraft using an urgent capability acquisition pathway.

Ames noted that LASSO is considered an “emerging program of record” for the service and is a follow-on to the lethal unmanned systems directed requirement.

Army acquisition chief Doug Bush told multiple media outlets at last year’s Association of the United States Army conference that the service was acquiring more than 100 of the Switchblade 600.

By Tony Bertuca
January 8, 2024 at 4:22 PM

The Pentagon today released a timeline in an attempt to explain the events surrounding the medical condition of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has been hospitalized since Jan. 1 with an unknown ailment and has drawn criticism for not immediately alerting the White House and Congress.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, provided reporters with a three-page statement on the matter, saying Austin first underwent an “elective medical procedure” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22 and was discharged Dec. 23. During that time, Ryder said, Austin transferred “certain operational authorities” to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, who was away on vacation.

However, Ryder said, Austin “began experiencing severe pain” the night of Jan. 1 and was taken by ambulance back to Walter Reed where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

“He was conscious but in quite a bit of pain,” Ryder said.

On the afternoon of Jan. 2, “certain authorities of the secretary of defense” were again transferred to Hicks.

“The secretary and deputy secretary’s staff as well as the Joint Staff were notified that the transfer had occurred through regular email notification procedures,” Ryder said.

But neither Hicks nor White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan were notified about Austin’s hospitalization until Jan. 4 -- two days later.

Ryder said the lag in communication was due to Austin’s chief of staff Kelly Magsamen being out sick with the flu.

“We are currently reviewing how we can improve these notification procedures, to include White House and congressional notifications,” Ryder said.

Military secretaries and other senior leaders, meanwhile, were not notified of Austin’s condition until the afternoon of Jan. 5. Austin resumed his full duties later that evening.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, have released statements urging a speedy recovery for Austin but also voicing concern that they were not notified of his condition more quickly.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released a joint statement last night, saying “several questions remain unanswered including what the medical procedure and resulting complications were, what the secretary’s current health status is, how and when the delegation of the secretary’s responsibilities were made, and the reason for the delay in notification to the president and Congress.”

“Transparency is vitally important,” they said. “Sec. Austin must provide these additional details on his health and the decision-making process that occurred in the past week as soon as possible.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said he is concerned that “vital chain of command and notification procedures were not followed while the secretary was under medical care.”

“He is taking responsibility for the situation, but this was a serious incident and there needs to be transparency and accountability from the department,” he said.

The “lack of disclosure,” Reed said, “must never happen again.”

“I am tracking the situation closely and the Department of Defense is well aware of my interest in any and all relevant information,” he said.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement alleging that DOD “deliberately withheld the secretary of defense’s medical condition for days.”

“That is unacceptable,” Wicker said. “We are learning more every hour about the department’s shocking defiance of the law. When one of the country’s two National Command Authorities is unable to perform their duties, military families, members of Congress and the American public deserve to know the full extent of the circumstances.”

Other Republicans were quick to pounce, with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) joining former President Donald Trump in calling on Austin to resign.

Ryder, in his statement, said that on the afternoon of Jan. 4, Hicks and Magsamen “immediately engaged on the drafting of a public statement and congressional outreach.”

“The deputy secretary also began to make contingency plans to return to Washington, DC on [Jan. 5],” Ryder said. “However, she was informed that same afternoon that the secretary was preparing to resume full communications capability and the associated operational responsibilities on Friday. She therefore remained in place to ensure the best communications posture in the interim.”

Austin, meanwhile, released a statement on Jan. 6 accepting full responsibility for the communication lapses regarding his absence.

“I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed,” he said. “I commit to doing better. But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

Ryder, who received a letter from the Pentagon Press Association voicing the media’s concerns over the department’s lack of transparency, said he was informed about Austin’s hospitalization on Jan. 2.

DOD “will be taking steps to improve our notification procedures,” he told reporters.

“And I am also personally committed to doing better in keeping you informed,” Ryder said. “Nothing is more important to the secretary of defense and the department than the trust and confidence of the American public we serve, and we will continue to work hard every day to earn and deserve that trust.”

Though Austin remains hospitalized, he is no longer in the ICU.

“He continues to experience discomfort but his prognosis is good,” Ryder said. “I expect him to be in contact throughout the day today with the senior leadership of the Department and the White House even as he focuses on his own recovery.”

Ryder said DOD does not have a specific date for Austin’s release from the hospital.

John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, told reporters aboard Air Force One today that the White House is reviewing the matter but stressed that President Biden has no plans to fire Austin.

"There is no plan for anything other than for Secretary Austin to stay in the job," he said.

By John Liang
January 8, 2024 at 2:37 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army retrofitting humvees to make them safer, Black Hawk helicopter fleet modernization and more.

The Army is retrofitting humvees with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control systems made by Ricardo Defense that are designed to prevent rollovers, thus protecting the occupants from injury or death:

Army needs more funds to speed up humvee safety retrofits, says acquisition chief

More cash from Congress would allow the Army to accelerate by six years an effort to retrofit humvees with safety kits that prevent rollovers, the service's acquisition chief told Inside Defense.

The Army is seeking to modernize its remaining Black Hawk fleet:

Modernization the goal as Army aims to downsize Black Hawk fleet

As the Army lays out a plan to downsize its Black Hawk helicopter fleet by 157 of the oldest aircraft, the service says it is with the end goal of balancing modernization and readiness.

In December 2022, DOD announced its intent to establish a new Industrial Base Policy Consortium that would work to quickly award projects to match the speed of innovation:

DOD selects new Defense Industrial Base Consortium management organization

The Defense Department awarded Advanced Technology International a contract on Dec. 31 to act as the Defense Industrial Base Consortium Management Organization, which will help the DIBC expand its member base.

In case you missed it, more coverage of the Pentagon's recently released Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program rule:

DOD issues memorandum detailing FedRAMP equivalency requirements for CMMC program

The Defense Department has issued a memorandum on equivalency for cloud service offerings between the General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program and the Pentagon's cyber certification program.

Pentagon lays out policies for Cyber AB in proposed rule with details on assessor requirements, ethics policies

The Pentagon's proposed rule to implement the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program details the role, expectations and tasks for the accreditation body responsible for building out on the major Defense Department initiative's assessment ecosystem.

By John Liang
January 8, 2024 at 5:00 AM

Lawmakers return to Washington without a final spending bill for fiscal year 2024 in place, and a major Navy industry symposium takes place this week.

Tuesday

The Surface Navy Association holds its annual symposium through Thursday.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a live-streamed discussion on "The State of DOD AI and Autonomy Policy."

Thursday

AFCEA's Northern Virginia chapter holds its 2024 "Army IT Day."

The House Foreign Affairs Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia subcommittee holds a hearing on the Biden administration's Afghanistan policy since the U.S. withdrawal from that country.

By John Liang
January 5, 2024 at 2:20 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Industrial Base Consortium, missile defense on Guam and more.

In December 2022, DOD announced its intent to establish a new Industrial Base Policy Consortium that would work to quickly award projects to match the speed of innovation:

DOD selects new Defense Industrial Base Consortium management organization

The Defense Department awarded Advanced Technology International a contract on Dec. 31 to act as the Defense Industrial Base Consortium Management Organization, which will help the DIBC expand its member base.

House and Senate lawmakers stripped from final legislation that is now the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act a provision that would have limited the Missile Defense Agency’s ability to use the radar purchased in 2018 for Hawaii on Guam -- forcing a four-year delay as well as adding $148 million in cost to the project:

MDA cleared to re-purpose Hawaii Homeland Defense Radar on Guam, dodging four-year delay

The Defense Department can now re-purpose a homeland defense radar for Guam after the Senate dropped its opposition to the move, lending speed to the project to improve air- and missile defenses of the Western Pacific U.S. territory. The radar was originally purchased for Hawaii but never emplaced due to local opposition over the size and impact of the large sensor.

More coverage of the Pentagon's recent release of its new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program rule:

Pentagon lays out policies for Cyber AB in proposed rule with details on assessor requirements, ethics policies

The Pentagon’s proposed rule to implement the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program details the role, expectations and tasks for the accreditation body responsible for building out on the major Defense Department initiative's assessment ecosystem.

DOD issues memorandum detailing FedRAMP equivalency requirements for CMMC program

The Defense Department has issued a memorandum on equivalency for cloud service offerings between the General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program and the Pentagon's cyber certification program.

The southern Red Sea continues to be a flashpoint:

Houthis launch USV with explosives in Red Sea, U.S. military says

An unmanned surface vessel detonated in international shipping lanes in the Red Sea this morning, according to the U.S. military -- the latest in a series of attacks from Houthi rebels based in Yemen on U.S. warships and multinational commercial vessels.

By Nickolai Sukharev
January 5, 2024 at 8:00 AM

The Army is seeking technologies to conduct recurring experiments that explore new intelligence and electromagnetic warfare capabilities for the "complex battlefield," according to a service announcement.

“As seen in past and current conflicts, forces adapt tactics, techniques and procedures at a rate that will challenge the ability to forecast and confirm enemy courses of action,” the Jan. 3 announcement reads.

Known as Vanguard 2024, the effort aims to develop intelligence and electromagnetic warfare capabilities that can address learning demands and integrate into new warfighting concepts that “increase the Army’s capabilities, survivability, and lethality,” according to the announcement.

“To survive a complex, contested, congested and transparent battlefield, friendly and enemy forces will continuously reorganize as self-composable edge organizations,” the announcement adds.

Desired technologies include threat simulators, high-altitude electromagnetic warfare systems and robotics.

Threat simulators should be designed to replicate a realistic electromagnetic environment while being able to withstand transport rigors, connect to a common radio network and emulate signals from several types of radars.

The high-altitude electromagnetic warfare systems should be able to operate above 65,000 feet, weigh less than 110 pounds and be able to connect with ground stations.

Robotics should have modular payloads, anti-tamper capabilities, integrate with existing networks and operate independently or with human involvement.

“These systems will offload the human risks of ground collection operations by allowing soldiers to remain in sanctuary out of range of enemy kinetic effects, thereby offering a means to gather critical information in non-permissive environments,” the announcement adds.

Phases for technology selection include technology selection followed by technical integration, execution and evaluation and reporting.

The Army Intelligence Center will partner with Army Futures Command through the Intelligence Capability Development Integration Directorate and its Intelligence Battle Lab to conduct the experiments.

The Army will run Vanguard 2024 experiments on Sept. 8-24, 2024.

In July, then-Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George told lawmakers that electronic warfare was a priority pending his confirmation to lead the service.