The Insider

By John Liang
June 23, 2023 at 1:00 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Senate Armed Services Committee releasing a summary of its version of the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill, plus NORAD seeking a string of passive radars in the far north, plus the debate over which engine should replace the one currently on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and more.

We start off with the Senate Armed Services Committee releasing the executive summary of its version of the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill:

Senate Armed Services Committee backs emergency supplemental in defense bill

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 24-1 to pass its version of the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill, voicing support for an emergency supplemental to boost the Pentagon's budget beyond the cap agreed to in a recent congressional debt limit deal.

Document: Senate authorizers' summary of the FY-24 defense policy bill

Talon Archer, developed and deployed using commercial-off-the-shelf technology as a prototype in 2017 through the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Quick Reaction Special Projects, adopted in 2020 by the Air Force Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program, is now being used to bolster the North Warning System sensor network:

NORAD eyes requirement for string of new passive sensors in the high North

The Defense Department would like to field a string of passive radars in remote locations well north of the Arctic Circle as part of an effort -- details of which were previously classified -- to extend the sensor reach of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command to feed alerts as well as actionable information to U.S. and Canadian military leaders.

Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President of Aeronautics Greg Ulmer said at the Paris Air Show this week that he would like to see the Adaptive Engine Transition Program for upgrading the F-35’s engine rather than the Defense Department-backed Engine Core Upgrade to the current F135 engine:

Lockheed Martin exec backs AETP as Congress works on approving ECU for F-35

As Congress is working on its fiscal year 2024 defense spending and policy bills, a Lockheed Martin executive has announced he backs the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter re-engine option that the Pentagon nixed months ago.

An amendment to establish the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile program was introduced by House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and was approved by a voice vote that fell largely along party lines, with Democrats including full committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) arguing against the measure:

Defense policy bill would make SLCM-N an official program of record

The House Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would create an official program of record for nuclear sea-launched cruise missile development.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) said during a hearing this week that lawmakers should keep working to increase defense spending as well as non-defense funding for fiscal year 2024:

Senate appropriators discuss defense supplemental spending deal

Senior Senate appropriators voiced bipartisan support this week for potentially passing a supplemental defense spending bill that would go above the statutory cap Congress agreed to in a debt limit deal last month.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) wants to assess the real costs of retrofitting the Minuteman III facilities for the new Sentinel nuclear missile before setting firm fixed-price contracts for later production lots:

Sentinel ICBM silo construction may be done with cost-plus contracts

The House Armed Services Committee approved Wednesday an amendment to the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill that would allow the Defense Department to award cost-plus incentive-fee contracts for construction projects for the Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program's facilities.

By Tony Bertuca
June 22, 2023 at 4:53 PM

The GOP-led House Appropriations Committee voted 34-24 today to pass its version of the fiscal year 2024 defense spending bill amid opposition from Democrats, who opposed the legislation over politically charged policy riders related to abortion as well as diversity, equity and inclusion and climate change.

The bill, which is aligned with a national defense topline of $886 billion for fiscal year 2024, cuts President Biden’s request for weapons procurement by nearly $4 billion, targeting some of the multiyear missile buys sought by the Pentagon.

However, the bill increases the Pentagon’s research, development, test and evaluation account by nearly $2 billion and the department’s operations and maintenance account by nearly $3 billion.

The bill’s specific jurisdiction covers $826.45 billion in new discretionary spending, which is $285.87 million over President Biden’s budget request and 3.6% above what lawmakers enacted in FY-23.

The committee today, however, spent most of its hearing on the bill arguing over its inclusion of "conservative priorities" related to abortion, DEI policies and climate change.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said the bill’s conservative policy provisions were put in place because the GOP believes they will help steer the Pentagon away from “culture wars.”

But Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), the subcommittee’s ranking member, decried the provisions as divisive.

“I did not see many of these new general provisions coming -- especially on the defense bill,” she said.

Meanwhile, many lawmakers who spoke at the committee’s hearing today to consider the bill said they believe it cannot be signed into law with Senate support as it is and urged compromise.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-IA) said he believes the debate about the bill today is the “start of a process,” but warned that a stopgap continuing resolution would be disastrous if lawmakers cannot pass all their spending bills on time.

“We're not going to settle this issue today and we all know that,” he said. “The only outcome in this bill would be a CR at the end of it. We cannot end up in a CR.”

The debt limit agreement Congress passed last month contains a provision that would implement an across-the-board 1% cut to federal spending if lawmakers pass a CR.

“We certainly don't need to cut last year's number by 1%,” he said.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) issued the same warning.

“We're going to get hit with a '23 enacted minus 1%,” he said. “I hope that everybody will kind of lock arms. Both sides are probably going to have to give up a little bit.”

But Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) said the bill contains too may “poison pills” like the banning of the Pentagon’s travel and leave policies for servicemembers seeking abortion services to the defunding of the DEI initiatives.

“I would much rather be spending our time on how we can compete with China,” he said.

By Apurva Minchekar
June 22, 2023 at 2:46 PM

United Launch Alliance successfully launched classified payloads into Geosynchronous Earth orbit on the Delta IV Heavy rocket for the National Reconnaissance Office, U.S. Space Systems Command announced today.

The launch took place early in the morning at 5:10 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-37B at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL, according to the announcement.

“We had another successful launch for the NRO today,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Purdy, SSC’s Assured Access to Space program executive officer.

“The payload we’ve put into space today adds to the unique capability the NRO provides to keep us safe and out in front of the pacing challenges posed by our nation’s competitors,” he said.

ULA is expecting to launch its last Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2024, the announcement reads.

“By then, the Delta vehicle will have launched the NRO’s heaviest satellites for more than a decade and a half,” SSC said.

Noting the vehicle family's significant contribution, SSC said Delta vehicles had launched payloads including military, government, commercial weather, communications, science satellites, robotic probes for exploration, eight Mars rovers and a telescope.

“With only one Delta IV Heavy launch planned for 2024, the Space Force nears the end of the long and overwhelmingly successful Delta era,” the command added.

ULA’s Vulcan will replace the Delta vehicle next year, which will launch the next generation of national security and commercial satellites into space with innovations, the command noted.

By John Liang
June 22, 2023 at 2:18 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on funding for the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program plus Navy cybersecurity and more.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) wants to assess the real costs of retrofitting the Minuteman III facilities for the new Sentinel nuclear missile before setting firm fixed-price contracts for later production lots:

Sentinel ICBM silo construction may be done with cost-plus contracts

The House Armed Services Committee approved Wednesday an amendment to the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill that would allow the Defense Department to award cost-plus incentive-fee contracts for construction projects for the Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program's facilities.

Bacon also introduced an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Air Force keep the number of fighter aircraft at a certain level and not go below that:

House authorizers would block cuts to Air National Guard fighter squadrons

House Armed Services Committee members voted Wednesday to prevent the Air Force from reducing the number of fighter squadrons it maintains.

A senior Navy official emphasized the importance of cybersecurity this week:

Acting Navy CIO prioritizes cybersecurity, lauds zero-trust cloud

The Navy’s acting chief information officer said today that cybersecurity must be "baked into everything" the service does.

The Navy needs to "replenish our stocks," according to a senior service official:

Surface Warfare Division chief says Navy needs to replenish munitions

The Navy "has an inventory issue" with munitions stockpiles that it is addressing with industry, according to Rear Adm. Fred Pyle, director of the Surface Warfare Division.

The T2 Tracking Layer will be responsible for accelerating the capability to provide global, persistent indications, detection, warning, tracking and identification of advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems:

SDA issues draft solicitation notice for Tranche 2 Tracking Layer

The Space Development Agency has issued a draft solicitation for a Tranche 2 Tracking Layer, an experimental military satellite constellation for the agency's Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

House Armed Services seapower subcommittee Ranking Member Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would give the Navy authority to use incremental funding to enter a contract for advance procurement and construction of a submarine tender in fiscal year 2024:

Lawmakers add advance procurement of submarine tender to defense policy bill

The House Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to its draft defense authorization bill that would add advance procurement authority for a submarine tender to the Navy's fiscal year 2024 shipbuilding plan, bringing total ship procurement up to 10 vessels.

By Apurva Minchekar
June 22, 2023 at 11:44 AM

RTX has partnered with Mynaric, a communications equipment company, to develop optical communication terminals for the Space Development Agency's military satellite constellation, the company announced yesterday.

The Tranche 1 Tracking Layer will focus on detecting, identifying and tracking hypersonic weapons and other advanced missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception, according to the announcement.

“This critical mission demands the very best in technology to ensure our nation’s security,” RTX Intelligence & Space President of Space & C2 Dave Broadbent said.

In February 2023, the Defense Department awarded RTX the seven-vehicle mission satellite constellation. Each satellite will feature three communications terminals supplied by Mynaric, known as CONDOR Mk3 terminals, the announcement reads. Mynaric will provide 21 CONDOR MK3 terminals to RTX for the program, which are expected to be delivered in 2024.

“Once the T1 Tracking Layer is fully deployed, the low-Earth orbit constellations of networked satellites will become the fifth plane of satellites to provide missile warning and missile tracking for the U.S. Department of Defense,” Mynaric said in the announcement.

Additionally, Mynaric will also provide optical communications terminals to the 14 satellites developed by Northrop Grumman, another prime contractor for the T1 Tracking Layer, whose delivery is expected in 2024 for deployment in 2025.

In July 2022, Inside Defense reported that SDA aims to launch the first tracking layer satellite no later than April 2025, a timetable accelerated by a $550 million program increase in March 2022.

By Tony Bertuca
June 22, 2023 at 11:02 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to advance the nomination of Gen. Eric Smith to be Marine Corps commandant.

Though Smith’s name will now move to the full Senate for confirmation, the matter is set to run into Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) blockade of all Pentagon nominees and military promotions. Tuberville is holding up the nomination process over his opposition to the Defense Department’s travel and leave policies for servicemembers seeking abortion services.

Gen. David Berger, the current Marine Corps commandant, is slated to retire in July.

Smith, currently the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, has said that, if confirmed, he will continue the service's Force Design 2030 transformation effort.

The committee also voted to advance the nomination of Maj. Gen. Leonard Anderson to be commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces South.

By Tony Bertuca
June 22, 2023 at 8:03 AM

The House Armed Services Committee voted 58-1 to advance its version of the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill last night, signaling strong bipartisan support for the annual, must-pass legislation.

The only member of the committee who voted against the bill was Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) said he is “incredibly proud of the bipartisan work” in the bill.

“This year’s [bill] includes provisions that counter China’s aggression, boost oversight of the Department of Defense, and support our servicemembers and their families,” he said. “Additionally, this year’s bill saves taxpayers billions of dollars while still making critical investments in innovative technologies and our defense industrial base.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the committee’s ranking member, said he supported the bill “in the spirit of compromise.”

“I am not supportive of everything in this bill,” he said. “However, I continue to be grateful for my colleagues from across the aisle who share the same desire to ensure those who serve and their families -- the people who are the heart of our national defense -- get the resources and respect they need and deserve. That includes provisions to strengthen the DOD civilian workforce, better support military spouses and military families, and a 5.2% pay raise for service members.”

The bill, which authorizes $886 billion in total national defense spending, now moves to the full House for consideration with a vote likely in the coming weeks.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, continues to debate its version of the bill but is scheduled to complete the process some time before Friday.

Watch Inside Defense for further coverage.

By Apurva Minchekar
June 21, 2023 at 4:44 PM

The Air Force has awarded a $1 billion contract to RTX for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Production Lot 37, the service announced yesterday.

Under this contract, RTX will be responsible for producing AMRAAM missiles, AMRAAM Telemetry Systems, initial and field spares and other production engineering support activities, according to the announcement.

The Defense Department said it expects the work to be completed by January 2027.

The contract also involves unclassified foreign military sales to Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. These sales account for approximately 39% of the contract value.

By Nick Wilson
June 21, 2023 at 3:45 PM

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has declined a request from a group of Senate Armed Services Committee members who asked the service to produce an updated shipbuilding plan that ensures an amphibious warship fleet of at least 31 vessels.

In a June 19 letter obtained by Inside Defense, Del Toro said the Navy intends to meet legal amphibious warship requirements and indicated he is prepared to brief the committee on the subject but did not provide an updated plan.

“The [Navy Department] will continue to make investments to put us on course to achieve and maintain a ready and capable amphibious warship fleet that meets the needs of our Joint Force Commanders,” Del Toro wrote. “I am prepared to come brief you in more detail.”

The secretary’s letter is a response to a June 13 letter, authored by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and signed by a bipartisan group of 13 other Senate Armed Services Committee members, that called for an updated shipbuilding plan and a briefing from Del Toro by Monday, June 19.

Lawmakers criticized the Navy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request -- which excluded a new amphibious transport dock from procurement plans while decommissioning three aging amphibious warships -- and the subsequent 30-year shipbuilding plan.

Although Congress set the 31 L-class ship floor in the FY-23 National Defense Authorization Act, the Navy’s 30-year plan sees the fleet remaining below that level for the plan’s duration.

Del Toro’s letter says the Navy has “every intention to meet the legally mandated amphibious ship requirements,” adding that he is in “constant consultation” with the Marine Corps commandant and chief of naval operations to maintain an effective portfolio of capabilities for the services.

In a statement shared with Inside Defense, Sullivan expressed dissatisfaction with Del Toro’s reply.

“I wish the secretary of the Navy had simply said he will follow the law -- and presented a plan to the [Senate Armed Services Committee] to do so by the deadline we respectfully requested,” Sullivan said. “While he assures the committee he ‘has every intention’ of following the law, his 30-year shipbuilding plan says the exact opposite, never meeting the 31 amphibious ship statutory minimum over the next 30 years.”

Sullivan’s statement adds that the senator plans to introduce an amendment to the FY-24 defense policy bill that would “force” the Navy to adhere to the amphibious warship requirement.

By Dan Schere
June 21, 2023 at 2:56 PM

The Army has awarded a contract worth as much as $118 million to RTX to procure the latest version of common sensor payload systems that will operate on the MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, the service announced Wednesday.

Common sensor payload systems are an “electro-optical/infrared/laser designator sensor” used by battlefield commanders supporting force application, force protection, battlespace awareness and “net-centric” operations, according to the Army.

The contract is for CSP systems that include a target location accuracy capability -- a feature that allows for “precision, near-real time engagement with coordinate-seeking weapons by reducing the sensor-to-shooter process from minutes to seconds,” according to the Army’s announcement.

Dennis Teefy, the project director for Sensors Aerial Intelligence, said in a statement Wednesday that this newer version of the CSP has updates that include a better camera with short-wave infrared capabilities, “which will enable better resolution in low light scenarios.”

“It also addresses hardware obsolescence in the current CSP version 2 to ensure sustainment can continue well into the future,” Teefy said in the statement.

This award is an “undefinitized contract action” that came through an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, according to the Army. According to Teefy, the Army used this type of contract because “the current lead time for the Gray Eagle is less than the CSP lead time.”

“By awarding the contract through an UCA, the Army will be able to get the new CSPs onto the Gray Eagle aircraft and field the complete system sooner,” he said.

The Army expects to begin fielding the new systems starting in fiscal year 2027.

By John Liang
June 21, 2023 at 2:06 PM

Coverage of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's proposed fiscal year 2024 military spending bill pretty much dominates this Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest.

Before we get to the appropriations bill, though, we start off with news about the Defense Department figuring out it has more money available for Ukraine than it originally thought:

Pentagon finds an additional $6.2B for Ukraine aid after 'accounting error'

The Pentagon, after reviewing an "accounting error," today said it now has an additional $6.2 billion in funding that President Biden can use to "drawdown" weapons from U.S. stocks and transfer them directly to Ukraine.

Switching to the spending bill, appropriators are cutting funding for a Navy hypersonic strike missile program:

House, citing test failures and delays, clips initial Navy hypersonic strike procurement by 25%

House lawmakers are recommending a 25% cut in the Navy's initial hypersonic strike missile procurement plan, citing concerns with increasing risk in the project caused by test failures and schedule delays, imposing a reduction that appears to decrease the Pentagon's proposed fiscal year 2024 acquisition of eight Conventional Prompt Strike rounds to six.

Appropriators also appear to be at odds with their authorization counterparts on shipbuilding:

House appropriators withhold LPD funding, differ from authorizers on shipbuilding

House appropriators are advancing a draft defense spending bill that excludes funding for amphibious warship procurement and looks to save two Littoral Combat Ships from decommissioning in fiscal year 2024 -- marking a significant departure from the draft legislation produced by the House Armed Services Committee.

. . . but appear to be in agreement over an Air Force hypersonic missile program:

House committees to defund troubled hypersonic ARRW program

House lawmakers from two key defense committees are set to zero-out the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon's fiscal year 2024 budget, ending the hypersonic program that has been plagued by test failures.

Lawmakers are also worried about funding for various Space Force programs:

House appropriators whack Space Force for program shortfall

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee is concerned the Space Force has underfunded critical programs, warning the service to not become overly comfortable with the double-digit budget growth of recent years, according to a draft report obtained by Inside Defense.

House appropriators are suggesting allocating $9.64 billion for 86 F-35 aircraft:

Lightning II naval aircraft acquisitions supported

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee wants to allocate 16 F-35B Lightnings -- the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variants (STOVLs) -- for the Marine Corps plus 19 F-35C carrier variants for the Navy and Marines.

. . . and are supportive of keeping up with funding for F-35 engines:

House appropriators would continue to fund F-35 AETP

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee would continue to fund the Adaptive Engine Transition Program that was originally intended for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to a draft report accompanying the annual defense spending bill obtained by Inside Defense.

Appropriators would grant multiyear procurement authority for certain Army missile programs, but not economic order of quantity intended to support the Defense Department's large-lot procurement concept:

House lawmakers seek cuts in Army missile programs

Reductions to the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement account are among the more than $478 million in cuts to Army missile procurement for fiscal year 2024 proposed by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, according to a draft report obtained by Inside Defense.

Last but by no means least, the report accompanying the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's spending bill emphasizes the need for non-traditional entrants into the defense industrial base, a central goal of the Defense Innovation Unit's mission:

House appropriators want $1B tech 'hedge portfolio' managed by Defense Innovation Unit

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee wants to allocate about $1 billion for the Pentagon to build a "hedge portfolio" to fund emerging military technologies that can be fielded within one to three years, according to a draft report obtained by Inside Defense.

By Dan Schere
June 21, 2023 at 1:25 PM

Aerojet Rocketdyne announced Wednesday that it is working with Lockheed Martin to develop an advanced propulsion solution for the Army’s Long Range Maneuverable Fires missile.

Lockheed is developing the LRMF missile, which will be fired from existing Army launchers such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System “to engage targets that significantly exceed those of the Precision Strike Missile,” according to a Wednesday announcement from Aerojet.

Eileen Drake, the president and CEO of Aerojet, said in a statement that “in addition to providing soldiers the edge in offensive operations, this extended-range missile will serve as a powerful deterrent, promising effective strike capabilities from long ranges.”

The LRMF program is currently in the design and risk-reduction phase of a multiphased development, according to Aerojet.

By Tony Bertuca
June 21, 2023 at 1:01 PM

Raytheon Technologies, one of the world's largest defense contractors, is changing its name to RTX, per an announcement from the company on LinkedIn.

The company previously announced a corporate restructuring earlier this year into three businesses -- Raytheon, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney.

“This is more than a new brand,” the company said on its website. “It is a signal of the next step in our company’s transformation. Now, three market-leading businesses -- Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Raytheon -- are working as one to answer the biggest questions and solve the hardest problems in aerospace and defense.”

The corporate rebranding as RTX comes three years after The Raytheon Co. merged with United Technologies Corp., changed its name to Raytheon Technologies and moved its corporate headquarters from Waltham, MA, to Arlington, VA.

Raytheon was founded in 1922 in Cambridge, MA.

By Linda Hersey
June 20, 2023 at 4:38 PM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee is calling for an assessment of U.S. maritime capabilities in the Arctic in fiscal year 2024, as activities by Russia and China increase across the region.

The subcommittee wants Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin -- in coordination with the Navy and Homeland Security secretaries -- to brief lawmakers in both chambers on military and security, according to the draft report obtained by Inside Defense that accompanies the FY-24 defense spending bill and is expected to be voted on Thursday.

The report notes evolving security concerns in the Arctic that warrant a threat assessment of future needs for the region. The threat-based assessment will include projections for requirements.

Thawing ice in the Arctic has opened new shipping lanes and increased geopolitical competition over the region’s vast mineral resources.

The National Strategy for the Arctic, published in October 2022, provides a 10-year outlook for the region, prioritizing security, economic development and the environment.

The strategy states that competition in the Arctic is “exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.” The blueprint articulates a vision for competition and to manage tensions.

The United States is among eight Arctic nations that also include Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

The nations have membership on the inter-governmental Arctic Council. China has declared itself a near-Arctic state and observes Arctic Council meetings.

By John Liang
June 20, 2023 at 1:05 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on proposed weapons procurement cuts, expanding Aegis Ashore in Europe and more.

We start off with an early look at the draft report accompanying the defense spending bill lawmakers are scheduled to debate this week:

House GOP appropriators cut DOD procurement by $4B, block some multiyear missile buys

The GOP-led House Appropriations Committee is poised to pass a fiscal year 2024 defense spending bill on Thursday that cuts President Biden's request for weapons procurement by nearly $4 billion, targeting some of the multiyear missile buys sought by the Pentagon, according to a draft report obtained by Inside Defense.

Document: House appropriators' FY-24 defense spending bill, report

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, in its mark of the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill, includes a provision that would require the Defense Department to codify notional options for giving the Aegis missile defense sites in Romania and Poland -- originally established to counter Iranian threats -- to also deal with threats from the European continent:

Legislation would direct DOD to codify options for Aegis Ashore defense against Russia

The project to explore expanding the mission of Aegis Ashore sites in Europe to defend against Russian threats would inch forward if legislation proposed by a House panel -- which calls for the Pentagon to report on feasibility and advisability of such a change -- becomes law.

MH-60S helicopters will begin reaching the end of their service lives in the 2030s. But through a service life extension program (SLEP) and ongoing preventative maintenance, the Navy hopes to extend their use into the 2040s or beyond:

Navy eyes life extensions for MH-60S fleet, considers FVL options

The Navy plans to extend the service life of its fleet of MH-60S Seahawk aircraft into the 2040s, while an analysis of alternatives for a future vertical lift capability works its way through the Pentagon's internal review process.

House authorizers would mandate the defense secretary prepare a report on the integrated air and missile defense architecture for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with particular focus on the role of Hawaii sensors:

Dubious of radar plan to protect Hawaii from missile attack, lawmakers direct new report

Lawmakers are skeptical of the Pentagon's latest radar plan to help protect Hawaii from missile attack, noting the fiscal year 2024 budget plan would halt funding for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii project while also seeking permission to start a new sensor project that doesn't integrate into the U.S. military's wider missile defense sensor architecture.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies last week hosted a panel discussion on Indo-Pacific strategy featuring the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia:

U.S., allies focus on building 'common operating picture' in the Indo-Pacific

The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, launched to provide a near-real time view of waters and shores in an increasingly contested realm, will "be live across the region" by the end of the calendar year, according to Lindsey Ford, deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia.