DOD won't comment on it yet, but it's issued a new policy on electromagnetic environmental effects that has at least one lawmaker very interested:
Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks this week praised a new Defense Department instruction as major step toward recognizing electromagnetic effects as significant threats.
The instruction, issued Aug. 25, establishes a new electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) program and requires that all military platforms, systems, subsystems and equipment be operational in the case of a man-made or natural electromagnetic incident.
"The recently announced DOD electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) program is a very insightful and vigilant step forward on their part in preparing for future warfare challenges," Franks said in an Aug. 27 statement to Inside the Pentagon. "As the department prepares for future anti-access area-denial environments, addressing electromagnetic pulse vulnerabilities will be critical to our ability to defend the nation against all threats."
Signed by acting DOD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen, the policy mandates that all new defense items be outfitted during the acquisition process with hardware to mitigate the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI). Additionally, existing items may be retrofitted with EMI-repelling features during their acquisition life cycle, according to a congressional aide. The instruction also requires the use of tactics, techniques and procedures to keep military systems operational in the case of an EMI incident.
As noted in the story, no comment from the Pentagon. More to come.
The top House authorizer on Iraq:
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee called on the White House this week to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria in ways that go beyond the fiscal year 2015 budget.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) challenged President Obama to "engage Congress" in this process, arguing that the administration's "minimalist approach" is inadequate to confront the threat posed by ISIS.
"There is no negotiating with ISIS or deterring it; it must be defeated and destroyed," McKeon said in an Aug. 27 statement. "ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY-15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety."
What's next for the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon?
The recent termination of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon test flight shortly after liftoff will be a setback to the faster-than-the-speed-of-sound program designed to strike faraway and fleeting targets, according to experts and officials tracking the program.
The Army Space and Missile Defense Command was unable to evaluate the AHW during its Aug. 25 test because a booster rocket experienced an anomaly after liftoff, and caused authorities to terminate the flight for safety reasons. James Acton, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, told InsideDefense.com Monday that the test termination "appears to say more about the booster than anything about the glider."
Although the test failure can't be blamed on the AHW itself, the whole program faces a setback, said aerospace consultant Leon McKinney, who tracks hypersonics programs. Because the test was terminated shortly after launch, no test data was able to be recovered.
"While the saying 'you learn something with every flight, even failed flights' is always true, this sort of failure doesn't provide much positive learning related to AHW," McKinney said, suggesting that the only lesson learned relates to more carefully checking the launch vehicle used.
Inside the Pentagon had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get an inspector general report on rare earth elements released:
The Defense Department lacks a comprehensive and reliable process to assess rare earth element supply and demand, which could lead to shortfalls that impact readiness, the Pentagon inspector general says in a new report.
The report, dated July 3 and obtained by Inside the Pentagon through the Freedom of Information Act on Aug. 20, states that the Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Materials Division (DLA-SM) fell short in its survey of rare earth elements (REE), which may compromise the defense industrial base's supply.
According to the report, modeling done by the Institute for Defense Analysis for DLA-SM did not adequately assess market and environmental risks that could adversely affect REE data production forecasts used to estimate supplies.
"DLA-SM personnel should have ensured that IDA not only identified, but also analyzed, mitigated and tracked the risks that could adversely affect production capacity forecasts" for rare earth oxides, or unrefined REEs, the report states.
The office of the Pentagon's top testers has updated a key document:
The Aug. 25, 2014, briefing from the office of the director of operational test and evaluation -- labeled an update to a prior briefing -- delves into reasons for defense acquisition program delays.
More from Inside the Pentagon:
Senior defense leaders are calling for a sitdown with lawmakers to discuss concerns that Congress has not provided enough funding for the National Leadership Command, Control and Communications System.
In a July 2 letter, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James Winnefeld and Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall wrote that they seek the opportunity to discuss the matter with congressional defense committees following a review of the House appropriators' fiscal year 2015 defense spending bill. Winnefeld and Kendall co-chair the Council on the Oversight of the National Leadership Command, Control and Communications System.