The Defense Department recently pegged the total price tag for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria at $580 million -- a $156 million increase from when the Pentagon last provided cost figures.
The new numbers, provided on a DOD website dedicated to Operation Inherent Resolve, show the daily cost to be $8.3 million between Aug. 8 and Oct. 16, an uptick from the $7.4 million-per-day cost Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby gave reporters Oct. 21.
Kirby has repeatedly stressed that the Pentagon expects a "years-long" fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
MDA is scheduled to hold an Aegis BMD intercept today (the test window opened at 10:30 a.m.). On Friday afternoon, InsideDefense.com did a curtain-raiser on the test:
The Missile Defense Agency on Monday plans to test a new version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System that aims to give the Navy the ability to simultaneously conduct air and ballistic missile defense -- a first-ever integrated capability that, if validated, would allow the nation to efficiently expand the BMD-capable fleet.
On Oct. 14, the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii -- which will launch a medium-range ballistic missile target as part of the engagement -- published a Notice to Mariners titled "Missiles" advising of "hazardous operations" on Oct. 27 in the morning, with alternate launch windows during the early parts of the day from Oct. 28 through Oct. 30. Multiple government and industry sources confirmed a major Aegis BMD test is set for early next week.
The destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG-53) -- the first ship to be outfitted with the newest version of the sea-based ballistic missile defense system -- will utilize the Aegis Baseline 9C Multi-Mission Signal Processor, the centerpiece of the new Aegis BMD 5.0 capability upgrade, to track the threat and attempt intercept with a Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile, according to MDA.
Inside the Army's top story this week is on long-term modernization:
Army leadership has given Training and Doctrine Command new budget and policy authorities to create the kind of ground force officials envision 20 years from now.
Service Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno over the summer positioned TRADOC's commander, currently Gen. David Perkins, as the lead official for executing the major "Force 2025 and Beyond" initiative. That effort essentially aims to prepare the Army for a future that cannot be predicted -- a hypothesis senior officials recited tirelessly at the annual convention of the Association of the United States Army earlier this month.
Brig. Gen. Gary Brito, director of TRADOC's Force 2025 and Beyond Directorate, told Inside the Army in an Oct. 15 interview that much of what the new authorities mean remains to be fleshed out. What is clear so far, however, is that the Ft. Belvoir, VA-based command can now take recommendations targeting internal process changes or modernization priorities directly to senior Army leaders, especially for projects outside the service's five-year planning cycle.
The Army's acquisition chief wants all the service's programs to be able to pay for upgrades to the Military-Code GPS:
The Army's top acquisition official says she is requiring that all programs make room in the budget for any upgrades needed to transition systems to the Military-Code Global Positioning System developed by the Air Force.
"If you look across our portfolio, we have some programs that are probably a little bit older, probably don't have the funding in there to help us transition toward the M-Code," Shyu told reporters Oct. 14 at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington. "But what I'm doing now is I'm decreeing that 'thou shall' put it in there to enable us to upgrade to the capability."
M-Code is being developed to provide the military with a stronger, more secure signal that cannot be easily jammed or spoofed. Air Force budget documents show a risk-reduction demonstration for M-Code is scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal year 2018.
The Army wants to upgrade the landing craft it owns:
Citing concerns with outdated propulsion systems in its 34 Landing Craft Utility-2000 water vehicles, the service is looking to launch a service-life extension program for the vessels.
Publication of a draft request for proposals for such a program is expected sometime in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. It will coincide with an "Army Watercraft Systems Industry Day" scheduled for Dec. 3 in New Orleans, LA, according to service spokesman Michael Clow.
The industry day will "provide industry insight into future Army watercraft opportunities and technologies being considered and planned for Army acquisition," including the LCU-2000 life extension and "planned procurements of the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)," according to a recent Army notice for industry on the event.
The Army plans to set up a new "Cyber Battle Lab":
The Army plans to develop new ways to hack, attack and disrupt enemy networks across cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum in a soon-to-be-established "Cyber Battle Lab."
The service is transitioning the new lab, located at the Cyber Center of Excellence at Ft. Gordon, GA, out of what is now called the "Network Battle Lab." An Oct. 16 request for information on the Federal Business Opportunities website states the current iteration of the lab "was focused only on experimentation to support the network." The Cyber Battle Lab, in contrast, will conduct experiments across cyberspace operations, electronic warfare and spectrum-management operations, the notice states. The lab is expected to reach initial operational capability next October.
In addition to working with Army program offices and research centers, the new lab also will partner with industry and academia, according to Col. Michael Brownfield, director of the transitioning battle lab. Brownfield said he has submitted a concept of operations to Army leaders, and approval of the document will drive future funding.
News on the Pentagon's joint rapid acquisition cell:
After satisfying more than 500 requests in the past decade, the Pentagon's joint rapid acquisition cell is unlikely to slow its pace in the face of new global threats, according to the outgoing chief of the program.
"We have a little over 30 [requests] that are still active, that we are still trying to deliver . . . and I would not be surprised if that number stayed the same for a while, for years going into the future," Andrew Hunter, who is departing his Pentagon job for a post at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told reporters on Oct. 23.
This stands in stark contrast to Hunter's assessment in August, when he said the future of rapid acquisition was uncertain as a variety of ad hoc contingency funds that had allowed the Defense Department to sidestep a cumbersome acquisition process was beginning to shrink. The Iraqi Freedom Fund, the Joint Improvised Explosive Defeat Fund and the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Fund are all examples of funds Hunter said were drying up due to the conclusion of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The head of U.S. forces in South Korea spoke to reporters on Friday:
The commander of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula said the miniaturization of a nuclear device and cyberattack were among the "evolving and developing" threats from North Korea that have indefinitely delayed the transfer of operational control in the region to the South Korean military.
Although South Korea was scheduled to take operational control, or OPCON, by the end of 2015, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un continues to pursue threatening nuclear technology that has put the transfer on hold until the United States can help its South Korean allies achieve critical internal defense capabilities.
"I believe they have the capability to have a miniaturized device at this point," Scaparrotti said of North Korea. "I don't know that they have the capability. As a commander, I've got to believe they have it. They have proliferation relationships with other countries -- Iran and Pakistan, in particular."
-- John Liang