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Inside the Pentagon - February 14, 2019
  • Pentagon planning a mammoth FY-20 war budget to avoid spending cap

    The Defense Department is preparing to ask Congress for an increase of more than $100 billion in its controversial warfighting account to skirt a mandatory budget cap, but some government officials are worried it will only further the account's appearance as a slush fund.

    738 words

  • DOD to begin writing permanent 'middle-tier acquisition' policy

    The Pentagon's acquisition office is set to host a meeting this week where officials will begin hashing out a permanent policy for "middle-tier acquisition" programs after allowing the services to experiment with the streamlined authority over the past year.

    876 words

  • Pentagon seeks to accelerate AI developments under new strategy

    The Pentagon plans to work with a range of commercial companies to rapidly develop artificial intelligence capabilities "responsibly and ethically," according to a new Defense Department strategy.

    1228 words

  • Inhofe: Trump should pick new SECDEF; says Shanahan lacks 'humility'

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said this week he has talked with President Trump about nominating a new defense secretary to succeed Jim Mattis, voicing concern that acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan lacks the "humility" of his predecessor and is unable to muster the full force of his office because of his "temporary" status.

    607 words

  • New NRO Chief

    President Trump has nominated Christopher Scolese, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, to be the next head of the National Reconnaissance Office. Before heading Goddard, Scolese served as the associate administrator at NASA headquarters as well as the organization's chief engineer. Prior to his work at NASA, Scolese was a senior analyst at McLean, VA-based General Research Corp., where "he participated in several SDIO programs," a NASA bio reads, referring to the Strategic Defense Initiative Office, a predecessor to the Missile Defense Agency.

    93 words

  • MDA readying sole-source Lockheed contract for Saudi Arabia THAAD deal

    The Missile Defense Agency is readying a potential $15 billion contract with Lockheed Martin to buy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems for Saudi Arabia, a deal in the works for years that would in a single package outfit the desert kingdom with seven batteries -- equivalent to the Army's current THAAD ballistic missile defense capabilities for the entire globe.

    486 words

  • Officials: Russian, Chinese organizational shifts signify greater space focus

    A defense intelligence official told reporters this week that the biggest threat to U.S. space superiority is likely not a single adversary capability, but rather actions in recent years by Russia and China to better organize and integrate space capabilities within their militaries -- actions that could help the Pentagon as it makes a case to create a new Space Force.

    660 words

  • DOT&E points to shortfalls in evaluating emerging technologies

    From advanced software to autonomous systems to directed energy weapons, the Defense Department lacks the adequate tools, ranges and skills to fully vet many emerging technologies Pentagon leaders say are crucial to renewed great power competition, according to DOD's head of operational testing.

    1231 words

  • Service secretaries sign joint memo on modular open systems standards

    The Air Force, Army and Navy secretaries recently signed a new memorandum that would require them to adopt common standards for cross-domain information-sharing on future systems.

    204 words

  • Pentagon's plans for inflated OCO request spark conflict on Capitol Hill

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said this week he would back the Pentagon if it submitted a budget requesting a massively inflated warfighting account intended to skirt statutory spending caps, but his Democratic counterpart Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) opposes the move on the grounds that it is a "dramatic retreat . . . from common sense and good government."

    965 words

  • CNO: Maritime strategy at 'very front' of FY-20 budget process

    The Navy formulated its fiscal year 2020 budget with the service's new maritime strategy at the "very front" of the process, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told Inside Defense in a Feb. 7 interview.

    540 words

  • CNO: Making 'first moves' in Black Sea would not necessarily be 'aggressive'

    The Navy's top admiral last week said the service may consider making "first moves" in the Black Sea region to force responses from Russia and other competitors in the area, but in an interview with Inside Defense said those actions could fall short of being labeled as "aggressive."

    547 words

  • DOT&E: Pentagon mandating additional follow-on SM-3 Block IB flight tests

    The Pentagon's acquisition executive agreed to allow the Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon to transition the Standard Missile-3 Block IB into production more than a year ago only after mandating continued flight tests in order to ally concerns about the reliability of the interceptor in the wake of several developmental flight-test failures.

    417 words

  • GAO calls for DCMA to monitor contractor business system reviews

    The Pentagon is backing a Government Accountability Office recommendation that the Defense Contract Management Agency create a way to better monitor contractor business system reviews.

    267 words

  • Pentagon official urges quicker action on securing DOD networks

    A senior Pentagon official responsible for data management is calling for immediate action to secure networks based on a recent assessment of threats, a call that comes as the Defense Department is moving aggressively to modernize its systems under the chief information officer's expanded authority provided this year by Congress.

    671 words

  • NIST pushes ahead on updating unclassified info guidance for contractors

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology is racing to publish a second revision of a draft guidance document on protecting "controlled unclassified information" prior to Feb. 15 in case another partial government shutdown occurs.

    553 words

  • AF works to mitigate early Next-Gen OPIR delay after reprogramming denial

    The Air Force's strategy to develop the next generation of missile warning satellites on an aggressive schedule using new acquisition concepts and resiliency standards hit a snag last fall when Congress partially denied funding for a reprogramming request, delaying the start of payload development by about four months, according to a service official.

    1272 words

  • Air Force sets $9.9 billion price tag for new T-X program

    The Air Force has established a $9.9 billion price tag for its new Advanced Pilot Training program, the Boeing-led project -- also dubbed T-X -- to recapitalize the aging fleet of T-38C aircraft used to train fighter and bomber pilots.

    401 words