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09 Jan 20. Pentagon updates mid-tier, urgent acquisition policies. The Defense Department issued updates to mid-tier and urgent acquisition policies that allow the military to quickly develop prototypes and field systems. The policies took effect in the last days of 2019.
Reworking the DOD 5000 series instructions that govern acquisition practices has been a top priority for DOD acquisition chief Ellen Lord, who told reporters Dec. 10 the changes “the most transformational change to acquisition policy in decades.”
The Pentagon has said it expects to publish the adaptive acquisition framework in January, which will include acquisition pathways specific to “the unique characteristics of the capability being acquired,” Lord said.
The mid-tier acquisition instructions address rapid prototyping and fielding and are meant to serve as a path to “accelerate capability maturation before transitioning to another acquisition pathway or may be used to minimally develop a capability before rapidly fielding.”
Lord said the new mid-tier instructions under an 18-month pilot facilitated a dramatic increase in the number of programs.
“Since our pilot started 18 months ago, we have gone from zero middle-tier programs in November 2018 to over 50 middle-tier programs today delivering military utility to warfighters years faster than the traditional acquisition system,” Lord said in the media briefing.
The urgent instructions focus on capabilities needed during conflict that can be fielded in less than two years but cost less than $525m in research and development funds or $3bn for fiscal 2020 procurements. (Source: Defense Systems)
09 Jan 20. US think tank calls for ‘fundamental reshape’ of US surface fleet to defeat Chinese threat. The US-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has launched a new report revealing the growing need for what it defines as a “fundamental reshape” of the US Navy’s surface force, adapting new technologies, greater payloads, longer range offensive weapons and ‘distributed lethality’ concepts to counter China’s rising capabilities.
Naval power has always played a critical role in the way great powers interact – competitions to design the most powerful warships often characterising the great power competitions of the past.
The decades leading up to the outbreak of the First World War saw an unprecedented competition between the UK and German Empire, with much of the emphasis placed on Dreadnought battleships echoing a similar, albeit smaller, naval arms race gathering steam between the US and China.
In recent years, nations throughout the Indo-Pacific have begun a series of naval expansion and modernisation programs with traditional aircraft carriers and large-deck, amphibious warfare ships serving as the core of their respective shift towards greater maritime power projection.
At the end of the Second World War, the aircraft carrier emerged as the apex of naval prestige and power projection.
Unlike their predecessor, the battleship, aircraft carriers in themselves are relatively benign actors, relying heavily on their attached carrier air-wings and supporting escort fleets of cruisers, destroyers and submarines to screen them from hostile action.
Despite claims by strategic policy think tanks and individual academics, both the US and China continue to invest heavily in the potent power projection capabilities provided by aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious warfare ships.
While the US enjoys a substantial quantitative and qualitative lead over the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with a fleet of 11 nuclear-powered supercarriers and two currently under construction, China’s strategic planners know that they don’t need to exercise global maritime hegemony in the way the US does.
The US Navy’s aircraft carriers have served as a major tactical and strategic force multiplier proving influential in allied operations in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East and southern Europe.
Seeking to minimise this advantage China has hedged its bets, investing heavily in a potent, integrated network of advanced anti-ship cruise and ballistic missile systems and its own growing fleet of aircraft carriers with which to project its presence throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
A potent example of this, involving both China and the US, is the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995, which prompted China’s pursuit of its A2AD network and sped up the nation’s aircraft carrier program.
Recognising the rising challenges to continued US maritime dominance, led largely as a result of the rising capability and ambitions of China’s own Navy and leadership respectively, Bryan Clark and Timothy Walton of the US-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) have sought to effectively reshape the US Navy.
Clark and Walton’s ‘Taking back the Seas: Transforming the US surface fleet for decision-centric warfare’ focuses on developing new operational concepts and a new surface fleet design maximising the advent of new radar, sonar, weapons and unmanned technologies to maintain America’s maritime dominance.
New CONOPS and adapting to China’s maritime developments
A key focus for both Clark and Walton is the rapidly changing nature of contemporary maritime warfare and the disruption technology is having in the domain – this is demonstrated by the Cold War-era platforms and force structure employed by the US Navy, which fails to account for the proliferation of advanced anti-ship ballistic and cruise missile systems, smart mines and quiet submarines.
“The US Navy has been slow to address the changing threat environment. As a result, today’s surface force lacks the size, resilience and offensive capacity to effectively support the US National Defense Strategy’s approach of deterring aggression by degrading, delaying or defeating enemy attacks,” the report states.
Large, traditional surface combatants, like guided missile destroyers, cruisers and frigates and aircraft carriers, which are both expensive to develop and acquire and manpower-intensive to operate, are seen as key weaknesses of the US Navy as it pushes to counter the rising maritime capabilities of the PLAN.
Articulating this, the report states: “The surface fleet is weighted toward large combatants that are too expensive and manpower-intensive to achieve the numbers needed for distributed operations.
“They also rely on sensors that will likely be unavailable or create unacceptable vulnerabilities during combat against a great power like China. Perhaps of most concern is the fact that the current fleet is fiscally unsustainable due to the escalating costs to crew, operate, and maintain today’s highly integrated manned surface combatants.”
Addressing this issue, Clark and Walton propose a shift from what is defined as ‘attrition’ warfare towards traditional ‘manoeuvre’ based operational concepts, supported by ‘decision-centric’ frameworks, taking the advantage and acting assertively to present “multiple mutually insoluble dilemmas on adversaries”.
Both Clark and Walton identify that while the US Navy and Marine Corps are moving tentatively towards ‘decision-centric’ models through their new CONOPS for Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) and Expeditionary Advance Based Operations (EABO) there is a growing need to fully leverage technology to support the ‘thinking’ and ‘shooting’ phases of the kill chain.
In particular, Clark and Walton identify the growing need for a ‘decision-centric’ force to embrace a new set of mission parameters including counter-ISRT (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting) and pursue new tactics for the longstanding missions of ISRT, maritime strike or anti-surface warfare (ASUW), strike warfare (STW) against land targets, ASW, MIW, air-and-missile defence (AMD), and maritime security operations (MSO).
However, achieving the increasingly complex range of operations and responsibilities across a dispersed and complicated maritime battlespace requires a significant shift in the constitution of the surface fleet, particularly concerning the suitability of traditional large surface combatants.
Maximising the combat effectiveness of the surface fleet
Both Clark and Walton accept the growing importance and disruptive nature of once unproven technologies, namely unmanned and autonomous systems, which both believe can be used to “increase the offensive capacity of US surface forces”.
Additionally, Clark and Watson also recognise that by increasing the complexity of US surface forces arrayed against an adversary and enhancing the “salvo size needed by an adversary for a successful, immediate attack” complicating the decision making and kill chains of an adversary, allowing for greater flexibility and kinetic manoeuvrability for a US force.
“Complexity can be measured in terms of the number of different effects chains a given force package or fleet can conduct. Combined with more offensive capacity, more possible effects chains would increase the ability of US surface forces to decide and act quickly,” the report states.
“Complexity and greater defensive capacity will also degrade the ability of an adversary to promptly identify and engage the most advantageous targets to defeat US forces.”
To this end, Clark and Watson state, “The deployed force packages proposed in CSBA’s study are able to generate more independent effects chains, growing the complexity imposed on adversary decision-making.”
CSBA proposes a radical shift in the traditional post-Cold War approach taken by the US Navy and more broadly, the US Armed Forces when it comes to not only defence and capability definition and acquisition, but also force structures that fail to fully account for the disruptive nature of technologies and increasingly unpredictable ‘grey zone’ tactics.
Accordingly, the proposal requests a fleet architecture that accounts for the readiness cycles of ships and the transit time to travel from homeports to operating areas. This focus includes a “fewer manned large surface combatants than the Navy’s programmed force (78 instead of 104) and far more small surface combatants (258 instead of 52), which include optionally unmanned corvettes (DDC) and MUSVs”.
“The surface combatant fleet would also incorporate additional sensors and vehicles, such as shipborne small unmanned vehicles and helicopters.”
Too few ships and too few weapons to win the fight
While discussion about the size of the US Navy has been a contentious issue for some time – recent efforts to get the force to 355 ships has seen growing support, particularly as China continues to exert its own influence and presence throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Despite concerns about a small number of increasingly expensive platforms – think the troubled Zumwalt and Ford classes, respectively – US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday remains optimistic about the US Navy’s capacity to adapt and win the fight.
“Our fleet is too small, and our capabilities are stacked on too few ships that are too big. And that needs to change over time. [But] we have made significant investments in aircraft carriers and we’re going to have those for a long time,” ADM Gilday stated.
“Look, people don’t give us enough credit for the gray matter between our ears, and there are some very smart people we have thinking about how we fight better. The fleet that we have today, 75 per cent of it, will be the fleet we have in 2030. So, we have to think about how we get more out of it.”
Acting US Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, has reinforced the President’s push for a 355 ship force, stating: “It was also the President’s goal during the election. We have a goal of 355, we don’t have a plan for 355. We need to have a plan, and if it’s not 355, what’s it going to be and what’s it going to look like?”
Building on this, he raised the important question around next-generation weapons systems including hypersonics, unmanned and autonomous systems and new operational concepts to support the objectives of the US Navy.
“How many more hypersonics are we going to need? Where are we going to put them? These are long-term investments that we will have to make, but we have to get our story straight first. So, I’m going to focus a lot on that this year,” acting Secretary Modly said.(Source: Defence Connect)
08 Jan 20. Trump: No Casualties in Iranian Missile Attack, U.S. Won’t Allow Nuclear Iran. There were no American or Iraqi casualties as a result of the Iranian missile attacks on Al Asad Air Base and the city of Irbil in Iraq, President Donald J. Trump said today.
After meeting with his national security team, the president reiterated in the strongest manner that the United States will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
“We suffered no casualties — all of our soldiers are safe — and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases,” Trump said in a statement from the White House. ”Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”
Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases that the United States uses to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Four of the ballistic missiles broke up in flight; 10 hit Al Asad and two hit Irbil, officials said. Iranian officials said the attack was in response to the recent killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force in a U.S. strike in Baghdad. We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.” President Donald J. Trump
Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of American deaths during the Iraq conflict and thousands of deaths in and around the Middle East, U.S. officials said. The United States declared the IGRC a terrorist organization in April.
“For far too long — all the way back to 1979, to be exact — nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond,” the president said. ”Those days are over. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.”
Intelligence indicated that Soleimani was planning further attacks of American targets when the president made his decision. ”He should have been terminated long ago,” Trump said. “By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.”
The president said the United States is evaluating options moving forward. The United States will impose new sanctions against the regime, and they will remain in place until the regime changes its behavior, he said.
The president called on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. He called on the remaining signatories to the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program — the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China — to withdraw from the plan. Trump pulled the United States out of the deal last year.
“We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,” Trump said. “We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper and take advantage of its enormous, untapped potential. Iran can be a great country.”
The president said he intends to ask NATO allies to become more involved in the Middle East process. (Source: US DoD)
08 Jan 20. Trump says Iran appears to be ‘standing down’ after attack. President addresses the nation after Tehran fires missiles at bases in Iraq housing US forces. Donald Trump moved away from a military confrontation with Iran, saying Tehran “appeared to be standing down” after attacking two Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the killing of its top general. Warning that Iran would never acquire a nuclear weapon while he was president, Mr Trump said on Wednesday that he would impose new economic sanctions on Iran. He also called on Nato to become “much more involved in the Middle East process”. No American or Iraqis were killed in the attack, Mr Trump said, in televised remarks from the White House flanked by top officials including Mike Pence, vice-president; Mike Pompeo, secretary of state; Mark Esper, defence secretary; and Mark Milley, commander of the joint chiefs of staff. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Mr Trump said. The president’s comments appeared to signal a de-escalation of the crisis in the Middle East sparked by the killing of Qassem Soleimani, whom the US accused of plotting imminent attacks against hundreds of Americans in the region. The general’s death in a US drone strike in Baghdad led Iraqi lawmakers to call for the expulsion of US troops from the country and prompted a volley of heated rhetoric between Washington and Tehran. Both sides have threatened tit-for-tat measures — although officials from both countries said they did not seek full-blown war. Mr Trump previously warned that he would consider a “disproportionate” response and said he had identified 52 targets the US would “hit very fast and very hard” if Tehran retaliated. US stocks rallied and oil added to its losses following Mr Trump’s remarks, as investors bet a broader conflict may have been averted. Wall Street’s S&P 500 jumped 0.7 per cent to trade at a record intraday high. Brent crude was down more than 3 per cent at $66.14 a barrel. Gold, a safe haven for investors during times of turmoil, was down 1.3 per cent. (Source: FT.com)
07 Jan 20. Esper: Iran Has ‘Big Off Ramp’ to Avoid Further Conflict. The United States does not want a war with Iran, and it’s not leaving Iraq, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.
“As we defend our people and interests, let me reiterate, the U.S. is not seeking a war with Iran,” Esper said during a Pentagon news conference today. “But we are prepared to finish one. We are seeking a diplomatic solution. But first this will require Iran to de-escalate. It will require the regime to come to the table with the goal of preventing further bloodshed. And it will require them to cease their malign activities throughout the region.”
There’s a clear-cut way to avoid further conflict between the two nations, the secretary told reporters.
“There is a big off ramp sitting in front of Tehran right now,” Esper said. “That is to de-escalate, to message us that they want to sit down and talk — without precondition, by the way — to the U.S. about a better way forward, about a way forward which would constitute a new mode of behavior by Iran where they behave more like a normal country.”
We are not leaving Iraq. … We are in Iraq, and we are there to support Iraqi forces and the Iraqi government [to] become a strong, independent and prosperous country.”
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper
Tensions have flared since the United States launched an airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
Esper said the protection of American personnel and partners remains a top priority of the DOD, as does maintaining readiness to conduct operations to respond to Iranian aggression.
“Since the strike, I have spoken with the commanders on the ground to ensure they have the resources they need to protect their people and prepare for any contingencies,” Esper said. “As a result, we have increased our force protection postures across the region and will continue to reposition and bolster our forces as necessary to protect our people, our interests and our facilities.”
Within Iraq, Esper said, the risk of retaliation by Iran has not deterred continuing U.S efforts to secure the enduring defeat of ISIS.
“We have received widespread support for our actions from our allies and partners in the region, and we will continue to work with them to protect our gains against ISIS,” he said. “I have been in constant communication with our counterparts, and I’ve called upon them to stand with us in the defense of coalition forces in Iraq. Working through NATO, the defeat-ISIS coalition, and with our partners on the ground, we continue to bolster Iraqi institutions to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS.”
The secretary also told reporters the United States is not leaving Iraq, “Our policy is unchanged,” he said. “We are not leaving Iraq. … We are in Iraq, and we are there to support Iraqi forces and the Iraqi government [to] become a strong, independent and prosperous country.” (Source: US DoD)
09 Jan 20. It has been reported that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned of the terror threats Iran poses to the US in a joint intelligence bulletin sent to law enforcement throughout the country on Wednesday. In the bulletin, which was obtained by CNN, the agencies predicted Iran could take immediate steps to attack the US in cyberspace, and noted that Iran has a history of attempting assassinations and planting operatives in the US to conduct surveillance for terror attacks.
Commenting on this, Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, said “Iran, like many nations, is never really at peace in the cybersphere. In peacetime, it seeks to expand the sphere of what it can control or “own,” while adding to the arsenal of delivery mechanisms and payloads. This in itself is not unusual and is a status quo, of sorts, online. However, recent exchanges between the US and Iran have led to an increase in tension and all parties who touch the Middle East to be on heightened alert for the second week in a row.
The latest joint bulletin from the FBI and DHS is not surprising in the least. Reading between the lines, all’s quiet on the cyber front. Iran has built a credible cyber capability and has an ecosystem of ideologically aligned smaller players, proxies that act at arm’s length and multiple hacking teams and agencies. What’s likely in the short term is defacement, denial-of-service attacks and simple, highly visible exploits. What’s feared in the medium to long term is more thought out attacks or even hybrid attacks if we don’t return soon to the status antebellum, the status before the war. Now is a time not for panic but for checking readiness, for boning up on the tactics, techniques and practices of Iranian actors like APT 33, APT 34, APT 35, APT 39 and more. The possibility of false flag operations copy cats and opportunistic attacks can’t be ruled out either. All’s quiet on the cyber front as we await the next response from Iran.”
07 Jan 20. US lawmakers protest proposed cuts to shipbuilding. In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two key lawmakers decried proposed cuts to shipbuilding, saying the cuts threaten long-term security and jobs.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, said in a letter that they are “deeply concerned” about reports that five of the 12 Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers planned in the Pentagon’s five-year projection were on the chopping block.
“We write to express our strong support for a 355-ship Navy and to urge continued support from the Department for a robust shipbuilding budget,” the letter said.
The cuts, which were outlined in a memo from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and obtained by Defense News, would hit Maine particularly hard, according to analysts, and could put jeopardize jobs at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
Collins and King highlighted $390m appropriated in the 2020 budget for advanced procurement for three destroyers, noting that the memo only notes one destroyer planned for 2021.
The letter said Congress would get the last word on the shipbuilding profile, and the senators expressed confidence that support for shipbuilding would continue.
“We expect this congressional support for Navy shipbuilding and DDG-51 procurement to continue in FY 2021 and beyond, and we hope the Department and administration will join us in these efforts,” the letter read. “As you continue to develop and finalize the Department’s FY 2021 budget request, we urge you to reverse course from cutbacks to shipbuilding plans that may be under deliberation and to support a 355-ship Navy.” (Source: Defense News)
07 Jan 20. Lockheed’s Long-Troubled F-35 Shows Improvement, Pentagon Finds. Lockheed Martin Corp. showed “marked improvement” by delivering its F-35 jets on time — and sometimes early — as the No. 1 defense contractor seeks approval for full-rate production decision by December, according to the Pentagon agency that oversees contracts. The Defense Contract Management Agency said Lockheed delivered 134 of the fighter jets in 2019, seven more than its contractual requirement for the year and three more than its annual “commitment” to the Pentagon program office.
After years of delays and flawed performance for the costliest U.S. weapons system, full-rate production of the F-35 would be a seal of approval from the Defense Department that the $428bn program has been fully tested, deemed effective against the highest-level threats and can be produced efficiently.
The early deliveries were offset by 17 planes that were delivered late, according to the DCMA. Still, “in spite of rapid growth in quantities, DCMA is not seeing a commensurate growth in late aircraft,” Mark Woodbury, spokesman for the agency said. He said it’s “encouraged by Lockheed Martin’s continued improvement in the area of aircraft on-time delivery.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bloomberg News)
06 Jan 20. Trump budget coming Feb. 10 — here’s what you can expect. The Trump administration plans to submit its fiscal 2021 budget request to Congress Feb. 10, with defense spending expected to be essentially flat compared to the previous year.
A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget confirmed to Defense News that the date for the budget submission has been locked in. The date was first reported by Politico.
President Donald Trump signed off on the FY20 budget, including $738bn for defense, on Dec. 20, following almost three months of the government running under a continuing resolution.
The two-year budget deal from last summer called for $740bn in defense spending for FY21, essentially flat.
The budget is expected to continue the department’s focus on implementing the National Defense Strategy, which prioritizes challenging China and Russia.
In a Jan. 2 note to investors, Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners predicted that defense budgets are unlikely to spike in the coming years.
“We think the most probable scenario for DoD investment budget authority is that it will show little annual growth in FY21-25. Flattening outlays in 2022-25 will ensue,” Callan wrote. “This does not mean all contractors will grow at the same rate, though scale and size may make it harder for the largest firms to beat underlying DoD market growth rates.”
That note came prior to the killing of an Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike; however, given the length of the budget process, the ongoing U.S.-Iran situation is unlikely to impact the FY21 request. Should conflict erupt between the two countries, members of Congress could re-prioritize the budget plan during negotiations on Capitol Hill. If so, it may result in funding for the Pacific or European theaters — the focus of the NDS — being redirected toward the Middle East. Should the Iran situation expand, Callan predicts munitions accounts, already maxed out in many areas, would be a focus. (Source: Defense News)
05 Jan 20. U.S. troops have no plans to leave Iraq, Pompeo says. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed the Iraqi Parliament’s vote Sunday that called for U.S. troops to leave their country.
“We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counterterror campaign. And we’ll continue to do all the things we need to do to keep America safe,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.
Pompeo said he did not consider the parliament’s vote to be a final, formal decision by the Iraqi government.
“We’ll have to take a look at what we do when the Iraqi leadership and government makes a decision,” he said. “But the American people should know we’ll make the right decision.”
Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the country Sunday in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general.
Lawmakers approved a resolution asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.
A pullout of the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops could cripple the fight against ISIS and allow its resurgence. The majority of about 180 legislators present in Parliament voted in favor of the resolution. It was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.
Officials from the Pentagon, U.S. Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force Inherent Resolve did not immediately respond to requests by Military Times for comment. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
03 Jan 20. US lawmakers concerned about US Army Future Vertical Lift RDT&E spending. Key Points:
- Strong language from US lawmakers expressing concern that the US Army was not prioritising certain Future Vertical Lift (FVL) technologies did not make the final National Defense Authorization Act
- FVL is one of the US Army’s top acquisition priorities
US lawmakers are concerned that the US Army is not prioritising key research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) technologies as part of its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort.
The final version of the fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law on 20 December, had a one-paragraph “sense of Congress” provision on FVL technologies. It said that the US Army should continue to invest in RDT&E programmes for FVL, including programmes to improve pilot situational awareness, increase flight operations safety, and reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.
But the version of the FY 2020 defence authorisation bill that passed only the House had significantly stronger language. This version of the bill said that Congress is concerned that the US Army is not adequately resourcing programmes to improve pilot situational awareness, increase flight operations safety, and diminish O&M costs. It also had the “sense of Congress” provision that the US Army should continue to invest in RDT&E programmes to mature FVL technologies.
The House-passed bill said, specifically, that investments in maturation technologies to accelerate the deployment of FVL programmes are paramount and that technology designs and prototypes must be converted into production-ready articles for effective fielding. This language did not make the final NDAA that was signed into law. (Source: Jane’s)
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