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11 June 21. Official Says Input From Allies on Nuclear Posture Review to Be Important. China is rapidly becoming more capable and assertive and concerns regarding its nuclear modernization and expansion are increasing. Russia’s comprehensive modernization of its nuclear capabilities, over 80% complete, includes the addition of new dual-capable systems that threaten the United States and its allies and partners, the acting assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities said.
Melissa Dalton spoke yesterday at a House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on “FY22 Budget Request for Nuclear Forces and Atomic Energy Defense Activities.”
“We are confronted with multifaceted deterrence challenges across domains from both competitors, which add increased escalation risks, all making deterrence more challenging. Strategic risks, emanating from both North Korea and Iran, add significant complications to the strategic threat picture,” she said.
For these reasons, nuclear deterrence remains the department’s highest priority mission, Dalton noted, adding that more is needed to confront these growing, multifaceted threats.
The National Defense Strategy review will focus on integrated deterrence, she said, meaning an effort to address threats and opportunities across conventional, cyber, space, hybrid, information and nuclear domains, she said.
“Nuclear forces remain essential to ensure no adversary believes it can ever employ nuclear weapons, for any reason, under any circumstances, against the United States or our allies and partners, without risking devastating consequences,” Dalton said.
Experience: America’s Nuclear Triad
“That is why the nuclear triad remains the bedrock of our strategic deterrence, but we must modernize our aging capabilities to ensure a credible deterrent for the future,” Dalton added.
The fiscal year 2022 Defense Department’s budget request for nuclear forces is $27.7bn. It includes $15.6bn to sustain and operate current nuclear forces and $12.1bn for recapitalization programs.
It supports efforts to modernize the nuclear triad and ensures that modern replacements will be available before aging systems reach the end of their extended service lives, she said.
“This modernization effort is at a critical juncture,” Dalton said, adding that “nuclear weapons have been extended far beyond original service lives and the tipping point where we must simultaneously overhaul these forces is now here. Updating and overhauling our nation’s nuclear forces is a critical national security priority.”
The department will always seek to balance the best capabilities and the most cost-effective solution, as well as to ensure the U.S. has the right capabilities to meet current and future threats, she noted.
Dalton mentioned that to ensure that the right balance of capabilities is struck, there is a pending review of nuclear policy and posture, which will be nested within the National Defense Strategy currently in development, under the direction of the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance.
The review will focus on the vital interests of the United States, along with its allies and partners, and will be informed by the current and projected global security environment, threats posed by potential adversaries and the capabilities of the United States, allies and partners to address those threats, Dalton said.
“Consultation with allies will be a core component of this review, and we have begun engaging with allies to ensure that their views are heard and understood before reaching any conclusions,” she said. (Source: US DoD)
11 June 21. Border Barrier Money Returns, Ukraine Aid Package Announced. The Biden administration’s cancellation of border barriers returns $2.2 bn to the Defense Department, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.
Kirby also announced more aid to Ukraine during a press conference.
The department released a memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks that redirects funds for 66 projects in 11 states, three territories and 16 countries this fiscal year.
“We announced … on April 30, the cancellation of all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds that were originally designed and meant for other missions and functions,” Kirby said. “The decision to restore this funding was based on operational and component priorities.”
Kirby also announced a $150 m package as part of the Ukraine security assistance initiative. The initiative is designed to help Ukraine’s forces preserve their country’s territorial integrity, and to improve interoperability with NATO.
“The package includes capabilities such as to counter artillery, radars, counter unmanned aerial systems, and secure communications,” Kirby said. This new package will complement a $125m package announced in March.
DOD and counterparts in the State Department certified that Ukraine has made progress in defense reforms, allowing the package to move forward. “The department continues to encourage Ukraine to enact reforms that are in line with NATO principles and standards to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” he said.
The United States has committed more than $2.5 bn in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014. The United States “will continue to strengthen our strategic defense partnership, including through the provision of defensive lethal assistance,” the press secretary said. (Source: US DoD)
11 June 21. DOD Leaders Share Their Intelligence Threat Assessments. The fiscal year 2022 Defense Department’s $715bn budget request includes $23.3bn for the military intelligence program and defense intelligence leaders addressed the capabilities and gaps of military intelligence.
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie; Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency, and chief of Central Security Service; and Army Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, provided testimony at a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations hearing on fiscal year 2022 defense intelligence enterprise posture.
The intelligence professionals at the Defense Department work every day to address the current and future threats facing the United States, said Moultrie.
The department develops its military intelligence program in coordination with the director of national intelligence to align the intelligence capabilities between defense and national priorities, while avoiding unintentional duplication, he said.
The expansion of the competitive space beyond traditional military domains and geographic boundaries increases and complicates demands for defense intelligence, collection, analysis and planning, he said.
Challenges from strategic competitors such as Russia and China, rogue states such as Iran and North Korean, and violent extremists require that the defense intelligence enterprise invest in the ability to seamlessly share and fuse information, synchronize capabilities and expand partnerships with other government agencies, the private sector, academia and partner nations, he said.
The department is taking a whole-of-government approach, which includes reviewing classification processes, pursuing wider dissemination of classified information through alliances and partnerships, and the thoughtful release to the public of certain unclassified information to support U.S. interests, Moultrie said.
The department is focused on countering insider threats through better vetting procedures and protecting its vital supply chain, he said.
“Most important to our continued intelligence advantage will be building and retaining a diverse workforce capable of meeting the new challenges of the 21st century. It must have digital literacy and advanced skills to harness emerging technologies and adapt to ever changing threat environments. It must be a workforce that is free of sexual harassment and intolerant of violent extremism, at any level, and it must also be equitable, inclusive and one [that] reflects the nation it serves,” he said.
Moultrie also mentioned that the department will work closely with allies and partners in sharing intelligence.
Nakasone said the NSA’s focus is on two missions: signals intelligence and cybersecurity. The signals intelligence mission achieves access to adversaries’ network and data, which provides the nation with an information advantage in competition crisis or conflict.
The cybersecurity mission prevents cyber threats to U.S. national security systems and critical infrastructure, with a special emphasis on the defense industrial base, and weapons security, he said.
The NSA’s military intelligence program provides resources for vital cryptologic capabilities to increase the ability of the defense intelligence enterprise to deliver accurate and timely intelligence to combatant commanders and deployed forces, he said.
Berrier said today’s threat environment reflects rapid, significant technological change in adversarial challenges in every operating domain.
“I am committed to ensuring DIA is positioned to meet these challenges by modernizing key capabilities across the top secret IT network, our foundational military intelligence mission and our ballistic missile technical collection architecture,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
11 June 21. Defense Department Announces $150m in Assistance for Ukraine. The Department of Defense announces a new $150m package for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) that includes training, equipment, and advisory efforts to help Ukraine’s forces preserve the country’s territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO.
This $150m package represents the remaining funds appropriated by Congress for USAI in Fiscal Year 2021 and is made possible by the Defense Department, in coordination with the Department of State, certifying that Ukraine has made sufficient progress on defense reforms this year, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act.
The USAI package includes capabilities to enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness of Ukraine’s forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment, and training and equipment to improve the operational safety and capacity of Ukrainian Air Force bases.
These capabilities complement the $125m USAI package announced on March 1, 2021 that included armed Mark VI patrol boats, counter-artillery radars, tactical equipment, support for a satellite imagery and analysis capability, and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures.
The Department encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms to: better align Ukraine’s defense enterprise with the core NATO principle of democratic civilian control of the military; adopt a defense industry strategy that better supports the needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, bolsters Ukraine’s economic competitiveness, and improves corporate governance; adopt foreign direct investment controls based on national security interests; increase efficiency and transparency in the defense procurement cycle; and advance human resources management reforms to align the Ukrainian Armed Forces with a Western-style career management system.
The United States has committed more than $2.5bn in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 and will continue to strengthen our strategic defense partnership, including through the provision of defensive lethal assistance. The United States will also continue to assist Ukraine with the implementation of these reforms to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations in support of a secure, prosperous, democratic, and free Ukraine. (Source: US DoD)
11 June 21. US Navy’s light amphibious warship on track for 2022 contract award. The U.S. Navy’s Light Amphibious Warship program is still on track for a fiscal 2022 start of construction, despite the program not appearing in the shipbuilding plan in the recent budget request, service officials told Defense News.
Navy and Marine Corps leaders previously told reporters the LAW program was quickly progressing. The program is already in industry studies with about 10 teams. The services have plans to downselect to three teams to produce a full design, and then to one team for a detailed design and construction contract by the end of FY22.
Still, the FY22 budget request asks for $13.2m in research, development, test and evaluation funding, rather than for ship procurement.
The Navy wants to use that money “to complete preliminary design efforts and continue studies to finalize LAW manning and infrastructure requirements to support the development of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the lead ship,” service spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Turo told Defense News earlier this month. “Of note, FY21 funding supported award of the concept study/preliminary design contract and development of required acquisition, logistics, and test documentation.”
The Navy said that funding would still support the quick timeline leaders previously outlined, and that there are no delays in the program.
Turo said the service is on track to award “the LAW Concept Studies/Preliminary Design contract in the summer of 2021 while continuing to review budget resource allocation. The Navy is still planning for the Detail Design and Construction award in late 2022.”
In December 2020, the outgoing Trump administration released a long-range shipbuilding plan that included the purchase of one LAW in FY22. When the Biden administration released its own budget request materials on May 28, it did not include LAW in its FY22 ship construction plans — though the Navy said it can begin to fund the program with just the funds in the research and development budget line.
Specifically, the R&D budget line calls for “a medium-sized landing ship that enables distributed maneuver and logistics such as Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO), Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE), and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) in support of the newly established Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR). It is designed to fill the gap in capability between the Navy’s large, multipurpose amphibious warfare ‘L’ class ships and smaller landing vessels. This vessel will deploy tailored logistics, select power projection and strike capabilities.”
In related “Ship Concept Advanced Design” funds, the Navy also asked for $27.8m for its next-generation logistics ship. The vessel is meant to augment the traditional Combat Logistics Force ships but will be smaller and therefore more optimized to support future fleet operations that will feature small groups of Marines ashore — in expeditionary advanced base operations — or smaller ship formations — a surface action group of frigates, for example, instead of the much larger carrier strike group.
NGLS will be based on a commercial ship design, in part to keep the cost down and in part to help the vessels blend in with commercial traffic in contested waters, making them less of a target to an enemy. FY22 research and development funding would support trade-off studies, development of indicative designs, specification development and experimentation with a chartered logistics ship focused on the refuel, resupply and rearm logistics missions.
It also asked for $16.4m to support a tender for both the Virginia-class attack submarine and the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. With those newest submarines in mind, the tender would be built with submarine maintenance, rearming and resupplying in mind, as well as medical and dental capabilities. The funding would support requirements definition, early industry engagement, preliminary designs, trade studies and follow-on assessment for the program.
The Navy previously poured about $19m into similar advanced design funds for a Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform program, but the Navy did not ask for any funds for that effort in FY22. The CHAMP program was potentially envisioned as a pair of ship designs that could cover five auxiliary missions — one of them being a submarine tender.
(Source: Defense News)
11 June 21. White House to nominate retired commander, business leader Carlos Del Toro as Navy secretary. The Biden administration announced Carlos Del Toro as its pick to be the next Navy secretary.
Del Toro is a retired U.S. Navy commander and a business leader, and if confirmed he would be the second-ever Hispanic Navy secretary.
A decision on who should lead the Department of the Navy has lagged behind the other services: The Senate already confirmed Christine Wormuth to be Army secretary, and on June 10 the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve Frank Kendall as the Air Force secretary, pending a full Senate vote.
Del Toro graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 and then served in the Navy for 22 years. His assignments included serving as the first commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer Bulkeley, overseeing ship construction and fleet introduction activities as well as the integration of women into the crew. The vessel was one of the first mixed-gender warships.
He also served as a program manager for what was called Space and Naval Warfare Command — and is now Naval Information Warfare Systems Command — and as a senior executive assistant to the director for program analysis and evaluation within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he made top-level decisions about program development and budgets.
He also worked with Congress and the White House throughout his career, serving as a legislative strategy action officer for the Navy as well as a White House fellow and the special assistant to the director and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.
After retiring from the Navy, Del Toro founded SBG Technology Solutions, where he has served as president and CEO for 17 years. The company has participated in defense programs related to shipbuilding, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and space systems.
Del Toro was born in Havana, Cuba, and his family came to the U.S. as refugees in 1962, settling in New York City. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Naval Academy, a master’s degree in national security studies from the Naval War College and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University. He is married to Betty Del Toro, and they have four children and a granddaughter.
Del Toro’s name first came up as a contender for the Navy secretary position in late April, when Politico first reported he was under consideration for the job. Politico also first reported the White House planned to nominate him for the job on June 11.
Defense News reported earlier in the day that Del Toro’s appointment was imminent, and the White House made its announcement mid-afternoon on June 11.
Previously, former Navy assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs Juan Garcia was a front-runner for the position, with backing from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as others on Capitol Hill and in the Navy. Former Rep. Gil Cisneros had been eyed for the position more recently.
If confirmed, Del Toro will take over a service that is seeking to modernize and grow, but is struggling to settle on a plan to do so. The Navy is in an ongoing fight with Congress over decommissioning legacy ships to free up money, and it faces a lack of confidence from lawmakers over new and upcoming ship programs after a series of acquisition missteps over the last two decades.
The Navy has also been tasked with a heavy operational schedule by the joint force, leaving little time or money to reset the force and replace aging ships.
After Ray Mabus served as Navy secretary for eight years under the Obama administration, the Navy lacked consistent top civilian leadership under the Trump administration, with two confirmed and three acting Navy secretaries.
“Carlos Del Toro is an excellent selection to be the next Secretary of the Navy,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in a statement. “He has an impressive resume and exemplifies so many of the qualities that make the Navy and our nation great. Carlos rose through the ranks of the Navy with a distinguished record of service, leadership, and innovation. As a Naval Officer, a White House Fellow, entrepreneur, and a tech CEO he’s had success at every step of his career in both the military and private sector.”
Until Reed schedules a confirmation hearing and a vote on Del Toro’s nomination, Thomas Harker will continue to serve as acting secretary.
“We must strengthen the readiness and capacity of the Navy and Marine Corps. Carlos Del Toro is uniquely well-qualified to address these challenges and help steer the Navy and Marine Corps in the right direction,” Reed said. “I look forward to scheduling his hearing, carefully reviewing his record, and learning more about his priorities for Navy programs and advancing the fleet of manned and unmanned vessels.” (Source: Defense News)
11 June 21. Missile Defense Review Will Address Growing Threats From Iran, North Korea, Others. With nations such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and China all maturing their missile technology, the Defense Department plans to launch a review of its own missile defense policies, strategies and capabilities over the next few months, said the deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy.
“The review will align with the National Defense Strategy and contribute to the department’s approach to integrated deterrence,” Leonor Tomero said during a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The review will be coordinated across the department, including such entities as the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Northern Command, NORAD and the acquisition community, Tomero said.
“We’ll look at the threat in the changing security environment … how do we improve and have effective and affordable missile defense for both the homeland and regional defense,” she said.
That review will be a part of the National Defense Strategy, which Tomero said should be completed by January 2022.
According to testimony filed by Tomero with the committee, the review will be guided by a handful of principles from defense against rogue states’ intercontinental ballistic missiles to assure allies the U.S. continues to be committed to security partnerships.
With ICBMs, Tomero said, the missile defense review will focus on ensuring the U.S. has an affordable defense against rogue state ICBMs. There, missile defense must protect against limited attacks by those ICBMs, she said, and also limit their use as a threat.
“This protection will also contribute to diminishing the coercive potential of these states who may seek to constrain the ability of the United States to provide credible security assurances to our allies and partners during a crisis or conflict,” she said.
The missile defense review will also evaluate the ability of U.S. missile defense capabilities so that the U.S. can operate with allies and partners on exercises and regional defense.
“Our regional missile defenses will continue to contribute to the United States’ ability to operate throughout the world,” she said. “They will enable regional and transregional military operations and exercises, providing force protection in contested environments.”
Finally, the review will evaluate the continued ability of the U.S. missile defense capability to assure allies of the United States’ commitment to security partnerships.
“Not only will missile defense partnerships reinforce the indivisibility of U.S. and allied joint security interests, these relationships will also provide opportunities for allied and partner cooperation, co-development, and burden sharing,” she said. (Source: US DoD)
10 June 21. Austin Calls DOD FY22 Budget Request ‘Right Mix of Capabilities.’ Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget request is the right mix for the Defense Department. Testifying today before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin said the request for $715bn would enable the department to “match resources to strategy, strategy to policy, and policy to the will of the American people.”
He said the request is informed by Biden’s interim national security guidance. “[The budget] funds the right mix of capabilities that we need most to defend this nation now and in the future,” Austin said.
After 20 years of counterinsurgency operations around the world, the proposed budget would invest in new capabilities that will provide deterrence against near-peer competitors. It would invest in hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, micro-electronics, 5G technology, space-based systems, shipbuilding and nuclear modernization. The FY22 request seeks $28bn to modernize the nuclear triad and $112bn for research, development, test and evaluation. Austin said it’s the largest research and development request the department has ever made.
If accepted, the budget would allow the department to divest itself of older systems and platforms that are no longer needed. This would include older ships, aircraft, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms that demand more maintenance, upkeep and risk than the military can afford, Austin said.
The budget request also aims to keep pace with China. “The department must be ready to meet and keep pace with our competitors and, if necessary, to fight and win the next war and not the last one,” Austin told the senators. “That’s why this budget stays true to our focus on matching the pacing challenge that we clearly see from the People’s Republic of China, to include more than $5bn for the Pacific Defense Initiative.”
The secretary said the DOD China Task Force completed its work, and he issued an internal directive kicking off several departmentwide efforts that will, among other things, “help bolster our deterrence against the PRC, and revitalize our network of regional allies and partners, and accelerate the development of cutting edge capabilities, and new operational concepts.”
While China may be the pacing challenge, the United States must also pay attention to other competitors and other factors. The budget includes $617m to combat the damaging effects of climate change, with additional funds to prepare for future challenges like another pandemic, Austin said.
Austin said the budget request also aims to help DOD counter the Russians, especially in the cyber realm. “You’ll see more than $10bn here devoted to cybersecurity, cyberspace operations, and cyber research and development,” he said.
The proposed budget would also provide the wherewithal to deal with North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations, including the Islamic State, al-Qaida and al-Shabab.
“I’m also confident that this budget will help us maintain the integrated deterrent capability and global posture necessary to back up the hard work of our diplomats and demonstrate our resolve and leadership all over the world, alongside our allies and partners,” he said.
Austin told the senators that the retrograde from Afghanistan is on pace. “We have accomplished the mission for which our troops were sent to Afghanistan 20 years ago,” he said. “I’m very proud of the men and women who made it possible and of those who gave their lives for this mission. I’m also deeply grateful to the families of our service members, who have endured as much as they sent their sons and daughters and husbands and wives into battle.”
The relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan will transform, and the budget has that required money in it, as well.
On the personnel side, the proposed budget looks to improve military base pay, retention bonuses and other incentives.
The secretary also highlighted his determination to address sexual assault and harassment in the military. “My first directive as secretary of defense — issued on my first full day in the office — was to service leadership about sexual assault,” he said. “I made it clear then, and I still believe, that we must not be afraid to try new approaches and to change our minds so that we can truly and fully address the scourge of sexual assault in our force.
“Clearly, what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working and one assault is too many,” Austin said. “The numbers of sexual assaults are still too high, and the confidence in our system is still too low.”
Austin has received an initial set of recommendations from an independent review commission on sexual assault in the military. He has shared those recommendations with service and military leaders and awaits more in the near future. “I look forward to receiving them, as well, and making my full recommendation to the president later this month,” he said. “As I’ve said before, what we’re doing is not working, and we need to fix it.” (Source: US DoD)
10 June 21. Milley Says Budget Request Balances Readiness, Modernization. President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 defense budget request strikes a balance between readiness today and future modernization, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
The $715bn request preserves present readiness, the general said, but it’s also a down payment on future readiness. “It is now that we must set ourselves on a path to modernize the Joint Force,” Milley said. “And this budget contributes to doing that.”
The U.S. military is the most capable force on Earth, and any country that doubts the effectiveness of the military or the will and grit of the American people would be wrong, Milley said.
“Alongside our allies and partners, American troops are currently training or conducting combat operations or other operations in 165 countries to keep Americans safe,” Milley said. “We are conducting major exercises as we speak in Europe. We are monitoring the [demilitarized zone] in Korea. We are conducting freedom of navigation operations in the strategic waterways of the global commons. We are sustaining operations in space, and cyberspace. We are supporting our allies and partners in Africa, Asia and Europe, and we are patrolling the skies of the Middle East. And, as we speak, our joint force is conducting a safe, responsible and deliberate strategic retrograde from Afghanistan in good order, while ensuring continued support [of] the Afghan National Security Forces.”
Milley said the purpose of the United States military is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He said this mission remains the same, but the conditions and strategies continually change.
“We are in an era of increased strategic competition,” Milley said. “The current strategic landscape is witnessing rapid change and the potential for increased threat to the peace and stability of various regions and, indeed, the world. States and non-state actors are rapidly transforming technologically, and we are bearing witness to a fundamental change in the character of war.”
Milley also said China is increasing its military capability at a very serious and sustained rate, and the United States must retain the competitive and technological edge against this pacing threat.
“Readiness, modernization and combat power are key to deter war and maintain the peace, and equally important are the combat multipliers of teamwork, cohesion and well-led units,” the general said. “We must resolve the issue of sexual assault and confront the issue of extremism. Both are corrosive to the very essence of what it means to be in the military. And they destroy cohesion, they destroy teamwork, and they reduce combat power. Additionally, we must continue to invest in [the] leader development and talent management required for the future operating environment. And, finally, we must continue to nurture and sustain a key strategic source of our strength, which is our network of many close allies and partners around the world.”
The fiscal 2022 budget request does this, he said. “The Joint Force will deliver modernization with this budget of our armed forces and security to the people of the United States at the FY22 budget request,” he said.
The budget required hard choices, but overall, it would deliver a “ready, agile and capable joint force that will compete to deter and win across all domains, and which is postured for continued dominance in the future,” Milley said.
“Our job is to be your joint force,” he said. “Our contract with the American people is that we, the United States military, will be able to fight and win. When called upon, we will support and defend the Constitution, always and forever.” (Source: US DoD)
10 June 21. Top NATO general urges ‘alignment’ between US and European sixth-gen fighter plans. NATO’s top general in Europe says alliance members developing sixth-generation military aircraft should ensure their plans are in sync to avoid duplication.
Member nation’s need to compare notes about the resources needed to see the respective plans through, explained U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters at a June 9 event hosted by the Atlantic Council. He stressed the objective of “strategic transparency and alignment” as nations craft their future defense plans, including developments of futuristic aerial weapons in the United States and Europe.
“Those activities are ongoing, and I’m very excited about what is happening in that dimension,” Wolters said.
There are three major thrusts underway within NATO to develop sixth-generation aircraft, though it’s still an open question how closely those weapons will ultimately resemble traditional planes. The U.S. program goes by the name Next Generation Air Dominance; the British are working on the Tempest; and France, Germany and Spain have the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, in store. All of those efforts include separate activities aimed at fielding new drones, weapons, sensors and command-and-control architectures.
Wolters’ comments echo a sense of common purpose in defense among Western allies that sometimes gets lost in defense-industrial infighting. In Europe, top political leaders in France and Germany have had to mask serious working-level FCAS disagreements with rosy talk about the Franco-German defense partnership. All the while, the British Tempest program is proceeding in parallel despite widespread acknowledgment that Europe cannot support two such developments in the long run.
While the sixth-generation air weapons are still years away, Wolters said the American fifth-generation F-35 jets have yet to reach their full potential in fusing customer nations’ military capabilities. Notably, he described the aircraft’s battle-support features — like early-warning and command-and-control — rather than the jets’ advertised combat or stealth prowess as the decisive force multiplier across national air forces. Wolters predicted European users would field a combined 450 F-35s by 2030.
“With each passing day we’re finding better ways to unite nations that possess F-35s to improve our speed and posture in the air domain,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
10 June 21. DoD wish list seeks more funds to boost Pacific missile defense, weapons cybersecurity. Should additional money become available on top of the recently released fiscal 2022 budget request, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Missile Defense Agency would like to use it to boost defense against ballistic missile threats in the Pacific, according to a wish list sent to Congress and obtained by Defense News.
INDOPACOM chief Adm. John Aquilino sent a customary unfunded requirements list to Capitol Hill shortly after the release of the FY22 budget request. The wish list contained $889.94 m worth of projects and programs he’d like to see funded if Congress is able to inject more cash into the budget.
These wish lists are sent to Congress each year to help guide lawmakers as they decide what might require additional funding. The Pentagon usually cautions Congress not to cut items from its base budget request in favor of items on the lists.
The commander’s No. 1 priority on the list is more money to develop a ballistic missile defense system for Guam, which would require an additional $231.7m — $77.2m in procurement funding and $154.45m in research, development, test and evaluation funding.
The Missile Defense Agency plans to use $78.3m in its FY22 base budget to look at systems that could support the defense of Guam. The money would support detailed threat and requirements analysis, systems engineering, trade studies, and specification updates.
Another $40m in the request would procure long-lead items for the Guam defense capability.
The architecture to defend Guam could include regional capabilities offered from Aegis Combat System ships and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, or THAAD. They “are all part of that architecture consideration today, and we’re working that hard so that we can come forward and tell you exactly what we’re going to do on Guam,” Vice Adm. Jon Hill, the MDA’s director, said during a June 9 hearing with the Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
The Army deployed a rotational THAAD presence to Guam in 2014.
The architecture, Hill added, would require sensors, a fire control network and defensive weapons.
Basing on Guam is critical to America’s goal to project its offensive power and deter possible threats in the INDOPACOM theater — and that means the U.S. military must protect the island, Hill said.
Developing a dedicated missile defense capability on Guam would free up Navy ships to return to maneuver forces.
Fourth on the INDOPACOM commander’s list is funding for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, which hasn’t received funding in recent years and was excluded from the FY22 budget request.
The commander would like $41m in RDT&E funding as well as $19m in military construction money to support an initial operational capability by FY24. The list notes the ask is in line with National Defense Authorization Act guidance over the last six budget cycles.
The HDR-H was listed as an unfunded requirement for FY21 by Indo-Pacific Command.
Support has been growing both in Congress and the Pentagon to pursue a Hawaii-based ballistic missile defense radar.
The MDA’s modest unfunded requirements list totals $367.5m. The agency’s budget request is also lower than previous requests at $8.9bn. Congress infused its FY21 budget with $1.3bn because the body didn’t believe the request was enough to meet National Defense Strategy goals.
That fear still exists, with Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee ranking member Sen. Debra Fischer of Nebraska saying at the June 9 hearing: “I am concerned that this level of funding, especially if sustained into the future … will be insufficient to pace the growing threats facing our nation and we will be left in a precarious situation as a nation.”
The MDA wish list includes $41 m for two more all-up rounds of the SM-3 Block IIA missile, which is critical for advanced ballistic missile defense threats and is launched from Aegis ships. The agency also wants 12 additional THAAD interceptors for a total of $109.6m.
An additional $61.9m is wanted for hypersonic defense, according to the MDA list, in order to accelerate defensive system development.
The agency requested $247.9m in FY22 to develop a glide-phase intercept capability as well as other technologies needed for a future architecture, and to support the acceleration of an operational demonstration of the glide-phase defense capability using the Aegis weapon system.
Bolstering cybersecurity for its systems is also included on the wish list. The agency wants $55m to improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure that supports its Ballistic Missile Defense System and other MDA systems.
The agency would like extra funding to upgrade its Navy SPY radar to include improvements in detecting, tracking and the discrimination of advanced threats in more complex environments. “The approach digitizes the radar back end resulting in solid-state radar-like performance,” the list stated.
While there is a small amount of funding in the MDA’s FY22 request — $14m — to address U.S. Northern Command’s requirements for cruise missile defense of the homeland to begin development needed for the capability, the wish list contains an additional $27m to develop and demonstrate a tower-based fire control sensor for indications and warnings and “potential engagement of cruise missile threat.”
The tower sensor would also be effective in detecting hypersonic missile threats.
The same request in the MDA’s wish list is present in U.S. Northern Command’s unfunded requirements list.
“This funding to the Missile Defense Agency will support sensor procurement and integration into existing fire-control network/architecture, and up to three one-week exercises for data collection and data evaluation. This capability will adapt and towermount an existing X-band radar, as well as interface to a Joint Tactical Integrated Fire Control system architecture,” NORTHCOM’s wish list stated. (Source: Defense News)
09 June 21. Austin Signs Internal Directive to Unify Department’s China Efforts. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III issued an internal directive today to laser-focus Department of Defense efforts to address China as the nation’s number one pacing challenge.
Austin accepted recommendations from the China Task Force he established in February. The document is classified.
“The initiatives I am putting forward today are nested inside the larger U.S. government approach to China and will help inform the development of the National Defense Strategy we are working on,” Austin said in a written statement on the directive.
The secretary thanked the Task Force members and said it is time to move out to ensure that DOD efforts match the challenges.
“The efforts I am directing today will improve the department’s ability to revitalize our network of allies and partners, bolster deterrence, and accelerate the development of new operational concepts, emerging capabilities, future force posture and a modernized civilian and military workforce.” – Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
Senior DOD officials speaking on background said the directive will bring greater focus and unity of effort to address challenges posed by China.
The initiatives call on the department to invest in America’s unparalleled network of allies and partners. They also chart the need to bolster deterrence across all domains of warfare and look to accelerate the development of new operational concepts, a senior official said.
The initiatives “are intended to streamline and strengthen cooperation with U.S. allies and partners, particularly in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
While the task force recommendations are focused on the department, they remain “nested inside the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance and complement the multi-faceted work on China policy of departments, agencies and the White House,” the official said. Moving forward, the results will be used to develop the National Defense Strategy and other reviews.
The internal directive is written with clearly stated objectives, with deadlines for implementation, and mechanisms for oversight and accountability. “To the extent possible, we designed these efforts to run through the lifeblood of the department, leveraging existing institutions, and only recommending new processes where necessary,” the official said.
The directive is classified, but the official could share one example of the scope of effort. “To ensure that the department has the people that we need to compete effectively, the secretary has tasked … the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness with updating professional military education and civilian professional development, to align the department with the prioritization of China,” he said.
The secretary will also accelerate the Joint Warfighting Concept through the experimentation and prototyping phases, he said.
The most noticeable effort for service members will probably be in outreach to allies and partners. Military-to-military relationships are part of this outreach and there will be more exercises with allies and partners. The work of the task force is completed and it will now stand down. (Source: US DoD)
09 June 21. DOD Announces Center to Collaborate, Advance Shared Interests in Arctic Region. The Defense Department announced today the creation of a new DOD center to focus on issues related to the Arctic.
The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies will be the sixth such regional center for the department, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a briefing today at the Pentagon.
“The Ted Stevens Center will provide a new venue to collaborate across the U.S. government and with our allies and partners to advance shared interests for a peaceful and prosperous Arctic,” Kirby said. “Defense Department regional centers are international academic venues for bilateral and multilateral research, communication and training, with the goal of building strong, sustainable, international networks of security leaders.”
The center’s focus will support U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance and will work with partner nations to ensure that a stable, rules-based order in the Arctic will benefit the United States and all Arctic nations, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
Like existing Defense Department Regional Centers, the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies will fall under the oversight and management of the undersecretary of defense for policy.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said the center will facilitate close partnerships between the U.S. and Arctic nations with shared values.
“The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests,” Austin said. “It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change.”
Other regional centers include the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany; the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii; as well as the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, and the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, all three of which are in Washington D.C. Right now, no location has been chosen for the new arctic center. (Source: US DoD)
08 June 21. Memo reveals US Navy must pick between future destroyer, fighter or sub for FY23 plan. The U.S. Navy may have to pick just one of three major modernization programs on the horizon to fund — pursuing a new destroyer, a new attack submarine or a new fighter jet, the acting Navy secretary warns in a recent memo. The other two due would be postponed to budget limitations, he wrote.
A June 4 memo from acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker stated that, in line with recently reissued fiscal guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the service should be prepared to fully fund certain top priorities in its fiscal 2023 planning cycle but cut back in other areas.
“The Navy cannot afford to simultaneously develop the next generation of air, surface, and subsurface platforms and must prioritize these programs, balancing the cost of developing next-generation capabilities against maintaining current capabilities. As part of the [program objective memorandum ‘23] budget, the Navy should prioritize one of the following capabilities and re-phase the other two after an assessment of operational, financial and technical risk,” the memo read.
The Navy had planned to upgrade from its Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the future DDG(X); from its Virginia-class submarines into the future SSN(X); and from its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets into a Next Generation Air Dominance platform — with all three projects coming to fruition sometime in the next decade.
Each has compelling reasons to continue at pace, making the upcoming risk assessments tricky for the Navy.
Prior to the memo’s release, DDG(X) would have been the first of the three to see fielding in fiscal 2028. The Navy has maxed out the Arleigh Burke hull despite making several design upgrades over the decades. The current Flight III design can accommodate the most recent Aegis combat weapon system upgrade to Baseline 10 and the AN/SPY-6 air defense radar, but those upgrades will consume all the ship’s power and cooling capabilities.
A new hull and a new power system will be needed for any future upgrades and to support the introduction of weapons like directed-energy systems and hypersonic missiles.
The Navy had several starts and stops while determining the size of its next destroyer, how much margin it needed for future growth, and what roles and missions it would perform in the fleet. The Navy is mostly now settled on designing a new hull but using the Aegis Baseline 10 and the Zumwalt-class integrated power system as starting points for the design.
The Navy asked in its FY22 budget request for $121.8m for DDG(X) “preliminary design, design analysis, test planning, land based testing, and developing detailed design and construction requirements for procurement of the lead ship,” according to a budget highlights book.
Though Ingalls Shipbuilding and Bath Iron Works could continue building Flight III destroyers past 2027, a delay beyond 2028 in moving to DDG(X) would impact the Navy’s ability to field directed-energy and hypersonic weapons in the surface fleet.
The future submarine SSN(X) likely would have been the next of the three to be fielded, with a recent Congressional Research Service report citing an FY31 start.
The Navy has been purchasing the Virginia-class sub since 1998 and has progressed to the Block V design, with various capability upgrades and manufacturing improvements built along the way.
Whereas DDG(X) is simply about building in margin to add new weapons in the future, SSN(X) represents a new direction for the Navy’s submarine fleet. When the Virginia program was designed in the 1990s, the Navy didn’t face a high-end adversary like it had during the Cold War. The Virginia program was meant to be less costly than the Seawolf program before it and was focused on land-attack and littoral operations.
The Navy had at one point talked about SSN(X) as an opportunity to combine a Virginia-like submarine with unmanned vehicles and seabed sensors for greater connectivity in undersea warfare. But with a resurgence in Russia’s undersea fleet, the Navy has recently talked about SSN(X) as more of a throwback to the Seawolf program: heavily armed and stealthy enough to go into enemy waters to prowl for subs or surface ships.
Per the Navy’s FY22 budget highlights book, “the SSN(X) class submarine is designed for greater transit speed under increased stealth conditions in all ocean environments, and it can carry a larger inventory of weapons and more diverse payloads than the Virginia class.” The Navy has requested $98m to complete an initial capabilities document, start an analysis of alternatives and continue technology development.
In their teaming arrangement, General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding could continue building Virginia-class submarines, but that would lead to a delay in the Navy’s ability to field more offensive-focused subs.
The Next Generation Air Dominance platform was likely going to be the last of the three to enter service. And it perhaps faces the biggest challenge for fielding plans.
The Navy envisions an air wing of fourth-generation Super Hornets and fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters into the 2030s, when the Super Hornets would begin to retire and NGAD would enter the fleet.
However, the Navy has been tight-lipped about what it wants from its next fighter. Then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in 2015 that the F-35 may be the Navy’s last manned fighter, but NGAD has increasingly been looking like a manned fighter with extensive connectivity to unmanned systems. The effort is in a concept development phase.
What makes the transition to NGAD difficult is the prospect of a fighter shortfall.
Much like the Navy faced as the legacy Hornets were nearing the end of their life — spurring a life-extension program — the service is extending the lives of its Super Hornet fleet. But there could still be challenges ahead as the fleet nears retirement but carrier air wings experience a high operational tempo, as seen in recent years.
The Navy stated in its FY21 budget request that it would end Super Hornet production, finishing its obligation under a multiyear contract that ended in 2021 but not pursuing a new contract in FY22. In the FY22 request, it makes good on its word and does not include funding for Super Hornet production, instead noting it would invest in NGAD — though the Navy said the amount of funding it will devote to the program is classified.
If the Navy decides to punt its next fighter down the road as it picks between the three programs, the service will likely need to act quickly to buy more Super Hornets, or otherwise mitigate a fighter shortfall that could arise in the next decade.
Other spending priorities
Despite budget concerns over the three modernization programs, Harker’s memo called for full support for strategic deterrence recapitalization, including the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine that has long been called the Navy’s top acquisition priority.
It also called for support to “operationalize initiatives that connect warfighters and weapons systems with the data necessary to achieve precision effects.” It asks the Navy to “fully fund Project Overmatch to enable both increased battlespace awareness and long range fires as well as support the seamless transition to assured unmanned operations.”
It also called for technology investments that support continued teleworking, something the Navy realized the importance of during the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo also pushed for training and education investments to grow the United States Naval Community College as well as a new damage control and firefighting trainer at Recruit Training Command.
The memo also called for a decrease in physical footprint, saying “the Navy cannot afford to own, operate, and maintain its current infrastructure and must prioritize demolition to achieve long-term sustainment.” To do so, it pushed for the development of a 10-year reset strategy to reduce the Navy’s facility footprint in terms of square feet by 1 percent a year for the next decade. (Source: Defense News)
09 June 21. Boeing lifts price tag for Air Force One contract – USAF official. Boeing Co (BA.N) has told the U.S. Air Force that the price of the next-generation presidential aircraft could rise, and sought more time to deliver it, citing difficulties with COVID-19 and a subcontractor, an Air Force official said on Tuesday.
Boeing received a $3.9bn contract in July 2018 to build two 747-8 aircraft for use as Air Force One, set for delivery by December 2024.
Boeing said it wanted extra time of about a year to deliver, however, Darlene Costello, the air force’s acting assistant secretary for Acquisition, told a panel of the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives.
The planemaker also sent the Air Force a letter beginning the process to negotiate a price adjustment for the jets, Costello added.
A Boeing spokesperson told Reuters, “We continue to make steady progress on these programs and are working closely with the U.S. Air Force.”
In April, Boeing recorded a $318m pre-tax charge related to Air Force One presidential aircraft because of a dispute with a supplier. read more
The Boeing 747-8s are designed to be like an airborne White House, able to fly in worst-case security scenarios such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defense system. (Source: Reuters)
08 June 21. The Defense Department’s Strategic and Critical Materials Review. Today, the Defense Department released the Strategic and Critical Materials 100-day Sector Review, as directed by Executive Order 14017. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III released the following statement: “Strategic and critical materials are vital to our national defense and economic prosperity, enabling the United States to develop and sustain emerging technologies. They also improve our warfighting capability, support family-sustaining jobs, and strengthen our alliances and partnerships. Though there is more work to be done, the Department of Defense remains committed to a whole-of-government approach to preserve our access to strategic and critical materials. This is important not only for our national defense, but to ensure our national economic well-being.”
The department defines strategic and critical minerals as those that support military and essential civilian industry; and are not found or produced in the United States in quantities to meet our needs. Like many other supply chains, much of the strategic and critical materials sector has moved offshore. Some of this reflects normal, comparative advantage or quirks of geologic fate. But, in some cases, other countries have deliberately put a hand on the scale to capture market-share, and our industry has followed close behind — in a global race to the bottom.
The concentration of global supply chains for strategic and critical materials in China creates risk of disruption and of politicized trade practices, including the use of forced labor. Though DoD has requirements for strategic and critical materials, the civilian economy would bear the brunt of the harm from a supply disruption event.
Overall, the recommendations presented by DoD are intended to attack the supply and demand side of the strategic and critical materials question at the same time.
The full report can be found here.: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/100-day-supply-chain-review-report.pdf
The fact sheet can be found here: https://media.defense.gov/2021/Jun/08/2002737124/-1/-1/0/DOD-FACT-SHEET-CRITICAL-MATERIALS-SUPPLY-CHAIN-2021.06.07.PDF/DOD-FACT-SHEET-CRITICAL-MATERIALS-SUPPLY-CHAIN-2021.06.07.PDF
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