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04 May 22. In new directive, US Army reins in Army Futures Command. The Army secretary has issued a new directive on modernization that sets new boundaries around Army Futures Command and reasserts the role of the service’s acquisition shop.
The directive rescinds the language of previous directives from 2018 and 2020 that establishes Army Futures Command as “leading the modernization enterprise.” It also says the Army’s science and technology arm will fall under the control of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology),or ASAALT, as opposed to under Army Futures Command.
“With the initial establishment of Army Futures Command, the Army issued a number of policy directives to accelerate its development and address AFC’s role in the Army modernization,” Ellen Lovett of Army Public Affairs told Defense News in a statement. “While well-intentioned, this guidance had the unintended consequence of creating ambiguity in long-established acquisition authorities. This administrative change eliminates that ambiguity with clearly defined roles consistent with statute, and will better facilitate collaboration in our modernization and equipping enterprise.”
The directive suggests the service is still working out the kinks following the 2018 formation of Army Futures Command, tasked with leading the service’s major modernization efforts.
Critics have argued the command has had too much control over modernization, including a high level of power over the acquisition enterprise.
ASAALT is responsible for “the overall supervision of Army acquisition matters,” Lovett added. “This responsibility includes the oversight of Army research and development, to include science and technology efforts and associated resourcing decisions.”
According to the May 3 directive, signed by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, establishing Army Futures Command was an “essential step in accelerating our modernization efforts, helping to drive focus and attention on experimentation, prototyping, concept development, and requirements generation for the Army of the future.”
While previous directives intended “to build momentum, this guidance primarily addressed roles arising early in the equipping lifecycle, when requirements are evolving and experimentation takes place,” she wrote. “It did not adequately account for the shifting roles and functions as requirements move into development as programs of record through production, fielding, and sustainment.”
The previous directives also “created ambiguity regarding the primacy of acquisition authorities vested in the Army Secretariat that preserve civilian oversight and control in acquisition matters,” Wormuth said.
To get capabilities delivered to soldiers, the Army needs input and contributions of a variety of organizations, “not the unitary direction of one Army command,” she said.
Now as modernization programs move through the lifecycle, different Army organizations will assume primary roles, Wormuth noted.
Retired Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, now with the Heritage Foundation, told Defense News the directive “returns the Army to the way things were pre-2018 with a few exceptions. Army Futures Command exists but does not share or drive any acquisition efforts.”
“AFC clearly still develops requirements and concepts, but now has a much more limited role in the acquisition of capabilities,” he added.
The directive recertifies Army Futures Command as an enduring command and notes the commanding general of AFC is “responsible for force design and force development, and is the capabilities developer and operational architect for the future Army.”
“AFC assesses and integrates the future operational environment, emerging threats, and technologies to provide warfighters with the concepts and future force designs needed to dominate a future battlefield,” according to the directive.
While ASAALT is responsible for research and development, AFC will be responsible for the operation of the service’s research laboratories and centers, the directive states.
Just before he retired, then-Army Futures Command chief Gen. Mike Murray told Defense News he was comfortable with the relationship between ASAALT and his command, but that it did not come without rocky patches. “There are some people out there that said pieces of ASAALT should be part of AFC,” he said, “I don’t agree with that.
“When you have people looking at things from two different perspectives, I think that tension is good,” Murray said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
04 May 22. Pentagon must advance AI to stay ahead of rivals, industry execs tell Congress. The U.S. must act to preserve its edge over rival nations on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, starting by embracing a new leadership position at the Pentagon, industry executives told Congress this week.
While the U.S. is ahead of China, Russia and other adversaries, deliberate and holistic efforts must be undertaken to maintain that lead, the officials with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Microsoft Corp. said.
“We are ahead. We’re losing ground,” Andrew Moore, director of Google Cloud AI, said during a May 3 hearing of a Senate Armed Services cyber subcommittee. “I’m most worried about our structures. Bringing in massive-scale, superhuman automation means changing organizational structures and change management.”
Eric Horvitz, Microsoft’s chief scientific officer, offered similar guidance.
“The U.S. is leading in science, at the core principles and the creative applications, from my point of view,” he told the panel. “That said, these days technical advances spread around the world like lightning.”
The Department of Defense late last year created the chief digital and artificial intelligence officer position to accelerate all things digital at the Pentagon. The CDAO — soon to be Craig Martell, Lyft’s machine-learning executive — will oversee the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Defense Digital Service and the agency’s chief data officer, and will report directly to the deputy defense secretary. The office is expected to be fully operational this year.
Moore applauded the move Tuesday and wished Martell success.
“This is how we’re going to succeed, by having a centralized effort to put an artificial intelligence strategy across the whole DoD,” he said. “You cannot just magic AI on top of existing systems. You have to think about how you’re going to change operations.”
Moving forward, Horvitz said, there is a need to “get our hands dirty and work hard and then share ideas, insights, across the sectors.” Integrating scientific achievements into the Defense Department’s day-to-day routines will be crucial.
“We often think about AI … as on the battlefield, as kinetics,” Horvitz said. “But DoD is a huge operation, in peacetime and in war. The logistics, planning, predictive models, employment, back to health care, the VA system — all can benefit greatly by even basic applications of machine learning, predictions, diagnoses and planning.”
The Pentagon recognizes the value of AI and is actively pursuing and investing in it. Some, though, believe it’s moving too slowly or with incorrect priority.
“Make no mistake, our adversaries will capitalize on this technology, using AI to power attacks on our networks as well as increasing their ability to detect our intrusions on their networks and to respond quickly,” Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who heads the subcommittee, said at the hearing. Failing to prepare, he continued, “would be disastrous.”
A Defense Department assessment from 2018 warned that China and Russia are spending significant sums of money on AI for military applications. The investment threatens to erode U.S. technological and operational advantages, according to the document.
“Put simply,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said at the hearing, “our adversaries are going to use AI against us, so we must use AI to defend against them.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
04 May 22. Austin, Japan’s Defense Minister Pledge to Defend Rules-Based Order. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi pledged to work together to defend the international rules-based architecture wherever it is threatened. The treaty allies met at the Pentagon today, with the Japanese minister saying that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February “the world has drastically changed.”
Kishi said the Russian attack on Ukraine and North Korea’s continuing launches of ballistic missiles are absolutely unacceptable.
“We are here because the U.S.-Japan alliance remains a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Austin said at the beginning of the meeting. “Our two countries are bound by deep friendship and trust, as well as by common interests and shared values.”
But those interests and values are under attack, the secretary said, and the United States and Japan must work closely together to counter the threats emanating from Russia, China and North Korea. “Russia’s baseless, and the reckless invasion of Ukraine is an affront to the rules-based international order, and it poses a challenge to free people everywhere,” he said.
Austin said Japan reiterated its commitment at last week’s meeting of defense ministers. Kishi attended the meeting of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group last week in Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “Your presence underscored Japan’s commitment to helping the Ukrainian people defend their sovereignty now and over the long haul,” Austin said.
While Russia has gained the headlines, Austin said China also poses a threat to the rules-based order. “China’s recent behavior poses a profound challenge to common norms, values and institutions that underpin that order,” Austin said.
The two men and their staffs discussed ways to ensure the Indo-Pacific region remains open and free. Japan is a treaty ally of the United States, and Austin reaffirmed America’s “unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan to include our extended deterrence commitments using our full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities.”
The two nations share much in common, and the leaders will look at ways to better align defense strategies and optimize force posture in the region. “We’ll also discuss ways to further deepen our cooperation with other like-minded partners, including the Quad … and South Korea,” the secretary said.
“The Quad Partnership” refers to the U.S., Australia, India and Japan.
Kishi unequivocally emphasized that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means that the Japanese can no longer separate the security of the Indo-Pacific from that of Europe. The defense minister said “there is no time to lose” in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. (Source: US DoD)
03 May 22. Austin Makes Case for Military Budget to Senate Committee. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights the need for a competent, ready military to deter any would-be foe. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described to the Senate Appropriations Committee today, DOD’s strategy and how the budget request supports that strategy.
The threats are real. “We are now facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, both who intend to fundamentally change the current rules-based order,” Milley said. “We are entering a world that is becoming more unstable, and the potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing, not decreasing.”
“We’re still focused on three key priorities at the Department of Defense: Defending our nation, taking care of our people and succeeding through teamwork,” Austin said. “And our budget request helps us meet each one of those priorities.”
The secretary broke down how the request supports the domains of warfare. He said the request proposes $56bn for air power, more than $40bn for sea power — including nine new battle force ships — and “almost $13bn to support and modernize our combat-credible forces on land.”
At a time when Russian leaders casually threaten nuclear strikes, the budget request also “funds the modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad to ensure that we maintain a safe, secure and effective strategic deterrent,” Austin said.
But the secretary stressed time and again, that none of these capabilities means a thing without the trained and motivated people who use them. He called for a 4.6 percent pay raise for military and civilian personnel. “We also plan to invest in outstanding and affordable childcare, in the construction of on-base child development centers, and in ensuring that all our families can always put good and healthy food on the table,” he said.
The department also is working to counter the problems of suicide in the ranks and implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault. Austin said both are issues of leadership, and he vowed to continue leading.
Supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unjust and unprovoked war is another global priority. He noted that the meeting he convened last week in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, attracted more than 40 nations. “That gathering sent a powerful signal that nations of goodwill are intensifying their efforts to help Ukraine better defend itself,” he said.
Milley called the Russian invasion “the greatest threat to peace and security of Europe — and perhaps the world — in my 42 years in uniform. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to undermine not only European peace and stability but global peace and stability that my parents and generations of Americans fought so hard to defend. The islands of the Pacific the beaches of Normandy bore witness to the incredible tragedy that befalls humanity when nations seek power through military aggression across sovereign borders. Despite this horrific assault on the institutions of freedom, is heartening to see the world rally and say never again, the specter of war in Europe.”
The United States has been able to supply Ukraine with technologies that have allowed their fighters to push the invaders back from the capital of Kyiv and more than hold their own in terrific fighting in the Donbas region.
“Even before Putin started his war of choice, we provided Ukraine with a billion dollars worth of weapons and gear through presidential drawdown authority,” Austin said. “And since Russia’s invasion, the United States has committed some $3.7bn to Ukraine. But the war is changing, and the coming weeks will be crucial.”
The U.S. goal is to get the Ukrainian military the capabilities that will be most useful in the fight in the Donbas and in the southern part of the country, the secretary said. Congress has a role to play in this effort and he urged the legislators to quickly pass the $33bn supplemental budget request, “which will help us continue to meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements without interruption.”
If passed, the request would provide $16bn for the Department of Defense, $5 bn of additional presidential drawdown authority, $6bn for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $5bn “for critical investments and to help cover the operational costs of bolstering NATO’s eastern flank,” Austin said.
While Russia is dangerous, China remains America’s pacing threat, Austin reminded the legislators. The budget allots $6 bn in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. “In keeping with our new National Defense Strategy, we are going to enhance our force posture, infrastructure, presence and readiness in the Indo-Pacific — including the missile defense of Guam,” he said.
Again, threats from nation-states are not the only problem confronting the United States. “We must be prepared for threats that pay no heed to borders, from pandemics to climate change,” the secretary said. “And we must tackle the persistent threats posed by North Korea, Iran and global terrorist groups.”
The military is well-positioned today to fight these threats, but it must remain effective in the years ahead. The budget request allots $130bn for research, development, testing and evaluation. “This includes $1bn for artificial intelligence, $50m for 5G, nearly $28bn for space capabilities and another $11bn to protect our networks and develop a cyber mission force,” Austin said.
“This budget maintains our edge, but it does not take that edge for granted,” the secretary said. (Source: US DoD)
01 May 22. USTR Releases 2022 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its 2022 Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights. This annual report details USTR’s findings of more than 100 trading partners after significant research and enhanced engagement with stakeholders. Key elements of the 2022 Special 301 Report include:
- The Special 301 review of Ukraine has been suspended due to Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
- USTR will conduct an Out-of-Cycle Review of Bulgaria to assess whether Bulgaria makes material progress in addressing deficiencies in its investigation and prosecution of online piracy cases, particularly its failure to adopt evidence sampling in criminal cases.
- The 2022 Special 301 review period took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest global health crisis in more than a century. The Biden-Harris Administration supports a waiver of IP protections for COVID-19 vaccines under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). USTR is working hard to facilitate an outcome on IP that can achieve consensus across the 164 Members of the WTO to help end the pandemic. The United States will continue to engage with WTO Members as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive effort to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.
- The United States is closely monitoring China’s progress in implementing its commitments under the United States-China Economic and Trade Agreement (Phase One Agreement). In 2021, China enacted amendments to the Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Criminal Law, as well as other measures aimed at addressing IP protection and enforcement. While right holders have welcomed these developments, they continue to raise concerns about the adequacy of these measures and their effective implementation, as well as about long-standing issues like bad faith trademarks, counterfeiting, and online piracy. Also, statements by Chinese officials that tie IP rights to Chinese market dominance continue to raise strong concerns.
- Several trading partners continued to advance IP protection and enforcement by enacting major legal reforms and joining international IP treaties. For example, the United Arab Emirates enacted new Industrial Property, Trademark, Copyright, and Cyber Crime laws in 2021. Chile’s amendment to its Industrial Property Law took effect in January 2022. Japan’s Trademark Act amendments came into force in April 2022. Kiribati, Uganda, and Vietnam acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty and the WIPO Copyright Treaty, collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties.
- Concerns about the European Union’s aggressive promotion of its exclusionary geographical indications (GI) policies persist. The United States continues its intensive engagement in promoting and protecting access to foreign markets for U.S. exporters of products that are identified by common names or otherwise marketed under previously registered trademarks. The United States is also concerned about the transfer of much of the GI application review process to EU Member States and the reduction of time periods for opposing registration of a GI that is part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, adopted in 2021 and entering into force in 2023.
The report also highlights progress made by our trading partners to resolve and address IP issues of concern to the United States:
- Kuwait is removed from the Watch List this year for making continued and significant progress on concerns that stakeholders identified with IP enforcement and transparency. For example, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Copyright Office each created online portals for streamlining the submission of trademark and copyright violation reports, respectively. Kuwait also increased engagement and transparency through meetings of the United States-Kuwait Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Intellectual Property Working Group.
- Saudi Arabia is removed from the Priority Watch List this year due to steps the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property took to publish its IP enforcement procedures; increase enforcement against counterfeit and pirated goods and online pirated content; create specialized IP enforcement courts with trained judges and expedited timelines; conduct strong IP awareness, outreach, training, and support; set up a centralized committee to coordinate IP enforcement actions across multiple authorities; and train IP specialists in 76 different authorities to increase government compliance with IP laws.
- Romania is removed from the Watch List this year due to taking significant actions to improve IP protection and enforcement. These actions include the appointment of its first-ever national IP enforcement coordinator, establishment of a new department of the economic police dedicated to online piracy cases, dedication of additional officers to IP investigations, and the General Prosecutor Office Intellectual Property Coordination Department’s resumed coordination of IP working group sessions.
- Lebanon is removed from the Watch List this year. Stakeholders have not raised significant concerns about IP protection or enforcement during the Special 301 review. (Source: glstrade.com)
29 Apr 22. Proposed China investment curb by U.S. sparks debate among chipmakers. Chipmakers are divided over how aggressively to oppose a legislative proposal that would give the U.S. government sweeping new powers to block billions in U.S. investment into China, according to documents seen by Reuters. The measure is part of the House version of a bill that would also grant $52bn to chipmakers to expand operations, a boon to the industry that has made some companies loath to forcefully oppose the package’s China investment controls.
But the “outbound investment” proposal could hamper those companies’ investments abroad, leading some chipmakers to advocate for aggressive opposition to its inclusion in the chips bill being hammered out by Senate and House lawmakers.
“It would look hypocritical for companies to be begging for money, but refusing to allow government to have a say on whether they build new fabs in China,” said one executive at a chipmaking firm.
Another industry executive disagreed, noting that chipmakers could both support the funding and oppose the curb. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said.
The funding puts the industry in the tricky position of aggressively seeking the grants but facing headwinds to their foreign direct investments in Chinese factories and financial backing of Chinese startups should the bill pass with the controversial measure.
At a White House event in January to announce plans to build a $20bn chip plant in Ohio, IntelCorp (INTC.O) Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said without government funding “we’re still going to start the Ohio site. It’s just not going to happen as fast and it’s not going to grow as big as quickly.”
The company was also seeking to expand production at a plant in Chengdu, China, but the Biden administration spurned the plan, Bloomberg reported in November. Intel declined to comment.
The outbound investment measure was originally proposed as a standalone bill by Republican Senators John Cornyn and Senator Bob Casey, but was later added to the House version of a massive bill that includes the grants for chipmakers and is aimed at countering China’s rise. A third source noted it was important not to antagonize Cornyn, a strong supporter of the chip funding.
Reuters obtained an email from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), which has been mum on the provision, to its members last week seeking comment on a statement of principles describing the measure as “too broad,” and urging a separate legislative process for it.
“SIA encourages the development of policies that do not unnecessarily hinder non-sensitive, legitimate investment and related commercial activity,” the group wrote in the third version of the draft statement of principles, dated April 22 and toned down from a prior version.
“Prior to advancing outbound investment review policies, SIA encourages Congress to initiate a review process consisting of formal hearings, stakeholder engagement, and committee consideration.”
SIA declined to comment.
The concept behind the measure has support within the Biden administration. U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in July the government was working on new investment screening and considering outbound investment as it seeks to better position the United States for competition in technology.
However, Politico reported that the Treasury Department was working to weaken momentum in Congress for the measure, pushing lawmakers to approve a modest fact-finding pilot program instead of new regulatory powers.
Business groups including the Chamber of Commerce have already voiced strong opposition to the legislative proposal, which would require the U.S. Trade Representative to form a committee to evaluate the transactions and recommend to the president which ones pose a national security risk and should be blocked.
A study by Rhodium said 43% of U.S. foreign direct investment transactions in China over the past two decades could have been subject to screening under the broad categories set out by the proposal.
The National Foreign Trade Council, whose members include Amazon, Facebook, Exxon and Chevron, has also circulated a draft letter to other D.C. lobbying groups expressing “strong opposition” the measure, and describing the creation of a new regulator as “unwarranted.”
“Creating a new interagency process will compound regulatory inefficiency and invite protectionism under the flag of national security,” the letter, obtained by Reuters and directed to House and Senate leaders of both parties, states. The group declined to comment. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
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