October 5, 2023

DefSec Carter Prefers Senate Defense Spending Plan

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DefSec Ash Carter has offered early praise for the Senate’s approach to funding defense spending, coming after opposing the House Armed Services Committee’s plan, The Hill reports. HASC has put forward a 2017 defense spending proposal that would authorize taking $18 billion from a war account and using it to pay for things in the Pentagon’s base budget. Congress would then work with the next administration to approve more war funding next April. In contrast, the Senate committee wants to authorize spending according to the administration’s request, but then request more defense funding on the Senate floor instead of using the war funding, known as Overseas Contingency Operations, for base budget items.

Attacks on transportation networks remain the top goal of terrorist groups, says former TSA deputy administrator John Halinski, reports the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, College Park tracks attacks and attempted attacks. Observers say they are surprised there aren’t more.

The US and other members of an international coalition working to establish some form of stability amid the violence in Libya said Monday they support sending weapons and other military supplies into the war-torn North African nation, according to US News & World Report. In a communique signed by the US, the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and more than a dozen other countries, the coalition said it would support exemptions to the embargo requested by the makeshift Libyan Government of National Accord – the country’s provisional government created in December.

China aims to complete military reform and have armed forces capable of informationized warfare by 2020, according to a five-year military development plan published Thursday, credited to a Xinhua report in DefenceTalk. In the next five years, China’s armed forces will realize “a significant increase of key combat capabilities,” said the 13th five-year military development plan (2016-2020), issued by the Central Military Commission.

In search of the honorable hacker: The US Navy, owner of one of the largest and most sophisticated computer networks on Earth, will turn some of its sailors into ethical hackers to better defend it, NextGov reports. In a solicitation posted last week, the Navy outlined its requirements for training and graduation from the Certified Ethical Hacker program, an intensive five-day course administered from June 6-10 in San Diego.

Federal investigators may soon be authorized to search a job candidate’s social media postings when deciding whether to issue a security clearance, NextGov says. Director of Intelligence James Clapper signed a policy Thursday allowing background check investigators to scan public social media postings as part of their assessment. The policy will be applied to checks of federal employees and contractors.

Small is no longer beautiful for the Marine Corps, says its No. 2, Breaking Defense reports. Assistant Commandant Gen. John Paxton made clear on Monday at the annual Sea-Air-Space conference that he hoped the force would ultimately grow beyond the 186,800 target set by a study under then-Commandant Gen. James Amos.  Conflict in Ukraine and Syria, tensions in the South China Sea, and WikiLeaks have changed the equation, Gen. Paxton said.

CNO Admiral John Richardson laments that the Navy and industry don’t start talking soon enough in the process that leads them to joint endeavors. Speaking at the Sea-Air-Space conference, ADM  Richardson advocated a cultural shift that taps the industrial base earlier in the process, supports creative thinking, and enables prototyping at the front end, Defense News reports. “I want to challenge our industrial partners to challenge us,” ADM Richardson said, pointing to perpetual “politeness” as a frequent obstacle to progress.

Lockheed Martin has signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to collaborate on what they are calling “generation-after-next” autonomous systems, Washington Technology reports. They will collaborate on autonomy and robotics, working on things such as improving human-machine teaming and navigation in complex environments.

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