The Space Development Agency is now working with the Army to explore new options for satellite-based positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) as alternatives to GPS, according to SDA Director Derek Tournear. “We’re working very closely with the Army, who’s been pioneering the alt-PNT across the Department of Defense,” he told the National Security Space Association. “We’re working with them to be able to broadcast that same signal so it can be picked up by existing, fielded and planned user equipment.”
The Pentagon is preparing to ask Congress to approve spending $1 billion to replace weapons sent to Ukraine, a request that will essentially exhaust the “drawdown account” of funds available to replenish U.S. stockpiles. “I don't believe the final $1 billion request has quite gone over yet, but it's, I believe, very close to going over,” Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology, said Dec. 7 at the Defense One Acquisition Summit.
The Senate and House Armed Services Committees unveiled a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference agreement late Dec. 6 that includes several space policy and spending decisions impacting the military space and commercial space sectors. The 2024 NDAA authorizes a defense budget of $886 billion after weeks of negotiations between House and Senate leaders. The final negotiated version of the bill now goes back to the full House and Senate for final passage before going to the President.
Service members will get a 5.2 percent pay raise come January under the compromise annual defense bill unveiled late Dec. 6. The pay bump endorsed by the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, will mark the biggest raise for service members in more than two decades.
The new $6.2 billion contract that’s supposed to improve the process for moving service members’ household goods has been delayed again—likely beyond next year’s peak moving season, officials said. “It’s safe to say the majority of shipments will remain under the [current system]” during next year’s peak season, said Andy Dawson, director of the Defense Personal Property Management Office at U.S. Transportation Command, during a media roundtable Dec. 7. The delays are technology-related, officials said.
Legislation to speed up the hiring of nurses at military health care facilities has been introduced in Congress as a first step to fix a system serving 9.6 million service members and other beneficiaries. “Staffing shortages are a challenge for health care facilities across the country, and we must keep working to find ways to retain qualified and experienced nurses in military health care facilities,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Pentagon leaders who consider China a growing threat say 2024 will be a key year for the Army to bolster defenses around Guam, one of the most critically strategic islands in the Indo-Pacific region. During that year, the service plans to have in place a foundational capability to help stave off a potential attack.
Lawmakers stripped language from the annual defense policy bill that would have required an independent study to determine the feasibility of creating a separate cyber military service. In the conference report for the reconciled version of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, legislators noted that they nixed a provision that was included in the Senate bill that would have directed the secretary of defense to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct an evaluation regarding the advisability of establishing a separate military branch for digital warriors.
The conference committee version of the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill would allow military service secretaries greater authority to initiate the rapid prototyping for new-start weapon systems. The provision, which began as a legislative proposal in March and was championed by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, would allow military secretaries to “initiate urgent or emerging operational development activities for a period of up to one year, in order to leverage an emergent technological advancement of value to the national defense to address a military service-specific need, or to provide a rapid response to an emerging threat identified by a military service,” according to the bill.
They could have called it “The Space Race,” but somehow they came up with an even better name. Instead, the Space Force’s official service-sponsored 10 mile race this weekend is called: “T Minus 10 Miler.” We love it and we want the t-shirt. And the race’s route lives up to its moonshot name, as does the swag you get for signing up.