Air & Space Brief: Welcome to Rocketland; China leads US in drones; Faster acquisition; and more
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:
US-China tech warning: China leads the United States in 5G, commercial drones, offensive hypersonic weapons, and lithium-battery production, and if the U.S. continues to lag, national security could be compromised. That’s according to a new report from the Special Competitive Studies Project, led by former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and Google co-founder Eric Schmidt, writes Defense One’s Lauren Williams and Patrick Tucker.
Applause for an acquisition pathway: Now more than ever, the Pentagon needs a faster way to produce innovative capabilities for today and tomorrow. Luckily, it’s got one: the Middle Tier of Acquisition, or MTA, which writers Pete Modigliani, Dan Ward and Matt MacGregor call the “Middle Tier of Awesomeness.” Program officials should use prototyping and rapid upgrades to improve the Pentagon’s historically sluggish acquisition pace, the writers argue.
Pushback on Ukraine aid: Some conservative groups are lobbying members of Congress to halt the flow of monetary assistance to Ukraine, including $13.7 billion in security, economic and energy assistance announced Friday. They question why “billions of their tax dollars be spent to defend the integrity of Ukraine’s border when resources and stewardship cannot be found to address our own,” asked Russ Vought, Trump’s final OMB chief-turned-president of the Center for Renewing America.
Welcome to Rocketland, USA: The Verge takes us inside the sprawling ranch just outside of SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas, launch site. Meet the people who have upended their lives to find a new community of like-minded Starship devotees along the Texas coast.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Sept. 12, 1962, at Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy launched the nation’s lunar pursuit with six words: “We choose to go to the moon.”
From Defense One
US Trails China in Key Tech Areas, New Report Warns // Lauren C. Williams and Patrick Tucker
Ex-Google, DOD leaders paint dire picture unless U.S. organizes to win technology races.
Get to Know the Middle Tier of Awesome…Er, Acquisition // Pete Modigliani, Dan Ward and Matt MacGregor
Speeding good ideas into reality through rapid prototyping and fielding is awesome. Don't let disbelievers muck it up.
Conservative Groups Urging Lawmakers To Vote 'No' On More Ukraine Aid // Jacqueline Feldscher
"This new package will prolong a fight that lacks an American dog, allowing regional allies to shirk their security responsibilities yet again," one former Trump official said.