This month’s newsletter includes news from the firm, legislative updates, presidential determinations, DoD organizational announcements, and upcoming conferences.
SMI Welcomes Adrielle Churchill Wiese as Vice President
Washington, D.C.- June 1, 2022 – SMI announces that Adrielle Churchill Wiese has joined the firm as a Vice President, where she will help lead SMI’s defense portfolio. Adrielle is a seasoned national security professional with experience at the Pentagon, White House, and Capitol Hill.
“Adrielle is a highly regarded national security expert who has worked on many challenging defense legislative and policy issues,” said Ken Wetzel, SMI’s Chief Operating Officer. “Her experience as a leader and advisor to policymakers within the executive branch and Congress makes her extremely well-suited to help SMI’s clients better understand the needs of the Department of Defense. We’re very excited to have her join the SMI team and know that she will make an impact immediately.”
Adrielle was most recently a Vice President at American Global Strategies. Prior to working for AGS, she was a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council. Before working in the White House, Adrielle served as an Attorney-Advisor within the Department of Defense’s Office of the General Counsel, Director for Strategic Outreach within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and the Team Chief for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. She began her career on Capitol Hill, where she served as military legislative assistant to Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03) and managed his House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense assignment as well as his foreign affairs, transportation & housing, and interior/environment portfolios before becoming the Congressman’s Legislative Director.
Adrielle grew up on a small cattle farm in Arkansas but recently received her bareboat cruising certifications for monohulls and catamarans. She enjoys heated Jeopardy games with her family, a lifetime obsession with the Marvel Universe, and visiting the lesser-traveled islands of the world. She looks forward to providing the insights she gained from Congress, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council to clients to help them achieve their policy and funding goals.
Adrielle earned a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Arkansas and is a licensed attorney with a J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
What’s Going on in Congress? | Appropriations and Authorizations
FY23 Defense Appropriations Bill
On June 14, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) released its draft of the FY23 Defense funding bill. Currently, the bill has a topline of $762 billion, a $32 billion increase from FY22. Notable additions to the bill include closing Guantanamo Bay, a $15 minimum wage for contractors, and $2.5 billion to address climate change through clean energy investments and climate adaptation. The President’s FY23 budget was among the largest ever submitted to Congress at $762 billion, and yet the accompanying HAC-D budget superseded it with the amount of funding appropriated. Below are notable program changes within the procurement and research, development, test, and evaluation sections of the bill.
Total: $143.9 billion, a decrease of $960 million from the presidential budget, and a decrease of $1 billion from the FY22 enacted level.
- Shipbuilding adds:
- $27 billion to procure eight Navy ships
- Provides for two DDG-51 guided-missile destroyers, two SSN-774 attack submarines, one frigate, one T-AO Fleet Oiler, one towing, one salvage, one rescue ship, and one LPD Flight II amphibious transport dock
- Vehicle adds:
- Funds the requested 1,528 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) trucks and 1,381 companion trailers with $686 million
Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation:
Total: $131.7 billion, an increase of $1.6 billion above the presidential budget, and an increase of $12.5 billion above the FY22 enacted level.
- Aircraft adds:
- Fully funds the continued development and modernization of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with $2.2 billion
- Provides $1.1 billion to support the Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)
- Vehicle and Ground Forces adds:
- Provides $849 million for the continued development and fielding of the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW)
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) adds:
- Provides $4 billion for DARPA research programs
As for the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (VT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (AL) indicated that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense (SAC-D) likely will not markup until after the elections in November.
FY23 National Defense Authorization Act
Over the past two weeks, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees held hearings to mark up the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the federal government’s annual defense policy bill. A large bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate has pushed for an increased defense spending topline due to the mounting pressure of inflation and military assistance for the war in Ukraine.
On June 14, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) authorized a spending topline $45 billion higher than the President’s request of $813 billion. The bill authorizes a total of $857 billion for national defense, with nearly $30 billion allocated to the Department of Energy. Committee Chair Jack Reed (RI) praised the bipartisan vote of 23-3 and cited inflation and the war in Ukraine as justification for a boosted topline. The NDAA has several notable provisions:
- Authorizes $1 billion for critical materials to go towards the National Defense Stockpile
- Blocks the retirement of the B83 gravity bomb, Air Force F-22 fighters, and 25 of the Navy’s EA-18G growlers
- Approves seven additional F-35A jets, an item from the Air Force’s unfunded priorities list
- Authorizes a total of $800 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
- Authorizes an additional $5.2 billion for military construction
- Proposes an amendment that would require women to register for the Selective Service
On June 22, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) authorized a $37 billion increase to the President’s requested national defense topline. The increase came through an amendment proposed by Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02), who cited concerns over national inflation and additional military assistance to Ukraine as key motivators for an increased topline authorization. The amendment was passed with a bipartisan vote of 42-17 but was ultimately not supported by Committee Chair Adam Smith (WA-09), along with other progressive Democrats on the panel. The NDAA has several notable provisions:
- Authorizes an additional $3.6 billion to the Navy for an additional 5 ships to the 8 originally requested (one Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, one Constellation-class frigate, one fleet oiler, and two expeditionary medical ships)
- Authorizes increased total funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative at $1 billion
- Authorizes $2 billion in funding to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps for additional aircraft procurement
- Authorizes an additional $3.5 billion for military construction and $2.5 billion to address rising fuel costs
- Authorizes billions of additional federal dollars for DoD R&D efforts, biomanufacturing, test, and evaluation facilities
Increased defense spending appears to have strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate. In the coming months, the House and Senate Armed Service Committees will conduct negotiations to pass a final conferenced version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act. House lawmakers plan to begin full floor debate of the bill during the week of July 11. Senate lawmakers have yet to announce specific dates for floor debate of their bill.
President Biden Invokes Defense Production Act for Clean Energy Manufacturing Technologies
On June 6, President Biden signed five Presidential Determinations invoking Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA III) for a variety of clean energy manufacturing initiatives. The purpose of these determinations is to accelerate the domestic production of clean energy technologies while providing sustainable jobs and reliable energy infrastructure for vulnerable communities. The determination authorizes the use of DPA III to expand five critical clean energy and climate technology sectors:
- Solar panel parts (PV modules and components)
- Building insulation
- Electric heat pumps
- Fuel cells, electrolyzers, and platinum group metals (PGMs)
- Critical power grid infrastructure (e.g. transformers)
In the deployment of DPA III for these five focus areas, the Biden-Harris administration continues to encourage strong labor standards, community engagement, and adherence to new federal environmental justice standards. President Biden will also maximize federal procurement for increased solar manufacturing capacity through the development of two innovative tools:
- Master Supply Agreements for domestically manufactured solar systems to streamline purchase agreements with the federal government
- “Super-Preferences” to apply domestic content standards for the procurement of solar systems consistent with the Buy American Act
The Biden administration will work with state and local governments and municipal utilities in the rollout of this determination to maximize the impact of innovative procurement arrangements. Federal funding for this effort has also been allocated: the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee designated $100 million to the Department of Energy for all DPA efforts in these five focus areas.
Read the official White House fact sheet here.
President Biden Nominates Head of Industrial Base Policy
In the April issue of SMI’s A Capitol View, SMI reported on organizational shifts occurring within the Office of Industrial Base Policy, formerly known as the Office of Industrial Policy. In February, Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) Kathleen Hicks released a memo detailing the office’s new leadership role of Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Industrial Base Policy. This shifts the office’s top leadership to a higher level, Senate-confirmed appointee role, reflecting the administration’s efforts to revitalize our domestic defense industrial base. At the time of the announcement, ASD for Chemical and Biological Programs Deborah Rosenblum was performing the duties of ASD for Industrial Base Policy before President Biden’s official nomination.
In May, President Biden announced his official nomination for the role of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, Ms. Laura Taylor-Kale of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is currently waiting for the Senate to confirm her nomination for this new position. If confirmed, Ms. Laura Taylor-Kale will report to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment while overseeing two Deputy Assistant Secretary (DASD) roles: Industrial Base Resilience and Industrial Base Development & International Engagement (temporarily led by Principal DASD for Industrial Base Policy Michael Vaccaro). Nominee Taylor-Kale currently serves as a fellow for innovation and economic competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations and has a long history of working on manufacturing issues. Ms. Laura Taylor-Kale was previously a career Foreign Service Officer and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for manufacturing at the International Trade Administration from 2014 to 2017.
SMI’s original memorandum on organizational shifts within the Office of Industrial Base Policy has been updated to reflect the nomination of Taylor-Kale. View the updated memo here.
President Biden Invests $74 million in Critical Minerals Mapping
On June 22, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced plans for a $74 million investment in the domestic critical minerals supply chain. Through the United States Geological Survey (USGS), DOI will distribute this federal funding across 30 states for geoscience data collection, data preservation, mapping, and scientific interpretation of areas with potentially untapped critical mineral sources. This investment will help DOI develop a critical understanding of our domestic critical mineral supply, identifying actions to expand the supply chain for use in clean energy technologies. $64 million of the total $74 million comes from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in the USGS that total almost $511 million.
USGS efforts will be conducted under the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative or Earth MRI. Under this program, the USGS works with state and local entities to conduct new, innovative geological mapping and analysis. The program forges cost-shared cooperative agreements between the USGS and state-level geological surveys in addition to contracts with industry for surveys and data preservation. With this new $74 million investment, Earth MRI will begin to focus on mineral deposits for potential domestic production and processing of critical minerals, conducting surveys and developing new methods to identify and target geological resources. The following USGS programs are working in coordination with or under the authority of Earth MRI to ensure accurate, reliable results:
- National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
- National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program
- USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP)
- Mineral Resources Program
So far, no further information has been provided on when funding opportunities will be announced. View the USGS press release here.
Space and Missile Defense Symposium | Huntsville, AL | August 9-11
The Space and Missile Defense (SMD) Symposium is the leading educational, professional development, and networking event in the space and missile defense community. The symposium is widely attended by a variety of leaders and professionals within this space from the United States and our allies from around the world.
AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference | National Harbor, MD | September 19-21
The Air, Space, and Cyber Conference is the leading event for Air Force and Space Force officers, enlisted members, civilians, veterans, and defense industry leaders and representatives seeking professional development. Many who attend are industry experts, government officials, and more, intent on discussing challenges facing the aerospace and cyber communities today and in the future.
Hypersonic Technology and Systems Conference | North Logan, UT | October 24-28
The Hypersonic Technology and Systems Conference (HTSC) emphasizes systems and applied technology for hypersonic flight. The conference will highlight the nation’s investments in systems integrated hypersonic technologies for both research and development and weapon platform integration for offense and defense. IMPORTANT: This event is held at a restricted access level, please visit this page for more information.
Defense Manufacturing Conference | Tampa, FL | December 5-8
The Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) is the nation’s annual forum for enhancing and leveraging the efforts of engineers, managers, technology leaders, scientists, and policymakers across the defense manufacturing industrial base. Attendees range from CEO-and Flag Officer/SES-level to working-level manufacturing-oriented engineers, scientists, and business practice/policymakers.
Register here beginning in September 2022.