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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Duvall

GovConJudicata Weekly Debrief (1/23–27)

This week's Weekly Debrief covers NASA's plans for ISS seat barters, NASA and DARPA partner for nuclear propulsion, defense contractor risks as spending increases, GAO says DoD lacks guidance in contested information environments, spy sentenced to prison, and FBI seizes Hive ransomware group infrastructure.


Space


  • "As NASA prepares to launch another commercial crew mission with a Russian cosmonaut on board, the agency says it has yet to work out an agreement with Roscosmos on future crew swaps. At a Jan. 25 briefing, agency officials said they are moving ahead with plans to launch the Crew-6 Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station on Feb. 26 at 2:07 a.m. Eastern. The spacecraft will deliver to the station NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev."

  • "After a 50-year hiatus, the US is planning to test a nuclear fission-powered thermal propulsion system on a spacecraft. NASA said this week that it would team up with DARPA, the Pentagon’s R&D arm, to build, launch, and demonstrate a nuclear thermal engine. This early work is intended to pave the way for a crewed mission to Mars in the late 2030s. The joint project has a $110M budget this year and will likely cost hundreds of millions more through deployment, planned for 2027."

Defense


  • "Ongoing geopolitical developments such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions between China and Taiwan have continued to fuel higher US military spending. The demand for military weapons is the strongest it has been in years, with historic investments by US allies and partners, and record US national defense funding that jumped by $76 billion to $858 billion for fiscal year 2023. This includes $816.7 billion specifically for the Pentagon."

  • "The Department of Defense lacks clear guidance on various training efforts to prepare leaders for an increasingly contested information environment, according to a new Government Accountability Office report."

Cyber


  • "A federal court sentenced a Chinese national living in the United States on Wednesday to eight years in prison on a single count of acting as a secret agent for the People's Republic of China. Ji Chaoqun, a 31-year-old Chicago resident who was enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, was recruited by a senior PRC intelligence officer named Xu Yanjun while still a student. Xu himself was prosecuted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison last November for his role in running a string of U.S.-based agents with connections to the aerospace industry. "

  • "After seven months spent lurking inside a notorious ransomware group’s networks, swiping decryption keys for its victims, the FBI and international partners seized infrastructure behind Hive ransomware attacks."


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