WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee wants the Pentagon plan for replacing special operations helicopters and is mandating defense officials to spell out plans to counter Russian and Iranian unconventional weapons.

The House Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee released its part of a Pentagon policy bill, and it seeks a slew of new plans, strategies and reports from the Defense Department.

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The subcommittee's section of the full panel's 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would mandate the Pentagon give lawmakers a new plan under which it would replace Boeing-made AH-6 and MH-6 "Little Bird" choppers for US special operations forces. That plans would be due 90 days after a final NDAA is enacted.

The Little Bird plan, if called for in the final NDAA later this year, would have to include "an updated schedule and display of programmed A/MH–6 Block 3.0 modernization and upgrades, showing usable life of the fleet, and the anticipated service life extensions of all A/MH–6 platforms," the House legislation states.

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It also would have to spell out current and coming rotary wing, light attack and reconnaissance requirements and all platforms, and "key performance parameters of future platforms" that are "particular to special operations."

The subcommittee also wants information about "the anticipated funding requirements for the special operation forces major force program for the development and procurement of an A/MH–6 replacement platform if military department-common platforms ... are not available or if commercially available platforms described ... are leveraged," states the proposed legislation.

The section of the HASC's Pentagon policy bill, the first of six to be released Tuesday and Wednesday, also would mandate the defense secretary, White House and chairman of the Joint Chiefs "develop a strategy for the Department of Defense to counter unconventional warfare threats posed by adversarial state and non-state actors."

Specifically, the subpanel states it is concerned about "growing unconventional warfare capabilities and threats being posed most notably and recently by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"The committee notes that unconventional warfare is defined most accurately as those activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, or guerrilla force in a denied area," according to the proposed language.

"The committee also notes that most state-sponsors of unconventional warfare, such as Russia and Iran, have doctrinally linked conventional warfare, economic warfare, cyber warfare, information operations, intelligence operations, and other activities seamlessly in an effort to undermine US national security objectives and the objectives of US allies alike," the subpanel states.

The committee also wants the US comptroller general to determine if — and which — DoD cyber tools should be employed to help civil authorities. That would come in a report to HASC and the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In another section devoted to cyber policy, the subpanel proposes directing the Pentagon acquisition chief and service chiefs "to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by Feb. 1, 2016, detailing the process for identifying and assessing vulnerabilities on legacy weapons and mission systems, as well as for designating funding to remedy these vulnerabilities."

The subcommittee's legislation also raises concerns about DoD's new cyber mission force, set for full operational capability in 2017.

"The committee is concerned that those teams, while they have needed organic intelligence analysis capability, may not be adequate to meet the full multi-source cyber intelligence collection and analysis needs required to support and enable those cyber mission forces," according to the proposed legislation.

Again, the subcommittee wants a briefing. This time by Nov. 1.

Meantime, the section of the proposed policy bill seeks another briefing on US Special Operations Command's Shallow Water Combat Submersible program. That would have to come, if in the final NDAA, "prior to program acceptance of the first article delivery on the account of schedule delays and a reduction of final basis of issue from 14 to 10 platforms."

The subcommittee has scheduled a 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday mark up, where that portion of the NDAA is expected to be passed quickly. Any remaining contentious issues will be worked out on April 29, when the full HASC is set to mark up every section of the Pentagon policy legislation.

Email: jbennett@defensenews.com

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