(Defense One) What progress has the defense secretary made on his ambitious goals to reorient the Defense Department?
// Marcus Weisgerber: 500-ship Navy?; Lord's reforms; Interior's drone fleet; and more..
(USNI News) As China pushes to become a blue-water power, nuclear-powered submarines are critically important to Beijing’s plan.
What could Turkey’s latest S-400 missile tests mean?
(Al Jazeera) Last year, Turkey bought the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defense system, in spite of fierce objections from the United States.
The Secret to the Northern Mozambique Insurgency’s Success by Emilia Columbo
By Burak Bekdil, October 8, 2020
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: After the infamous Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then foreign policy tzar Ahmet Davutoğlu (later PM and now an Erdoğan opponent) pledged to internationally isolate Israel. This was intended to help them advance their Islamist agenda and augment an emerging unity in the umma, preferably under Turkish leadership. A decade later, pragmatic Arab states are lining up to normalize relations with Israel, leaving state actors Iran and Turkey as well as non-state actor Hamas in a punishing position of international isolation—exactly where Turkey wanted to push Israel.
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By Harlan Ullman, Proceedings: “This week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlined his plan for the future Navy called Battle Force 2045. The plan calls for a Navy and Marine Corps of about 500 or more ships based on 8-11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and their associated air wings; an increase in nuclear submarines to between 70-80; six smaller aircraft carrier/amphibious warfare ships; a total of 355 manned ships; and between 140-240 unmanned or partially manned vehicles."
The War in Nagorno-Karabakh Actually Represents an Opportunity for Washington
By Stephen Blank, RealClearDefense: "Several Democratic Senators, in the wake of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, are proposing that the U.S. impose sanctions or terminate all military assistance to Azerbaijan. Evidently, they blame Baku for the war. But while such resolutions may gratify the ubiquitous and deep-rooted moralism and desire to punish malefactors that affects the entire U.S. political class as well as interested domestic constituencies; this intemperate and misconceived move actually runs counter to U.S. interests."
The Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict Hints at the Future of War
From The Economist: “Azerbaijan’s armed forces may be busy waging war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed enclave run by Armenia. That did not stop them from setting aside scarce helicopters and tanks to star in a music video, complete with khaki-clad singers, guitarists and a drummer."
The US remains well ahead of the People’s Republic of China across a range of important economic indicators, from domestic wealth to share of global foreign direct investment.
Hal Brands | Bloomberg Opinion
Turkey’s increasingly assertive foreign policy
(Defense News) The U.S. Army’s ambitious first Project Convergence, an exercise that measured the progress of the service’s modernization strategy within its future operational concept, concluded last month, but the service already has a sense of what it wants to accomplish in 2021.
(Defense News) The service's acquisition chief talks Project Convergence and the pursuit of new programs.
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “Army modernization now faces a day of reckoning. Regardless of who wins the November election, the flow of resources which has undergirded modernization is almost certain to decline."
Military-Civil Fusion Power Projection and Threats to Supply Chain Integrity
By Emily de La Bruyère & Nathan Picarsic, RealClearDefense: “On September 30, the White House issued its second critical mineral executive order since 2017. The Executive Order on Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain from Reliance on Critical Minerals from Foreign Adversaries aims to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of select critical minerals, including rare earth elements – for which 80 percent of U.S. imports come from China."
Irregular Warfare With China, Russia Is Already Here
By Sean McFate, The Hill: “Last week, amid the hubbub of the presidential debate, revelations about President Trump’s taxes, the “SCOTUS War” and the COVID-plagued White House, something important happened that almost everybody missed. The Defense Department released the unclassified summary of the Irregular Warfare Annex to the 2018 National Defense Strategy."
More Capable by Far, but for How Long?
From IISS: "After a decade of modernisation and reform, Russia’s conventional military capabilities are at their highest since the country’s armed forces were formed in 1992. Can Moscow sustain the equipment-modernisation gains made as part of the 2020 State Armament Programme?"
By Robert E. Schrader IV, Strategy Bridge: ". . . Following centuries of Ottoman subjugation, the Arab world eagerly clung to this idea of national sovereignty."
Luke Coffey writes: Far from being just a localized conflict in a place far from Washington, DC, the fighting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian militaries and Armenian-backed militias in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region could destabilize an already fragile region even further. What happens in the South Caucasus usually does not stay in the South Caucasus. Because the region is so important for transit, trade, and energy reasons, geopolitical shocks in the South Caucasus often have second and third order effects across the broader region. – Middle East Institute