Policy Recommendations for a Sustainable Way Forward
In a new policy briefing book, entitled The Biden Administration and the Middle East: Policy Recommendations for a Sustainable Way Forward, MEI scholars tackle a large number of country-specific and region-wide issue areas, laying out both the abiding U.S. interests and specific recommendations for Biden administration policies that can further U.S. interests amid a region in turmoil.
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After last year’s crisis, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia pursue a reset
China and Military Power through Artificial Intelligence by Peter Schweizer
Competing in time: How the Department of Defense is losing the innovation race to China
Despite reforms, the Pentagon and Congress have failed to break out of a Cold War, central-planning model that has stifled innovation, writes William Greenwalt. A radical overhaul of the entire defense management system is now required. Time is of the essence.
question the stealth fighter's role. "What does the F-35 give us? Is there a way to cut our losses? Is there a way to not keep spending so much money for such a low capability, because the sustainment costs are brutal," Smith said at a Brookings Institution event on Friday.
The F-35 is the largest, most expensive Pentagon program —ever— so it certainly has a target on its back now that Democrats control Congress and there is a Dem in the White House and are expected to cut defense spending in the coming years. But that's no easy feat since F-35 parts are made in 45 U.S. states and a number of foreign partners, which will certainly weigh in on the minds of lawmakers. Nine countries are already flying the plane too.
Small Number of States Dominate Defense Spending
By Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine: "A huge portion of U.S. defense spending is going to contractors and military personnel based in just a handful of states, according to data recently released by the Pentagon."
The Military Balance 2021, on our website.
Global defence-spending on the up, despite economic crunch
Notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent 3.5% contraction in global economic output in 2020, global defence-spending was resilient with real growth matching the higher rate achieved in 2019. However, even with a potential uplift in European spending, this increase could slow in 2021 as the defence budget of the United States flattens and growth in Asia-Pacific slows. Read Fenella McGerty's analysis in full.
US Intelligence and the Dilemma of Iran
By Erfan Fard, February 26, 2021
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The rogue regime in Tehran is the primary source of turmoil and instability in the Middle East. The regime thirsts for ever more dominance across the region and beyond and employs a terrorist network to achieve that goal, even as it continues to move aggressively in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The threat of Iran, combined with the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and Syria, has prompted the creation of an anti-Iran coalition. It is now up to the Biden administration, which has no desire to become involved in a military conflict with Iran, to determine the best course of action in dealing with a regime that persistently challenges all accepted norms of behavior.
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Navigating the Shoals of Renewed American Naval Power: Imperatives for the Next Secretary of the Navy by Bryan Durkee and Chris Bassler
Janet Yellen and the return of the bond vigilantes
Desmond Lachman | The National Interest
Today's global credit and asset bubble is premised on the assumption that US interest rates will remain at low levels indefinitely. This could change quickly if inflation fears due to the president's expansive stimulus package push rates up. The market for US government bonds could be an early signal of trouble ahead.
Biden must not repeat Trump’s trade policy mistakes
Desmond Lachman | The Hill
President Joe Biden has inherited a US and global economy in much worse shape than did President Donald Trump. As such, Biden cannot afford to repeat the same trade policy mistakes that the Trump administration made if he wishes to arrest the worldwide drift to protectionist policies that threaten US and global prosperity.
How To Overcome Weaknesses in the Western Way of Sea War
By James Holmes, 1945: “The question put to me for today is: what are some aspects of the Western way of maritime war that opponents can exploit?"
America’s Approach Towards Iran
By Ehud Eilam, Wavell Room: "What should President Biden’s strategy towards Iran look like? It is a crucial matter which might bring a nuclear arms race to the Middle East and maybe even a nuclear war. Israel and Arab states are also very concerned about Iran and about its regional ambitions and long-range missile project. All of that has to be addressed by negotiation while retaining a military option should the talks reach a dead end."
Global Defence-Spending on the Up, Despite Economic Crunch
By Fenella McGerty, IISS: “Notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent 3.5% contraction in global economic output in 2020, global defence-spending was resilient with real growth matching the higher rate achieved in 2019. However, even with a potential uplift in European spending, this increase could slow in 2021 as the defence budget of the United States flattens and growth in Asia-Pacific slows."
Competing in time: Ensuring capability advantage and mission success through adaptable resource allocation
William C. Greenwalt and Dan Patt | Hudson Institute
The keystone of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) institutional architecture is not acquisition, but rather the budgeting process. Congress and the DOD need to cooperate to overhaul the resource-allocation process to allow the United States to compete with other nations such as China. Full Story
What are China’s leaders saying about the South China Sea?
Oriana Skylar Mastro | The Lowy Institute
Persian Gulf militaries, by the numbers. Here's a (just-a-bit-blurry) chart showing the military endstrength and major weapons of seven Gulf countries, produced by Defense News from the new edition of IISS's Military Balance.
China's Military-Civil Fusion Strategy: What to Expect in the Next Five Years // Peter W. Singer and Alex Stone: Even as the term has all but disappeared from official documents, its tenets are being strengthened and extended.
Who’s Who in Defense: Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary Of Defense
Part of a special Breaking Defense reference series profiling key defense decision-makers in the new administration and Congress.
A better idea for the defense budget
Elaine McCusker | The Hill
Joe Biden's Mideast Policy: Obama Redux by Alexander H. Joffe
BESA Center Perspectives
Turkish Reforms: From Imperial Repression to Thuggish State by Burak Bekdil
Iran's Role in Yemen: US, EU Go Wobbly by Majid Rafizadeh
How To Make The Third Offset Real: The Combined JADC2
There are places where jointness, that still sometimes elusive character, is on full display in the US military and one of those is where close air support meets the Army. The Army’s Joint Support Team trains 4,200 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Special Operations Command students in joint air-ground operations education, training and command-and-control systems integration.
Ike was wrong: The military-industrial-congressional complex turns 60
William C. Greenwalt | Breaking Defense
President Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell speech to the nation 60 years ago, a speech that became famous for one trope — beware the military-industrial complex.
Why China’s Advance in Latin America Matters
By R. Evan Ellis, National Defense Magazine: “China’s expanding presence and influence in Latin America is now widely recognized by political and business leaders and security professionals..”
Implementing Arab Gulf Reconciliation
By Jeff Martini, RealClearDefense: "As the Arab Gulf states prepare to engage with a new U.S. administration, their recent reconciliation announcement offers an opportunity to advance their interests as well as mutual interests with the United States."
The Caravan: The Arab Public And US Foreign Policy: A Discussion With Faisal Abbas
interview with Faisal Abbas, Russell A. Berman via The Caravan Notebook
A public opinion survey sheds important light on Arab views of the role of the US in the Middle East with implications for the Biden Administration.
Turkey furious over Clintons' TV show featuring Syrian Kurdish women fighters
Turkey’s state-run press agency is churning out angry coverage of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea producing a TV series about the Syrian Kurdish women fighters who were key in defeating the Islamic State.
Explosions over Riyadh as CENTCOM commander visits region
No group has yet claimed credit for the blasts, which came three days after the Saudi military said it shot down an enemy projectile over Riyadh.
Al Qaeda ‘Gaining Strength’ in Afghanistan, U.S. Treasury Says
By Thomas Joscelyn, FDD's Long War Journal: “. . . al Qaeda was “gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban’s protection.” Al Qaeda “capitalizes on its relationship with the Taliban through its network of mentors and advisers who are embedded with the Taliban, providing advice, guidance, and financial support.””
How DoD Can Operate More Like a Startup
By Timothy P. Grayson, RealClearDefense: “Silicon Valley and the venture capital communities are known for their innovation and agility. While most of these success stories start small, the figurative "two guys in a garage," many have ended up becoming "unicorns" and are now some of the biggest, most powerful corporations in the world. These startups start small, accept risk and move fast.”
It’s Time To Move the Army Ladder
By Eric Wesley & Robert Simpson, War on the Rocks: “When The New York Times reported that Russia had likely deployed a nuclear-armed cruise missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear."
The U.S. Military’s Real Foe: The Tyranny of Distance
By Patrick Hulme & Erik Gartzke, 1945: “When it comes to war, America is almost always playing an “away game.””
Present at the Drone War’s Creation
By Benjamin Runkle, RealClearDefense: “. . . despite the current vogue for railing against the bureaucratic "Deep State," Never Mind shows how much of the implementation of grand strategy and policy relies on nameless, faceless patriots for success."
These five items should top Biden’s defense priorities [Commentary]
The Biden administration has the opportunity to institute reforms in several crucial areas at the Pentagon. Read More
A Civilizational Foreign Policy
By Samuel Gregg on Jan 31, 2021 04:00 pm
In “The Abandonment of the West,” Michael Kimmage focuses on the role of the West in America’s approach to the world. Beyond his historical argument, he believes that the idea of the West requires rehabilitation as an underlying motif of American foreign policy, both to resist authoritarianism abroad and to foster greater unity domestically. ...
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By William D. Burghart, Strategy Bridge: “. . . Thucydides’ text is not a machine into which modern problems can be plugged in and answers calculated.”
Theseus, Daedalus and Icarus
By Roger Ranger, Wavell Room: “The potential non-kinetic military effects of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the battlefield."
Turning the JLTV Into a Science Fair Dangerous for Warfighters
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “There’s a longstanding ritual among defense contractors and pundits when a new president takes office. They try to convince the incoming administration that their priorities are a good match for its agenda.”
We Need a Bigger and Smarter Navy
By Steve Cohen, The Hill: "China is leading the world in ship production. In the past 10 years, China has increased its number of battle force ships by 140, while the U.S. has only grown by 9. Importantly, that trend has accelerated in the past five years; more than 100 of China’s additions were made between 2015 and 2020."
Why the Age of the Aircraft Carrier Isn't Over Just Yet
By Dan Gouré, The National Interest: “Critics of the modern aircraft carrier too often focus only on the alleged vulnerabilities of the ship and fail to address the role of the carrier air wing.”
Defending Forward to Confront China’s Military Aims
By Craig Singleton, RealClearDefense: "The passage of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) marked the moment the budget finally caught up to a grim geostrategic reality."
A Super-Max Failure and the Case for Going Irregular:
Recalibrating U.S. Policy Toward Iran
By Alex Deep, Modern War Institute: "Over the past four years, the United States has taken a more aggressive approach with Iran through the “super-maximum pressure” economic campaign, overt military action, and confrontational rhetoric."
What’s Next for Afghanistan?
By Amin Saikal, The Strategist (ASPI): “The fate of Afghanistan has been a perennial issue, decided often by outside powers rather than by the Afghan people."
How the National Security Team Affects Nuclear Weapons Policy
By Jeffrey Becker, Strategy Bridge: "With a new administration about to take the reins of power, one has been reminded how critical a team will be. A mostly mainstream set of cabinet picks suggests the policies of Joe Biden will continue those under Barack Obama. What have these nominated officials learned from how the world has changed in the last four years? The Senate will soon have to evaluate what hundreds of nominees think of these issues and more."
U.S. Options to Incentivize People’s Republic of China Behavior
By Mel Daniels, Divergent Options: “The idea that the U.S. should support the responsible rise of China has failed."
Conflicts to Watch in 2021
From Council on Foreign Relations: "A crisis stemming from North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing is the top-ranked conflict concern for 2021, according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) thirteenth annual Preventive Priorities Survey."
Economic and diplomatic power is not a substitute for military strength
(RealClear Defense) The current chaos in Washington, D.C. has given U.S. political discourse a distinct focus, a focus that will remain until 20 January, when Mr. Biden is inaugurated.
What's in a name? Reimagining irregular warfare activities for competition
(War On The Rocks) “Irregular warfare” has an image problem. Artistic liberties in Hollywood and misadventures by former special operators cause “irregular warfare” to be conflated with either the highly kinetic exploits of elite units, or “little green men” attempting to overthrow fledgling dictators.
Donald Trump's foreign policy legacy
(War On The Rocks) In this episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Will Inboden, executive director at the Clements Center at the University of Texas at Austin, sits down with David Adesnik and John Hannah from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, to discuss their recent work, “From Trump to Biden: The Way Ahead for United States National Security.”
Al Qaeda in Iran–and Afghanistan
(Long War Journal) Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss and critique Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on the Iran-Al Qaeda axis.
‘A piece of...’ Outgoing SecDef blasts expensive programs
(Defense One) DOD’s biggest challenge is overcoming the “mindset of the Cold War.”
Mossad Head Briefs Biden Admin On Iranian Nukes, Missiles
By Arie Egozi; Wednesday, January 13, 2021 4:30 PM
The head of the Mossad is expected to serve as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main liaison with the new administration, because of his personal acquaintance with Biden and many of the new president’s senior officials developed while he was head of Israel’s National Security Council.
Building JADC2: Data, AI & Warfighter Insight
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.; Wednesday, January 13, 2021 3:05 PM
“There’s still a lot of folks who believe that, ‘oh, somebody’s going to bring a big box of AI and set it on my desk,’” Lt. Gen. Mike Groen, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, says. “This is not some black box. This is about your insight into the battlefield.”
JADC2 May Be Built To Fight The Wrong War
By Dan Patt; Thursday, January 14, 2021 11:35 AM
To compete with China, DoD needs to focus on spoiling Chinese military and paramilitary success at lower levels on the escalation ladder. This is more closely aligned with maneuver warfare concepts like DARPA’s Mosaic Warfare.
America's dangerous budget deficit dance
Desmond Lachman | The National Interest
The Democrats’ Paranormal Economics
It is magical thinking to believe that the United States run large deficits indefinitely.
READ MORE ›
The “Facts” We Take on Faith
How do we know our political convictions are based in reality?
Roper Concerned About Mid-Tier Industrial Base
By Mandy Mayfield, National Defense Magazine: “The Air Force’s top weapons buyer is concerned that the acquisition of medium-sized companies by larger defense contractors will negatively impact competition for future programs.”
Declassification of Secret Document Reveals U.S. Strategy in the Indo-Pacific
By Rory Medcalf, The Strategist (ASPI): “The U.S. government has just declassified one of its most sensitive national security documents—its 2018 strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific, which was formally classified SECRET and not for release to foreign nationals.”
Xi Jinping is wrong: Time is on America’s side, not China’s
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
The Eight Rules of Urban Warfare and Why We Must Work To Change Them
By John Spencer, Modern War Institute: “From October 16, 2016 to January 4, 2017, US-backed Iraqi security forces conducted a full-scale city attack to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State."
The U.S. Defense Industry in a New Era by Doug Berenson, Chris Higgins, and Jim Tinsley
Hypersonics, Unmanned Ship Teaming Ahead for Zumwalt Destroyer
By Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense: "Navy officials said this week that the destroyer, which still hasn't been deployed almost five years after she was christened, might find a place in the fleet after all."
Pentagon Report Paints Grim Picture of America’s Industrial Decline
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “The arsenal of democracy may not be dead, but it is definitely dying. That’s the message I got from perusing the Pentagon’s 2020 assessment of U.S. industrial capabilities, which was released on Tuesday.”
The Wrong Way to Gauge Readiness // Defense Undersecretary Matthew Donovan: Too much focus on mission capable rates misses the larger and more important picture.
Did your state receive the most defense dollars? We’ve got the numbers.
(Defense News) California topped the list of states receiving defense dollars in 2019, a period in which overall Pentagon contracts and payroll spending in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., totaled $550.9 billion, the Department of Defense revealed Wednesday.
Exclusive: Longtime US Diplomat Weighs America's Legacy in Syria // Katie Bo Williams: The immediate damage of the Turkish invasion has been repaired, Bill Roebuck says, but warns ISIS could reemerge without more U.S. assistance.
China’s high-speed, armed reconnaissance drone completes maiden flight
(South China Morning Post) China’s new armed reconnaissance drone, the WJ-700, successfully completed its maiden flight on Monday, according to a newspaper report.
MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA:
Ethiopia’s Worsening Crisis Threatens Regional, Mideast Security
By Payton Knopf & Jeffrey Feltman, Al-Monitor: “With the Horn of Africa increasingly becoming an integral part of the Middle East’s security landscape, the fallout from Ethiopia's current crisis will have a significant impact on states of the region.”
Army Revamps Acquisition Strategy for Bradley Replacement
By Stew Magnuson, National Defense Magazine: “The Army has come up with a new acquisition strategy in its decades-long effort to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.”
Marines, Navy Moving Quickly on Light Amphib, Anti-Ship Missiles
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The Navy and Marine Corps are quickly seeking new ideas that allow Marines to support the Navy in sea control and other maritime missions, including the rapid acquisition of a light amphibious ship and a movement toward using Marine weapons while at sea.”
U.S. Navy’s Plan To Stop Its String of Shipbuilding Failures
By David Larter, Defense News: “The U.S. Navy’s top officer has laid down the gauntlet: The service must deliver two new classes of surface ships on time.
Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 Mach 6 Darkstar: What We Know
By Peter Suciu, 1945: "Such a platform would complement other manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), providing flexibility in how intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) is gathered."
How a Suburban Housewife Became a Pioneer of Military Intelligence
By James Barber, Military.com: ""The Codebreaker," premiering this week on PBS' "American Experience," tells the story of Elizebeth Friedman, a visionary American codebreaker who established our decryption programs during World War I, helped break the codes used by gangsters during Prohibition and led our efforts to break the Enigma code during World War II."
Now Could Be the Time to Form Policy for
Emerging Brain and Body-Enhancement Technologies
By Mary Lee, Timothy Marler & Anika Binnendijk, RealClearDefense: “It has recently been reported that U.S. diplomats in China and Cuba were likely the victims of directed microwave radiation, causing physical effects such as headaches, visual problems, nausea, and cognitive difficulties.”
It’s the Navy’s World Now:
Preserving the Right Army Force Structure in an Era of Seapower’s Strategic Primacy
By Brandon Morgan, Modern War Institute: “With China as the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s pacing threat and the Indo-Pacific region as the corresponding theater of operations, analysts—and even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—have acknowledged that the Army must be prepared to adapt to a supporting role to the Navy’s strategic primacy in the years to come.”
The Navy Surface Fleet Must Truly Rebalance or Risk Irrelevance
By Bryan Clark, Forbes: "Unless its leaders reconsider the surface force’s operational concepts, design, and posture, it could become increasingly unsustainable and unable to address the spectrum of competition presented by the PRC’s maritime forces."
The US defense industry in a new era
(War On The Rocks) Does the United States have the defense industry that it needs?
The Marine Corps expects to break ground on a state-of-the-art wargaming center in 2021
(Marine Corps Times) Nearly four years after Marine officials announced the Corps wanted a state-of-the art, advanced wargaming center near the service’s headquarters, the service expects to break ground on the Quantico, Virginia, facility in 2021.
Russia, China and more: How America can address its biggest coming threats
(The National Interest) Intensifying pressures are driving competition between the United States, China and Russia. This contest is about to enter a more dangerous phase, making the need for a strong Navy, increased forward military presence, and pragmatic diplomacy national imperatives.
Machine learning and life-and-death decisions on the battlefield
(War On The Rocks) In 1946 the New York Times revealed one of World War II’s top secrets — “an amazing machine which applies electronic speeds for the first time to mathematical tasks hitherto too difficult and cumbersome for solution.”
IISS analysts: Russian and Western defense firms face greater competition
(Defense News) Over the next decade, companies from emerging defense industrial nations will provide greater competition for the Western and Russian firms that have previously assisted in their development.
Lebanese Air Force chief: The future of air power, and its role in fighting terrorism
(Defense News) The rapid evolution of technology has imposed radical changes to the principles of military planning, on the tactical and strategic level, within the armed forces in general, and air forces in particular, in the war against terrorism.
Chief of US Army Futures Command: The service is experiencing a technological evolution
(Defense News) The fundamental character of warfare is changing.
India analyst: Can India implement reforms quick enough to rejuvenate its defense industry? (Defense News) Spurred as much by the economic considerations as the embarrassment of continued dependence on imports, the Indian government has taken several steps this year to galvanize defense production in the country.
4 Biggest Hurdles to Rebuilding the Nuclear Bomber Force
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: "The Air Force’s fleet of heavy bombers has grown decrepit with age. The 158 aircraft remaining in the fleet—down nearly 50% from the 290 that existed when the Cold War ended—average 45 years of service, and it shows."
Offshore Procurement Waivers – Time for a New Normal
By Richard McCool, RealClearDefense: "While FMF is an important foreign policy tool to support our partners in key regions around the globe, it is U.S. taxpayer dollars that are spent on FMF, to the tune of several billion a year."
Bringing Army HR Into the 21st Century
By Gregory Johnson, Army Magazine: "Army human resources (HR)—the systems that feed information into a Soldier Record Brief, for example—is a Gordian knot."
Decolonising Professional Military Education
By Malte Riemann and Norma Rossi, Wavell Room: "There are three key aspects to consider when beginning to think about developing a decolonizing strategy for PME. . ."
The Death of Critical Thinking in the Military? Here’s How to Fix It.
By Steve Ferenzi, RealClearDefense: “Traditional American military culture diametrically opposes divergent thought.”
For Surface Warfare Officers, It’s All About Command
By Dave Huscher & Rebecca Killinger, USNI Blog: "Over the course of a career, a surface warfare officer (SWO) must build mariner skills, hone warfighting acumen, master the complex operation of a ship’s combat and engineering systems, and is given the responsibility of leading sailors in challenging environments at sea and in port. A successful SWO career culminates in command of a U.S. Navy warship."
Restart, Reset or Renew? The Strategy against Iranian Nuclear Ambition by Peter Schweizer
The unexpected wrath of Imran Khan
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
Gary J. Schmitt | American Purpose
The question in every administration and Congress is, more often than not, what has to be cut or deferred to keep the Pentagon under the top line it’s been given by the White House and the Hill.
How Marines Could Fight Submarines in the Future
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The Marine Corps is all in on shifting its spending, personnel and operations to support the Expeditionary Advance Base Operations concept, which would spread out smaller units of Marines across vast expanses of ocean and islands, maneuvering them around to make them tougher for an adversary to target as they conduct their missions.”
America’s Military Needs an Innovation Overhaul
By David McCormick & James Cunningham, Fast Company: “If confirmed as Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin would inherit a Pentagon that has lost its technological edge. But it isn’t too late to fight back, two national security experts write.”
India army chief embarks on ‘historic’ trip to UAE, Saudi Arabia
(Al Jazeera) India’s army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane has embarked on an “historic” six-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, the first such visit to the two Gulf countries by the head of the military.
China and the US are facing off in developing nations
Hal Brands | Bloomberg Opinion
Is the great stagnation over?
James Pethokoukis | The Week
Mexico’s so-called war on drugs hasn’t been all for naught
Ryan C. Berg | AEIdeas
A Conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu
Tikvah Faculty Member Dr. Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute recently sat down for a discussion with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They explored the dramatic improvement in Israel's relationship with the Arab world, the sources of Israeli power, and the prime minister's strategic vision. Watch Now (32 min.).
Michael Auslin: Asia's New Geopolitics: Essays On Reshaping The Indo-Pacific
interview with Michael R. Auslin via The Institute of World Politics
Hoover Institution fellow Michael Auslin discusses transforming the Indo-Pacific and the broader world. He also explores the history of American strategy in Asia from the 18th century through today.
Jonathan Spyer on Turkey's Attempt to Silence Him by Marilyn Stern
Middle East Forum Webinar
AI In The Grey Zone: Afghan Lessons For Great Power Conflict
Artificial intelligence developed to hunt terrorists can help track Russian and Chinese targets as well – especially amidst murky, chaotic conflicts in the “grey zone” between peace and open war.
Why We Need a New ICBM // Maj. Shane Praiswater: The arguments for keeping a nuclear triad.
Moving Beyond A2/AD
By Chris Dougherty, Center for a New American Security: “For at least a decade, A2/AD has helped focus the Department of Defense (DoD) on critical Chinese and Russian threats to U.S. military operations in East Asia and eastern Europe. Today, however, it has outlived its usefulness as a diagnosis of Chinese and Russian approaches to warfare and as a framework for guiding subsequent operational and force-planning decisions based on the challenges they pose.”
Get to better know China's "gray-zone" strategy for subduing Taiwan, according to a special report published this week by Reuters.
China and Pakistan Conduct Joint Air Drills. Pakistan Air Force JF-17s are participating in joint Pakistani-Chinese exercises in southern Pakistan near India’s border, highlighting tensions between the three countries. Nikkei Asia Times of India
Last week, the US Congress passed a bipartisan $741 billion defense bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Both chambers passed the NDAA with a veto-proof majority after President Donald Trump threatened to veto the legislation. The 2021 NDAA allocates $2.2 billion to create the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a program aimed to bolster US capabilities and alliances in the Asian-Pacific region. The NDAA will also fund additional attack submarines to counter Chinese maritime forces and will finance a new director of cybersecurity position intended to make the Pentagon less dependent on Chinese technology. In speaking of the NDAA’s 43 Asia-related provisions, AEI’s Zack Cooper notes, “The 2021 NDAA contains dozens of provisions on Asia and China, including the most important piece of legislation on Asia in years: the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. But what is yet to be seen is whether the US will shift defense resources accordingly. The Pacific Deterrence Initiative’s $2.2 billion in funding is a relatively small shift within the larger defense budget and has not yet been appropriated. To keep pace with China's military modernization, the United States will need to make more fundamental changes, and do so quickly." What other changes does the US need to make to handle China's challenge? What challenges will a new director of cybersecurity face as they try to cooperate with US tech companies?
And the bottom line is loud talk falling far short, over and over again. Continue here.
US-China rivalry is turning toward Central Asia, Africa, and Central America. China’s ambitions in developing countries require a concerted response, points out Hal Brands in a Bloomberg op-ed. Enhanced US coordination with Japan, Australia, and the EU would allow leading democracies to deploy their combined resources to strengthen third world growth. The geography of great-power competition is shifting, and succeeding in the developing world will require more than good luck. Learn more here.
The Trump era exposed fundamental differences over the future of US foreign policy. In a National Review article, Colin Dueck explains the three branches of Republican foreign policy: activists, hard-liners, and noninterventionists. He predicts that the issue of China could re-create new Republican coalitions on national security matters. In the next four years, domestic and international contingencies or events will provide opportunities as yet unrecognized by each faction. For foreign policy conservatives of all kinds, the possibilities are now wide open. Read more here.
Four New Weapons That Will Define the Biden Defense Posture
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Predicting the defense priorities of a new administration, especially one that hasn’t yet taken office, is a risky business. Although Joe Biden has a long and fairly consistent track record on national security, the fallout from a global pandemic and disrupted economy may drive changes in military plans that few observers are expecting."
The power of combatant commanders continues to grow as the demand for forces exceeds supply. Demand signals from combatant commanders must be reconciled with the challenges facing each military branch under flat or declining budgets, argues Mackenzie Eaglen in a War on the Rocks op-ed. Fortunately, reform is possible. Determining proper levels of support for combatant commanders and convincing Congress of these decisions is a tall order. The Pentagon can improve these conversations by ensuring that lawmakers are adequately informed. Read more here.
The postelection shake-up at the Pentagon has raised alarms in the national security world. In an Atlantic article, Kori Schake theorizes what the administration is doing. The president is either organizing security forces to keep himself in power, planning a preemptive military strike on Iran, or placing factotums who will have authority over documents possibly linking him to Russia’s 2016 election interference, or the president has vengeful intentions. A responsible president would underscore the strength of US defense agencies during the presidential transition. But that’s not the commander in chief we have. Continue here.
There are three important things to consider before a new Congress makes any hasty decisions about national security. In a RealClearDefense op-ed, Elaine McCusker explains that Congress must examine federal spending, consider actual defense costs when examining discretionary spending, and pursue opportunities to capture lost buying power. Inclusive federal spending options that incrementally realign resources from the Department of Defense to those who hold the mission, along with aggressive and creative entitlement reform, would inform and improve choices available to elected officials. Learn more here.
In gray-zone conflicts, police don’t have the skills to bring peace, and full-scale military interventions can escalate. A force that can bring stability is needed. Gendarmerie forces, with their unique blend of policing and military expertise, may be a perfect answer to the troubles facing countries, argues Elisabeth Braw in a Foreign Policy op-ed. While not many other countries want to launch a gendarmerie, all would beneﬁt from mastering the gendarmes’ core skill of keeping order in the gray zone, both at home and in international hot spots. Read here.
Air Force Chief's Surprising Top Modernization Priorities
By Valerie Insinna, Defense News: “The U.S. Air Force is spending tens of billions of dollars every year to buy new aircraft, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, KC-46 tankers, the T-7A trainer jet and more. But none of those platforms makes the list of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s top three modernization priorities."
US Urgently Needs to Challenge China's Chokehold on Rare Earth Materials
by Lawrence A. Franklin
Russian Strategic and Hypersonic Naval Nuclear Weapons
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: “ Russia sets its highest value on its strategic nuclear forces.”
Manning Still Matters: A Fleet Perspective
By Paul Kingsbury, USNI Blog: “It has now been three years since the Comprehensive Review of Surface Force Incidents was conducted to find root causes underlying ship mishaps in the Western Pacific."
The Shield of the Indo-Pacific
By William J. Bowers & Thomas D. Wood, Proceedings: “Investment in Indo-Pacific installations is a strategic imperative."
Teaching Technology, Innovation, and Modern War at Stanford, Part 6:
Cyber and Space
By Steve Blank, Modern War Institute: “The way we are going about creating safety and security online in cybersecurity and defending against cybercrime isn’t quite rational.”
Contrasting Philosophies for the Military, Citizenry, and Community
By Jim Golby, Strategy Bridge: "On Obedience is a triumph. It deserves an enduring spot on the reading lists of senior military leaders and on the syllabi of professional military education institutions around the world."
A Gaping Hole in U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy
By Robert A. Manning, The Hill: “Barely noticed in the U.S., China and 14 Asian nations have just signed the world’s largest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), representing 30 percent of the world's economy."
Israel Defense Forces retaliate after discovering explosive devices near border
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria early Wednesday morning in response to explosive devices discovered a day earlier on the Israel-Syria border. IDF warplanes attacked military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds Force and Syrian army, according to a statement by the IDF. The attack damaged warehouses, command posts and military complexes and batteries of surface-to-air missiles. The attack was in response to the placement of explosive charges placed next to the border fence between Syrian and Israeli territory. The IDF said the charges were placed by a Syrian squad acting under Iran's instructions. Israel's envoy to the United Nations Gilad Erdan submitted on Tuesday a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding that it take immediate action against Hezbollah's military buildup and continued activity in southern Lebanon.
Turkish-backed Arab militias are becoming a frequent presence in Armenia, Libya, and Syria. National leaders are learning that relying on Turkish-backed forces comes with serious political and diplomatic costs, notes Michael Rubin in a National Interest op-ed. Too often, states and diplomats dismiss Turkish presence as a military problem; they should not. Any government that accepts Turkey’s proxy forces on their territory should automatically lose diplomatic support, be slapped with sanctions, and even be subject to a future state sponsor of terror designation. Continue here.
Why Defense Firms Need to Get Systematic About M&A — Big and Small
By Eric Chewning & Frank Coleman III, Defense News: “After years of growth, defense budgets will likely flatten (or decline). In such a financial environment, the U.S. Department of Defense will consider trade-offs between funding modernization, sustaining legacy equipment and preserving force structure."
For Want of a Leader:
Lessons on Mission Command From McClellan’s Failures at Antietam
By Ronald Roberts, Modern War Institute: “. . . the reality of what transpired at Antietam would have long-lasting effects on the course of the Civil War and holds lessons on the consequences of failing to implement the tenets of Mission Command on the battlefield."
China’s DF-21D and DF-26B ASBMs: Is the U.S. Military Ready?
By Andrew Erickson, 1945: “. . . the following wording in DoD’s 2020 China report leapt out at me: “The PLA has fielded approximately 200 IRBM launchers and more than 200 missiles.”
The difficult task of nuclear modernization
Mackenzie Eaglen | AEIdeas
The A-10 Warthog is preparing for its biggest upgrade in over a decade
(The Drive) A new large-area cockpit display and additional weapons are all in the grand plans to get the A-10 ready for higher-end missions.
The politicization of the State Department is almost complete
(Defense One) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, have weaponized the institution for the Trump administration’s domestic political objectives.
Pakistan’s case before international financial watchdog reveals more Chinese corruption
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
The revolution that wasn’t: Conservatives against Congress, 1981–2018
Philip Wallach | The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State
Basic Principles for a Complex Nuclear Environment
By Jane Doe, the interpreter: "Russia’s new public nuclear strategy is the first of its kind, and it suggests some ways the Navy may need to adapt."
The Chinese Nuclear Threat
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: “In September 2020, the Pentagon issued its annual report on the People’s Republic of China’s military capabilities. A common reaction to the report is that it presents a quite sobering picture of Chinese military capabilities. This is certainly correct. However, in one important area, the report is dangerously inadequate -- its treatment of China’s nuclear capability."
Options for the U.S. to Counter China’s Disruptive Economic Activities
By Johnathan Falcone, Divergent Options: “The PRC emerged from the 2008 financial crisis with increased capability to influence markets abroad and undermine U.S. leadership. Through new institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and new development plans, including Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is making strides towards bifurcating the international financial system."
The Three Seas Initiative: A European Answer to China’s Belt and Road?
By David Morris, the interpreter: "A quest to modernise dilapidated infrastructure in Central Europe has quickly transformed into a geopolitical contest.”
Is the Future of the U.S. Navy Feasible?
By Adam Taylor, RealClearDefense: "Recent budget battles on capitol hill over this year’s shipbuilding account for the 355-ship fleet goal highlights the likely struggle the service will encounter as it shifts focus to its new 500 ship target."
An Evolutionary Approach to Problem Framing and Strategy
By Mark R. Patridge, Strategy Bridge: "At the heart of Carl von Clausewitz’s masterpiece, On War, there stands a scientific metaphor—a three-way magnetic pendulum—that defines in terms as comprehensive as possible the entire phenomenon of war, an unchanging structure within which an infinite variety of behaviors can arise."
Is Esper’s New Plan for the Navy Enough for the Indo-Pacific? by Mark Montgomery
‘Maximum Pressure Brought Down the Soviet Union’ and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves by Philip H. Gordon
Elaine McCusker explains that CRs result in lost opportunities to advance US military competitiveness, block new programs designed to tackle critical threats, stall industry initiatives, and place troops at greater risk. The use of CRs prevents us from allocating the correct resources to counter the national security challenges before us. Learn more here.
National security topics in the 2020 election
Mackenzie Eaglen | "Defense 2020"
End the Pentagon’s OCO slush fund
(Defense News) After 19 years of conflict in Afghanistan, the notion that funding for war fighting cannot be planned for in the regular budget is laughable.
Last week, NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, noted, “Our militaries cannot be strong if our societies are weak, so our first line of defense must be strong societies.” NATO has realized that national security threats come in many guises. The realization is to be saluted, notes Elisabeth Braw in a Defense One op-ed. In today’s security environment, non-kinetic threats pose as grave a danger as kinetic ones do. If NATO is going to be successful, its military capabilities must be backed by societal resilience in the member states. Without societal resilience, military excellence is useless. Continue here.
Ahead of the release of Phil Klay’s novel “Missionaries,” Kori Schake took to Bloomberg Opinion to discuss the key themes of the book with Klay. The two conversed over the globalization of violence, the roles performative violence plays in societies fighting insurgencies, and veteran sentiments when returning home from war. Read the interview here.
The Future of Chinese Power
// Michael Schuman: The policies and practices of the country's dynasties offer insights into how modern Chinese leaders may wield their strength.
After Almost Two Decades of America’s Longest War:
How Can Peace Finally Come to Afghanistan?
By Haroon Azar, RealClearDefense: "It is no wonder that so many Americans want to see the last of our troops come home."
Turkey's Much-Hyped Defense Industry Far from Self-Sufficient by Burak Bekdil
October 13, 2020
Firms Picked to Make Orbiting Sensors for Next-Gen US Missile-Defense System
// Brandi Vincent: The sensors and satellites will be part of the Tracking Layer component of the next-gen missile-defense system.
Joint All-Domain Command and Control
initiative to link most everything on the battlefield. "The services had each been developing proprietary systems in the hopes that their standard would prevail across the entire US military," FlightGlobal writes. Now the pressure is on the Navy and Marines, "which have been less public about their plans to develop a JADC2 network, but have outlined their thinking through ideas such as the Distributed Maritime Operations concept and the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept."
The new Army-Air Force effort will be called CJADC2, prepending "Combined" to the Pentagon's own already unwieldy acronym. Read on, here.
An Alternative Conceptual Framework for the Marine Corps’ Doctrine on Learning
By Shawn McCann & Damien O’Connell, Proceedings: “We offer a three-lens conceptual framework consisting of warfighting, the teacher-scholar relationship, and critical or radical adult education and training. Radical adult training and education refers to our capacity for action (training) and a learner-centered manner of facilitating the development of autonomous critical thinkers (education).”
The Question at the Center of Army Readiness:
Ready for What?
By Jane Doe, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “As the lead Army officer for operations, I often get asked a range of questions about readiness. How should we measure readiness? Which units does the Army most need to be ready? How ready do they need to be? Or simply, what is Army readiness?"
To Fix U.S. Foreign Policy, Look to the Balance of Power
By Luke Nicastro, RealClearDefense: “During the vice-presidential debate on October 7th, the 2020 campaign saw its first (and possibly only) direct exchange on foreign policy."
Israel is becoming a strategic liability to the United States. In a National Interest op-ed, Michael Rubin explains that America can no longer ignore Israeli support for China, Russia, and now Azerbaijan and Turkey. Israel certainly remains an important US ally. However, if Jerusalem continues down the path of being a liability to the United States, it should be treated as such. Continue here.
President Trump has requested to withdraw US troops from Somalia. In an AEIdeas blog, Katherine Zimmerman and Emily Estelle argue that pulling out of Somalia now would harm America’s future security. A strengthened al Shabaab will overwhelm the remaining local security forces, possibly collapse the weak Somali government, and imperil regional security. Rather than bringing troops home from Somalia prematurely, President Trump should shift the US approach to one that can defeat al Shabaab. Learn more here.
Last week China released footage of “real combat” it conducted in September in Taiwanese airspace. A Chinese invasion would present the greatest threat to global peace in a generation, argues Paul Wolfowitz in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. However, the best way to prevent war is to threaten war. Continued ambiguity in the face of Xi Jinping’s escalating rhetoric and provocations by his armed forces presents greater risk of a confrontation as dangerous as the Cuban Missile Crisis. That leaves us with the credible threat of military force as the best hope of avoiding war.
Companies with a strong defense portfolio continue to thrive in 2020 despite the pandemic. Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, which reported 3rd-quarter earnings this week, increased their projected revenue totals for the year.
Lockheed's projected sales rose to about $65.25 billion, up from its July estimate of $63.5 billion to $65 billion. Northrop now expects 2020 sales of $35.7 billion to $36 billion, up from $35.3 billion to $35.6 billion in July. If Lockheed hits its new estimate, its sales would be up 9 percent over last year. If Northrop does, sales would be up between 5.5 percent and 6.4 percent.
And more increases are expected. "The corporation expects its 2021 net sales to increase to greater than or equal to $67 billion," Lockheed said.
Northrop projects its 2021 sales will be in the "low-to-mid $37 billion range," according to CFO Dave Keffer. That's even as the company predicts COVID-19 will continue to depress its commercial programs.
Why it matters: Lockheed and Northrop have mostly defense portfolios, as opposed to fellow giants Boeing and Raytheon Technologies, which have large commercial aerospace businesses. The companies continued ability to hit revenue targets even as they modify work schedules and protect their employees from the coronavirus demonstrates how defense projects have been largely insulated from the pandemic woes that have devastated over industries.
Battle Force 2045, the plan seeks "eight to 11" nuclear carriers — today's fleet has 11 — and possibly more of the conventionally powered smaller carriers called amphibious assault ships. He also wants an attack submarine force of 70 to 80 boats, up from today's roughly 55. Read on, here.
Esper's Reforms: An Interim Report Card
// Mackenzie Eaglen: What progress has the defense secretary made on his ambitious goals to reorient the Defense Department?
Mackenzie Eaglen writes: Secretary Esper stayed committed to his ten targeted goals—each with subtasks—under these three broad objectives to begin achieving “irreversible implementation” of the National Defense Strategy. He has made laudable progress — while leaving plenty of work for next year. – Defense One
Global Business Brief
// Marcus Weisgerber: 500-ship Navy?; Lord's reforms; Interior's drone fleet; and more..
Israel Should Reject Syrian Peace Overtures by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security
October 2, 2020
Revolutionary violence is always an indictment of a political system’s democratic legitimacy.
Read More »
Horns of a Dilemma Podcast -- Military Pensions: Politics, Policy, and Reform
with Brandon Archuleta and Jim Golby
How China Outsmarted the Trump Administration // Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic: While the U.S. is distracted, China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
Keep an Eye on Taiwan // Michael Schuman, The Atlantic: The battle over the island may be a Cold War relic, but it will shape the future.
Defense Innovation Is Falling Short by Christopher Zember and Peter Khooshabeh
The path to Sophie’s choice
Giselle Donnelly and Gary J. Schmitt | RealClearDefense
Kill ’Em All? Denial Strategies, Defense Planning, and Deterrence Failure by Evan Montgomery
India Scraps Investment Rule for Foreign Weapons Suppliers
By Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Bloomberg: “India scrapped a rule that forced foreign suppliers of weapons, aircraft or military hardware to invest in the South Asian nation, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to accelerate defense purchases and reduce red tape.”
003 and More: An Update on China’s Aircraft Carriers
By Rick Joe, The Diplomat: “As another year passes, additional developments in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) carrier program continue to be sighted and confirmed, in spite of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
What if Middle Eastern States Worked Together?
By Gary Schmitt, RealClearDefense: “A future with multiple states in the Middle East pointing nukes at one another seems more likely than ever before, but the Israel-UAE deal illuminates a solution.”
The Façade of Chinese Foreign Policy Coherence
By Ian J. Lynch, Strategy Bridge: "The spectre of great power competition with a rising China has prompted a sprawling debate in the United States. For decades, American engagement with China sought to make Beijing a “responsible stakeholder” in the U.S.-led international order."
China Expands Its Economic and Political Influence in Northern Iraq
By Yasin Yildirim, The Strategist (ASPI): “Autonomous Kurdistan is a federal administrative unit of Iraq in the northern part of the country and is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government. It hosts foreign investors from many countries and entities, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and Turkey. The region is also an attraction point for the People’s Republic of China and Chinese state-owned and -controlled companies."
Report: Russia's Military Strength Highest Since Soviet Days
That's according to a new International Institute for Strategic Studies report. "Russia's nuclear weaponry and the Russian Aerospace Forces have ... benefited most from a near-decade long increase in investment," the report states.
Defense Acquisition Reimagined
By Bryan Smith, RealClearDefense: “Try to imagine a blue-ribbon panel of technologists, policy experts, military officers, and business executives being asked to devise, from scratch, a resilient system for delivering to DoD what it needs, when it needs it, at the best value to the taxpayer.”
Mine Warfare Needs a New Concept of Operations
By Ridge H. Alkonis, Proceedings: “Mine hunting, finding, and sweeping are not marginal operations. The assets peforming these missions must undertake careful thought and preparation, as “countering mines cannot be made easy, cheap, or convenient.” With the current mine countermeasures (MCM) force limited in personnel, material, and money, the Navy needs a new concept of operations that relies more on automated unmanned systems."
Budget Cuts and Politics Will Crimp U.S. China Strategy
By Jacob Parakilas, The Diplomat: “Even though China is a rare point of convergence for both parties, partisan politics and COVID-19 induced cuts will affect the U.S. military’s ability to hold the fort in Asia-Pacific come January."
China Military Watch
By Malcolm Davis & Charlie Lyons Jones, The Strategist (ASPI): “Ballistic missiles on Chinese merchant vessels? . . ."
Erdogan's Plan to Take Over the Palestinian Authority by Khaled Abu Toameh
The End of U.S. Primacy in Asia
By Adam Mattison, USNI Blog: “As the Navy continues its push toward a 355-ship fleet, the perennial issue of manning that fleet is more important now than at any point since the end of the Cold War."
The Key to Armenia's Tank Losses: The Sensors
By Jack Watling, RUSI: “Despite the heavy Armenian armoured losses, the key lessons from the videos Azerbaijan has published online are not about armour. Rather, they reflect how the density of sensors on the modern battlefield is changing the balance in combined arms warfare."
What Happens When China Leads the World
By Michael Schuman, The Atlantic: “What kind of superpower will China be? That’s the question of the 21st century. According to American leaders such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, China will be a rapacious authoritarian nightmare, intent on destroying democracy itself. Beijing, needless to say, doesn’t quite agree."
Force Multiplier: U.S. Fleet Of Air-Capable Amphibious Warfare Ships
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “The Navy and Marine Corps are proposing radical changes to their force structures in line with new concepts for maritime and expeditionary operations."
Continuing Resolutions Hurt National Security and Imperil Our Future
By Elaine McCusker, The Hill: “Congress should no longer accept passing stop-gap funding measures, which hold hostage the nation’s security and federal responsibilities, as good enough."
Afghanistan’s Policing Failure and the Uncertain Way Forward
By Karl Nicolas Lindenlaub, Strategy Bridge: "Of the many shortcomings of American strategy in Afghanistan, the trials and tribulations of Afghan police development represent a crucial, but often overlooked, piece of the narrative."
7 important updates in the Department of Defense’s 2020 China Military Power Report
Zack Cooper | AEIdeas
The 2020 China Military Power Report provides a unique perspective on how China’s military has changed in the 21st century.
As the House and Senate prepare to conference on the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the conservative Heritage Foundation has put together more than 30 recommendations for lawakers, including:
Evolution of the Fleet:
A Closer Look at the Chinese Fishing Vessels off the Galapagos
By Tabitha Mallory & Ian Ralby, CIMSEC: “Using data and insight from Windward, a predictive maritime intelligence platform, our analysis examines how this fishing phenomenon has evolved over time and who is behind this increasingly intensive fishing effort."
Boeing was not happy about Heritage's recommendation to scrap the F-15EX. “It’s unfortunate that the Heritage Foundation has again misinterpreted the U. S. Air Force’s requirement for the F-15EX and the facts about that aircraft and the F-35,” Jeff Shockey, vice president of global sales and marketing for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in an emailed statement. “What’s more, the Air Force will save approximately $3 billion by transitioning F-15C/D units to the F-15EX instead of the F-35…. The fact is that the Air Force needs both aircraft to meet operational and fiscal requirements.”
Chinese provocations, the Republican National Convention, and the secretary of defense in Asia
Mackenzie Eaglen | "Defense & Aerospace Report"
China Is Ahead in Ship, Missile & Air Defense Tech: DoD Report
“The report does not claim that China’s military is currently 10 feet tall,” but “Beijing is working to overcome [its faults],” says Deputy Assistant Secretary for China, Chad Sbragia
China's growing military: The Pentagon's latest annual assessment of Chinese military power says the country is set to double its nuclear stockpile over the next decade, operates the world's largest Navy, is surging its space capabilities, and embedding artificial intelligence across everything that it does. Defense One's Patrick Tucker examines several key trends highlighted in the 2020 China Military Power report: expanding naval power, the movement toward a more integrated joint force, and an embrace of AI and other emerging information technologies.
"Over the Black Sea, Moscow Escalates Its Military Provocations," Bradley Bowman and Maj. Shane “Axl” Praiswater, FDD Policy Brief
Strategic Vacuum by Seth Cropsey
Indian Air Modernization Takes a Significant Step Forward
By Pierre Tran, SLD.info: “Five Rafales took off July 27 from Mérignac, southwest France, with Indian air force pilots starting a 7,000 km flight to India, with a further five units staying in France for pilot training, the Indian embassy said in a statement."
Mirroring Vietnam’s Failures in Afghanistan: DoD’s Descent Into War Fatigue
By Chandler Myers, War Room: "The long road to the trilateral U.S.-Afghanistan-Taliban memorandum of agreement was wearisome on all fronts."
Five Eyes: Blurring the Lines Between Intelligence and Policy
By Ben Scott, the interpreter: “Intelligence sharing is one thing. Aligning policy with the same brand risks making too exclusive a grouping."
U.S., MIDDLE EAST:
5th Fleet: China Laying Groundwork in Middle East to Pose Future Threats
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The head of naval forces in the Middle East said Chinese actions in the region don’t pose a threat today but could lead to challenges down the road, with China laying the groundwork to gain economic and military leverage over countries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula."
America’s New Quest for Adequate Nuclear Deterrence
By Patty-Jane Geller, The National Interest: “Being able to conduct a nuclear test is not the same as performing one.”
Reconsidering U.S. Preparedness for Protracted Conventional War
By Patrick Savage, Modern War Institute: "After two decades of focusing on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, the U.S. Department of Defense has worked to reorient toward the possibility of conflict with a near-peer competitor. While the department has progressed in this area, one sub-set of preparation has been largely ignored . . ."
In Defense of ‘WMD’: A War of Words and the Challenge of Swarms
By Zachary Kallenborn, War on the Rocks: "While the term has clear flaws, it is still relevant. Getting the terminology right has real-world consequences: the applicability of the term to drone swarms and other future weapon systems has direct consequences for weapons deployment, weapons acquisition, decisions on the use of force, strategic planning, and the character of future battlefields."
China Refuses to Quit on the Philippines
By Derek Grossman, The Diplomat: "China may have missed a golden opportunity to see the VFA end, but Beijing is still determined to exploit gaps between the U.S. and its ally."
Trump, Sisi Address Nile Dam Dispute and Libya War
By Bryant Harris, Al-Monitor: “President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed by phone today the Libyan conflict and the Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia.”
COVID-19 and the Costs of Military Primacy
By Stephen Wertheim, RealClearDefense: “Before the pandemic, more and more Americans concluded that their country’s foreign policy was failing them."
How to Stop China Completing Its Takeover of the South China Sea
By Jeff Becker, The Strategist (ASPI): “China appears to be accelerating its campaign to control the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea."
Four Transformational Steps the U.S. Army Should Take to Get Serious About Urban Operations
By John Spencer, Modern War Institute: "Conflict, instability, and political unrest are all more urban than ever before. Despite clear trends in the increasingly urban character of warfare, the US Army has not made any major changes to prepare for urban operations around the world."
With 30 Submarines, Japan Will Shape the Pacific’s Undersea Defenses
By Craig Hooper, Forbes: “ While America’s nuclear submarine fleet is incomparable, the United States is not the only nation with advanced undersea warfare capabilities."
Rebuild Confidence in Navy’s 7th Fleet
From The Post and Courier: "The fire that gutted a front-line Navy ship in San Diego last week will leave the military with fewer options for deploying vertical-landing F-35Bs in the Pacific region and weaken the United States’ ability to maintain navigational freedom in the disputed South China Sea."
The U.S. Is Out of Position in the Indo-Pacific Region
By Nathan Freier, John Schaus, Al Lord, Alison Goldsmith & Elizabeth Martin, Defense One: "A truly joint approach is needed, and the Army has several particular roles to play."
Fire in the Caucasus: Can It Be Extinguished?
By Stephen Blank, RealClearDefense: “On July 12, fighting broke out again in Nagorno-Karabakh. This war between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains unresolved. Thus, fighting periodically breaks out, causing loss of lives and property and inflaming the ever-tense political situation in the Caucasus.”
Verification After the New START Treaty: Back to the Future
By Bryan Smith, National Institute for Public Policy: “The President has appointed Ambassador Marshall Billingslea to serve as Special Envoy for Arms Control to engage with the Russians on both New START and the future of nuclear arms control. The President has stated that China’s nuclear forces should be included in future arms control agreements, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ryabkov has made an earlier statement to the same effect. President Trump has also directed that nuclear weapons that are now unconstrained by New START, the so-called tactical nuclear weapons, also be included in a future agreement.”
Naval Power Is the Ultimate Strategic Enabler in Our Competition With China
By Seth Cropsey & Harry Halem, National Review: “Sea power gives the U.S. the necessary strategic flexibility to counter China in an uncertain environment."
U.S. Has Withdrawn From 5 Bases in Afghanistan After Taliban Agreement
By Justin Wise, The Hill: "The Defense Department announced Tuesday that U.S. troops have withdrawn from five military bases and reduced the size of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement reached with Taliban in February."
Is Proxy War Turning to Conventional Confrontation in Libya?
By Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor: “Albeit late, Turkey seems to have finally understood the importance of diplomacy in Libya."
Civilian Control of the Military Is a Partisan Issue
By Ronald R. Krebs & Robert Ralston, Foreign Affairs: “But until very recently, the president’s regular breaches of civil-military norms have seemed to make little impression on the American public. Our research on public opinion helps explain why that is: many Americans don’t endorse important aspects of these norms, and their views on civil-military relations, like so much else in this polarized age, are heavily driven by party affiliation."
The Top 5 REALLY Important NDAA Policies
By Mackenzie Eaglen, Breaking Defense: “Much of the public debate about this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has focused on the renaming of U.S. military installations named for Confederates, banning the flying of the confederate flag, revision of the Insurrection Act, and preventing the use of defense dollars to build President Trump’s border wall."
Unpacking the Urban Fight: Introducing the Twelve Challenges
By Charles Knight, Grounded Curiosity: “As explained in the 2008 Future Land Operating Concept ambiguity and uncertainty have compounded since then as technology, population and social factors drive a shift that the Chief of Army describes as ‘Accelerated Warfare.'"
War Books: A Primer on Nuclear Weapons
By Matt Powers, Modern War Institute: "Despite the importance of having Army officers proficient in nuclear weapons planning, the service’s nuclear competency is mostly siloed within the ranks of the nuclear and counterproliferation functional area, with professional military education in nuclear matters largely nonexistent beyond select courses."
Assessing African Strategic Needs to Counter Undue Chinese Influence
By Damimola Olawuyi, Divergent Options: " As China expands its international footprint, it has deliberately increased its African ties."
Has China's Rise Peaked?
By Merrick “Mac” Carey, The National Interest: “Even though the Western mainstream view is that China is a military and economic dynamo that is quickly leaving America behind, the world may be turning against the Middle Kingdom, and Chinese leadership may be turning to a harsh brand of nationalism as a result. Its recent border clash with India in the high Himalayas and crackdown on free Hong Kong are the most recent manifestations of this."
It’s Time to Take an Alliance-Based Approach to Securing Rare-Earths Supplies
By Genevieve Feely & Rhys De Wilde, The Strategist (ASPI): "China has dominated the world’s supply of rare-earth elements for decades. Over the past year, however, there has been a growing recognition among the U.S. and its allies (including Australia, South Korea, Japan and India) that sources of critical minerals outside of China need to be secured and that solutions need to be driven by governments rather than market forces, particularly since demand for these materials will skyrocket in the near future."
Can the U.S. Save Its Sealift Fleet?
By Alec Blivas, The Diplomat: "The U.S. sealift fleet is rapidly becoming obsolete, and both the Army and Navy have warned Congress that U.S. sealift capacity is in danger of collapsing."
Naval Warfare 2010–2020: A Comparative Analysis
By Jimmy Drennan, CIMSEC: “An analysis of warfighting trends over a decade could be performed by considering the major crises, conflicts, and tensions that took place, or by tracking the evolving force structure and operating concepts of global competitors."
The Hypersonic Hype and Russia’s Diminished Nuclear Threshold
By Pavel Felgenhauer, Eurasia Daily Monitor: "President Vladimir Putin used the July 26, 2020, Navy Day and the Main Navy Parade in St. Petersburg to once again promote Russia’s “superweapons,” which will ostensibly give the Russian Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF) “a unique advantage” over its Western counterparts. According to Putin, “The deployment of advanced technologies that have no equals in the world, including hypersonic strike systems and underwater drones, will increase naval combat capabilities.”"
The U.S. Military Has Options Against China
By James Holmes, The Hill: “Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is worried — worried about the U.S. Navy’s prospects during a war against Communist China in the Western Pacific. Last week, Sen. Gardner, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, told the Washington Examiner that Chinese ballistic missiles could compel “all of our planning, all of our equipment, all of our systems” to “basically vacate” the region at outset of fighting. Both large bases and ships riding the waves, he noted, are vulnerable to missile attack."
Assessing the Dependency of U.S. Below Threshold Competition on Department of State Modernization
By Matthew F. Smith, Divergent Options: “U.S. policymakers are deciding how to compete with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and counteract their objectives. Given fiscal realities, the opportunity exists to rebalance current militaristic policy tendencies and force institutional reforms."
Raytheon and Rafael to Build Iron Dome in U.S.
By Jen Judson, Defense News: “Raytheon and Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have formed a joint venture to build the Iron Dome missile defense system in the United States, the companies announced August 3.”
China’s Rise Is Macarthur’s Vindication
By Francis P. Sempa, RealClearDefense: “In the midst of President Harry Truman’s controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, Air Force General George Kenny, who brilliantly led MacArthur’s air force in the Southwest Pacific in World War II, wrote that when the histories of the Korean War are written, they will "add still more to the luster of MacArthur's reputation as a military leader.""
Distilling the Essence of Strategy
By Frank Hoffman, War on the Rocks: "I am certain of one thing: Colin Gray would be exasperated with claims that “Grand strategy is dead.” What he would have called a “banality” is commonplace these days."
It’s Time for a Third Special Operations Revolution
By David Maxwell, Military Times: “The Senate Armed Service Committee report on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) expresses the committee’s persistent concern with U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the need for stronger civilian oversight."
Sending Special Operations Forces into the Great-Power Competition
By Tim Nichols, Small Wars Journal: “What caused the strategic defeat of U.S. efforts in Syria? Was it the U.S. special operations forces overseeing the military effort? Certainly not."
War Books: Close Combat Lethality
By T.S. Allen, Modern War Institute: "One of the best noncommissioned officers I know was recently selected to join the Close Combat Lethality Task Force, an organization established by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018 to “improve the combat, lethality, survivability, resiliency and readiness of U.S. infantry squads.” No infantry squad ever won a skirmish by reading a book, but books certainly are handy when you’re trying to figure out how to improve institutions."
Chinese Nuclear Advancements Stoke Pentagon Fears of New 'Peer' Threat
By Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense Magazine: ““China is on a trajectory to be a strategic peer to us by the end of the decade,” said Adm. Charles Richard. “For the first time ever, the U.S. is going to face two peer capable nuclear competitors … who you have to deter differently," he said referring to China and Russia. "We have never faced that situation before.""
New Focus on China Fight Could Rob Marine Corps of Versatility
By Mallory Shelbourne, USNI News: "As the Marines reshape their force to take on the Chinese in the Western Pacific, some experts worry the new emphasis could leave the Marines fewer tools to operate in other parts of the world and fight different types of adversaries."
Guam’s Air Defense Should Learn Lessons From Japan’s Aegis Ashore
By Timothy A. Walton & Bryan Clark, Defense News: "The head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said last week his top priority is establishing an Aegis Ashore system on Guam by 2026. New air defenses will help protect U.S. citizens and forces in Guam; but as Japan’s government found, Aegis Ashore may not be the best option to protect military and civilian targets from growing and improving Chinese and North Korean missile threats."
America Can Protect Its Satellites Without Kinetic Space Weapons
By Aaron Bateman, War on the Rocks: “In 1978, Adm. Stansfield Turner, then the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, said that the “Russians can kill us in space.” Turner was referring to the Soviet Union’s kinetic anti-satellite weapons program."
Can China's Military Win the Tech War?
By Anja Manuel & Kathleen Hicks, Foreign Affairs: “Washington does need a strategy to strengthen its national security technology and industrial base, but it should be one that is centered on collaborative disruption that generates the right incentives for innovators, scientists, engineers, venture capitalists, and others."
Marines to Test Exoskeleton Suit That Can Do the Work of up to 10 Troops
By Gina Harkins, Military.com: "The Marine Corps is moving ahead with plans to test a wearable robotic exoskeleton that conjures up images of that power-loader suit Ellen Ripley wore to take down a space monster in the movie "Aliens.""
Iran Launches Underground Ballistic Missiles During Exercise
By Amir Vahdat & Jon Gambrell, The National Interest: “The world is steadily confronting the prospect of full-fledged Chinese domination in the world’s most important waterway, the South China Sea.”
Insurgency in the North Caucasus: Lessons of the First Chechen War
By Elina Driscoll, Small Wars Journal: "When Russian troops entered the rebellious Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in December 1994, the Yeltsin regime was confident that the Russo-Chechen conflict would end with Russia’s quick victory and territorial restoration of the Russian Federation. However, the war, which later became known as the First Chechen War, lasted for nearly two years, ended with the victory of Chechen militants, and led to the deaths of roughly 50,000 Chechens and about 6,000 Russian soldiers."
Oh God, Not the Peloponnesian War Again
By James Palmer, Foreign Policy: “Even when strategists move beyond Athens, they're still writing about Europe. In all the takes on the U.S.-China relationship, the history of Chinese warfare itself—and the vast span of Asian conflict, warfare, and political contention over the last 3,000 years—goes virtually unmentioned.”
Deglobalization and International Security
By Sarah Tenney, Strategy Bridge: "At the beginning of the last century, Theodore Roosevelt led the United States to great power status, leveled the playing field between business and labor, and called for the conservation of natural resources. He noted: "The one characteristic more essential than any other is foresight... It should be the growing nation with a future which takes the long look ahead.""
How China Was “Lost”:
Tracing a Problematic Discussion from the 1940s to the Present
By Ali Wyne, Modern War Institute: “Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Coming just a month after the Soviet Union had tested an atomic bomb—roughly four years before the Central Intelligence Agency had forecast that Moscow would have the ability to produce one—that outcome seemed to reinforce that the supposed hegemony Washington had inherited with the conclusion of World War II was dubious, if not illusory."
China’s defence-industry rankings: down but by no means out
In a new audit of global defence companies, Chinese state-owned enterprises seem to have slumped in the rankings. Despite appearances, we shouldn’t underestimate the strength of the Chinese defence technological and industrial base, argues Meia Nouwens.
Libya score-settling moves closer to Turkey’s borders
Turkey’s intervention in the Libyan war is driving its adversaries to retaliate beyond Libya in conflict zones along Turkey’s own borders. Read More
Turkey’s lira slides as Central Bank raises inflation forecast
Despite state bank efforts to bolster Turkey’s currency, the lira fell to its lowest point since May against the dollar this week, prompting fears of a renewed currency crisis. Read More
Israel facing tensions on northern, southern borders
The IDF is now worried not only about escalating tensions on the Syrian and Lebanese borders but also about growing tensions along the border with the Gaza Strip.
It’s time for a third special operations revolution David Maxwell | Senior Fellow
United Arab Emirates: UAE Urges Turkey to Stay Out of Arab Affairs. An Emirati official on Saturday urged Turkey to stop interfering in Arab affairs after Turkey condemned “malicious” actions by the United Arab Emirates in Libya. Anwar Gargash, Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, said that Turkey should not behave like “the Sublime Porte and use the language of colonialism,” which refers to the Ottoman Empire which used to rule the Arab world. In Libya, Turkey supports the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord, while the United Arab Emirates supports Khalifa Haftar with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Russia. Dunya News Reuters
United Arab Emirates: UAE Starts Nuclear Power Plant. The United Arab Emirates has started its first nuclear reactor at the Barakah plant, which is operated by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation. Experts have raised concerns about environmental consequences as well as the potential for a regional nuclear arms race. The United Arab Emirates is the first Arab country to open a nuclear power plant, but stated that it will only be used for energy purposes. Israel and Iran are the other regional powers with nuclear capabilities. Al Jazeera The New York Times
This shaped the selection of the past two Chiefs of Naval Operations, including Adm. Michael Gilday, who was just a three-star when he was picked for the Navy's top job a year ago. In an hour-long interview, the CNO told Ignatius that he believes his service's problems stem from a decline in professional competency and a rise in character lapses. "Gilday says he wants to reboot the Navy's core culture, which begins with proficiency at sea. The Navy's operations tempo has been so stretched over the past two decades that officers and sailors don't have time to learn good seamanship and navigation. The sea is unforgiving; it magnifies the smallest mistakes. And sadly, in this stressed fleet, too many have cut ethical corners." Read on, here.
How Can We Know if Professional Military Education Works? by Megan J. Hennessey
Libya’s Hifter warns Erdogan: Stay out of Libya or you face our bullets
Eastern Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Hifter warned Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday to stay out of Libya, saying that Turkish forces will be met “with bullets.” The threat comes as Turkey and Hifter’s main rival, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, are pressing a counteroffensive to repel the eastern general’s forces from the key coastal city of Sirte, gateway to much of Libya’s coveted oil reserves. Turkey has deployed thousands of rebels from Syria to fight alongside forces loyal to the GNA. Apparently in response, Russia has introduced fighter aircraft into the conflict in recent months. Meanwhile, Egypt has threatened to militarily intervene on Hifter’s side if the GNA should advance on Sirte and al-Jufra. Along with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia also back Hifter. On Sunday, a spokesman for the GNA said Russian-made cargo planes carried new military shipments to Hifter’s forces in Sirte and al-Jufra. Read More arabnews.com
US: China’s relations with Iran will ‘destabilize’ Middle East
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that China’s proposed economic and security partnership with Iran would destabilize the Middle East and put Washington’s close partners in the region, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at risk. “China’s entry into Iran will destabilize the Middle East,” Pompeo said on Fox News on Sunday morning, in apparent reference to a proposed deal obtained by The New York Times last month. “It’ll put Israel at risk. It’ll put the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates at risk as well,” Pompeo said Sunday. The Trump administration has sought to strangle Iran’s supply of cash and its ability to produce and export weapons systems, particularly ballistic missiles, since Washington withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Tehran. How serious Beijing’s draft agreement with Tehran really is remains tobe seen, but the proposal would significantly expand China’s involvement in Iran’s telecommunications, banking and transportation infrastructure.
Michael Oakeshott’s Dialogic Imagination
by Emina Melonic
Without taking into consideration a metaphysical make-up of human beings and the world that surrounds them, comprehending political life will be difficult, Read More »
ICYMI: China Has Squandered Its First Great Opportunity
By Richard Fontaine
The world has experienced a six-month geopolitical vacuum, and China has filled it poorly.
It’s time for a US Navy port call in Somaliland
Michael Rubin | RealClearDefense
It is rare that a simple action could win a policy trifecta, but sending a destroyer or cruiser to the port of Berbera could achieve just that
Israel Versus Anyone: A Military Net Assessment of the Middle East
By Kenneth S. Brower, August 2, 2020
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This shows that, as compared to Israeli military capability, neither the US nor Russia can project meaningful conventional military power into the Middle East unless they are provided with both many months to mobilize and a lack of opposition during the long process of deployment. This conclusion implies that any US-proposed mutual defense treaty offered to Israel would be militarily meaningless. Moreover, the study shows that, over the long term, any such treaty would actually result in significantly diminished Israeli national security.
Continue to full article ->
Can Hezbollah and Israel Avoid War? by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
July 30, 2020
AFRICOM ordered to plan move out of Germany, latest pullout from key European ally
(Military Times) U.S. Africa Command has been ordered to make plans to move out of its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, its commander announced in an early morning media release.
US Strategic Command now analyzes daily deterrence risks for all combatant commands
(Defense News) In the last six months, U.S. Strategic Command has begun performing daily analysis on the state of nuclear deterrence in each of the regional combatant commands, STRATCOM commander Adm. Charles Richard said Thursday.
Army examining basing options for new weapons in Indo-Pacific
(National Defense) The Army continues to analyze options for basing new long-range precision weapons in the Indo-Pacific region, to be used by one of its new multi-domain task forces, the service's top officer said July 31.
China’s J-20 carrier-based jet fighter influenced by US – not Soviet – thinking, designer says
(South China Morning Post) As tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to rise, China’s military aircraft designers are racing to develop a next-generation fighter jet for use on the nation’s aircraft carriers capable of competing with their American rivals.
Time for Turkey to call in the International Monetary Fund
Desmond Lachman | The Hill
Despite macroeconomic mismanagement and the embrace of highly unorthodox economic ideas, Turkey has skirted crisis for some time. However, since the onset of COVID-19, the tide has suddenly turned. It may be time for Turkey to call in the International Monetary Fund.
Defense appropriations, veto-proof majorities, and inflation
Mackenzie Eaglen | "Defense & Aerospace Report"
Don’t leave the Balkans to Europe
Ivana Stradner and Reuf Bajrovic | The American Interest
F-35s Nest in Big New Alaskan Facility Marking Strategic Shift for Critical Region
By Jamie Hunter, The WarZone: “The arrival of the first pair of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs at Eielson Air Force Base on Apr. 21, 2020, was significant on many levels. This remote installation is located 26 miles southeast of Fairbanks in the interior of Alaska and about 110 miles south of the Arctic Circle."
What the F-35 of the Future Will Look Like
By Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics: “The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is scheduled to receive a long list of upgrades that will ideally keep it the dominant multi-role fighter for years to come.”
Project Blackjack: DARPA’s Leo Satellites Take Off
By Harry Lye, Air Force-Technology: “DARPA is working with Lockheed Martin on the first stage of satellite integration for project blackjack, a military low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Harry Lye finds out more from the programme leaders.”
Trump Nominee to Russia: Abandon ‘Flying Chernobyl’ Nuclear Missile
From The Moscow Times: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top arms control post in the State Department has said Russia should stop developing what he believes is a dangerous nuclear-powered cruise missile.”
U.S. and India are Deepening Military Ties - China is Watching
By Jane Doe, The Diplomat: “The U.S. military’s top officer in the Pacific urged Indian officials Wednesday to pursue even closer military ties with the United States.”
What the “Defunding the Pentagon” Articles Don’t Tell You
By Thomas Spoehr, RealClearDefense: “Bottom line: America definitely has a budget problem, but the Pentagon isn't causing it.”
Crafting Effective C2/ISR in the Contested Battlespace:
The Impact of the CNI System
By Robbin Laird, DEFENSE.info: “A key building block in reshaping what C2/ISR can provide for the combat force is how the F-35 is reshaping the combat forces of which it is a part."
Air Superiority Is Fundamental for the U.S. Air Force
By Jeff Harrigian, FOX News: "We must have a force that can compete, deter and win over near-peer adversaries in 2030 and beyond."
Air Power’s Future: Combat Aircrew Not Yet Surplus to Requirements
By Douglas Barrie & Nick Childs, IISS: “. . . with the United States and Europe working on concepts and designs for the next generation of combat air systems, the place of the pilot is again under scrutiny, as is the extent to which uninhabited systems will complement or replace crewed combat aircraft.”
The Barbarians in the Bay: Russia’s Nuclear Armed Drone Submarine
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: "In July 2020, Lieutenant Commander Joshua M. M. Portzer wrote, “The U.S. Navy should find this weapon horrifying. Naval Station Norfolk is the world’s largest naval base and houses approximately 75 ships and 130 aircraft. A single Kanyon detonation at Norfolk could wipe out half of the United States’ aircraft carriers and roughly a third of the surface Navy without warning. A coordinated attack against both Norfolk and San Diego ports would catastrophically cripple the Navy.”"
What Would Ernie King Do If He Were CNO Today?
By Harlan K. Ullman, Proceedings: "The fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) is the latest in a series of mishaps that have plagued the U.S. Navy for a considerable time. The litany of misdeeds, disasters and mistakes is, sadly, long. It includes the Fat Leonard scandal, in which many naval officers succumbed to all manner of bribes and gifts and lead to the disciplining of more admirals and senior officers than during World War II, the 2017 ship collisions that killed 17 sailors, a number of high-profile acquisition failures, and an enormous backlog of ship maintenance."
The Future of Unconventional Warfare (2035 – 2050)
By Jess Ward, Grounded Curiosity: “What do you see when you conceptualise the future of unconventional warfare? What an outstandingly complex, convoluted and complicated question."
China Military Watch
By Malcolm Davis & Charlie Lyons Jones, The Strategist (ASPI): "Cold War dramatisations of nuclear tensions between the Soviet Union and the U.S. often had someone in the role of the zampolit, or ‘political commissar’. These officers were generally portrayed as rigid ideologues who monitored their colleagues for possible treachery. The PLA also has political commissars, and a fascinating report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies examines their role at sea and explains the unique ‘dual-command authority’ in which the commissar and military commander make administrative and operational decisions together."
Options for African Nations Regarding Economic Collaboration with the U.S. and China
By Ekene Lionel, Divergent Options: "With China’s focus on Africa’s rich resources is to fuel its own domestic economic growth, this has placed it in direct competition with the United States."
Sub Hunters Continue to Prove Their Worth
By Charles Walker, RealClearDefense: “Submarines are an important weapon in any countries arsenal. The threat of an attack by a submarine is a concern to the operators of all merchant and naval vessels.”
Assessing Russia’s Pursuit of Great Power
By Stuart E. Gallagher, Divergent Options: “The Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 forced Russia to cede its Superpower status. This event embarrassed Russian leadership who then retooled Russia’s instruments of national power and redefined how Russia engaged globally. This ceding of power also motivated Vladimir Putin and his retinue to pursue Great Power status."
India inks $900M deal for Sikorsky sub-hunting helos as tensions with China spike
(Breaking Defense) India has finalized a $900 million deal with Sikorsky for 24 MH-60R helicopters that will help India’s navy spot and track Chinese submarines, drones and surface ships that are operating more frequently in the Indian Ocean.
MDA: All-domain C2 key to countering hypersonic missiles
(Breaking Defense) Senior Missile Defense Agency officials say Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) will be fundamental to rapidly and seamlessly integrating future capability to track and intercept hypersonic and cruise missiles into its current architecture focused on ballistic missiles.
No sure victory: The Marines new force design plan and the politics of implementation
(War On The Rocks) Last year, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger outlined a transformative vision for the service. The move stunned national security experts. As a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee tweeted at the time, “The blood of sacred cows is all over this thing.”
The Indian Navy is expanding its fleet of anti-submarine warfare helicopters with a $904-million buy of 24 Sikorsky MH-60Rs, company officials said on Friday. – USNI News
Dynetics will help DARPA scale up its artificial intelligence air-to-air combat effort, the company said May 6, potentially enabling a pilot to control a fleet of unmanned platforms in a dogfight. – C4ISRNET
The Pentagon has proposed legislation that aims to end reliance on China for rare earth minerals critical to the manufacturing of missiles and munitions, hypersonic weapons and radiation hardened electronics, by making targeted investments. – Defense News
Anthony H. Cordesman writes: The new National Security Strategy (NSS) issued on December 18, 2017, called for the United States to focus on competition with China and Russia in order to focus on the potential military threat they posed to the United States. This call to look beyond the current U.S. emphasis on counterterrorism was all too valid, but its implementation has since focused far too narrowly on the military dimension and on providing each military service all of the U.S. military forces that are needed to fight “worst case” wars. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Strategic Implications of Indian Corruption
The massive network of corruption now being unraveled has major geopolitical and security implications that reach far beyond India.
The Missile Race Is Not a One-Horse Race
By Ashley G. Johnson, Proceedings: “The notion that the only solution to the missile problem is more missiles is an oversimplification."
Beijing Flexes Its Muscles – And Washington Better Get Ready
By Bradley Bowman & Craig Singleton, RealClearDefense: “The goal is to consolidate and extend the CCP's authoritarian control and undermine the interests of the U.S. and its regional partners. One can see this more aggressive strategy not only in Thursday's political decision with respect to Hong Kong but also in Beijing's recent and planned military actions."
Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight With China
By T.S. Allen, Strategy Bridge: "There are several durable reasons why China is the principal U.S. competitor least likely to employ insurgency—“the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify or challenge political control of a region”—either directly or by proxy, in the future."
DEFENSE SPENDING POST COVID, EXAMINING CHINESE AMBITIONS TO SHAPE GLOBAL POLICY AIMS & TURKEY'S LEADERSHIP CRISIS CONTINUES UNABATED
Raytheon Technologies Is Posturing to Be the Pentagon’s Top Cyber Supplier
—Both Offensive and Defensive
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: "“Information warfare” seems to be emerging as the Pentagon’s preferred phrase to characterize efforts aimed at protecting friendly networks and databases while compromising the information systems of adversaries."
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Demos Autonomous Reconnaissance Pod
By Garrett Reim, Flight Global: "Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs, known as Skunk Works, has demonstrated an artificial intelligence-powered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) pod autonomously searching out and confirming a target."
Satellite Images Show That Chinese Navy Is Expanding Overseas Base
By H I Sutton, Forbes: "China’s navy, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), has become more active in the Indian Ocean and Middle East."
Stimulus spending and the defense budget outlook
Mackenzie Eaglen | "Defense & Aerospace Report"
What if the Pentagon skipped 5G?
Mackenzie Eaglen | Defense One
Erdoğan shows democratic transition in Turkey is impossible
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
How will China shape global governance?
Michael Beckley | ChinaFile
WHY IRAQ GETS THE S400, RUSSIA ABANDONS NUCLEAR DESTROYERS; A LOOK AT THE NEW CHINESE RIFLE & WHY ITS OVER FOR "GRAND STRATEGY"
What China’s Army Reforms Mean for the World
By Adam Ni & Bates Gill, Asia Times: "The ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once said, Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. Looking at the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) today, …"
When Resources Drive Strategy:
Understanding Clausewitz/Corbett’s War Limited by Contingent
By Vanya Eftimova Bellinger, Military Strategy Magazine: "In recent years, the concept of war by contingent has gradually gained more attention. Partially, this is due to the revival of the legacy of Sir Julian Corbett, but also because of states’ desire to avoid costly all-out conflicts."
Mackenzie Eaglen emphasizes that policymakers should focus on providing for the health, safety, and continuity of all the Pentagon’s workforces: uniformed, civilian, and contractor by injecting new liquidity into the defense industrial base. If the Pentagon and big prime contractors don’t take care of their suppliers and subcontractors, the defense industrial base will contract again, losing crucial skills and talents permanently — and possibly seeing those companies bought up by China. Learn more here.
Iraq Moves Towards S-400 Acquisition
By Charles Forrester, Jane's: "Iraq has become the latest country to consider acquiring the Russian-made S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name SA-21 'Growler'), the Iraqi press reported on 18 April."
Russia Abandons Nuclear Destroyer, Supersized Frigate Programs
By Joseph Trevithick, The WarZone: “Russia's Severnoye Design Bureau has stopped development entirely of its Project 23560 destroyers, also known as the Lider class, and the Project 22350M frigate, an expanded derivative of the Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkovclass. The company has said these ships are among its most promising future offerings and the halting of the two programs has raised questions about its long-term financial stability."
Chinese Soldiers Seen Testing New QBZ-191 Assault Rifle
By Peter Suciu, The National Interest: "Last week Chinese state media released footage of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) next-generation assault rifle, the QBZ-191. This would replace the QBZ-95-1 bullpup that has been in service since 1997."
Just as the 9/11 attacks changed the definition of national security and redirected the course of US policy for two decades, so too will the consequences of America’s unpreparedness for the coronavirus pandemic, notes Kori Schake in a Bloomberg op-ed. Protecting Americans against future, even unexpected, threats doesn’t require a sweeping overhaul of the national-security system. But strengthening our civil service — its competence, integrity, skills, and scope for action — is one of the best investments we could make in public safety. It does require committing to, investing in, and making effective use of the capabilities we already have. Continue here.
The End of Grand Strategy
By Daniel Drezner, Ronald R. Krebs & Randall Schweller, Foreign Affairs: “The changing nature of power, along with its diffusion in the international system, has made it much more difficult for the United States to shape its destiny."
Affordable, Abundant, and Autonomous: The Future of Ground Warfare
By Liam Collins & Harrison Morgan, War on the Rocks: "Between the world wars, Germany developed its blitzkrieg (“lightning warfare”) doctrine while the French developed the Maginot Line. Thus, as the U.S. Army finds itself in transition after nearly 20 years of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it must get it right."
DoD Needs a Real Technology Strategy
By Paul Scharre & Ainikki Riikonen, Defense One: "Defense Department leaders agree the U.S. military must reinvigorate its technological edge. They just can't agree on which technologies matter."
The United States Marine Corps Is Changing. Why Should We Care?
By Jack Senogles, Wavell Room: "The United States Marine Corps (USMC) are undergoing a series of comprehensive reforms to its force structure, equipment, and doctrine. These reforms are geared towards countering China in the Western Pacific. General Berger, the Commandant of the USMC, has proposed plans for the Corps that suggest a profound change in U.S. strategic outlook with significant implications for NATO and the UK."
The High-Tech Arsenal of Democracy:
Economic Strength and Scientific Innovation in the Evolution of Modern Warfare
By Doug Livermore, Small Wars Journal: "The ability to leverage financial capabilities to bankroll both technological innovation and large-scale production of war materiel has increasingly driven the evolution of modern warfare. There is every indication that these interdependent elements will continue to have an even greater impact on the international security environment in the 21st century and beyond."
The Problem with Great-Power Competition
By Jack MacLennan, Modern War Institute: "Liberal internationalism has hallmarked the US strategic vision since the end of the Cold War. After a new, unipolar order took shape in the early 1990s, American strategic and operational planners were asked to support a world, according to G. John Ikenberry, defined by “open markets, international institutions, cooperative security, democratic community, progressive change, collective problem solving, and the rule of law.”"
Aligning America’s Ends and Means in the Indo-Pacific
By Bradley Bowman & John Hardie, Defense News: "The U.S. combatant command responsible for the Indo-Pacific region warned in a report last month that it lacks the resources and capabilities necessary to implement the National Defense Strategy. This mismatch between ends and means endangers American interests and invites Beijing to pursue opportunistic aggression.”
Iran: IRGC Launches Satellite. According to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran launched its first military satellite into orbit on Wednesday. IRGC Commander Hossein Salami said on state-run Press TV, “The satellite’s successful launch enhanced new aspects of the Islamic Republic’s defensive might.” The Pentagon has declined to comment on the confirmation of whether the satellite was in orbit and operational. Al Jazeera Associated Press The Jerusalem Post Reuters
China: New Amphibious Assault Ship Launched. Photos from the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo showed that China's second Type 075 amphibious assault ship has been launched. The Type 075 is estimated to weigh around 36,000 tons and able to carry 28 helicopters making it slightly smaller than its American counterparts. The first Type 075 is still being outfitted and undergoing sea trials though COVID-19 has slowed the introduction of the ship into the Chinese navy. It is rumored a larger class of amphibious assault ships is currently under development. Forbes Naval News
Thornberry Urges Boost To Indo-Pacific Spending; A Pacific EDI
Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the largest committee in Congress, has long pressed for changes his colleagues didn’t yet see as necessary. I’ve covered him for a long, long time and remember when he pressed hard with then-Sen. Dan Coats to make the services fight and train much more closely together. Their vision resulted…
Michèle A. Flournoy and Gabrielle Chefitz write: The United States cannot continue to use the same acquisition and development approach it uses for an aircraft carrier, understandably optimized to avoid large cost and schedule overruns, to develop new technologies and capabilities. Our current risk-averse system simply cannot deliver the necessary disruption at speed and scale. If we don’t accept more risk now, we will face the far greater risk of falling behind our adversaries in the future. – Defense News
The top Marine told reporters Wednesday that current layout and organization of the Corps’ Light Armored Reconnaissance units were better equipped to handle another conflict in the Middle East instead of rising near-peer rivals. – Defense News
Patrick M. Cronin and Ryan D. Neuhard write: China is not playing games in the Indo-Pacific. The United States needs to implement a comprehensive competitive strategy that proactively outmaneuvers China’s government and leverages U.S. strengths. Until policymakers do, they may as well spend their time playing laser tag while the rest of us watch the Indo-Pacific gradually slip into China’s control. – The Diplomat
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has a vision for the Corps unlike that of any of his immediate predecessors. To say his 10-year plan to remake America’s most storied military service into an even smaller, more tailored fighting force is radical would not be far off the mark. – Washington Examiner
Defense strategy and priorities: Topline or transformation?
Mackenzie Eaglen | Reagan Foundation
While the 2018 National Defense Strategy charts a more honest and realistic priority set of threats and challenges for the US military, it is still purely additive.
China’s Unique Special Missions Aircraft
By Mike Yeo, Defence Review Asia: "A lot less attention has, however, been paid to the ongoing improvement in China's airborne support forces."
Naval Deterrence and Small Wars
By William R. Hawkins, Proceedings: The 1899 Hague Peace Conference was the first international gathering of major powers to discuss arms control. It was also notable for bringing together two of the era's greatest naval thinkers, both serving on the delegations of their respective countries: Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan for the United States and Admiral Sir John Fisher for Great Britain. Each took a dim view of the conference, believing that deterrence based on strength was a better guarantee of peace than disarmament. Admiral Fisher made this explicit in the assembly's most dramatic presentation ..."
COVID-19: U.S. Strategic Vulnerabilities From Over-Reliance on China
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “President Trump has been criticized for highlighting the Chinese origins of the current coronavirus crisis. Whether such comments are constructive or not, the crisis has provoked a broader debate about the role that China plays in the American economy."
Marine Corps to Undergo ‘Radical’ Overhaul in Pivot to Take On China
By Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times: "Officials say the smaller force will be designed to operate, survive and thrive inside an enemy’s “weapons engagement zone,” the area vulnerable to an adversary’s long-range precision fire capabilities."
Getting the Context of Marine Corps Reform Right by Jeff Cummings, Scott Cuomo, Olivia A. Garard, and Noah Spataro
To defeat Iraq’s militias, prove they aren’t Iraq nationalists
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
Light Armored Reconnaissance Is Outmoded on Future Battlefield
By Shawn Snow, Marine Corps Times: “The top Marine told reporters Wednesday that current layout and organization of the Corps’ Light Armored Reconnaissance units were better equipped to handle another conflict in the Middle East instead of rising near-peer rivals."
Indo-Pacom Chief’s Bold $20 Billion Plan
By Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense: “The bold new Pacific plan "is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail," ADM Philip Davidson writes."
U.S., MIDDLE EAST:
U.S. Deploys Patriot Missiles in Iraq As Tensions With Iran Rise
By Chad Garland, Stars and Stripes: "The U.S. has deployed Patriot missile batteries in Iraq as the coalition battling the Islamic State group in the country draws down and a war of words between Washington and Tehran ramps up."
Five Reasons Raytheon Technologies Is Destined to Dominate Aerospace & Defense
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Friday, April 3, marks the first day of share trading for the merged enterprise of Raytheon and United Technologies, to be known as Raytheon Technologies."
Countering China’s Laser Offensive
By Patrick M. Cronin & Ryan D. Neuhard, The Diplomat: "China’s military and paramilitary forces have been employing lasers with increasing frequency since at least 2018."
The China problem extends well beyond coronavirus
Danielle Pletka | The Dispatch
This coronavirus pause is an opportunity to think over the Western world’s long game against the Chinese Communist Party in all of its forms and to move quickly.
EXCLUSIVE Indo-Pacom Chief’s Bold $20 Billion Plan For Pacific; What Will Hill Do?
The bold new Pacific plan “is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail,” Adm. Philip Davidson writes.
Maximizing Bargaining Leverage With Beijing:
Developing Missiles As Bargaining Chips
By Luke Griffith, RealClearDefense: "If President Donald Trump is serious about arms control talks with the People’s Republic of China, U.S. officials could consider building a new generation of ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles to trade for reductions in the thousands of Chinese dual-capable, intermediate-range missiles."
The Chinese big lie
Gary J. Schmitt | The American Interest
The Pentagon’s Biggest Enemy Isn't China or Russia
By Samuel Arlington Page, The National Interest: "Our military is faced with a conflicting dichotomy. On one hand, we tout that we are the most technologically advanced military force on the planet. On the other, the Pentagon states that we need to upgrade our defenses to keep up with the looming threats."
Will Commandant Berger’s New Marine Corps Be a High-Tech Forlorn Hope?
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: "The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General David Berger, has just released his long-anticipated Force Design 2030. It proposes a transformation of the Corps' force structure, types of ships, the mix of platforms and weapons systems, and operational concepts to address the demands of deterrence and warfighting in an era of great power competition."
The Navy Is Critical for U.S. Soft Power
By Christopher L. Harold, Proceedings: "Naval strength is often determined by kinetic employment and the service's ability to wage war."
Nuclear power’s ray of hope: hydrogen-boron fusionIn 1933 the physicists Ernest Rutherford and Mark Oliphant reported on experiments in which they bombarded a thin film of the boron compound borax by a beam of protons and registered the emission of high-energy alpha particles. This confirmed the earlier evidence of Cockcroft and Walton, that nuclear reactions were taking place between protons and boron nuclei, resulting in the transmutation of chemical elements. Read More
Mackenzie Eaglen argues that as President Trump proposes building fewer ships than the Obama-era plans, Congress is looking for solutions. One challenge is simply money; another is ship counting. Continue here.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has hinted at the possibility that the US will reduce its military presence in Africa. But that would be a mistake, argues Katherine Zimmerman in a Military Times op-ed. America’s small military footprint in Africa buys more than security from terrorism threats: It buys American influence on the fastest-growing continent. Rather than strip funding from West Africa and risk expanding the influence of US enemies, a small US military investment in Africa provides the support of allies and partners, counterterrorism cooperation, and leverage for American soft power. Finish it here.
Our Conflicted Defense Budget
By Thomas Spoehr, RealClearDefense: “If the Pentagon’s 2021 defense budget request were a person, a psychiatrist would label him “conflicted.” That diagnosis comes from the high number of unresolved issues bubbling just below, or in some cases, above the surface."
The Reach of China’s Military-Civil Fusion: Coronavirus and Supply Chain Crises
By Emily de La Bruyère & Nathan Picarsic, RealClearDefense: "... It is the product of a decades-long, deliberate Chinese strategy, one enshrined in dedicated national science and technology programs, in State initiatives, in comprehensive subsidy programs. Beijing’s centralized industrial planning targets critical American resources, supply chains, and infrastructures – first to ensure their dependence, next to siphon their resources and technology."
The Pentagon is getting serious about nuclear conflict, perhaps more so than at any time since the Cold War. In a new Bloomberg op-ed, Hal Brands evaluates how lessons from the Soviet era can guide US responses to Russian aggression and explores the escalate to de-escalate gambit. Perceptions matter, and convincing the other side that America has the ability to execute risky options may be the best way of ensuring that the US never has to use them. Strengthening conventional deterrence in Eastern Europe may be America's best option. Learn more here.
F-35 v Valkyrie: Range, Payload, Cost and Survivability
By TX Hammes, Flight Global: "Relatively inexpensive unmanned systems have advantages which may put them on the front line when the USA squares up against China in the western Pacific."
The Backward Step on Missile Defense in the FY 2020 NDAA
By Michaela Dodge, National Institute for Public Policy: "Last year, the FY 2020 NDAA made a significant change to U.S. ballistic missile defense policy, but one that has gone largely unnoticed among proponents of strong U.S. missile defense programs. The new law states that the United States will as a matter of policy “rely on nuclear deterrence to address more sophisticated and larger quantity near-peer intercontinental missile threats to the homeland of the United States,” while improving missile defenses against “rogue states.” This change, though it may appear to reflect long-standing U.S. policy, is a step backward."
Our Industrial Base Can’t Meet Our Defense Needs. Here’s How We Can Fix That.
By Klon Kitchen, RealClearDefense: “American military superiority is essential, but it is not inevitable. It is the result of strategic planning, deliberate investment, and an industrial base that is able to anticipate and deliver the capabilities needed to fight and win wars."
Congress must now live up to its end of the bargain to accept some political pain for great-power competition gain. Learn more here. Continue here.
Why We Should Grow the Active Duty Army
By Bradley Bowman, RealClearDefense: “A closer look at the Army’s demanding operational tempo (optempo) demonstrates why any cut would be a mistake that reduces readiness and burdens soldiers and their families."
What the Trump Defense Budget Gets Wrong About the Future of War
By James Stavridies, Time: “The massive 2021 Department of Defense budget that the White House sent to Congress clocks in at $740.5 billion, with $705.4 billion earmarked for the Pentagon – the remainder to the Department of Energy and other government agencies for national security projects. As always, the preparation of the request to Congress was a long and tortuous project, spearheaded by the Secretary of Defense and his team through an interminable series of reviews. Each of the services fought hard for its share of “topline.”"
How Small Units Can Prepare for Large-Scale Combat Ops
By Harrison Morgan, Army Times: "As the 2018 National Security Strategy prioritizes its focus on preparing the nation for the Great Power Competition between the United States and its strategic competitors – namely China and Russia – the Army is transitioning from nearly two decades of counterinsurgency focus to Large-Scale Combat Operations, or LSCO."
What is an 'Expeditionary Force?' No, Really, What is It?
By Michael Gladius, Small Wars Journal: "For a Pioneer nation like America, built on exploration and a seemingly endless frontier, the romance of expeditions is part of our national psyche. The term “Expeditionary Force” sounds cool, as it evokes feelings of adventure and risk-taking in far-away places. Expeditionary forces are comprised of tough, competent men who travel light in remote areas, and rely on their wits to survive and win in unfamiliar environments. Thus, it's only natural we want to call everything our military does abroad an “Expeditionary Force.”"
Deciphering the Afghanistan Peace Agreements
By Jason Criss Howk, ClearanceJobs: "Hundreds of dedicated diplomats, intelligence and military officers from numerous nations have been helping to shepherd the Afghan and U.S. governments towards the agreements signed February 29. I have been working on it since May 2009 and wanted to explain what the US-Afghan and US-Taliban agreements mean with my context of knowing the original plan devised over a decade ago by the Afghan government."
Lawmakers were skeptical the Navy could meet its sealift requirements as part of the National Defense Strategy and that the service was on track to recapitalize its aging sealift fleet. – USNI News
The number of bombers are at their lowest ever, but demand for bombers increases every year, particularly in the vast and most-stressed region of the Indo-Pacific. Bombers are the preferred weapon system there because of their long range and huge payload capacity. – Defense News
The search for future budget savings to apply to shipbuilding has the Navy considering scrapping a plan to extend the life of the fleet’s oldest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the service’s top systems buyer told lawmakers Thursday. – USNI News
The Navy has taken several cracks over the years at trying to define a new future aircraft carrier, one that might be less expensive or less vulnerable. But each time, the Navy has moved forward with the nuclear-powered supercarrier concept, in part because it provides an unmatched sortie-generation capability, and in part, because it’s built by a workforce that would be tough or impossible to reconstitute if the Navy ever stopped supporting it. – USNI News
INDIA'S PROCUREMENT & MODERNIZATION PLANS FAILING, A NOTE ON INTEROPERABILITY & WHY AMERICA LOSES WARS
Budgetary Pressures Induce Indian Navy Rethink
By Daniel Darling, Defense & Security Monitor: "Confronting an unfavorable fiscal picture unlikely to change in the short term, the Indian Navy is shrinking its procurement ambitions as it re-scopes future force goals."
India's New Budget with Rick Rossow
Comprehensive Report on Culture and Ethics in the Special Operations Community with Pauline Shanks Kaurin
U.S. Approves Possible Sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System for India
By Ankit Panda, The Diplomat: "The IADWS package that has been approved includes a range of sensors, weapons systems, and support equipment."
The Army Has a Physical Fitness Problem
Part 1: Eight Myths That Weaken Combat Readiness
By Matt Clark, Modern War Institute: "The U.S. Army is a force with extraordinary expeditionary capabilities. We send our soldiers around the world with remarkable regularity to fulfill a range of vital missions. But when we deploy units globally—whether to the ongoing mission in Afghanistan, to work with partners to defeat ISIS, or to reassure allies and conduct combined exercises in Europe or the Pacific—a big problem arises, one that we unfortunately don’t talk about."
Why America Loses Wars
By Heather Venable, Strategy Bridge: "Donald Stoker—an instructor for many years at the Naval Postgraduate School and the author of several books including, importantly, a biography on Clausewitz—has now written another book to take the Western national security community to school. In Why America Loses Wars, Stoker gives that community a failing grade for, among other things, an inability to understand limited wars."
Blurred Lines: Gray-Zone Conflict and Hybrid War
—Two Failures of American Strategic Thinking
By Donald Stoker & Craig Whiteside, Naval War College Review: "The terms in question and the concepts arising from them cause more harm than good, contributing to a dangerous distortion of the concepts of war, peace, and geopolitical competition, with a negative impact on U.S. and allied security strategy."
The Need for Interoperability Standards
By William G. Langston, Frederick J. Fable & Steven G. Drake, Army Army AL&T Magazine: “The modernization efforts will also provide commonality across applications, graphics and data sets, as well as interoperability within the Army and with our mission partner environments while enabling joint, all domain command-and-control."
'Parallel Warfare' in Conflicts with Limited Political Aims
By Andrew McNaughton, Canadian Military Journal: "From the dawn of heavier-than-air flight, many individuals, strategic planners, and armed forces visualized a future where the devastations of terrestrial war could be solved from above. However, the airplane and air power theory did not entirely live up to expectations."
Esper Is Attempting the Biggest Defense Reform in a Generation
By Mackenzie Eaglen, Defense One: “In two recent memos, the SecDef reveals his intention to change how the Pentagon uses its money, people, and time."
The Third Revolution in Military Affairs
By Harlan Ullman, Proceedings: "Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was a powerful advocate of what he called the “third offset” strategy. The first was the advent of nuclear weapons that offset Soviet power; the second, the revolution in precision weapons that offset numerical U.S. military inferiority; and the third involves protecting vital command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance networks against enemy attack that could strip the United States of its military advantages. Taking the third offset strategy to its logical conclusion, what is needed is a third revolution in military affairs principally—but not entirely—driven by potentially revolutionary technology."
Defense Strategy for a Post-Trump World
By Van Jackson, War on the Rocks: "In a recent piece warning about an emerging arms race in hypersonic missiles, The New York Times quoted Will Roper, the Air Force's senior acquisition and technology official, saying that the United States needed to invest more in such advanced weapons “if we want to dominate this new domain of fast flight.” This kind of statement is emblematic of a defense establishment that thinks in terms of military superiority — a paradigm that requires the United States to be capable of overmatching anyone at any time.""
The Next of Round of Russia Sanctions is Already Flawed
By John E. Sweeney, RealClearDefense: "This sustained layering of sanctions on Russia has produced unintended consequences."
Raytheon awarded $9M to maintain HARM weapons for Morocco, Turkey, U.S.
(UPI) Raytheon inked a $9 million deal to maintain high-speed anti-radiation missiles, known as HARM, for the Air Force, the government of Morocco and the government of Turkey, according to the Pentagon.
Defense Industrial Base’s Report Card Reveals ‘C’ Grade
By Wesley Hallman & Christopher Smith, National Defense Magazine: "The Executive Order 13806 report on production risks to critical defense industrial supply chains in 2018 starkly framed the health of the U.S. defense industrial base as key to the readiness of the nation's armed forces to confront near-term threats and their ability to compete long-term against strategic adversaries."
How the U.S. Navy’s Aging Sealift Fleet Could Lose America’s Next War
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: "For much of U.S. history, the vast oceans separating America from Europe and Asia protected the nation against attack by foreign enemies. Today, those oceans are as much a hindrance as an advantage."
Naval Integration Begins in the Classroom
By Ryan Tice, Proceedings: "Integration both at sea and ashore is critical to address a number of challenges, including antiaccess/area denial threats from rising powers such as Russia and China. To maintain their ability to project power at sea, the Navy and Marine Corps need to aggressively experiment with nontraditional command-and-control relationships, organizational structures, and emerging technologies that capitalize on both services’ unique strengths."
The U.S. Navy's Three Great Intellectual Challenges
By John R. Kroger, Defense One: "The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are developing an aggressive naval education strategy to deepen the intellectual capabilities of our force. Our goal, following the leadership of Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly, is to build a highly educated team with a deep understanding of strategy, geopolitics, emerging technologies, resource management, and weapons acquisitions."
Army modernization translates into accepting risk and learning quickly
(The Hill) Two years ago, the Army recognized the need to rapidly and persistently modernize our force to stay ahead of technological change and national competitors.
Where Are All the People in the Army’s Future Fights?
By Chris Telley, Modern War Institute: "The new strategy document poorly assumes that Army forces will not do the murkier work like managing proxies, interacting in the economies it moves through, or using influence technology—among other information-related tasks required to gain the initiative at the opening of a future war."
The Illusion of a Rules-Based Global Order
By Brahma Chellaney, The Strategist (ASPI): "When the Cold War ended, many pundits anticipated a new era in which geoeconomics would determine geopolitics. As economic integration progressed, they predicted, the rules-based order would take root globally. Countries would comply with international law or incur high costs."
What ‘The Afghanistan Papers’ Got Wrong
By Scott Smith, Small Wars Journal: "The problem was not that U.S. officials lied to the public—it’s that for so long many believed that the war was winnable."
Mosaic Warfare: Small and Scalable are Beautiful
By Benjamin Jensen & John Paschkewitz, War on the Rocks: "We need more marines and soldiers, along with coalition partners and scientists, fighting war games and conducting field experiments to transition the mosaic concept into new equipment and tactics that define how America fights."
Options for Deterrence Below Armed Conflict
By James P. Micciche, Divergent Options: " . . . nuclear deterrence will not suffice in the current national security paradigm as it is focused on mainly deterring nuclear war or major conflict, which are the least-likely situations to occur."
Shaping a 21st Century C2/ISR Infrastructure: The Emergence of C3
By Robbin Laird, SLD.info: " . . . C3 is emerging as a key driver of change Command, Control and Confidence in the most relevant ISR data is required at the tactical edge to make the decisions necessary to prevail in the evolving battlespace."
Analyzing Weapons Acquisition Through the Prism of Future War
By Warren Chin, Defence-In-Depth: "James Kurth posed the question of ‘why we buy the weapons we do’ in an article in the magazine, Foreign Policy in 1973. Surprisingly, forty-seven years later, we are still trying to provide a satisfactory answer regarding why we spend so much money on technologically complex weaponry; weapons acquisition typically accounts for over 40 percent of defence budgets."
A Year in #Reviewing
From Strategy Bridge: "The Strategy Bridge community is a network of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and opinions, all united by one fact: we care about strategy, national security, and military affairs."
Starting With 'Why': The National Security Strategy and America’s National Interests
By Theresa Cross, Aaron Bazin & Montgomery Erfourth, Small Wars Journal: "In many ways, national interests are the DNA of strategy and the underlying structure upon which every nation bases its strategic thinking. To understand America’s current actions on the international stage requires a look deeper than the partisan-inspired rhetoric in the headlines. One way to approach this is to elevate the discussion beyond threats and adversaries to an analysis of national interests. Interests drive political decision-making and help us understand U.S. foreign policy. They describe the “why,” reveal the underlying logic, and provide the standards of measurement upon which to base decisions."
The Post-American Middle East
By Richard N. Haass, The Strategist (ASPI): "Welcome to the post-American Middle East. To be fair, the phrase is something of an exaggeration, as the U.S. hasn’t withdrawn from the region. In fact, it has recently sent additional troops to deter and, if necessary, help defend Saudi Arabia from future Iranian attacks and possibly respond directly to them. But there’s no getting around the fundamental truth that the U.S. has reduced both its presence and role in a region that it has dominated for nearly half a century."
Prepare for Decision-Making at Sea
By Jeff W. Benson, Proceedings: "Operations at sea are ruthless, unforgiving, lonely, and test the boundaries of every commander."
Making the Army’s Revolutionary New Talent Management System Work
By Brennan Randel, Modern War Institute: "Many Army officers share a common pastime—solving the Army’s talent management problems. The constant refrain is that the Army does little to retain talented officers. It’s a hard criticism to ignore, given a study conducted by the Army’s Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis that highlighted the Army’s officer retention issue."
Navy Proposes Cutting Future Production of Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyers by 40%
By J. Craig Anderson, The Portland Press Herald: "The Department of Defense has submitted a proposal to the White House that would cut by about 40 percent the number of planned Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be built for the Navy over a five-year period starting in late 2020, potentially impacting future work at Maine’s General Dynamics Bath Iron Works."
China’s Test of Sub-Launched Missile a Threat to Peace
By Bill Gertz, The Washington Times: "Underwater JL-3 launch comes amid fears of North Korean missile test."
China Targets Tighter Controls on Its Growing Arms Trade
By Keegan Elmer & Echo Xie, SCMP: "China is set to introduce legislation to tighten control over the country's opaque sales of arms and nuclear technology, as it becomes a bigger player in the global weapons trade."
The Marine Corps: Quo Vadis?
(RealClear Defense) Many defense experts believe that defense spending has peaked and may decline in future years. This will intensify the longstanding competition for finite resources among the U.S. military services. In that climate, it will be more important than ever for the U.S. Marine Corps to understand and explain its unique contributions to national security.
Expeditionary Advanced Maritime Operations: How the Marine Corps Can Avoid Becoming a Second Land Army in the Pacific by Jake Yeager
A Beginner's Guide to Analyzing China's Military Tech
By Rick Joe, The Diplomat: "The Chinese military (People's Liberation Army, or PLA) has been receiving growing coverage and media interest over the past decade as China's national profile has grown and as new weapons systems have progressively become unveiled."
‘You Can’t Have It All’ With 31 Modernization Priorities
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "One of the savviest — and snarkiest — veterans of the Army acquisition system is warning her former colleagues that not all 31 of the service’s priority programs will survive."
Special Operations Command Made a Mind-Reading Kit For Elite Troops
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: "The experimental tool is among several that aim to combine sensors and AI to give U.S. operators a new edge"
Why Italy Is Pivotal to U.S. Strategy in the Mediterranean
By Sarah White, RealClearDefense: “Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, a former general is head of state, and charges against Hosni Mubarak have been dismissed—it's like 2011 all over again.”
F-15EX and F-35A? Allies Can Expand the Solution Set
By Hunter Hustus, War on the Rocks: "Will the U.S. Air Force have what it takes to win the air-to-air fight with China or Russia? The answer isn’t so simple."