More than three decades ago, Michael D. Griffin was at the center of the military’s “Star Wars” initiative, working to realize President Ronald Reagan’s dream of shielding the United States from Soviet missiles. Now the 69-year-old scientist is back at the Pentagon as its top technology official, looking to revive some of the same missile defense concepts. – Washington Post
Avic's J-31 Fighter Is a Winner After All
By Bradley Perrett & Stephen Trimble, Aviation Week: “Not long after the J-31 fighter prototype from Avic's Shenyang Aircraft Corp. appeared in 2012, analysts realized that it was not, after all, a new combat aircraft for the Chinese military.”
China’s as-yet unveiled stealth bomber could alter US defense calculus in Pacific
(Stars & Stripes) For almost two decades, China has been designing and building its answer to America’s B-2 long-range stealth bomber, and Chinese state media have recently hinted that the Hong-20 will soon undergo trial flights.
Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli write: The China Airshow in Zhuhai is the annual exhibition that China uses, for both political and commercial reasons, to display the progress of her aerospace capabilities. […] The bulk of the attention, however, went to the mockup of a new stealth drone, the CH-7, that resembles Northrop Grumman’s XB-47B demonstrator. […] Some commentators even concluded that, with this new achievement, China has already passed or will soon pass the United States in next-generation unmanned aircraft technology. – War on the Rocks
China's Beating the U.S. to Market on Combat Drones, By Copying U.S. Technology
// Patrick Tucker
America seems to have squandered a 10-year head start.
Images emerge of new Chinese submarine
(IHS Jane’s 360) Photographs have emerged on online forums showing that a new design of submarine has been built at China's Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard. Although the images do not allow accurate estimates of the size of the boat to be made, it appears that the submarine is about 50 m long with a pressure hull diameter of about 5 m.
Why Airpower Needs Landpower
By Jahara Matisek & Jon McPhilamy, Modern War Institute: “In 2014, Air Force Magazine published an article in which the author proclaimed “Airpower has eclipsed land power as the primary means of destroying enemy forces.””
SIKORSKI STEPS UP NEW HELICOPTERS, ALGERIA SOURCES UAV FROM BEIJING & INDIA GOES TO MOSCOW AND ISRAEL
US Army pilots take Sikorsky optionally manned helicopter for spin
(Defense News) For the first time, Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky turned over its Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) to U.S. Army pilots for a spin, according to an Oct. 29 company statement.
Algeria unveils Chinese UAVs
(IHS Jane’s 360) The Algerian Ministry of National Defence (MDN) revealed that it has acquired two types of Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its coverage of a visit by Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah to Ain Ouessara Air Base in the 1st Military Region on 30 October.
Israeli company to outfit Indian Navy, Army after $1.3 billion in defense deals
(Defense News) Israel Aerospace Industries announced two deals worth a total of $1.3 billion with India between Oct. 24 and 29. One deal will see IAI outfit the Indian Army with the Sky Capture air defense system, a contract worth $550 million. In addition, IAI will provide $777 million worth of Barak 8 missile defense systems, known as LRSAM in India, for seven ships.
India signs $950 million contract with Russia to buy two stealth frigates
(Defense News) India has signed a $950 million contract with Russia for two upgraded Krivak III-class stealth frigates.
Anthony H. Cordesman writes: For several decades, American strategic planning has been little more than a facade for annual line item budget debates. Arguably, U.S. strategic planning peaked when Harold Brown was Secretary of Defense in 1981. From that point onwards, efforts to create and manage U.S. national security using some effective linkage between strategy and real-world planning, programming, and budgeting activity steadily declined. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Democrats’ big night brings big questions for defense policy
(Defense News) Democrats won the U.S. House in convincing fashion in Tuesday’s midterm elections, promising to shake up defense policy in the coming year and raising the possibility of tumultuous impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
A troubling outlook for future defense spending
Luke Strange | RealClearDefense
The lame-duck Congress has a national security to-do list
(Defense News) Here are three items on the national security agenda for Congress.
The Trump administration had already been planning for relatively flat national-security spending, and more recently, a slightly decline beginning in 2020.
The ticking nuclear budget time bomb
Mackenzie Eaglen | War on the Rocks
The current path is an irrational and costly recipe for sucking funding from other defense programs or buying fewer new nuclear delivery systems and reducing the size of the arsenal. The longer military and political leaders deny this reality, the worse off America’s nuclear deterrent and armed forces will be.
It’s official: DoD told to take cut with FY20 budget
(Defense News) The Pentagon has officially been told the national security top line for fiscal 2020 will be $700 billion, representing the first cut to defense spending under the Trump administration.
Trump’s defense buildup is as real as the wall
Gary J. Schmitt | The Weekly Standard
At $700 billion, the Pentagon will be able to address some obvious readiness problems. But how long will it be able to sustain that fix? The answer is not long at all. Proposing and then authorizing budgets to fund the military is a product of the two political branches. Trump can only succeed in hollowing out the military’s capabilities if Congress agrees.
The Fiscal Year 2020 budget may slow down modernization efforts and research into next-generation weapons, like hypersonic missiles, but will still invest in growing the military force and boosting readiness for aircraft such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, the deputy secretary of defense told reporters today. – USNI News
OPTIMIZING SPECIAL OPS, HOW COUNTERTERROR OPS HELPS DEFEND AGAINST FOREIGN INFLUENCE & NET ASSESSMENT ON CHINA
Helicopters Best Enable Forced Entry From the Sea
By Daniel Phillips, Proceedings Magazine: “The Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) cannot conduct forced-entry operations from afloat in today's threat environment.
How to Defend Against Foreign Influence Campaigns: Lessons From Counter-Terrorism by Kara Frederick
New NET ASSESSMENT: The China Hand by Melanie Marlowe, Bryan McGrath, and Christopher Preble
How the West’s Research Aids China’s Military
By Alex Joske, ASPI Strategist: “In 2016, Chinese student Huang Xianjun completed his Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, working with the discoverers of graphene, a material with incredible strength, electrical conductivity and flexibility. Then he returned to China to work on key projects for the People’s Liberation Army."
Senate Democrats Absurdly Blame Budget Deficit on Republicans
Brian Riedl, E21
This week, the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee released a ludicrous taxpayer-funded “study” that attempts to prove that the entire budget deficit is the fault of Republicans. The report uses a hyper partisan methodology that essentially rigs the results.The study’s argument is as follows: Since 2000, defense spending has risen $205 billion above inflation, and tax cuts have shaved $546 billion from annual tax revenues. Add in $183 billion in resulting interest costs, and you get a $935 billion annual tab that exceeds the current $779 billion budget deficit. Therefore, in the study’s words, “Republican policies caused the 2018 budget deficit.” Read more here....
Counterinsurgency is here to stay: Marines plan to double foreign military training adviser group (Marine Corps Times) While the Marines and the U.S. military are amid an overhaul to prep the force for a fight with near-peer adversaries, the Corps hasn’t lost focused on its counterinsurgency mission.
It soon may be a 15 Marine rifle squad ― most likely for MEU deployments
(Marine Corps Times) The top Marine is considering bolstering the size of the rifle squad to 15 Marines for forward deployed Amphibious Ready Group Marine Expeditionary Units, or MEUs.
Trump's New Counterterrorism Strategy
By Clifford D. May, The Washington Times: ““We remain a nation at war.” President Trump’s new National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSC) begins with that simple statement of fact. The 21st century is an age of conflict. That’s unlikely to change any time soon.”
ARMY EXAMINES "HAVING THE RIGHT PEOPLE" IS MORE THAN MONEY AND EQUIPMENT & DEFENSE ACQUISITION TALKS ABOUT SCOPE
You can have all the money and the stuff, AUSA president says, but the Army won’t work without the right people
(Army Times) The Army has turned a corner after half a decade of throttled budgets ― that’s the message from senior leaders. Readiness is up, modernization is underway and the service is pushing to get the active component up to about 500,000 soldiers by 2022.
Army Rapid Capabilities Office realigned to focus on top modernization priorities
(Defense News) The Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office, established just over two years ago, isn’t going to be just about rushing to develop electronic warfare, position, navigation and timing, and cyber capabilities.
The US Army’s in good shape, but Tough Choices Loom
(DefenseOne) Some 500 programs are being scrutinized for cuts to support top acquisition priorities.
Interview: Dr. Bruce Jette, Army acquisition chief
(Defense News) As the Army undergoes a major transformation, to include the activation of the brand new Army Futures Command, the service is attempting to bring requirements developers, the science and technology community, sustainers and logisticians closer together to more effectively modernize the force.
The Modernization the Army Needs Can Be Found at the AUSA Annual Conference
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “Is it possible that the Army could find much of what it needs to initially address its modernization priorities on the exhibit floor at the AUSA convention?”
The U.S. Army Will (and Must) Get Heavier
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “The Army’s modernization strategy has one significant characteristic that will impact not only how that service will fight but also the conduct of joint and combined operations.”
TRUMP WANTS CHINA OUT OF MANUFACTURING US MILITARY COMPONENTS & DOD REPORT ON US INDUSTRIAL BASE WEAKNESS
Trump Wants Chinese Parts Out of American Weapons
// Marcus Weisgerber
The White House will call for targeted investments in domestic manufacturing in an industrial-base report to be unveiled Friday.
White House Report Warns 'All Facets' Of U.S. Defense Industrial Base Are At Risk
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “The report begins by identifying five "macro forces" causing weakness in industries important to national security: unpredictable federal funding, poor government business practices, predatory behavior of other nations, erosion in traditional manufacturing industries and inadequate investment in critical skills..”
Managing America's Defense Industries in a World of Great Power Competition
By Jerry Hendrix, The National Interest: “In issuing this report, which some might criticize as an attempt to manage a portion of the nation’s economy, President Trump has taken a page from two of his most illustrious predecessors."
The decline of the defense industrial base – and what to do about it
(Defense News) A new report released by the White House documents the gravity of the situation facing the defense industrial base, while also offering solutions to counteract these challenges. By evaluating seven tiers deep into the supply chain, the report has documented more than 280 major supply chain vulnerabilities and an alarming dependency on foreign nations, especially China.
Russia's Most Advanced Nuclear Submarine Ever Just Went to Sea
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “Russia's second Severodvinsk-class submarine K-561 Kazan , which is a modified Project 08851 Yasen-M design, went to sea for the first time for builder's trials on September 24."
Navy’s New SSN(X) Attack Sub To Be Faster, More Lethal
By Ben Werner, USNI News: “The Navy's next class fast attack submarine will be designed for a return to blue-water great power competition, where the ability to support forces ashore is less important than operating in the open ocean hunting rival submarines.”
The Indian Navy’s new ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant was the boomer that completed the month-long deterrent patrol. Whilst this is not insignificant – it is the first country outside of the five members of the U.N. Security Council to develop this capability – it also shows how far away India is to achieve its goal of joining the other great powers in establishing a credible sea-based deterrent. – USNI News
ACQUISITIONS, TECHNOLOGY OFFICES RECEIVE LEADERSHIP CHANGES & HOW TO LIGHTEN LOAD, REDUCE INJURIES FOR INFANTRY
Here’s who is running the Pentagon’s acquisition and technology offices
(Defense News) When the Pentagon split the legacy Acquisition, Technology and Logistics office into two new organizations, it came with a massive reshuffling of personnel.
The US Military Must Lighten Warfighters' Loads
// Paul Scharre
Five suggestions to reduce injury and increase combat efficiency.
FORCE REQUIREMENTS FOR SERVICES, NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY GRAPHIC & INDIA NEEDS NEW MILITARY DOCTRINE & STRUCTURE
Why Does the Army Need Ten Years to Begin Fielding a New Recon Helicopter?
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “The Army has been seeking a new rotorcraft that can find and attack targets in contested airspace for a long, long time. So long that the last of its legacy recon helicopters was retired last year. By that time, the venerable Kiowa scout had been in service for nearly half a century.”
What can Austin bring to the future of Futures Command?
(C4ISRNET) Seventeen years into war, the Army is rethinking how it prepares for the future. The flagship for this change is the new Army Futures Command, stood up Aug. 24 in Austin, Texas, less than a year after the initiative was announced by a Department of Defense focused heavily on speed.
Army Futures Command Must Perform Miracles
By Dan Gouré, RealCearDefense: “In recent public statements, General John Murray, the newly-confirmed commander of the Army’s fledgling Futures Command, has been downplaying expectations for his new organization.
Will Army Futures Command work? House lawmakers skeptical, but hopeful
(Defense News) Setting up a brand-new four-star command to try to improve the way the U.S. Army develops and acquires capabilities for future operations is a big deal. Pair that with the service’s relatively abysmal track record in fielding new weapons and there’s bound to be skepticism in the service’s drastic plan to fix a broken system.
Modernization or death: Heed history’s lessons on the F-35
(Defense News) If you go to war, you must be equipped to win. That was the message veteran pilots from the Vietnam War delivered to me when I entered the U.S. Air Force in 1974. The same holds true today. That is why I am concerned when doubts are raised about the future of the F-35 fighter program.
Congress's Quantum Science Bill May Not Keep the US Military Ahead of China
// Paulina Glass
China aims to "leapfrog" US military in 10 years with unhackable computers and stealth-defeating radar.
Marines Deploy First F-35Bs to the Middle East
By Gidget Fuentes, USNI News: “Marines training on the ground on the Horn of Africa will see a new set of wings pulling the classic close air support mission: The F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.”
Army Rethinking How Soldiers Will Communicate In Future Combat
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “There's a debate going on in the U.S. Army about what the military service's next combat vehicle and rotorcraft should look like. When it comes to communicating on the battlefields of tomorrow, though, everybody in the Army seems to agree on what they would like.”
Can the US military still innovate quickly?
(Defense News) In the era of great power competition, the speed at which competing militaries are capable to innovate and evolve could determine who would win in a war. In light of the need for speed, military innovation experts at the Defense News Conference tackled the question of whether the Department of Defense can still move quickly to develop new technologies and capabilities.
Pentagon’s A&S reorganization should be completed a year ahead of time
(Defense News) Last December, Ellen Lord sat down with reporters and told them that the reorganization of the Pentagon’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics office would be a two-year process.
‘A Little Bit Disruptive’: Murray & McCarthy On Army Futures Command
(Breaking Defense) The Army’s new Futures Command won’t tear down the most failure–prone procurement system in the entire US military. Instead, both its commander and the Army’s No. 2 civilian emphasize they want to be just “a little bit disruptive” and “work with the institution.” That will disappoint critics of the service’s chronically troubled acquisition programs who saw the Army’s much-touted “biggest reorganization in 40 years” as an opportunity to tear the whole thing down and start again.
NAVSEA Kicks Off 20-Year Yard Modernization
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The Navy plans to build momentum for its 20-year, $21-billion ship repair yard modernization plan through key early wins: proving that a redesign of the yard in Maine translates to a substantial increase in productivity, and renovating drydocks to accommodate the Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.”
Army Acquisition Military Deputy Now Has Two Bosses
By Jen Judson, Defense News: “In addition to working for the chief Army acquisition executive, Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski will also serve as the deputy commander to the Army Futures Command commander Gen. Mike Murray, according to Army Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy.”
The Pentagon is downplaying major F-35 Joint Strike Fighter design flaws that could leave service members at risk in an effort to keep the long-scrutinized program on schedule, a watchdog group warned this week. - Military.com
30 YEAR REFLECTION ON ACQUISITION REFORM, THE ISRAELI'S PROCURE A PRECISION ROCKET & TAIWAN GETS THE F16 UPGRADE FOR CHINA'S J20
30 years at Defense News: Reflections from a ‘war industry stooge’
(Defense News) After 30 years at Defense News, it’s time to move on. Defense News Editor Jill Aitoro and my colleagues will officially retire me at the upcoming Defense News Conference in Washington, where I’ll compare and contrast my experiences covering political-military-industrial establishments in the U.S., where I started this gig in the closing months of the Reagan administration; and from Israel, where I’ve been a one-woman bureau since 1999.
Israel aims for Middle East with new ‘precision rocket’
BY ALISON TAHMIZIAN MEUSE
Planned rocket system aimed at 'diversification' of Israeli military, which for years has carried out air strikes in neighboring Syria
F-16V to beef up Taiwan’s air defense against China’s J-20
BY ASIA TIME STAFF
Taiwan's F-16s will be upgraded to the V configuration in batches in Taichung and Texas to give Taipei more power in the skies
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Monday that Israel is purchasing advanced rockets that he says can reach "anywhere in the Middle East." - Haaretz
The idea has long been in the works, but the Defense Ministry’s decision on Monday to finally purchase new precision ground-to-ground rockets for the Ground Forces is nothing short of a revolution. Years from now, it will also likely be looked at as one of the most significant decisions Avigdor Liberman will have made as Israel’s defense minister. - Jerusalem Post
The Problem With China's Powerful Air Force
By J. Tyler Lovell & Robert Farley, The National Interest: “The appropriation strategy remains constrained by bottleneck technologies due to lack of testing data and industrial ecology. This problem is starkly illustrated by China’s ongoing difficulty in producing a high-quality indigenous jet engine.”
Russian Ground-Launched Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: “Russia maintains the largest force of ground-launched non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons in the world. Even more striking is the fact that essentially 100% of these weapons violate Russian arms control commitments.”
The hypervelocity case shot
(C4ISRNET) Any future nation-state adversary surely understands the U.S. reliance on satellite communications for global military operations. Therefore, they likely understand there is a crude and unsophisticated way to disturb and degrade satellite communication, an IED of outer space that can be introduced, by polluting orbits with shrapnel and debris that are likely to damage any space-borne assets in their way.
HOW U.S. SEEKS TO "CATCH-UP" TO CHINA WITH DEFENSE R&D & MAJOR SHIFT IN ARMY'S FUTURE COMMAND LEADERSHIP UNDERWAY
Some Modest Proposals for Defense Department Requirements Reform by Colin Jones and Alexander Kirss
How the U.S. Is Preparing to Match Chinese and Russian Technology Development
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: “The Pentagon’s R&D chief adds some numbers and details to the laundry list of priorities.”
Securing America’s technological advantage
(The Cipher Brief) National security experts agree that a strong and successful domestic economy is crucial to keeping our nation safe and having the upper hand in the development of super-fast processors, state of the art bio-tech devices, adaptive ways to generate and store energy are just a few examples of our leadership strength. While pursuing new innovation is important, protecting these technologies is imperative.
Danger Close: Military Politicization and Elite Credibility by Michael A. Robinson
McRaven's Rousing Protest: Are Civil-Military and Democratic Norms in Tension? by Kori Schake
Russia says it's working on an experimental fifth-generation MiG-41 — but an expert says a pure interceptor is already obsolete
(Business Insider) The CEO of the Russian MiG corporation said on Friday that work on an experimental design for a MiG-41 fifth-generation interceptor will begin "in the immediate future."