From Defense One: “Our annual service-by-service look at the U.S. military finds the shift to great-power competition dogged by some old problems and some very new ones."
State of Defense 2019: Special Report
From Defense One: “Our annual service-by-service look at the U.S. military finds the shift to great-power competition dogged by some old problems and some very new ones."
Funding Defense: A Strategic Problem by Michael Donley
Remembering John Collins: Father and ‘Warlord’ by Sean Collins
Green Berets: Rebuilding the Guerrilla Leader Identity
By David Walton & Joseph Long, Small Wars Journal: “Direct Action and Unconventional Warfare - one is in the movies, and the other is in the history books. Perhaps oversimplified, the differences between these two mission sets are at the heart of the Green Beret's identity crisis."
The Tactical Application of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
By Private E, The Cove: “In contemporary warfare, actors carry out significant actions in the information domain. ISIL in Iraq and Syria used social media to recruit, target, finance and even orchestrate attacks with deadly effect. In the Ukrainian conflict, Russian operatives took advantage of operational security breaches to exploit and target Ukrainian military personnel."
In Pursuit of a General Theory of Proxy Warfare
By Amos C. Fox, AUSA: “In recent years, the U.S. Army has routinely found itself in wars being waged through intermediaries, or proxy forces. At the same time, the Army does not speak frankly about these proxy wars but instead speaks indirectly about the character of these environments and its relationship with its partnered force."
THE LIMITS OF RUSSIAN AIR POWER & A LOOK AT US VERTICAL LIFT PROGRAMS, REFORMING NAVY-AIR FORCE EDUCATION, ACQUISITION
Limits and Challenges to Moscow’s Military Airpower Ambitions
By Roger N. McDermott, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “In recent years, Moscow has placed growing emphasis on procuring modern and advanced platforms to increase the combat capability of its Air Force, subsumed within the Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS).”
Gabriel Coll and Andrew Philip Hunter write: The U.S. military’s vertical lift fleet of helicopters and tiltrotors is aging. With the exception of V-22 Osprey, no completely new aircraft designs have been introduced since the 1980s. Even the V-22 made its first test flight back in the 1980s. And the U.S. Army, which has the largest helicopter fleet and traditionally takes the lead on vertical lift innovation, has not made substantial investments in Research & Development since the cancellation of RAH-66 Comanche. – Center for Strategic and International Studies
Shine a Light – Navy Acquisition
By Kevin Eyer, RealClearDefense: “Much of what is discussed in Navy circles centers upon two broad topics: war-fighting and the material tools necessary to support a fight, now or in the future. However, an examination as to how the Navy goes about the actual procurement of the systems intended to support the military’s needs is seldom undertaken.”
Investing in Vertical Lift Modernization
By Gabriel Coll & Andrew Hunter, CSIS: “The U.S. military's vertical lift fleet of helicopters and tiltrotors is aging. With the exception of V-22 Osprey, no completely new aircraft designs have been introduced since the 1980s.”
The Navy's Bold New Education Plan
By Ben Werner, USNI News: “The Navy is pushing a series of education reforms to better train enlisted sailors and officers to face the increasing military capability posed by near-peer competitors and to fight complex, high-end wars."
Air Force Changing How Special Ops Fighters Train
By Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics: "A Rand report from May 2018 found that the attrition rate during the initial Special Warfare assessment and selection course hovers at roughly 75 percent."
THE MASTER RACE: HOW THE HAN WISH TO RULE THE WORLD, A FATAL MISTAKE FOR CHINA'S ARMY, WHY THE AMERICAN'S ARE LOSING FAST & A BRIEF LOOK AT GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY
Is China’s ‘Guam Killer’ Missile Too Hyped Up?
By Emanuele Scimia, Asia Times: “Chinese military experts cited by China Military, the People's Liberation Army's official English-language website, have emphasized that a recent live-fire test by the country's rocket force has demonstrated the projectile's capability to change direction in mid-flight and hit a moving warship. In their words, this is a response to Western doubts about its ability to strike an aircraft carrier or another type of vessel.”
Countering China's Expanding Global Access
By Rep. Mike Gallagher, RealClearDefense: “As part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required the Secretary of Defense, in concert with the Secretary of State, to “assess the foreign military and non-military activities of the People’s Republic of China that could affect the regional and global national security and defense interests of the United States.” Last month, the Pentagon responded by releasing their “Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access.” The document deserves serious scrutiny, as it involves the fate of the free world.”
Ep. 38: Beyond South China Sea tensions, part two: The CCP vision and the future of Chinese history
This week on the program, we’re going to continue our exploration of the U.S.-China relationship, which we began last week with our investigation into the history of tensions between the U.S. and Chinese navies in and around the South China Sea.
This week we turn our attention to the future.Specifically the how the Chinese Communist Party views its future. Because the more we spoke with analysts and observers about the South China Sea, the more we heard we ought to look not only at that troubled body of water you can spot on a map — but also to the fundamental differences in how China’s leadership views the world, how it views competition with the United States and its allies, and perhaps most importantly, how Chinese leaders view power, control and history.
German Foreign Policy is Stuck in Neutral by Julianne Smith
The Chinese Military Speaks to Itself, Revealing Doubts by Dennis J. Blasko
ARMY PRIORITY IS TALENT MANAGEMENT, REFORM OF ACQUISITION IS MORAL & REFORMING US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
How the Pentagon’s fear of risk is stifling innovation
(Defense News) To Trae Stephens, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Founders Fund and the chairman of tech company Anduril Industries, risk-averse leaders at the Pentagon — for sticking to their “go slow” approach — are like “dumb gamblers.”
Army Completes Biggest Reorg In 45 Years: Can Futures Command End Weapons Disasters?
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.,
“Ultimately that is what this is all about, why I get up every morning, that’s why AFC exists: to make sure, not today’s soldier, but our kids and our grandkids have the core concepts, the organizational structures, and the capabilities they need to fight and win on a future battlefield,” Gen. Murray said, “or even better yet not to fight at all, because there is nobody in the world in the future that would ever take on the United States in ground combat, because we have done our job so well.”
Manifesto of an Agile Intelligence Community
By Zachery Tyson Brown, RealClearDefense: “The United States Intelligence Community is charged to help national leaders make informed decisions. In the nearly three-quarters of a century since its modern incarnation at the close of the Second World War, it has grown huge through cycles of incremental, if often incoherent, reform. But its structural—and more importantly, its intellectual—model has been remarkably resistant to adaptive change. Today, it is operating from within an increasingly anachronistic paradigm, leading critics—myself among them—to sound alarms of looming obsolescence.”
Army R&D Chief: ‘I don’t think we went far enough’ – but Futures Command can
(Breaking Defense) For Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, when the organization he’s led for 31 months changed its name, its mission, and the four-star headquarters it works for, it finally found the answer to a question it – and the entire Army – have been struggling with for at least 16 years.
Donald Trump: Breaking With The Past (The Beltway Ain’t Happy)
By Doug MacgregorPresident Trump is breaking with the past. He’s arguing that Washington must cut its losses, withdraw its forces, climb out of the Middle Eastern and Afghan money pits, and acknowledge that Seoul (with U.S. backing) won the war on the Korean Peninsula. Washington hates him for doing these things, but most Americans and future generations of Americans will love him for it.
What acquisition pros can learn from kids soccer
(Defense One) Have you ever seen little kids play soccer? Without fail, all the kids on the field mob the ball as soon as the whistle blows. It’s the only thing they focus on, despite what their coaches told them about playing positions. If by chance the ball gets kicked free, the child mob moves to another part of the field and again surrounds the ball. This is frustrating for coaches, parents, and players alike, because instead of playing soccer, they’re just playing mob ball.
China's Foreign Fighters Problem by Mathieu Duchâtel
The People's Liberation Army 'Transformational Changes'
By Liu Zhen, South China Morning Post: “In a feature report on Sunday highlighting the “transformational changes” made by the PLA, China’s official news agency said: “This new data is unprecedented in the history of the PLA – the army now accounts for less than 50 per cent of the total number of PLA troops; almost half of our non-combatant units have been made redundant, and the number of officers in the PLA has been reduced by 30 per cent.””
How the People's Liberation Army Does Military Strategy
By Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: “How does China’s People’s Liberation Army think about military strategy? How and when has it made changes to its strategy through the past? To better understand these questions and more, The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda spoke to M. Taylor Fravel, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fravel is the author of a forthcoming book on Chinese military strategy."
SEA-LIFT THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE NAVY: REFINING ACQUISITION, MISSION COMMAND FOR GREAT POWER COMPETITION; FIRST STOP IS BUYING ISRAELI IRON DOME
The U.S. Navy is moving toward settling on an approach for recapitalizing the nation’s aged sealift fleet, moving away from a single common hull for five missions. The sealift fleet, which is facing the prospect of an imminent collapse in capacity due to the ships all reaching or exceeding their hull life according to the U.S. Army, is what the U.S. would use to transport up to 90 percent of Army and U.S. Marine Corps gear in the event of a major conflict overseas. – Defense News
There’s a growing sense of impatience among Capitol Hill legislators over the Navy’s pace for selecting a future frigate (FFG(X)) program design, the new chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee said on Wednesday.The Navy is considering five possible frigate designs, and Congress is eagerly awaiting a decision, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), said while speaking at the 2019 Surface Navy Association Symposium. – USNI News
With increasing threats abroad and anticipated tighter defense budgets ahead, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer will spend 2019 instilling a sense of urgency into how the Navy and Marine Corps operate. Since taking office, Spencer has focused on training, capabilities and the way the Navy and Marine Corps invest resources. Now, a year and a half on the job, the lethality of the force is better, but sailors and Marines must pivot to embrace change, Spencer said during his keynote address at the 2019 Surface Navy Association symposium. – USNI News
A Recapitalizing Sealift Fleet Is the Nation’s Most Important Military Program
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “While the U.S. may be on its way to restoring the erstwhile preeminence of the military, those forces are primarily located in the United States. In the event of a conflict with a major power or even rogue regional actor, it will have to project most of that power thousands of miles to Europe, the Middle East or Asia.”
Pentagon’s Iron Dome buy raises questions on US troop protection
(Al-Monitor) The Pentagon’s decision to acquire Israel’s US-funded Iron Dome system to defend American troops is raising questions from military experts about whether the missile defense batteries can handle emerging threats from Russia and China.
Trump’s Pick For Joint Chiefs Praises Allies, Kurds & Mattis Strategy
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:00 AM
Weighing the Dangerous Consequences of Key National Security Decisions
By Daniel Gallington & Henry F. Cooper, The Washington Times: “The national security talking head and op-ed circuit these days is full of “clucking” about how we can recover lost ground from the Russians and Chinese in the post-Cold War competition of world powers. Not surprisingly perhaps, there is little discussion of how we got ourselves into this mess — this because many of the op-ed authors and talking heads were complicit in our great power demise.”
Russia's Adds Stealth to Su-57 That's Meant as an F-35, F-22 killer
By Alex Lockie, Business Insider: “Russian media announced on Friday that it had significantly improved the stealth on its Su-57 fighter jet by applying a coating to the glass canopy on the cockpit, as well as similar upgrades to its Tu-160 nuclear bomber."
Does Russia Have 2-to-1 Advantage in Deployed Strategic Nuclear Weapons?
By Mark Schneider, RealClearDefense: “If Russia now has over 3,300 deployed strategic nuclear warheads and programs underway to increase this number, Russia has obtained a substantial strategic nuclear advantage over the U.S made worse by the decade-old advantage they have had in non-strategic nuclear weapons.”
Russia to Deploy Precision Strike Missiles in Western Atlantic
By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon: “Kalibr cruise missiles will target Washington, East Coast cities.”
Vostok 2018: Ten Years of Russian Strategic Exercises and Warfare Preparation
By Dave Johnson, NATO Review Magazine: “The visibility, scale and scope of Russian military exercises have been a focus of Western media and specialist literature since 2014. Russia conducted VOSTOK 2018, the latest iteration of its annual strategic exercises, from early July to 17 September 2018. VOSTOK (meaning ‘East’) is part of a system of strategic exercises that the Russian Armed Forces have been developing since 2009.”
Pentagon's Missile Defense Plan Leaves the U.S. Unprotected From Russian Nukes
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Like the administration’s nuclear posture review released last year, it largely continues programs inherited from the Obama years, and doesn’t propose to counter the biggest nuclear threats the U.S. faces–at least, not with active defenses.”
Horns of a Dilemma: Five Policymakers Talk Strategies, Tactics and Tools
by Elbridge Colby, Peter Feaver, Mary Beth Long, Andrew May, and Celeste Ward Gventer
12 Moments Of Truth For Army Modernization In 2019
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Friday, January 11, 2019 4:00 AM
WASHINGTON: At least a dozen major Army weapons programs face big decisions in 2019. The service will launch a competition for new armored vehicles; award development contracts for scout aircraft and helicopter engines; conduct key tests of long-range missiles, anti-aircraft defenses, rifles, targeting goggles, and multiple battlefield networks; and field new electronics for command posts.
Dirty waters: Civilian-military relations are growing toxic
Giselle Donnelly | AEIdeas
President Trump's New Year's tweet attacking Gen. Stanley McChrystal is just the most recent in a long string of attacks on top military leaders, causing the waters of civil-military relations to become increasingly polluted and poisonous.
Trump and U.S.Civil–Military Relations
By Mackbubin Owens, National Review: “Tensions between the two sectors are woven into the fabric of the American republic.”
Heads of State vs. Ministers of Defense
By Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, January 17, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Given the inherent professional tension between heads of state and their ministers of defense, most critically manifested in moments of grave national crisis, it might be preferable for the national leader to hold the defense portfolio as well.
Continue to full article ->
Here’s the first look at the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant helicopter
(Defense News) Sikorsky and Boeing provided the first look at the Defiant helicopter, one of two designs competing under the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program, two weeks after confirming the first flight would be delayed until 2019.
Amidst Turmoil, Pentagon Persists On Acquisition Reform: Ellen Lord
By Paul McLeary, Monday, December 31, 2018 4:00 AM
Six things on the Pentagon’s 2019 acquisition reform checklist
(Defense News) Under the purview of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, reform has become a buzzword inside the Department of Defense, with every office trying to find ways to be more efficient, whether through cost savings or changes to bureaucracy.
To Shore up the Defense-Industrial Base, Look to Norway
By Stephen Rodriguez, Frank Brundtland Steder & Leo Blanken, National Review: “On March 1, 1848, Henry John Temple Palmerston said in the House of Commons: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual.” Over 100 years later, U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger famously echoed this realist sentiment. While he was referencing a broader view on American national-security interests, his remarks were intuitive to many abroad.”
Redesign the Fleet
By Arthur H. Barber III, Proceedings Magazine: “The U.S. Navy’s current fleet design does not match today’s conditions, much less those expected over the next 20 years. Today’s fleet—a mix of ship types that are simply evolutionary improvements and larger versions of designs from two or more decades ago—is too small, and the ships on average are too large. It is time for the Navy to make broad, significant changes in the fleet’s design.”
The Emerging Nuclear Environment: Two Challenges Ahead
By Keith B. Payne, NIPP: “There are two distinct but related nuclear challenges: 1) the challenge of external nuclear developments among potential adversaries; and, 2) the internal challenge of establishing an enduring, effective Western response to those foreign developments.”
Unraveling the Maritime Silk Road
By Charlotte Asdal, Proceedings Magazine: “China is deeply invested in cementing its position as a stakeholder in the Indian Ocean. Through a series of loans and investments, Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are creating partners reliant on their capital, aiming eventually to leverage dependency to compel alignment with China’s interests."
One constant in the abrupt transition from outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to his deputy, soon to be acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan? The grueling, technical, but crucial business of acquisition reform. For all their differences, Pentagon technocrats, House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and even President Trump can all agree that the Defense Department needs to do a better job of buying weapons. – Breaking Defense
WHY MILLEY TOOK THE JOB AS CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS & HOW THE PENTAGON HAS DECIDED TO HIT US ENEMIES FIRST
Why General Mark Milley and Why Now?
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: “One reason the announcement is viewed as unusual is that the change will not take effect until October 2019 when General Dunford’s current appointment ends. Another reason is that it breaks the customary pattern of cycling the chairmanship between the services.”
The Military's Manpower Crisis
By Dennis Laich, Jonathan Askonas & Gil Barndollar, The Hill: “The report (NDS Commission) detailed many shortcomings, including the “secular decline” in the ability and propensity of Americans to serve in uniform. This shrinking manpower pool puts U.S. national security at long-term risk, the commission says, requiring the military and Congress to take “creative steps” to address the issue."
To Innovate, Doctrine Is More Important than Technology
By Scott Humr, Proceedings Magazine: ““Innovate, Adapt, and Win!” is a mantra repeated in the Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC). From tailored symposiums to the Commandant’s Innovation Challenges, the Marine Corps seems smitten by artificial intelligence, drone swarms, and manned-unmanned teaming in its attempt to stay ahead of the nation’s adversaries."
Pentagon's 'Communist Model' Acquisition System
By Mandy Mayfield, National Defense Magazine: ““The Chinese have adopted our rapid innovation [model] and we have adopted the communist model of how we process new capabilities in our system.””
Modernizing the US military by learning from the past
(Defense News) “Innovation” and “force modernization” are the Pentagon buzzwords of the day. Strategies are being developed across the Department of Defense enterprise, with these concepts as the foundational pillars. Is this a flawed idea involving competing philosophies? Can the U.S. be truly innovative if it wants to rapidly modernize its force?
James Inhofe and Mac Thornberry write: The administration’s National Defense Strategy prioritized strategic competition with China and Russia. But to be effective, strategies must be matched with resources. America won’t succeed without sustained, sufficient, predictable military funding. – Wall Street Journal
Lou DiStasi writes: There is no simple answer for how the U.S. can regain its military dominance. Perhaps the use of prototyping can serve as a foundational tool to accelerate procurement and provide innovative solutions. History has shown that innovation and force modernization do not have to be competing philosophies. Industry partners, military operators, and members of the science and technology communities should certainly take notice — DoD leaders are increasingly placing their bets on rapid prototyping. – Defense News
Without predictable funding and realistic concepts of operations, the National Defense Strategy doesn’t meet the challenges of a rising China expanding in the Indo-Pacific and an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe, the co-chairmen of the panel reviewing the document warned the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. – USNI News
US NAVY HAS 2 NEAR PEER COMPETITORS: RUSSIA, CHINA; THE ZUMWALT CLOSES DOWN & CHINA'S PLA HAS ABSOLUTELY NO COMBAT EXPERIENCE
China's Military Has No Combat Experience: Does it Matter?
China's military has an impressive high-tech arsenal, but its ability to use these weapons and equipment remains unclear. The one asset that the People's Liberation Army lacks is combat experience. But there is no consensus—either within Chinese military circles or among foreign analysts—on how much it matters. Read more »
MATTIS SEEKS THE RETURN OF INFANTRY, 5 CHALLENGES FACING TRUMP'S MILITARY & 5 SUPER WEAPONS FOR THE ARMY
Mattis’s Infantry Task Force: Righting ‘A Generational Wrong’ By Bob Scales, Monday, November 26, 2018 4:00 AM
Five Challenges Facing Trump’s Military
By Rebecca Kheel, The Hills: “But the military is facing a number of challenges, from continued efforts to restore readiness after years of Washington’s budget dysfunction to work on fulfilling Trump orders such as standing up Space Force.”
U.S. Navy: Ballistic Missile Subs or 355 Ship Fleet
By John Grady, USNI News: “The Navy could be forced to make hard choices sooner rather than later when it comes to finding the money to replace its aging ballistic missile submarines or reach its goal of having a fleet of 355 warships.
Meet the U.S. Army's 5 Next Super Weapons
By Michael Peck, The National Interest: “Here are five that we will likely see in the coming years.”
Technology and Future War Will Test U.S. Civil-Military Relations by Risa Brooks
Ten Years After Mumbai, the Group Responsible is Deadlier Than Ever by Stephen Tankel
Before the Engagement:
Mapping Social Media for Civil Military Operations
By David L. Harrell, The Civil Affairs Association: “Civil Affairs as a branch needs to continue to evolve within the civil environment by formally adding a social media analysis function to its extensive repertoire, critical to maintaining a more complete understanding of current culture.”
Pentagon Chief Management Officer Essential to New Defense Strategy
(RealClearDefense) The recent announcement that the Pentagon’s first Chief Management Officer, Jay Gibson, would resign at the end of November highlights the inherent difficulty of reforming the Pentagon’s massive agencies and antiquated business processes.
India has officially selected Russian firm Rosoboronexport as the winner for Indian Army’s $1.5 billion Very-Short-Range Air Defence, or VSHORAD program, after months of delays over complaints made by other competitors in the competition. – Defense News
Is IBCS Another 'Too Big to Succeed' Army Program?
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “IBCS is going the way of other Army mega-modernization programs. By the time the acquisition bureaucracy can define requirements, organize a program and develop the necessary funding plan and schedule, technology and the military environment will have changed.”
China Has More Nuclear Subs Than the West Believed
There’s an extra sub under construction, but no permanent nuclear deterrent at sea — yet.
Navy Wants Alternative Funding for Columbia SSBNs
to Accelerate 355-Ship Fleet
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The Navy continues to push for the upcoming Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine program to be funded outside the normal shipbuilding budget, as opportunities exist to reach a 355-ship fleet faster but the $100-billion SSBN program looms over the next 15 years of spending.”