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."
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."
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Defense One) DOD’s biggest challenge is overcoming the “mindset of the Cold War.”
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.”
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.
Desmond Lachman | The National Interest
It is magical thinking to believe that the United States run large deficits indefinitely.
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The “Facts” We Take on Faith
How do we know our political convictions are based in reality?
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.”
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.”
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
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."
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."
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.”
(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.
(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.
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.”
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.
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."
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."
(War On The Rocks) Does the United States have the defense industry that it needs?
(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.
(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.
(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.”
(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.
(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.
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."
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. . ."
By Steve Ferenzi, RealClearDefense: “Traditional American military culture diametrically opposes divergent thought.”
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."