US defense planning: It was a really good bet in the 1980s and a pretty good bet in the 1990s, but is stealth – a means of making an aircraft significantly less visible to radar – the way to go in the 2020s? Stealth has two primary uses in fighter aircraft. It allows aircraft to get around air defense radars and enemy fighters because the radars can’t see the stealth aircraft, Stephen Bryen writes. And it makes it easier for a stealth aircraft to detect and kill a non-stealth aircraft because it can strike before the other one knows it is even “there.” If the US goes ahead and buys the full, planned fleet of F-35s, the program will be the costliest in modern aviation history, with a lifespan cost of around US$1.5 trillion and counting. Stealth design information is a collection of closely guarded secrets, but even with special measures in place, it is becoming apparent that much of that guarded information has been leaked. READ THE STORY HERE
The concept goes on to describe four other reasons the Army cannot successfully fight wars the way it has in the past:
PART I. The exponential speed of information technology. U.S. forces can’t assume that they will have the best phones, drones, or computer hardware on the battlefield. As computers get smaller, cheaper, and more widely available, U.S. tech advantages will disintegrate.
1 Here’s What Concerns the General in Charge of Recruiting America’s Future Army
2 Armed Ground Robots Could Join the Ukrainian Conflict Next Year
3 The Real Lessons of Vietnam — and Afghanistan
PART 2. Warfare will be much more urban. Some 60 percent (conservatively) of the Earth’s population will live in cities in 2030, many in megacities with populations of more than 10 million. This is where adversaries will try to engage U.S. forces, not in open fields or deserts where today’s Army and it senormous battle vehicles have the advantage.
PART 3. The internet will be a key aspect of the battlefield, not just in terms of trading cyber attacks with enemy hackers but in the need to constantly and expertly shape global opinion about the conflict. Troll armies spreading fake news and disinformation, coupled with enough social-media traffic to overwhelm open-source analysts, could “complicate the [Army’s] ability to gain and maintain an accurate, up-to-date, intelligence-driven understanding of the situation, as well as control of the information environment,” the document says.
PART 4. Every bad guy becomes The Joker. The Army sees a rise of “Super-empowered individuals and small groups” who can “use access to cyberspace, space, and nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical weapons of mass effects to change the battlespace calculus and redefine the conditions of conflict resolution.” Read that to mean: lone wolves and minescule teams with the power to rival many of today’s nation-states.
12 Keys to Successful National Defense Strategy Planning // Mark Cancian
As the Pentagon preps this year's version of the report formerly known as the QDR, a new study gleans practical advice from past efforts.
FORCE PLANNING DURING AGE OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION; THE ARMY'S VIEW OF MODERNIZATION & THE NAVY'S IDEA OF COMPETING
Force Planning for the Era of Great Power Competition
From Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments: “ ... a “more of the same” planning approach will not create a future force that is capable of projecting power effectively into threat environments where “every operating domain— outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace—is contested.”
How the U.S. Navy Plans to Win the Wars of the Future
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “While the United States Navy will likely require a larger fleet to counter growing threats from around the world, the service is taking its time to ensure that it can deliver a realistic and executable force structure plan.”
The Success of the F-35's Concurrency
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Concurrency is defined as the overlap in the development and production phases of the acquisition program. Concurrency introduces the risk that aircraft built in early production lots will require modification due to discoveries made during qualification, flight and ground tests, or as a result of engineering analysis.”
F-22 Raptor vs China's J-20
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “Perhaps the most compelling evidence that would point to the J-20 being optimized for the strike role is the fact that the airframe is enormous but has relatively small wings. It’s also seems to have huge weapons bays. While such a configuration works well for a fast supersonic strike aircraft, it’s not ideal for an air superiority fighter that needs be able to sustain high rates of turn.”
The History of Body Armor, From Medieval Times to Today
By Sam Bocetta, Small Wars Journal: “The invention of true “body armor” directly followed the development of ranged weapons. As soon as muskets became widely used in the 16th Century, soldiers sought some form of protection against projectiles.”
Navy, Marine Corps Unveil New Strategy to Turn Tables on A2/AD
By Steven Stashwick, The Diplomat: “The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have released a new strategy to integrate their capabilities to address the challenges posed by archipelagic and coastal geography, and the proliferation of advanced sensors and mobile, long-range missile systems that can threaten naval forces from ashore.”
5 Reasons Nuclear Carriers Are No Better Than Battleships
By Robert Farley, The National Interest: “Aircraft carriers already consist of a terrifyingly complex system of systems, from the ship itself to the air group to the escort task force. The Ford-class CVs will expand this even farther, operating as part of a system of weapons and sensors that can span across hundreds, even thousands, of miles.”
The 350-Ship Fantasy
By Steven Stashwick, War on the Rocks: “China’s burgeoning capabilities and Russia’s increasingly assertive behavior mean U.S. naval strategy requires radical re-thinking if the United States is to maintain its warfighting advantages over advanced adversaries.”
Mattis Call for Better Relations With Defense Industry
By Vivienne Machi, National Defense Magazine: “As the U.S. military prepares to fight its battles in a multi-domain environment, the Pentagon must renew its focus on cooperation and partnership with industry, allied nations and within its own services, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sept. 20.”
The Army's 'Future Operations Team'
By Vivienne Machi & Stew Magnuson, National Defense Magazine: “The Army is working with a number of partners to develop capabilities that could assist operations in degraded visual environments, enable manned-unmanned teaming efforts across platforms, and make the next generation of unmanned aerial systems more robust and maneuverable, service officials and industry leaders said during the panel.”
PLA aims high: China is building an array of high-technology space arms – anti-satellite missiles, lasers, GPS jammers and killer satellites – that Beijing says will give its military a strategic advantage in a future conflict with the US, Bill Gertz writes. The People’s Liberation Army now has the capability of attacking, destroying or disrupting the 500 US satellites circling the earth at heights of between 1,200 miles and 22,000 miles, according to a new study by a US think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy. The report, “Foreign Space Capabilities,” also reveals that China’s military has discussed plans for using space detonations of nuclear weapons to create electronics-killing electromagnetic pulse attacks against orbiting satellites used by militaries for precision weapons targeting navigation and communications. READ THE STORY HERE
Officers Argue Marines Should Drop the F-35, V-22, and F-18
By Tom Ricks, Foreign Policy: “Lt. Col. John Arsenault’s larger argument is that it is time for the Corps to return to its roots of being a naval raiding force. So, he says, cut force strength to 100,000 or less, get out of most aviation, shift support jobs back to the Navy, and train the remaining force to be “Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command-level ‘Raiders.’”"
MIDDLE EAST: Middle Eastern Military Aviation Market Expanding
By Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense: “Countries across the region are signing deals for new and used aircraft as they modernize aging planes or bulk up their fleets, said Derek Bisaccio, an analyst focusing on Eurasia at Forecast International, a Newtown, Connecticut-based market consulting firm. "
Index of U.S. Military Strength: Focus on Air Power
From The Center for National Defense: “Over the past century, exploitation of the air domain’s speed, vantage, maneuverability, ﬂexibility, and range changed the nature of warfare. ”
"Index of U.S. Military Strength" Focus on Naval Power
From Center for National Defense: “The Naval Warfare Domain,” Tom Callender, a career submarine officer, former director for capabilities in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy for Policy, and now senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, characterizes the world of water and the challenges and advantages of operating in the maritime domain.”
LIMITS TO MILITARY MODERNIZATION UNDER TRUMP, NAVY MUST INVEST IN PEOPLE, NOT PLATFORMS & HOW TO UNDERSTAND "THE SUPPLY CHAIN"
Mattis’ Plan to Modernize Military Faces Uncertain Future
By Sandra Erwin, RealClearDefense: “It’s the story line of the Trump agenda: Everything keeps getting pushed further and further back as priorities pile up and infighting escalates. This will no doubt complicate Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ plan to modernize the military, analysts and former defense officials predict.”
The Temptations of the Brown Box
By Jobie S. Turner, Strategy Bridge: “...modern militaries hope to bypass the long and expensive factory-to-fort to port-to-base to last-tactical-mile to combatant-supply chain and replace it with organic manufacture on the battlefield or manufacture-to-direct need in combat to feed the tremendous consumption of war.
Course Correction: The Navy Needs to Invest in People, Not Just Platforms
By Daniel Straub & Patrick Cronin, War on the Rocks: “The Navy has the support of the Trump administration to move toward the force it needs — a 355 ship Navy. What is required now is the toughness to move forward and do what is hard: face its personnel problems, ensure that it has sufficient crew sizes, and demand only the best for its sailors by committing to more robust training that capitalizes on the lessons of past failures.”
杀手锏 and 跨越发展: Trump Cards and Leapfrogging
By Elsa B. Kania, Strategy Bridge: “Since the 1990s, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has focused on the development of asymmetric capabilities that target U.S. vulnerabilities. At present, the PLA’s approach is starting to evolve toward a strategy centered upon technological and defense innovation.”
BRAC: BASE CLOSURES A REALITY
Chasing the Elusive BRAC, Pentagon Says Readiness Is at Stake // Caroline Houck Defense officials are changing their pitch for base closures. Will Congress listen this time?
Air Force's ICBM Plans Could Damage Defense Industrial Base
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: “This week the U.S. Air Force awarded contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman to begin developing a replacement for the 1960s-vintage Minuteman ICBM. The first of the new missiles called the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), won’t be deployed for another decade and then only if there are no major technical glitches or budgetary hiccups.”
NEW COMBINATIONS OF AMERICAN STEALTH AIRCRAFT & CSBA INFOGRAPHIC ON GROWING MARGINS FOR U.S. TECHNOLOGY IN DEFENSE
Stealth War: F-23 vs. the F-22
By Sandra Erwin, RealClearDefense: “The final operational version of the F-23 would have offered much better range than the Raptor—especially at supersonic speeds—especially if powered by the YF120.”
CHINA: Chinese Advances in Quantum Sensing
By Elsa Kania & Stephen Armitage, China Brief: “Could China surpass the U.S. in quantum sensing? Certainly, active Chinese efforts to pursue advances in quantum radar and navigation, supported and accelerated by the ample funding devoted to quantum information science, demonstrate the PLA’s focus on the pursuit of innovation in emerging technologies with highly disruptive applications.”
You Can’t Write an Algorithm for Uncertainty:
Why Advanced Analytics May Not Be the Solution to the Military ‘Big Data’ Challenge
By Bill Roggio, Threat Matrix (FDD's LWJ): “…aspirations of ‘information superiority’ untenable, leaving militaries vulnerable to promises that they’ll have machine solutions for and certainty about what’s an inherently human and uncertain problem: war.”
CHINA: Chinese Intelligence Operations
By James Torrence, Small Wars Journal: “China's intelligence activities support its policy interests by acquiring foreign high technology (for military and civilian uses), identifying and influencing foreign policy trends (such as bilateral policy and trade issues), and monitoring dissident groups (such as democracy advocates and Taiwanese nationals.”
CHINA: The Rise of China's 'Blue Water' Navy
By Oliver B. Steward, UK Defence Journal: ““The China Coast Guard ship outsizes a the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser by about 50 percent, and is also bigger than an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer (e.g, the USS Lassen),which displaces around 9,700 tons. In addition, it also outclasses Japan’s 6,500-ton Shikishima-class coast guard cutters.””
Why Russia and China Still Fear the F-16
By Sebastien Roblin, The National Interest: “The F-16 currently remains the most popular aircraft in modern military service: out of 4,500 produced, nearly 2,700 currently remain in service in around twenty-six countries. Needless to say, the cutting-edge fourth-generation fighter of the 1980s will remain with us for a good while longer."
Russia's Super Strange Kiev-Class Aircraft Carriers
By Kyle Mizokami, The National Interest: “At the tail end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union produced a number of unique aircraft carriers. Known as the Kiev class, the carriers were the Soviets’ initial foray into the world of fixed wing naval aviation, and the only Soviet carriers to become fully operational."
The Rank Structure Is Holding Us Back
By Kevin A. Deibler, Military Times: “The military rank structure that has served our nation well for centuries is not suited for our modern conflicts."
Tales of the New Cold War: China's carrier-killer takes wing. Tyler Rogoway @thewarzone @thedrive.
The other way China can extend its anti-ship ballistic missile capability is to take the DF-21D and deliver it to launch points far out to sea via aircraft. Although having heavy aircraft launch ballistic missiles is not common, it is not unprecedented.
The idea was toyed with during the Cold War and today C-17s drop ballistic missiles as targets for anti-ballistic missile tests. Still, there are no operational combat systems that do this, but then again the job of creating a giant anti-access bubble around one's country and attacking ships with ballistic missiles is somewhat different than using the technique to launch traditional nuclear-tipped ballistic weapons.