Russia will create a state bank to service the defense sector, the finance ministry said on Thursday, after a tightening of U.S. sanctions heightened the risks for existing Russian lenders in handling defense deals. - Reuters
Maneuver SHORAD: First Success for Army Acquisition Reform?
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: “A good candidate for a quick victory is a program called the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (Maneuver SHORAD or M-SHORAD).”
The Air Force's Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution
By Sandra Erwin, Space News: “The project is called “future operationally resilient ground evolution,” or FORGE. It is part of a broader $173.5 million SBIRS modernization plan. And it is one of several projects where Air Force hopes to attract nontraditional vendors that can bring fresh ideas and cutting-edge products.”
Strategika Issue 47: The State Of U.S. Naval Readiness
Strategika Issue 47 is now available online.
The status of US Navy readiness: Too small, too old, and too tired
Thomas Donnelly | Strategika
CHINA: Has Xi Fully Consolidated His Power Over the Military?
By Charlotte Gao, The Diplomat: “Recently, multiple signs have shown that Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also holds the positions of chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) — the highest body that controls China’s military — and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, has further consolidated his power over Chinese military.”
Five Reasons the U.S. Army Must Modernize Faster to Avoid Catastrophe
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “The famous Prussian military theorist and professional soldier Carl von Clausewitz said that war is the continuation of politics by other means. In contemporary Washington, politics sometimes seems like the continuation of war by other means.”
Defense Acquisition: Pushing Strategic Capabilities to the Services?
By Caroline Houck, Defense One: “The President nominated Will Roper, the founding director of the secretive Strategic Capabilities Office, to become the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.”
Marine Corps to Cut Infantry Assaultman Job to Resource Other Roles
By Hope Hodge Seck, Military.com: “The Marine Corps is doing away with its 0351 infantry assaultman military occupational specialty and phasing out the assault section of Marine rifle companies in an effort to build up communities such as cyber and electronic warfare, Military.com has learned.”
2018 Forecast: Can the Navy Say No?
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: “In 2017, the Navy and Marine Corps hit the wall, with an string of deadly accidents on the sea and in the air. In 2018, we’ll see whether the overstressed sea services start saying “no” to missions.”
Defense Spending Under a Continuing Resolution
From USNI News: “DoD has started the fiscal year under a CR for 13 of the past 17 years (FY2002-FY2018) and every year since FY2010. The amount of time DoD has operated under CR authorities during the fiscal year has increased in the past 9 years and equates to a total of more than 36 months since 2010.”
Pentagon Surges Weapons Into Middle East Terror Fight
By Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: “Using a little-known U.S. legal authority established by Congress after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon is doling out substantial arms packages to build up Jordan's and Lebanon’s air forces to take on terrorists from the air.”
Where Russian Information Warfare Is Failing
By Bill Bray, Proceedings Magazine: “Given the news the past few years, one could be forgiven for concluding Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the world’s grand practitioner of information warfare.”
Chinese military analysts have claimed that China’s new hypersonic ballistic missile, the DF-17, could destroy U.S. defense systems by flying fast and low to evade detection. - Newsweek
Report to Congress on Defense Acquisition Reform
From USNI News: “Congress has been particularly active in legislating acquisition reform over the last three years. For FY2016-FY2018, NDAA titles specifically related to acquisition contained an average of 82 provisions (247 in total)"
Will Proposed Reforms Really Make Army Acquisition Faster?
By Daniel Gouré, The National Interest: “The leadership of the U.S. Army has locked arms and is advancing like the proverbial phalanx on a single objective: to make that service’s acquisition system faster and more effective. Rather than take the usual incremental approach to change, they are going big and bold. Even if only a partial success, the reform effort should produce an Army acquisition system that is speedier, more agile, less costly and more likely to produce better outcomes.”
A Christmas wish list for the upcoming budget
Mackenzie Eaglen | Breaking Defense
After heading off a government shutdown with a “clean” temporary spending bill on December 7, lawmakers are scrambling to reach a consensus under a new Continuing Resolution that funds the government beyond December 22. If leaders cannot come to a final agreement on spending levels and other thorny policy issues for a government spending deal before then, there may be a brief government shutdown. How did we get here?
China's Achilles Heel
by Miles Maochun Yu via Military History in the News
The best political commentary out of East Asia last week is the one published on December 15 by South Korea’s second largest newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s editors asked a question on the mind of the entire Korean nation after their president had been outrageously snubbed by the Chinese leadership during his four-day state visit to the communist country, and Korean reporters accompanying their president’s visit were savagely beaten by thuggish Chinese security guards: “China should reflect on this question: why is it that for such a big country, there is hardly any neighbor that can be described as China’s friend?”
How the market could transform China
Derek Scissors | CapX
Pentagon Launches New Push For Tunnel-Warfare Tech
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: “ISIS and the North Korean regime share at least one tactic in common: both have sought to counter the U.S. military’s monitor-and-strike capabilities by building vast subterranean tunnel complexes.”
Why 'The Last Jedi' Teaches Us That the Battleship Is Truly Dead
By Robert Farley, The National Interest: “The first twenty minutes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi might have warmed the heart of Billy Mitchell's Force ghost. The opening scenes effectively replayed the American interwar debates between advocates of air and naval power, with fighters and bombers attacking huge capital ships. These debates revolved around two big questions that drove procurement and the development of doctrine: how effective are aircraft against capital ships, and what kind of aircraft are most effective?”
U.S. Military Adopts New 'Urban' War Plans
From WND: “The U.S. military, specifically the Army and Marines, have adopted new procedures within which to fight an “urban” war, where up to 70 percent of the world’s population will live in as little as a couple of decades.”
Reviewing The Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review
By Bryan Clark, Breaking Defense: “1. Supply-Demand mismatch: Kudos to Navy Secretary Spencer for highlighting the role of excessive deployments in stressing the fleet and eroding readiness. While the Chief of Naval Operations and Navy budget materials have made this point, the secretary was very clear in saying the implication of the supply-demand mismatch is that the Navy will need to say “no” to some deployments, until or unless the fleet grows to a sustainable size ... ”
'Doing More of the Same Is Not the Answer' for the U.S. Navy
By Bennett Seftel, The Cipher Brief: “Should U.S. naval enterprises fail to match their rivals’ pace, then Moscow and Beijing’s maritime advancements could challenge U.S. geostrategic interests, including its ability to ensure the uninhibited flow of trade, project power in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and be effective in the global war on terror.”
Three things to know about China's military strategy
Oriana Skylar Mastro | AEIdeas
American Exodus? 17,000 U.S. Leave Defense Sector
By Joe Gould, Defense News: “A large number of American companies supplying the U.S. military may have left the defense market, according to a study announced Thursday, raising alarm over the health and future of the defense industrial base.”
SECNAV's Strategic Readiness Review
USNI News: “Even in a non-peer-on-peer environment, the Navy and the nation can ill afford the readiness deficiencies revealed in the recent ship-handling incidents in the Pacific. These deficiencies are of profound consequence. While the shipboard causes that led to those tragic events have been identified, this Strategic Review finds there are institutional deficiencies that have developed over decades that must now be addressed.”
How to sustain our special forces
Phillip Lohaus | US News & World Report (paywall)
Reforming the roles and responsibilities of our special operations forces (SOF) will more evenly distribute the burden of addressing our nation's most pressing security challenges. It will support efforts to reduce pressure on SOF and their families. Sixteen years is a long time to go at full speed. It's time that we consider how to improve the sustainability of SOF operations
Strategic Review: Navy Hasn't Learned From Its Mistakes, Needs To Be Clear About Ship, Aircraft Readiness
quoting Admiral Gary Roughead via USNI News
The Navy historically doesn’t learn from its mistakes, needs better command and control structures to operate the fleet, and needs to be more honest with Congress and the White House about the capabilities it can provide the nation, were key findings contained in a strategic review of the service released on Thursday.
U.S. ARMY MISSILE DEFENSE BREAKS THROUGH JAMMERS & MARINE CORP SEEKS CHANGES IN BILLETS FOR PERSONNEL
Marine Corps' Sweeping Changes to Special Duty Assignments
By Hope Hodge Seck, Military.com: “In a push to streamline the selection process for the Marine Corps' high-profile and demanding special duty assignments, the service is paring down the billets that qualify as special duty to just three and planning major rewrites to the assignments manual.”
Navy Too Busy to Learn?
By John T. Kuehn, Proceedings Magazine: “The Navy’s officer corps crisis reflects something bigger. The U.S. Navy is in violation of the law as regards Joint Professional Military Education (JPME). It is not in marginal or tangential violation—it is in full blown, egregious violation that thumbs its nose at the intent of the Goldwater-Nichols Act.”
Red Robots Rising:
Behind the Rapid Development of Russian Unmanned Military Systems
By George Perry, Proceedings Magazine: “The Western response to Russia’s entrance into the club of nations capable of building and using unmanned systems has varied from surprise to alarm to stoic objectivity. Much of this reaction stems from the realization that the United States and its allies are no longer unchallenged in the ways and means of using unmanned systems on the battlefield.
Next-Gen Drones: Making War Easier for Dictators & Terrorists
By Levi Maxey, The Cipher Brief: “The introduction of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) permanently altered the modern battlefield. New technological advances in drone technology could do it again: from advanced materials that allow drones to fly, roll, run or swim in less forgiving environments, to thinking software than makes them more independent, to stealth technology that renders them even less visible.”
The Human Factor in the 'Unmanned' Systems of the People's Liberation Army
By Elsa B. Kania, Strategy Bridge: “Even as the character of conflict is transformed by the advent of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) on the battlefield, the human factor is no less important in this machine age of warfare. However, the typical terminological characterization of military drones as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) reflects a tendency to neglect those responsible for the operation of these uninhabited systems.”
RUSSIA: Engine Woes for Russia's New Su-57 Stealth Fighter
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “One of the reasons the Russians are less than enthused at buying the initial version of the Su-57 is because the stealth fighter is currently powered by interim Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans.”
Aircraft Carrier Alternatives
By Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine: “The Pentagon could save money by jettisoning plans for future Ford-class aircraft carriers and pursuing alternatives. But doing so would require capability tradeoffs and a reconsideration of operating concepts, analysts said..”
DoD Pushing Acquisition Back to the Services
By Aaron Mehta, Defense News: “The Pentagon has steadily been pushing milestone authority for major defense programs to the individual military services, but shifting personnel down from the Office of the Secretary of Defense will take longer.”
Industrial Base Analysis Picks Up Steam
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: “A score of working groups across the government, not just the Pentagon, will submit their draft recommendations this month.
The Army's Big Six Modernization Priorities
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: ““I personally led those meetings. We had all the Army staff components, secretariat, all the directors of the labs, PEOs (Program Executive Officers), they all came in and we did a realignment of the entire S&T portfolio,” McCarthy told me. “I picked this project over that project….winners and losers..”
China's Americanized Military
By Don Tse, The Diplomat: “In September 2015, Xi announced sweeping military reforms that included a 300,000 troop cut, the creation of a joint command structure that has drawn comparisons with the United States’s Goldwater-Nichols Act, and a military-civilian integration program that appears to draw inspiration from the American military-industrial complex.”
CHINA: China's Second Aircraft Carrier Is Its Most Crucial Yet
By Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics: “China’s second aircraft carrier is about to enter service, and unlike the first the unnamed flat-top was built exactly to the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s requirements.”
‘Reactors for future Chinese nuclear carriers’ put on show
BY ASIA TIMES STAFF
China may have mastered the technology to build nuclear reactors for aircraft carriers but it is unclear how powerful these shipboard reactors will be
CHINA, SOUTH CHINA SEA: A Constructive Year for Chinese Base Building
From CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative: “International attention has shifted away from the slow-moving crisis in the South China Sea over the course of 2017, but the situation on the water has not remained static. While pursuing diplomatic outreach toward its Southeast Asian neighbors, Beijing continued substantial construction activities on its dual-use outposts ... ”
The Navy is currently developing three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of its surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP). - USNI News
Aegis Combat System's 'Virtual Twin': Accelerating Lethality
By Megan Eckstein, USNI News: “The Navy will deploy a “virtual twin” of the Aegis Combat System in February that, if the pilot program proves successful, could one day help the service test new Aegis upgrades or add-ons on a cruiser or destroyer at-sea without interfering with that ship’s actual combat system and ability to operate.”
How to Save the Pentagon's Innovation Insurgency // Pete Newell
The former chief of the US Army's Rapid Equipping Force suggests parallel tracks for innovation and execution.
Now Hear This—Prepare for the 'to Be or to Do' Moment
By Russell Schuhart, Proceedings Magazine: “The U.S. military is primarily a meritocracy and rewards officers for succeeding in challenging assignments. A byproduct of this meritocracy is that some officers sometimes must balance the desire to advance with maintaining their sense of honor and individuality. Right at the fulcrum of this balance is the “company man.” He emerges at the 15- to 18-year point in a standard career, when the proximity to retirement begins to weigh heavily in career decisions ...”
Ensure COMMS: Tap Commercial Innovations for the Military
By Steven Moffitt & Evan Ladd, Proceedings Magazine: “The innovation landscape, however, is changing. As near-peer adversaries become more adept at countering U.S. technology advantages and exploiting their vulnerabilities, the United States must be able to field solutions in response to threats to the assets on which it relies so heavily, particularly the military satellite communications (MilSatCom) program.”
From the White House to the Battlefield: Where Are Wars Lost?
By Arnold Isaacs, Modern War Institute: “The weakness of local allies is arguably the most important reason by far for the lack of success in American wars from Vietnam on.”
The U.S. Navy’s new acquisition boss is officially on the job, being sworn in by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Tuesday. James “Hondo” Geurts, a long-time civilian senior executive, takes the position long occupied by former research, development and acquisition chief Sean Stackley, who started during the George W. Bush administration. - Defense News
The Pentagon's Wish List for High-Tech
By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One: “The Pentagon's top weapons buyer is drafting a list of desired technologies as part of a new effort to coordinate the Defense Department's research and development, including at U.S. laboratories and government-funded research centers.”