White House, Boeing In Final Stages of New Air Force One Deal // Marcus Weisgerber
President Trump and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg met in White House this week to break gridlock on price of new presidential planes.
New Report Notes Erosion of Pentagon's Technological Advantage // Caroline Houck
The evidence ranges from a new long-range Chinese missile to ramped-up European defense spending, an annual assessment of the world's militaries finds.
The State of Defense 2018: Overview // Kevin Baron
The one consensus seems to be the view that, under Trump, America is no longer the world’s clear leader. And that is a titanic change.
The State of the Army // Ben Watson
From Africa to Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is expanding its nation-building and its operations against terrorists, even as thousands of stateside soldiers prepare for possible conflict in North Korea.
The State of the Navy // Bradley Peniston
Operationally speaking, 2018 ought to be a back-to-basics year for a naval service shaken by a string of deadly mishaps.
The State of the Air Force // Marcus Weisgerber
The U.S. Air Force finds itself amid several transitions. After years of shrinking, it’s adding people and planes. After years of counterinsurgency, it’s readying for fast-paced, complex war against Russia and China. After years of constrained training, training is now a top priority.
The State of the Marine Corps // Caroline Houck If there’s one service that embodies the tension the U.S. military faces — unable to turn away from an ongoing counterterrorism fight, but knowing it needs to refocus on great-power conflict — it’s the Marine Corps.
The New National Security Innovation Base:
Charting the Course for Technology in War
By Daniel Morgan, Modern War Institute: “Technological innovations in war, however, do not by themselves achieve victory. Combined actions across the whole of government are needed to deter adversaries and build partnerships in this new globally complex security environment.”
Blue Whales and Tiger Sharks :
Politics, Policy, and the Military Operational Artist
By G. Stephen Lauer, Strategy Bridge: “Iraq and Afghanistan. Korea and Vietnam. The uniquely unhappy political nature of wars of limited policy aims after the Second World War and into the 21st century finds the United States military unable to disengage after intervention without the perception of defeat.”
Can the Army Prepare for China and Russia, and Fight Terror?
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “The United States Army will receive increased funding in the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal as the service struggles to modernize while simultaneously fighting wars in current conflicts. The problem the Army must solve is how to deter Russia and China while dealing with today’s challenges.”
China’s ballistic missile development program is the “most active and diverse” in the world, with the Asian power close to having “the ability to deploy a nuclear triad for the first time,” the head of U.S. Strategic Command warned last week. - Defense News
RUSSIA: Status-6: Russia's 100-Megaton Nuclear Torpedo
By Lyle J. Goldstein, The National Interest: “This “megaton-class nuclear weapon” [ядерное оружие мегатонного класса], as described by one Russian source, is delivered by an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) and has the potential to exterminate a significant portion of the U.S. population in a single doomsday blow if deployed against the East Coast of the United States.”
Repair and rebuild: Balancing new military spending for a three-theater strategy
Mackenzie Eaglen | American Enterprise Institute
To reduce the chance of war and restore the credibility of America's nonmilitary tools of power, the US must quickly repair and rebuild its military. Yet lawmakers and Pentagon leaders must also ensure that the necessary haste of repairing and rebuilding the force does not lead to shortsighted choices.
The already forgotten Trump budget
James C. Capretta | Real Clear Policy
The Trump administration has produced a budget that is remarkable for its glaring disconnection from political and fiscal reality. It inherited a federal budget that was badly out of balance — and then promptly made the situation worse. The current trend toward growing deficits and debt will continue and likely get much worse.
The consequences that stem from a half-dozen years of funding cuts without a corresponding reduction in demand for the military came to a visible and tragic crescendo last summer with two Navy ship collisions and the unnecessary deaths of 17 sailors. The Trump administration’s recently announced FY2019 budget represents a 13 percent increase over FY2017 defense spending, which is significant. However, asMackenzie Eaglen explains in her latest AEIdeas blog, this new money is primarily intended to fill the hole dug by the Budget Control Act and other woes. In Trumpian terms, it is not enough to buy a “bigly” buildup. Find out why here.
In the meantime, there are key signals that Congress and the Pentagon can send to American adversaries that a defense buildup is real and that change is coming to the force. Eaglen outlines a few ways to do this in a War on the Rocks op-ed. Secretary of Defense James Mattis should support increasing the fleet size quickly with little risk by working to eliminate onerous requirements such as shock trials. Congress could also signal its enduring commitment to a genuine buildup by curtailing accounting gimmicks such as the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund. Read what else can be done here.
Small Unit Dominance
From National Defense Magazine: “Whether they are Marine Corps grunts, soldiers on patrol or special operators carrying out missions behind enemy lines, dismounted warfighters are among the most vulnerable on the battlefield.”
Army Defends Shortchanging Future Modernization in 2019 Budget
By Matthew Cox, DoD Buzz: “For months, senior leaders have been stressing that the Army can no longer continue to make incremental improvements to its outdated fleet of aircraft, tanks, armored vehicles and fires platforms. Instead, they argue that the service must begin to build a future fleet of modern weapons systems capable of out-matching the modernized fleets of Russia and China.”
Details are scant on what the Army’s new Futures Command will look like or how it will be organized, but the service’s under secretary said it could reside in a city. “It will probably be in a city where we are going to put this Futures Command,” Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy said at a Brookings Institution event Feb. 8, “where there is access to academia and business.” - Defense News
The U.S. Army is going to assess the possibility of putting a 50-kilowatt laser onto its short-range air defense, or SHORAD, objective solution in less than five years, according to the service’s fiscal 2019 budget justification documents released Feb. 12. - Defense News
RUSSIA: The Return of the Commissars
By Aleksandr Golts, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “The Russian Army is planning to recreate the Main Political Directorate that existed in the Soviet Army (GlavPUR), according to the Deputy Chairman of the Public Council at the Russian Ministry of Defense, Alexander Kanshin. “The role of the moral and political unity of the army and society is increasing immensely at the time of global informational and psychological confrontation.”
The Navy is failing at its most basic responsibilities.
How the defense budget falls short of strategic demands
Mackenzie Eaglen | Axios
Secretary Mattis’ national defense strategy targets readiness, lethality, and reforms to better counter great power competition from China and Russia. Yet President Trump’s budget calls for only a 2 percent annual increase in defense spending — enough to dig the Pentagon out of its current hole, but not enough to pursue the pivot Mattis envisions.
Long-term Defense Planning Assumptions Need to Change!
By Jyri Raitasalo, RealClearDefense: “Even in the best of circumstances, it is going to take years, most probably more than a decade, to address these shortfalls of military capability.”
Bigger, Faster, Stronger: China’s Ever-Evolving Military Tech
(DefenseOne) China’s progress hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The U.S. Faces an Innovator’s Dilemma in Its Relationship With China
By Norton A. Schwartz, RealClearDefense: “The outcome for the U.S. will vary greatly depending on the strength and endurance of trade, national security, and immigration policies. The current approach will not be a match for the comprehensive course that China has set.”
China Will 'Pull the Trigger' in the South China Sea
By Gordon C. Chang, The National Interest: “James Fanell, once the top intelligence officer of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet and now a noted commentator on defense matters, is concerned that the Chinese desire confrontation to achieve their “centennial goal of the great rejuvenation” of the Chinese state. This goal, he told The National Interest, “requires the consolidation of all its perceived territories, to include the maritime territories of the South and East China Sea.””
Building Armies, Building Nations: Toward a New Approach to Security Force Assistance
Michael Shurkin, John Gordon IV, Bryan Frederick, Christopher G. Pernin
Events in Iraq and Mali have raised questions about the value of Security Force Assistance and U.S. capacity to strengthen client states' militaries in the face of insurgencies or other threats. History shows that SFA programs could be improved if they focused more on ideology and how an army complements a host country's larger nation-building efforts. Read more »
Pentagon Confirms It's Developing Nuclear Cruise Missile to Counter a Similar Russian One // Marcus Weisgerber
The new Nuclear Posture Review nods to North Korea, China, and Iran but devotes most of its time to Russian threats and U.S. deterrence.
Mattis: There Is No Such Thing as a 'Tactical' Nuke
By Richard Sisk, Military.com: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said there is "no such thing" as a tactical nuclear weapon in the context of strategies that consider the use of so-called "low yield" weapons to avert all-out nuclear war.”
How China Understands Warfare
China's army now characterizes warfare as a clash between opposing operational systems—not merely one between armies. That's according to a new RAND report. Thus, warfare no longer focuses on the annihilation of enemies on the battlefield. Rather, victory goes to the side that can disrupt, paralyze, or destroy the enemy's system. Read more »
China Has Big Plans to Win the Next War
By Jeffrey Engstrom, The National Interest: “As a result of extensive examination of these conflicts and others, the PLA now views modern conflict as a confrontation between opposing systems, or what are specifically referred to as opposing operational systems.”
The Russian Way of Warfare: A Primer
Scott Boston, Dara Massicot
The Russian armed forces are not like the Soviet Army in size, depth, or global ideological aspirations. But Russia has demonstrated its military competence and operational flexibility in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria. Read more »
CHINA: The 'Globalisation' of China's Military Power
By Jonathan Marcus, BBC News: “China's modernization of its armed forces is proceeding faster than many analysts expected.”
An Army Trying to Shake Itself From Intellectual Slumber
By David Johnson, War on the Rocks: “For the past three decades, the U.S. military has lived off the concepts and eroding capabilities for conflicts against peer adversaries that it developed during the Cold War. For the Army, AirLand Battle is the last fully institutionalized intellectual and doctrinal warfighting construct intended for high-end adversaries, although there have been several replacement candidates in recent years.”
Mattis walks strategic tightrope with new strategy
Mackenzie Eaglen | Axios
The theory and practice of war termination
Oriana Skylar Mastro | International Studies Review
Seth G. Jones writes: The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy outline a U.S. shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for much of this competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs of conventional and nuclear war would likely be catastrophic. - Center for Strategic & International Studies
Rep. Mac Thornberry writes: The United States’ nuclear deterrent has been the cornerstone of our national defense and of international stability since World War II. Today, operating, sustaining, and recapitalizing our nuclear deterrent accounts for only about 4 percent of our overall defense budget, yet its value to America’s security is incalculable. - Defense News
Week Ahead: Mattis Heads to the Hill
By Rebeccah Kheel & Ellen Mitchell, The Hill: “The appearance Tuesday alongside Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva will focus on the Pentagon's two big recently completed undertakings -- the National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review.”
Continuity and Change in U.S. Nuclear Policy
By John R. Harvey, Franklin C. Miller, Keith B. Payne & Bradley H. Roberts, RealClearDefense: “This month, the Trump administration all but pledged itself to an open-ended nation-building operation in U.S.-occupied, northeast Syria. Given America’s uninspiring recent track record, this should concern us all.”
The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review: All Quiet on the Eastern Front
By Rod Lyon, The Strategist (ASPI): “The US commits itself to doing four things ‘to maintain credible extended deterrence and thus effective assurance in this complex environment.’”
America’s Two Doctrines
By Sam Roggeveen, the interpreter: “China’s rise presents a type of challenge America has never faced before in the Asia Pacific: in economic terms it is much more substantial than the Soviet Union (always more of a European power), and on present trends China’s military capabilities in the region will match those of the U.S. in a decade or two.”
The state of defense: Time for Trump to put the money where his mouth is
Mackenzie Eaglen | AEIdeas
Trump’s State of the Union hit the right foreign policy notes. Now comes the hard part.
John R. Bolton | The Hill
EXAMINING RUSSIAN A2/AD CAPABILITIES (ANTI-ACCESS, ANTI DENIAL), BABY STEPS ON ACQUISITION CULTURE & KEEPING MISSILE DEFENSE ON TRACK
The S-400–Pantsir ‘Tandem’: The New-Old Feature of Russian A2/AD Capabilities
By Sergey Sukhankin, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “The Pantsir (NATO classification: SA-22 Greyhound), produced by the Russian Military Industrial Complex, is a unique mobile short- to medium-range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system that has no known analogues in the United States Armed Forces.”
How to Keep US Missile Defense on the Right Track // Ian Williams
Use the coming funding boost to smooth the development of a new kill vehicle and increase GMD testing in general.
A Baby-Step Solution for Improving the Defense Acquisition System // J. David Patterson
Establish a source selection schedule and keep to it. Simple. Right?
Defense Firms Are Ready to Invest but Acquisition Reform Must Come First
By Dan Goure, The National Interest: “For years, senior Pentagon officials have been hectoring defense companies to put more “skin in the game” by increasing their spending on research and development and investing more of their own money on infrastructure and production technologies.”
Can the U.S. Military Handle Both China and Russia?
By Aaron Mehta, Defense News: “The Pentagon is in the opening stages of “redesigning the force” around the challenges of Russia and China, the department’s No. 2 uniformed official said Tuesday — while warning that America may not be able to afford preparing for two unique problem sets."
Strategic Innovation and Great Power Competition
By Elsa B. Kania, Strategy Bridge: “At this time of disruptive transitions, the new U.S. National Defense Strategy rightly recognizes that the character of warfare is changing due to the advent of a range of disruptive technologies.”
REVITALIZING AMERICA'S INDUSTRIAL BASE & ENDING U.S. DEPENDENCE ON RUSSIAN MADE ROCKETS, A LOOK AT ARMY ACQUISITION
Navy’s Next Frigate: Revitalizing the Defense Industrial Base
By Robert C. O'Brien & Jerry Hendrix, Defense One: “The United States has not been a global leader in shipbuilding for a generation. The new frigate program is an opportunity to bring new designs, new construction techniques, lower prices, and higher efficiency back to the U.S.shipbuilding industry.”
Air Force Seeks to End Dependence on Russian RD-180 Rocket Engines
By Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine: “The Air Force Research Laboratory's initiative to help lessen the service's reliance on Russia's RD-180 rocket engine has passed a major milestone.”
The Army’s Acquisition Reform Must Be Even Bolder
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: ““I’m not interested in a linear progression into the future. That will end up in defeat on a future battlefield. If we think that if we just draw a straight line into the future and simply make incremental improvements to current systems, then we’re blowing smoke up our collective fourth point of contact …””
China’s Conscription Cycle: Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Opportunities
By Zachary L. Morris, Small Wars Journal: “Due to current conscription and training cycles, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) loses considerable combat power for a significant portion of each year.”
U.S. National Defence Strategy: A Wake-up Call for Australia
By Paul Dibb, The Strategist: “As for reform of the department, there are lots of meaningless modern management words used about the need to ‘drive budget discipline and affordability to achieve solvency’ and ‘streamline rapid, iterative approaches from development to fielding’. But the fact remains that the Pentagon has for decades resisted introducing a culture of performance in which results and accountability really matter.”
Navy Pursuing Anti-Air Defense Missile for the F-35
By Joseph Trevithick & Tyler Rogoway, The WarZone: “The U.S. Navy has hired Orbital ATK, now part of Northrop Grumman, to begin formal development of a new missile that can suppress and destroy enemy air defense emitters, known as the the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range, or AARGM-ER.”
Missile Defense: Decentralize, Disperse, & Hide
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: “China or Russia could all too easily detect and destroy U.S. Army missile defenses, exposing American forces to devastating attack, a forthcoming study finds.”
Chaque Homme un Roi!
Military Personnel and Hierarchy in the 21st Century
By Artur Varanda, Strategy Bridge: “What if Napoleon Bonaparte was brought back to life and told about the concepts of war and peace today, how militaries are structured and employed and their place in modern societies?”
RUSSIA: Serial Production of Russia's Deadliest Tank to Begin in 2020
By Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: “Russia will begin serial production of the third-generation T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT) in 2020 with the first batch of T-14s purportedly to be deployed to the country's Southern and Western military districts, a Russian defense industry source said in Moscow this week.”
CHINA: China Deploys H-6G Bomber in Electronic Warfare Configuration
From Economic Times: “China has built a new type of electronic warfare aircraft which can cover bigger combat areas such as the South and East China seas and greatly enhance the Navy's capabilities in modern warfare, a media report said today.”
CHINA: Is China’s Nuclear Attack Submarine Too Easy to Detect?
By Liu Zhen, South China Morning Post: “The PLA Navy's 110-metre Shang-class submarine surfaced in international waters with a Chinese flag on its mast on January 12 after it was followed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force for two days."
Military 'Up or Out' Promotion System Outdated
By Claudia Grisales, Stars and Stripes: “A panel of military experts and leaders urged lawmakers on Wednesday to revamp a woefully outdated officer promotion system that has plagued recruiting and retention efforts.”
Navy Wants Congress to Allow a More Flexible Personnel System
By John Grady, USNI News: “The Navy is asking Congress for more flexibility to recruit rewards for talent and promote to higher rank its officers to better compete in the career marketplace, the service’s personnel chief said.”
Enlisted Education Must Be More Than Training
By Kyle G. Phillips, Proceedings Magazine: “The Marine Corps has traditionally understood and executed training very well for enlisted personnel; however, it should explore opportunities to provide enlisted Marines with an education that emphasizes a deeper approach to learning in leadership, character development, and ethical decision-making.”
The Navy is asking Congress for more flexibility to recruit rewards for talent and promote to higher rank its officers to better compete in the career marketplace, the service’s personnel chief said Wednesday. - USNI News
Mattis signals harder line in South China Sea
BY RICHARD JAVAD HEYDARIAN
US defense chief visits Indonesia and Vietnam, two potential key allies in new defense policy that views China as a 'strategic competitor'