by Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
U.S. adversaries are rapidly catching up to America’s fifth generation fighter aircraft capabilities—a risk that has exacerbated given ongoing cyber vulnerabilities in the F-35 fighter jet program, according to an Air Force major general.
Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., the vice commander of Air Combat Command at the Langley, Va., base, said Thursday that while the United States maintains an advantage in the stealth and weapons capacities inherent in fifth generation fighter aircraft models, adversaries are “quickly closing the gap.”
“We are trying to maximize our ability to procure fifth generation airplanes and go from a 100 percent fourth generation fleet to a significant mix of fifth generation [planes] so that we have the opportunity to operate in these hostile environments against these threats that are catching us faster than we thought they would,” Harris testified before the House Armed Services Committee. Continue reading
by Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon
Four Russian military aircraft conducted low passes against a U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea last week, the first such military provocation since the new Trump administration took office.
The incident took place Feb. 10 and involved the USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, fending off low flights by what the commander of the ship regarded as potentially dangerous flybys.
“There were several incidents involving multiple Russian aircraft,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez, spokesman for the European Command. “They were assessed by the commanding officer as unsafe and unprofessional.”
The first buzzing involved two Russian Su-24 jet fighters followed by a single Su-24 and, in a third incident, an IL-38 transport aircraft. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
The government of Afghanistan lost almost 15 percent of its territory last year, as Taliban insurgents continued to launch attacks amid declines in U.S. and allied military personnel.
The figure is included in a government watchdog’s latest assessment of the security situation and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. The assessment comes as the Donald Trump administration grapples with how to move forward in what has become America’s longest war.
“Analysis of the most recent data provided by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) suggests that the security situation in Afghanistan has not improved this quarter,” states the latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. “The numbers of the Afghan security forces are decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence are increasing.” Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
The Marine Corps plans to use a troop level increase approved by Congress this week to strengthen its cyber and information operations capabilities.
The Senate on Thursday approved in a 92-7 vote a sweeping defense policy bill that increases the end strength of the active U.S. armed forces, delivering the bill to President Obama’s desk for him to sign.
The Marine Corps will receive 3,000 additional active-duty troops from the current baseline of 182,000 Marines with the passage of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine commandant, said Wednesday that the service will use the troop increase to add roles to cyber, information operations, intelligence analysis, and electronic warfare capabilities. Continue reading
By George Landrith • American Military News
North Korea has test fired five new missiles and claims to have successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb. Iran too is racing towards nuclear weapons and advanced missile technology. Around the globe, risks are increasing. As a result, deterrence is more important than ever.
There was a time when deterrence simply meant having retaliatory nuclear weapons. But the risks are far more complex than a generation ago. Maintaining a strong and credible nuclear deterrent is absolutely necessary. But by itself, it is not enough. Today, the risks are too varied to have a single solution. The US must have a robust, multifaceted, broad-based deterrent to stop the world’s evil doers. A modern military deterrent includes: (i) a strong up-to-date nuclear threat; (ii) a robust multi-layered missile defense; and (iii) a powerful conventional military force that can meet any threat and defeat any foe.
The need for a nuclear deterrent is clear. If any nation is tempted to use nuclear weapons, they must know that the retaliatory nuclear strike that would follow, would be devastating. With our nuclear weapons aging and more than a generation old, however, we must make needed upgrades to our nuclear triad. Continue reading
by George Landrith • American Military News
The U.S. military’s control of the battlefield airspace has become so routine it is now taken for granted. Consider that the last time any American soldier or Marine came under attack from an enemy aircraft was during the Korean War, which ended almost 63 years ago. But U.S. domination of the skies – and protection of U.S. troops on the ground – can no longer be assured. In recent years, countries like Russia and China have upgraded their capabilities while our Air Force has been stiffed for funds needed to recapitalize its aging air fleet.
The advanced ages of America’s fighter, bomber, and refueling tanker fleets have received the most political and media attention and are being addressed, albeit belatedly, by major (and very expensive) modernization programs. Less visible are the air systems that present U.S. commanders with a full battlefield picture, provide the ability to identify and track enemy movements, and thwart enemy attacks on our troops in advance through electronic means. Continue reading
by George Landrith • Daily Caller
National security conservatives and military experts have long warned about steep cuts to the defense budget in recent years. These warnings have been largely waived off even as even as the world continued to grow more dangerous and unstable – from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea.
Today, the consequences of shortchanging defense have now become all too real, as our military has been forced into making dangerous trade-offs between size and technological superiority, training and maintenance, compensation and modernization, and much more. For example, the active U.S. Army is shrinking towards becoming its smallest since before World War II. The average age of an Air Force aircraft is 26 years, the oldest ever (aerial refueling tankers are past the half-century mark). And inadequate funding for Navy maintenance, training, and modernization has reduced readiness fleet-wide and contributed to a growing shortfall of strike fighters – in particular the F/A-18 Super Hornets that are the mainstay of carrier aviation wings. Continue reading
Air Force general: Adversaries developing capabilities that are ‘better than what we currently have in many areas’
by Daniel Wiser • Washington Free Beacon
U.S. adversaries including China, Russia, and Iran are developing military capabilities that will allow them to compete with shrinking and aging American forces in the coming years, according to a new report.
The report, authored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Foreign Policy Initiative, warns that U.S. adversaries have been bolstering their militaries and purchasing cheaper weapon systems as the United States cuts its defense budget and delays acquisition of new equipment. Both China and Russia have increased their defense budgets by double digits in recent years, for example, while the United States could reduce its military spending by as much as $1 trillion in a decade under cuts known as sequestration.
“After a procurement holiday in the 1990s and a hollow buildup during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, American military capabilities have declined independently and relatively to adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran,” the report said. Continue reading
by Gillian Rich • Investor’s Business Daily
A matchup between Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 vs. the older A-10 Warthog isn’t so “silly” after all. The Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation said late Thursday that it would run tests to evaluate how the F-35 stacks up in close-air support vs. the A-10, according to Defense News. The tests will use the latest upgrade of the 3F software for the F-35 and take place in 2018.
Lockheed shares fell 0.9% to 203.61 in late-afternoon trade in the stock market today.
The announcement comes after Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh told the press Monday that he wasn’t aware of any tests between the two planes and said a matchup “would be a silly exercise.” Continue reading
Liberals’ criticism of my SEAL teammate Chris Kyle has had the ironic effect of honoring him.
By Rorke Denver • The Wall Street Journal
‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi. Continue reading
by Aaron Bazin and Dan Sukman • Medium.com
If the ability communicate complex ideas in an easily understood way is a valuable skill to the strategic thinker, then first principles offer one possible point of departure from which to begin any discussion on strategy. A few months ago, we posed a question on various strategy-related email chains and Facebook pages asking interested parties what the first principles of military strategy were. We got numerous responses; some humorous, some vitriolic, but all very interesting.
Development of a first principle is akin to boiling down information to uncover the elemental truth that lies within. We culled through the responses and necked down the subject to consider only ‘American’ military strategy to add further clarity and context. Then we tried to synthesize, combine, and distill each one down to the core of its essence. Our final list includes eight, but there are undoubtedly many, many more. We offer the outline of the first principles below for your consideration: Continue reading
Putin orders military exercises amid new Ukraine tensions
Russian strategic air forces fired six new, precision-strike cruise missiles in test launches Friday amid new tensions between Moscow and the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that the missile firings took place during exercises involving eight Tu-95 Bear bombers—the same type of strategic bomber recently intercepted 50 miles off the California coast by U.S. jets.
Russian bombers, meanwhile, continued saber-rattling air defense zone incursions against Canada’s arctic and in Europe over the Baltic Sea. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
Forty-three years ago, on Memorial Day 1971, I was traveling home to Vermont following two years of study at the International Division of Yonsei University in Seoul in the Republic of Korea. During my time there, I marveled at the success the Republic of Korea had achieved in building the beginnings of a modern industrial state while also being a staunch ally of the United States.
But in the ensuing decades, conventional wisdom in academia, Hollywood and the entertainment industry and the media turned this view on its head. The new “wisdom” concludes that the U.S. lost the war in Korea. And not only that. Even our victory in the Cold War now seems to be in question. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
Russian President Vladimir Putin annexes the Crimea in gross violation of international law. What should America do, if anything?
There are many different ideas. Some suggest doing nothing. Some assert we cannot do anything. Others feel the consequences of letting such aggression stand will be serious.
The country’s divisions are certainly reflective of how divided on this Americans are.
What then is the proper role for America in the world that both keeps us safe and enhances our prosperity? Continue reading
“The US spends more money on defense than all the countries in the rest of the world together.”
Sound familiar? Years ago, Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream invented the “Oreo” briefing as part of his efforts as founder of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). Each “Oreo” represented $5 billion in defense expenditures. He stacked up the US “Oreos” compared to other countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea, and showed a really big stack of American “Oreos” while the Chinese and Russian “Oreos” were much smaller. Ergo, he concluded, the US can afford to get rid of a lot of its “Oreos” in fact more than half.
This claim is now a common media refrain and favorite fortune cookie analysis of the left. Among those seeking to cut US defense spending dramatically that indeed is their new bumper sticker: “The United States spends more on defense than all the rest of the countries in the world.”
Is the statement true? It actually is not only not true, when you think about it even if it were true, it still remains nonsensical on its face. Continue reading