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Tag Archives: Military


Trump must rebuff Russian influence in Bulgaria, a key NATO and US ally

By DR. MIKLOS K. RADVANYIAmerican Military News

Recent developments in Turkey and Russia have raised the strategic importance of the Republic of Bulgaria for the United States, NATO and the EU. This past summer, NATO staged major exercises in the county, involving more than 25,000 troops from 20 allied countries. Yet despite increased military cooperation in recent years, current political dynamics in the country threaten to undermine Bulgaria’s relationship with the military alliance and provide the Kremlin with a new foothold in the former Soviet satellite.

Economic and political challenges have set the table for the current political environment. Although the country has undergone both political and economic transformation since 1990, Bulgaria remains the poorest nation within the European Union. Its current GDP is only a meager $152 billion. The annual per capita income translates to an employed individual bringing home $456 per month, not even half of the average for the EU. Unemployment is almost 11 percent, well above the EU average, which is less than 10 percent.

In order to grow their economy, the country must address three major economic issues. The first is economic diversification — actively encouraging the emergence of mid-and small size enterprises. Second, Bulgaria will have to raise productivity significantly both in industry and agriculture. Finally, Bulgaria must solve demographic challenges that are similarly affecting a whole host of European nations.

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Trump’s New National-Security Strategy Projects Confidence

by Jerry Hendrix • National Review

President Trump today unveiled his new National Security Strategy (NSS), exceeding the expectations of the national-security community by producing a remarkably coherent NSS within his first twelve months in office. President Obama took 16 months to present his vision, and President George W. Bush, dealing with the disturbance of 9/11 to his strategic considerations, took 20 months. Clearly guided by the vision enunciated by the president during his 2016 campaign and validated by that national election, the team of Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, Dina Powell, and Nadia Schadlow has crafted a “sustainment” strategy supported by a peace-through-strength defense buildup. What is very clear is that this strategy is not a break from the nation’s post–World War II–era national-security policy but rather a realistic distillation of that policy tailored to the challenges the nation faces today.

However, in a break from his post–Cold War predecessors, President Trump readily announces that the United States is presently in a great-power competition and names the nation’s prime competitors as Russia and China. While appeals to American values remain, and in fact are strongly stated, it is the promotion of American interests that emerges most starkly. The president states that he plans to compete aggressively in the economic sphere by pursuing free, fair, and reciprocal trade on a bilateral basis while also confronting nations that violate the free-trade agreements signed in the past. Additionally, the new NSS breaks from the language of the Obama administration by overtly promoting American exceptionalism and presenting the United States as a force for good in the world. As such, the new NSS emerges as a true amalgam of Theodore Roosevelt’s warrior approach to the world and Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to be its priest.

From the perspective of pure defense analysis, President Trump and McMaster, his national-security adviser, have taken a new path. Rather than continue to pursue a pure capabilities-overmatch acquisitions strategy within the Department of Defense, the Trump NSS seeks a balance between capabilities and capacity by continuing to invest in cutting-edge technologies while also expanding the force and improving readiness. It seeks to accomplish this by investing in high-end, cutting-edge combat systems to win wars while also providing for larger numbers of personnel and buying cheaper legacy combat systems to maintain the peace. Clearly, President Trump’s commitment to a 355-ship Navy falls within this approach. The president also firmly commits the nation to recapitalizing the nation’s nuclear-deterrent force and renewing all three legs of the nuclear triad. This strategy is enabled by the president’s call for increased defense spending, a goal that is shared by Armed Services Committee members in both the House and the Senate.

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American Diplomat: US Looks to Counter Iran in Post-War Iraq

by Susannah George • Military.com

BAGHDAD — As Iraq emerges from three years of war with the Islamic State group, the U.S. is looking to roll back the influence of neighboring Iran and help the central government resolve its dispute with the Kurdish region, the American envoy to the country told The Associated Press.

U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman took up his post in Baghdad in September 2016, just weeks before the start of the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul. With ISIS now driven out of all the territory it once held and Iraq’s declaration that the war against the extremists is over, he says Washington is focused on keeping the peace and rebuilding, and sees Iran’s influence as a problem.

“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” Silliman said. “The Iranians have — to some extent — assisted the government of Iraq in defeating ISIS,” he said. “But frankly I have not seen the Iranians donating money for humanitarian assistance, I have not seen them contributing to the U.N. stabilization program.”

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U.S. Adversaries Closing Gap With American Aircraft Capabilities

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


Russian Jets Buzzed U.S. Destroyer

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


Afghan Government Lost 15% of Its Territory Last Year

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


Marines Eye More Cyber, Information Ops Roles With Troop Increase

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


Deterrence In an Increasingly Dangerous World

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


Competition Needed to Replace Air Tracking Fleet

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


Congress’ Fiscal Straightjacket Continues Putting Our Nations Security At Risk

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


China, Russia, Iran Closing Gap with Smaller, Older U.S. Military

Air Force general: Adversaries developing capabilities that are ‘better than what we currently have in many areas’

by Daniel Wiser     •     Washington Free Beacon

A U.S. Navy official signals its helicopter as it prepares for landing on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), a missile cruiser and a nuclear-powered submarine during Exercise Malabar 2015, some 152 miles off eastern coast of Chennai, India, Saturday, Oct. 17 / AP

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


F-35 vs. A-10 Matchup Isn’t ‘Silly’ After All

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


The United States of ‘American Sniper’

Liberals’ criticism of my SEAL teammate Chris Kyle has had the ironic effect of honoring him.

By Rorke Denver     •     The Wall Street Journal

1st First Amendment‘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


Some First Principles of American Military Strategy

by Aaron Bazin and Dan Sukman     •     Medium.com

Military Spending GIIf 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


Russia Test Fires Six New Air-Launched Cruise Missiles

Putin orders military exercises amid new Ukraine tensions

Russia_bombers_missilesby Bill Gertz

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


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