Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What the World Might Look Like in 5 Years, According to US Intelligence - Defense One

What the World Might Look Like in 5 Years, According to US Intelligence - Defense One: Every four years, a group of U.S. intelligence analysts tries to predict the future. And this year, in a report released just weeks before Donald Trump assumes the presidency, those analysts forecast a massive shift in international affairs over the next five years or so: “For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War,” the study argues. “So, too, perhaps is the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II.”

The National Intelligence Council (NIC), a unit within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is essentially marking the potential end not just of America’s status as the world’s sole superpower, but also of the current foundation for much of that power: an open international economy, U.S. military alliances in Asia and Europe, and liberal rules and institutions—rules like human-rights protections and institutions like the World Trade Organization—that shape how countries behave and resolve their conflicts.

Trump has repeatedly expressed opposition to key elements of this international order—specifically free-trade deals, U.S. alliance arrangements, and America’s promotion of democracy abroad. But he wants to preserve U.S. dominance in the world; he wants, after all, to once more make America great. And on Tuesday, Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security adviser, suggested that his boss might be more committed to the international system than assumed.

A Pledge for More of the Same at the Pentagon - Defense One

A Pledge for More of the Same at the Pentagon - Defense One: That retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Donald Trump’s nominee to become defense secretary, is a Marine’s Marine and a genuine warrior is undoubtedly the case. If less well-known than David Petraeus, he is easily the better field commander, something Mattis demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq. The question is whether he possesses the qualities suited to lead the Pentagon at this particular juncture.

Mattis’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which convened today to consider his confirmation, raises doubts on that score. Or more precisely, it should raise doubts on the part of anyone viewing U.S. national security policy since 9/11 as less than satisfactory.

The most intriguing aspect of the exchange between Mattis and members of the committee was the absolute absence of interest, from either side, in how the armed forces of the United States have performed in recent years. In Afghanistan, in the now-resumed war in Iraq, in U.S. combat operations, large and small, in Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria—none has yielded anything approximating conclusive victory. However you define U.S. aims and objectives—promoting stability? Spreading democracy? Reducing the incidence of Islamist terrorism?—they remain unfulfilled. Yet no senator thought to ask Mattis for his views on why that has been the case, what conclusions he draws from that absence of success, and how he might apply those conclusions as defense secretary.

McCain proposes $640B defense budget for 2018 | TheHill

McCain proposes $640B defense budget for 2018 | TheHill: Sen. John McCain

(R-Ariz.) is proposing a $640 billion base defense budget for the next fiscal year, $54 billion above what had been projected by the Obama administration.

“President-elect Donald Trump

has pledged to ‘fully eliminate the defense sequester’ and ‘submit a new budget to rebuild our military.’ This cannot happen soon enough,” McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, wrote in a 33-page white paper released over the holiday weekend.

“The damage that has been done to our military over the past eight years will not be reversed in one year. Just stemming the bleeding caused by recent budget cuts will take most of the next five years, to say nothing of the sustained increases in funding required thereafter.”

McCain’s plan would pay for more troops for the Army and Marine Corps, more ships for the Navy and more planes for the Air Force. But it would require caps on defense spending to be overturned, an action that has eluded Congress since such caps were enacted in 2011 and that fiscal conservatives are expected to continue pushing against.

Combined with a projected $60 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, McCain’s plan would bring next year’s defense budget to a total of $700 billion.

US, Baltic states sign military pacts as Trump uncertainty grows

US, Baltic states sign military pacts as Trump uncertainty grows: The United States and Baltic NATO allies Estonia and Lithuania signed military deals on Tuesday as President-elect Donald Trump's pro-Moscow stance stokes uncertainty about future commitments.

Fellow Baltic state Latvia has also inked a similar agreement defining the status of hundreds of US troops that are to be deployed this year to deter a more militarily aggressive Russia on NATO's vulnerable eastern flank.

These pacts also come after Washington launched a separate mission last week that will see an armoured brigade of some 3,500 soldiers and heavy equipment sent to Poland, the Baltic states and nearby NATO allies Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

The US-lead NATO has been increasing its military presence along Europe's borders with Russia ever since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

U.S. Marine Corps Retools Strategy As Tech Threats Mushroom

U.S. Marine Corps Retools Strategy As Tech Threats Mushroom: The U.S. Marine Corps is postured for the past rather than the future. That's the conclusion its top leaders came to after a year-long review of how the threats Marines face are changing and what the Corps must do to adapt.

It's not that the Marines are likely to suffer defeat at the hands of some foreign adversary anytime soon. But after 16 years of continuously fighting terrorists and insurgents while deferring modernization and experimentation with new warfighting concepts, they sense that their edge is slipping away.

The challenges seem to arise mainly from new technology. On the one hand, enemies are acquiring drones, jamming devices and antiship missiles that complicate the fight for U.S. forces. On the other hand, the Marines have had to slow their own assimilation of new warfighting tools in order to sustain a high state of readiness

McCain fires opening shot in Pentagon budget wars with buildup plan - POLITICO

McCain fires opening shot in Pentagon budget wars with buildup plan - POLITICO:

Sen. John McCain is set to propose a military buildup that would add nearly half a trillion dollars to the defense budget over the next five years and blow past current limits on Pentagon spending, according to a copy of the blueprint drafted by the chairman of the Armed Services and obtained by POLITICO.

The proposal, which is set to be unveiled early this week, is the opening salvo of Republican hawks as they seek to leverage GOP majorities in the House and Senate and seize upon the surprise victory of President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to rebuild the armed forces.

The 21-page plan advocates boosting the Pentagon budget as well as nuclear weapons spending in the Department of Energy by approximately $430 billion over budget projections between fiscal 2018 and 2022 — including to finance a bigger Army and significantly more new warships and fighter jets.

It would also bust through the spending caps now mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which are not set to expire until after 2021 and would have to be overturned.

U.S. Navy helos getting Lockheed Martin counter-missile capability

U.S. Navy helos getting Lockheed Martin counter-missile capability

Lockheed Martin is to provide enhanced electronic warfare surveillance and countermeasure capabilities against anti-ship missiles to U.S. Navy helicopters.

The system to be hosted by MH-60R or MH-60S Seahawk aircraft is the Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) Active Mission Payload AN/ALQ-248, is a self-contained electronic warfare pod, Lockheed Martin said."Every day ships across the world are facing a variety of evolving threats," said Joe Ottaviano, Lockheed Martin's electronic warfare program director. "Our Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare AMP AN/ALQ-248 system will help create a coordinated attack against these threats, to keep our warfighters safe by controlling the electromagnetic spectrum and disrupting adversaries."