Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chip-Sized Digital Optical Synthesizer to Aim for Routine Terabit-per-second Communications

Chip-Sized Digital Optical Synthesizer to Aim for Routine Terabit-per-second Communications

Today, optical communications employ techniques analogous to those of pre-1940 AM radio, due to the inability to control frequency precisely at optical frequencies, which are typically 1,000 times higher than microwaves. The higher frequency of light, however, offers potential for 1,000-fold increase in available bandwidth for communications and other applications.

As both government and commercial need for bandwidth continues to grow, DARPA's new Direct On-chip Digital Optical Synthesizer program seeks to do with light waves what researchers in the 1940s achieved with radio microwaves. Currently, optical frequency synthesis is only possible in laboratories with expensive racks of equipment. If successful, the program would miniaturize optical synthesizers to fit onto microchips, opening up terahertz frequencies for wide application across military electronics systems and beyond."The goal of this program is to make optical frequency synthesis as ubiquitous as microwave synthesis is today," said Robert Lutwak, DARPA program manager. "There are significant challenges, but thanks to related DARPA programs POEM, Quasar, ORCHID, PULSE and E-PHI and other advanced laboratory research, technology is at the tipping point where we're ready to attempt miniaturization of optical frequency synthesis on an inexpensive, small, low-power chip."The basic concept is to create a "gearbox" on a chip that produces laser light with a frequency that is a precise multiple of a referenced radio frequency, such as is readily available within most existing DoD and consumer electronic systems. The ability to control optical frequency in a widely available microchip could enable a host of advanced applications at much lower cost, including:+ High-bandwidth (terabit per second) optical communications+ Enhanced chemical spectroscopy, toxin detection and facility identification+ Improved light detection and ranging (LiDAR)+ High-performance atomic clocks and inertial sensors for position, navigation and timing (PNT) applications+ High-performance optical spectrum analysis (OSA)

Lockheed Martin Wins Contract To Develop Weapons Grade Fiber Laser for US Army Field Test

Lockheed Martin Wins Contract To Develop Weapons Grade Fiber Laser for US Army Field Test: The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million contract to design, build and test a 60-kilowatt electric laser to be integrated and tested in a truck-mounted weapon system demonstrator. The laser weapon is designed to significantly improve the warfighters' ability to counter rockets, artillery, mortars and unmanned aerial threats.

Under a contract managed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command's Technical Center, the Lockheed Martin-provided laser will be integrated on the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). This ruggedized laser builds on the corporation's work under the current Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) contract for the Army.

Raytheon advancing cruise missile capabilities

Raytheon advancing cruise missile capabilities: A new passive seeker for Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles has been put through a captive flight test by Raytheon, the company said on Monday.

The multi-function processor, developed by Raytheon using its own funding, will enable the missile to navigate to and track moving targets that are emitting radio frequency signals.

Besides Tomahawk, the processor could be used in other sophisticated weapon systems.

For the test, a T-39 aircraft was fitted with a Tomahawk with its nosecone equipped with passive antennas integrated with the new modular processor. The passive seeker and processor received signals from targets in a high-density electromagnetic environment while the plane flew at different altitudes.

Raytheon said an active seeker test with the processor inside a Tomahawk nosecone is planned for early next year and will show its ability to broadcast active radar as well as passively receive target electromagnetic information.

Army orders Patriot missile segment enhancement

Army orders Patriot missile segment enhancement

Lockheed Martin has received a first production order from the U.S. Army for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement.

The PAC-3 MSE, an anti-missile missile, features a larger, more powerful dual-pulse motor for added thrust for range and altitude, along with larger fins and other structural modifications for enhanced agility.The larger fins collapse to allow the missile to fit into the current PAC-3 launcher. They also give the hit-to-kill interceptor more maneuverability against faster ballistic and cruise missiles.As part of the first production order from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Lockheed will also produce launcher modification kits to allow PAC-3 launcher to control and launch the hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, as well as heritage Patriot missiles.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The U.S. Army contracts for a laser weapon demonstrator

The U.S. Army contracts for a laser weapon demonstrator: A laser weapon to counter rockets, artillery, mortars and unmanned aerial threats is being designed and built by Lockheed Martin.

The 60-kilowatt electric laser will be integrated in a truck-mounted High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator under a U.S. Army contract worth $25 million.

Lockheed said its electric laser system uses multiple compact, fiber laser modules to generate a high power output beam. A spectral beam combining process combines the many fiber lasers into a single beam that retains the high beam quality of the individual fiber modules while reaching the 60 kilowatt mark.

The company earlier demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser, the highest power ever documented, while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach.

"The SM-3 Block IB's completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "The SM-3's highly successful test performance gives combatant commanders around the world the confidence they need to counter the growing ballistic missile threat."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

173rd paratroopers arrive in Poland | Article | The United States Army

173rd paratroopers arrive in Poland | Article | The United States Army: Today a company-sized contingent of U.S. paratroopers from U.S. Army Europe's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) from Vicenza, Italy, arrived in Poland to begin exercises with Polish troops.

This new exercise is the first in a series of expanded U.S. land force training activities in Poland and the Baltic region that are in addition to previously scheduled multinational land force military exercises such as Combined Resolve II, Saber Strike, Rapid Trident, and Saber Guardian. Exercises like this will take place for the next few months and beyond, and are aimed at assuring regional allies of the U.S.'s unwavering commitment to NATO.

In the coming days additional companies will move into Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for similar exercises.

101st Airborne begins transitioning to BCT 2020 | Article | The United States Army

101st Airborne begins transitioning to Brigade Combat Team 2020

The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is beginning Operation Agile Eagle II, designed to localize and implement the larger Department of the Army-directed Brigade Combat Team 2020 initiative.

This overarching move is part of a plan that will reduce the overall strength of the Army in order to meet future requirements, officials said. Much like the previous brigade modularization undertaken in the mid-2000s, they said Brigade Combat Team 2020, known as BCT 2020, will add additional assets to the brigades and the division to increase their autonomy and enhance their abilities to meet future mission requirements.

"The addition of a third maneuver battalion in each brigade combat team adds to the ability of the division to respond to the needs of the Army with a more robust force to meet mission requirements," said Maj. Gen. James McConville, commander, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). "It also puts more combat Soldiers into units and reduces the overhead of staff."

Additionally, the brigades are standing up brigade engineer battalions, adding an increased range of ability to the commanders to address a wide range of mission challenges.

In addition to adding a third infantry battalion and a brigade engineer battalion to each BCT, the artillery units will also reorganize to composite battalions, which will each have two batteries of 105mm howitzers, and one battery of 155mm howitzers.

The division has already begun adapting to meet the new model by recently inactivating the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT, and reflagging it as the 21st Brigade Engineer Battalion and reorganizing the 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT, to a composite artillery formation.

Last week, the 1st Special Troops Battalion of 1st Brigade Combat Team inactivated and transformed to the 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion. This week, the 4th BCT will inactivate as part of the realignment effort.

"As part of the Army's 2020 model, the division is reducing the 4th Brigade Combat Team and realigning its two infantry battalions under the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams and distributing the remaining elements across the division," said McConville.

The division recently conducted Operation Golden Eagle, the first brigade-size air assault training operation in more than a decade at Fort Campbell that highlighted the capabilities of a brigade under the new BCT 2020 model.

In addition to increasing the division's ability to meet mission requirements, the reorganization also allows the history and lineage of some of the Army's most distinguished units to live on, McConville said.

"We are able to preserve the history and lineage of some of the Army's most highly decorated units with the retention of the 506th Infantry Regiment," he said.

Following the transition of the 1st and 2nd BCTs to the new BCT 2020 model and the activation of the division artillery, the division expects to meet the Army-directed goal of Sept. 30, 2015.

"The end state is that by 2015, we'll be completely transformed to three maneuver brigades," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Manny Vasquez, the lead planner for Agile Eagle II.

Pentagon scientists show off life-size robot

Pentagon scientists show off life-size robot: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a first-hand look at a life-size robot Tuesday that resembles Hollywood's "Terminator," the latest experiment by the Pentagon's hi-tech researchers.

But unlike the cinematic version, the hulking Atlas robot is designed not as a warrior but as a humanitarian machine that would rescue victims in the rubble of a natural disaster, officials said.

The 6-foot-2-inch (187 centimeters) Atlas is one of the entrants in a contest designed to produce a man-like life-saver machine, the brainchild of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The competition, which will require the bots to navigate rough terrain and enter buildings, was created in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima quake and tsunami disasters.

DARPA, the Pentagon's research arm known for futuristic projects often evoking science fiction, showed off the Atlas robot to Hagel, but except for LED lighting, the humanoid was apparently switched off on a "static" display.

Dispute islands 'within scope' of US-Japan alliance: Obama

Dispute islands 'within scope' of US-Japan alliance: Obama

The islands at the centre of a corrosive row between Tokyo and Beijing are covered by the US-Japan defence alliance, Barack Obama told a newspaper ahead of his arrival in Tokyo Wednesday.

Obama, whose tour of Asia will also take in South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia, is the first sitting US president to explicitly affirm that hostile action against the island chain would spark an American reaction."The policy of the United States is clear -- the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security," Obama said in a written interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun."And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan's administration of these islands," he said.Several senior US figures, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have made similar statements, which Tokyo covets as a way to warn China away from territories it claims as the Diaoyus.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Combined Resolve II to exercise Army's European Rotational Force | Article | The United States Army

Combined Resolve II to exercise Army's European Rotational Force | Article | The United States Army

The U.S. Army's European Rotational Force will participate in a major exercise alongside NATO allies and partner-nation forces at the Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas in southeastern Germany, May 1-June 30, 2014.

Exercise Combined Resolve II will include more than 4,000 participants from 13 nations, including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the U.S.

Combined Resolve II will be the largest scheduled multi-national exercise in Europe in 2014, said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, commanding general of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr.

"Of the 4,000 Soldiers, over 50 percent are multinational," said Piatt. "We've done larger exercises in the past, but this is the first time all the forces will be together in one place under a single brigade task organization."

The U.S. rotational force will consist of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, a unit of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the brigade combat team designated as the Army's regionally-aligned force for the U.S. European Command.

Combined Resolve II will also mark the first use of the Army's European Activity Set, a group of combat equipment and vehicles pre-positioned at the Grafenwoehr Training Area to outfit and support rotational forces when they arrive in Europe. The set includes the most updated versions of the Army's M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

The first phase of Combined Resolve II will include force-on-force maneuver training at the Army's Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels. The 2-5 CAV will then move to Grafenwoehr for gunnery training, culminating in a unique multi-national, live-fire exercise that will blend virtual, simulated and maneuver forces to replicate a complex operating environment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lockheed's JLTV offering surpasses 100k miles in testing

Lockheed's JLTV offering surpasses 100k miles in testing

The Joint Light Tactical vehicle by a Lockheed Martin team has surpassed 100,000 miles in government testing, the company announced on Monday.

The Engineering & Manufacturing Development reliability, availability and maintainability testing involves primary on-road, secondary road and off-road/trail driving of the vehicles, 22 of which were delivered to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps."Our JLTV continues to demonstrate excellent reliability," said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "With this 100,000-mile milestone now in our rear-view mirror, we look forward to continue proving to our Army and Marine Corps customers that our JLTV delivers the most capability at the right price."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia - NYTimes.com

Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia - NYTimes.com

For two weeks, the mysteriously well-armed, professional gunmen known as “green men” have seized Ukrainian government sites in town after town, igniting a brush fire of separatist unrest across eastern Ukraine. Strenuous denials from the Kremlin have closely followed each accusation by Ukrainian officials that the world was witnessing a stealthy invasion by Russian forces.

Now, photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration on Sunday suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces — equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February. Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.
And Ukraine’s state security service has identified one Russian reported to be active among the green men as Igor Ivanovich Strelkov, a Russian military intelligence operative in his mid- to late 50s. He is said to have a long résumé of undercover service with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian general staff, most recently in Crimea in February and March and now in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

GMLRS alternative warhead completes production qualification tests

GMLRS alternative warhead completes production qualification tests

The fifth and final production qualification test for Lockheed Martin's Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System alternative warhead has been completed.

During the long-range test at the White Sands missile range in New Mexico, four missiles with an alternative warhead were fired from a HIMARS launcher and destroyed targets located about 40 miles away, Lockheed said.The developmental/operational phase of testing of the system is now scheduled to begin this summer, with the initial operational test and evaluation phase of testing taking place before the end of the year."This next phase of testing will be critical in determining operational effectiveness," said Ken Musculus, vice president of Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We are committed to the customer and their success on the battlefield, and these tests ensure production of a trustworthy and effective solution."The Alternative Warhead program is part of a U.S. military project for a GMLRS variant that meets Department of Defense policy for cluster munitions as well as an international treaty on cluster munitions. The warhead is designed to meet the destruction area requirements as the usual GMLRS sub-munitions warhead but without a danger of unexploded ordinance remaining.The alternative warhead is being developed by ATK under a sub-contract from Lockheed Martin.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

U.S. Plans Military Drills in Eastern Europe - NYTimes.com

U.S. Plans Military Drills in Eastern Europe - NYTimes.com

The United States plans to carry out small ground-force exercises in Poland and Estonia in an attempt to reassure NATO’s Eastern European members worried about Russia’s military operations in and near Ukraine, Western officials said Friday.

The moves are part of a broader effort by NATO to strengthen the alliance’s air, sea and land presence in Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s new assertiveness in the region.
It is not yet clear what additional troop deployments the United States and other NATO nations might undertake in Eastern Europe after the exercises and to what extent the moves would ease anxieties there.
The land-force exercises the Obama administration is planning are extremely modest.
The exercise in Poland, which is expected to be announced next week, would involve a United States Army company and would last about two weeks, officials said. A company consists of about 150 soldiers.
The exercise in Estonia would be similar, said a Western official who declined to be identified because he was talking about internal planning.
Although the exercises would be short, the United States is considering other ways to maintain a regular ground-force presence in Eastern Europe by rotating troops and conducting training there.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Air Force researchers test Google Glass for battlefield use > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Air Force researchers test Google Glass for battlefield use > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Whether trying to coordinate multiple aircraft in a three-dimensional battlespace, calling in precise close air support or evacuating personnel caught behind enemy lines – effective multitasking is at the heart of the mission for Air Force special operators.

Researchers with the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are now working to make missions lighter and faster for Airmen by testing Google Glass and its head-mounted optical see-through display technology, for potential battlefield use.

Still in beta-testing as part of Google's Explorer program, the trials are conducted by the Battlefield Air Targeting, Man-Aided Knowledge, or BATMA(N) group, an advanced technology demonstration and research program commissioned by the Air Force Special Operations Command to develop, build and investigate advanced wearable technologies.

“Trying to interact in the battlespace places a lot of burden on the dismounted battlefield Airmen,” said Dr. Gregory Burnett, the chief engineer of the BATMA(N) program. “BATMA(N) is a constant endeavor to try to improve tactical decision making and reduce the human error associated with our Airmen’s mission set.”

A combination between a hardware and software product, Google Glass is based on Google’s own Android operating system and can leverage a great majority of modern smartphone capabilities while remaining light and allowing for largely hands-free operation.

“Its most distinguishing feature is that its screen sits above the user’s right eye,” said Andres Calvo, a software developer and civilian contractor with the 711th HPW. “What that means is that the screen is off by default. Whenever you need to access the information, you either look up, or you touch on the trackpad and only then will the screen turn on.”

While aircraft pilots have been using variations of heads-up displays for years, with the latest iteration being incorporated in the new helmets worn by F-35 Lightning II pilots, the engineers said the tactical ground missions put high demands on the operators over extended periods of time and varying environments.

One possible use being investigated in preliminary studies, Calvo said, is a medical app that would allow first responders in the pararescue community to monitor vitals of multiple casualties, without taking their hands off patients or weapons.

“Since (pararescuemen) have the need to recover personnel, it’s beneficial for them to monitor many people at once,” Calvo said. “The app aims to better enable them to assess who needs urgent medical attention, and it would improve their accountability. Google Glass is a display that has the potential to display that information. So, if a (pararescueman) has the need to see somebody’s vitals, immediately and urgently, Google Glass could fill that need.”

With the aim to reduce the overall size, weight and power required of the dismounted operator, engineers attempt to move away from clunky, ruggedized laptops with short battery life. Google Glass is intended to work within an ensemble in combination with cellphones or tablet devices that will hold the data and supplement the heads-up display.

“Google Glass is not going to be a stand-alone interface,” Calvo said. “It’s also coupled with an (android) device, so if a (pararescueman) is in need of viewing information that is more in-depth, or too dense to be viewed through Google Glass, then the smartphone would be a good place to do that.”

Google Glass is only one of many research endeavors BATMA(N) is conducting within the 711th HPW, Burnett said. The team is also investigating similar technologies, such as BAE Systems’ Q-Warrior display technology, for Air Force viability.

“Heads-up displays and auditory cueing interfaces are really interesting items because we are trying to offload and augment the information the warfighter has to interact with on the battlefield in order to improve mission effectiveness,” Burnett said. “We look at visual, auditory and tactile interfaces that serve to leverage all the human perception channels to provide real-time battlefield data in the most intuitive fashion. So, if the Airman is visually overstimulated, we can offload that into auditory information so that he can still process information in a very chaotic scenario.”

To assess how the interface affects users’ stimulation, the group uses a variety of test approaches.

“The lab here has a very diverse group of people,” Calvo said. “Not only do we have engineers and software developers, but we also have human factors specialists and behavioral scientists. So whenever we approach a problem we have a very multidisciplinary approach to it.”

To better understand the needs of the user, the engineers bring their developments to regular test and feedback sessions with Airmen operators.

“We regularly interact with subject matter experts from active-duty units in the pararescue and (the joint terminal attack control) community to assess what information would be more relevant and intuitive for them,” Burnett said. ”They are involved in the design of these new applications we present on Google Glass.”

The engineers use their feedback to improve the applications with lessons learned.

“Usually we use an iterative approach for design,” Calvo said. “In other words, we try to come up with a concept for a particular application and then we let them try it out. Then, not only do we gather the feedback from the users, but we also watch them use it. Based on that, we try to articulate what parts of the application need refinement. It’s really after iteration after iteration that a product starts taking shape.”

While many research projects at the Air Force Research Laboratory have a long-term focus, the BATMA(N) group’s efforts are notably short-term -- with some technologies adopted within as little as two months, Burnett said.

“What is exciting is that it is a very quick-reaction tempo,” Burnett said. “We are focusing on more of a rapid, near-term solution. Having the ability to rapidly (address) urgent deficiencies for the warfighter makes the work challenging, yet very rewarding … It is motivating to have a short suspense because it requires you to produce a viable solution that really answers a real and urgent need.”

Despite the challenges of current budgetary constraints, Burnett said it is important to keep future technology needs in sight.

“We always want to keep one step ahead of our adversaries,” Burnett said. “To remain relevant and to make sure the government stays on top of new developments, we continuously look to the internal sources and programs, as well as the civilian sector, so that we can bring in, from both sides, the latest and greatest capabilities to provide enhanced capabilities to the warfighter.”

No matter whether the service will adopt Google Glass or a similar product, the engineers say they never lose focus of their mission to equip Airmen on the front lines.

“Our internal motivation is to better equip the warfighter so they can come home safely,” Burnett said. “At the end of the day, we know the work we’re doing is directly impacting the survivability of our warfighters in the field. That is very motivating to us … when we really distill it all down to the basics, it’s about us caring for the human (aspect of missions) and their challenge set.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

Social media helping destabilize world, strategist says at War College | Article | The United States Army

Social media helping destabilize world, strategist says at War College | Article | The United States Army

Twitter, Facebook and other types of social media are contributing to global instability, said Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor -- a team of intelligence experts.

The use of social media, he explained, has been shown to unite and rally demonstrators at a moment's notice, enabling them to focus their energies on toppling regimes in just a matter of days. An example would be the use of it during the so-called Arab Spring, which began in December 2010.

Kaplan was keynote speaker at the 25th Annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle, Pa., sponsored by the Army War College, in partnership with the Joint Staff/J7. His remarks and those of others are not official U.S. Army doctrine. Rather they are meant to inform the Army of possible challenges it faces in the coming years and decades, officials said.


Failed, collapsed or weakened states pose a regional security problem and even a national security threat for the U.S. and its Army, Kaplan said, defining a weak or failed state as one where travel outside the capital can be dangerous -- places like Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.

Social media is not the only factor that will increasingly destabilize the world in the next 20 years, he said.

Ethnic and religious sectarian problems will continue to fester and create failed states in places like Africa and the Middle East, areas he compared to the post-Roman Empire Christendom in 4th, 5th and 6th-century Europe, where doctrinal battles and violence occurred between various sects.

Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic area examples where that is occurring and Kaplan believes it will further spread as passions increase.

Another factor in the rise of failed states, he said, is the end of colonial rule and the strongmen who followed.

Like it or not, he said, the European powers sliced up the world in spheres of influence and domination, where protest and chaos was effectively quashed.

When that domination ended in the 1960s, strongmen -- who were seen by their people as leaders against imperialism -- emerged. Since these dictators now felt like they had moral authority, they governed how they pleased, he said, adding that it wasn't always in the best interest of their own people, but at least they maintained tight control.

But with the era of colonial rule and strongmen ending, people are getting restless and want change, he said; however the change each tribe, ethnic or sectarian group seeks may be very different and this results in friction and clashes.


One of the most important factors creating global instability, he said, are weak institutions that Americans take for granted; things like the departments of motor vehicles, water and electric companies, police and firefighters. These are not top-level government agencies, but are services that make society function.

In vast swaths of Africa and Asia, these institutions are weak and in some cases nonexistent, he said. Weak institutions in turn give rise to feeble state identities. Feeble state identities in turn breed discontent and anarchy.

That discontent then often manifests itself in militant, radicalized groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which can create regional security problems. The kinds of people that join these types of groups, he said, are more willing to die for a cause than they would be for the state.

Non-state actors, he said, are also empowered by new technologies that have the potential for doing a great deal of damage; for instance offensive cyber capabilities and plastic explosives that can fit inside a pocket. A very small group of people with ideologies and these types of weapons can cause a great deal of instability.

There's not much the U.S. will be able to do in the coming years to address failed states, he said, because the money to do it might not be there. The U.S., however, can take selective actions it deems important using its special operations capabilities.

Meanwhile, he said, the Army and other services remaining strong can serve as a deterrent to those who would do America harm. In other words, even if the Army isn't engaged in direct combat, its strength will dissuade potential aggressors.


As if failed states aren't bad enough, Kaplan said there's plenty to be concerned about with respect to non-failed states like China and Russia.

For centuries, China was effectively separated from India by the Himalayas. Then, new technologies made the world a much smaller place.

Now, the Chinese are building warships and routinely sailing in the Indian Ocean and they're building airfields in Tibet for fighter aircraft. India too is building warships and is using its satellites to spy on the Chinese.

This can cause a great deal of mutual suspicions and mistrust, Kaplan said.

The Chinese are mimicking what the U.S. did in the 19th and 20th centuries in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. made the Caribbean its own lake and controlled the Panama Canal -- the passage between the Atlantic and Pacific.

In China's case, officials look at the East and South China seas -- and increasingly the Indian Ocean -- as part of their strategic sphere of influence. In other words, it's their Caribbean.

For now, it isn't in their interest to attack the U.S. because their military is not as strong as the U.S. and they can take their time building it up and gaining experience in using new military technologies, he said. Also, Kaplan doesn't believe the Chinese are in meetings planning a world empire.

The problem for the U.S. with regard to China, he said, is that China will face internal instability over the coming decades because of an economic slowdown and tumultuous ethnic and social transformation.

When that occurs, the best way for China's leaders to hold sway over their people will be to dial up nationalism, he said. That nationalism would take the form of provocations to its neighbors.


With respect to Russia, Kaplan said it too is acting in the same way the U.S. has in the past, dominating countries close to it like Ukraine, which he said the Russian people consider part of their heritage.

Throughout history, the Russians have felt the need for a buffer zone between their country and Europe, especially since it was periodically invaded by the French, Germans and others. America, he said, has been insulated from that threat by two oceans.

Russia's need for buffers has not gone unnoticed by its eastern European neighbors, who are becoming increasingly uneasy, as Russia has proved willing to use force in Crimea and as it builds up its military forces elsewhere, he said.

Poles, Romanians and others are not reassured that they'll get military assistance if needed from Western Europe, whose armies have been downsized much more than U.S. Army, he said. As well, Europe has become dependent on Russia for its energy needs, so this gives the Russians a great deal of leverage.

Because of Eastern Europe's mistrust of getting help from the rest of Europe, Kaplan said they've turned increasingly to the U.S. for help, participating in U.S.-led exercises and contributing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with the hope that in the future, the U.S. will remember their loyalties.


So what can America do in the coming decades?

Besides maintaining a strong military, Kaplan said the U.S. can partner with other powers, India and Japan, for instance.

India views the U.S. presence in the Indian Ocean, for example, as a counter to China's buildup. And in turn, he said, the U.S. values India's military, although there isn't a formal treaty like NATO in place.

The other thing the U.S. can do, he said, is to organize its interagency structure in a more vertical manner, like the British did in the 19th century and earlier with its East India Company. Economic, political and military agencies worked hand-in-hand in foreign policy, although today that policy would be viewed as imperialistic.

The U.S. military can use the vertical model to its benefit in national security by working more closely with the Department of State and agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development.

An important area of national security where Kaplan sees the U.S. going in the right direction is the continued development of its home-grown energy requirements, which makes America less reliant on energy imports from places not always friendly to the U.S.

Besides his work for Stratfor, Kaplan, is a national correspondent for the magazine "The Atlantic," author of "Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and End of a Stable Pacific," and in 2011 and 2012, he was chosen by "Foreign Policy" magazine as one of the world's "Top 100 Global Thinkers."

The 25th Annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle ran April 8-10.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Air Force plan to get rid of A-10s runs into opposition - The Washington Post

Air Force plan to get rid of A-10s runs into opposition - The Washington Post: It’s often called the military’s ugliest aircraft, a snub-nosed tank of a plane that’s nicknamed “Warthog” for its appearance and ferocity. The A-10 Thunderbolt II has been the Air Force’s equivalent of an in-the-trenches grunt for almost 40 years: heavily armed and armored, designed to fly low and take out the enemy at close range.

But now, after a career that has spanned from the Cold War to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has proposed retiring the fleet as part of across-the-board cuts in defense spending. Getting rid of the remaining 283 planes would save $3.7 billion over five years, Defense Department officials say, and allow the Air Force to bring in more sophisticated aircraft, such as the F-35 Lightning II, to provide what is called close air support.

Inside the FBI’s secret relationship with the military’s special operations - The Washington Post

Inside the FBI’s secret relationship with the military’s special operations - The Washington Post

The FBI’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency to a counterterrorism organization in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been well-documented. Less widely known has been the bureau’s role in secret operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations around the world.

With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States. The bureau’s agents, in turn, could preserve evidence and maintain a chain of custody should any suspect be transferred to the United States for trial.

The FBI’s presence on the far edge of military operations was not universally embraced, according to current and former officials familiar with the bureau’s role. As agents found themselves in lethal firefights, some inside the bureau expressed uneasiness about a domestic law enforcement agency stationing its personnel on battlefields.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for the United States

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for the United States

The United States recognized the independence of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia when the former Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991. The United States has fostered these states’ ties with the West in part to end their dependence on Russia for trade, security, and other relations. Successive Administrations have supported U.S. private investment in Azerbaijan’s energy sector as a means of increasing the diversity of world energy suppliers. The United States has been active in diplomatic efforts to resolve regional conflicts in the region. As part of U.S. global counter-terrorism efforts, the U.S. military in 2002 began providing equipment and training for Georgia’s military and security forces. Troops from all three regional states have participated in stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The regional states also have granted transit privileges for U.S. military personnel and equipment bound to and from Afghanistan.
Beginning on August 7, 2008, Russia and Georgia warred over Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian troops quickly swept into Georgia, destroyed infrastructure, and tightened their de facto control over the breakaway regions before a ceasefire was concluded on August 15. The conflict has had long-term effects on security dynamics in the region and beyond. Russia established military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia that buttress its long-time security presence in Armenia. Despite concerns that the South Caucasus had become less stable as a source and transit area for oil and gas, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are barging oil across the Caspian Sea for transit westward. The United States and the European Union still support building more east-west pipelines through Turkey to bring Azerbaijani and perhaps other gas to European markets.

Pentagon chief's visit exposes US-China divide

Pentagon chief's visit exposes US-China divide: Visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese military chiefs traded warnings and rebukes Tuesday as they clashed over Beijing's territorial disputes with its neighbours, North Korea's missile programme and cyber espionage.

Both sides were clearly at odds over a litany of issues, despite Hagel and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan calling for more dialogue between the world's strongest and largest militaries, with the American coming under hostile questioning from a roomful of People's Liberation Army officers.

One member of the audience told Hagel the United States feared China's rise and was sowing trouble among its Pacific neighbours to "hamper" Beijing because one day "China will be too big a challenge for the United States to cope with".

The Pentagon chief denied the US was trying to hold China back but the tough questioning contrasted with the deferential reception given to his predecessor Leon Panetta at a similar event two years ago.

Hagel faced a blunt reprimand in an earlier meeting with a senior officer, General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, according to an account from the official state news agency Xinhua.

Referring to critical comments by Hagel earlier in his Asia trip, Fan said the "Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks".

US could 're-examine' its military presence in Europe

US could 're-examine' its military presence in Europe

Russia's takeover of Crimea could prompt a review the US military presence in Europe, which has declined steadily since the end of the Cold War, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.

"While we do not seek confrontation with Russia, its actions in Europe and Eurasia may require the United States to re-examine our force posture in Europe and our requirement for future deployments, exercises, and training in the region," said Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet.Some 67,000 US military members are currently stationed on the European continent, mainly in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000) and Britain (9,500).When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total presence stood at 285,000.Chollet, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, did not specify what such a re-examination could entail at a time when the Pentagon faces budget cuts and is seeking to redeploy part of its resources to the Asia Pacific region as part of a so-called pivot strategy."Russia's unlawful military intervention in Ukraine challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace," he said. "It changes Europe's security landscape. It causes instability on NATO's borders. And it is a challenge to the international order."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities?

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities?: China is building a modern and regionally powerful Navy with a modest but growing capability for conducting operations beyond China’s near-seas region. The question is of particular importance to the U.S. Navy, because many U.S. military programs for countering improved Chinese military forces would fall within the Navy’s budget. Observers expect that there will be a stronger emphasis in DOD planning on U.S. naval and air forces. Decisions that Congress and the executive branch make regarding U.S. Navy programs for countering improved Chinese maritime military capabilities could affect the likelihood or possible outcome of a potential U.S.-Chinese military conflict in the Pacific over Taiwan or some other issue.

Even in the absence of such a conflict, the U.S.-Chinese military balance in the Pacific could influence d choices made by other Pacific countries, including whether to align their policies more closely with China or the United States. Decisions regarding U.S. Navy programs for countering improved Chinese maritime military forces could therefor influence the political evolution of the Pacific, which in turn could affect the ability of the United States to pursue goals relating to various policy issues, both in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Navy to Deploy Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV

Navy to Deploy Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV: The U.S. Navy plans to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint high speed vessel in fiscal year 2016, the service announced today.

This test will mark the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) has been demonstrated at sea, symbolizing a significant advance in naval combat.

EM railgun technology uses an electromagnetic force - known as the Lorenz Force - to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This guided projectile is launched at such high velocities that it can achieve greater ranges than conventional guns. It maintains enough kinetic energy that it doesn't require any kind of high explosive payload when
it reaches its target.

High-energy EM railguns are expected to be lethal and effective against multiple threats, including enemy warships, small boats, aircraft, missiles and land-based targets.

"The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy," said Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. "This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide-range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons."

EM railgun technology will complement current kinetic weapons currently onboard surface combatants and offer a few specific advantages. Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. The
projectile itself is being designed to be common with some current powder guns, enabling the conservation of expensive missiles for use against more complex threats.

Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight with Fuel From the Sea Concept

Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight with Fuel From the Sea Concept: Navy researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Materials Science and Technology Division, demonstrated proof-of-concept of novel NRL technologies developed for the recovery of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) from seawater and conversion to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

Fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon - a component of NRL's novel gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that uses CO2 and H2 as feedstock - the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled (RC) P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf (OTS) and unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

Using an innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module (E-CEM), both dissolved and bound CO2 are removed from seawater at 92 percent efficiency by re-equilibrating carbonate and bicarbonate to CO2 and simultaneously producing H2. The gases are then converted to liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system.

"In close collaboration with the Office of Naval Research P38 Naval Reserve program, NRL has developed a game-changing technology for extracting, simultaneously, CO2 and H2 from seawater," said Dr. Heather Willauer, NRL research chemist. "This is the first time technology of this nature has been demonstrated with the potential for transition, from the laboratory, to full-scale commercial implementation."

All Systems Go: Navy's Laser Weapon Ready for Summer Deployment

Navy engineers are making final adjustments to a laser weapon prototype that will be the first of its kind to deploy aboard a ship late this summer.

The prototype, an improved version of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), will be installed on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf, fulfilling plans announced by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert at the 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo.

"This is a revolutionary capability," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. "It's absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our Sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change the way we fight and save lives."

Navy leaders have made directed-energy weapons a top priority to counter what they call asymmetric threats, including unmanned and light aircraft and small attack boats that could be used to deny U.S. forces access to certain areas. High-energy lasers offer an affordable and safe way to target these threats at the speed of light with extreme precision and an unlimited magazine, experts say.

"Our nation's adversaries are pursuing a variety of ways to try and restrict our freedom to operate," Klunder said. "Spending about $1 per shot of a directed-energy source that never runs out gives us an alternative to firing costly munitions at inexpensive threats."

Klunder leads the Office of Naval Research (ONR), which has worked with the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and others to make powerful directed-energy weapons a reality.

The Navy already has demonstrated the effectiveness of lasers in a variety of maritime settings. In a 2011 demonstration, a laser was used to defeat multiple small boat threats from a destroyer. In 2012, LaWS downed several unmanned aircraft in tests.

Over the past several months, working under the ONR Quick Reaction Capability program, a team of Navy engineers and scient

War of Varus - Judea Rises Against Rome in 4 BC

War of Varus - Judea Rises Against Rome in 4 BC: King Herod I. served Rome as a willing proxy ruler over Judea, alienating his Jewish subjects by supporting pagan temples, observance of Roman holidays, and sponsorship of arena games in Jerusalem. The last straw for the pious Jewish opposition was erection of a huge gilded eagle – the symbol of Roman power – above the gates to the Temple District.

When Herod died in 4 BC, Jerusalem and all Judea erupted. Pious Jews, would be Messiahs, and terrorists alike rose up, all hoping to restore Judea's liberty. Publius Quintilius Varus, Rome's governor in Syria, was tasked with suppressing the revolts and restoring order – Rome's order – in the land.

Varus led three complete legions and numerous Arab auxiliaries into Judea and marched on Jerusalem, systematically and brutally suppressing all opposition, with little regard for the fate of innocents. Jewish-Roman historian Josephus termed the War of Varus one of the greatest catastrophes to ever befall the Jewish people.

Resilient Terror

Resilient Terror: When the “Global War on Terrorism” was declared after Al Qaeda’s brazen 2001 attack on the United States, many experts pointed out that it takes an average of two decades to defeat an insurgency. We are only halfway through that time period. And the insurgencies on which that analysis was based were all geographically defined, e.g. the Moro Uprising in the early 20th-Century southern Philippines.
A few years ago the US government and some outside observers were declaring victory was in sight, as Al Qaeda’s top leadership and mid-level leadership was significantly reduced through a combination of drone-strikes and special operations.

That assessment has changed. Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, Islamist terrorism appears to be on the rebound, spreading to more regions and spawning ever more groups. While core Al Qaeda may indeed remain physically damaged and its ability to launch independent operations seems impeded, the many affiliate groups popping up more than make up for this. And it should be remembered that Al Qaeda – literally “The Base” or figuratively “The Headquarters” – began as a clearing house for coordinating and encouraging terrorist operations by like-minded but less-well organized fanatics. In this light, Al Qaeda’s central concept and “brand” remain dynamic and dangerous.

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations: Israel is a leading recipient of U.S. foreign aid and is a frequent purchaser of major U.S. weapons systems. The United States and Israel maintain close security cooperation— predicated on a U.S. commitment and legal requirement to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in its region. The two countries signed a free trade agreement in 1985, and the United States is Israel’s largest trading partner. Israel has many regional security concerns. By criticizing the international interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that went into effect in January 2014, Prime Minister Netanyahu may seek to give Israel a voice in an ongoing negotiating process in which it does not directly participate. In addition to concerns over Iran, Israel’s perceptions of security around its borders have changed since early 2011 as several surrounding Arab countries have experienced political upheaval.

In East Ukraine, Protesters Seek Russian Troops - NYTimes.com

In East Ukraine, Protesters Seek Russian Troops - NYTimes.com: Maj. Stanislav Karchevskiy, was killed in a military dormitory where he lived with his wife and two children, next to the Novofedorivka air base in western Crimea.

The death of the Ukrainian officer was a rare instance of deadly violence as Ukrainian forces continued their withdrawal from the peninsula after its annexation by Russia.

Mr. Seleznev said the Ukrainian soldier had been collecting his belongings in preparation to leave Crimea when an argument broke out with Russian service members, Reuters reported Monday.

Mr. Seleznev said that the altercation involved several Ukrainian and Russian soldiers and that there were no other injuries. He said a Russian soldier armed with an automatic weapon entered the dormitory and shot Major Karchevskiy, who was unarmed.

Russian marine kills Ukrainian officer: Kiev

Russian marine kills Ukrainian officer: Kiev: A Russian marine has shot dead a Ukrainian naval officer in Crimea, the Ukrainian defence ministry said Monday, the second reported death since Moscow claimed the Black Sea peninsula last month.

The defence ministry said the incident occurred late Sunday in a military residence hall in the eastern Crimean village of Novofyodorovka, where Ukraine has an air base.

The Ukrainian officer was killed "at point-blank range by two shots fired from an AK-74 machine gun," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that another officer in the residence hall "was brutally beaten and arrested by Russian soldiers."

Navy to fly drone helicopters from tablet app

Navy to fly drone helicopters from tablet app: The Pentagon is pushing the envelope yet again with a new $100 million, five-year program that aims to turn assorted military helicopters into a fleet of autonomous unmanned choppers.

When all is said and done, the program is expected to give United States troops another advantage in the battlefield by allowing them the ability to fly in choppers hauling valuable cargo without risking the lives of American pilots.

According to Pentagon officials, the military is already making immense progress with the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System, or AACUS program, and Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder - the US Navy's chief of research - told the Wall Street Journal that recent advances are an example of "truly leap-ahead technology." Officials told Reuters that the system has been tested on three different types of helicopters already.

In a video uploaded to YouTube by the Navy this week, the Naval Research Laboratory demonstrated how the addition of a 100-pound sensor and software package to different types of rotary wing aircraft, both manned and unmanned, can transform those vehicles into cargo-carrying drones that can then be controlled remotely using an iPad-like tablet computer.

This technology, the Navy said on their YouTube page, "will provide the US Marine Corps with the ability to rapidly support forces on the front lines, as an alternative to convoys, manned aircraft or air drops in all weather and possibly hostile conditions, with minimal training required by the requester."

Remote Troops Closer to Having High-Speed Wireless Networks Mounted on UAVs

Remote Troops Closer to Having High-Speed Wireless Networks Mounted on UAVs: Missions in remote, forward operating locations often suffer from a lack of connectivity to tactical operation centers and access to valuable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data. The assets needed for long-range, high-bandwidth communications capabilities are often unavailable to lower echelons due to theater-wide mission priorities.

DARPA's Mobile Hotspots program aims to help overcome this challenge by developing a reliable, on-demand capability for establishing long-range, high-capacity reachback that is organic to tactical units.

The program is building and demonstrating a scalable, mobile millimeter-wave communications backhaul network mounted on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and providing a 1 Gb/s capacity. DARPA performers recently completed the first of three phases in which they developed and tested key technologies to be integrated into a complete system and flight tested in subsequent phases.

"We're pleased with the technical achievements we've seen so far in steerable millimeter-wave antennas and millimeter-wave amplifier technology," said Dick Ridgway, DARPA program manager. "These successes-and the novel networking approaches needed to maintain these high-capacity links-are key to providing forward deployed units with the same high-capacity connectivity we all enjoy over our 4G cell-phone networks."

LockMart and US Navy Demonstrate Airborne Autonomy Technology

LockMart and US Navy Demonstrate Airborne Autonomy Technology: As autonomous technologies continue to develop and grow within the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully demonstrated the Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS mission system's ability to accomplish an autonomous approach and landing in an unprepared environment.

The system enhances the onboard intelligence of the vehicle and provides an advanced mission planning capability that can be applied to current and future helicopters and rotary wing aircraft.

The Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) demonstration tested Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS technology aboard a K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which served as a test bed for the system. During the demonstration, an active duty Marine interfaced with the mission system's handheld flight control device to complete a resupply mission.

The system successfully planned, routed and executed the mission without requiring user input.

Northrop Grumman to Build Five More MQ-8C Fire Scouts for the US Navy

Northrop Grumman to Build Five More MQ-8C Fire Scouts for the US Navy

Northrop Grumman will build five additional U.S. Navy MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters, which allow ship commanders to extend their intelligence-gathering capabilities far beyond the horizon.

Final assembly of the aircraft will take place at the company's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. The MQ-8C is based on a larger helicopter airframe that provides greater range, endurance and payload capacity over the currently fielded MQ-8B Fire Scout variant."Land-based flight tests of the system are progressing well and we're working with the Navy to conduct our first ship-based flights this summer," said George Vardoulakis, vice president, medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman. "We expect the MQ-8C Fire Scout will be ready for operations by year end."The MQ-8C can remain on station for more than eight hours and supporting long-duration missions, thus requiring less aircraft to sustain operations.A total of 19 aircraft are under contract with the Navy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Congressional Research Service Report RL 33407 is now available in print. The title is:  Russian Political, Economic, and  Security Issues and U.S. Interests

It discusses Russian-American relations since the end of the Soviet Union, including US economic aid to Russia. Discusses US efforts to influence political and economic reform in post-Soviet Russia, and bilateral cooperation on such issues as terrorism and proliferation. Analyzes the deterioration of US-Russia relations since the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, and escalating bilateral tensions since 2012, up to and including the current occupation of the Crimea and threats against Ukraine. Discusses America's practical interests in US-Russian cooperation, and explores the reasons behind the deterioration of relations since the accession of Vladimir Putin despite Barack Obama's attempts to "reset" US-Russian relations.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War - NYTimes.com

Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War - NYTimes.com:

In the skies above Yemen, the Pentagon’s armed drones have stopped flying, a result of the ban on American military drone strikes imposed by the government there after a number of botched operations in recent years killed Yemeni civilians. But the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone war in Yemen continues.

In Pakistan, the C.I.A. remains in charge of drone operations, and may continue to be long after American troops have left Afghanistan.
And in Jordan, it is the C.I.A. rather than the Pentagon that is running a program to arm and train Syrian rebels — a concession to the Jordanian government, which will not allow an overt military presence in the country.
Just over a year ago John O. Brennan, the C.I.A.’s newly nominated director, said at his confirmation hearing that it was time to refocus an agency that had become largely a paramilitary organization after the Sept. 11 attacks toward more traditional roles carrying out espionage, intelligence collection and analysis. And in a speech last May in which he sought to redefine American policy toward terrorism, President Obama expanded on that theme, announcing new procedures for drone operations, which White House officials said would gradually become the responsibility of the Pentagon.

But change has come slowly to the C.I.A.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Future outlook released for remotely piloted aircraft > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Future outlook released for remotely piloted aircraft > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Air Force leaders outlined what the next 25 years for remotely piloted aircraft will look like in the RPA Vector, published April 4.

“The RPA Vector is the Air Force’s vision for the next 25 years for remotely-piloted aircraft,” said Col. Kenneth Callahan, the RPA capabilities division director. “It shows the current state of the program, the great advances of where we have been and the vision of where we are going.”

The goal for the vector on the operational side is to continue the legacy Airmen created in the RPA field. The vector is also designed to expand upon leaps in technology and changes the Airmen have made through the early years of the program.

“The Airmen have made it all about supporting the men and women on the ground,” Callahan said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them for their own advances in technology to expand the program, making it a top platform.”

The document gives private corporations an outlook on the capabilities the Air Force wants to have in the future, ranging from creation of new RPAs to possibilities of automated refueling systems.

“There is so much more that can be done with RPAs,” said Col. Sean Harrington, an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance command and control requirements chief. “Their roles (RPAs) within the Air Force are evolving. We have been able to modify RPAs as a plug-and-play capability while looking to expand those opportunities.”

In recent years, RPAs not only supported the warfighter on the ground, they also played a vital role in humanitarian missions around the world. They provided real time imagery and video after the earthquake that led to a tsunami in Japan in 2011 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, according to Callahan.

Then, most recently, during the California Rim Fire in August 2013, more than 160,000 acres of land were destroyed. Though this loss was significant, it was substantially decreased by the support of the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, with support from an MQ-1 Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft.

With this vector, technologies may be created to improve those capabilities while supporting different humanitarian efforts, allowing the Air Force to support natural disaster events more effectively and timely.

The future of the Air Force’s RPA programs will be continuously evolving, to allow the Air Force to be the leader in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.

“We already combine our air, space and cyber forces to maximize these enduring contributions, but the way we execute must continually evolve as we strive to increase our asymmetric advantage,” said Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff. “Our Airmen's ability to rethink the battle while incorporating new technologies will improve the varied ways our Air Force accomplishes its missions.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Air Force improving its energy security > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Air Force improving its energy security > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

The Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, with 86 percent of its energy costs dedicated to aviation fuel, according to Kathleen Ferguson, the principal deputy assistant secretary performing duties as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. Ferguson, who testified on 2 April before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on readiness and management support, further noted the Air Force is looking at the full spectrum of opportunities to improve its energy security posture by implementing initiatives that make good business sense, such as working to re-engine the KC-135 Stratotanker.

“By reducing our aviation fuel consumption more than 23 percent since fiscal year 2006, the Air Force avoided almost $2.5 billion in aviation fuel costs in fiscal year 2013,” Ferguson said. “Moving forward, the Air Force is looking towards an efficiency goal to improve our aviation productivity by 10 percent by fiscal year 2020.”

Last year, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter directed the department's senior leaders to develop a shared narrative to guide the full range of defense energy activities, said Sharon Burke, the assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs. This instruction included operational and facilities energy and the energy-related elements of mission assurance.

“The Department of Defense will enhance military capability, improve energy security, and mitigate costs in its use and management of energy,” Burke said.

“It will improve the energy performance of weapons, installations and military forces, by diversifying and expanding energy supplies and sources,” Burke said. This includes using renewable energy and alternative fuels, analyzing the requirements and risks related to energy use, and promoting innovation for equipment and education and training for personnel.

“The policy,” she said, “affirms the value the Department of Defense places on energy as a mission-essential resource that can also shape the mission.”

In line with DOD policies, Ferguson told committee members the Air Force is looking toward innovative energy products and processes.

“The Air Force is looking to improve its energy security and diversify its energy supply through the increased use of renewable energy,” she said. “Currently, the Air Force has 256 renewable energy projects in operation across a wide variety of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and waste-to-energy projects, increasing energy production by over 53 percent from 2012 to 2013.”

In addition to energy saving programs, the Air Force is focusing on installation reform and force management.

The Air Force views energy as a critical component to enable its global missions. In accomplishing that mission, the Air Force is striving to become more energy efficient.

“We continue to carefully scrutinize every dollar we spend,” Ferguson said. “Our commitment to continued efficiencies, a properly sized force structure, and right-sized installations will enable us to ensure maximum returns on the nation’s investment in her Airmen, who provide our trademark, highly valued airpower capabilities for the joint team.”

Air Force leaders insist new tanker is key to airpower > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Air Force leaders insist new tanker is key to airpower > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

The top three acquisition priorities for the Air Force are the KC-46A aerial tanker, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and the Long Range Strike Bomber, officials told members of Congress during a hearing of House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on seapower and projections forces, April 2.

“On any given day, the Air Force’s mobility aircraft deliver critical personnel and cargo, and provide airdrop of time-sensitive supplies, food and ammunition on a global scale,” said Dr. William LaPlante, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

LaPlante was joined by Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements Maj. Gen. James Jones and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers Maj. Gen. John Thompson.

“The KC-46 remains essential to overall strategy,” Jones said. “Our air refueling fleet is critical to operations for all services, and our coalition partners.”

LaPlante explained the new tanker is essential to replacing an aging tanker fleet, and ushering air mobility and sustainment into the future.

“The backbone of rapid U.S. global operations is our tanker fleet,” LaPlante said. “Based on the budget submitted, we expect to see about 54 KC-46 deliveries across the Future Years Defense Plan, as part of the tanker fleet recapitalization.”

The first delivery of Low Rate Initial Production aircraft will be in Fiscal Year 2016, with an estimated program completion date of 2028.

“Tankers are the lifeblood of our joint force’s ability to respond to crisis and contingencies, and are essential to keeping our Air Force viable as a global force,” LaPlante added.

The Air Force is also investing in the sustainment of the current bomber and cargo fleets, and will make upgrades to various systems to keep these airframes practical in the future of the force, he explained.

Overall, Air Force officials said they are optimistic about the future of the air mobility and bomber fleets, and are confident in the continued capabilities to support the warfighter.

“In the midst of the challenges ahead, we will aim to keep these programs on track and deliver these systems both as vital capabilities to our forces, but also as the best value to our taxpayer,” LaPlante said. “These systems will provide the future capabilities necessary to operate effectively in the national security environment of tomorrow.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

US Military delivers meals in support of Ukrainian military

DVIDS - News - DLA delivers meals in support of Ukrainian military: More than a dozen trucks arrived in Ukraine March 29, carrying 25,000 cases of meals, ready to eat, thanks to the efforts of Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support and DLA Distribution employees.

U.S. European Command requested the MREs March 26 as part of the humanitarian support pledged by the State Department to Ukrainian armed forces. The secretary of defense allocated $3 million to support Ukraine’s military.

The mission was a three-prong effort between DLA Troop Support in Philadelphia, DLA Troop Support Europe & Africa, and DLA Distribution Europe, according to Angel Colon, deputy commander for DLA Troop Support Europe & Africa.

Trucks loaded with MREs left a DLA Distribution warehouse in Germersheim, Germany, and rolled toward Ukraine within 24 hours of receiving the requirement, Colon said. He praised the teamwork of the DLA workforce in executing the delivery in such a short time frame.

“It was extreme logistics at its very best,” he said. “We could not have been as successful had it not been for DLA’s team of experts, from Philly to Germershiem, working in concert with one another to successfully launch the MREs.”

Support to the region is a common component of DLA Distribution support, Army Lt. Col. Andre Baldanza, DLA Distribution Europe commander, said. “We are thrilled that our strategic distribution experience and expertise enabled EUCOM to accomplish their mission.”

DARPA Launches Biological Technologies Office

DARPA Launches Biological Technologies Office: Technology, like biology, constantly evolves. It is DARPA's mission to stay ahead of the shifting technology curve by making critical, early investments in areas that cut across fields of research and enable revolutionary new capabilities for U.S. national security.

Now DARPA is poised to give unprecedented prominence to a field of research that can no longer be considered peripheral to technology's evolving nature. Starting today, biology takes its place among the core sciences that represent the future of defense technology.

DARPA has created a new division, the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), to explore the increasingly dynamic intersection of biology and the physical sciences. Its goals are to harness the power of biological systems by applying the rigorous tools of engineering and related disciplines, and to design next-generation technologies that are inspired by insights gained from the life sciences.

BTO's programs will operate across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales-from individual cells to humans and other organisms and the communities in which they operate, and from the time it takes for a nerve to fire to the time it may take a new virus to spread around the world one sneeze at a time. All told, BTO will explore the intricate and highly adapted mechanisms of natural processes and demonstrate how they can be applied to the mission of national defense.

Modernization strategy Soldier-focused in lean years | Article | The United States Army

Modernization strategy Soldier-focused in lean years | Article | The United States Army

Research, development and acquisition investments have declined 37 percent since the fiscal year 2012 budget planning cycle, said the G-8.

Historically, the research, development and acquisition, or RDA, account averaged about 22 percent of the Army's obligation authority. But for fiscal year 2015, the RDA account is at 17 percent or about $20 billion, Lt. Gen. James O. Barclay III told members of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, today.

Yet, despite slashing RDA, "it's essential that the Army ensure every Soldier deployed is equipped to achieve decisive overmatch," he said, outlining the steps being taken.

To achieve decisive overmatch without much money, the Army is using incremental improvements to modernize critical systems, he explained. And new systems will be built "only by exception."

Additionally, he said the Army is divesting older systems like the Kiowa helicopter and "niche capabilities to decrease sustainment costs and generate more resources to invest in modernization and readiness."

In the area of science and technology, the Army is funding research on key areas that commercial corporations are ignoring, while reducing funding where private-sector S&T gains are being seen.

And finally, to maximize every dollar, the Army is procuring smaller quantities of systems and components.

Barclay admitted to lawmakers that the Army "is taking risks in its near-term modernization program," as it tries to balance that with readiness and modernization.


Lawmakers expressed their concern that the organic industrial base would stagnate and lose workers as a result of the Army procuring smaller quantities of materiel, divesting systems and not buying new systems.

Addressing their concerns, Maj. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, enumerated steps the Army is taking as lawmakers tighten the purse strings.

Foreign military sales could keep some of the assembly lines running and talented professionals employed, he said, but that will only go so far.

"Not all sales come through," Williamson said, adding foreign sales can at times be unpredictable.

Acquisition reform is another area where improvements could be made, he said, pointing out that there are too many statutes and rules of where money can or cannot go and that adds to overhead costs associated with running facilities within the industrial base.

Army Materiel Command and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, are now locating greater efficiencies, identifying "cost drivers," determining overhead and looking for opportunities, Williamson said.

Another way to save costs, while procuring in less quantities, he said, would be to team up with other agencies, not just sister services. For example, he said the Army might look at partnering with police and other security forces to procure body armor. Buying in quantity would drive down costs of the research as well as the procurement. Also, with more money in play, competition among vendors would be more likely.

Something else that could benefit the Army as well as the industrial base, he said would be using more multi-year programs. Depending on how the contracts are worded, multi-year might allow savings by creating leverage in negotiations.

Multi-year programs, of course, would need a predictable funding stream, which is something that hasn't been too predictable in recent years.


Barclay said the Army remains committed to continued funding of its mission-critical systems such as the Paladin Integrated Management System, double-V-hull Strykers, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

He added that despite "a rocky start, [the Paladin Integrated Management System] is performing very well now."

If WIN-T is so important, why has the Army lowered funding for it and the Joint Tactical Radio System's Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit, asked a lawmaker.

Williamson replied that both WIN-T and HMS radio are critical to the warfighter but because of the declining budget, the Army has accepted some risk, "but not excessive risk."

Lower funding of those systems, he said, will mean fewer coming off the production lines, but those that do will be fielded first to the "most critical units" that are or could deploy.

Besides slowing production, he said some capability in the networks are being delayed, such as the WIN-T Increment 3 package which would have had enhanced bandwidth capability.

With respect to the networks, Barclay added that low funding is pushing the dates of procurements and deliveries to the right, but the Army is "not backing away from its commitment to the network and its overall importance."

One lawmaker commented that with the removal of the Apache helicopters from the National Guard, the Reserve Component is losing its teeth.

Barclay replied that active-component Apaches will still be "aligned with the National Guard" and its combat aviation brigades.

Why would the Guard's combat aviation brigades be called "combat" aviation brigades if the Apaches are being removed, the lawmaker pressed?

Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters, which the Guard has in its fleet, can and do perform combat missions, Barclay replied, adding that the decision to divest all of its Kiowa helicopters and remove Apaches from the Guard was done in consultation and after much analysis and that it's the "best we could do given the dollar amount given."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coast Guard contracts for seventh Legend-class cutter

Coast Guard contracts for seventh Legend-class cutter: Ingalls Shipbuilding is to construct a seventh Legend-class National Security Cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard under a new $497 million contract.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, of which the company is a part, announced that work on the new cutter will begin next year. It will be delivered in 2018.

"We have a hot production line with this class of ships, and we continue to get better -- a tangible result demonstrating the value of serial production," said Ingalls NSC Program Manager Jim French. "Each ship is built more effectively and more affordably than the one before it, and this is due to the hard work of our shipbuilders who are implementing efficient build plans and bringing our learning curve down as each ship is delivered."

The first three Legend-class cutters have been delivered to the Coast Guard and three more are currently under construction.

US weighs options to reassure E. Europe allies over Ukraine

US weighs options to reassure E. Europe allies over Ukraine

A team of army officers might travel to Europe "soon" to start planning for a more large-scale exercise, the official said.

Hagel told reporters aboard his plane that while diplomacy remained Washington's focus to defuse the crisis, the United States and its NATO partners were looking at more measures designed to reassure alliance members on Russia's border.In the aftermath of Russia's incursion in Crimea, governments have asked NATO's supreme commander, General Philip Breedlove, to present a list of possible options aimed at demonstrating the alliance's commitment to Eastern European members, including joint exercises, training and other steps, officials said."We've asked him (Breedlove) to look at the full range of measures," Hagel said.But the Pentagon chief would not be drawn on whether the United States would consider permanently basing troops in Eastern Europe."We continue to look at different possibilities and options," he said.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

US, UK parts in North Korea rocket

US, UK parts in North Korea rocket: North Korea's Unha-3 rocket was built with components from South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, UN experts revealed. In a little-publicized March 10 report, the UN Panel of Experts also discovered the rocket contained off-the-shelf parts from China and Switzerland, while Soviet-era SCUD missiles have also been stripped down for components.

The bulk of the components had not been obtained in violation of sanctions targeting the North, the UN said, adding their utilization "shows the ability of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to assemble complex systems with globally sourced components."

Many of the parts in question listed are widely available computer components. However, a US-manufactured video decoder, along with UK-made temperature and pressure sensors, were also recovered.

Pentagon to organize drones in teams for sharing data, fighting together

Pentagon to organize drones in teams for sharing data, fighting together

The Pentagon's research unit is ready to launch a program that unites drones into teams allowing them to share data and act together on a battlefield while being operated by one human. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that the Proposers' Day for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program will be held on April 11. CODE's goal is to unite "autonomy and inter-platform collaboration" of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DARPA intends to develop four "critical technology areas" for its future drones: single-drone flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that allows a "mission commander" to operate a drone fleet; drone-team collaboration; and an "open architecture" that allows drones to pass information between each other and humans.According to DARPA, the CODE project will prepare today's relatively primitive drones for future conflicts, which will be characterized by "a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets." DARPA believes that in future, drone technology will be more widespread, and enemies will be more ready to counteract.It was recently reported that DARPA is also doubling funding for its Hydra program, which develops underwater drones. Some of DARPA's other projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, brain-reading technology and lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.