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Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities => Politics & Religion => Topic started by: Crafty_Dog on November 01, 2006, 10:20:27 AM

Title: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 01, 2006, 10:20:27 AM
Guns and Better
Max Boot surveys five centuries' worth of military revolutions.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

The subject of technology in modern warfare has been covered by many scholars and soldiers before. But Max Boot takes a refreshingly novel approach in "War Made New." He uses battles as metaphors to demonstrate that revolutions in military affairs, or RMAs, have a pedigree. Tracing the history of warfare from the French invasion of Italy in the late 15th century to Afghanistan and Iraq today, Mr. Boot contends that RMAs are the preserve of Western militaries or of non-Western militaries, like Japan's, clever enough to mimic the Western style of war. These RMAs, he says, have been decisive agents of both military success and geopolitical change.

Mr. Boot is an insightful observer of the profession of arms, a gifted amateur who has learned to know war without experiencing it. His last major work was the excellent "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" (2002). "War Made New" concentrates on four RMAs that occurred over five centuries. The first began with the rise of European states that alone possessed the bureaucratic and technological capacity to equip armies and navies with gunpowder weapons. The Industrial Revolution fueled the next two RMAs: one powered by steel and steam (World War I) and the other by electricity and oil (World War II). The fourth turning point that made war new, Mr. Boot says, is the contemporary rise of information technology.

Mr. Boot takes a daring--and successful--tack in approaching his subject; rather than attempt to be exhaustively comprehensive, he treats battles like lily pads, jumping from one to the next in quick succession across the pond of history. Thus the warfare we read about includes the British defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Prussian victory over the Austrians at the Battle of K?niggr?tz in 1866, the Japanese navy's vanquishing of the Russian fleet in the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, and the German invasion of France in 1940. Mr. Boot admits to selecting battles that reinforce his thesis. Thus to illustrate his point that the most determined enemy in the late 19th century could not stand against an army equipped with small-bore rifles and machine guns--gifts of the Industrial Revolution--the author chooses the butchering of the Mahdi Army at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 during the fight for British supremacy in the Sudan.

Mr. Boot exercises his skill as an editorialist to craft riffs, sort of cognitive connective tissue, that tie together his battlefield images. In three pages he gives a remarkably precise explanation of total war, as embodied by World War I, along with its social, political and economic repercussions. In five pages he distills the story of the U.S. Navy's creation of large-deck aircraft carrier materiel and doctrine. He succeeds in recounting the development of American armored doctrine during the interwar period in a single paragraph.

Despite the concision of the writing, a reader's attention might begin to fade--save for the fact that Mr. Boot also has a gift for knowing when to stir into the mix little-known, topically irrelevant tidbits about his key actors. For instance, he interjects to tell us that King Francis I of France, within three years of his launching the gunpowder revolution, died when he cracked his cranium against a door jamb in one of his palaces. Or that Gen. Curtis LeMay's reputation as a borderline sociopath was due in large measure to a perpetual scowl brought on by Bell's Palsy contracted in 1942. We learn that Col. Hector "Fighting Mac" McDonald, a popular British hero who achieved fame during the Battle of Omdurman, took his life so as not to suffer the consequences of a court-martial for pedophilia.
On the whole, Mr. Boot's argument for the decisiveness of the first three RMAs is persuasive, even if one is tempted to cite battles that undermine his thesis (yes, gunpowder mastery made all the difference at Obdurman, but only a year after that battle a few determined Afrikaners embarrassed the British Army with their home-grown use of Western weapons technology during the Boer War). Less convincing is Mr. Boot's argument for today's information-powered RMA.

Daily headlines keep getting in his way. Tomorrow's emerging war-winning technologies such as satellite sensors, laser weapons and cyber attacks seem to be less than compelling when juxtaposed with the reality that our challenges are now human, not technological. All the high-tech gear that Mr. Boot describes in his final chapters hasn't done much to make our soldiers and marines more culturally aware and adaptive or better able to shape the perceptions of our friends or break the will of our enemies.

The big news coming out of the information RMA may well be written by an adaptive enemy who has learned--after 500 years of trying--how to lessen the effectiveness of Western technology through the imaginative use of patience, ideological fanaticism and an enthusiasm for death. Contemporary experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon suggests that our enemies may be evolving their own revolution, this one in cultural, not technological, affairs.

Yet one can't help concluding that Mr. Boot believes tomorrow's RMAs will ultimately continue the Western tradition of winning against less technologically advanced enemies. Mr. Boot is a penetrating writer and thinker, and his opinions are influential in military circles. However understandable his confidence about the future might be, his seeming underestimation of the threat from our current enemies is the only drawback to an otherwise brilliantly crafted history.

Maj. Gen. Scales, who retired from active duty in 2000, is the president of Colgen Inc., a company specializing in defense consulting. You can buy "War Made New" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.
Title: US Space Supremacy
Post by: buzwardo on November 02, 2006, 12:34:14 PM
Space Supremacy
It's the goal of America's new space policy.
by Michael Goldfarb
11/02/2006 12:00:00 AM

ON OCTOBER 18, the Washington Post reported on "the first revision of U.S. space policy in nearly 10 years." The specifics of that revision remain largely classified; however, the government did post an unclassified overview of the new policy which can be read here.

According to that document, "the President authorized a new national space policy on August 31, 2006 that establishes overarching national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities." The document sets out a series of principles, goals, and guidelines that largely conform to the recommendations of the Commission to Assess United States National Security, Space Management, and Organization--otherwise known as the Rumsfeld Commission. That commission, which presented its recommendations in January of 2001, was authorized by a coalition of Republican senators who were concerned by the fact that "annual [Defense] budgets repeatedly short-change space programs," and was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, who had become the nominee for Secretary of Defense by the time the commission's recommendations were delivered.

The ultimate goal of this new policy, as recommended by the commission more than five years ago, is to assure that the United States is able to "develop and deploy the means to deter and defend against hostile acts directed at U.S. space assets and against the uses of space hostile to U.S. interests." As General Lance W. Lord, the former commander of Air Force Space Command, told an Air Force conference in September of 2005, "Space supremacy is our vision for the future."

And space supremacy is now the official policy of the United States government. Among the principles set forth in the new document is that the United States "rejects any limitations on the fundamental right of the United States to operate in and acquire data from space;" furthermore, "the United States will view purposeful interference with its space systems as an infringement on its rights." It goes on to assert that the United States will "preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space . . . and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests." In an outright rejection of the sovereignty of the international community in space, the new policy also states that the United States "will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space."

THIS WAS BIG NEWS in the foreign press, where headlines characterized the policy as a new imperialism. The Independent blared "America intends to claim a new empire," and the Times of London proclaimed "America wants it all--life, the Universe and everything." The administration's domestic critics have blasted the policy as unilateral and unnecessary. Both points were made by the American Prospect's Matthew Yglesias, who wrote that,

having failed to kill Osama bin Laden, or stabilize Iraq, or resolve issues relating to Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, the administration is preparing to tackle the pressing issue of Martian invaders. That, and also the extremely hypothetical chance that someday in the future some other country--Russia or China or India, one assumes--will find itself engaged in a struggle for space supremacy with the United States. . . . If we're worried about space at all, the thing to do is strengthen agreements among the major powers to avoid an arms race--that will make everyone happy.
The only problem is that this "extremely hypothetical" scenario is already reality. Earlier this month the Pentagon confirmed that China had tested a ground-based anti-satellite laser and had disabled a U.S. satellite in the process. There has long been speculation about China's research into high-energy laser weapons for the purpose of disrupting satellite communications, but this was the first hard proof that the Chinese were capable of deploying such a system.

(This was not, howevever, the first attempt by a foreign government to interfere with American military satellites. As General Lord pointed out in an interview with Harrison Donnelly in the journal Military Aerospace Technology, "during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Saddam Hussein tried to take away our precision strike capability by jamming our GPS satellites. Then-Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche stated, 'The war in space has begun.' And I'd add: 'We didn't start it.'")

Mind you, China's recent test was probably not its first experiment with asymmetric methods of countering America's current space superiority. Last summer the Department of Defense submitted a report to Congress on the state of the Chinese military and concluded that "China is working on, and plans to field, ASAT [anti-satellite weapons] systems." Even before then, Larry M. Wortzel, former director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, was at the Heritage Foundation pointing to "ample evidence from Chinese scientific and military journals that the PRC is developing maneuvering micro-satellites that can attach themselves to enemy satellites and destroy or jam them, or could be used to collide with and destroy enemy satellites."

Wortzel, now chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said he took "the reports [of a Chinese ASAT test] at face value." "Space is absolutely militarized," Wortzel said, "Chinese armed forces and military planners believe space is just another domain" for military operations. "There's no doubt the Chinese will put weapons into space" with the aim of "destroying command and control and communications satellites." Wortzel also expressed concern that while the United States and the Soviet Union had long ago resolved to avoid "interfering" with each other's satellites--as such interference would likely be interpreted as a prelude to attack--it's not clear that the Chinese have "thought through the implications" of such actions.

But space supremacy isn't only about the emerging military threat from China. The apparent stalemate that has developed between the United States and North Korea--or between the United States and Iran for that matter--is more than anything, the result of a paucity of options. Air strikes present tremendous risks to American interests and offer only the possibility, significant as it may be, of retarding those programs. Wortzel says space-based weapons systems like the rods from god or Brilliant Pebbles might "give us increased options" when dealing with rogue states. Space supremacy could become the big stick that allows American policymakers to walk more softly on the international stage.

Is there a diplomatic alternative to space supremacy? Probably not. As Wortzel explains, the difficulties of verifying compliance with any negotiated prohibition are likely to be insurmountable. But even if verification were possible, it's not at all clear that a diplomatic alternative would be preferable. Much like the English navy once secured the world's sea lanes, so too might the America Air Force secure space for 21st century commerce. As Everett Dolman, a professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, told the Kansas City Star, "While the rest of the world will condemn us for it, within five years of having a domain in place it will be seen as a public good."

Of course, nothing is foreordained. As Pavel Podvig, an expert on Soviet ASAT systems, explains, the Soviets started down the path toward space supremacy more than 40 years ago--only to abandon their efforts after a cost-benefit analysis. Podvig says there is an "institutional inertia" driving many of these programs as the aerospace industry positions itself to gain access to the billions of federal dollars that would be authorized for any space-based system. He'd be surprised if any of the proposed systems "survive the reality-check" of the appropriations process given their enormous price-tags and uncertain potential.

But those are political decisions for the American people to make. With its new space policy, the Bush administration has offered its vision for the future.

Michael Goldfarb is deputy online editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 04, 2006, 11:30:20 AM
U.S. trains Iraqis in river warfare tactics
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
November 4, 2006

Hoping to restrict the smuggling of weapons and fighters along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the U.S. Navy has brought Iraqi security forces to America for training on river warfare tactics.

On Thursday, 16 members of the Iraqi Riverine Police Force finished a six-week course at a Navy training facility in Mississippi to prepare them to patrol the wide waterways that have served as smuggling corridors and danger zones for centuries.

 The Navy routinely trains foreign military forces in such tactics. For the Iraqis, the training emphasized the possibility of combat.

"We know the likelihood of them getting shot at is very high," said Navy Cmdr. Lance Bach. "We practiced on how to return fire and how to get out of the kill zone."

Navy officials hope the 16 will teach other Iraqi security personnel techniques for guiding small boats, inspecting suspicious vessels, and landing or evacuating "friendlies" on the shore.

Additional Iraqis are likely to take the course given at the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The school is part of the Naval Special Warfare Center, based in Coronado, Calif..

Assisted by four interpreters, Navy instructors taught the group techniques for patrolling in 25-foot boats armed with M60 machine guns. Much of the training was on how to react to ambush attacks.

"We pushed 'em hard," said Navy Chief Petty Officer Rob Rheaume.

Historians suggest the lawlessness of Ramadi, now an insurgent hotspot, derives from its long involvement with smuggling rings using the Euphrates. Some smuggling is to avoid taxation on consumer goods. In other cases, smuggling aids the insurgency.

"In the absence of police or security forces, smugglers, using canoes and diesel-powered boats, move freely along these rivers," said the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman, referring to the Tigris, Euphrates and the Shatt al Arab waterway in southern Iraq.

The Shatt al Arab, which divides Iran and Iraq, is an important smuggling route for oil being illegally exported from Iraq. The 16 Iraqis who graduated on Thursday will be deployed along the Tigris River, which runs through Baghdad.

One of them, who used the name Abu Ali, said he and his comrades learned "how to fight and fight hard." Along with the training, there was also time to see some Americana, including museums and a four-hour trip to Wal-Mart.

"It's a beautiful thing," Abu Ali said of Wal-Mart. "You need a whole day to spend there."
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 09, 2006, 06:14:19 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Rumsfeld's Legacy

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday after the Democrats succeeded in securing a majority hold on the U.S. House of Representatives in midterm elections.

Rumsfeld is perhaps among the most visionary defense secretaries who have served in the U.S. government, but that hardly has made him an effective one -- and it certainly has not stopped him from being a political liability.

Rumsfeld's primary goal, and the reason that U.S. President George W. Bush brought him into the government in the first place, was to bring about a seminal shift in the shape of the U.S. military. He sought to skip over an entire generation of military hardware -- such as the F-22, which is only now entering the military's toolkit -- and instead focus on the development of fundamentally new technologies, so that 20 years from now the United States would be fielding technology two generations ahead of any potential foes.

Part and parcel of this change would be a massive reduction in the size of the military, with the army suffering the largest cuts in manpower and resources. There would be a corresponding emphasis on light, highly mobile forces with high-tech capabilities such as long-range hypersonic cruise missiles, smart drones and the ability to insert small forces anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.

Rumsfeld's biggest failing was not his plan, or even his execution of it. It was that reality intervened, in the form of the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war, and he refused to shift course in midstream. Rumsfeld was designing a military that could defeat state power by the precise applications of force while minimizing the exposure of U.S. forces; but the U.S.-jihadist war brought to the table a foe that thrived in chaotic regions where state control was weak or nonexistent. Rumsfeld's plan could overturn the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's government, but it could not muster the manpower necessary to impose order on the resulting chaos. Without sufficient "boots on the ground," the United States has proven unable to deny militants the environment in which they thrive.

The nature of the war the United States found itself fighting changed, and Rumsfeld demonstrated over and over that he lacked the ability to change with it.

His replacement, former CIA director Robert Gates, is in theory being brought in specifically to implement the very changes that Rumsfeld for the longest time refused to admit were necessary. Gates is part of the Iraq Study Group, a cadre of senior statesmen who have been out of government for over a decade -- he left government in 1993 -- recently tasked to come up with alternatives to the current Iraq strategy.

Their recommendations will be interesting to read, and Gates' efforts to implement them will be fascinating to watch. Congressional confirmation for Gates should come very easily and quickly -- he has no great political ambitions and is on the team that is supposed to come up with non-ideological recommendations for the way forward.

But what he will not be doing is prepping the United States for the next threat. Gates is a placeholder -- a competent placeholder for sure, but a placeholder nonetheless. Facing a hostile Congress, the Bush administration has sharp limitations on its actions and we will be seeing no revolutionary proposals from a defense secretary who will be in his job a maximum of two years.

The irony is that, instead of leaping ahead by a generation, U.S. forces have now been saddled with the worst of both worlds: an exhausted military that will take years to repair, and limited progress in the modernization that they will likely need a generation from now.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 18, 2006, 10:54:52 AM
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.

It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants, it said. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a "bionic man" and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers.

The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth.

"The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons," Peres said.

The 34-day war in Lebanon ended with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in mid-August. The war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, he said.

? Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 19, 2006, 05:59:13 AM
Weird-- The NY Times calls for a bigger military:


The Army We Need

Published: November 19, 2006
One welcome dividend of Donald Rumsfeld?s departure from the Pentagon is that the United States will now have a chance to rebuild the Army he spent most of his tenure running down.

Mr. Rumsfeld didn?t like the lessons the Army drew from Vietnam ? that politicians should not send American troops to fight a war of choice unless they went in with overwhelming force, a clearly defined purpose and strong domestic backing. He didn?t like the Clintonian notion of using the United States military to secure and rebuild broken states.

And when circumstances in Afghanistan and Iraq called for just the things Mr. Rumsfeld didn?t like, he refused to adapt, letting the Army, and American interests, pay the price for his arrogance.

So one of the first challenges for the next defense secretary and the next Congress is to repair, rebuild and reshape the nation?s ground forces. They need to renew the morale and confidence of America?s serving men and women and restore the appeal of career military service for the brightest young officers.

That will require building a force large enough to end more than three years of unsustainably rapid rotations of units back into battle, misuse of the National Guard, overuse of the Reserves and conscription of veterans back into active service.

Congress also needs to work harder at rebuilding the links between the battlefront and the home front that a healthy democracy needs. That does not require reinstating the draft ? a bad idea for military as well as political reasons. It requires a Congress willing to resume its proper constitutional role in debating and deciding essential questions of war and peace. If Congress continues to shirk that role, expanding the ground forces would invite some future administration to commit American forces recklessly to dubious wars of choice.

But keeping the Army in its present straitjacket would bring bigger and more immediate problems. Even assuming an early exit from Iraq, the Army?s overall authorized strength needs to be increased some 75,000 to 100,000 troops more than Mr. Rumsfeld had in mind for the next few years.

A force totaling 575,000 would permit the creation of two new divisions for peacekeeping and stabilization missions, a doubling of special operations forces and the addition of 10,000 to the military police to train and supplement local police forces. The Marine Corps, currently 175,000, needs to be expanded to at least 180,000 and shifted from long-term occupation duties toward its real vocation as a tactical assault force ready for rapid deployment.

That big an increase cannot be achieved overnight. It will take many months, and many billions of dollars, to recruit, train and equip these men and women. Every 10,000 added will cost roughly $1.5 billion in annual upkeep, plus tens of billions in one-time recruitment and equipment expenses.

But all the needed money can be found by reordering priorities within the defense budget. Thanks to six years of hefty budget increases, there is no shortage of defense dollars. They just need to go where the actual wars are. Contrary to pre-9/11 predictions, the early 21st century did not turn out to be an era of futuristic stealthy combat in the skies and high seas. Instead, American forces have been slogging it out in a succession of unconventional ground wars and nation-building operations.

If the new Pentagon leaders and the new Congress are prepared to take on the military contracting lobbies, they could take as much as $60 billion now going to Air Force fighters, Navy destroyers and Army systems designed for the conventional battlefield and shift it to training and equipping more soldiers for unconventional warfare. America cannot afford to dribble away money on corporate subsidies disguised as military necessities.

Congress also needs to hold the executive branch accountable for the use of American troops abroad. Administration officials must be pressed to explain intelligence claims and offer plausible strategies. Pentagon leaders should be instructed to stop using National Guard units for overseas combat instead of homeland security. And uniformed commanders should be pushed for candid assessments about conditions on the ground and the realistic choices available to policy makers.

Rebuilding the Army and Marine Corps is an overdue necessity. But it is only the first step toward repairing the damage done to America?s military capacities and credibility over the past six years.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 21, 2006, 01:58:33 PM
A Fresh Look at the Draft
By George Friedman

New York Democrat Charles Rangel, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has called for the reinstatement of the draft. This is not new for him; he has argued for it for several years. Nor does Rangel -- or anyone else -- expect a proposal for conscription to pass. However, whether this is political posturing or a sincere attempt to start a conversation about America's military, Rangel is making an important point that should be considered. This is doubly true at a time when future strategies are being considered in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the available force is being strained to its limits.

The United States has practiced conscription in all major wars since the Civil War. During the Cold War, the United States practiced conscription continually, using it to fight both the Korean and Vietnam wars, but also to maintain the peacetime army. Conscription ended in 1973 as the U.S. role in Vietnam declined and as political opposition to the draft surged. From that point on, the United States shifted to a volunteer force.

Rangel's core criticism of the volunteer force is social. He argues that the burden of manning the military and fighting the war has fallen, both during Vietnam War conscription and in the volunteer army, for different reasons, on the lower and middle-lower classes. Apart from other arguments -- such as the view that if the rich were being drafted, the Vietnam and Iraq wars would have ended sooner -- Rangel's essential point is that the way the United States has manned the military since World War II is inherently unjust. It puts the lower classes at risk in fighting wars, leaving the upper classes free to pursue their lives and careers.

The problem with this argument is not the moral point, which is that the burden of national defense should be borne by all classes, but rather the argument that a draft would be more equitable. Rangel's view of the military and the draft was shaped by Vietnam -- and during Vietnam, there was conscription. But it was an inherently inequitable conscription, in the sense that during most of the war, deferments were given for students. That deferment, earlier in the war, extended to graduate school. As a result, by definition, the less-educated were more vulnerable to conscription than the more-educated. There were a host of deferments, including medical deferments, and the sophisticated could game the system easily. A draft, by itself, does not in any way guarantee equity.

During the final years of the Vietnam-era draft, the deferment system was replaced by a lottery. This was intended to (and, to some extent, did) reduce the inequities of the system, although sophisticated college students with low numbers continued to find ways to avoid conscription using the complex rules of the Selective Service system -- ways that the less-educated still couldn't use. The lottery system was an improvement, but in the end, it still meant that some would go into harm's way while others would stay home and carry on their lives. Basing the draft on a lottery might have mitigated social injustice, but basing life-and-death matters such as going to war on the luck of the draw still strikes us as inappropriate.

The switch from deferments to the lottery points out one of the key problems of conscription. The United States does not need, and cannot afford, a military that would consist of all of the men (and now, we assume, women) aged 19-21. That would create a force far too large and far too inexperienced. The lottery was designed to deal with a reality in which the United States needed conscription, but could not cope with universal conscription. Some method had to be found to determine who would and would not serve -- and any such method would be either unfair or arbitrary.

Americans remember World War II as, in many ways, the morally perfect war: the right enemy, the right spirit and the right military. But World War II was unique in that the United States had to field an enormous military. While some had to man truly essential industries, and some were medically disqualified, World War II was a case in which universal conscription was absolutely needed because the size of the force had to be equal to the size of the total pool of available and qualified manpower, minus essential workers. Unless it suited the needs of the military, no one was deferred. Married men with children, brilliant graduate students, the children of the rich and famous -- all went. There were still inequities in the kinds of assignments people got and the pull that was sometimes used. But what made the World War II conscription system work well was that everyone was needed and everyone was called.

Not everyone is needed in today's military. You might make the case for universal service -- people helping teachers and cleaning playgrounds. But there is a fundamental difference between these jobs and, at least in principle, the military. In the military, you might be called on to risk your life and die. For the most part, that isn't expected from teacher's aides. Thus, even if there were universal service, you would still be left with the dilemma of who gets to teach arts and crafts and who goes on patrol in Baghdad. Universal conscription does not solve the problem inherent in military conscription.

And there is an even more fundamental issue. During World War II, conscription, for just about everyone, meant service until the end of the war. During the Cold War, there was no clear end in sight. Since not everyone was conscripted, having conscripts serve until the end of the war could mean a lifetime of service. The decision was made that draftees would serve for two years and remain part of the reserve for a period of time thereafter.

Training during World War II took weeks for most combat specialties, with further training undertaken with soldiers' units or through combat. In World War II, the United States had a mass-produced army with plenty of time to mature after training. During Vietnam, conscripts went through basic training and advanced training, leaving a year for deployment in Vietnam and some months left over after the tour of duty. Jobs that required more complex training, from Special Forces to pilots to computer programmers, were handled by volunteers who served at least three years and, in many cases, longer. The draftee was used to provide the mass. The complexities of the war were still handled by a volunteer force.

The Battle of the Bulge took place 62 years ago. The Tet Offensive was nearly 39 years ago. The 90-day-wonder officers served well in World War II, and the draftee riflemen were valiant in Vietnam, but military requirements have changed dramatically. Now the military depends on highly trained specialists and groups of specialists, whose specialties -- from rifleman to warehouse worker -- have become more and more complex and sophisticated. On the whole, the contemporary Army, which historically has absorbed most draftees, needs more than two years in order to train draftees in their specialties, integrate them with their units and deploy them to combat.

Today, a two-year draft would be impractical because, on the whole, it would result in spending huge amounts of money on training, with very little time in actual service to show for it. Conscription could, of course, be extended to a three- or even four-year term, but with only selective service -- meaning that only a fraction of those eligible would be called -- that extension would only intensify the unfairness. Some would spend three or four years in the military, while others would be moving ahead with schools and careers. In effect, it would be a huge tax on the draftees for years of earnings lost.

A new U.S. draft might force the children of the wealthy into the military, but only at the price of creating other inequities and a highly inefficient Army. The training cycle and retention rate of a two-year draft would swamp the Army. In Iraq, the Army needs Special Forces, Civil Affairs specialists, linguists, intelligence analysts, unmanned aerial vehicle operators and so on. You can draft for that, we suppose, but it is hard to imagine building a force that way.

A volunteer force is a much more efficient way to field an Army. There is more time for training, there is a higher probability of retention and there are far fewer morale problems. Rangel is wrong in comparing the social base of this Army with that of Vietnam. But the basic point he is trying to make is true: The makeup of the U.S. Army is skewed toward the middle and lower-middle class. But then, so are many professions. Few children of the wealthy get jobs in the Social Security Administration or become professional boxers. The fact that the Army does not reflect the full social spectrum of the country doesn't mean very much. Hardly anything reflects that well.

Still, Rangel is making an important point, even if his argument for the draft does not work. War is a special activity of society. It is one of the few in which the citizen is expected -- at least in principle -- to fight and, if necessary, die for his country. It is more than a career. It is an existential commitment, a willingness to place oneself at risk for one's country. The fact that children of the upper classes, on the whole, do not make that existential commitment represents a tremendous weakness in American society. When those who benefit most from a society feel no obligation to defend it, there is a deep and significant malaise in that society.

However, we have been speaking consistently here about the children of the rich, and not of the rich themselves. Combat used to be for the young. It required stamina and strength. That is still needed. However, there are two points to be made. First, many -- perhaps most -- jobs in today's military that do not require the stamina of youth, as proven by all the contractors doing essentially military work in Iraq. Second, 18- to 22-year-olds are far from the most physically robust age group. Given modern diet and health regimens, there are people who are substantially older who have the stamina and strength for combat duty. If you can play tennis as well as you claim to for as long as you say, you can patrol a village in the Sunni Triangle.

We do not expect to be taken seriously on this proposal, but we will make it anyway: There is no inherent reason why enlistment -- or conscription -- should be targeted toward those in late adolescence. And there is no reason why the rich themselves, rather than the children of the rich, should not go to war. Or, for that matter, why older people with established skills should not be drawn into the military. That happened in World War II, and it could happen now. The military's stove-pipe approach to military careers, and the fact that it allows almost no lateral movement into service for 40- to 60-year-olds, is irrational. Even if we exclude combat arms, other specialties could be well-served by such a method -- which also would reduce the need for viciously expensive contractors.

Traditionally, the draft has fallen on those who were barely adults, who had not yet had a chance to live, who were the least equipped to fight a complex war. Other age groups were safe. Rangel is talking about drafting the children of the rich. It would be much more interesting, if the United States were to introduce the draft, to impose it in a different way, on entirely different age groups. Let the young get on with starting their lives. Let those who have really benefited from society, who have already lived, ante up.

Modern war does not require the service of 19-year-olds. In the field, you need the strong, agile and smart, but we know several graying types who still could hack that. And in the offices that proliferate in the military, experienced businesspeople would do even better at modernizing the system. If they were drafted, and went into harm's way, they would know exactly what they were fighting for and why -- something we hardly think most 19-year-olds really know yet.

Obviously, no one is going to adopt this crackpot proposal, even though we are quite serious about it. But we ask that you take seriously two points. Rangel is correct in saying that the upper classes in American society are not pulling their weight. But if the parents haven't served, we cannot reasonably expect the children to do so. If Americans are serious about dealing with the crisis of lack of service among the wealthiest, then they should look to the wealthiest first, rather than their children.
Send questions or comments on this
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Quijote on November 21, 2006, 03:44:34 PM
How would the public opinion in the US react towards a draft?
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 21, 2006, 05:13:39 PM
No one is taking Rangel seriously.  He is a long-time rabble rouser who enjoys posturing for TV cameras.  Due to his seniority in Congress he is in a position to start investigations and be a pain-in-the-butt.  That said, there has been a goodly amount of corrupt looking practices by the Bush Administration that do deserve investigation.  Of course Rangel will try to take it further than that.

The Stratfor piece preceding your post has a pretty sound analysis IMHO.  The military doesn't want it, the people don't want it.  Its going nowhere.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 23, 2006, 05:49:56 AM
Top Marine: Troops under too much strain

November 22, 2006
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The new Marine Corps commandant said Wednesday that the longer than anticipated pace of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is putting an unacceptable strain on his troops.
Gen. James Conway said the service is unable to meet its goal of giving Marines twice as much time at home as in a war zone.
He said unless the demand on the corps eases, he may have to propose increasing the size of the force.
The Marine Corps is the smallest of the Pentagon's military services. The Coast Guard, which is even smaller, is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Currently there are 180,000 Marines on active duty and about 40,000 in the active reserves. Marine units serve seven-month deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Conway, who led Marine units into Iraq in 2003 and served on the Pentagon's joint staff, said his troops should get 14 months of relief before they are sent back.
Typically, however, they get only seven or eight months home before being returned to combat, he said.
Assuming the Marines' top job little more than a week ago, Conway told reporters at a Pentagon roundtable discussion that he sees two ways to alleviate stress on troops.
"One is reducing the requirement [of a set deployment time]. The other is potentially growing the force for what we call the long war," Conway said.
Some units are serving their fourth tours in Iraq, and the strain on their families has raised concern that Marines will start leaving the service when their enlistments are up.
"There is stress on the individual Marines that is increasing, and there is stress on the institution to do what we are required to do, pretty much by law, for the nation," he was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.
The current rotation of troops to Iraq is also limiting training, he said.
"We're not sending battalions like we used to for the mountain warfare training, the jungle training," he told reporters. "We're not doing combined arms exercises that we used to do for the far maneuver-type activities we have to be prepared to do."
Conway said he doesn't know whether an expected adjustment in strategy in Iraq will result in the need for more Marines, so he's holding off on making any formal recommendations.
Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2006, 11:43:04 PM
Price: $35.00
Release Date: 10/19/2006

War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today
by Max Boot

The United States spends more on developing and testing new weapons each year than any other nation spends on its entire defense. Given what military history teaches us, says Max Boot, that might be $70 billion well spent. Over the past 500 years, after all, war?s victors have been distinguished not so much by their wealth or size as by their ability to exploit new combat technologies. The empires that first mastered gunpowder weapons gave way to the nations that were quickest to harness steam power and steel. In the years leading up to World War II, the Soviet Union grabbed the advantage in tank warfare while the United States mastered in bombers and aircraft carriers. A fourth military revolution?the Information Revolution?finds the U.S. with no obvious battlefield rival, Boot says. But history also tells us that no technological advantage ever lasts.

Boot is a ?fantastic writer,? said Phillip Carter in Despite the grand sweep of War Made New, the book unfolds as a string of dramatic vignettes, from ?the drubbing of the Spanish Armada in 1588? to ?Japan?s smashing of the Russian fleet in 1905? and beyond. All the while, Boot seems determined to prove that new technology has provided a meaningful advantage only for nations that already excelled at an ?institutional, almost bureaucratic? approach to raising armies and deploying them wisely. But Boot suddenly abandons this mitigating idea when he arrives at America?s 1991 war in the Persian Gulf. Smart bombs and similar gadgetry bedazzle him, and he loses sight of the fact that none of our technological advantages will do America much good if our enemies decide to completely avoid conventional warfare.

Boot does acknowledge that the military?s industrial-era organizational structure may now be an albatross, said Frank Hoffman in Armed Forces Journal. He hints that forces that are able to decentralize decision-making may hold the edge in the future. Even so, Boot?s ?brilliantly crafted history? leaves you wondering if he isn?t utterly mistaken about the current revolution, said Robert H. Scales in The Wall Street Journal. Maybe technology?s long reign is over and ?the big news? of the current century will be ?written by an adaptive enemy who has learned?after 500 years of trying?how to lessen the effectiveness of Western technology through the imaginative use of patience, ideological fanaticism, and an enthusiasm for death.?

The Paradox of Military Technology

While various setbacks in the war on terror underscore the limits of American power, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture: we live in the age of American supremacy. Part of the explanation for U.S. dominance surely lies in America?s economic strength. But Europe and Japan are similarly wealthy, yet their global sway lags far behind. What they lack is America?s superior military capabilities. In the words of Gregg Easterbrook: ?The American military is now the strongest the world has ever known, both in absolute terms and relative to other nations; stronger than the Wehrmacht in 1940, stronger than the legions at the height of Roman power.? Although the dominance of U.S. forces can still be challenged when they come into close contact with the enemy on his home turf, they are undisputed masters of the ?commons? (sea, air, and space), which allows them to project power anywhere in the world at short notice.

Information technology is central to American military dominance. Not all of the changes wrought by the information age are obvious at first glance, because the basic military systems of the early twenty-first century look roughly similar to their predecessors of the second industrial age?tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, missiles. Military analyst Michael O?Hanlon notes that ?basic propulsion systems and designs for aircraft, ships, and internal-combustion vehicles are changing much more gradually than in the early twentieth-century, when two of those three technologies had only recently been invented.? The average speed of a U.S. Navy destroyer has not increased in the past 100 years. The U.S. Air Force continues to rely on B-52H bombers last built in 1962. And the Marine Corps still uses helicopters that flew in the Vietnam War. But since the mid-1970s, the communications, targeting, surveillance, and ordnance technologies that make such ?legacy? systems considerably more potent have been changing with great rapidity?and to America?s great advantage.

Yet in this period of American hegemony, Americans continue to feel vulnerable. As we learned on September 11, and continue learning on the battlefields of Iraq, the most advanced weapons systems and most sophisticated information technology are hardly a perfect shield against other kinds of destructive power. The paradox of our age is that modern technology is both the great separator and the great equalizer in military affairs: Technological supremacy separates America from the rest of the world, and yet modern technology leaves America vulnerable to vicious groups and gangs armed with AK47s, car bombs, or portable WMDs. To understand the future of warfare, we need to understand both sides of this paradox: specifically, how information technology has increased America?s conventional military supremacy (in land, sea, air, and space), and how this military edge may be subverted by determined radicals armed with new technologies of death.

Land Warfare

Advanced armies are still structured, as they have been since the 1940s, around armored forces complemented by light infantry troops who move by vehicle, truck, and aircraft. The best tank in the world is probably the American Abrams (of which the U.S. has 9,000) but the British Challenger II, the German Leopard II, the Israeli Merkava Mk. 4, and the Russian T-80 and T-90 come within striking distance. All modern tanks have stabilized turrets, night-vision capabilities, laser range-finders, and targeting computers that allow them to fight in conditions?on the move or in the dark?that would have stymied earlier models. In addition, composite or reactive armor offers far more protection than in years past, and main guns firing depleted-uranium rounds have far more penetrating power.

While armored vehicles have improved over the years, so have anti-armor weapons. These range from heavy missiles fired from vehicles or aircraft (such as the U.S. Hellfire and Russian Ataka-V) to hand-held versions (such as the U.S. Javelin, the Franco-German Milan, and the Russian Kornet). In addition, even the most advanced tanks can be disabled by other tanks, massive mines, aerial bombs, or artillery shells. The full impact of advances in anti-armor technology has not yet become apparent because most of the forces that have fought modern tanks in recent years?Iraqis, Palestinians, Chechens?have not possessed the latest defensive weapons. But the U.S. success in wiping out Iraqi tanks from stand-off ranges suggests that, in the constant struggle between offense and defense, the advantage may have shifted against heavy armor. The Israelis got a taste of what the modern era has in store when, in August 2006, their tanks and troops ran into a blizzard of advanced anti-tank rockets during their attacks on Hezbollah?s strongholds in southern Lebanon.

The U.S. Army is responding to these changes by budgeting at least $124 billion?and possibly a great deal more?to develop a Future Combat System that will replace much of its current armored force with a family of lighter vehicles, manned and unmanned, with stealth designs that will make them harder to detect and hybrid-electric engines that will lessen their fuel requirements. (One of the chief disadvantages of the gas-guzzling Abrams is its heavy dependence on vulnerable supply lines.) Future vehicles will feature advanced composite armor designed to deliver more protection than current models for the same amount of weight, but they will rely for protection less on armor and more on locating and destroying the enemy before they are attacked. Critics believe this places too much faith in ?perfect situational awareness,? and that these vehicles will not be of much use against guerrillas who can strike with no warning.

As usual, the infantryman?s tools have changed least of all. A modern soldier has better protection than his forefathers if he wears Kevlar body armor, but his firepower?which comes primarily from a handheld assault rifle like the M-16 or AK-47 and from a variety of crew-served mortars and machine guns?does not vary significantly from that of a G.I. or Tommy in World War II. Electronic guns that are capable of spitting out a million rounds a minute have been developed, and might permit a soldier to stop an incoming rocket-propelled grenade with a solid wall of lead. But such weapons are years away from being fielded.

Unfortunately for Western soldiers, the proliferation of small arms can put even the most primitive foes on an almost equal footing with the representatives of the most advanced militaries. There are 250 million military and police small arms knocking around the world, and more are being manufactured all the time by at least 1,249 suppliers in 90 countries.

The salvation of information age infantry, at least when they are conducting conventional operations, is their ability to use a wireless communications device to call in supporting fire on exact coordinates. It is doubtful that any military force will again enjoy the preponderance of power of General H. H. Kitchener at Omdurman, but Americans dropping Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) on Afghan tribesmen armed with Kalashnikovs?or even on Iraqi soldiers with outdated T-72 tanks?came close. The American edge decreases considerably, however, when its troops have to deploy for peacekeeping or counterinsurgency operations which leave them exposed to low-tech ambushes. ?With the possible exceptions of night-vision devices, Global Positioning Systems, and shoulder-fired missiles,? writes retired Major General Robert Scales, a former commander of the Army War College, ?there is no appreciable technological advantage for an American infantryman when fighting the close battle against even the poorest, most primitive enemy.?
Title: Part Two
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2006, 11:44:37 PM
Naval Warfare

Navies remain divided, as they have been since the dawn of the second industrial age, into aircraft carriers, submarines, and surface ships. The major difference is that blue-water naval competition has disappeared after more than 500 years. No one even tries to challenge the U.S. Navy anymore on the high seas. Virtually every other navy in the world is little more than a coastal patrol force.

The U.S. has 12 aircraft carriers, nine of them Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarriers that can carry more than 70 high-performance aircraft such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet. A tenth supercarrier is in the works. No one else has a single one. France has the world?s only other nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, but it is half the size of the Nimitz. Russia has one aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, that rarely leaves port, and it has sold another one, the Admiral Gorshkov, to India. Britain has three small Invincible-class aircraft carriers that are used only for helicopters and vertical-takeoff Harrier jets. France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and South Korea have similar helicopter carriers in the works. These ships are comparable to the U.S. Navy?s 12 amphibious assault ships, which transport helicopters, jump jets, and Marines.

Whenever they leave port, U.S. capital ships are surrounded by surface and submarine escorts. Twenty-four Ticonderoga-class cruisers and 45 (and counting) Arleigh Burke-class destroyers come equipped with Aegis phased-array radar which can track up to 900 targets in a 300-mile radius. These surface combatants can also operate on their own or in conjunction with smaller vessels such as frigates and minesweepers.

In World War II, ships that didn?t carry aircraft were limited to firing torpedoes or heavy guns with a range of less than 30 miles. Starting in the 1960s some submarines were equipped with intercontinental range ballistic missiles, but their targeting was so imprecise that it made no sense to equip them with conventional warheads. Ballistic-missile subs became a mainstay of nuclear deterrence. The development of accurate cruise missiles starting in the 1970s allowed submarines and surface combatants to hit land targets hundreds of miles away with conventional ordnance. Improvements in torpedo design, including the development of rocket-propelled supercavitating torpedoes, also allow submarines to do more damage in their traditional anti-ship role.

The U.S. has the world?s largest fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines (54) and nuclear-powered ballistic-missile subs (16). Russia comes in second with 37 attack submarines and 14 ballistic missile subs. Britain has 15 nuclear-powered submarines, followed by France with 10, and China with six. Not only are U.S. submarines more numerous, they are also more advanced. The most sophisticated are three 1990s-vintage Seawolfs described by one defense analyst as ?the fastest, quietest, and most heavily armed undersea vessels ever built.?

Because of the growing power of each of its vessels and the lack of competitors, the U.S. Navy has consolidated its high seas hegemony even while its fleet has shrunk from almost 500 ships in the 1980s to fewer than 300 in the early years of the twenty-first century. The potency of U.S. naval vessels is increased by linking together sensors and weapons systems with a tactical computer network known as FORCEnet.

While the U.S. Navy probably will remain unchallenged in blue waters, it faces greater threats as it gets closer to shore. Here water currents, thermal layers, and various obstacles can interfere with even the most advanced sensors, and a variety of defensive weapons systems lurk in wait.

More than 75,000 anti-ship missiles are owned by 70 countries. A few are ballistic, but most are of the cruise-missile variety. Their potency was proved in 1987 when French-made Exocets fired by an Iraqi aircraft crippled the frigate USS Stark, killing 37 sailors. Earlier, Argentina used Exocets to sink two British ships during the 1982 Falklands War. Newer anti-ship cruise missiles such as the Russian-made Yakhont, Sunburn, and Uran are even deadlier because they have faster speeds, greater stealth capabilities, and more accurate, GPS-enhanced targeting. Russia is selling these missiles to customers abroad and some nations like China are developing their own versions. Israel suffered the consequences during its recent Lebanon war when an Iranian-provided C-802 cruise missile crippled one of its warships off the coast of Lebanon.

U.S. warships have sophisticated defensive systems to guard against air attack: Incoming missiles can be deflected by electronic countermeasures, flares, or chaff, or destroyed by naval aircraft, sea-to-air Standard missiles, or, as a last resort, by rapid-fire, radar-guided Phalanx guns. But, like the Stark, a warship could be caught by surprise or overwhelmed by a flurry of missiles coming from different directions.

Even more worrisome from an American viewpoint is the fact that transport ships and fuel tankers which have to replenish a fleet at sea have no protection when they are outside the defensive range of a battle group. They are as vulnerable as supply convoys on the roads of Iraq. Because a supercarrier has only about a three-day stockpile of JP-5 jet fuel (6,500 barrels a day are needed during combat operations), the most powerful warship in history could be rendered useless if its fuel tankers were sunk.

The threat to shipping, civil and military, is increased by diesel submarines. The latest diesel submarines have ultra-quiet electric engines that make them hard to detect with sonar, and they are much cheaper to buy or produce than a nuclear-powered submarine. Russia has exported Kilo-class diesel-electric subs to China, India, Iran, and Algeria, among others. China is producing its own Song-class diesel submarines in a bid to challenge U.S. naval hegemony using the same strategy that Germany, with its U-boats, once used to challenge British dominion of the waves. U.S. antisubmarine defenses are quite sophisticated, especially in open waters, but even American sensors can have trouble tracking quiet diesel subs in noisy coastal waters.

Mines, which can be scattered by submarines or other vessels, represent another major threat to shipping. More than 300 different varieties are available on the world market. They can be triggered by changes in magnetic fields, acoustic levels, seismic pressure, or other factors. Some come equipped with microelectronics that allow them to distinguish between different types of ships, while others have small motors that allow them to move around. This makes it difficult to certify that a shipping channel is free of mines?it may have been safe an hour ago, but not any more. Demining technology has lagged behind; the U.S. Navy, for one, has never placed much emphasis on lowly minesweepers. It has paid a price for this neglect. In 1987, during operations to prevent Iran from closing the Persian Gulf, an Iranian mine of World War I design nearly sank the frigate USS Samuel Roberts. Four years later, in the Gulf War, the cruiser USS Princeton and the amphibious landing ship USS Tripoli were nearly blasted apart by Iraqi mines. And even a cheap motorboat packed with explosives can pose a significant threat to a modern warship. The USS Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was badly damaged in such a terrorist attack in 2000.

All of these threats could be largely negated if U.S. fleets were to stay far out at sea, but they have to approach fairly close to land to launch aircraft or missiles with operational ranges of only a few hundred miles. Moreover, the places where the U.S. Navy is likely to fight in the future are dangerously narrow. The Persian Gulf is only 30 miles wide at its narrowest point, the Taiwan Strait only 100 miles wide.

To maintain its dominance, the U.S. Navy regularly updates the electronics and weapons aboard its warships even as the hulls and propulsion systems remain unchanged. It also plans to build a variety of unmanned vessels along with a CVN-21 aircraft carrier to replace the Nimitz-class, a Zumwalt-class DD(X) destroyer to replace Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates and Spruance-class destroyers, a CG(X) cruiser to replace the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and a smaller and speedier Littoral Combat Ship with no direct parallel in today?s fleet that would focus on clearing mines, hunting submarines, and fighting terrorists in coastal waters. All of these new vessels will have improved defenses and information-processing tools as well as ?plug and play? capacity that will allow them to be quickly reconfigured for different missions. They will also incorporate composite materials, stealthier designs, and electric propulsion to make them harder to detect, though an aircraft carrier with a 4.5-acre flight deck can never exactly hide.

Whether all of these warships are truly needed, given the U.S. Navy?s already substantial lead over all competitors, remains an open question. A program to develop giant sea bases?perhaps akin to offshore oil-platforms?that would allow American ground and air forces to operate overseas might be of greater use, given the growing difficulty the U.S. has had in gaining basing and overflight rights from other countries. But what seems clear, on sea as on land, is that the development of new weapons systems will continue to augment American supremacy while leaving American military forces vulnerable to various ?low-tech? attacks.

Aerial Warfare

Fighters such as the American F-15 and the Russian MiG-29 were designed in the 1970s for air-to-air combat, but this has become almost as rare as ship-to-ship actions. Since the Israelis destroyed much of the Syrian air force in 1982, and the U.S. and its allies made similarly quick work of the Iraqi air force in 1991, few if any aircraft have been willing to challenge top-of-the-line Western militaries. (The U.S. Air Force hasn?t produced an ace?an airman with at least five aerial kills?since 1972.) That may change with the sale to China of the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30, whose performance characteristics are said to exceed those of the F-15C, but the F/A-22 Raptor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the Eurofighter should restore the Western edge. The odds of future aerial dogfights, however, still remain slim.

Modern surface-to-air missiles pose a more immediate danger, because they are cheaper and easier to operate. The U.S. and its allies have developed effective methods of neutralizing most existing air defenses. In addition to jammers, radar-seeking missiles, and decoys, the U.S. employs stealth technology, first used on the F-117 Nighthawk, then on the B-2 Spirit, and now on the F/A-22 and F-35. Future aircraft may be designed with ?visual stealth? technology to make them almost invisible even in daylight. No other nation has deployed any stealth aircraft. But advanced sensor networks may now be able to detect first-generation stealth planes. The Serbs actually managed to shoot down an F-117 in 1999.

None of the most sophisticated surface-to-air missiles, such as Russia?s double-digit SAMs (SA-10, SA-15, SA-20), was available to Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, or other states that the U.S. has fought in recent years, but they are being sold to other customers, including China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Greece, and Cyprus. So are shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles such as the American FIM-92 Stinger, British Starstreak, French Mistral, Chinese Qianwei-2, and the Russian SA-7 Grail, SA-14 Gremlin, SA-16 Gimlet, and SA-18 Grouse. There are at least 100,000 such systems in the arsenals of over 100 states and at least 13 non-state groups such as Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the Tamil Tigers. The best models have a range of 23,000 feet.

The potential of hand-carried missiles was demonstrated in the 1980s when Stingers took a significant toll on Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan. The threat is sufficient for the U.S. to rely increasingly on unmanned drones for high-risk missions and to mandate that manned aircraft in war zones stay above 15,000 or 20,000 feet. SAMs pose an especially great threat to helicopters, which don?t have the option of flying that high, and for airplanes taking off or landing. Three cargo aircraft leaving Baghdad International Airport have been seriously damaged by missiles, and, while all of them survived, several U.S. helicopters hit with SAMs in Iraq and Afghanistan did not. An Israeli jetliner was almost shot down in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 by al Qaeda operatives firing an SA-7. Only the terrorists? targeting error prevented the deaths of 271 passengers and crew. Other civilian airliners are sure to be less lucky.

Assuming that warplanes can reach their destination, the growing precision of bombs and missiles has made it possible to take out targets with fewer and smaller munitions than ever before. (The U.S. Air Force?s latest bomb carries only 50 pounds of explosives.) Weapons are getting smarter all the time. The U.S. Sensor-Fuzed Weapon, first employed in the current Iraq War, disperses 40 ?skeet? anti-armor warheads that use infrared and laser sensors to find and destroy armored vehicles within a 30-acre area. The Tactical Tomahawk, which entered production in 2004, can loiter up to three hours while searching for targets and receiving in-flight retargeting instructions.

The U.S. preponderance in smart bombs and missiles helps to compensate for the relatively small size of its manned bomber force. As of 2005, the U.S. Air Force had only 157 long-range bombers (B-52s, B-1s, B-2s), a considerable fall not only from World War II (when the U.S. had 34,780) but also from the end of the Cold War (360). While few in number, each B-2 can perform the work of thousands of B-29s by ?servicing? 80 ?aim points? per sortie.

Tankers such as the KC-10 and KC-135 vastly extend the range and effectiveness of combat aircraft. Cargo-lifters like the U.S. C-5, C-17, and C-130 and the Russian An-70 and An-225 also perform an invaluable, if unglamorous, role in projecting military power around the world. The U.S. owns 740 tanker aircraft and 1,200 cargo aircraft?far more than any other country. A lack of such support aircraft makes it difficult for even the relatively sophisticated European militaries to move their forces very far.

A host of other aircraft, ranging from JSTARS and AWACS to Rivet Joint and Global Hawk, perform surveillance and electronic-warfare missions in support of combat forces. Their numbers have been growing: While there were only two JSTARS in the Gulf War, in the Iraq War there were 15. But commanders have become so reliant on these systems that there never seem to be enough to go around?the so-called LD/HD problem (Low Density/High Demand). These, too, are vital U.S. assets that few other nations have.
Title: Part Three
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2006, 11:46:19 PM
Space Warfare

A growing amount of surveillance, communications, and intelligence work is being performed by unmanned aircraft and satellites. In 2001 the U.S. had an estimated 100 military satellites and 150 commercial satellites in orbit, as much as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. spends more than $15 billion a year on military space, perhaps 90 percent of the global total. The most advanced U.S. surveillance satellites can reportedly pick out a six-inch object from 150 miles above. (This is an estimate for Keyhole imaging satellites which can work day or night but cannot penetrate cloud cover. Lacrosse or Onyx systems that use radar imaging can work in all kinds of weather. They can reportedly distinguish objects 3 to 9 feet across. Satellite capabilities are strictly classified; these are only informed guesses.) A new generation of satellites uses stealth technology so that other countries will not be able to track the satellites? movement and thus know when to hide equipment from American eyes.

Yet the advantage the U.S. military derives from mastery of space is slowly eroding. GPS, a system developed by the Defense Department, is now widely available for countless commercial applications that have spawned a $30-billion-a-year industry. A potential enemy could use GPS signals to locate targets in the U.S. the same way the U.S. military uses it to locate targets in Iraq or Afghanistan. The U.S. could jam or degrade GPS signals in wartime, but it would have to do so very selectively for fear of imposing a severe toll on the economy, because GPS devices are now essential for civil aviation, shipping, and other functions. In addition, the European Union in cooperation with China is launching its own GPS constellation, known as Galileo, that would be outside of direct U.S. control.

More and more countries?at least forty to date?are lofting their own satellites. In addition, various multinational organizations such as the Asia Satellite Corp., Arab Satellite Communications Organization, International Telecom Satellite Organization, and European Space Agency have launched their own satellites. But getting access to space no longer requires having your own satellite. A growing number of private firms such as Google, DigitalGlobe, and Space Imaging sell or give away high-resolution satellite photos via the Internet. The best of these offer imagery of sufficient quality to identify objects one and a half feet wide. The Israeli-owned ImageSat International offers customers the opportunity to redirect its EROS-A imaging satellite (launched in 2000 aboard a Russian rocket) and download its data in total secrecy with few if any restrictions. Its CEO boasts: ?Our customers, in effect, acquire their own reconnaissance satellite ... at a fraction of the cost that it would take to build their own.? The private satellite industry is becoming so pervasive that the U.S. military now relies upon it to provide some of its own imaging (typically low-resolution pictures used for mapping) and much of its communications needs.

Targets identified from space could be attacked either with terrorist (or commando) missions or with the growing number of missiles spreading around the world. More than two dozen nations have ballistic missiles and by 2015 at least a dozen will have land-attack cruise missiles. Either type of projectile could be topped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. Eight or nine countries already have nuclear weapons and more are trying to get them, in part to offset the tremendous U.S. advantage in conventional weaponry.

In response, the U.S. is working on a variety of missile defenses. The most advanced are the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 and the sea-based Standard Missile 3, which have been deployed already to protect U.S. troops overseas. The deployment of a long-heralded system designed to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range missiles began in 2004 with the installation of interceptors in Alaska. Eventually, the U.S. plans to field a multi-layered defense using a variety of sensors and weapons on land, sea, air, and space. Also in the works are systems designed to defeat low-flying cruise missiles, which are hard to distinguish from ground clutter. But whether these systems will protect Americans against the most likely or most deadly types of attacks remains an open question.

Robotic Warfare

The falling size and cost of electronics has made it possible to decrease the number of people needed to operate major weapons systems or, in some instances, eliminated the need for human operators altogether. Maintaining the engines aboard a ship used to require dozens of sailors to work for extended periods in noisy, grimy, cramped quarters. The new DD(X) destroyer will have an engine room controlled entirely by remote sensors and cameras. Or, to take another example, consider the evolution of the long-range bomber from the B-29, which had a crew of 11, to the B-2 which can hit many more targets but has a crew of just two, who spend much of their time supervising the autopilot functions.

The greatest advances in robotics have been made in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), with the U.S. in the lead, Israel following close behind, and at least 40 other countries trying to catch up. By the time of the Iraq War in 2003, the U.S. had fielded six major UAVs: the Air Force?s Predator and Global Hawk, the Army?s Hunter and Shadow, and the Marines? Pioneer and Dragon Eye. These ranged in size from the 27,000-pound Global Hawk (comparable to a Lear jet) to the five-pound Dragon Eye (more like a model airplane). What they had in common was that they were all designed as surveillance systems. But in a pattern that echoes the history of manned flight, UAVs such as the Predator were soon put to work attacking enemy positions.

Soon to be deployed are drones built especially for combat?Boeing?s X-45 and Northrop Grumman?s X-47. In Matthew Brzezinski?s fanciful description, the former is ?flat as a pancake, with jagged 34-foot batwings, no tail and a triangular, bulbous nose? that give it the appearance of ?a set piece from the television program Battlestar Galactica,? while the latter is a ?a sleek kite-shaped craft with internal weapons bays for stealth and curved air intakes like the gills of a stingray.? Both are designed to be almost invisible to radar and to perform especially dangerous missions like suppressing enemy air defenses. The major difference is that the X-45 is supposed to take off from land like the F-15, while the X-47 is to operate off aircraft carriers like the F-18. Also in development is the Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft which is designed to perform the functions of an attack helicopter like the Apache. An unmanned helicopter, known as Fire Scout, is already being bought by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Unlike the Predator, most of these new UAVs do not require constant control by a human operator; newer UAVs can be programmed to fly themselves and even drop munitions without direct human intervention.

Further into the future may be projects such as a nuclear-powered UAV that could fly at 70,000 feet and stay on station for months or even years at a time; a UAV ?tender? that could serve as a mother ship for launching and recovering smaller UAVs; UAV tankers that could refuel other UAVs in flight; and vertical-takeoff UAV cargo-carriers that could supply troops in a combat zone. Many of these UAVs could use smart munitions with their own target-recognition systems, thus introducing another layer of robotics into the process. An existing example is the Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System, a 100-pound bomb with fins and a small turbojet engine that allow it to loiter over an area for up to 30 minutes, using a laser-radar sensor to search for high-priority targets based on programmed algorithms. Once it picks out a target, it can configure its multi-mode warhead into the most appropriate form?fragmentation explosives for unprotected soldiers or an armor-piercing projectile for tanks?prior to impact.

The most revolutionary UAVs are the smallest. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on aerial vehicles the size of an insect or a hummingbird that could hover undetected and perch on a telephone pole or a window ledge. Some models have no wings at all; others use flapping, bird-style wings. They are designed to be cheap enough that they could saturate a battlefield with sensors.

Unmanned ground vehicles are not as advanced as UAVs, but they are starting to play a growing role as well. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have used robots with names like PackBot, Matilda, Andros, and Swords to search tunnels, caves, and buildings for enemy fighters and explosives. ?Some are as big as a backhoe. Others can be attached to a backpack frame and carried by a soldier,? writes the trade industry publication Defense News. ?They move on treads or wheels, climb over obstacles with the aid of flippers, mount stairs, peep through windows and peer into caves with cameras and infrared sensors, sniff for chemical agents, and even operate a small ground-penetrating radar.?

As this description indicates, ground-based robots, like their aerial counterparts, are still used mainly for reconnaissance. But weapons are beginning to be mounted on them, too. The Talon, a two-foot-six-inch robot which looks like a miniature tank and was designed for bomb disposal, was sent to Iraq equipped with grenade and rocket launchers as well as a .50-caliber machine gun. It is controlled remotely by a soldier using a video screen and joystick.

Developing more sophisticated unmanned ground vehicles will be tougher than developing better UAVs because there are so many more obstacles that can impede movement on the ground. But progress is rapidly being made. In 2004, DARPA sponsored a race in the Mojave Desert to see if an autonomous robotic vehicle could complete a 132-mile course. That year, the furthest any competitor got was 7.4 miles, but in 2005 four vehicles finished the entire course, with the winner (a souped-up Volkswagen Touareg) claiming the $2 million prize. Buoyed by these results, the Pentagon is pushing ahead with plans for new ground robots such as the MULE (Multifunction Logistics and Equipment Vehicle), a two-and-a-half-ton truck that could carry supplies into battle or wounded soldiers out of it; the Armed Robotic Vehicle, a five-ton mini-tank that could be equipped with missiles or a .30mm chain gun; and the Soldier Unmanned Ground Vehicle, a 30-pound, man-portable scout that comes equipped with weapons and sensors. These are all integral elements of the Army?s Future Combat System.

Scientists are also trying to create a self-powered robotic suit?an exoskeleton?that could enable soldiers to carry far heavier loads, move much faster, and conceivably even leap short buildings in a single bound. A prototype developed at the University of California, Berkeley, allows a soldier to carry 180 pounds as if it were less than five pounds.

The U.S. Navy is exploring robotic technology for a variety of its own missions. In addition to carrier-based UAVs (both fixed-wing and rotary), the navy is developing Unmanned Surface Vehicles and Unmanned Undersea Vehicles. Most of these drones would swim but some might crawl along the ocean floor like crabs. They could perform such difficult missions as antisubmarine warfare, mine clearance, undersea mapping, and surveillance in coastal waters.

All drones, whether operating on soil, sea, or sky, offer major advantages over traditional manned vehicles. They can be deployed for longer periods because robots don?t need to eat or sleep; they can undertake maneuvers that might put too much stress on the human frame; they can be made much smaller and cheaper because they don?t need all sorts of expensive redundancies and life-support systems (no oxygen tanks! no ejection seats!); and they can be much more readily sent on high-risk missions because, should anything go wrong, nobody has to worry about notifying the next of kin. These advantages have persuaded Congress to ratchet up spending on unmanned programs. Lawmakers have mandated that one-third of all U.S. deep-strike aircraft be unmanned by 2010 and that one-third of all ground combat vehicles be unmanned by 2015.

There are two chief limitations on the use of robots at the moment. First, computers and sensors are not yet smart enough to deliver anything close to the ?situational awareness? of a human being. Second, a shortage of bandwidth limits the number of drones that can be remotely controlled at any one time. Both problems will become less acute with improvements in computer and communications technology, but there is still little reason to think that robots will be alone on the battlefield of the future. It is doubtful that machines will ever be smart enough to do all of the fighting, even if they can perform some of the dullest, dirtiest, or most dangerous work.

The Limits of Technological Supremacy

Taken together, the changes in military power wrought by the information revolution are still in their early stages, and they still have serious limitations. Even the best surveillance systems can be stymied by simple countermeasures like camouflage, smoke, and decoys, by bad weather, or by terrain like the deep sea, mountains, or jungles. Sensors have limited ability to penetrate solid objects, so that they cannot tell what is happening in underground bunkers such as those that North Korea and Iran likely use to hide their nuclear weapons programs. Urban areas present a particularly difficult challenge: There are far more things to track (individuals) and far more obstructions (buildings, vehicles, trees, signs) than at sea or in the sky. Figuring out whether a person is a civilian or an insurgent is a lot harder than figuring out whether an unidentified aircraft is a civilian airliner or an enemy fighter. It is harder still to figure out how many enemy soldiers will resist or what stratagems they will employ. No machine has yet been invented that can penetrate human thought processes. Even with the best equipment in the world, U.S. forces frequently have been surprised by their adversaries.

Some strategists expect that advances in information technology will greatly diminish if not altogether obliterate some of these difficulties. The Pentagon is creating a Global Information Grid that will pool data from all U.S. assets, whether an infantryman on the ground or a satellite in space. The ultimate goal: to provide a perfect operational picture?a ?God?s-eye view? of the battlespace.

This ambitious objective could be furthered by the development of better microwave radars that could see through walls, foliage, or soil; cheaper, more pervasive sensors that could provide 24/7 coverage of the battlefield; better data compression and transmission techniques that could allow more bytes to be sent much faster; and more powerful computers that might make it possible to create, for example, a real-time, three-dimensional model of a city showing all the people who reside in it.

Yet no matter how far information technology advances, it is doubtful that the Pentagon will ever succeed, as some utopians dream, in ?lifting the fog of war.? The fallibility of American soldiers and the cunning of their enemies will surely continue to frustrate the best-laid plans. Moreover, America?s growing reliance on high-tech systems creates new vulnerabilities of its own: Future enemies have strong incentives to attack U.S. computer and communication nodes. Strikes on military information networks could blind or paralyze the armed forces, while strikes on civilian infrastructure, such as banking or air control systems, could cause chaos on the home front. Adversaries will almost certainly figure out ways to blunt the U.S. informational advantage. From Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan to numerous misadventures in Iraq, they already have. Whether fighting in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan or in the alleys of Ramadi and Fallujah, U.S. soldiers have been ambushed by insurgents who managed to elude their sensor networks through such simple expedients as communicating via messengers, not cell phones.
Title: Part Four
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2006, 11:48:45 PM
Asymmetric Warfare

Given the size and scope of America?s military advantage, it is doubtful that any country will mount a full-spectrum challenge to U.S. military capabilities in the foreseeable future. The entry barriers are simply too high, especially for air, sea, and space systems. Virginia-class nuclear submarines cost $2.4 billion, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go for $6 billion, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will cost at least $245 billion. The U.S. spends around $500 billion a year on its military, almost as much as the rest of the world combined. In fact, the U.S. spends more simply on the research, development, testing, and evaluation of new weapons?$71 billion in 2006?than any other country spends on its entire armed forces. (By way of comparison, the top three spenders after the U.S. are Russia, whose defense budget in 2003 was estimated at $65 billion; China, at $56 billion; France, at $45 billion; and Japan and the United Kingdom, at $42 billion. These are only estimates; the figures for Russia and China may be considerably higher.)

It is not only U.S. hardware that?s hard to replicate; so is the all-volunteer force that makes it work. Operating high-tech military equipment requires long-service professionals, not short-term conscripts. Countries as diverse as Vietnam, China, Germany, and Russia are emulating the Anglo-American model by downsizing their forces and relying less on draftees; many other nations have abolished the draft altogether. The U.S. military?s edge lies not simply in recruiting high-quality personnel but in its methods for training and organizing them. Initiatives undertaken in earlier decades, such as setting up realistic training centers to simulate combat conditions and forcing the services to work more closely together (the Goldwater-Nichols Act), continue to bear fruit. Few other armed forces have made comparable reforms.

But a potential adversary does not need to duplicate the U.S. force structure in order to challenge it. The United States faces a growing ?asymmetric? threat both from other states and from sub-state groups. As the National Intelligence Council concluded in its recent report ?Mapping the Global Future?: ?While no single country looks within striking distance of rivaling U.S. military power by 2020, more countries will be in a position to make the United States pay a heavy price for any military action they oppose.? As we have seen, a variety of off-the-shelf missiles can threaten U.S. tanks, surface ships, and aircraft, especially when they get close to hostile territory. The power of smart munitions is outstripping the protection afforded by speed or armor. After 2010, write defense analysts Michael Vickers and Robert Martinage, ?the survivability of aircraft carriers, high-structure surface combatants [e.g., tanks], and non-stealthy aircraft of all types could increasingly be called into question as maritime, over-the-horizon ?area denial? capabilities and extended-range air defense systems continue to mature.? In a similar vein, George and Meredith Friedman contend that ?the ability of conventional weapons platforms?tanks and aircraft carriers?to survive in a world of precision-guided munitions is dubious.?

Also vulnerable are the ports, airfields, and bases which the U.S. uses to project its power overseas. Imagine how much damage Saddam Hussein could have done in 2003 if he had been able to annihilate the one port in Kuwait that was being used to disembark coalition troops or the large desert bases in Kuwait where over 100,000 British and American troops gathered prior to the invasion of Iraq. The Pentagon?s 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review warned that ?future adversaries could have the means to render ineffective much of our current ability to project military power overseas.?

If the U.S. armed forces could not count on safe, assured access to overseas bases they would need to change radically the way they do business. It would no longer be practical to rely on large land armies or lots of short-range combat aircraft operating out of vulnerable forward bases supplied by equally vulnerable cargo ships, trucks, and aircraft. The U.S. Army might be forced to rely on small numbers of commandos supported by long-range aircraft and missiles?as it did in Afghanistan. The Navy might have to depend more on submarines and the Air Force on stealth aircraft. All the services might have to make greater use of unmanned vehicles. The battlefield, which has been becoming less crowded for centuries, might empty out even further as small units try to conceal themselves from ubiquitous sensor networks, emerging only briefly to launch lightning strikes before they go back into hiding.

This has become known as the ?swarming? scenario, and it has attracted support from the likes of military historian Alexander Bevin. ?Large concentrations of troops and weapons are targets for destruction, not marks of power,? he writes, ?and [in the future] they no longer will exist.... Military units, to survive, must not only be small, but highly mobile, self-contained, and autonomous.? Even if these predictions are accurate, however, it isn?t clear when they would become reality, and timing matters tremendously. The key to winning future wars is knowing when to move from one form of military to another: A premature decision to change (such as the U.S. Army?s flawed Pentomic design in the 1950s) can leave one unprepared to fight and win the wars that actually occur, Vietnam being the classic example.

In any case, it is doubtful that a complete switchover to ?swarming? will ever occur. Winning wars, as opposed to winning battles, will continue to require controlling territory, which in turn will require a substantial presence of ground troops, as the U.S. has learned in Afghanistan and Iraq. No wonder-weapon will alter this fundamental reality, which means even the most high-tech military force will always remain vulnerable to the less sophisticated but still deadly technology of its adversaries on the ground.

American Hiroshima?

Even as strategists look to the future, armed forces must not lose sight of the threats of the moment, and they do not come for the most part from traditional militaries. They come largely from terrorist groups?some with state sponsorship, others without?that use the fruits of modern military technology to their perverse advantage.

?Irregular? attacks carried out by tribes, clans, or other non-state actors are as old as warfare itself; they long predate the development of modern armed forces and the nation-state. The religious fanaticism which animates so many of today?s terrorists and guerrillas is equally ancient. But technological advances have made such attacks far more potent than in the distant past. The progeny of the second industrial revolution?assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers, landmines, explosives?long ago spread to the remotest corners of the globe. Fighters who a century ago might have made do with swords and muskets now have access to cheap and reliable weapons such as the AK-47 capable of spewing out 100 bullets a minute. More advanced technologies, from handheld missiles to chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, give even a small group of insurgents the ability or potential ability to mete out far more destruction than entire armies could unleash just a century ago. And thanks to modern transportation and communications infrastructure?such as jumbo jets, the Internet, and cell phones?insurgents have the capability to carry out their attacks virtually anywhere in the world.

September 11 showed the terrifying possibilities of such unconventional warfare. It is easy to imagine that in the future super-terrorists will be able to kill hundreds of thousands, even millions, with effective weapons of mass destruction. All of the materials, as well as the know-how needed to craft such devices, are all too readily available.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons has the greatest ability to trump U.S. military hegemony. The atomic bomb is more than sixty years old. It belongs to an age of rotary-dial telephones and fin-winged cars. It is a miracle that it has not been used by maniac dictators or political radicals since 1945, but that streak won?t last forever. And while information age technology offers a reasonable chance of stopping a nuclear-tipped missile, there is much less probability of stopping a terrorist with a nuclear suitcase. There is little in theory to prevent al Qaeda from carrying out its oft-expressed desire to create an ?American Hiroshima.? In the words of Eugene Habiger, a retired four-star general who once ran antinuclear terror programs for the Department of Energy, ?it is not a matter of if; it?s a matter of when.?

The most important challenge for the U.S. armed forces and their allies in the post-9/11 world is to ?leverage? their advantage in conventional weaponry to deal with today?s unconventional threats. Information technology can be an important part of this task. Embedded microchips can track the 18 million cargo containers moving around the world and help prevent terrorists from using them to smuggle weapons. Computerized cameras scanning a crowd may be able to pick out a terrorist based on facial recognition patterns. Dog-like sniffing machines may be able to recognize suspects by their body odor. Powerful computers utilizing artificial intelligence programs can sift vast reams of Internet data to pick out information about terrorist plots?if concerns about violating the privacy of innocent people do not get in the way. A variety of unobtrusive sensors can detect the presence of explosives or chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Handheld computer translating devices such as the Phraselator, already in use by U.S. troops, can bridge some of the language gap between Western operatives and the regions where they operate.

But in the final analysis, having the best technology is not enough to defeat the most committed terrorists armed with the deadliest weapons. Some of the most expensive weapons systems being purchased by the United States and its allies are irrelevant to fighting and winning the war against terrorism. And the combination of moral restraint and bureaucratic sluggishness that defines America?s military culture may leave the U.S. at a comparative disadvantage against nimble, networked, nihilistic enemies like al Qaeda, who will deploy whatever weapons they have with urgent brutality. To deal with the essential paradox of the information age?that the march of advanced technology may decrease our security in some areas while increasing it in others?we need not just better machines but also the right organizations, training, and leadership to take advantage of them. That?s where the U.S. has lagged badly behind; its industrial-age military bureaucracy remains configured primarily for fighting other conventional militaries, rather than the terrorist foes we increasingly confront. Changing the culture and structure of our armed forces?to say nothing of the CIA or State Department?is a far more daunting task than simply figuring out which weapons systems to buy. Yet even if we rise to that bureaucratic and political challenge, there will likely be times, tragically, when our military supremacy is no match for the technology-enhanced savagery of our inferior enemies.


Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard. This article is adapted from his new book War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of Modern History, 1500 to Today, published by Gotham Books (October 2006).

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 01, 2006, 11:32:40 PM
A B-1 Bomber lands wheels up.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 14, 2006, 05:57:31 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Maintaining U.S. Space Dominance

Robert Joseph, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, publicly insisted on Wednesday that the United States opposes any ban on the weaponization of space. He was careful, however, to say that the United States will continue to abide "scrupulously" by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the placement of nuclear weapons in space.

This comes as no surprise as it has been the position of the U.S. military for years. In 1957, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas D. White forecast that, "Whereas those who have the capacity to control the air control the land and sea beneath it, so in the future it is likely that those who have the capability to control space will likewise control the Earth's surface." The 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations doctrine lays out the "five Ds" of targeting an adversary's space system: deception, disruption, denial, degradation and destruction.

Maintaining the high ground has always been the foundational principle of military strategy. Space is the ultimate high ground. The U.S. military advantage rests heavily on space -- from navigation and communication to intelligence (including MASINT) and the detection of a nuclear attack. Space assets guide the most accurate munitions in the inventory and allow bombing missions to be re-tasked mid-flight. The importance of space to the U.S. military's overwhelming advantage cannot be overstated.

As such, official U.S. policy states in no uncertain terms that, "Purposeful interference with U.S. space systems will be viewed as an infringement on our sovereign rights" and could warrant a retaliatory use of force.

In the coming years, U.S. dominance of space will be challenged, and the United States intends to maintain its advantage. During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Russian-built jamming systems attempted to locally disrupt the United States' global positioning system (GPS). They failed -- and were destroyed by GPS-guided bombs. This was one of the earliest attempts to challenge the United States in space warfare.

The Chinese reportedly have tried to blind or disable U.S. satellites with ground-based lasers. The United States has not officially recognized any Chinese attempt to interfere with its satellites in orbit. But, while targeting a fast-moving satellite and hitting it with a focused laser beam through the varying layers of the atmosphere is a difficult proposition to say the least, even the prospect of such an incident has not gone unnoticed.

The U.S. Air Force -- which controls the majority of U.S. space assets -- takes these potential threats seriously and views them as an indication of things to come. The Air Force has already adjusted the design architecture of its next-generation satellites in an attempt to counter such interference.

There is no doubt that the United States will vigorously defend its advantage in space -- and it will not hesitate for even a moment to use offensive force against an adversary's space assets.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 15, 2006, 07:27:09 AM
A Pentagon Agency
Is Looking at Brains --
And Raising Eyebrows
December 15, 2006; Page B1
In a request issued in October, a government agency asked researchers for "innovative" ways to monitor the brain as it learns and acquires skills, such as by tracking when brain waves flip from those characteristic of novices to those of experts, and noninvasive ways to speed up the process.

In February, the agency said it was interested in ways to use EEGs to detect when a brain had found what it was looking for in a photograph, such as a familiar face in a crowd.

As part of the same program, the agency awarded Lockheed Martin $650,000 in August to develop technology to monitor a brain's cognitive activity in real time and, if the device senses overload, make changes such as slowing the flow of data the brain is receiving.

In a progress report to the agency's "Augmented Cognition" program, a company said in September that it had completed development of a portable, wearable system of sensors that assess cognitive function, producing a readout showing how a brain's pattern of thought-related activity deviates "from that of the normal population."

The requests came from, and the report went to, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Established in 1958, Darpa is best known for inventing the forerunner of the Internet. For decades it lavished most of its support on physics. But lately, as part of its mission to maintain U.S. military superiority "by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research," the agency has expanded into neuroscience.

Can the folks who brought you the Internet also bring you ways to look into brains -- and do you want them to?

Darpa has good reason to fund neuroscience. Discoveries and new technologies such as noninvasive imaging to detect what the mind is doing might help analysts, pilots and grunts process and react better to barrages of data, and allow real-time assessment of head injuries on the battlefield. Brain-computer interfaces in which thoughts are electronically translated into signals that operate a computer or prosthetic limb might improve rehab for soldiers suffering grievous injuries.

As with other "dual use" technologies, however, the findings and gizmos born of Darpa's brain research may well find their way into civilian life, and in ways that trouble some ethicists. Darpa's interest in neuroscience is "extensive and growing," says Jonathan Moreno of the University of Virginia, a former adviser on biodefense to the Department of Homeland Security. "There are reasons to be concerned about what uses these discoveries might be put to."

The Augmented Cognition program, for instance, seeks technologies that will "measure and track a subject's cognitive state in real time." The agency is partway there. One prototype helmet monitors brain states, which may include those associated with anger, aggression, anxiety, fatigue, deception -- in principle, any mental state -- and transmit the data wirelessly to a command center.

In battle, that would let commanders redeploy soldiers who are in no state to fight or carry out certain missions; you might not want a soldier who is boiling over with rage to search civilians. How an office supervisor, airport screener or job interviewer might make use of the technology is left to the reader's imagination.

A Darpa project using fMRI imaging of brain activity applies the discovery that recognizing a face or place you've seen before triggers a characteristic pattern of cortical activity. Do you recognize this terrorist training camp? This terrorist? The benefits could be huge. As with polygraphs and fingerprint analysis, however, technologies can be widely deployed without a solid scientific foundation about their rate of false positives, with the result that they send the innocent to prison.

In a new book, "Mind Wars," Prof. Moreno describes a Darpa project on a drug called CX717, which enables sleep-deprived people to maintain memory and cognitive function. In a world where students take Ritalin to give them a boost on the SAT and Provigil to pull all-nighters, there is no reason to think CX717, if it passes more tests, will be confined to military pilots on long-haul flights. If the drug doesn't succeed in keeping a sleep-deprived brain sharp, maybe Darpa-funded research on neurostimulation -- little zaps of electricity to improve cognitive performance -- will.

Presumably, workers and students will have the legal right to reject such "enhancements," Prof. Moreno says. Soldiers might not. Should they? Will employers or others pressure people to accept better thinking through technology? Will the use of such "augmented cognition" by business competitors have the same effect as steroids in baseball, where the perception that everyone is using them exerts pressure to do the same, to keep the playing field level? There has been virtually no debate on the ethical questions raised by the brave new brain technologies.

Ever since the atomic bomb, physicists have known that their work has potential military uses, and have spoken up about it. But on the morality of sending orders directly to the brain (of a soldier, employee, child, prisoner ...), or of devices that read thoughts and intentions from afar, neuroscientists have been strangely silent. The time to speak up is before the genie is out of the bottle.

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Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 20, 2006, 10:58:35 PM

December 20, 2006 -- IF a prize were awarded for the most-improved government publication of the decade, we could choose the winner now: "Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency" (MCWP 3-33.5 for the Marine Corps). Rising above abysmal earlier drafts, the Army and Marines have come through with doctrine that will truly help our troops.

Doctrine matters. It doesn't provide leaders with a detailed blueprint, but offers a common foundation on which to build strategies and refine tactics. Start with a weak foundation, and the wartime house can easily collapse.

This new field manual is a solid base. Earlier drafts were dominated by theorists locked into 20th-century thinking - approaches that failed us so dismally in Iraq. But the final document offers a far greater sense of an insurgency's reality.

It doesn't have all the answers. No doctrine does. But it provides our battlefield leaders with a genuinely useful tool to help them understand insurgencies.

Yes, there's still a little too much "peace, love and understanding" silliness, but it's counterbalanced with blunt honesty that acknowledges that not all of our enemies can be persuaded to adore us. While non-lethal techniques and non-military means certainly have roles to play, the manual now states clearly that there are some foes - primarily religious or ethnic fanatics - who need to be killed.

This is a huge step forward for the Army, whose senior leadership has suffered from a Clinton-era hangover in the political-correctness department (many of the manual's tough-minded changes were made to satisfy the Marines - the Corps never lost its grip on warfare's fundamentals).

This embrace of unpleasant realities is a step that the rest of our government needs to take. Our politicians need to read "Counterinsurgency."

Earlier drafts cautiously ignored faith-fueled insurgencies and even the phenomenon of the suicide bomber; now both topics get intelligent treatment. The academic theorists continue to fight a rear-guard action (there's still too much emphasis on Maoist models), but the acceptance that there's more to many insurgencies than political ideology was a great leap forward (if not a cultural revolution).

The absolutes of the draft versions are tempered in the final product, leaving room for the complexity of conflict. There's a genuine acceptance that counterinsurgency warfare has no silver bullets - such conflicts are just plain tough and attempts to simplify them lead to failure.

We owe a debt of thanks to the officers (most of them Iraq or Afghanistan veterans) involved in the revision of this manual - which involved a lot of long hours, exasperation and soul-searching.

Coming up fast from behind (as one hopes we'll be able to do in Iraq), the doctrine writers shook off much of the spell of the last century's bogus theorizing and began to come to grips with the real enemies we face today and will continue to face in various guises for decades to come.

I wrote "began" because, while this document reflects valuable progress in our thinking about the dominant form of conflict in our time, it's nonetheless an interim manual for a military in transition between the failed "wisdom" of the past and the tactics and techniques demanded by a new century. As "Counterinsurgency" is revised based on our experience of conflict, the next set of drafters will need to face critical issues neither the Army nor the Marines have gotten to yet.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, here are a few of the gaps remaining:

While the sometimes-you-just-have-to-fight realists are in the ascendant at last, the military's academic side still has too much influence. You see it plainly in the illustrative vignettes chosen to accompany the text: They emphasize soft power (doesn't work - sorry) over the need to kill implacable murderers to provide security for the innocent.

The bias in the case-study selection still favors the hand-holding efforts that helped create the current mess in Iraq (military academics, like all academics, won't give up on their theses just because mere facts contradict them). The drafters cite the anomalous example of Malaya (while downplaying that campaign's violence), but ignore the same-decade example of the Mau-Mau revolt, in which the British won a complete victory - thanks to concentration camps, hanging courts and aggressive military operations.

The vignettes concentrate on ideological insurgencies (the easy stuff), neglecting 3,000 years of ferocious religious and ethnic revolts.

On the first page of the introduction, we get the solemn statement that "The tactics used to successfully defeat [insurgencies] are likewise similar in most cases." That's true, but not in the way the drafters intended. They were referring to the hearts-and-minds efforts that defused a minuscule number of insurgencies over the past six decades - while the "similar tactics" that historically worked with remarkable consistency were uncompromising military responses.

A huge gap remaining in the doctrine is that, except for a few careful mentions, it ignores the role of the media. Generals have told me frankly that it was just too loaded an issue - any suggestion that the media are complicit in shaping outcomes excites punitive media outrage.

To be fair, the generals are right. Had the manual described the media's irresponsible, partisan and too-often-destructive roles, it would have ignited a firestorm. Yet, in an age when media lies and partisan spin can overturn the verdict of the battlefield, embolden our enemies and decide the outcome of an entire war, pretending the media aren't active participants in a conflict cripples any efforts that we make.

The media are now combatants - even if we're not allowed to shoot back. Our enemies are explicit in describing the importance of winning through the media. Without factoring in media effects, any counterinsurgency plan will go forward at a limp.

Finally, the new manual fails to ask a question that no one in our military or government has yet had the common sense to ask about insurgencies: What if they just don't want what we want? That, indeed, has become the crucial question in Iraq.

Despite these criticisms, our latest cut at shaping a counterinsurgency doctrine looks like a noteworthy success. It's overwhelmingly honest, honorable and useful.

Now we need to put that doctrine to use.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit The Fight."

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 04, 2007, 05:46:34 PM
Since the start of the Iraq war, tens of thousands of heavily-armed military contractors have been roaming the country -- without any law, or any court to control them. That may be about to change, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow P.W. Singer notes in a Defense Tech exclusive. Five words, slipped into a Pentagon budget bill, could make all the difference. With them, "contractors 'get out of jail free' cards may have been torn to shreds," he writes. They're now subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the same set of laws that governs soldiers. But here's the catch: embedded reporters are now under those regulations, too.

Over the last few years, tales of private military contractors run amuck in Iraq -- from the CACI interrogators at Abu Ghraib to the Aegis company's Elvis-themed internet "trophy video" —- have continually popped up in the headlines. Unfortunately, when it came to actually doing something about these episodes of Outsourcing Gone Wild, Hollywood took more action than Washington. The TV series Law and Order punished fictional contractor crimes, while our courts ignored the actual ones. Leonardo Dicaprio acted in a movie featuring the private military industry, while our government enacted no actual policy on it. But those carefree days of military contractors romping across the hills and dales of the Iraqi countryside, without legal status or accountability, may be over. The Congress has struck back.

Amidst all the add-ins, pork spending, and excitement of the budget process, it has now come out that a tiny clause was slipped into the Pentagon's fiscal year 2007 budget legislation. The one sentence section (number 552 of a total 3510 sections) states that "Paragraph (10) of section 802(a) of title 10, United States Code (article 2(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by striking `war' and inserting `declared war or a contingency operation'." The measure passed without much notice or any debate. And then, as they might sing on School House Rock, that bill became a law (P.L.109-364).

The addition of five little words to a massive US legal code that fills entire shelves at law libraries wouldn't normally matter for much. But with this change, contractors' 'get out of jail free' card may have been torn to shreds. Previously, contractors would only fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, better known as the court martial system, if Congress declared war. This is something that has not happened in over 65 years and out of sorts with the most likely operations in the 21st century. The result is that whenever our military officers came across episodes of suspected contractor crimes in missions like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, or Afghanistan, they had no tools to resolve them. As long as Congress had not formally declared war, civilians -- even those working for the US armed forces, carrying out military missions in a conflict zone -- fell outside their jurisdiction. The military's relationship with the contractor was, well, merely contractual. At most, the local officer in charge could request to the employing firm that the individual be demoted or fired. If he thought a felony occurred, the officer might be able to report them on to civilian authorities.

Getting tattled on to the boss is certainly fine for some incidents. But, clearly, it's not how one deals with suspected crimes. And it's nowhere near the proper response to the amazing, awful stories that have made the headlines (the most recent being the contractors who sprung a former Iraqi government minister, imprisoned on corruption charges, from a Green Zone jail).
And for every story that has been deemed newsworthy, there are dozens that never see the spotlight. One US army officer recently told me of an incident he witnessed, where a contractor shot a young Iraqi who got too close to his vehicle while in line at the Green Zone entrance. The boy was waiting there to apply for a job. Not merely a tragedy, but one more nail in the coffin for any US effort at winning hearts and minds.

But when such incidents happen, officers like him have had no recourse other than to file reports that are supposed to be sent on either to the local government or the US Department of Justice, neither of which had traditionally done much. The local government is often failed or too weak to act - the very reason we are still in Iraq. And our Department of Justice has treated contractor crimes in a more Shakespearean than Hollywood way, as in Much Ado About Nothing. Last month, DOJ reported to Congress that it has sat on over 20 investigations of suspected contractor crimes without action in the last year.

The problem is not merely one of a lack of political will on the part of the Administration to deal with such crimes. Contractors have also fallen through a gap in the law. The roles and numbers of military contractors are far greater than in the past, but the legal system hasn't caught up. Even in situations when US civilian law could potentially have been applied to contractor crimes (through the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act), it wasn't. Underlying the previous laws like MEJA was the assumption that civilian prosecutors back in the US would be able to make determinations of what is proper and improper behavior in conflicts, go gather evidence, carry out depositions in the middle of warzones, and then be willing and able to prosecute them to juries back home. The reality is that no US Attorney likes to waste limited budgets on such messy, complex cases 9,000 miles outside their district, even if they were fortunate enough to have the evidence at hand. The only time MEJA has been successfully applied was against the wife of a soldier, who stabbed him during a domestic dispute at a US base in Turkey. Not one contractor of the entire military industry in Iraq has been charged with any crime over the last 3 and a half years, let alone prosecuted or punished. Given the raw numbers of contractors, let alone the incidents we know about, it boggles the mind.

The situation perhaps hit its low-point this fall, when the Under Secretary of the Army testified to Congress that the Army had never authorized Halliburton or any of its subcontractors (essentially the entire industry) to carry weapons or guard convoys. He even denied the US had firms handling these jobs. Never mind the thousands of newspaper, magazine, and TV news stories about the industry. Never mind Google's 1,350,000 web mentions. Never mind the official report from U.S. Central Command that there were over 100,000 contractors in Iraq carrying out these and other military roles. In a sense, the Bush Administration was using a cop-out that all but the worst Hollywood script writers avoid. Just like the end of the TV series Dallas, Congress was somehow supposed to accept that the private military industry in Iraq and all that had happened with it was somehow 'just a dream.'

But Congress didn't bite, it now seems. With the addition of just five words in the law, contractors now can fall under the purview of the military justice system. This means that if contractors violate the rules of engagement in a warzone or commit crimes during a contingency operation like Iraq, they can now be court-martialed (as in, Corporate Warriors, meet A Few Good Men). On face value, this appears to be a step forward for realistic accountability. Military contractor conduct can now be checked by the military investigation and court system, which unlike civilian courts, is actually ready and able both to understand the peculiarities of life and work in a warzone and kick into action when things go wrong.

The amazing thing is that the change in the legal code is so succinct and easy to miss (one sentence in a 439-page bill, sandwiched between a discussion on timely notice of deployments and a section ordering that the next of kin of medal of honor winners get flags) that it has so far gone completely unnoticed in the few weeks since it became the law of the land. Not only has the media not yet reported on it. Neither have military officers or even the lobbyists paid by the military industry to stay on top of these things.

So what happens next? In all likelihood, many firms, who have so far thrived in the unregulated marketplace, will now lobby hard to try to strike down the change. We will perhaps even soon enjoy the sight of CEOs of military firms, preening about their loss of rights and how the new definition of warzone will keep them from rescuing kittens caught in trees.

But, ironically, the contractual nature of the military industry serves as an effective mechanism to prevent loss of rights. The legal change only applies to the section in the existing law dealing with those civilians "serving with or accompanying an armed force in the field," i.e. only those contractors on operations in conflict zones like Iraq or Afghanistan. It would apply not to the broader public in the US, not to local civilians, and not even to military contractors working in places where civilian law is stood up. Indeed, it even wouldn't apply to our foes, upholding recent rulings on the scope of military law and the detainees at Gitmo.

In many ways, the new law is the 21st century business version of the rights contract: If a private individual wants to travel to a warzone and do military jobs for profit, on behalf of the US government, then that individual agrees to fall under the same codes of law and consequence that American soldiers, in the same zones, doing the same sorts of jobs, have to live and work by. If a contractor doesn't agree to these regulations, that's fine, don't contract. Unlike soldiers, they are still civilians with no obligation to serve. The new regulation also seems to pass the fairness test. That is, a lance corporal or a specialist earns less than $20,000 a year for service in Iraq, while a contractor can earn upwards of $100,000-200,000 a year (tax free) for doing the same job and can quit whenever they want. It doesn't seem that unreasonable then to expect the contractor to abide by the same laws as their military counterpart while in the combat theatre.

Given that the vast majority of private military employees are upstanding men and women -- and mostly former soldiers, to boot -- living under the new system will not mean much change at all. All it does is now give military investigators a way finally to stop the bad apples from filling the headlines and getting away free.

The change in the law is long overdue. But in being so brief, it needs clarity on exactly how it will be realized. For example, how will it be applied to ongoing contracts and operations? Given that the firm executives and their lobbyists back in DC have completely dropped the ball, someone ought to tell the contractors in Iraq that they can now be court martialed.

Likewise, the scope of the new law could made more clear; it could be either too limited or too wide, depending on the interpretation. While it is apparent that any military contractor working directly or indirectly for the US military falls under the change, it is unclear whether those doing similar jobs for other US government agencies in the same warzone would fall under it as well (recalling that the contractors at Abu Ghraib were technically employed by the US Department of Interior, sublet out to DOD).

On the opposite side, what about civilians who have agreed to be embedded, but not contracted? The Iraq war is the first that journalists could formally embed in units, so there is not much experience with its legal side in contingency operations. The lack of any legal precedent, combined with the new law, could mean that an overly aggressive
interpretation might now also include journalists who have embedded.

Given that journalists are not armed, not contracted (so not paid directly or indirectly from public monies) and most important, not there to serve the mission objectives, this would probably be too extensive an interpretation. It would also likely mean less embeds. But given the current lack of satisfaction with the embed program in the media, any effect here may be a tempest in a tea pot. As of Fall 2006, there were only nine embedded reporters in all of Iraq. Of the nine, four were from military media (three from Stars and Stripes, one from Armed Forces Network), two not even with US units (one Polish radio reporter with Polish troops, one Italian reporter with Italian troops), and one was an American writing a book. Moreover, we should remember that embeds already make a rights tradeoff when they agree to the military's reporting rules. That is, they have already given up some of their 1st Amendment protections (something at the heart of their professional ethic) in exchange for access, so agreeing to potentially fall under UCMJ when deployed may not be a deal breaker.

The ultimate point is that the change gives the military and the civilians courts a new tool to use in better managing and overseeing contractors, but leaves it to the Pentagon and DOJ to decide when and where to use it. Given their recent track record on legal issues in the context of Iraq and the war on terror, many won't be that reassured.

Congress is to be applauded for finally taking action to reign in the industry and aid military officers in their duties, but the job is not done. While there may be an inclination to let such questions of scope and implementation be figured out through test cases in the courts, our elected public representatives should request DoD to answer the questions above in a report to Congress. Moreover, while the change may help close one accountability loophole, in no way should it be read as a panacea for the rest of the private military industry's ills. The new Congress still has much to deal with when it comes to the still unregulated industry, including getting enough eyes and ears to actually oversee and manage our contracts effectively, create reporting structures, and forcing the Pentagon to develop better fiscal controls and market sanctions, to actually save money than spend it out.

A change of a few words in a legislative bill certainly isn't the stuff of a blockbuster movie. So don't expect to see Angelina Jolie starring in "Paragraph (10) of Section 802(a)" in a theatre near you anytime soon. But the legal changes in it are a sign that Congress is finally catching up to Hollywood on the private military industry. And that is the stuff of good governance.

-- P.W. Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at The Brookings Institution. He is the author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press) and the upcoming book Wired for War (Houghton Mifflin).

January 3, 2007 05:37 PM
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 07, 2007, 11:00:13 AM
Additional info here:

Below from:

China, Israel Get B-2 Secrets
A former Northrop Grumman B-2 engineer arrested in October 2005 for spying is now under indictment for passing secrets to as many as eight countries—including China and Israel.

According to the primary allegations revealed in an indictment unsealed in November, Noshir S. Gowadia, a US citizen and resident of Hawaii, regularly transmitted data and documents filled with classified information to foreigners. He also went overseas to teach courses on stealth technology such as that used to hide aircraft exhausts from infrared seekers.

Gowadia did it for money, not political reasons, according to the FBI.

Earlier last year, prosecutors indicated the charges would expand in another indictment against Gowadia that details his sharing of information with Chinese officials and business sources in Israel. The identities of the Israelis have not been disclosed, nor has it been revealed whether they were private individuals or representatives of companies.

The indictment reveals that Gowadia received approximately $2 million from China for his services.

Below from:

'Father' of the B-2
A just-released affidavit provides some insight into the mind of an admitted spy living on Maui

» 'Father' of the B-2
» Excerpt from the affidavit
» Maui man was up for DOD contract
» How to build B-2 is secret
» Rural Maui site of FBI search
By Mary Vorsino
As far back as 1999, when he moved to Maui from New Mexico, Noshir S. Gowadia was marketing himself to foreign countries as the "father" of the classified technology that helps protect B-2 stealth bombers from heat-seeking missiles, according to an affidavit unsealed yesterday.

"I wanted to help this (sic) countries to further their self aircraft protection systems. My personal gain would be business," Gowadia said in a statement given to the FBI on Oct. 14, in which he admitted to knowingly disclosing top-secret information. "At that time, I knew it was wrong and I did it for the money."
In all, the 61-year-old Haiku resident -- who helped design the stealth bomber as a defense contractor for Northrop Corp. for 18 years -- is accused of disclosing the stealth's infrared-suppression secrets to representatives from eight foreign governments.

He told the FBI that he shared classified information "both verbally and in papers, computer presentations, letters and other methods ... to establish the technological credibility with the potential customers for future business."

Gowadia was charged Wednesday with one count of willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, which falls under federal espionage statutes. He is in federal custody in Honolulu and is set to make an appearance at a detention hearing today in federal court.

According to prosecutors, Gowadia faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Officials said he could face more charges in the future.

At a news conference yesterday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Goodwin read from a written statement and declined to answer questions on the investigation. "This is a very sensitive, ongoing investigation," he said.

Neither the affidavit nor Goodwin revealed which countries Gowadia allegedly sold secrets to, or whether they were allied or enemy nations. Goodwin did say that Gowadia was born in India and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Gowadia's wife, Cheryl, declined comment yesterday at the couple's home in Haiku.

The FBI searched Gowadia's home on Oct. 13, finding several classified documents from the engineer's days at Northrop and when he was a contract engineer in the 1990s at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

During the search, according to the affidavit, Gowadia denied having any classified material and "displayed a full understanding of his responsibilities with respect to the maintenance" of military secrets.

But a day later, when asked about the documents marked classified that were allegedly taken from his home, Gowadia submitted a written statement to the FBI in which he admitted to selling or disclosing classified information.

The FBI alleges that:

» On Oct. 23, 2002, Gowadia faxed a proposal to develop infrared-suppression technology on military aircraft to a representative in an unspecified foreign country. The information included in the document was classified at the "top secret" level and made specific mention of the classified defense system in the United States.

» In December 1999, Gowadia taught a course to foreigners in a second unspecified country, including information deemed "secret" that he had access to while working for Northrop and as a subcontractor for Los Alamos. Northrop representatives declined comment yesterday.

» On several other occasions, Gowadia provided "extensive amounts of classified information" to individuals in a third unspecified country while teaching a course on "low observable technology."

The affidavit did not say how classified information was allegedly disclosed to representatives from five other foreign countries. And it is unclear if Gowadia's course material for classes at U.S. universities was drawn from classified resources.

As recently as this spring, Gowadia co-taught a course at Purdue University as a visiting professor. He has also taught at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

The FBI said in the affidavit that it used documents and computers taken from Gowadia's home, along with electronic surveillance, to piece together the extent of the engineer's alleged criminal activity.

Gowadia "has marketed and disclosed United States military technology secrets related to the B-2 to foreign governments in order to 'assist' them in obtaining a higher level of military technology," wrote FBI Special Agent Thatcher Mohajerin in the affidavit.

The investigation "has also revealed that Gowadia has been rewarded financially for his efforts."

Gowadia's engineering contract business, N.S. Gowadia Inc., took in nearly $750,000 in gross receipts between 1999 and 2003. But prosecutors believe Gowadia's actual income was much higher. The investigation, according to the affidavit, showed Gowadia "likely" maintains several offshore bank accounts.

Defense analysts say the allegations against Gowadia are serious, but they cautioned against rushing to conclusions, given the government's problematic record in prosecuting these kinds of national security cases.

Philip Coyle, a senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information and a former assistant secretary of defense, cited the Wen Ho Lee case at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1999. Lee was accused of stealing military secrets from the lab and funneling them to China.

But the government ended up dropping 59 felony counts of espionage against Lee, who pleaded guilty to a single count of improperly handling restricted data.

"He (Wen Ho Lee) did a stupid thing," Coyle said, "but it turns out what he actually did was nowhere near what the government first asserted."

There is also the high-profile case of Katrina Leung.

The California woman was accused of spying for China, but a federal judge dropped all charges against her in December after prosecutors admitted to illegally blocking a primary defense witness.

For years, Leung had gathered intelligence on the Chinese government for the FBI.

Gowadia, meanwhile, appeared to be open about the technology he is accused of peddling. A 2004 article in Jane's International Defense Review identified Gowadia as developing a system that would make military and civilian aircraft "virtually invulnerable to attack" from infrared-guided air defense systems.

Publicity like that could have turned the government on to him, said John Pike, director of, a private defense policy group. But it also raises the question about why he was not caught sooner, he said.

Noshir Sheriarji Gowadia

Age: 61
Background: Gowadia helped develop the B-2 stealth bomber while he was an engineer at Northrop Corp., and was instrumental in the creation of a defense system for heat-seeking missiles. After 18 years at Northrop, he went on to become a contract engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Accusation: One count of "willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it," which falls under federal espionage statutes.


Title 18, United States Code, Section 793(c)

An excerpt from the affidavit released yesterday, quoting the federal law Noshir S. Gowadia is accused of breaking:
"(W)hoever, having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 11, 2007, 11:16:38 AM
Fox News   
Pentagon Warns Contractors About 'Canadian' Spy Coins
Thursday, January 11, 2007

This photo released by the Central Intelligence Agency shows a hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower silver dollar.
WASHINGTON  —  Money talks, but can it also follow your movements?

In a U.S. government warning high on the creepiness scale, the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.

The U.S. report doesn't suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn't describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them.

Further details were secret, according to the U.S. Defense Security Service, which issued the warning to the Pentagon's classified contractors. The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.

(Story continues below)

"What's in the report is true," said Martha Deutscher, a spokeswoman for the security service. "This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions."

Top suspects, according to outside experts: China, Russia or even France — all said to actively run espionage operations inside Canada with enough sophistication to produce such technology.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it knew nothing about the coins.

"This issue has just come to our attention," CSIS spokeswoman Barbara Campion said. "At this point, we don't know of any basis for these claims."

She said Canada's intelligence service works closely with its U.S. counterparts and will seek more information if necessary.

Experts were astonished about the disclosure and the novel tracking technique, but they rejected suggestions Canada's government might be spying on American contractors. The intelligence services of the two countries are extraordinarily close and routinely share sensitive secrets.

"It would seem unthinkable," said David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. "I wouldn't expect to see any offensive operation against the Americans."

Harris said likely candidates include foreign spies who targeted Americans abroad or businesses engaged in corporate espionage.

"There are certainly a lot of mysterious aspects to this," Harris said.

Experts said such tiny transmitters would almost certainly have limited range to communicate with sensors no more than a few feet away, such as ones hidden inside a doorway. The metal in the coins also could interfere with any signals emitted.

"I'm not aware of any [transmitter] that would fit inside a coin and broadcast for kilometers," said Katherine Albrecht, an activist who believes such technology — known as radio-frequency identification, and in common usage as "no-swipe" credit cards and gas-station key fobs — carries serious privacy risks. "Whoever did this obviously has access to some pretty advanced technology."

Experts said hiding tracking technology inside coins is fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it buying coffee or a newspaper. They agreed, however, that a coin with a hidden tracking device might not arouse suspicion if it were discovered in a pocket or briefcase.

"It wouldn't seem to be the best place to put something like that; you'd want to put it in something that wouldn't be left behind or spent," said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense."

Canada's largest coins include its $2 "Toonie," which is more than 1 inch across and thick enough to hide a tiny transmitter. The CIA has acknowledged its own spies have used hollow, U.S. silver-dollar coins to hide messages and film.

The government's 29-page report was filled with other espionage warnings. It described unrelated hacker attacks, eavesdropping with miniature pen recorders and the case of a female foreign spy who seduced her American boyfriend to steal his computer passwords.

In another case, a film processing company called the FBI after it developed pictures for a contractor that contained classified images of U.S. satellites and their blueprints. The photo was taken from an adjoining office window.

Title: USS Stennis' deployment
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 31, 2007, 06:33:04 PM
U.S. Navy: What the USS John C. Stennis' Deployment Does Not Mean
January 31, 2007 23 28  GMT


The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis departed San Diego on Jan. 20 after joining up with its carrier air wing in preparation for its deployment in the Persian Gulf. The timing of the deployment has led to speculation that the United States is putting the carrier and its strike group in the Gulf with the USS Eisenhower, which is currently deployed to the region, in order to increase pressure on Iran. However, this deployment is business as usual for the U.S. Navy as it moves the strike group in to support various military operations in the Middle East.


The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis left San Diego on Jan. 20 for its scheduled cruise in the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. This deployment has received attention from the media, which say the deployment is meant to increase pressure on Iran. However, the Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered Stennis' main purpose will be to replace the USS Eisenhower when it concludes its cruise in April 2007. The Stennis' deployment is nothing unusual.

The process culminating in the Stennis' deployment to the Middle East began when the carrier arrived in its home port of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 8, 2005. Soon after that, she went into dry-docked planned incremental availability (DPIA), an 11-month overhaul and recertification process at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Usually after completing a cruise, a U.S. aircraft carrier will return to its homeport and restart the maintenance and operations cycles. In the Stennis' case, however, it went into DPIA before restarting the operations cycle.

(click to enlarge)

After the DPIA was complete in December 2005, the Stennis underwent three months of routine sea trials in the East Pacific, followed by an inspection survey in April to certify the carrier's suitability for operations. Since the inspection's completion in May, the Stennis has been on a typical operations cycle for the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

The length of any operation or cruise is limited not by the ship, but by the crew's endurance. The high tempo of operations on a carrier takes a toll on the crew; cruises end when the crew has been deployed for six months with continuous 24-hour operations. When the cruise ends, the ship is checked over and any necessary repairs and refitting will be done. This gives the crew the chance to go on leave before returning to the ship at port and working routine maintenance, attending training schools or being reassigned. During this period, follow-on exercises and sustainment training will keep the carrier employable for an 18-month period until it is actually deployed. This is what the USS Ronald Reagan is doing from its home base of San Diego.

The carrier will then take part in several two- to three-week exercises that allow the crew to practice mission areas and integrate skill sets, essentially maintaining their qualifications. Before being deployed again, the carrier typically goes through a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) followed by a joint task force exercise (JTFEX). The JTFEX serves primarily as a method of validation and can be cut short or eliminated if the carrier is rushed into deployment. The Stennis completed its COMPTUEX in mid-October 2006 and its JTFEX in the following month. During these exercises, the carrier's air wing is assigned and its personnel participate in training and certification for carrier operation in preparation for deployment.

Normally, a carrier is deployed for six months and then in home port for 18 months, during which it participates in any number of short operations. The one notable exception to this standard occurred when U.S. President Jimmy Carter kept the USS Nimitz on deployment for 11 months straight, going from one hot spot to another.

For decades, a U.S. carrier has generally been on station in the Persian Gulf or the 5th Fleet area of operations. In 2003 the Navy adopted the Fleet Response Plan (FRP), which favors having multiple carriers in a general state of readiness instead of maintaining a single carrier in the Gulf. Though six-month deployments to the Middle East are still common -- and require a great deal of planning and preparation -- the FRP has changed the carrier fleet's overall readiness posture. The FRP was designed to make the Navy more responsive to Washington's maritime needs. And with the massive strike capability a carrier air wing brings to bear, a carrier deployment is often more of a political weapon than a military one.

The FRP calls for six carriers out of the total fleet of 12 to be "surge capable" -- able to be under way in 30 days or fewer, with a follow-on surge of two more carriers within 90 days -- at any time. Thus, instead of using the deployment date to schedule training, proficiency training begins as soon as a carrier emerges from its maintenance cycles. Less than six months after coming out of dry dock -- and as soon as three months in an emergency -- a carrier should be employable, or surge ready.

However, in the case of the 5th Fleet's current operations, developments in Somalia and the Eisenhower's shift in that direction are reminders of the military purpose of the current carrier rotations through the Gulf -- continued support of operations in Iraq, including regular close air support sorties, and potential support for African Union peacekeeping operations in Somalia.

The Stennis will likely arrive in the Persian Gulf region in mid- to late February. This will give it about a two-month overlap with the Eisenhower which, since its arrival in the region in late October, has been moving between the Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Stennis' deployment to the Persian Gulf has been scheduled for months, so its movement there is not in response to anything Iran has recently done. The timing just happens to coincide with the recent U.S. decision to increase its force in Iraq and with statements from U.S. diplomats about increasing pressure on Tehran.

If the United States does decide to surge its naval capacity in the region and intensify its military pressure on Iran, the Eisenhower could remain in the Gulf past April. Meanwhile, the USS Harry S. Truman, which recently finished a round of flight deck certifications in the Atlantic in preparation for its 2007 deployment, could deploy as early as April. This could put the Truman in the Persian Gulf with the Stennis and the Eisenhower, should it stay over, placing three U.S. carrier strike groups in the region.

Even if the Eisenhower returns and the Truman moves into the region, the United States would demonstrate its ability to maintain two carriers in one place for an extended period of time. However, if this potential surge goes beyond three carrier strike groups, the USS Nimitz and the USS Roosevelt -- like the Reagan -- are at stages in their operational cycles at which they could be deployed on relatively short notice if needed.

The United States could have six carriers deployed to the Persian Gulf relatively quickly if it wanted to. If that were to occur, Tehran would certainly have reason to be concerned. In times of heightened geopolitical tension, the normal rotation of one carrier to replace another can set observers off. This is certainly not the first time; only a few months ago, similar speculation followed the Eisenhower across the Atlantic as it sailed to replace the USS Enterprise. However, the Stennis' movement into the Persian Gulf is not abnormal.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 05, 2007, 07:33:31 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Helicopter Losses and New Questions in the War

Over the past two weeks, four U.S. helicopters have been shot down in Iraq -- one of them a Blackhawk carrying 12 people. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a senior military spokesman, confirmed on Sunday that all four were shot down as a result of ground fire. He went on to say, "Obviously, based on what we have seen, we are already making adjustments to our tactics and techniques, as to how we employ our helicopters." The announcement was accompanied by speculation that Iraqi insurgents have acquired new weapons that have made helicopters vulnerable.

There have been dozens of other shoot-downs of helicopters in Iraq, but the sudden surge in crashes of late raises some significant strategic issues for the United States. Iraqi insurgents using improvised explosive devices and other ambush tactics have imposed penalties on U.S. troops moving on the roads. They have not been able to shut down the roads entirely, as happened in Vietnam, but they have been able to impose significant costs in terms of delays, the quantities of vehicles and manpower needed to move things around on the roads, and casualties inflicted on a casualty-averse force.

The movement of men and materiel by helicopter has been a safer alternative. Certainly the roads have to be used, and the helicopter fleet is limited, but it has been utilized heavily as a low-friction alternative. It also is the preferred mode of transport for high-ranking officers and VIPs. If the friction is building up and helicopter travel becomes increasingly hazardous, it will increase the pressures related to road travel. In other words, the insurgents are not so much shutting down transport as increasing the cost of transport in terms of effort, time and casualties -- and they now are extending those costs to air transports.

It is not clear what sorts of weapons the insurgents might have that were not in their possession previously. Helicopters traditionally have been vulnerable to small-arms fire, but contemporary U.S. helicopters have sufficient armor to withstand smaller caliber rounds, at least in limited volume. Insurgents have used rocket-propelled grenades, but these weapons are effective in close engagements with helicopters moving rather slowly, not against helicopters in rapid flight. There are a number of missiles and radar-guided heavy caliber guns that are extremely effective against helicopters, but it is not clear that the insurgents possess these.

At this point, it is necessary to distinguish between Sunni and Shiite fighters. The Iranians might well be moving advanced anti-helicopter weaponry into Iraq, but it is unlikely they would be giving this to the Sunnis. It is possible that insurgents or militia groups have better weapons, but it is also possible that there are simply more sorties being flown and, therefore, more choppers at risk. Indeed, with larger numbers of forces moving into Baghdad and troops being shifted around the country, roads and air space are both being utilized more intensely. That creates a more target-rich environment.

But still, the possibility that the various insurgents and militias have acquired advanced anti-air systems that can increase the attrition of helicopters opens new questions about the war. Who could be supplying these to the Sunnis? What other weapons systems are being supplied? Who is training the insurgents in their use, since more advanced systems require greater expertise to be utilized? It is not so much the attacks on these helicopters that matters as the geopolitical significance of more advanced weapon systems starting to show up on the battlefield. If this is the case -- and it is not at all certain that it is -- it would mean someone has made a strategic decision to take on the United States head-on. It could be the Iranians, but if the Sunni insurgents have improved weapons as well, then it likely would be someone else.

It is pure speculation, but we note that the Russians have been selling anti-air systems in the region. Someone might be reshipping them to Sunni insurgents. Alternatively, there might just be more U.S. choppers in the air, and the insurgents have gotten lucky.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 08, 2007, 09:05:32 AM
The Snake Eater
Give our troops the tools our cops have.

Thursday, February 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Subject: A case study of how the U.S. got bogged down in Iraq.

Problem: If a cop in Anytown, USA, pulls over a suspect, he checks the person's ID remotely from the squad car. He's linked to databases filled with Who's Who in the world of crime, killing and mayhem. In Iraq, there is nothing like that. When our troops and the Iraqi army enter a town, village or street, what they know about the local bad guys is pretty much in their heads, at best.

Solution: Give our troops what our cops have. The Pentagon knows this. For reasons you can imagine, it hasn't happened.

This is a story of can-do in a no-can-do world, a story of how a Marine officer in Iraq, a small network-design company in California, a nonprofit troop-support group, a blogger and other undeterrable folk designed a handheld insurgent-identification device, built it, shipped it and deployed it in Anbar province. They did this in 30 days, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. Compared to standard operating procedure for Iraq, this is a nanosecond.

Before fastening our seatbelts, let's check the status quo. As a high Defense Department official told the Journal's editorial page, "We're trying to fight a major war with peacetime procurement rules." The department knows this is awful. Indeed, a program exists, the Automated Biometric Identification System: retina scans, facial matching and the like. The reality: This war is in year four, and the troops don't have it. Beyond Baghdad, the U.S. role has become less about killing insurgents than arresting the worst and isolating them from the population. Obviously it would help to have an electronic database of who the bad guys are, their friends, where they live, tribal affiliation--in short the insurgency's networks.
The Marine and Army officers who patrol Iraq's dangerous places know they need an identification system similar to cops back home. The troops now write down suspects' names and addresses. Some, like Marine Maj. Owen West in Anbar, have created their own spreadsheets and PowerPoint programs, or use digital cameras to input the details of suspected insurgents. But no Iraq-wide software architecture exists.

Operating around the town of Khalidiya, north of Baghdad, Maj. West has been the leader of a team of nine U.S. soldiers advising an Iraqi brigade. This has been his second tour of duty in Iraq. When not fighting the Iraq war, he's an energy trader for Goldman Sachs in New York City.

It had become clear to him last fall that the Iraqi soldiers were becoming the area's cops. And that they needed modern police surveillance tools. To help the Iraqi army in Khalidiya do its job right, Maj. West needed that technology yesterday: He was scheduled to rotate back stateside in February--this month.

Since arriving in Iraq last year, Maj. West had worked with Spirit of America (SoA), the civilian troop-support group founded by Jim Hake. In early December, SoA's project director, Michele Redmond, asked Maj. West if there was any out-of-the-ordinary project they could help him with. And Maj. West said, Why yes, there is. He described to them the basic concept for a mobile, handheld fingerprinting device which Iraqi soldiers would use to assemble an insurgent database. Mr. Hake said his organization would contribute $30,000 to build a prototype and get it to Khalidiya. In New York, Goldman Sachs contributed $14,000 to the project.

Two problems. They needed to find someone who could assemble the device, and the unit had to be in Khalidiya by Jan. 15 to give Maj. West time to field-test it before he left in February.

To build the device, they approached a small California company, Computer Deductions Inc., which makes electronic systems for law-enforcement agencies. Over the Dec. 15 weekend, CDI went to work building a machine for Iraq.
Tom Calabro, a CDI vice president, assembled a team of six technicians. Its basic platform would be a handheld fingerprint workstation called the MV 100, made by Cross Match Technologies, a maker of biometric identity applications. The data collected by the MV 100 would be stored via Bluetooth in a hardened laptop made by GETAC, a California manufacturer. From Knowledge Computing Corp. of Arizona they used the COPLINK program, which creates a linked "map" of events. The laptop would sit in the troops' Humvee and the data sent from there to a laptop at outpost headquarters.

Meanwhile, SoA began to think about how they'd get the package to Maj. West by Jan. 15. They likely would have less than seven days transit time after CDI finished. SoA normally used FedEx to ship time-sensitive equipment into Iraq. But given the unusual nature of the shipment, they were concerned about customs and clearance: This wasn't a case of soccer balls. Jim Hake thought of an alternative: Find someone who would hand-carry it, like a diplomatic courier, on a flight to Kuwait and from there to Taqaddum air base in central Iraq. This meant finding someone who could get into Iraq quickly.

The someone was Bill Roggio. Mr. Roggio is a former army signalman and infantryman who now embeds with the troops and writes about it on his blog, the Fourth Rail, or for the SoA Web site. He was at home in New Jersey, about to celebrate his birthday with his family. He agreed to fly the MV 100 to Iraq as soon as it was ready, in conjunction with an embed trip. With SoA's Michele Redmond, he started working out the logistics for getting to Iraq ASAP.

On Jan. 8, CDI's Tom Calabro emailed the group, including Maj. West in Iraq: "Things are progressing at a furious pace. I may be able to ship by end of day tomorrow. Worst case is Thursday or Friday."

Four days later, a glitch. Mr. Calabro said a vendor mistakenly shipped via the U.S. postal service and a crucial part arrived late, on Jan. 12. "My guys are going to work through the night to finish testing," he said. They shipped the kit via UPS to Bill Roggio for Monday arrival; later that day, he boarded a Lufthansa flight from Newark to Kuwait City. After an overnight hotel stay, he took a C130 military transport to Taqaddum, 45 miles north of Baghdad. Maj. West's Marines drove him to their outpost 15 minutes away.

And so, a month from inception, Bill Roggio handed the electronic identification kit to Maj. West.

On the night of Jan. 20, Maj. West, his Marine squad and the "jundi" (Iraq army soldiers) took the MV 100 and laptop on patrol. Their term of endearment for the insurgents is "snakes." So of course the MV 100 became the Snake Eater. The next day Maj. West emailed the U.S. team digital photos of Iraqi soldiers fingerprinting suspects with the Snake Eater. "It's one night old and the town is abuzz," he said. "I think we have a chance to tip this city over now." A rumor quickly spread that the Iraqi army was implanting GPS chips in insurgents' thumbs.
Over the past 10 days, Maj. West has had chance encounters with two Marine superiors--Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, who commands the 30,000 joint forces in Anbar, and Brig. Gen. Robert Neller, deputy commanding general of operations in Iraq. He showed them the mobile ID database device.

I asked Gen. Neller by email on Tuesday what the status of these technologies is now. He replied that they're receiving advanced biometric equipment, "like the device being employed by Maj. West." He said "in the near future" they will begin to network such devices to share databases more broadly: "Bottom line: The requirement for networking our biometric capability is a priority of this organization."

As he departs, Maj. West reflected on winning at street level: "We're fixated on the enemy, but the enemy is fixated on the people. They know which families are apostates, which houses are safe for the night, which boys are vulnerable to corruption or kidnapping. The enemy's population collection effort far outstrips ours. The Snake Eater will change that, and fast." You have to believe he's got this right. It will only happen, though, if someone above his pay grade blows away the killing habits of peacetime procurement.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: SB_Mig on February 15, 2007, 07:25:10 PM
U.S. Army granting more waivers for criminal backgrounds
By Lizette Alvarez
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The number of waivers granted to U.S. Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown nearly 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Defense Department records show.

During that time the army has employed a range of tactics to expand its diminishing pool of recruits. It has offered larger enlistment cash bonuses, allowed more high school dropouts and applicants with low scores on its aptitude test to join and loosened weight and age restrictions.

It has also increased the number of so-called "moral waivers" to recruits with criminal pasts, even as the total number of recruits dropped slightly.

The sharpest increase was in waivers issued for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the army's moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide.

The number of waivers issued for felony convictions also increased, from 8 percent to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006.

Waivers for less-serious crimes, including traffic offenses and drug use, have dropped or remained stable.

The army enlisted 69,395 men and women last year.

While soldiers with criminal histories made up only 11.7 percent of the army recruits in 2006, the spike in waivers raises concerns about whether the military is making too many exceptions to try to meet its recruitment demands in a time of war. Most felons, for example, are not permitted to carry firearms, and many criminals have at some point exhibited serious lapses in discipline and judgment, traits that are far from ideal on the battlefield.

The military automatically excludes people who have committed certain crimes. They include drug traffickers, recruits who have more than one felony on their record or people who have committed sexually violent crimes.

Bill Carr, under secretary of defense for military personnel policy, said the military granted waivers selectively and scrutinized a recruit's full record, the nature of the crime, when it was committed, the degree of rehabilitation and references from teachers, employers, coaches and clergy members.

In many cases, Carr said, the applicant may have committed the crime at a young age and then stayed out of trouble. To his knowledge, Carr said, recruits who are issued moral waivers are not tracked once in the military.

"If the community backs them, we are willing to take a hard look," Carr said, referring to the waiver process, which includes local, state and federal records checks. The majority of moral waivers are for serious misdemeanors, most often committed by juveniles.

Douglas Smith, the public information officer for the army's recruiting command, said, "We understand that people make mistakes in their lives and they can overcome those mistakes."

Fewer than 3 in 10 people between ages 17 and 24 are fully qualified to join the army; that means they have a high school degree, have met aptitude test score requirements and fitness levels and would not be barred for medical reasons, their sexual orientation or their criminal histories.

The Defense Department has also expanded its applicant pool by accepting soldiers with medical problems like asthma, high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder, situations that require waivers. Medical waivers have increased 4 percent, totaling 12,313 in 2006.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 15, 2007, 10:52:46 PM
One wishes it might have occured to President Bush to begin expanding the size of the military (thus overruling Secy Rumbo) 3-4 years ago.  Even candidate Kerry was calling for an increase of 50,000 so it would have been easy for Bush to make the call.  Now that he has thrashed our troops and led , , , as he has, now the President sacks Rumbo and asks for 90,000.  It is going to be a lot harder now to build up the numbers than if he had not listened to Rumbo's huibris.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 26, 2007, 08:13:41 PM
Iran: Sounding Off on its Latest Rocket Test

Iran launched a sounding rocket for educational and research purposes Feb. 25, Mohsen Bahrami and Ali Akbar Golrou of Iran's Space Research Center said. Though unconfirmed, the launch offers insight into both Iranian politics and the pace of the country's missile program.


An Iranian sounding rocket capable of flinging its payload to an altitude above 90 miles was reportedly launched Feb. 25 for educational and research purposes, Ali Akbar Golrou, deputy head of Iran's Space Research Center, said. Earlier that day, Mohsen Bahrami, head of the research center, described the missile as a "space rocket." Though official Russian statements and an anonymous U.S. military source cited by Agence France-Presse on Feb. 26 questioned the launch, the events of Feb. 25 illustrate two dynamics within Iran's government -- portions of which are quick to tout any new weapon or scientific advance even if they do not understand it.

In January, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission leaked to Aviation Week & Space Technology that an Iranian satellite launch vehicle had been assembled and was being prepared for launch. Though this is very possible, it now appears that he could have been touting the sounding rocket.

Sounding rockets can serve many purposes and are commonly used for atmospheric tests or experiments that require several minutes of weightlessness. Sounding rockets do not insert their payload into orbit. Sounding rockets undergo less acceleration and release their payloads earlier than satellite launch vehicles (SLVs). The payload -- be it an experiment or a test object -- travels in a parabolic arc as gravity drags it back to Earth. Most experimental payloads deploy a parachute on the downward flight so they can be recovered.

A sounding rocket does not necessarily represent a new degree of technical prowess for Iran. Even some of the country's older surface-to-air missiles and much of its ballistic missile arsenal could have been rewired to perform this very mission. However, the possibility that this was a more substantive test should not be ruled out. Whatever the truth, Iran's primary concern of late is not the molecular makeup of the rarified upper atmosphere. This sounding rocket could have carried a new re-entry vehicle for a ballistic missile (although Golrou said a parachute brought the rocket's payload back to Earth) or a second stage for a new two-stage missile or SLV.

South Korea's quick progression of three Korean Sounding Rockets (KSR-I, KSR-II and KSR-III) in the last 15 years has provided the foundation for its SLV program, still in development. The KSR-III was particularly useful in the areas of propulsion, guidance, control and mission design. Similarly, whatever Iran might have learned Feb. 25 is certainly a step forward for Tehran's ballistic missile and SLV programs.

Though information about the events of Feb. 25 is limited, two other aspects of Iran became apparent with the announcement of the launch. First, certain elements in the Iranian government have a penchant for touting Iran's latest scientific achievements without knowing exactly what they might be. Second, the launch revealed the deliberate nature of Iran's missile program.

Iran's program -- despite the common Scud design heritage and shared development efforts -- is not like North Korea's. North Korean missile tests are so rare that, after a single-stage Nodong test and years of quiet, the world was stunned by the 1998 launch of the three-stage Taepodong-1 SLV, which very nearly succeeded. In contrast, Iran regularly tests even its already proven Scud and Zelzal rockets. The latest Shahab-3 was test-launched several times in 2006.

In other words, barring the launch of a North Korean-designed and manufactured SLV with an Iranian flag painted on it, Feb. 25's sounding rocket seems to suggest that any indigenous Iranian SLV launch will proceed via a more conventional development program that could include more sounding rocket launches. But given certain Iranian leaders' apparent inability to hold their tongues, it will be more difficult for Iran to proceed with the same discretion North Korea did leading up to its 1998 Taepodong-1 launch. Iran also intends to be more certain that its SLV will work the first time.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 07, 2007, 11:58:23 AM
The New Logic for Ballistic Missile Defense
By Peter Zeihan

The commander of Russia's strategic bomber force, Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, said March 5 that his forces could easily disrupt or destroy any missile defense infrastructure in Poland and the Czech Republic -- where the United States is preparing to set up parts of a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. Khvorov was hardly the first Russian official to make such a threat: On Feb. 19, statements by Strategic Rocket Forces commander Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov left little doubt that Moscow would target U.S. BMD sites with its nuclear arsenal if Washington pushes ahead with its plans.

Exactly why missile defense -- a technology that has received little publicity since the Cold War -- should be a source of increasingly obvious tension between the United States and Russia is an interesting question. An equally interesting question: Why are the Russians threatening once again to target NATO countries -- a tactic Moscow abandoned 15 years ago?

The answer is rooted not only in the history of BMD, but in the myriad ways the European theater has changed -- from both the U.S. and European points of view -- since the end of the Cold War.

BMD and the Cold War

When Ronald Reagan introduced the Star Wars system in the 1980s, his logic was much more political than military. It was apparent that, even with extremely aggressive funding, the United States was decades away from being able to establish a missile shield capable of deflecting a significant Soviet nuclear strike. Rhetoric aside, the argument for a BMD system was not really about establishing an impregnable bubble around the United States, but rather about shifting the strategic balance away from mutually assured destruction and into a venue that catered to the Americans' economic advantage.

In the minds of Politburo members, the United States not only was moving into a realm in which the Americans already enjoyed substantial technological and economic advantages, but in which the costs of development also threatened to overturn Soviet military doctrine. As of the early 1980s, the United States was spending only 6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, whereas the Soviets are thought to have been expending more than one-quarter of theirs. The Soviets recognized that they could not win a space race involving defensive weaponry. Reagan's insistence on keeping the BMD issue on the table, therefore, gave him enormous bargaining power against the Soviets and contributed heavily to the subsequent arms-control and disarmament treaties that ultimately heralded the Cold War's end.

European leaders, however, viewed BMD issues in much the same light as the Soviets did. Though few Europeans were comfortable with the idea of the Americans and Soviets being locked into a Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) structure that would consume their homelands if anything should go awry, it was impossible to ignore the fact that MAD had brought about 50 years of relatively stable Great Power relations. Reagan's BMD was viewed as an extremely aggressive effort to overturn that system and disrupt the stability that went with it. European states were terrified of BMD at both the political and strategic levels.

But the arguments and alignments in favor of BMD have changed drastically in the post-Cold War era.

The New American Logic

As the Russian missile arsenal has declined in quantity and quality, U.S. desires for a BMD protective net have only strengthened. Though most American strategic planners in the 1980s were well aware that the system being envisioned was merely drawing-board material, strategic and technological realities today are starkly different. U.S. strategic thought now is fixating on two ideas.

First and most obvious is that, though it would not be foolproof by any stretch, it is possible that within a few years, an American-installed BMD network in certain parts of the world could protect against secondary threats such as Iran and North Korea. Given that the human and financial costs involved in rebuilding a major U.S. city (should one be hit by a nuclear weapon) are well above even the most aggressive price estimates for a global BMD network, the original vision of BMD as an effective defensive weapon now could be within reach.

The second idea dovetails with long-standing U.S. strategic doctrine -- a philosophy that long predates the Cold War. That doctrine has always aimed to push threats away from the continental United States -- initially by securing U.S. sovereignty over the North American land mass, achieving strategic depth and controlling sea approaches. Ultimately, the doctrine calls for the United States to project power into Eurasia itself, establishing as much stand-off distance as possible. In the early 20th century, naval power allowed the United States to do this just fine. But in the early 21st century, with the proliferation of intercontinental ballistic missile technology, naval power is only one leg of such a strategy.

Having forward-based BMD facilities not only is becoming important for Washington, but is moving to the core of U.S. defense logic.

From Washington's perspective, establishing a BMD system is not about taking advantage of Russia's relative military weakness, but instead about adapting to a new strategic reality. The foes and threats facing the United States have changed. No one is pretending that Russia's decline as a global power has not opened the door to a U.S. BMD system in the first place, or that the system could not be expanded and upgraded in the future as a potential counter to Russia's nuclear arsenal. Rather, it means simply that in the current strategic picture, the Russians really are not at the heart of U.S. defense planning -- and certainly not so far as BMD is concerned.

(click to enlarge)

The technological considerations are not unimportant here. With current technology, any system would be twitchy at best -- so for best results, the United States is seeking a layered network. The first layer of defense -- which most likely would include airborne lasers at some point -- would be sited as close to the launching states as possible, allowing the system to target any missile launches during the boost phase. The second layer would involve missile interceptors or AEGIS systems to strike during the midcourse of the missile's flight, followed by terminal phase engagement with anti-missile systems, such as the PAC-3 (the newest incarnation of the Patriot).

The polar projection of an ICBM is also key to understanding Washington's logic. Any missile launched from Iran and bound for the continental United States would have to fly over Central Europe -- which is why the United States has pending agreements to set up an interceptor base in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Similarly, any North Korean missile would have to fly over Alaska, the other major BMD interceptor locale. A nuclear strike out of Russia, however, would travel over the North Pole. BMD installations in Europe and Alaska would cover only the peripheries of that attack corridor -- and with vastly insufficient numbers of interceptors.

In short, the U.S. rationale for BMD has evolved. In the 1980s, it was about breaking out of the MAD impasse and wringing concessions out of the Soviets. Today, BMD has the potential to be something that was never seriously considered in the 1980s: a viable defensive weapon. Put another way, BMD once was wielded as a political tool to avoid a future war; now, it is coming to be viewed as a defensive weapon to be used in a future conflict.

The New European Logic

The Czech Republic and Poland are not the only European states to have changed their thinking about BMD either. A number of countries not only are responding warmly to U.S. overtures regarding facilities, but in some cases actually are initiating the siting requests.

For central European states, the benefits of such deals are obvious. Most of the political elites in these states fear a future conflict with the Russians, and anything they can do to solidify a military arrangement with Washington is, to their thinking, a benefit in and of itself. But even in Western Europe, further removed from the Russian periphery, opposition to the United States' BMD programs seems to have relaxed considerably. The United Kingdom has specifically requested inclusion in the system (though Washington so far has declined), and the German government has called for the United States to address the issue of BMD in the context of NATO.

There are several reasons for this change.

First and foremost, BMD technology -- while still unproven -- has advanced considerably since the Reagan era, and thus is now far more likely to work. When BMD was only a political tool and could offer no real protection, the Europeans were understandably squeamish about participating in the system. But if the system is actually functional, the calculus shifts.

Second, a weak BMD system designed to guard against Iran theoretically could evolve into a stronger system that helps to protect Europeans against Russia in the future. Of course, the system is not designed to target Russia at the present time, but if Russia's military capabilities should decay further over time, the technological argument -- that the system might actually work -- weighs heavily in the European mind. And at a time when Moscow is growing more aggressive in economic and political terms, laying the groundwork for a military hedge makes sense.

Third, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Europeans to define their security interests as separate from Washington's. Moscow's new energy strategy is a tool for exerting influence over Europe, making European states more willing to view Russia through American goggles. Moreover, Iran regularly bites its thumb at the United Nations and its nuclear watchdog, inducing the Europeans (little by little) to morph from being apologists for Tehran to quiet, if still primarily unofficial, enforcers of sanctions. BMD fits into the U.S. strategic doctrine, and that logic, by association, is now taking hold in Europe.

Fourth, there is a desire to rope the United States into a multilateral defense stratagem. Many Western Europeans begrudge U.S. efforts to dominate the NATO alliance and regularly try to persuade Washington to more seriously consider European points of view. But the United States' ability to make bilateral defense deals cuts the Europeans out completely. For countries like Germany, which considers itself a key driver of European policy, the only way to counter unilateral American moves is to make it worth Washington's while to discuss issues like BMD within the framework of NATO -- which means taking BMD well beyond committee meetings and talk shops. It means actually deploying assets. To do otherwise would only encourage Washington to impose a security policy upon Europe without consulting the Europeans.

Finally, there is the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" logic: Bilateral U.S. security agreements with Central European states are forging BMD into reality. If is going to happen anyway, the logic goes, you might as well jump on the bandwagon and reap some of the benefits.

Russian Repercussions

The Russians, of course, are not blind to the emergence of a potential threat near their borders -- even recognizing the limitations of the BMD system as currently envisioned.

The United States certainly does not want to trigger a war with Moscow, but that does not mean that Washington is oozing with warm feelings toward all things Russian. Throughout American history, only three countries have seriously threatened the United States: Britain, which ultimately was forced into the role of ally; Mexico, which was occupied and half its territory annexed; and Russia/Soviet Union -- the only foe still remaining. Traditionally, the United States does not defeat its enemies so much as crush them until either they switch sides or are incapable of posing more than a negligible threat.

Though the days of Russian-American military parity are long past, the United States is not yet finished with Moscow from a strategic perspective. Washington wants to pressure Russia until its will, as well as its ability, to pose a viable threat completely disintegrates. Therefore, while it is true that Russia is not an explicit target of the BMD system being established in the Czech Republic and Poland, it would be ridiculous to believe that BMD facilities in Europe would not trigger evolutions in Russian policy. Washington realizes that. In fact, the Americans are betting on it.

Establishing a BMD system on Russia's doorstep would indeed pose a potential long-term threat for Moscow -- but more importantly, it creates a political irritant that will generate a steady stream of bellicose Russian rhetoric. And that serves American purposes. The more aggressive Russia sounds, the more willing Europeans will be to see strategic U.S. policy in general -- and BMD policy specifically -- from Washington's point of view.

Which brings us back to the recent statements by the men who manage Russia's warheads. Their direct threats against European targets must have thrilled American strategic planners. With but a few words, the Russian generals not only supplied a fresh rationale for the BMD system, but also tilted the debate in Europe over the entire system toward the Americans' logic.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 10, 2007, 08:36:21 AM
Museum Review | U.S.S. Monitor Center

A Celebrity Warship Gets a Hall of Fame to Call Its Own

Published: March 10, 2007

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — As sacred relics go, it doesn’t seem too inspiring. In appearance, Nathaniel Hawthorne said, it “looked like a gigantic rat-trap.” In life, it had little more than a single day of major achievement, and in that it was less than triumphant. In death, it was even less grand, sinking into the Atlantic during a storm, not even a year after it first lumbered onto the scene.

So why, after 145 years, $15 million in oceanic explorations and more than a decade of dives and excavation, is the Civil War battleship the Monitor being given a second life at a cost of $30 million, with its artifacts, history and accounts of its career displayed in a 63,500-square-foot space? That’s precisely what is happening at the U.S.S. Monitor Center, which opened March 9 at the Mariners’ Museum here.

Something seems off kilter about the entire scale: why this kind of attention and expense? It is much easier to see why the Mariners’ Museum itself was interested. Rich in land (a 550-acre park) and endowment ($110 million) and founded in 1930 by Archer M. Huntington (of the railroad Huntingtons) to explore what he called the “culture of the sea,” this museum features a collection of about 150 boats, a major research library, world-class navigation equipment and exhibitions about the history of navigation. But it has been drawing only about 60,000 visitors a year in a region where American history is a major tourist attraction, shipbuilding a local industry and the United States Navy a nearby presence.

Now that may change with the opening of its U.S.S. Monitor Center, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (The government owns the wreck and oversaw its excavation.) While the scale and attention can be a little disorienting to a visitor without sea legs, by the time you have passed through the well-annotated, smartly presented exhibits, watched the widescreen re-creations of historic battles and read something about what this ship meant to its contemporaries and devotees, the Monitor starts to loom large.

The center’s galleries are meant, in current museum style, to be evocative re-creations of times and places — turning points of experience. (The exhibits were overseen by the museum’s chief curator, Anna Gibson Holloway, and designed by DMCD Inc.) The history begins on a gun deck of a 1798 warship, where the vulnerabilities of the age of sail could be sensed in the evolution of ever more powerful guns. The early 19th century sounded the death knell for that age; the Civil War allowed it a final breath; the Monitor and the Confederate ironclad Virginia buried it.

Then comes a room evoking the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia in 1862: the Union had tried to destroy the yard and remove its warships, but only half-managed to burn the Merrimack and leave it in the mud. Lacking the North’s industrial facilities but not ingenuity, the Confederates took the burned hull of the Merrimack, built on it and layered on four inches of iron, renamed it the Virginia and, with this strange contraption, emulated the armored ships that were transforming European navies. A 50-foot-long replica of the Virginia’s bow here is a monstrosity that understandably inspired fear and bewilderment among those used to wooden vessels with billowing sails.

Then a visitor enters the board room of 1862, where Navy officials discussed what kind of armored warship the Union could hastily construct. A Confederate ironclad ship, it was justifiably feared, could wipe out the entire Union Navy. A brilliant Swedish engineer, John Ericsson, had fruitlessly peddled an ironclad design to Napoleon III, but the urgency of war now won him American approval. Abraham Lincoln saw Ericsson’s model and famously declared: “All I have to say is what the girl said when she stuck her foot into the stocking. It strikes me there’s something in it.”

The catch: Ericsson was given 100 days.

One hundred days! This was to be a revolutionary vessel in which the crew and engine were to be entirely housed below the water line. If naval weaponry had traditionally been aimed at targets by turning the ship, here a gun turret would rotate on enormous gears, allowing shots in almost any direction. Everything about the Monitor was experimental, but there was no time for experiments. It was built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with numerous contractors bringing the ship in on time.

This technological marvel then took on mythic dimensions. On March 8, 1862, the Virginia had steamed into Hampton Roads, not far from its birthplace, and almost effortlessly destroyed two Union ships, the Cumberland and the Congress, mauling them with its iron ram. With 121 men dead on the first and 240 on the second, it was the worst naval defeat for the United States until Pearl Harbor. What would come next? The Confederacy’s triumphal river journey to Washington? The Union Navy had become obsolete — until the next day, when the Monitor met the Virginia in battle.

In the museum a 13-minute wide-screen show, intriguingly composed of animated paintings and maps and aided by lighting and sound effects, recounts the great battle that followed, as these behemoths tested out their gear, each side claiming victory.

This battle is in every elementary-school textbook. About 20,000 people stood on the banks, watching. The clash — chronicled by letters of participants and witnesses — apparently ended in a draw. But the age of sail definitively lost. The Times of London declared that the British Royal Navy had 149 first-class warships before the battle, but “we now have two.” Jules Verne, inspired by the Monitor, wrote “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” published in 1870.

As a drama, the encounter could not have been more skillfully plotted: the Union disaster, the last-minute rescue, the celebration. There were Monitor playing cards, hats, scrimshaw and sheet music.

And there were also complaints, because what was ending was not just the technology of sail. The seaman’s center of gravity had changed — which may be why the vessel’s living quarters below the water, reproduced here, were given unusual attention. An entire culture had evolved around sailing and naval warfare, complete with manners and strategies, uniforms and training. Now the action was below the water line. And in combat, there was no more hand-to-hand confrontation or urgent need to know the ropes. This wasn’t really life at sea; it was life in the engine room.

“All the pomp and splendor of naval warfare are gone by,” Hawthorne mournfully wrote. “Henceforth there must come up a race of enginemen and smoke-blackened commoners who will hammer away at their enemies under the direction of a single pair of eyes.”

In his recent book “Ironclad,” Paul Clancy points out that Melville wrote poems about the Monitor, referring to the turret as the seaman’s “welded tomb,” and noting that warriors

Are now but operatives; War’s made

Less grand than Peace.

After their major battle, the deaths of the Virginia and the Monitor seemed to prove Melville’s point. Within days the Virginia, cornered, was run aground and set on fire by the Confederates: a suicide avoiding capture. By the next winter, the Monitor too, in less than glorious circumstances, came to its accidental death in a storm. The Union produced another generation of ironclads, but the Civil War stumbled along its bloody course, undeterred.

A good portion of the museum is devoted to the recent rescue of the Monitor from the sea floor, itself done at great risk. There is a full-size reproduction of the rusted, lichen-

encrusted gun turret, just as it was found sunk off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Outside the museum’s glass wall, a full-scale exterior deck of the Monitor is recreated; inside a replica of the turret’s mechanism is also reproduced. It will take 15 years to rehabilitate the original turret in tanks filled with 90,000 gallons of water.

So what are these relics, then, that so attract a visitor’s gaze? Here, not far from where the Monitor fought its main battle, the rusted machinery, silver forks, glass bottles, the human-size propeller and interlocking turret gears all seem to offer testimony to a moment when the world changed, when, as with the Civil War itself, something had come to an end, and something else — which could either turn out horrifying or magnificent — had not yet begun.

The U.S.S. Monitor Center is at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, Va; (757) 596-2222 or
Washington Post
July 11, 1862


New Type of Ship Fights for North
By Elizabeth
HAMPTON ROADS, Va.--Officers of the U.S.S. Monitor displayed their new type of battleship as it lay anchored in the James River in Virginia on July 9, 1862. Four months ago it fought a battle that could change the course of naval warfare forever.

The twelve officers are posing in front of the ship's turret, one of the many new features of this vessel. It can turn allowing the ship's two cannons to be pointed in any direction. It gave the ship its nickname, "a tin can on a shingle."

Unlike the traditional battleship, which is made of wood, the Monitor is covered with iron. This kind of ship is called an ironclad. That makes it harder for cannon balls to sink the ship.

The ship fought a famous battle just four months ago, in March 1862, against the Merrimac. Both ships were ironclads.

The Merrimac was a Union ship at the beginning of the Civil War. But the Confederates captured it and turned it into an ironclad renamed the C.S.S. Virginia. But in common usage it was still called the Merrimac.

On March 8, 1862, the Merrimac won a victory at Hampton Roads, Va., against Union ships who were blockading the Confederate coast.

A Union officer watching the one-sided battle between the Merrimac and one of the Union ships, the Congress, said that the Merrimac "fired shot and shell into her with terrific effect, while the shot from the Congress glanced from her sloping sides without doing any apparent effect."

But the next day, March 9, the Union ironclad, the Monitor, arrived on the scene. The Merrimac and the Monitor fought each other for almost five hours.

Describing the first exchange of gunfire, Lt. Samuel Dana Greene, an officer on the Merrimac said, "The turrets and other parts of the ship were heavily struck, but the shots did not penetrate; the tower was intact and it continued to revolve. A look of confidence passed over the men's faces and we believed the Merrimac would not repeat the work she had accomplished the day before."

Neither ship was able to do much damage to the other ship. The battle was considered a draw.

Although there was no winner, the battle will be likely to change the course of naval warfare forever. It has brought worldwide attention to the importance of ironclad ships.

The Monitor was built in less than four months according to the design of a man who is not in the picture. His name was John Ericsson, a Swedish immigrant.

Ericsson's design was unusual and not everyone liked it. But when it was shown to President Lincoln, he said, "All I have to say is what the girl said when she put her foot into the stocking. 'It strikes me there may be something in it.'"

The Union has plans to build other ships designed by John Ericsson called "monitors." They will be ironclad, easy to maneuver, and will have revolving turrets.

The officers of the Monitor include Captain John Lorimer Worden, a young man of 24 with a long beard. He was blinded permanently in one eye by an explosion in the battle.

Lt. Samuel Dana Green, the second in command, is 22. He took over after Worden was wounded. Another officer was Lt. Thomas Oliver Selfridge Jr.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 19, 2007, 02:25:38 PM
Iraq: The Fear Factor in Chlorine Bombs
Insurgents detonated three vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) packed with chlorine in Iraq's Anbar province west of Baghdad on March 16. The initial blasts, which U.S. officials blamed on al Qaeda in Iraq, killed at least six people, while at least 350 Iraqi civilians and six U.S. troops fell ill as a result of chlorine exposure.

Although the deaths were caused by the blasts rather than the chlorine -- as in similar attacks involving chlorine bombs earlier in the year -- these latest attacks clearly demonstrate al Qaeda's fascination with combining chlorine and explosives to create crude chemical weapons. Causing mass casualties with chemical VBIEDs is extremely difficult, though the fear incited by such attacks makes these kinds of bombs increasingly popular among insurgents. Moreover, as the insurgents gain experience with the devices -- and increase their lethality -- the tactic likely will spread beyond Iraq.

Chlorine bombs are relatively easy weapons for the Iraqi insurgents to make. The devices used in the latest attacks involved a pickup truck and two dump trucks loaded with chlorine tanks and rigged with explosives. One of the dump trucks reportedly carried a 200-gallon chlorine tank. One truck detonated at a checkpoint near Ar Ramadi, while another killed two Iraqi policemen in Al Amiriyah. The most devastating attack occurred three miles south of Al Fallujah when a dump truck targeted the reception center of a tribal sheikh who had denounced al Qaeda.

The use of chlorine in chemical VBIEDs is attractive to militants because the chemical is widely available in Iraq and around the world. The problem, as Iraqi militants are finding, however, is dispersing the chemical with a VBIED while maintaining an effective concentration of the gas. As a result, the chlorine bombs seen to date in Iraq have been tremendously ineffective in inflicting mass casualties, especially when compared with traditional car bombs, which do kill large numbers of people when detonated in populous areas.

Regardless of these bombs' effectiveness as mass killers, however, insurgents like them because the immediate chlorine odor incites fear. Witnesses of the Iraqi attacks, for example, reported nasty smells and a white plume of smoke that turned black and blue. Furthermore, these attacks are valuable to insurgents as tests for future operations elsewhere. Whether this method of attack is the fixation of a particular insurgent leader or it represents an emerging doctrine by al Qaeda in Iraq, the attacks will allow the insurgents to gain tactical expertise and learn to construct more effective chemical bombs. The attackers also could be conducting these attacks to gauge security weaknesses or to divert attention from a different location where an operation is planned.

Chemical VBIED attacks are likely to continue in Iraq and to spread as those responsible for them export the knowledge gained throughout the region and beyond. Al Qaeda units in other locations followed the lead of al Qaeda in Iraq as it increased its use of tactics such as employing roadside bombs and conducting beheadings -- and the use of chlorine bombs could be next.

The Iraqi insurgency has proven to be an effective training ground for foreign jihadists, much as the Afghan resistance was two decades earlier. Al Qaeda sprang from the Afghan conflict, and today foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Africa and elsewhere are honing their insurgent skills on the battlegrounds of Iraq -- and are then returning home to spread jihadist tactics. This has been seen most recently in the Maghreb, where the regional al Qaeda arm is increasingly employing improvised explosive devices in attacks, especially against foreign energy workers.

Because chlorine is so common, movement of the chemical cannot be severely restricted. This is especially true in areas where the state already has a weak hold on the security situation. Therefore, Iraqi insurgents are likely to continue refining their technique -- and their allies and sympathizers beyond the state will start to adopt the tactic themselves.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 20, 2007, 08:48:32 AM
Who Needs Nukes
Why the U.S. and other Western powers need to modernize their arsenals.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

The problem with nuclear weapons today can be summed up as follows: They are going out of fashion where they are needed most and coming into fashion where they are needed least.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair eked out what is likely to be the last significant legislative victory of his government on Thursday when parliament approved funds, over the objections of 88 Labour MPs, to begin design work on the next generation of ballistic missile nuclear submarines. Whether the subs and their missiles will actually be built remains a question for a future parliament to answer.

At nearly the same time, the Bush administration awarded a contract to the Lawrence Livermore Lab to design something called the Reliable Replacement Warhead--basically a retinkered version of the previously tested but never-deployed W89 warhead--to replace the current mainstays of the U.S. arsenal, particularly the 100-kiloton W76. But with Democrats in control of Congress, the RRW will surely face funding hurdles of its own. The New York Times has already chimed in with an editorial denouncing RRW as a make-work scheme for nuclear scientists based on the supposedly bogus rationale of " 'aging' warheads."

Too bad the Times didn't rely on its own fine reporting of the issue: "As warheads age," noted the paper's William J. Broad in a 2005 exposé, "the risk of internal rusting, material degradation, corrosion, decay and the embrittling of critical parts increases." Too bad, too, that British anti-nuclear activists fail to consider the dire consequences for their collective poodledom should they relinquish their independent deterrent.
Still, these ironies are of small account and at least the left maintains its scruples. No similar scruples inhibit the nuclear ambitions of other nations. Russia is fielding a new land-based missile called the Topol-M and building a new generation of ballistic-missile submarines. The Chinese are upgrading their land- and sea-based nuclear forces with multiple warheads and solid-fuel propulsion technology. Pakistan last month successfully tested its Shaheen-II ballistic missile, capable of lifting a nuclear payload to a range of 1,250 miles. Iran is reportedly within months of developing an industrial-scale uranium enrichment capacity of about 3,000 centrifuges, which in turn puts it on track to acquire a bomb's worth of fissile uranium by the end of 2008. The progress of North Korean arms is well known.

Why are the world's responsible powers in such doubt about the necessity of nuclear deterrence when the irresponsible are seeking as never before to enlarge or improve their store of weapons? One answer was offered in these pages in January by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who noted that the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty committed non-nuclear powers not to develop weapons in exchange for a promise by the nuclear powers to "reduce and eventually abolish their arsenals." "If this reciprocity is not observed," he wrote, "then the entire structure of the treaty will collapse."

As a matter of rhetoric, Mr. Gorbachev is surely right, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be clever to press the point when he makes an appearance before the U.N. Security Council later this month. As a matter of reality, the argument is wrong on facts and dangerously solipsistic: Messrs. Kim and Ahmadinejad have better reasons to seek nuclear weapons than pique at American (or British) "hypocrisy." As it is, both Russia and the U.S. have reduced their arsenals from Cold War peaks by as much as 80%--much of the reduction being achieved by the current administration--yet that has done little to incent rogue actors not to seek their own weapons of mass destruction.

A more serious objection to the American and British modernization plans is that they offer no realistic security against terrorism. Suppose al Qaeda detonates a nuclear bomb in Times Square. Suppose that the weapon was stolen from an old Soviet depot, meaning no "return address" for purposes of retaliation. Suppose, also, that al Qaeda threatens to detonate five other bombs if the U.S. does not meet a list of its demands. What use would deterrence be then? Against whom would we retaliate, and where?

This scenario does not invalidate the need for a nuclear deterrent: There would still be conventional opponents to deter, and it's odd that the people who tell us we can "contain" a nuclear Iran are often the same ones who insist we can forgo the means of containment. But the question of what to do after a nuclear 9/11 is something to which not enough thought has been given. We urgently need a nuclear doctrine--and the weapons to go with it--for the terrorist age. The RRW, which simply prolongs a Cold War nuclear posture through the year 2050, amounts to a partial solution at best.

What would a sensible deterrence strategy look like? "Even nihilists have something they hold dear that can be threatened with deterrence," says Max Singer, a collaborator of the great Cold War theorist Herman Kahn. "You need to know what it is, communicate it and be serious about it."

Would it hinder Islamist terrorists if the U.S.'s declared policy in the event of a nuclear 9/11 was the immediate destruction of Mecca, Medina and the Iranian religious center of Qom? Would our deterrent be more or less effective if we deployed a range of weapons, such as the maligned "bunker buster," the use of which a potential adversary might think us capable? How would the deployment of a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile shield alter the composition of a credible deterrent? Does it make sense to adhere to the NPT regime when that regime is clearly broken?
One needn't have answers to these questions to know it requires something more than pat moralizing about the terribleness of nuclear weapons or declaring the whole matter "unthinkable." Nothing is unthinkable. But whether the unthinkable remains the undoable depends entirely on our willingness to think clearly about it, and to act on our conclusions.

Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.
Title: KC-30 Tanker
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 29, 2007, 03:15:00 PM

U.S.: A joint Northrop Grumman/ European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. team announced March 28 -- as expected -- that it will formally submit its KC-30 tanker design to the Pentagon on April 12 for the $40 billion competition to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging KC-130 tanker fleet with 179 new aerial refueling planes. The KC-30 (a militarized version of the Airbus A330) will compete against Boeing's KC-767, which is based on the civilian 767 airframe. The replacement program is a top priority for the U.S. Air Force. As such, the Pentagon is expected to award the contract during this calendar year. Northrop-Grumman maintains that more than 50 percent of the production would take place in the United States, despite the Airbus frame. Boeing, of course, estimates 85 percent domestic production. The A330 is also a larger plane than the 767, and its commercial counterpart runs $160 million per plane -- $30 million more than the commercial 767. Both are two-engine aircraft with seating in the two-aisle 200-300 range.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 10, 2007, 03:52:34 PM
Its no secret I think a lot of www.stratfor .  That said, the following piece makes some points with which I disagree-- specifically in its analysis of the possibility of blockading Iran.

IMHO the decision not to embargo was less a military one (and the piece is a discussion of military theory) than a political one-- and again IMHO naval power may well be quite necessary if we are to stop Iran from going nuke.

The Limitations and Necessity of Naval Power
By George Friedman

It has now been four years since the fall of Baghdad concluded the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We have said much about the Iraq war, and for the moment there is little left to say. The question is whether the United States will withdraw forces from Iraq or whether it will be able to craft some sort of political resolution to the war, both within Iraq and in the region. Military victory, in the sense of the unfettered imposition of U.S. will in Iraq, does not appear to us a possibility. Therefore, over the next few months, against the background of the U.S. offensive in Baghdad, the political equation will play out. The action continues. The analysis must pause and await results.

During this pause, we have been thinking about some of the broader questions involved in Iraq -- and about the nature and limits of American military power in particular. We recently considered the purpose of U.S. wars since World War II in our discussion of U.S. warfare as strategic spoiling attack. Now we turn to another dimension of U.S. military power -- the U.S. Navy -- and consider what role, if any, it plays in national security at this point.

Recent events have directed our attention to the role and limits of naval power. During the detention of the 15 British sailors and marines, an idea floated by many people was that the United States should impose a blockade against Iran. The argument was driven partly by a lack of other options: Neither an invasion nor an extended air campaign seemed a viable alternative. Moreover, the United States' experience in erecting blockades is rich with decisive examples: the Cuban missile crisis, barring Germany's ability to trade during World War II or that of the American South during the Civil War. The one unquestionable military asset the United States has is its Navy, which can impose sea-lane control anywhere in the world. Finally, Iran -- which is rich in oil (all of which is exported by sea) but lacks sufficient refinery capacity of its own -- relies on imported gasoline. Therefore, the argument went, imposing a naval blockade would cripple Iran's economy and bring the leadership to the negotiating table.

Washington never seriously considered the option. This was partly because of diplomatic discussions that indicated that the British detainees would be released under any circumstances. And it was partly because of the difficulties involved in blockading Iran at this time:

1. Iran could mount strategic counters to a blockade, either by increasing anti-U.S. operations by its Shiite allies in Iraq or by inciting Shiite communities in the Arabian Peninsula to unrest. The United States didn't have appetite for the risk.

2. Blockades always involve the interdiction of vessels operated by third countries -- countries that might not appreciate being interdicted. The potential repercussions of interdicting merchant vessels belonging to powers that did not accept the blockade was a price the United States would not pay at this time.

A blockade was not selected because it was not needed, because Iran could retaliate in other ways and because a blockade might damage countries other than Iran that the United States didn't want to damage. It was, therefore, not in the cards. Not imposing a blockade made sense.

The Value of Naval Power

This raises a more fundamental question: What is the value of naval power in a world in which naval battles are not fought? To frame the question more clearly, let us begin by noting that the United States has maintained global maritime hegemony since the end of World War II. Except for the failed Soviet attempt to partially challenge the United States, the most important geopolitical fact since World War II was that the world's oceans were effectively under the control of the U.S. Navy. Prior to World War II, there were multiple contenders for maritime power, such as Britain, Japan and most major powers. No one power, not even Britain, had global maritime hegemony. The United States now does. The question is whether this hegemony has any real value at this time -- a question made relevant by the issue of whether to blockade Iran.

The United States controls the blue water. To be a little more precise, the U.S. Navy can assert direct and overwhelming control over any portion of the blue water it wishes, and it can do so in multiple places. It cannot directly control all of the oceans at the same time. However, the total available naval force that can be deployed by non-U.S. powers (friendly and other) is so limited that they lack the ability, even taken together, to assert control anywhere should the United States challenge their presence. This is an unprecedented situation historically.

The current situation is, of course, invaluable to the United States. It means that a seaborne invasion of the United States by any power is completely impractical. Given the geopolitical condition of the United States, the homeland is secure from conventional military attack but vulnerable to terrorist strikes and nuclear attacks. At the same time, the United States is in a position to project forces at will to any part of the globe. Such power projection might not be wise at times, but even failure does not lead to reciprocation. For instance, no matter how badly U.S. forces fare in Iraq, the Iraqis will not invade the United States if the Americans are defeated there.

This is not a trivial fact. Control of the seas means that military or political failure in Eurasia will not result in a direct conventional threat to the United States. Nor does such failure necessarily preclude future U.S. intervention in that region. It also means that no other state can choose to invade the United States. Control of the seas allows the United States to intervene where it wants, survive the consequences of failure and be immune to occupation itself. It was the most important geopolitical consequence of World War II, and one that still defines the world.

The issue for the United States is not whether it should abandon control of the seas -- that would be irrational in the extreme. Rather, the question is whether it has to exert itself at all in order to retain that control. Other powers either have abandoned attempts to challenge the United States, have fallen short of challenging the United States or have confined their efforts to building navies for extremely limited uses, or for uses aligned with the United States. No one has a shipbuilding program under way that could challenge the United States for several generations.

One argument, then, is that the United States should cut its naval forces radically -- since they have, in effect, done their job. Mothballing a good portion of the fleet would free up resources for other military requirements without threatening U.S. ability to control the sea-lanes. Should other powers attempt to build fleets to challenge the United States, the lead time involved in naval construction is such that the United States would have plenty of opportunities for re-commissioning ships or building new generations of vessels to thwart the potential challenge.

The counterargument normally given is that the U.S. Navy provides a critical service in what is called littoral warfare. In other words, while the Navy might not be needed immediately to control sea-lanes, it carries out critical functions in securing access to those lanes and projecting rapid power into countries where the United States might want to intervene. Thus, U.S. aircraft carriers can bring tactical airpower to bear relatively quickly in any intervention. Moreover, the Navy's amphibious capabilities -- particularly those of deploying and supplying the U.S. Marines -- make for a rapid deployment force that, when coupled with Naval airpower, can secure hostile areas of interest for the United States.

That argument is persuasive, but it poses this problem: The Navy provides a powerful option for war initiation by the United States, but it cannot by itself sustain the war. In any sustained conflict, the Army must be brought in to occupy territory -- or, as in Iraq, the Marines must be diverted from the amphibious specialty to serve essentially as Army units. Naval air by itself is a powerful opening move, but greater infusions of airpower are needed for a longer conflict. Naval transport might well be critically important in the opening stages, but commercial transport sustains the operation.

If one accepts this argument, the case for a Navy of the current size and shape is not proven. How many carrier battle groups are needed and, given the threat to the carriers, is an entire battle group needed to protect them?

If we consider the Iraq war in isolation, for example, it is apparent that the Navy served a function in the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces. It is not clear, however, that the Navy has served an important role in the attempt to occupy and pacify Iraq. And, as we have seen in the case of Iran, a blockade is such a complex politico-military matter that the option not to blockade tends to emerge as the obvious choice.

The Risk Not Taken

The argument for slashing the Navy can be tempting. But consider the counterargument. First, and most important, we must consider the crises the United States has not experienced. The presence of the U.S. Navy has shaped the ambitions of primary and secondary powers. The threshold for challenging the Navy has been so high that few have even initiated serious challenges. Those that might be trying to do so, like the Chinese, understand that it requires a substantial diversion of resources. Therefore, the mere existence of U.S. naval power has been effective in averting crises that likely would have occurred otherwise. Reducing the power of the U.S. Navy, or fine-tuning it, would not only open the door to challenges but also eliminate a useful, if not essential, element in U.S. strategy -- the ability to bring relatively rapid force to bear.

There are times when the Navy's use is tactical, and times when it is strategic. At this moment in U.S. history, the role of naval power is highly strategic. The domination of the world's oceans represents the foundation stone of U.S. grand strategy. It allows the United States to take risks while minimizing consequences. It facilitates risk-taking. Above all, it eliminates the threat of sustained conventional attack against the homeland. U.S. grand strategy has worked so well that this risk appears to be a phantom. The dispersal of U.S. forces around the world attests to what naval power can achieve. It is illusory to believe that this situation cannot be reversed, but it is ultimately a generational threat. Just as U.S. maritime hegemony is measured in generations, the threat to that hegemony will emerge over generations. The apparent lack of utility of naval forces in secondary campaigns, like Iraq, masks the fundamentally indispensable role the Navy plays in U.S. national security.

That does not mean that the Navy as currently structured is sacrosanct -- far from it. Peer powers will be able to challenge the U.S. fleet, but not by building their own fleets. Rather, the construction of effective anti-ship missile systems -- which can destroy merchant ships as well as overwhelm U.S. naval anti-missile systems -- represents a low-cost challenge to U.S. naval power. This is particularly true when these anti-ship missiles are tied to space-based, real-time reconnaissance systems. A major power such as China need not be able to mirror the U.S. Navy in order to challenge it.

Whatever happens in Iraq -- or Iran -- the centrality of naval power is unchanging. But the threat to naval power evolves. The fact that there is no threat to U.S. control of the sea-lanes at this moment does not mean one will not emerge. Whether with simple threats like mines or the most sophisticated anti-ship system, the ability to keep the U.S. Navy from an area or to close off strategic chokepoints for shipping remains the major threat to the United States -- which is, first and foremost, a maritime power.

One of the dangers of wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan is that they soak up resources and intellectual bandwidth. It is said that generals always fight the last war. Another way of stating that is to say they believe the war they are fighting now will go on forever in some form. That belief leads to neglect of capabilities that appear superfluous for the current conflict. That is the true hollowing-out that extended warfare creates. It is an intellectual hollowing-out.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 13, 2007, 03:26:48 PM
Sorry, no URL for this one, but it seems sound and comes from a sound person:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The military's controversial V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will head to Iraq for its first combat tour later this year, Marine officials announced Friday.

After 18 years and $20 billion in development, the plane will deploy to western Iraq in September to support Marine Corps combat operations for seven months, Marine officials said.

The plane, which is intended to replace the Corps' 40-year-old fleet of CH-46 helicopters by 2018, can fly like a plane and land like a helicopter, giving the Marines more flexibility in the field, officials said.

The V-22 can carry troops three times as far, twice as fast and has six to seven times more survivability than the CH-46 widely used now in Iraq, the military says.

The Osprey's performance has also been noticed by the Air Force, which has plans to use it as a special operations aircraft.

The aircraft has been redesigned after two fatal accidents in 2000 that killed 23 Marines. Accidents in 1991 and 1992 killed seven other people, but Marines say the plane's problems are in the past.

"It's been through extensive operational testing and evaluation, and it is our fervent feeling that this aircraft is the most capable, survivable aircraft that we carry our most important weapon system in, which is the Marine or rifleman, and that we will successfully introduce this aircraft in combat," said Lt. Gen. John G. Castellaw, deputy commandant for aviation.

Critics say the tilt-rotor design may still be too unsafe for the complexities of flying in combat operations.

The Marine Corps maintains it is a much more controllable aircraft in those situations.

Since 2003, the Marines have lost seven aircraft in combat operations. The Marine Corps says the V-22 can better avoid being shot down because it can fly higher than the missiles that have been targeting helicopters. In addition, people on the ground cannot hear the aircraft approaching, giving insurgents less time to prepare to shoot as it flies at low altitude.

"I flown the V-22, and I have taken it and used it in a tactical manner," Castellaw said. "The ability to maneuver this aircraft is far in excess of what we have with the existing helicopters."

CNN's Mike Mount contributed to this report.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 15, 2007, 08:06:47 AM
The Pilotless Plane That Only Looks Like Child’s Play
Published: April 15, 2007

IF you’re the type of shopper who spends billions of dollars on lethal military gadgets, and you’re ever invited to visit General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the small, privately held San Diego company that has quickly become one of the military industry’s most celebrated businesses — take a bit of advice: accept a ride on the corporate jet.

Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., left, president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, prepares for takeoff. He was commander of the Navy station that housed the “Top Gun” school. He even had a bit part in the movie.

The plane isn’t fancy. The cabin is cramped and the seats a little threadbare. (Want a beverage? Open the cooler, help yourself and quit whining about the heat.) Still, such bare-bones accoutrements haven’t stopped a parade of top military officials and politicians from clamoring for their own seats on General Atomics flights.

If you’re lucky, after the jet lands at the company’s airstrip in the high desert east of Los Angeles, you’ll tour one of the room-sized shipping containers clustered near the runway. Inside is a video-game addict’s idea of a cockpit, with joysticks, gauges and high-tech screens sprouting everywhere and a cushy chair that has improbably become one of the sexiest seats in the military. From that perch you can guide an unmanned airplane, known as the Predator, that is potentially thousands of miles away and can hover over suspected enemies for dozens of hours before raining down missiles.

For years, such planes — known as U.A.V.’s, for unmanned aerial vehicles — were pariahs within the military industry, scorned by commanders who saw them as threats to the status quo. But during the last several years, U.A.V.’s have amassed unusual political firepower. “For a long time, the only thing most generals could agree on was that they didn’t want any unmanned vehicles,” says Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Now everyone wants as many as they can get.”

In fact, only a decade ago, crucial Air Force commanders were lobbying to prevent battlefield deployment of U.A.V.’s, according to Congressional staff members. By 2005, however, John P. Jumper, then the Air Force chief of staff, had sufficiently about-faced to tell Congress that “we’re going to tell General Atomics to build every Predator they can possibly build.”

This transformation is, in many ways, a reflection of how the military’s priorities and goals have changed over the last decade. It is also a testament to how much clout General Atomics has amassed in a short period of time.

All of which raises another bit of advice if you’re visiting General Atomics: Don’t be late.

More than one official has learned the hard way that when the pilot of the General Atomics corporate jet says he’s flying back at noon, he means it. And that pilot is likely to be Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., a 34-year Navy veteran, former rear admiral, onetime commander of the station where the “Top Gun” flight school is based and now the president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Mr. Cassidy’s belly may hang a bit over his belt now, but he’s so authentic that when the producers of the film “Top Gun” needed someone for a bit part who oozed power, they cast him.

Which is only fitting, for while General Atomics boasts elaborate technological gizmos and martial splendor, its authority also derives from its political savvy. In the last decade, the company has outgunned some of the nation’s biggest corporate heavyweights in the battle for prized military contracts. Soon, analysts say, Americans may rely on a host of General Atomics military devices, including magnetic cannons that use pulses of electricity to drop ammunition on distant targets, radar systems that can see through even the densest clouds and guns that shoot laser beams.

“Everyone talks about how the world has changed,” Mr. Cassidy says. “We’re building the technology for where it’s going.”

NO single moment marks the ascent of General Atomics. But to understand its rise and what that says about changes in military contracting, it helps to go way back, to a point before a pair of wealthy, intensely private brothers bought it, before General Dynamics spun it off, and before it even existed — to the 1930s and a group of angry German commanders plotting revenge.

After World War I, while France and other Allies were building military defenses modeled on trench warfare, German commanders were shaping a nimble fighting force. Using new technologies — like radio and fast-moving armored vehicles — they created the blitzkrieg, or “lightning war,” a strategy that allowed them to end-run their enemies’ trenches by using panzerdivizions — small, sprightly forces that revolutionized how battles were fought. In 1940, Germany toppled France in 20 days and the panzerdivizion symbolized war’s shift from drawn-out conflicts using massive fortifications to rapid-fire engagements built around manned, motorized armor.

Nearly 70 years later, the Predator and General Atomics reflect the military’s transformation from conflicts built around manned armor to strategies organized around surveillance. U.A.V.’s embody the potential for quick, relatively effortless wars fought by drones controlled from great distances, and thus have become lightning rods for battles over the military’s direction.


Page 2 of 4)

General Atomics, the progenitor of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, started life in 1955 when a major military contractor, General Dynamics, feared that the military hardware market might dry up. It began exploring peacetime uses of atomic energy, but abandoned the effort when cold-war military spending took off. General Atomics eventually passed through the hands of a number of energy companies before landing in the lap of two Denver real estate moguls, Neal and Linden Blue, who bought it in 1986 for about $50 million.

At the time, a big part of the company’s revenue came from contracts focused on fusion experiments. (General Atomics, today a sister company to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, still runs one of the world’s largest fusion programs.) But the Blue brothers wanted to pursue the fascination with airplanes and national security they had carried since they were students at Yale in the 1950s, Neal Blue said in an interview.
While still in college, they persuaded Life magazine to finance a trip around South America on a propeller-driven Tri-Pacer, in exchange for sending back photographs. After graduation, the brothers moved to Nicaragua to found a cocoa and banana plantation with the family of Luis Somoza Debayle, then Nicaragua’s president. (They were “enthusiastic supporters” of the United States-backed fight against Communism in Nicaragua during the 1980s, Mr. Blue said, though, he added, not formally involved.)

After serving in the Air Force, the brothers expanded their business holdings to include petroleum mines in Australia, natural gas wells in Canada, manufacturing concerns in the former East Germany and hundreds of acres of ranches in Arkansas, Colorado and California. Neal Blue, now the chairman of the company, said that both brothers have top-secret clearance with the United States government, but declined to discuss if they have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.

All the while, they remained flying enthusiasts. Linden Blue served as president of Beech Aircraft from 1982 to 1984 and was briefly imprisoned by Fidel Castro after his private plane skirted Cuban airspace a few weeks before the Bay of Pigs incursion.

Soon after the brothers gained control of General Atomics in 1986, they unleashed their passion for advanced aviation by turning the company into a leading pioneer in drone warfare.

Military efforts to develop unmanned planes had existed for decades, but unreliable technology and shifting priorities had killed most of the programs. The Blues, however, were convinced that technological advances in microprocessing and global positioning systems had made it possible to build inexpensive, technologically reliable and ultralight unmanned airplanes that could stay aloft for days. They poured tens of millions of dollars into the project, eventually establishing a separate company, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Neal Blue said.

At the time, the Defense Department was less enthusiastic.

“The military can react to new threats and new enemies very quickly, but there is a very high bar to shifting how forces are deployed, because a mistake can be catastrophic to national security,” said Andrew L. Ross, a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. “Commanders are skeptical about machines that remove soldiers from the field.”

The Predator itself has offered critics some ammunition. One analyst estimates that 20 percent of all Predators sold to the United States military have crashed, because of errors by pilots controlling them from the ground. Another analyst, who has flown the aircraft but asked not to be identified to maintain his relationship with General Atomics, says they offer significantly less maneuverability than manned jets.

Another analyst who has studied the history of U.A.V.’s says the Predator has failed at some crucial tests.

“It has never done everything the military originally wanted it to do,” said Tom P. Ehrhard, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonpartisan research organization. “It still fails on flight reliability, flight worthiness, the camera’s accuracy, the ability to fly through clouds. There are a whole series of operational limitations that normally would prevent a device like this from getting military adoption.”

Officials at General Atomics declined to discuss those and other criticisms in detail. An Air Force spokesman said that the number of Predator crashes had declined, and that the plane’s limitations had not prevented its combat use.

Another obstacle to military adoption of U.A.V.’s, say the Blues and others, is a dynamic even older than the panzerdivizion: resistance to innovations that threaten entrenched power structures.

“There is a very strong tendency to reward commanders for figuring out how to win the last war,” says Neal Blue. “The fiefdoms within the Department of Defense were built upon putting more people into airplanes or into the battlefield. Technologies that didn’t include cockpit pilots or moving soldiers were seen as unattractive.”


Page 3 of 4)

For its part, the Air Force disputes that turf wars ever impeded the Predator’s deployment. “It is hard to name any other aircraft that has accomplished so much in so little time, or that has had such an immediate impact on how we conduct combat operations,” it said in a statement. “It was the Air Force that gave birth to the concept that Predator could both find and attack fleeting targets, a concept that has paid huge dividends.”

The Blue brothers bought General Atomics in 1986 for $50 million. Neal Blue is now chairman.
Nonetheless, the Blues’ early attempts to find military supporters of U.A.V.’s during the 1980s and early ’90s met with little success.
“No fighter pilot is ever going to pick up a girl at a bar by saying he flies a U.A.V.,” says Andrew F. Krepinevich, a former Defense Department analyst who is executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “When defense contractors initially talked about U.A.V.’s, they advertised them as replacements for fighter pilots. Fighter pilots don’t want to be replaced.”

BUT, ultimately, fighter pilots don’t run the military. Politicians do. And when Bill Clinton entered the White House in 1993, there was already a sense among some elected officials that the military was stuck in cold-war thinking, according to members of Congress at the time.

Those politicians, however, were increasingly butting heads with Pentagon officials. And the military industry, which collected billions of dollars a year selling expensive jets and submarines, was in no rush to tell customers that they needed smaller, cheaper equipment.

So the politicians used stealth tactics. In 1993, John M. Deutch, a deputy defense secretary under President Clinton, invited Neal Blue to the Pentagon under the pretense of discussing fusion reactors. Mr. Blue said in an interview that when he walked in, he discovered an array of high-ranking officials waiting to hear about the Predator. Mr. Deutch asked how long it would take to deliver a flight-ready aircraft. Six months, Mr. Blue promised.

“We were looking for technologies that were sufficiently path-breaking that they offered justification for changing military doctrine,” Mr. Deutch recalled.

Flashy images helped, too. The live video feeds from cameras attached to Predators were transmitted to commanders and politicians back home.

“There was a lot of work to make sure that G.A.’s product made it to the battlefield before the bureaucracy could stop it,” said Representative Duncan L. Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “We knew that once we sent all those pictures to Washington, D.C., the debate would be over.”

After the Predators’ deployment in the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, the military’s support for them began to grow. Although many analysts were already suggesting that Predators could easily carry weapons — cruise missiles use similar technologies — General Atomics avoided even mentioning such possibilities until clients requested them.

“There was an unspoken deal. It was obvious the technology existed to make the Predator into more than just a surveillance platform,” said Daniel Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a military policy research group in northern Virginia. “But fighter pilots shoot the missiles, and fighter pilots have a lot of power within the Air Force. So G.A. made it clear pilots didn’t have to worry about Predators doing something they hadn’t asked for.”

(In the late 1990s, armed Predators were rolling off the assembly line two months after they were requested by Air Force commanders, according to company executives.)

After taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush gave his defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, a mandate to remake the military into a more technologically advanced organization, and U.A.V.’s became a top priority, say former department officials. The Sept. 11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan heightened the push.

By the time a Predator-launched missile killed a suspected Al Qaeda leader in 2002, even the public was accustomed to hearing about unmanned planes’ successes. Voicing enthusiasm for U.A.V.’s became an easy way for the military brass to show that it had signed on to Mr. Rumsfeld’s program.

“Predators became emblematic of what Rumsfeld wanted,” said Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute. “Suddenly, everyone was saying they were ordering Predators, whether they actually wanted them or not.”
Title: Predators part 2
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 15, 2007, 08:08:19 AM

That shift has been profitable for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The company, which remains privately held, refuses to disclose its revenue or profits. But it now employs more than 2,400 workers and has sold more than 200 unmanned planes since 1993, according to a spokesman.

In 2005, the Air Force announced that it was ordering enough Predators to equip 15 squadrons over five years, at a price of $5.7 billion. The Department of Homeland Security has bought two Predators for border control, and Italy and Turkey have also bought planes.

A research firm, the Teal Group, predicts that the handful of U.A.V. manufacturers will collect about $55 billion worldwide over the next 10 years. General Atomics is expected to dominate a large portion of that market, said Philip Finnegan, an analyst at Teal.

When Mr. Rumsfeld stepped down last year, one of the mandates that had bolstered the Predator for so long also disappeared.

“Transformation is dead as a political idea,” Mr. Thompson said. “Rumsfeld was discredited by Iraq, and when he left, his priorities left with him.”

That presents a challenge for General Atomics, which is also confronting a flurry of competition. The major military contractors, including Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have all jumped into the U.A.V. game. With billions of dollars at their disposal and deep military relationships, those companies can outspend smaller rivals.

“This is an exploding marketplace, and we intend to claim a larger market share as it grows bigger and bigger,” said Gemma Loochkartt, a spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman. “Being a leader in this sector is important to maintaining leadership within the defense industry.”

So General Atomics is aggressively building on its existing clout. Unlike many other military contractors, which wait for a guaranteed contract to build new products, General Atomics has set aside what some analysts estimate at $50 million to build the next generation of Predators.

“We can move faster because we’re smaller, and we make sure people know that,” says Mr. Blue, who, at 72, still actively guides the company’s strategic direction. General Atomics has upgraded its manufacturing with a diverse range of automated and laser-guided tools that allow it to quickly change design specifications and produce custom-built planes, a flexibility that analysts say is almost unrivaled within the military industry.

Despite a demand for its products that far outpaces supply, the company has kept the Predator relatively cheap — about $19.2 million a plane, according to a study that the Government Accountability Office released last year. “For the military, $19 million is almost an impulse buy,” said John E. Pike, director of, a defense research firm in Washington.

YET however much General Atomics competes on price, some of its most dexterous strategies have involved overtly political tactics.

In 2006, a study conducted by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity and other watchdog groups said that General Atomics had spent $660,000, more than any other company, sending Congressional staff members on trips. Company executives said the jaunts allowed staffers to help educate foreign governments about the Predator’s successes, although they acknowledge that they also improved the company’s relationships in Washington.

“Everyone else was doing it, so we did, too,” says Mr. Cassidy at General Atomics. After the study was released, General Atomics decided to sponsor less than $10,000 worth of Congressional trips a year.

General Atomics has also hired scores of former military commanders and has partnered with Lockheed Martin to pursue a $2 billion Navy program, one of its first such joint projects.

Equally important, the company has begun whispering to lawmakers about the importance of diversifying the military marketplace, say lobbyists who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the company. In part to preserve that selling point, General Atomics has spurned acquisition offers from major military contractors, Mr. Blue says.

Analysts say the trends that have kept General Atomics’ fortunes aloft are likely to persist for decades.

“It took 30 years for the world’s militaries to completely absorb and implement the technologies that started with panzerdivizions,” says Mr. Goure, the defense analyst. Although military strategists talk about organizing war-making around information and intelligence, the truth is that it will take decades for that transformation to be complete. In the meantime, leaders are likely to latch onto emblems of transformation — like the Predator — as symbols of progress.

“Once you prove that something works, a flurry of activity starts that builds the infrastructure for more innovations, and fights over who controls the new technologies emerge,” Mr. Goure says. “That’s when things become permanent.”

Such fights have already broken out over Predators. This year, the Air Force told Congress that it, rather than other branches of the military, should control the deployment of unmanned planes. Commanders in other military branches have voiced disagreement.

“The Predator has become a very durable and powerful symbol in a very short time,” says Mr. Thompson, the defense analyst.

That transition is even more impressive, considering what the Predator cannot do.

“It is unclear if this plane will ever meet some of the key suitability tests the Air Force applies to most aircraft,” said Mr. Ehrhard, the military analyst. “But no one seems to care that much.”

WHICH brings us to a final bit of advice for visiting General Atomics: Don’t count on leisurely send-offs. When its corporate jet lands back in San Diego, the company’s president is likely to bound out, make a dash for his BMW — the one with the license plate reading “UAV S”) — and shout out a hasty goodbye.

“I gotta run,” said Mr. Cassidy, the pilot and executive, after a recent flight. “We’ve got planes to sell.”
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 20, 2007, 02:26:00 PM
U.S./SAUDI ARABIA: The United States plans to sell Joint Direct Attack Munition smart bombs to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said while he was in Israel. Israel had expressed its opposition to the sale, citing concerns that the systems could fall into militant hands and undermine Israel's defense strategy.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 25, 2007, 08:49:34 AM
Ballistic Missile Submarines: The Only Way to Go

Russia and China are both in the process of fielding a new class of ballistic missile submarines. These submarines, longtime prudent investments for states with nuclear weapons, are becoming an essential -- and ultimately, the only -- option for a survivable nuclear deterrent.


For the better part of a decade, four nations have maintained a regularly patrolling strategic deterrent at sea: the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Israel (whose use of nuclear warheads mounted on cruise missiles aboard its three Dolphin-class submarines is an open secret). However, that decade also has seen China and Russia complete nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programs. This is particularly important because diving beneath the ocean's surface is quickly becoming the only way to hide.


At its peak, the Soviet navy operated more than 60 SSBNs. The fleet is now one-quarter that size, and most of the boats are in poor condition. In 2002, the Russian navy did not conduct a single strategic deterrence patrol. The current fleet of aging SSBNs can barely hold the line. Not only is Russia investing in the future of its SSBN program, but it also is essentially starting from scratch.

The Yuri Dolgoruky, the lead boat of Russia's newest Borei-class SSBN, has a troubled past. Laid down in 1996, the Yuri Dolgoruky was neglected and construction was held up because of economic troubles after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The parallel development of the SS-NX-28 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) failed, and the design had to be adjusted during construction to accommodate a different missile, the SS-NX-30 Bulava.

Although the Bulava has had several successful launches, three failures in the fourth quarter of 2006 demonstrated the missile was far from ready. Nevertheless, the Yuri Dolgoruky was launched April 15. (It will spend at least a year being fitted out.) Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Alexei Moskovsky has promised seven more by 2017.

Of course, Moskovsky's statements are nothing if not ambitious. A series of successful Bulava tests will be necessary. But the ultimate success of the Borei class is essential for Russia's ability to maintain its nuclear deterrent. It is perhaps the top defense priority, along with the continued fielding of the land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). And it is something Russia can afford.

In recent years, Russia has politically and economically consolidated and has been fiscally conservative enough to keep a balanced budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies, and a hefty windfall from high energy prices, have turned Russia's $160 billion debt in 2000 into $400 billion in currency reserves and surplus funds. In March, the Kremlin shed its fiscal conservatism with a new budget for 2007-2010 that dramatically increases spending in many sectors, including defense. The budget and economic conditions are reminiscent of the Soviet budgets of the 1970s, during which Moscow launched its last dramatic increase in defense spending.


For the Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN), nuclear-powered submarines have been a challenge. At times, the PLAN was an understudy of a less-than-perfect master: the Russian navy. Though the PLAN has made incremental improvements, its nuclear submarines reportedly have yet to attain modern standards of performance.

The PLAN's older Xia-class SSBN, though able to launch missiles, never made an official deterrence patrol. However, the new Jin-class SSBN (Type 094) reportedly is undergoing sea trials. It spent some five years under construction and sources indicate it was launched in mid-2004. It reportedly is not up to modern SSBN standards, and there are rumors of nuclear propulsion problems. However, the shift to sea trials suggests it will ultimately deploy. The JL-2 SLBM with which it is to be fitted appears to have had several successful trial launches. If the Jin class is deployable, the bulk of the continental United States -- now only vulnerable to a small arsenal of China's longest-range land-based missiles -- would be within reach of the JL-2 SLBM.

Though dozens of funding priorities compete for the money, China's military spending has continued to rise. China has a small nuclear deterrent, so it must ensure that the deterrent it has is mobile and survivable; thus, while Beijing's pocketbook is not bottomless, the SSBN program should continue receiving the funding it needs.


Both the Russian Borei and the Chinese Jin are still at least a year from operational capability, and their sister boats -- still under construction -- will need to be completed in the next few years in order to build to a constantly patrolling rotation. But in five to 10 years, Russia and China both intend to have such a rotation in place.

While the significance of a new SSBN is greater for China, which has yet to field a functioning sea-based deterrent, the decay of Russia's SSBN fleet is such that the Borei marks a new beginning there.

India could be working toward a missile submarine as well, but that development is 10-20 years away. Countries like Pakistan could one day follow the Israeli example -- diesel submarines armed with cruise missiles. Diesel boats lack the endurance of their nuclear-powered brethren, but can run even quieter for short periods. The cruise missiles have a shorter range than SLBMs, but are technically easier to launch and require no major modifications to a standard hull, since they can be launched horizontally like torpedoes.

While none of these developments fundamentally alters the strategic balance of a unipolar world, advances in Russia and China's SSBN programs mark the first time in a decade that nations other than traditional U.S. allies are building sea-based deterrents.

The Increasing Importance of the Sea-based Deterrent

Early in the Cold War, ICBMs were almost prohibitively large and expensive. The submarine was a way to move shorter-range missiles closer to one's adversary. But as missile accuracy improved (the dramatically increasing potential yield of strategic warheads did not hurt, either), the prospect of a successful "first strike" began to alter the role of the SSBN. It became a valuable "first strike" platform because it could move close to an adversary's coast, giving the enemy less time to react to a missile launch.

But its greatest value as the most survivable leg of a nuclear triad is its capacity for a "second," or retaliatory, strike. Much harder to keep track of than platforms in fixed positions, an SSBN lurking at sea is the ultimate wild card. Land-mobile missile systems (as opposed to fixed, silo-based missiles) are another way of accomplishing this, but technological advances will make them increasingly vulnerable.

A joint U.S. program between the defense and intelligence communities is working to test space-based radar. Destined to succeed in one form or another, space-based radar will one day be able to track objects across the face of the Earth -- objects such as land-mobile launch vehicles -- and keep close enough tabs on them that their locations can be effectively targeted by strategic warheads.

In a unipolar world -- in which the United States will have the best intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and weapons of increasing speed and accuracy -- the nuclear weapon is the only true guarantor of national independence. Even a minimal deterrent allows nations to focus on and confront regional disputes, as well as protect their interests abroad. An SSBN fleet is, of course, not absolutely necessary -- whether mounted on a land-based missile or a submarine, a nuclear weapon is a substantial bargaining chip -- but it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide anything from the United States. The U.S. military has a technological edge beneath the waves as well, but even a modestly well-built submarine traveling below 5 knots is hard to track, and it certainly has a better chance than a fixed concrete silo. Consequently, the sea-based leg of a nation's nuclear triad is evolving from a prudent choice for survivability to the most essential element of a meaningful nuclear deterrent.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 27, 2007, 09:27:59 AM
Missile Defense Mischief
April 27, 2007; Page A16

One of the Bush Administration's quiet successes has been missile defense -- from the negotiated demise of the Cold War ABM Treaty to initial ground-based deployments. But that progress is suddenly in jeopardy from opposition in Russia and Congress, and just when we might really begin to need it against the likes of Iran.

The immediate dispute concerns the U.S. offer to extend missile defenses to Europe. The Czech Republic has expressed interest in providing a site for a tracking radar, while Poland is considering whether to host the interceptors that would destroy incoming missiles.

Linked to upgraded radars in Britain and Greenland and a command-and-control system in Colorado, the Polish and Czech sites could protect Europe from long-range missiles launched from Iran. It would also provide an additional layer of defense for America's East Coast. Tehran is expected to have long-range missiles by 2015 or sooner, and since the world can't seem to muster the resolve to halt its nuclear program, missile defense would seem a logical -- and urgent -- priority.

If only. After Warsaw and Prague announced negotiations with the U.S., some Europeans, notably the French and the Germans, accused the U.S. of acting unilaterally. Moscow has called it "destabilizing," and Democrats in Congress have vowed to kill it. Representative Ellen Tauscher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, is opposing the Pentagon's $310 million request to begin construction next year.

The arguments against the "third site," as the Polish-Czech contribution is known, are updated versions of the anti-Star Wars rhetoric of the Reagan years. Ms. Tauscher claims the missile defense system isn't "fully tested," but the initial system the Bush Administration has fielded in Alaska and California and now wants to extend to Europe isn't the final architecture. The idea is to follow the models provided by the JSTAR military surveillance plane and Predator spy plane. Both were still in the experimental phase when they were called into service in the Gulf War and Afghanistan, respectively. The missile defense system is constantly being tested and upgraded.

Critics also argue that the third site wouldn't protect all of Europe from Iranian missiles because the Southern flank would remain exposed. But the site is designed to defend against missiles with ranges of more than 1,500 kilometers, which means Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria aren't at risk from this specific threat. The Iranian threat against Southern Europe is from medium- and short-range missiles, which require different kinds of defenses, and the U.S. is prepared to work with individual countries as well as NATO to install Patriots or other systems against those missiles.

Moscow's objection is that the third site is somehow intended for use against Russian missiles. This is untrue -- as the Russians well know because U.S. officials have briefed them repeatedly on how the system would operate and have even offered to bring Russia under the missile-defense umbrella, an offer Moscow has so far rejected.

No one believes 10 interceptors based in Poland could deter the thousands of missiles in Russia's arsenal, and it's unclear what game Moscow is playing here. Perhaps it hopes to forestall U.S. missile defenses for Georgia or other former Soviet republics, or maybe it sees an opportunity to drive a wedge between Washington and Warsaw, where the government is already facing heat over Poland's role in Iraq.

Democrats claim that the third site creates "divisions" among our European allies and should therefore be subject to NATO's multilateral seal of approval -- and a consensus process that would mean the kiss of death. But why should bilateral agreements between the U.S. and the sovereign nations of Poland and the Czech Republic be subject to NATO approval any more than U.S. agreements with Denmark and Britain over the radars located in their territories? Or agreements with Germany, the Netherlands or Italy on other kinds of missile defenses? In any case, NATO may acquire theater missile defenses, which could be deployed to protect against medium- and short-range missiles.

Iran's not the only potential missile threat. More than 20 nations, including North Korea and Syria, have ballistic missiles and their proliferation is sure to continue. The third site is part of the Bush Administration's vision of missile defense with a global reach. Since the U.S. withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, nations have been lining up to get under the new missile defense umbrella. The U.S. and its allies are safer for it.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 27, 2007, 02:58:01 PM
Second post of the day:


Certified Madness
April 27, 2007; Page A17

One of the more interesting sections of the war funding bill Congress will soon send President Bush is its provision for "readiness." The bill prohibits spending funds "to deploy any unit of the Armed Forces to Iraq unless the chief of the military department concerned has certified in writing . . . that the unit is fully mission capable."

John Murtha (D., Pa.), chairman of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, is mainly responsible for the clause. Mr. Murtha is a Marine Vietnam combat veteran and he's concerned that U.S. forces don't have all the resources they need to complete their missions.

U.S. Navy Ensign George Gay would have been bemused.

Ensign Gay became famous in World War II as the sole survivor of Torpedo Eight, a squadron flying off of the USS Hornet in the pivotal Battle of Midway. If ever there was a unit of the armed forces that wasn't "mission capable," it was Torpedo Eight.

In June 1942, the Navy's new torpedo bomber, the Grumman TBF Avenger, wasn't ready. So Ensign Gay and the other Americans had to fly old Douglas TBD Devastators, an aircraft that was inadequate for the task of taking on Japanese fighters.

A Devastator's top speed was about 200 mph. The Japanese interceptors -- Zeros -- could do around 350 mph. That's correct, the Japanese pilots had an advantage of about 150 miles per hour.

But Ensign Gay's bigger problem was training. "When we finally got up to the Battle of Midway it was the first time I had ever carried a torpedo on an aircraft," he later told a Navy interviewer, "and was the first time I had ever taken a torpedo off of a ship, had never even seen it done. None of the other ensigns in the squadron had either."

Ensign Gay and the others got the attack plan in "chalk talks" and then rehearsed the attack by walking through the steps on the flight deck.

Not a single TBD flying that day from the Hornet made it back. Ensign Gay was the only one of the 30 men in his squadron who survived the attack and he had to be fished from the sea a day after the battle. The TBDs from the other two American carriers suffered similar losses.

But by drawing the Zeros to themselves, the slow, low-flying Devastators gave U.S. dive bombers a clear shot to strike from above. The dive bombers sank three of the four Japanese carriers, a loss that decided the outcome of a battle that proved to be turning point in the war in the Pacific.

Which gets us back to Mr. Murtha's readiness provision.

Lieutenant Gay (he was promoted) later briefed the events to a Navy interviewer. He described the situation, succinctly, as "a difficult problem."

"We had old planes and we were new," the pilot recalled. "We had a dual job of not only training a squadron of boot Ensigns," he said, "we also had to fight the war at the same time."

In fact, training and fighting became one and the same. Ensign Gay's squadron leader told him and the others to follow him to the target, and then they figured out a way to get through the flack when they got there.

Ensign Gay and the other pilots knew they were ill-equipped and under-trained. But they flew the mission anyway because they also knew that something larger was at stake -- like losing the war if they waited until someone was willing to "certify in writing" that they met official readiness standards.

It's unfortunate, and often tragic, but that's what happens in war, or at least one that you are serious about. And that's the issue. Are we serious about the war? Can anyone imagine Congress in 1942 passing a provision like the one in the current bill? Would they constrain Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower the way they propose to constrain Gen. David H. Petraeus?

Mr. Murtha has good intentions, but he's got it exactly wrong. If U.S. forces lack the equipment or training they need, it's his job, as the chairman of the one subcommittee specifically responsible for originating defense appropriations, to make sure they get it.

If legislators really don't believe we should continue in Iraq, they need to come clean, shut down the war -- and accept the risks, and take responsibility for the consequences. Otherwise, they need to provide U.S. forces the means to carry out their missions.

Mr. Berkowitz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 29, 2007, 06:52:45 AM

Top general: U.S. needs a bigger Army faster

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (AP) -- The Army's new chief of staff said he wants to accelerate by two years a plan to increase the nation's active-duty soldiers by 65,000.

The Army has set 2012 as its target date for a force expansion to 547,000 troops, but Gen. George Casey said he told his staff to have the soldiers ready earlier.

"I said that's too long. Go back and tell me what it would take to get it done faster," he said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press during a stop in Hawaii.

Casey became the Army chief of staff April 12 after serving as the top U.S. commander in Iraq for more than two years. He visited Hawaii for a few days in a Pacific region tour to talk with soldiers and their families. He next heads to Japan, South Korea and Alaska.

Casey said his staff has submitted a proposal for the accelerated timeline but that he has yet to approve the plan. He said the Army was stretched and would remain that way until the additional troops were trained and equipped.

Casey told a group of soldiers' spouses that one of his tasks is to try to limit the impact of the strain on soldiers and their families.
"We live in a difficult period for the Army because the demand for our forces exceeds the supply," he said.

A woman in the group asked Casey if her husband's deployments would stop getting longer. She said they used to last for six months in the 1990s but then started lasting nine months and 12 months. Two weeks ago, she heard the Army's announcement that deployments would be extended as long as 15 months.

"Do you honestly foresee this spiral, in effect, stopping?" she asked.
Casey said the Army wants to keep deployments to 15 months, but "I cannot look at you in the eye and guarantee that it would not go beyond."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January said he was recommending to the president that the Army boost its active-duty soldiers by 65,000 to 547,000. Casey said about 35,000 of those additional soldiers are already in place.

Gates also recommended that the Marine Corps increase its active-duty force by 27,000 to 202,000.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 02, 2007, 08:30:13 AM

Armored Vehicles for Iraq Delayed
Associated Press  |  April 30, 2007
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - The armored carrier has a grim black slash across its side, burn marks on the door and a web of cracks along the window.

Like most of the Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Anbar province, this one has been hit as many as three times by enemy fire and bomb blasts. Yet, to date, no American troops have died while riding in one.

But efforts to buy thousands more carriers - each costing about $1 million - could be delayed if the White House and Congress do not resolve their deadlock over a $124.2 billion war spending bill.

Take Action: Tell your public officials how you feel about this issue.

About $3 billion for the vehicles is tied up in the legislation. The spending plan has stalled because of a dispute over provisions that would set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

At a hearing last month, lawmakers urged the Army to get more of the carriers to the battlefront as quickly as possible. The vehicles, with their unique V-shaped hull that deflects blasts outward and away from passengers, are considered lifesavers against the No. 1 killer in Iraq - roadside bombs.

Military leaders say the carriers have reduced roadside bomb casualties in Iraq by as much as two-thirds. But they are not effective against the enemy's latest weapon - explosively formed penetrators, which hurl a fist-sized lump of molten copper capable of piercing armored vehicles.

Right now, there are at least 1,100 of the armored carriers on the battlefront in Iraq, including the 100 or so that rumble through Anbar province carrying troops and clearing roads of explosives.

The Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations forces want thousands more. The goal is more than 7,700, at a cost of about $8.4 billion.

The Army wants 2,500, at a cost of about $2.7 billion. The Marines are planning to buy 3,700 and would send about 3,000 to Iraq. There will be 525 in the country by the end of the year, said Brig. Gen. Mark Gurganus, ground combat commander for U.S. forces in western Iraq.

As the Pentagon scrapes to find the money to run the war in the midst of the budget impasse, the Pentagon says there is not enough cash to buy as many as commanders say they need.

"We can build what we can get the funds to build. It's strictly an issue of money," Gen. Peter Schoomaker, former Army chief of staff, told a Senate committee last month.

At the time, he said the Army had an unfunded requirement of about $2 billion. Lawmakers added some additional money to the bill, so that number would now be about $1.5 billion.

He said the Army believes "that not only do we need the MRAP immediately to give us better protection, but that we need to stay on a path to get an even better vehicle than the MRAP for the long haul, because the enemy is going to continue to adapt."

Senators pressed for more. "We're buying far too few of them," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. "If we have that capability, why would we not do everything to mobilize, to move as many of them into the field as is possible?

In January, the military approved contracts to buy 4,100 of the armored carriers, using nine different companies to fill the order. Although the Pentagon is shifting money around to cover war costs until the spending bill is signed, the Army said dollars already approved and in the pipeline for the vehicles will not be affected.

Additional orders cannot be placed until the disagreement over the war spending legislation is settled. That bill would give the Army ($1.2 billion), the Marines ($1.25 billion), the Navy ($154 million), the Air Force ($139 million) and special operations forces ($259 million) money to buy their own versions of the carriers, according to Bill Johnson-Miles, spokesman for the Marine Corps Systems Command.

The Defense Department has requested about $4.4 billion in the 2008 budget to buy more of the vehicles.

Out on the dusty roads in Anbar province, Marines say the carriers have proved their worth.

This month, Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Kessler said, Marines were riding in one and took a hit from a small roadside bomb. The blast blew a tire, and it took them more than 90 minutes to limp back to base, but no one was hurt. Days earlier, a carrier with six Marines was hit by two blasts; two Marines had broken bones, but they all survived.

"It's an extremely survivable vehicle. I guarantee it saves lives," said Kessler. Pointing to the scars on the side of the MRAP, he added that had they been riding in a Humvee or something else, "they would all be dead."

Title: Senator challenges M4
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 05, 2007, 04:40:56 AM,13319,133962,00.html?

Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4  |  By Christian Lowe  |  April 30, 2007
The debate over the Army's choice to purchase hundreds of thousands of M4 carbines for its new brigade combat teams is facing stiff opposition from a small group of senators who say the rifle may be inferior to others already in the field.

In an April 12 letter to acting Army Secretary Pete Geren, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said purchase of the M4 - a shortened version of the Vietnam-era M16 - was based on requirements from the early 1990s and that better, more reliable weapons exist that could give Army troops a more effective weapon.

Coburn asked the Army to hold a "free and open competition" before inking sole-source contracts worth about $375 million to M4 manufacturer, West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Defense - which just received a $50 million Army contract for M4s on April 20.

"I am concerned with the Army's plans to procure nearly half a million new rifles outside of any competitive process," Coburn wrote in the mid-April letter obtained by

A Geren spokesman said the secretary's office is putting together a reply to Coburn's letter, but provided no further details.

Take Action: Tell your public officials how you feel about this issue.

Coburn has banded together with a small group of like-minded senators to push the Army into a competition to determine whether the M4 is the best choice to equip newly-forming brigade combat teams, a top Coburn aide said.

The senator's concerns grew out of media coverage that showed the M4's design fails in critical situations and that special operations forces prefer other designs.

"Considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon," Coburn wrote. "A number of manufacturers have researched, tested and fielded weapons which, by all accounts, appear to provide significantly improved reliability."

Related Article: Army Won't Field Rifle Deemed Superior to M4

Special operations forces, including "tier one" units such as the Army's Delta Force and the Navy's SEAL Development Group - or SEAL Team Six - have used their own funds to purchase the Heckler & Koch-built 416, which uses a gas-piston operating system less susceptible to failure than Colt's gas-operated design.

"That's significant, because these guys don't screw around," the aide said.

In fact, Colt included four different weapons in the competition to build the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, none of which used the M4s gas system, the aide said.

In a routine acquisition notice March 23, a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines. The M4 fires using a system that redirects gas from the expended round to eject it and reload another. The 416 and SCAR use a gas-operated piston that physically pushes the bolt back to eject the round and load another.

Carbon buildup from the M4's gas system has plagued the rifle for years, resulting in some close calls with Soldiers in combat whose rifles jammed at critical moments.

According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent."

Yet the Army has still declined to buy anything other than the M4 for its regular troops, requesting about $100 million in the 2007 wartime supplemental to buy M4s for its Soldiers.

The office in charge of equipping Soldiers said in a March 30 statement the service has no plans to purchase the HK416.

"I am certain we can all agree that America's Soldiers should have the best technology in their hands," Coburn wrote. "And there is simply no excuse for not providing our soldiers the best weapon - not just a weapon that is 'good enough.' "

The Army has not yet responded to Coburn's letter, but his aide said if the senator doesn't receive a response to the letter by Monday, Coburn plans to call Geren personally to address the issue.

"Our feeling is once people see the facts on the face of it they're going to say that this is ridiculous and demand that the Army does it right and competes the contract," the aide said.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 17, 2007, 06:52:06 PM
North Korea: A New Missile and Regional Politics

North Korea has tested in Iran a new intermediate-range missile dubbed the Musudan-1, according to Japanese and South Korean media reports. The news follows word that North Korea displayed the new missile in an April 25 parade, though reportedly only satellite photos of the missile exist. The attention being paid to the Musudan is not really about the changes in North Korean capability, though the missile could represent a substantive improvement over the Scud-based Nodong and Taepodong systems. The focus on the missile is more about the politics surrounding the six-party nuclear talks, South Korean presidential elections, and Japan's constitutional and defense evolution.


North Korea and Iran are celebrating a so-called week of friendship with social and cultural exchanges in each country following a visit by North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun to Tehran. During Kim's visit, the two countries called for closer ties, though Iranian officials suggested obstacles to closer cooperation remain, including outstanding North Korean debt to Iran. But as the two remaining "Axis of Evil" member states discuss closer ties, South Korean and Japanese media have reported that North Korea recently tested its newest intermediate-range ballistic missile in Iran.

The missile, dubbed "Musudan-1" by overseas observers, is based on the Soviet-era SS-N-6, a submarine-launched ballistic missile. It reportedly was displayed during North Korea's April 25 military parade. Photos and video of at least three mobile missile systems shown off during the parade were later published, including the AG-1 anti-ship missile (a knockoff of the Silkworm and Seersucker missiles), the Hwasong (a Scud missile derivative) and the KN-02 (North Korea's latest short-range ballistic missile, a prime candidate for the export market, based on the SS-21 Scarab). While most reports suggested four missiles were shown, no images of the fourth were released.

Three days after the parade, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo reported that U.S. satellite imagery revealed the fourth missile was a new intermediate-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,500 to 4,000 kilometers (1,500 to 2,500 miles) that in subsequent reports would be identified as the "Musudan-1." The missile is shorter and wider than the Scud-based designs, as it traces its lineage to early Russian submarine-launched missiles. As such, it is a more stable missile. Coupled with a dual-chamber control engine, rather than steering vanes, this makes the missile substantially more maneuverable -- and accurate -- than current North Korean missiles like the Hwasong, Nodong and Taepodong, all of which are based on Scud technology. Pyongyang has stretched the Scud-based systems to their extreme limits. To their credit, North Korean engineers very nearly put a satellite into orbit based on Scud technology in 1998 -- no small achievement. But the failure of the Taepodong-2 in 2006 (whatever the actual cause) is symptomatic of a generation of engineering pushed too far.

(click to enlarge)

The SS-21 Scarab and SS-N-6 Serb essentially represent a badly needed influx of fresh blood into the North Korean missile program. With the display of North Korean versions of both the KN-02 and Musudan-1 at the April parade, new life has been injected into Pyongyang's missile program. The KN-02 marks a production-level solid-fuel missile system, which can serve as a basis for North Korean understanding of solid propellant. It is worth remembering that the SS-21 remains the mainstay of Russian short-range ballistic missile regiments to this day (though they are slowly being upgraded to the SS-26), and the Russian guidance package is reportedly capable of 95 meters Circle of Equal Probability (a measure of accuracy) -- a huge step up for Pyongyang.

The SS-N-6 is even more significant. Aside from a much more compact design, the dual-chamber control engine is a big advance from the steering vanes of Scud missiles. What will be especially interesting is watching North Korean engineers stretch what was necessarily a compact Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missile as they did the Scud. Without the space constraints placed on Soviet designers (e.g., the missile tubes on Soviet submarines), the Musudan-1 can be expanded; it reportedly has already gotten 10 feet longer. Combined with parallel improvements in gyroscopic guidance, the Musudan-1 promises a generational leap for Pyongyang.

North Korea's work on the SS-N-6 variant has been known for quite a while, and there is little surprise that Pyongyang finally decided to roll out the missile for display. As early as 2000 there were reports Pyongyang had completed improvements on the SS-N-6. By 2003 there were expectations North Korea would display the missile during military parades that year, though this did not come to pass. The missile, called the Nodong-B or the Mirim (after an airbase near which it was spotted in 2003), is now apparently called the Musudan-1, though North Korea's own designation is unknown. There were initial suspicions that Pyongyang even tested one of the Musudan (or Mirim) missiles in July 2006.

Despite its substantially enhanced capability versus the existing Scud-based systems, the missile does not represent a major shift in the balance of regional power. Pyongyang has had the Musudan since at least 2000, and deployed it in 2003.

Somewhat more interesting is the potential that North Korea tested the new system in Iran, though even this is not entirely unusual. North Korea has long worked with Iran, Pakistan and others (including Yemen and Saudi Arabia), either exporting missiles to these countries or jointly developing missile systems. North Korean technicians work with the local technicians on the ballistic missiles, and learn from the more frequent test launches in Pakistan and Iran. (Pyongyang is very sparing with its test launches at home, both to mask its real capabilities and because any such launches inevitably pass over or near one of its neighbors, causing additional complications for the government.)

If the Musudan was tested in Iran, perhaps during a series of missile tests earlier this year, it could indicate either a sales demonstration by Pyongyang or the testing of a system already sold to Tehran. The first is more likely, as there are no other signs that Pyongyang has successfully tested the Musudan to date. Either way, it would appear the new missile is intended not only to enhance the domestic security of North Korea, but also to create additional sources of cash -- which fits with previous North Korean missile sales and the renting out of its technicians, with all the implications of proliferation that brings.

Beyond the technical considerations, reports of the new missile and its potential test in Iran reveal political battles in South Korea and Japan as much as they do any military improvements in North Korea or Iran. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo, a conservative paper, has been the first to reveal new North Korean missile developments; South Korean defense officials leak this information to the paper to shape perception and debate over North Korean issues.

In South Korea, there are widely differing views on the best way to deal with North Korea, and the current government's policy of "peace and prosperity" is not universally accepted. By revealing "new" threats from the North, even as Pyongyang and Seoul engage in dialogue, various South Korean factions can show that the government's programs are ineffective or need to at least be tempered and paired with a stronger focus on South Korean security. With presidential elections fast approaching, and outgoing President Roh Moo Hyun accelerating inter-Korean cooperation to solidify his policies and legacy, there is an equal push by the more conservative or cautious elements in the government and military to restrain Roh's initiatives and tread more carefully when dealing with Pyongyang.

Outside of South Korea, the Japanese press and government officials are playing up the Musudan missile issue the most. Tokyo is seeking support for changes to the Japanese Constitution and in Japan's defense posture and relations with other countries (particularly the United States). Tokyo is strongly backing the joint development of new anti-missile technology with the United States, but remains legally constrained in this matter due to regulations regarding the transfer of military technology.

By highlighting the "new" North Korean missile threat, Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma has suggested that Tokyo's current missile-defense plans -- using a combination of the sea-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile system -- are insufficient to deal with a longer-range North Korean system like the Musudan. The argument is that Japan needs to modify its defense rules to allow the development of a more robust and longer-range system to supplement the SM-3 and PAC-3 duo. (Ideal supplements could include the U.S. Theater High Altitude Air Defense system and the Airborne Laser).

Raising the specter of a significantly improved North Korean offensive capability also assists Tokyo in its broader moves to rewrite the Japanese Constitution to remove restrictions on collective self-defense, a standing military and missile defense. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has gained points in the polls for talking a stronger stance on North Korea, and will continue to build up the political capital for general elections later this year and for the constitutional change battle. And Washington is helping the process along by supplying the satellite images necessary to highlight North Korea's continued military developments.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 29, 2007, 04:55:31 PM
I posted this in the Libertarian thread as well:


Of course I hungry bird could mess up the best laid plans....

Scientist: Military Working on Cyborg Spy Moths

Tuesday , May 29, 2007
By Jonathan Richards

At some point in the not-too-distant future, a moth may take flight in the hills of northern Pakistan, and flap towards a suspected terrorist training camp.

But this will be no ordinary moth.

Inside it will be a computer chip that was implanted when the creature was still a pupa, in the cocoon, meaning that the moth's entire nervous system can be controlled remotely.

The moth will thus be capable of landing in the camp without arousing suspicion, all the while beaming video and other information back to its masters via what its developers refer to as a "reliable tissue-machine interface."

The creation of insects whose flesh grows around computer parts — known from science fiction as cyborgs — has been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Rod Brooks, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is involved with the research, said in a speech last week at the University of Southampton in England that robotics was increasingly at the forefront of U.S. military research.

Brooks said that the remote-controlled moths, described by DARPA as just part of its overall research into microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, were one of a number of technologies soon to be deployed in combat zones.

"This is going to happen," said Brooks. "It's not science like developing the nuclear bomb, which costs billions of dollars. It can be done relatively cheaply."

"Moths are creatures that need little food and can fly all kinds of places," he continued. "A bunch of experiments have been done over the past couple of years where simple animals, such as rats and cockroaches, have been operated on and driven by joysticks, but this is the first time where the chip has been injected in the pupa stage and 'grown' inside it."

"Once the moth hatches," Brooks said, "machine learning is used to control it."

Brooks has worked on robotic technology for more than 30 years and is a founder of iRobot, the MIT-derived manufacturer of both Roomba robot floor cleaners and PackBots, military robots used by the Pentagon to defuse explosive devices laid by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brooks said that the military would be increasingly reliant on "semi-autonomous" devices, including ones which could fire.

"The DoD has said it wants one-third of all missions to be unmanned by 2015, and there's no doubt their things will become weaponized, so the question comes: Should they be given targeting authority?"

"The prevailing view in the army at the moment seems to be that they shouldn't," he said, "but perhaps it's time to consider updating treaties like the Geneva Convention to include clauses which regulate their use."
Debates such as those over stem-cell research would "pale in comparison" to the increasingly blurred distinction between creatures — including humans — and machines, Brooks told the Southampton audience.

"Biological engineering is coming," Brooks said. "There are already more than 100,000 people with cochlear implants, which have a direct neural connection, and chips are being inserted in people's retinas to combat macular degeneration. By the 2012 Olympics, we're going to be dealing with systems which can aid the oxygen uptake of athletes."

"There's going to be more and more technology in our bodies, and to stomp on all this technology and try to prevent it happening is just ... well, there's going to be a lot of moral debates," he said.

Another iRobot project being developed as part of the U.S. military's "Future Combat Systems" program, Brooks said, was a small, unmanned vehicle known as a SUGV (pronounced "sug-vee"), basically the next generation of the PackBot, one which could be dispatched in front of troops to gauge the threat in an urban environment.

The 30-pound device, which can survive a drop of 30 feet onto concrete, has a small "head" with infra-red and regular cameras which send information back to a command unit, as well as an audio-sensing feature called "Red Owl" which can determine the direction from which enemy fire originates.

"It's designed to be the troop's eyes and ears and, unlike one of its predecessors, this one can swim, too," Mr Brooks said.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 18, 2007, 07:29:19 PM
U.S.: The Real Reason Behind Ballistic Missile Defense
June 18, 2007 14 45  GMT


The U.S. ballistic missile defense system slated for Poland and the Czech Republic has been continually touted as intended to counter long-range Iranian missiles -- which is true -- but it is also entirely consistent with long-term U.S. strategy.


Washington has spent the last six months trying to convince the world that the expansion of the nascent U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) system into Europe poses no threat to Russia's strategic deterrent, but rather is only intended to counter Iran and other Middle Eastern threats. The U.S. claims are accurate -- for now.

In 1998, the world was stunned when North Korea launched a Taepodong-1 that very nearly put its payload into orbit. Through force of willpower, persistence and innovation, North Korean engineers effectively built an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with little more than Scud missile technology (which essentially is little more than World War II-era German V-2 technology). That launch provided a signpost for the future of strategic security since, if North Korea could do it in 1998, almost any nation in the world might be in a position to threaten the continental United States in the next 50 years.

Washington has now placed a rudimentary ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system in Alaska to counter the North Korean threat. The same system is slated for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter a similar threat from Iran in the near future.

Such a BMD system accomplishes three things:

1. It protects the United States from a small-scale rogue missile launch from very specific regions of the world.

2. It undermines the use of a yet-to-exist Iranian or North Korean ICBM as a negotiating tool.

3. It deters the development of such systems (which represent a huge national investment for countries like Iran and North Korea).

While the U.S. plan is all well and good, is it worth the price? There is certainly an economic argument in favor of BMD. If the system stopped a nuclear missile from striking a large U.S. city, then the costs of development (already at some $110 billion since former President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative) would pale in comparison to post-nuclear-strike reconstruction costs.

But building a crude nuclear device is difficult enough. The specialized materials and technical skill required to miniaturize a weapon and harden it against the strain of launch, the cold of space and the heat of re-entry is prohibitive for all but a handful of nations. If BMD is to be understood as a defense against nuclear terrorism, then there are far more likely scenarios to be considered, and the massive investment would be better spent elsewhere -- such as on port security, where a much more rudimentary device could be slipped into the United States.

The true utility of BMD is measured by its congruence with the five imperatives that have dominated U.S. strategy for the better part of two centuries:

1. maintaining control over North America

2. securing strategic depth for the continental United States

3. controlling sea approaches to North America

4. dominating the oceans

5. keeping Eurasia divided

BMD is not just consistent with one of these themes; it is the logical outgrowth of three of them, and has contributed incidentally to a fourth (e.g., rivalries within Eurasia). At the end of the 19th century, Rear Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan advocated the foundational importance to U.S. geopolitical security of a strong Navy. Now as in Mahan's time, the U.S. Navy provides North America the buffer that has been the foundation of U.S. geopolitical security and stability since the mid-1900s. BMD will help secure the same strategic depth for the continental U.S. and extend control of the sea approaches and dominance of the ocean into space.

So while Iran tries to cobble together a few more centrifuges and Russia rattles its saber, Washington is extending its technological military dominance across and above the same oceans that have protected it for the better part of two centuries -- and building the foundations for a far more capable BMD system. Follow-on technology will dramatically improve what is now a barely-functional system. It can become more robust, flexible and mobile. Specific land-based sites will eventually become more or less irrelevant.

The current debate therefore is extremely shortsighted. In the long term, BMD is about one thing: space. Poland and the Czech Republic are about to be equipped with the rudimentary technological precursor to a series of systems that are truly the technological beginnings of the full-fledged national missile defense shield Reagan once envisioned. These incremental steps -- of which nascent BMD systems extending across both the Atlantic and Pacific are only an early instance -- will attempt to solidify for the U.S. military the same dominance of space that it now enjoys on the planet's blue water, and in so doing extend Mahan's vision of North American continental security from the steam-powered warship to the anti-satellite weapon.

And therein lies the true leap. BMD is not just about missiles; it is about the technology and sensors necessary to dominate space. The U.S. Air Force already has a claim to that dominance of space. But it is currently a fragile dominance -- perhaps less fragile than open sources would suggest, but far more fragile than most realize. Space-based assets are a keystone of the Pentagon's technological superiority. The United States has been so successful in this realm, in fact, that it is becoming a cornerstone of U.S. economic prosperity. This dependence creates a potentially significant vulnerability, however, meaning the ability to counter an anti-satellite weapon launched via missile is of direct relevance to the next generation of BMD technology.

BMD is also about the capability to deny the utility of space to adversaries (in accordance with the official 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations doctrine). The difference between intercepting a ballistic missile warhead 500 miles above the earth and hitting a satellite at the same altitude is simple: It is harder to hit the ballistic missile warhead.

Thus, the debate about placing a BMD radar in the Czech Republic, and the distinction between Poland and Azerbaijan, is immaterial in the long run. The United States is pushing ahead with the technological development and operational deployment necessary to build the knowledge base and technical capacity to take these next steps toward not only defending itself in space, but also fighting there
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 06, 2007, 04:39:40 AM,15240,141012,00.html?

Interesting piece on the use of aerial gunships in Iraq.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 23, 2007, 05:34:16 AM

China's Space Weapons
July 23, 2007; Page A15

On Jan. 11, 2007, a Chinese medium-range ballistic missile slammed into an aging weather satellite in space. The resulting collision not only marked Beijing's first successful anti-satellite (ASAT) test but, in the eyes of many, also a head-on collision with the Bush administration's space policies.

As one analyst phrased it, U.S. policy has compelled China's leaders to conclude "that only a display of Beijing's power to launch . . . an arms race would bring Washington to the table to hear their concerns." This view, which is widespread in the U.S. and elsewhere, misses the point: China's ASAT demonstration was not a protest against the Bush administration, but rather part of a maturing strategy designed to counter the overall military superiority of the U.S.

Since the end of the Cold War, Chinese strategists have been cognizant of the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the world with the capacity -- and possibly the intention -- to thwart China's rise to great power status. They also recognize that Beijing will be weak militarily for some time to come, yet must be prepared for a possible war with America over Taiwan or, in the longer term, over what Aaron Friedberg once called "the struggle for mastery in Asia." How the weaker can defeat the stronger, therefore, becomes the central problem facing China's military strategy.

Chinese strategists have struggled to find ways of solving this conundrum ever since the dramatic demonstration of American prowess in Operation Desert Storm. And after carefully analyzing U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo and Afghanistan, they believe they have uncovered a significant weakness.

The advanced military might of the U.S. is inordinately dependent on a complex network of space-based command, control, communications, and computer-driven intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that enables American forces to detect different kinds of targets and exchange militarily relevant information. This network is key to the success of American combat operations. These assets, however, are soft and defenseless; while they bestow on the American military definite asymmetric advantages, they are also the source of deep vulnerability. Consequently, Chinese strategists concluded that any effort to defeat the U.S. should aim not at its fundamental strength -- its capacity to deliver overwhelming conventional firepower precisely from long distances -- but rather at its Achilles' heel, namely, its satellites and their related ground installations.

Consistent with this calculus, China has pursued, for over a decade now, a variety of space warfare programs, which include direct attack and directed-energy weapons, electronic attack, and computer-network and ground-attack systems. These efforts are aimed at giving China the capacity to attack U.S. space systems comprehensively because, in Chinese calculations, this represents the best way of "leveling the playing field" in the event of a future conflict.

The importance of space denial for China's operational success implies that its counterspace investments, far from being bargaining chips aimed at creating a peaceful space regime, in fact represent its best hope for prevailing against superior American military power. Because having this capacity is critical to Chinese security, Beijing will not entertain any arms-control regime that requires it to trade away its space-denial capabilities. This would only further accentuate the military advantages of its competitors. For China to do otherwise would be to condemn its armed forces to inevitable defeat in any encounter with American power.

This is why arms-control advocates are wrong even when they are right. Any "weaponization" of space will indeed be costly and especially dangerous to the U.S., which relies heavily on space for military superiority, economic growth and strategic stability. Space arms-control advocates are correct when they emphasize that advanced powers stand to gain disproportionately from any global regime that protects their space assets. Yet they are wrong when they insist that such a regime is attainable and, therefore, ought to be pursued.

Weaker but significant challengers, like China, simply cannot permit the creation of such a space sanctuary because of its deleterious consequences for their particular interests. Consequently, even though a treaty protecting space assets would be beneficial to Washington, its specific costs to Beijing -- in the context of executing China's national military strategy -- would be remarkably high.

Beijing's attitude toward space arms control will change only given a few particular developments. China might acquire the capacity to defeat the U.S. despite America's privileged access to space. Or China's investments in counterspace technology might begin to yield diminishing returns because the U.S. consistently nullifies these capabilities through superior technology and operational practices. Or China's own dependence on space for strategic and economic reasons might intensify to the point where the threat posed by any American offensive counterspace programs exceed the benefits accruing to Beijing's own comparable efforts. Or the risk of conflict between a weaker China and any other superior military power, such as the U.S., disappears entirely.

Since these conditions will not be realized anytime soon, Washington should certainly discuss space security with Beijing, but, for now, it should not expect that negotiation will yield any successful agreements. Instead, the U.S. should accelerate investments in solutions that enhance the security of its space assets, in addition to developing its own offensive counterspace capabilities. These avenues -- as the Bush administration has correctly recognized -- offer the promise of protecting American interests in space and averting more serious threats to its global primacy.

Mr. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 03, 2007, 07:36:23 AM
On His Armor
A refugee to our shores finds a way to protect our soldiers.

Friday, August 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

It's not every day that you get to take a heavy armor panel into the family backyard and blast away at it with a shotgun. But on this occasion, I was doing my brother-in-law David Warren a favor. We were testing a new kind of armor he developed that he hoped would protect American soldiers. That day three years ago was among the first of many tests--bringing him from a workshop in his garage to the Pentagon and eventually to the front lines in Iraq.

Something of an American success story, David arrived in this country in 1975, an 8-year-old refugee from Vietnam. His father, a U.S. soldier, disappeared and was likely killed in action during the war. His mother couldn't manage to fend for her family when the communists took control of the country; so David lived on the streets in Saigon for a while before, thanks to a little divine intervention, he ended up on a flight that eventually took him to New York. He was adopted by an American family and grew up on a farm in the Hudson Valley. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Marines. And during his four-year stint, he served very briefly in the Persian Gulf just before the liberation of Kuwait.

David always liked to tinker. He used to make a good living at a security company that designed surveillance systems, and he held nearly a half-dozen patents. But none for armor.

After reading a story I had published on this Web site and a later one in The Wall Street Journal about U.S. soldiers in Iraq not receiving all the armor they needed to shield themselves from insurgent attacks, he changed course. Why, he asked me, was the U.S. military unable to move armor to the front lines fast enough? I explained that it wasn't just the bureaucratic snafus in Washington that held up the armor plating. It was also the manufacturing bottlenecks that made it difficult to quickly fabricate and ship hardened steel and other materials used for armor.
And so David decided to design a new kind of armor that would be lighter than steel and easier to produce. Part of him, he tells me, was drawn to the difficulty of it. "You challenged me to stop a bullet," he'd say on several occasions over the next few years.

But there was another reason as well. As a refugee and a former Marine, he empathized with both the American soldiers and the Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire. He saw the fight in Iraq as more than toppling a dictator. He saw it as a return of the U.S. to the kind of war that it had abandoned in Southeast Asia. And this was his opportunity to turn his talents to the aid of a country that had taken him in.

"It all really leads up to this," he told me. So David took a steep cut in pay and pulled away from his security business--though the company kept him on the payroll to support his venture. He played around with several different types of metals and other substances. He found a financial backer and a plastics manufacturer, Wayne Schaeffer, who helped him work on the armor designs. And, within a few months, I found myself in David's backyard about to test his home-made product.

To my amazement, and maybe David's too, the panel withstood the shotgun blast. It also withstood a shot from a high-powered rifle. Seeing his armor's success, David sold the rights to one of his patents to raise more funds. Eventually, he got to show his armor to the folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), who put it through several rounds of tests, including a few bomb explosions. After David made more improvements, he was contacted by some soldiers in Iraq who had heard about his armor and wanted to put it on their vehicles.

Late last year, David went to Baghdad. He spent several days with soldiers to see, firsthand, what they needed. In the coming months he expects to send large panels of his armor to Iraq, where they will be bolted onto military vehicles. If all goes according to plan, he'll get orders for more panels, which he and his partners will build in a factory they're setting up in Kingston, N.Y.
During the course of the past three years, as David worked his way through several prototypes, he received plenty of help. Nearly every manufacturer he approached--about a dozen--has donated time or materials; sometimes they moved him to the top of their order lists. Each, it seems, feels he owes it to the men and women fighting to protect our way of life. But maybe David feels it a little more.

Mr. Miniter is assistant editor of
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 07, 2007, 10:25:27 PM
China: The Deceptive Logic for a Carrier Fleet

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy continues to push for aircraft carrier capability, despite ongoing internal debate and dissent. While a carrier is a valuable naval asset, China's pursuit must be understood as an expensive choice that entails considerable opportunity costs.


China appears committed to deploying the Soviet-built Varyag aircraft carrier in at least a training role around or after 2010, with the potential for further pursuits, despite contradictory claims in recent weeks. The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will have to sacrifice much to continue this costly endeavor.

The Chinese Logic

A carrier fleet substantially expands a country's naval capability, so it is easy to understand China's ambition. The British, for example, would never have been able to take back the Falkland Islands in 1982 without the HMS Invincible and the HMS Hermes. Furthermore, the Chinese have carefully noted the decisive role the U.S. Navy's carrier fleet has played in Washington's global naval dominance.

For the Chinese, a carrier fleet means several things. It is a mark of status as a great power, a massive and ambitious national undertaking, a way to alter the current dynamics of air power in the region, a tool to project force beyond the East and South China seas and a means of expanding China's ability to protect ever-expanding import and export routes.

There is logic to China's view of carrier capability as a mark of great power, and the British operation to retake the Falklands is a perfect example: To have global influence, you must have global reach, which becomes a tool of foreign policy and affects the perception of a nation's naval power. China is quite aware that it is the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to never deploy an operational carrier.

China also is the nation that built the Great Wall. More recently, China built the Three Gorges Dam to supply a full 10 percent of domestic electricity supply and now has plans to land on the moon. The Chinese have a certain penchant for massively ambitious projects, and the construction of a carrier fleet certainly falls into that category. But such plans have often been pursued with a consequences-be-damned determination -- one that accepts enormous inefficiencies and the commitment of huge resources also needed elsewhere. The opportunity costs of this particular attempt at a great leap forward cannot be underestimated.

A desire for international recognition as a great power and a tendency to bite off more than one can chew hardly make for a prudent investment, and as much as 50 percent of China's motivation to develop a carrier capability could fall into one of these categories.

Global Vulnerability

From a more strategic perspective, the Chinese are aware of their great vulnerability due to exposed import and export routes. With exports that reach nearly every corner of the globe and an already heavy reliance on Africa for energy resources (and ongoing pursuits of Latin American energy resources), China has the global vulnerabilities of an empire but not the naval ability to protect them. This is the core geopolitical weakness Beijing hopes a carrier fleet might solve. As Beijing becomes increasingly reliant on other countries for raw materials and trade endeavors, it faces a continued shift away from long traditions of being a land power to participating -- and competing -- in the maritime world.

The Situation Close to Home

This competition is a big part of the problem. Beijing is facing a serious expansion of military power in the region. All branches of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) already face technologically superior competition from some of China's closest neighbors. The South Korean navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces are now both equipped with domestic variants of the highly capable U.S. Arleigh Burke design (including the Aegis weapon system) in service. In 2004, Japan shifted F-15C fighter jets to Xaidi Island (Shimoji), uncomfortably close to Taiwan, adding to the complexity of any offensive across the Formosa Strait.

Because of this game of catch-up, Beijing has no shortage of military projects -- especially naval projects -- it could get more economical, near-term and effective results from. Consider the amphibious warfare pursuits of South Korea, Japan and Australia, which are much more manageable and realistic steps for each country. China has instead persisted along the carrier route, and is consequently behind the curve in its amphibious capability.

The PLAN, along with the other branches of the PLA, has made admirable improvements in the last decade. There has been progress in areas such as missile technology and nuclear submarine propulsion -- progress more realistically within China's technological grasp than a meaningful carrier fleet -- and it is precisely these more realistic, near-term pursuits and improvements that will suffer.

Carriers do not come cheap. The Varyag was originally purchased with more than $500 million in work still required. Carrier aircraft must then be acquired (talks are under way for the purchase of 50 Russian Su-33 navalized "Flankers" for something in the ballpark of $2.5 billion) and appropriate escorts and auxiliary ships dedicated or built. Even without start-up costs, the United States spends more than a $1 billion annually simply to deploy, operate and maintain a single carrier strike group -- and a meaningful carrier fleet requires not just one carrier, but three.

And for what?

Effective and meaningful carrier aviation is the product of decades of extensive first-hand experience at sea. The establishment of a trained cadre of naval aviators, efficient flight-deck operations and naval doctrine cannot be reverse engineered, and further investment will be necessary for China to even begin to adequately explore these core competencies. China is in effect neglecting its own current weaknesses in order to attempt to compete in one of the most technically demanding and certainly the most expensive naval pursuits there is -- carrier aviation.

The deployment of a carrier will be seen as an unmistakable sign of Chinese ambitions and will draw even closer attention and more intense competition from not only the U.S. Navy, but also from Beijing's regional competitors -- something the PLAN simply does not need right now.

In other words, China will be stretching itself to build a rudimentary carrier fleet -- a pursuit that will necessarily involve costly sacrifices elsewhere within the navy. Of all the things Beijing hopes to gain from that carrier fleet, more will be lost in the process of attaining it. It might be seen as a great leap forward, but it will ultimately represent movement in the opposite direction.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: SB_Mig on August 15, 2007, 10:32:08 AM
Draft Numbers

If we want to take on the world's problems, we may need the draft. Still want to?
By Fred Kaplan
Posted Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007, at 3:40 PM ET

Until last week, we hadn't heard much from Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, President Bush's "war czar," and I suspect that, after his recent remarks on National Public Radio, we won't be hearing from him again anytime soon.

On Aug. 10, Lute told NPR that reactivating the military draft has "always been an option on the table" and that it "makes sense to certainly consider it."

The notion of bringing back conscription has no real political support in this country—and not much support from the ranks of military officers either. (In a less-quoted part of the NPR interview, even Lute said that "we have not yet reached" the point where a draft needs to be seriously discussed.)

And yet the question is tacitly raised or evaded every time the issue of troop shortages in Iraq comes up. Adm. Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified at his confirmation hearings this month that the surge in Iraq could not be sustained beyond next April without a change in the Army's "force structure"—that is, without more troops or a change in the way they're deployed or organized.

Two weeks ago, Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, was asked, during a Q&A session at the Captains' Career Course at Fort Knox, Ky., whether the U.S. armed forces could deal with another conventional military threat, should one suddenly arise. Gen. Cody said, "No, not a big one."

Most serious military analysts, regardless of their views on the Iraq war, think the Army needs more troops. But from where? An alluring array of incentives and bonuses has kept recruitment drives afloat but hardly soaring.

The draft ended in 1973, just before the Vietnam War did. But its demise was foretold four years earlier, on March 27, 1969, when Richard Nixon—just two months into his presidency—announced the creation of a "commission on an all-volunteer armed force."

It was well understood that the purpose of the commission was to sanctify the abolition of the draft. The panel was chaired by Thomas Gates, a former secretary of defense in the Eisenhower administration. But more to the point, it was set up by Martin Anderson, Nixon's campaign chairman and a free-market economist who opposed conscription on philosophical grounds. And among the commissioners that Anderson appointed were two of the nation's most renowned libertarian economists, who shared Anderson's view on the matter: Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan.

The report, released on Feb. 20, 1970, concluded—no surprise—that the nation would be secure enough without a draft.

However, even these panelists noted that conscription might be necessary under some circumstances. For that reason, they urged that mandatory registration be continued for all draft-age males. (The recommendation was adopted and remains in effect.) This "standby draft," as they called it, might be activated in case of "an emergency requiring a major increase in force over an extended period."

In the event of war, the report noted, the nation would deploy volunteer forces. In the first stage of expansion, it would call on the National Guard and Reserves. But if the war were to go on for a while, the "standby draft" might have to be mobilized, in order "to provide manpower resources for the second stage of expansion in effective forces."

Judging from the recent statements by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Army's vice chief of staff, we seem to be approaching that stage in Iraq today.

The 1970 commission report assumed that the all-volunteer armed forces would attract 2 million to 3 million troops, with 40 percent of them—or 800,000 to 1.2 million of them—in the Army.

The real-life, present-day all-volunteer force consists of 1.4 million troops, 35 percent of them—or 489,000—in the Army.

Of course, in 1970, the Cold War was still on; NATO and Warsaw Pact troops faced each other along the East-West German border. Maybe a million soldiers are no longer necessary. Then again, in 2003, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, told Congress that "several hundred thousand" troops would be needed to stabilize postwar Iraq.

In any case, regardless of scenarios, the all-volunteer forces and especially the all-volunteer Army are much smaller than the commissioners assumed they would be.

Size, of course, is not everything. In the past few years, I have asked many officers, of varying ranks, whether they would like to see the revival of a draft. Almost all of them have said they would not. Two captains that I asked recently gave succinct renditions of the most typical replies: "I'd rather be fighting with soldiers who want to be there," and "With a draft, there'd be too much riff-raff."

The latter response might surprise those, like Michael Moore and Rep. Charles Rangel, who claim the all-volunteer force draws mainly on poor, uneducated minorities. The stereotype was true in the first decade or so of the all-volunteer force, in the wake of Vietnam. But, according to official data, members of the armed forces today are better-educated than civilians in their age group; they score higher on aptitude tests; African-Americans are only slightly overrepresented in the enlisted ranks, and Hispanics are underrepresented.

Still, if political leaders want to send the troops to solve a vast range of the world's problems—if they want a military that's far-flung, deployed on many fronts, and fighting in multiple theaters—then, at some point, numbers do matter. Or, rather, numbers and missions matter. If we want to maintain all these military missions, then the numbers have to go up. If we don't want to do everything necessary to push the numbers up, then the missions have to be cut back.

So, should we continue to send troops overseas to fight wars, keep peace, settle conflicts, impose order, and build nations? How do we get the extra troops—pay them a lot more (and where do we get that money?), mobilize all the reserves, reactivate the draft?

Or should we handle international affairs in a different way, relying much more on military alliances and diplomacy—not because (or not just because) that's often regarded as preferable to unilateral military force, but simply because there is no practical alternative?

The authors of the 1970 commission report emphasized that if the standby draft is ever activated, it should not be ordered into effect by the president; rather, it should be authorized by Congress. Before such a momentous step is taken, the panelists wrote, there must first be a "public discussion."

It's getting very near time for that public discussion now.
Title: Preparing for the Wrong Fight
Post by: buzwardo on August 15, 2007, 06:59:27 PM
This could have been posted several places, but ultimately is a piece about practicing military science poorly.

August 15, 2007
Why the Brits are Losing Basra
By James Lewis

Why is the most best European fighting army, the British, losing the battle for Basra in southern Iraq?  Because the UK Ministry of Defense supplied its soldiers with the wrong equipment, having invested its shrinking budget in long-term European Ego Projects to keep the military bureaucracy happy.

Given soft vehicles that are terrifyingly vulnerable to IEDs and car bombs, the Brits initially claimed that "soft power" would do the job -- just as the Dutch boasted that having tea with the Taliban would ensure peace and love in their area of  Afghanistan. But the British MOD was just rationalizing its own weakness, especially in equipment. British soldiers were sacrificed to politics.

All that is not my conclusion: It comes from close analysis over the last several years by the excellent British blog Eureferendum, which has its own sources in the UK Ministry of Defense. Building blast-resistant military vehicles starts with ancient knowledge: To deal with bombs and shells, you need armored walls that deflect the blast, positioned diagonally to the incoming force. That is why fortifications were built centuries ago with massive, slanted sides.

Blast-resistant vehicles are basically trucks with slanted, V-shaped body hulls.  They are very effective in deflecting car bombs and IED explosions, the major killers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In addition, as Euroreferendum constantly points out, armored vehicles must be designed so that soldiers are never seated over the front wheels, which are most likely to set off mines.  The US Marines, always fast to adapt, are bringing bomb-deflecting vehicles into the Iraq battle as fast as possible, in preference to vulnerable Humvees. So is the US Army. In Afghanistan, the Aussies and Canadians are also using properly-built combat trucks.  Only the British are lagging behind, inexplicably.

After yet another group of British soldiers died in thin-skinned "Snatch" Land Rovers, Euroreferendum just wrote, 
"So, while the MoD (UK MInistry of Defense) fritters away its money on "toys" for the RAF and new carriers for the Royal Navy, and while the Army brass wet their knickers in excitement over the prospect of buying expensive new APCs, all under the name of FRES, our troops die, and they die and they die. Hundreds more are horribly mutilated, their lives wrecked forever.

"All this is because these vainglorious, useless organisations elevate their own ambitions and concerns above their primary duty of safeguarding their own people. For their collective failure, which includes the media, they really, really should rot in Hell."
The British media are just beginning to catch on. From the Telegraph,
"Dozens of British troops have been killed inside the lightly armoured Snatch vehicles which are being replaced by the more robust Mastiff trucks."
But if Eureferendum is to be believed, the death rate isn't just dozens of soldiers but scores. And the Mastiffs are not being supplied in nearly high enough numbers even several years into the war.  It's a terrifying tale of incompetence and mismanagement, high in the chain of command.

Soft-skinned rectangular vehicles are not the only equipment failure that Eureferendum has called attention to, time and time again. In Afghanistan, British soldiers live in tents rather than fortified housing, while taking regular mortar attacks. They have not had anti-artillery radar, to pinpoint and strike back at  attackers before they run off. Air support has been dismal, helicopters almost non-existent.

Just read Eureferendum's careful tracking of the story and thank your lucky stars for former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, who forced our military establishment to adapt, adapt, and adapt again. The political losers in the US DOD are still screaming, of course, but without ruthless reshaping of our military we would have lost every war in history.  Abraham Lincoln reshaped the US Army, and FDR did too. Ronald Reagan forced reorganization in the DOD and CIA. Rummy did it for the WOT, because our military career structure was still tailored for massive army-to-army warfare against the Soviets in Europe.

What we are facing today is the opposite of conventional large-scale war, and much of the career incentive structure in the military has had to change. Special Forces have been elevated to their own command. We've seen scores of hostile leaks from the Pentagon in the New York Times and WaPo, as officers find their careers threatened. The payoff comes in saved lives and vastly improved fighting effectiveness. We overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan using three hundred CIA and Special Forces on the ground, plus precision USAF bombing and a lot of bribe money.

As a result of tough military reorganization we are now much better equipped to apply General Petraeus' newly formalized counter-insurgency doctrine. Yes, the Brits are admirable soldiers, smart and tough on the ground, but their defense careerists back home have been a disaster.

The Basra failure is a mirror image of the Concorde Supersonic Ego-jet, which never made any financial sense, but simply allowed European aerospace to parade around the world, claiming it had the only civilian supersonic passenger jet. Well, that was true. Meanwhile, other airplanes were winning in the market because the Concorde was much too small and expensive for the average air passenger. The Concorde ultimately had to go. It was a pure prestige investment, like all those African palaces that were built by kleptocrat dictators. Post-colonial African governments suffered from a gaping inferiority complex, and so does contemporary Europe. The response is similar.

Instead of preparing for clearly visible dangers today, Europe's military investments are going into giant prestige projects for the future European Army, expensive multinational investments like aircraft carriers and the Eurofighter jet, none of which are ready for combat, while cheaper and more effective weapons systems are ignored. Europe is not facing the Soviet Army; but it is pretending to, so the EU can buy off as many countries as possible with "defense" moneys. (We do the same thing in the US Congress, except that our military actually fights wars. Our voters also have some control over who goes to Congress, while the EU is unelected. So our military must keep their noses to the grindstone. Since Europe is always happy to let Uncle Sam do the hard work in Kosovo and the Middle East, they can get away with a pretend military. But what will happen when Uncle Sam walks away?)

Instead of preparing for counterinsurgency warfare, the most predictable ground war for the near future, the EU wants the biggest, flashiest and most gold-plated toys. The EU Galileo satellite navigation system is soaking up billions of euros just to duplicate the free American GPS system, because Europe must have its own high-tech toys.   Compared to the European Union, the US Congress looks like a congregation of virgins.

British soldiers are paying in blood for the decisions of their political masters.  Since the UK is being steadily seduced into the EU, the military bureaucracy is being rewarded for all the wrong things.  So is every other UK ministry. And the average citizen is asleep in front of the telly.

You can call it poetic justice: While Europe went mad with anti-American rage during the Bush years, the Europeans also sabotaged themselves. Europe has been in massive denial of the terror threat, of Islamic fascism, and of nuclear proliferation to rogue regimes in the Middle East. Instead, they have been marching around like a cock with barnyard matter on its feet, blissfully ignorant of mounting dangers.

Meanwhile a flock of black vultures are circling the fat cities of Europe. We need another Winston Churchill, but all we see today is hordes of political hacks.

James Lewis blogs at
Title: Chinese anti-satellite technology
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 23, 2007, 07:23:28 PM,15240,145944,00.html?

Chinese Missiles Could Target U.S. Satellites
Popular Mechanics | Carl Hoffman | August 15, 2007
       At 5:28 PM EST on Jan. 11, 2007, a satellite arced over southern China. It was small -- just 6 ft. long -- a tiny object in the heavens, steadily bleeping its location to ground stations below, just as it had every day for the past seven years. And then it was gone, transformed into a cloud of debris hurtling at nearly 16,000 mph along the main thoroughfare used by orbiting spacecraft.

It was not the start of the world's first war in space, but it could have been. It was just a test: The satellite was a defunct Chinese weather spacecraft. And the country that destroyed it was China. According to reports, a mobile launcher at the Songlin test facility near Xichang, in Sichuan province, lofted a multistage solid-fuel missile topped with a kinetic kill vehicle. Traveling nearly 18,000 mph, the kill vehicle intercepted the sat and -- boom -- obliterated it. "It was almost just a dead-reckoning flight with little control over the intercept path," says Phillip S. Clark, an independent British authority who has written widely on the Chinese and Russian space programs.

For China, a nation that has already sent humans into space and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the technology involved in the test was hardly remarkable. But as a demonstration of a rising military posture, it was a surprisingly aggressive act, especially since China has long pushed for an international treaty banning space weapons. "The move was a dangerous step toward the abyss of weaponizing space," says Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, an independent defense research group in Washington, D.C. "China held the moral high ground about space, and that test re-energized the China hawks in Congress. If we're not careful, space could become the new Wild West. You don't just go and blow things up there." In fact, after the Chinese test, India publicly stepped up its development of anti­satellite technology. And some Israeli officials have argued that, given China's record of selling missile technology to Iran, Israel should develop its own program.

International Threat

For many countries, the most disturbing aspect of the test was not the potentially destabilizing sat kill, but the resulting debris, which poses a serious threat to every satellite in orbit, as well as to the International Space Station. "Space debris is a huge problem," says Laura Grego, staff scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "A 1-centimeter object is very hard to track but can do considerable damage if it collides with any spacecraft at a high rate of speed." Think of a shotgun pellet traveling at 10 times the speed of a bullet, smashing into a device built to be as light as possible. And then consider that China's antisatellite (ASAT) test produced as many as 35,000 of these pellets, or pieces of debris, in the 1-cm range. Nearly 1500 pieces were 10 cm and larger.

Although the United States knew that China was planning to test ASAT technology, administration officials -- reluctant to disclose the level of U.S. surveillance -- chose to say nothing. China failed two or three times before successfully launching the missile in January. All the attempts were observed by the U.S. Air Force satellite system known as the Defense Support Program. Infrared telescopes on these 33-ft.-high defense satellites can spot the plumes from rockets launched anywhere on Earth.

America's Own Sat Kills

Every industrialized country relies on satellites every day, for everything from computer networking technology to telecommunications, navigation, weather prediction, television and radio. This makes satellites especially vulnerable targets. Imagine the U.S. military suddenly without guidance for its soldiers and weapons systems, and its civilians without storm warnings or telephones.

Some satellites, however, are at greater risk than others. Most spacecraft -- including spy sats -- are in low Earth orbit, which stretches 1240 miles into space. As the Chinese test proved, such targets could be hit with medium-range missiles tipped with crude kill devices. GPS satellites are far higher, orbiting at about 12,600 miles. Many communications sats are in the 22,000-mile range. Destroying them requires a much more powerful and sophisticated long-range ballistic missile -- yet it can be done. "You'd need a sky-sweeping capability to comprehensively negate a space support system that is scattered all over," says John Pike, a space analyst at "You'd need ICBM-size boosters -- hundreds of them."

Such an all-out satellite war would render space useless for decades to come. "There'd be so much debris up there," Clark says, "that it wouldn't be safe to put anything up in space."

The United States and Russia, the two countries with proven ASAT capabilities, have long steered clear of satellites as military targets. Even during the Cold War spy sats were hands-off; the consequences of destroying them were greater than those of unwelcome surveillance. "The consensus," Clark says, "was that anybody could look at anybody else."

Nevertheless, the U.S. military has spent decades designing weapons capable of killing other countries' satellites. The crudest American ASAT test, code-named Starfish Prime, took place in 1962, when the U.S. Air Force detonated a 1.4-megaton nuclear weapon at an altitude of 250 miles. The explosion, which occurred about 800 miles west of Hawaii, disabled at least six U.S. and foreign satellites -- roughly a third of the world's low Earth orbit total. The resulting electromagnetic pulse knocked out 300 streetlights in Oahu. Clearly, nukes worked as ASAT weapons, but far too indiscriminately.

To develop a more surgical capability, the Air Force launched Project Mudflap, which was designed to destroy individual Soviet satellites with missiles. But inaccurate space-guidance systems plagued early tests. Then, on May 23, 1963, the Air Force pulled off a successful intercept with a modified Nike-Zeus ballistic missile launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It took out a rendezvous and docking target for NASA's Gemini missions at an altitude of 150 miles.

Over the next several decades the Air Force graduated to more sophisticated air-launched missiles that could hit targets with far better accuracy. In 1985 the United States destroyed an American solar observation satellite using a three-stage, heat-seeking miniature vehicle fired from an F-15 fighter jet. That test, like the Chinese one earlier this year, used a kinetic kill vehicle that spewed debris into space. Funding for the program was cancelled before the air-launched system could be perfected.

That same year, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Air Force began operating the powerful Mid-Infrared Chemical Laser. In 1997, it was used to temporarily blind sensors on an Air Force missile-launch and tracking satellite. The sat remained intact; no debris was created. And no laser tests have been conducted since. However, the current federal budget includes funding for a laser to be fired at a low Earth orbit sat from the Starfire Optical Range at Kirtland Air Force Base, in New Mexico, later this year.

Some $400 million has been spent in recent years to develop another sophisticated kill vehicle -- a three-stage missile that smacks an enemy's craft with a sheet of Mylar plastic, disabling it without producing any debris. It has yet to be fully tested, and would only work on satellites in low Earth orbit; communication and GPS sats are too high.

Destroying an adversary's satellites has far-reaching implications. Do you take out only military sats or so-called civilian ones, too? Nearly every satellite has dual uses: A civilian weather satellite used for tracking hurricanes also could watch military movements. Many satellites are used by multiple nations. And once a nation disables an adversary's satellites, it puts its own in peril. As Charles Vick, a senior analyst at Global­Security says, "It's an act of war."

Sending A Message

So why did China risk provoking international hostility? The country's government has been opaque. "The experiment is not targeted at any other country," said a foreign ministry spokeswoman in Beijing.

Some experts think at least part of China's motivation lies in an unclassified 2006 U.S. report on the future of military activities in space. The document reaffirms that "The United States considers space capabilities ... vital to its national interests. Consistent with this policy, the United States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests."

The United States "basically said it has the right to restrict the use of space to only its allies," Clark says. Adds Jeffrey G. Lewis, an arms control expert at the New America Foundation: "Much of the world was appalled at the tone of the policy. One British newspaper columnist basically said it made space the 51st state."

In that context, some experts say, the Chinese test was an effort to force the issue, to show the United States the potential consequences of refusing to negotiate a favorable treaty on the military use of space. "The U.S. was restricting all these arms treaties," says Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in security studies at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "For the Chinese, [the test] was an effort to deal from a position of strength."

Pike believes China may have another rationale for flexing its space muscle: Taiwan. China has long yearned to reabsorb the breakaway island state, which the United States has pledged to defend. In the short term, Pike says, China has only two strategies that could lead to a Taiwan takeover. It could bluff the U.S. in a nuclear confrontation, or it could try something altogether different: Fire medium-range missiles from mobile launchers, just as it did in the January test, and take out America's low-flying imaging satellites. Doing so might blind U.S. military planners long enough for Chinese military forces to gain a foothold on the island.

"The Chinese stage these big amphibious exercises off Taiwan all the time. One day, maybe it'll be real," Pike says. "Either the U.S. will get there quickly enough to stop them or the Chinese will win the race and there won't be the American political resolve to kick them out. All the Chinese would need is time." A half-dozen sats, Pike says -- that's all it would take. "Those satellites are low-hanging fruit. It's a no-brainer."

In that scenario, the ASAT test was not really about China showing the United States its capability. It was about China confirming that its own war plan is feasible.

America's Trump Card

The long-term ramifications of the test will take years to play out, but, for now, few observers think China scored any gains. "It was a mistake," O'Hanlon says. It fueled American hard-liners who want to restrict American technological cooperation with China. And, "It doesn't help China's case saying it isn't a threatening military power," Vick says. "It is a threat, and the test showed that." Whether the United States suddenly accelerates its ASAT capability beyond the testing phase remains to be seen. The country is in the midst of a war; budgets are already tight. Russia is not perceived as a threat and China has only 60 satellites -- few of these are worth shooting down.

America's most robust ASAT weapons were not designed for destroying satellites at all -- they are missiles developed and operated by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), formerly known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. All U.S. ballistic missiles are actually dual-use, and while their ability to shoot down incoming rockets has been proven only in tests, it would be easy to direct them against any low Earth orbit satellite. Twenty-four MDA missiles are operational in Alaska and California, far more than would be needed, Pike says, to handle any immediate ASAT needs. There is, he says, "just nothing to shoot at."

For now, that is. The militarization of space has long been debated. With one blown-up old weather satellite, China has made the prospect of a new arms race far more likely. It showed the world that it is willing to go toe-to-toe up in the final frontier.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on August 24, 2007, 01:24:44 AM
Drama of a Tough Marine   
By Ralph Peters
The New York Post | 8/24/2007

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - A Marine appeared in the doorway of the battalion commander's office. "Sir, we've got an ident on a mortar team."
Marine Lt. Col. Nate Nastase stood up behind his desk. He'd been briefing me on his area of operations just east of Fallujah, where the sheiks recently flipped to our side and a fading, but still lethal, al Qaeda struggled to stay in the game.

Nastase moves with a purpose. He led the way through the smack-down heat to the operations center next door. Adrenaline laced the air. The ops staff of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, believed they had a fix on a target they'd been hunting, a terrorist hit-and-run mortar crew determined to announce that al Qaeda was still around.

But there was a problem. Ordinarily, Marine artillery would've shot counter-fire as soon as their radars picked up the incoming round. But there had been a line-of-fire issue. Fortunately, a well planned surveillance mission was in the air at just the right spot. The system didn't catch the round being fired, but quickly spotted a vehicle at the shooter's location.

It didn't seem like a coincidence. The area was a scrub waste, with no one else in evidence. There was no good reason for anybody to be there.

Lt. Col. Nastase would have to make the decision to green-light an airstrike.

Sounds clear-cut. But few things are straightforward in Iraq. Since no one saw a concealed mortar actually fire from the truck or beside it, it was impossible to be 100 percent certain.

What if it was a coincidence? The Marines had spent months building a crucial partnership with local tribes who had been our enemies for years. Now the local Sunni Arabs are on board in the fight against al Qaeda (and al Qaeda doesn't like it - earlier in the week, a mortar round killed a key sheik's daughter and one of his bodyguards).

Everyone in the room and the adjacent bay felt the same longing to pull the trigger, to take out that mortar crew. But Nastase would have to decide. And the vehicle was already on the move, headed toward another unit's sector, jumping a boundary - the military equivalent of a state line.

Nastase remained a study in self-control, reining in the emotions in the room simply by giving clear instructions and asking short, sharp questions. Appearing no older than a captain, Nastase looks like a combination of Tom Cruise and a Sicilian boxer.

A ground-attack aircraft was on station, but would soon need to refuel. What did the battalion commander want to do?

Suddenly, the target vehicle stopped in the middle of nowhere. Another vehicle, pointed in the opposite direction, pulled up beside it. Was the mortar crew switching rides, letting an unsuspecting driver take the hit if the Americans were on to them? Was evidence being transferred?

What if there was an innocent explanation for the vehicles' behavior? A misguided attack could alienate the locals again.

The vehicles broke apart, with the main suspect taking off toward the sister unit's sector. That meant checking to ensure that no friendlies were in the area and coordinating all fires - if the decision were made to shoot.

The vehicle pulled up beside a house. Just inside the other unit's boundary.

What if al Qaeda were setting the entire thing up to get us to attack a home where women and children were present? What if they were playing all of our technical advantages against us and springing a political trap? Contrary to the myths of the left, no Americans leaders want to harm the innocent. And the local repercussions of bad targeting could set back reconciliation efforts by months.

Still, everybody in that room wanted to shoot. Hitting back is the natural impulse for Marines or soldiers - get the enemy, any time you can. Nail that mortar team while we've got them.

Everything was in place for the attack.

The commander looked over the incoming data one last time. A decisive man, Nastase still had to be the one perfectly clear thinker in the room. Everyone else was doing his job, and doing it well. But unleashing the power of the U.S. military was up to one lieutenant colonel.

He chose not to shoot. If a surveillance system had actually spotted a mortar round coming out of the vehicle or from a position near it, the decision would have gone the other way. But there was just enough uncertainty to convince the battalion commander that protecting the vital, new alliance with the local sheiks was the priority.

Everyone must've been disappointed. But they didn't show it. They're Marines. They just carry on with the mission.

Nastase must've felt the letdown, too. But he was comfortable with his decision. And the mission wasn't a complete failure, not by any means: Two suspect vehicles had been ID'd and the Marines could be on the look-out for them. A house had been pinpointed as a potential terrorist safe haven or staging area - the adjacent unit could raid it, maybe grabbing key terrorists and making an intelligence score.

All of the work by the troops out in the outposts and on patrol and by the staff was paying off: The Marines had narrowed down the possibilities and had known approximately where to watch for the terrorists this time. Next time might well be their last time. That mortar team wasn't going to live long.

But the round had gone to the terrorists. Even though they shot wild - almost as if they'd really been nothing but bait.

Everyone yearns to do the satisfying thing. But a leader has to do the wise thing. The battalion commander hadn't held back from a lack of guts, but because he knew that, this time, restraint was a better fit for his mission.

But it was a hard decision to make.

Lt. Col. Nastase gave a few final orders and walked back out into the heat. Alone.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 25, 2007, 04:31:32 AM
Russia: The Fundamentals of Russian Air Defense Exports
August 24, 2007 16 04  GMT


Russia displayed the new S-400 surface-to-air missile system at the MAKS 2007 air show in Moscow that began Aug. 21. Although Belarusian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Leonid Maltsev expressed interest in acquiring it, Moscow is not ready to export the S-400.


Russia displayed its latest surface-to-air missile system, the S-400 Triumf, at the Aug. 21-26 MAKS 2007 air show in Moscow. The system was tested successfully in July and is now slowly being deployed around Moscow. Other countries, including Belarus, are keenly interested in the latest air defense technology. However, Igor Ashurbeily, CEO of S-400 producer Almaz Central Design Bureau, made it clear Aug. 23 that the system will not be exported until 2009. Russian air defense considerations, financial prudence and foreign policy all tend to argue for even longer delays in export.


Air defense is hardwired into the Russian military psyche. For much of the Cold War, Russia was at an extreme disadvantage in terms of intercontinental reach -- especially in terms of aerial reconnaissance and strategic bombers. To put it simply, Russia was more vulnerable to U.S. reconnaissance planes and strategic bombers than the United States was to Soviet planes.

Part of this is geography, part is history. The United States began designing an intercontinental bomber to reach Tokyo the moment the Japanese fleet bombed Pearl Harbor. The Russians, on the other hand, were fighting a massive and devastating land war against the seasoned German army. They had little time or patience for the niceties of long-range aviation. That disparity defined how each emerged from World War II to wage the Cold War. Air defense -- particularly surface-to-air missiles -- was consequently a major strategic consideration for the Soviets.


At the apex of this tradition are the late models of the S-300 series, especially the S-300PMU2, which are renowned as some of the best air defense hardware money can buy. Their range and capability make them coveted strategic defensive assets. With exceptionally long ranges, they can reportedly engage stealth aircraft and low-flying cruise missiles, and even intercept shorter-range ballistic missiles.

The S-400 is the most recent variant. Despite the new designation, at one point the program was known as the S-300PMU3. The S-400 is quite similar to its older cousins, especially in outward appearance.

If the nomenclature here is beginning to get a bit dense, that is no accident. The Soviets became quite adept at clouding their military capabilities by using confusing basic distinctions. Two "variants" of the same system could bear little apparent and even less actual resemblance to one another.

This also cuts the other way. Moscow can use changes in nomenclature to make two quite similar systems appear to be very different. These skills are not lost on today's Kremlin.


This is where export considerations begin to come into play. The ruse works only while no one else knows the finer points of the system. As long as the latest missiles remain sealed in their launch canisters and the electronic emissions of their engagement radars remain more or less out of the reach of American hands, the unknown remains unknown.

Widespread proliferation of S-400 batteries would make them increasingly accessible to study -- clandestine or otherwise -- by the U.S. military. (The Department of Defense acquired several components of various older versions of the S-300 from former Soviet Union states in the 1990s.) Such study would allow a concrete picture of the system's capabilities to emerge. A concrete picture defines the parameters of a problem, and a problem with parameters allows for the creation of concrete solutions.

Resale Value

The second reason Moscow is unlikely to let the S-400 slip out the door any time soon is that the Russian military-industrial complex has become particularly adept at refurbishing and upgrading old equipment and turning it around at a profit. Indeed, it is still selling variants of air defense systems with roots in the late 1950s. The Kremlin can then use this money to finance production and upgrades of the latest systems for itself. Meanwhile, it locks in a returning customer, who keeps coming back for upgrades and replacements for hardware that is much closer to slipping into obsolescence. This kind of thinking has an economic logic to it.

Foreign Policy

More than anything else, the export of strategic weapon systems is a tool of foreign policy. Such sales can help facilitate military cooperation or simply aid the enemy of one's enemy. Moscow certainly was not playing nice when it delivered shorter-range Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. But Russia thus far appears to have refrained from selling more serious systems -- such as late-model S-300 systems -- to either Iran or Syria, despite sincere efforts on the part of both Tehran and Damascus. That is a line Moscow has decided not to cross with Washington.

Moscow has not widely sold the latest models of the S-300 system, and the Russians are hardly likely to begin exporting the S-400 before they expand production of its predecessor systems. Circumstances can change, however, especially as the United States continues to push toward a pair of ballistic missile defense bases in Europe, and Moscow is taking this potential shift into consideration.

Russia Holds its Ground

Ultimately, the S-400 builds on its predecessor. It is almost certainly an incremental improvement over the S-300PMU2. Those improvements, however, largely appear to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. However, even if the S-400 is little more than the S-300PMU2 with a new paint job, it is still one of the best strategic air defense assets money can buy. And Russia gains little from the system's capabilities being distributed internationally and pinpointed any further.

Although the deployment of the S-400 around Moscow hardly equates to Russia's readiness to put the system on the export market, the fielding of this "next generation" will lead almost inexorably to the increased export of later-model S-300s. That alone will facilitate a qualitative leap in air defense for a number of buyers.

Though the only true test for such systems is a shooting war, Russian air defense technology appears to be, at the very least, holding its ground in the face of generational advances by the U.S. Air Force -- and that technology will become increasingly available for the right price.
Title: Russia's Skat UCAV
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 25, 2007, 04:40:21 AM
second post of the morning:

Russia: The Unveiling of the Skat
August 24, 2007 16 06  GMT


A new Russian unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) called the Skat was on display Aug. 24 at Russia's MAKS 2007 air show. Though the UCAV is still under development and details about its capabilities remain unknown, the Skat should not be underestimated.


A mock-up of a Russian unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by the MiG Aircraft Corp. was displayed Aug. 24 at the MAKS 2007 air show near Moscow. This UCAV, dubbed the Skat, is not to be underestimated, though much about its development and capabilities remains to be seen.

Vaguely similar in appearance to the U.S. Navy’s Northrop Grumman X-47B, the Skat is hardly a new product on the world arms market. UCAVs, which are designed to deploy weapons, are under development in a number of locations around the globe, particularly in Europe. Hence, it is no surprise that Russia, one of the world's chief arms suppliers, also is pursuing them.

Though the unveiling of a wooden UCAV mock-up should not be taken too seriously, it also should not be dismissed offhand. MiG reportedly has been working on the Skat for more than two years, and Russia claims to have committed substantial funds to the country's ongoing unmanned aerial vehicle development.

However, many details about the Skat's development and capabilities are still unknown. The tailless flying wing configuration is a delicate design and requires fly-by-wire technology. Further software development is necessary to allow such a plane to operate autonomously -- an important step up from a more rudimentary remote-control configuration. And indigenous software development capacity is limited in Russia. The Soviets have historically regarded computers solely as a military technology; consequently, software development remains a very underdeveloped sector of the country's economy, and workers with these kinds of skills are aggressively courted by foreign firms.

Reports that the first of two functional Skat test beds will actually have a built-in cockpit for a human pilot -- a substantial design change at a substantial additional cost -- suggest that Russia still has much to do to perfect its unmanned technology.

Furthermore, the development of stealth technology requires a lot of work. The Russians have never believed in such technology, and they have refused to invest in it since the 1970s because of their belief that radar technology would improve faster. (Moscow does not share Washington's faith in small numbers of complex, advanced systems.)

The Skat will not be the best UCAV on the market, and it certainly will not be the stealthiest. But the Russians will build it from the ground up with production efficiency in mind. If they succeed, they will deploy the Skat in numbers and formations larger than those envisioned by the Pentagon for comparable missions. They might suffer a higher rate of attrition, but one should not assume the Skat will not get the job done.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: SB_Mig on August 27, 2007, 12:38:19 PM
A nice piece on tactics. Lays out in good detail the lay of the land and how our troops are moving ahead.

The Weekly Standard

Operation Phantom Strike
How the U.S. military is demolishing al Qaeda in Iraq.
by Mario Loyola
09/03/2007, Volume 012, Issue 47

Falluja, Iraq

On August 15, several hours after night fell over Baghdad, an air assault squadron of the 3rd Infantry Division launched the first attack of Operation Marne Husky. A dozen darkened transport and attack helicopters took off and headed south along the Tigris River, carrying a full company of infantry--about 120 young riflemen with night goggles and weapons loaded. Their objective was a hamlet several dozen miles away. At about 11 P.M., the force landed and rapidly surrounded several small structures. The occupants were taken by surprise. Five suspected insurgents were captured. By 4 A.M., the entire team was airborne again.

Every night since then similar scenes have unfolded at dozens of locations in and around Baghdad--all part of a larger operation named Phantom Strike. The attacks involve units of all sizes and configurations, coming in by air and land. In some cases, the units get out quickly. In others, they pitch tents for an extended stay. The idea is to keep the enemy--al Qaeda and its affiliates--on the defense and constantly guessing, thereby turning formerly "safe" insurgent areas into areas of prohibitive risk for them.

Time and space

The impetus for Phantom Strike was, in a way, born in Washington, where Congress created a series of benchmarks for progress in Iraq by mid-September, at which point an "interim report" is required from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander. The legislation inadvertently (perhaps "negligently" is a better word) created a "Tet" opportunity for al Qaeda here. If it can dominate headlines with spectacular mass-casualty suicide attacks in the days and weeks leading up to the report, the political climate in Washington might turn irretrievably against the military effort, thereby snatching a victory for the terrorists that they have failed to win on the ground. (Just as the Viet Cong's Tet offensive in 1968, while a military debacle for them, convinced U.S. media and political elites that that war was lost.) With this in mind, operational planners earlier this year began laying out a strategy to disrupt al Qaeda's ability to carry out the expected attacks.

Learning from past mistakes, commanders of the "surge" forces now take territory only if they can hold it. But for certain elements of Phantom Strike, they are making an exception to that rule. Divisional commands across Iraq have been instructed to cash in their accumulated intel and attack insurgents where they are most likely to be hiding--whether it makes sense to hold the territory or not. In planning rooms across the central third of Iraq, commanders looked at their target wish-lists--places where they had taken fire in the past, or tracked possible insurgents, or gotten credible tips from the population--and chose the most enticing ones.

The Joint Campaign Plan, a document that operationalizes the surge in accordance with Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy, calls for coalition forces to give the government of Iraq "the time and space that it needs to succeed," according to military officers. The practical emphasis has been on "space." By pushing coalition forces out from their bases and into neighborhoods across Baghdad and other major urban centers in Iraq, commanders have sought to establish "area security" through "clear, control, and retain" operations. Key to retaining these areas is the participation of Iraqi Security Forces and other nonmilitary Iraqi government support.

The success enjoyed in places like Anbar province has come because security forces convinced people that they were there to stay. Those populations have shown their appreciation by joining the fight against al Qaeda in their neighborhoods, joining the police, and establishing neighborhood watch systems. Purely disruptive raids in which neither control nor retention is sought have thus fallen somewhat into disfavor.

But there is one good reason not to abandon them altogether. Disruption is a way to seize and maintain the initiative. Disruptive attacks keep the enemy off-balance, guessing as to your next move. That makes him concentrate on defense, and put off his own attacks. It's like a boxer keeping his opponent on the ropes with a flurry of jabs until the right moment for a knock-out blow.

Operation Marne Husky is just such a disruptive operation. Most of General Rick Lynch's 3rd Infantry forces are committed to massive "clear control and retain" (CCR) operations in his area. He was therefore somewhat short of troops to contribute to Phantom Strike activities. But he wasn't short on targets. His operations have produced a steady stream of al Qaeda and other insurgents fleeing further south for safety, mostly to an area on the Tigris known as the Samarrah jungle. Flushed from their safe havens, and tracked by intel, the insurgents were now vulnerable--in some cases, sitting ducks. Once the Phantom Strike guidance gave Lynch the order to attack, all he needed was a little ingenuity to come up with the right assets.

The 3rd Infantry Division headquarters has a combat air brigade with more than a hundred helicopters. Marshalling other support services, and mustering a company of crack infantry freed up by the dramatically reduced tempo of operations in Anbar, Lynch put together an ad hoc unit for targeted strike operations, rather like a special forces contingent. In the first week of operations, this small force killed seven fighters and detained 64 suspects including 14 high-value targets, clearing nearly 120 structures in the process.

Such results are an early return on investment for the doctrines developed by Petraeus. The Counterinsurgency Field Manual, formulated under his command and released last December, chews through a lot of theory to arrive at one basic practical tenet: "Intelligence drives operations." The counterinsurgency manual specifies that being able to distinguish between insurgents and civilians is the key to victory.

The only way to do that is to provide protection for the population, enfranchise them, and enlist their help in identifying the insurgents. This creates a virtuous circle--security operations produce good intel which produces better security operations and in turn better intel. The CCR operations in and around Baghdad have produced a trove of actionable intelligence on al Qaeda--its movements, its senior leaders, and the sources and locations of its weapons, explosives, and bomb-making equipment. Phantom Strike has capitalized on that intel, further reducing al Qaeda's capacity to attack, which has improved security and increases the population's confidence in the Coalition and in the Iraqi Security Forces.

Of course, al Qaeda has not taken all of this lying down. All the good news coming out of Iraq recently is even more depressing for al Qaeda than it is for Harry Reid, if that is possible, and al Qaeda could smell that something like Phantom Strike might be coming. It had to pull off a spectacular attack--and it did. On August 14, four near-simultaneous car bombs destroyed whole rows of mud-brick houses in a pair of small farming villages in Yazidi, killing on the order of 400 Iraqis, and wounding many more--a horrifying toll even for today's Iraq.

But the site of the terror attack--in the far northwest of Iraq, 75 miles west of Mosul beyond the upper Tigris--was very interesting.

Lay of the land

To understand why, it is necessary to know something of the human geography of Iraq. Baghdad sits at the confluence of the Tigris River and its main tributary, the Diyala; these both flow from the north. The Euphrates River travels across Iraq from west to east, curving sharply south in the southwest suburbs of Baghdad. From there, the Euphrates and the Tigris converge gently, finally issuing, far to the south, into the Persian Gulf. Because Iraq's populated areas hug its great rivers, the human geography of the country lies along five corridors all connected to a central hub--Baghdad.

Outside those fertile corridors lies a scorching, lifeless desert--in many places no further than three miles from the nearest river. Because the desert has no water, it favors the army that can most easily maneuver over long distances with its own water. The Americans are thus masters of the desert in Iraq.

The insurgents, by contrast, don't do so well there. Even when they disguise themselves as Bedouins, their patterns of congregation and movement are easily detected by the scores of unmanned aerial vehicles constantly on the prowl overhead. And they can't move around readily, because the desert is largely impassable and in any case totally exposed, its few roads easily monitored. This means both the insurgency and the counter-insurgency center on Iraq's five river corridors.

Of these, the one where al Qaeda has suffered its clearest and most humiliating defeat is along the western Euphrates--the corridor stretching from Baghdad to Falluja, Ramadi, Haditha, and on to Al Qaim near the Syrian border. Not too long ago the heart of the Sunni insurgency, the entire corridor has fallen to coalition forces. Insurgents are finding that they can't get past the outer checkpoints far enough to approach any of the main cities, and even crossing from one side of the Euphrates to the other has become extremely difficult. Indeed the situation in Anbar has advanced to the point where the Marine Expeditionary Force has hit all of its major "intel targets" and had virtually none to nominate for the Phantom Strike campaign.

Moving counterclockwise, the corridors formed by the southern Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and the irrigated land between them, are mainly Iraq's Shiite heartland. But this twin corridor is dominated at its northern end by a belt of Sunni settlements, running along the outer perimeter of southern Baghdad. Saddam Hussein contrived this as a defense-in-depth of his precious capital. In this Baghdad belt, Lynch's division has been conducting a series of enormous CCR operations. Insurgents are fleeing south, but will soon start running into the Shiite wall, where (after years--indeed decades--of abusing the Shiites) they are likely to suffer a fate far worse than getting captured by coalition forces.

The next river corridor to the north is the Diyala valley, which leads from Baghdad to Baquba, Muqtadiya, and Mansuriyah, finally hitting the Kurdish region where the terrain becomes mountainous. Starting in mid-June with Operation Arrowhead Ripper, which focused on Baquba, this area has seen the heaviest fighting in Iraq since the start of the surge last February. It is also the site of the most complex and interesting of the Phantom Strike operations--Lightning Hammer--which focuses on the upper Diyala River valley from Baquba to the Kurdish region.

These four corridors, which only a year ago were wide open to the insurgents, have become increasingly nettlesome and dangerous for them since the start of the surge. The large areas shown on intel maps as "safe" for the insurgents only last year have been whittled down to small pockets here and there. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are increasingly desperate for safe havens from which to operate and lines of communication they can rely on.

Increasingly the insurgents' only option is the fifth corridor, the northern Tigris River valley stretching from Baghdad to Samarrah, Tikrit, and Mosul in the far north. This is why the location of al Qaeda's August 16 attack, 75 miles west of Mosul, was so telling. The car-bombs were likely assembled near Mosul because of the increased risk of trying to assemble them anywhere else in Iraq. And they were "delivered" locally because al Qaeda probably decided that the long journey down the Tikrit-Samarrah-Baghdad highway was too dangerous.

Al Qaeda understands how to manipulate western media well enough to know that they don't always need to attack in Baghdad. Indeed, the bombing dominated the headlines in the United States in the dramatic opening days of Operation Phantom Strike. But because of where it occurred, it told the coalition's planners that they have been effective, too.

Hammer and anvil

No current fighting shows the ingenuity of U.S. planners better than the Lightning Hammer operations in the Diyala River valley. The focus of Lightning Hammer at the moment is an elegant and dramatic attack on the suspected havens of the al Qaeda elements that were forced north out of Baquba earlier this summer.

The attack unfolded in two phases, the first of which was the rapid concentration of forces at several different points along the upper Diyala River valley. Two air assault squadrons, one from the the 25th Infantry Division out of Kirkuk, and another of the 82nd Airborne out of Tikrit, took off for the western side of the valley. Consisting of several dozen helicopters and some 240 soldiers, the two squadrons converged on five locations among the maze of canals and broken farmland that runs along the western edge of the valley. Their purpose was to establish a screen to block the most likely escape routes for the insurgents who were about to be flushed out of the valley.

Meanwhile, snatching helicopters from other units in the area, another air assault squadron was attached to a battalion of the armor-heavy 1st Cavalry Division at Forward Operating Base Normandy, in the northern Diyala River valley. The entire force then headed south out of the FOB, some 300 soldiers in a column of tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees and helicopters. They pushed through Moqdadiyah and plunged towards the valley.

Simultaneously, another battalion of the 1st Cav pushed northeast from Baquba in a small operation dubbed Pericles (also part of Lightning Hammer and Phantom Strike) meant to attack specific intel targets within one of the few remaining pockets of safety for insurgents in the area. The operation had the secondary effect of putting a full battalion of heavy infantry in the field at the bottom of the Diyala River valley just above Baquba, to act as an anvil for the coming operation.

The two battalions wasted no time in launching the second phase of the battle, moving towards each other from opposite ends of the valley, in a simultaneous, massive, and rapid CCR operation. In six days, the two battalions flooded 28 specific targets--including whole villages--in a fast-moving combination of ground and air assaults.

Many al Qaeda fighters appear to have had just enough warning to make good their escape. But in so doing, they were forced to abandon their new "operations center" north of Baghdad--a command post, medical clinic, scores of rockets and mortars, dozens of IEDs, and even their personal weapons.

The prospects for these fighters are not good. The north and south end of the valleys are blocked, as is the valley's western border. The eastern escape from the valley is open for them, but that leads them into a bowl of farmland that is regularly scoured by patrols from FOB Caldwell, and is ringed to the northeast by the Kurdish "wall," to the south by the Shiite "wall," and to the southwest by coalition forces operating in strength between Baghdad and Baquba. Their only solution is to travel without their weapons and explosives--the things that make them dangerous.

Meanwhile, not beset by the force limitations that constrain General Lynch south of Baghdad, General Benjamin Mixon's Multi-National Division-North has orchestrated the Lightning Hammer attack as a CCR on the pattern developed by the Marines in Anbar. Close behind the American units came units of the Iraqi Security Forces, aiming to stay, and behind them, government officials and technical advisers meant to levee the population into the organized neighborhood watch programs that have proven fatal to al Qaeda in Anbar. Planners told me that the coalition forces were greeted warmly, and locals pledged to help, as the Sunni tribes have in Anbar.

The way forward

Al Qaeda in Iraq had many initial advantages--including a message that, though false, was superficially appealing. But they never achieved national scope. They have never looked to anyone like they could actually govern a country. They never gained the open support of any foreign army. And now, after giving the people of Iraq a taste of their brutal sadism--after executing children for playing with American-donated soccer balls, after chopping the fingers off young men for smoking, after murdering entire families in front of the youngest son, so he would live to tell the tale--Al Qaeda in Iraq is more widely hated than feared.

In the words of one soft-spoken coalition planner in Baghdad, "We are demolishing them." After four long years, the coalition has finally grasped the keys to victory. Al Qaeda has begun to lose the staging areas it needs for attacks in Baghdad. Just staying alive and avoiding capture is becoming a full-time occupation for them. As security envelops Baghdad, and calm spreads along the river corridors that extend out from the capital to the furthest reaches of the country, what is already clear to many people here in Iraq will become increasingly impossible for the rest of the world to ignore.

Because they have finally learned how to protect the people of Iraq--and help them to protect themselves--the United States and its allies are winning this war.

Mario Loyola, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, is embedded with the Marine Expeditionary Force in western Iraq.

© Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 03, 2007, 08:45:27 PM

August 27, 2007 Issue
Copyright © 2007 The American Conservative

The Chips Are Down

With our computers frozen, would the U.S. still be a superpower? China intends to find out.

byClaude Salhani

In this galaxy, in the not too distant future . . .

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demanded that the U.S. military focus its attention—and much of its research and development—on how best to respond to low-tech threats such as primitive improvised explosive devices. While the IEDs proved to be deadly for the troops of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq—the majority of casualties suffered were from exploding roadside bombs—the long-term effect they had on the American military was far more consequential. The real impact was felt only a few years later when the United States became involved in its next major conflict—with China.

The two wars in the Middle East were, from a scientific perspective, low-tech engagements in which conventional military forces fought urban guerrillas. Following a sweeping victory that brought the U.S. military from the Kuwaiti border right up to Baghdad and beyond in record time, the administration believed that victory had been attained and prematurely declared the end of major combat operations. As we were to find out, this was far from the case. American soldiers and Marines—and the 60,000-odd contract workers supporting the U.S. military—soon had to grapple with a new problem: roadside bombs detonated by remote control. Lethal as they were, these homemade gadgets were rudimentary. They were relatively easy to assemble, hide, transport, place along the roads where coalition troops were bound to pass by, and detonate remotely. At one point, U.S. soldiers found that a simple remote control sold with $50 battery-operated toy cars at Radio Shack allowed American troops to preempt the IEDs by detonating the insurgents’ bombs ahead of American convoys.

As the casualty toll from the IEDs began to grow, the military focused on countermeasures. Resources from the military’s own research groups and defense contractors across the country became absorbed by the problem. As could be expected, the resistance and the jihadi fighters answered by creating more sophisticated bombs, for example, building the casing out of plastic to avoid detection by mine sweepers. This only prompted the military to keep looking for ways to thwart newer generations of IEDs. And the deadly cycle continued until the end of the war in October 2017—or at least the end of the war for the United States.

American engagement in Iraq officially ended when a detachment of Navy Seals—the last group of U.S. Special Forces—were extracted out of Anbar Province in the middle of the night. Al-Qaeda fighters, having learned from an informer of the U.S. evacuation plan, attempted to ambush them. They began firing on the 16 Seals—divided into two teams of eight—as they hooked harnesses onto cables attached to the underbellies of two large CH-47 Sea Knight Marine helicopters. The gunmen missed the Seals for the most part. Three Marine Cobra attack helicopters providing cover fire quickly silenced the attackers.

Between the time the first American soldier set foot on Iraqi soil in 2003 and the last of the Navy Seals commandos left the country in 2017, and while the U.S. military remained preoccupied in countering threats emanating from low-tech devices in an asymmetrical war, halfway around the globe the Chinese did not remain idle. Aware that the day would come when the People’s Liberation Army might have to face the American Army in battle, China began looking toward the place that conflict might be conducted. Their conclusion: the one who controlled space was guaranteed victory.

The Chinese leadership was fully aware that the PLA could never stand up to the U.S. military in a conventional war, despite China’s superior number of troops—one million under arms. The U.S. war machine is made up of the most fantastic pieces of armament ever incorporated into any fighting force in the history of man.

From the main battle tank, the Abrams M1A1, to Cobra attack helicopters, to Marine vertical take-off and landing Harrier jump jets, to the U.S. Air Force’s crown jewel, the B1 stealth bomber, to the magnificent armadas that the U.S. Navy can deploy with its nuclear powered aircraft carriers, attack submarines, and destroyers anywhere on the face of the globe, the Chinese military leadership had reason to worry.

Its war planners projected that the day would come when they would have to face America’s military in a standoff, most likely over the island of Taiwan, seen by China as a breakaway province and considered by the United States to be a friend and ally. They began to plan accordingly.

While the U.S. military was occupied developing simple solutions to counter low-tech threats in the Middle East, Beijing quietly went about developing high-tech systems to place aboard dozens of “communication” satellites that were developed, tested, and launched into space. Today, the Chinese have 56 satellites in space.

On Jan. 11, 2007, a missile was launched from the Chinese mainland to an altitude of 537 miles, slamming straight into its target—an obsolete Chinese weather satellite. The target was instantly destroyed, reportedly producing almost 900 trackable pieces of space debris. At that time, the U.S. military was far too preoccupied with what was happening in Iraq to worry about Chinese missiles. It proved to be an oversight—a major one.

China made good use of this oblivion. Along with its space-launched missile defense initiative, the Chinese busied themselves with finding ways to immobilize America’s far superior tanks, warplanes, and battleships and render the U.S. military’s computers and their communication and command-and-control systems useless. The Chinese knew that time was limited and that once the U.S. began to disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan, its military would regroup and reassess new threats and move to counter them.

The conflict began pretty much like most conflicts do: gradual escalation and exchanges of strongly worded communiqués, culminating with threats, followed by military action.

Beijing announced that if the newly elected government in Taiwan declared independence, China would intervene militarily. The United States responded by dispatching two carrier task forces attached to the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Ronald Reagan. Besides the usual high-tech armament, including ship-to-shore missiles, ship-to-air missiles, and ship-to-ship missiles, and 400-odd warplanes aboard the carriers, the combined task force also included two Battalion Landing Teams, some 4,000 Marines.

The Chinese had nowhere near as many warships, planes, or tanks, but they had 350,000 men aboard transport ships—and they had a secret weapon in orbit.

As the Chinese expeditionary force approached Taiwan, they crossed an imaginary red line drawn across a Pentagon map, breaching the point American generals estimated would be one from which the Chinese would not turn back.

From his command post aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Adm. Anthony S. Samuelson picked up a secure telephone connecting him directly to the Pentagon and to the office of the secretary of defense. The secretary picked up on the first ring.

“Tell me it’s good news, admiral.”

“Wish I could, sir. They are now in firing range and are not about to turn around. It looks like this is it.”

The secretary of defense asked the admiral to stand by. He picked up a burgundy phone on his desk.

The president answered instantly. “Madame President,” said the secretary, “You must order the attack. If we are to proceed, it must be now.”

The president scanned the room, moving her eyes around the Oval Office where her national security advisers were gathered. Each in turn nodded his head, indicating a silent “yes.” The president of the United States put the phone to her ear and told her secretary of defense to proceed. With a heavy heart, Chelsea Clinton placed the receiver back in its cradle.

As the first Chinese soldier set foot on the beaches of Taiwan, the order was received from Adm. Samuelson’s headquarters to open fire.

Minutes before the order was given, some 300 miles up in space, a Chinese scientific satellite released a burst of electro-magnetic energy aimed at American and Taiwanese forces. Other similar satellites positioned strategically around the Earth released a number of similar bursts directed at strategic U.S. missile silos in the continental United States, Korea, and Australia.

Total confusion followed. Not one order issued electronically by U.S. command-and-control centers reached its target. Missiles fired from the ships of the Seventh Fleet went straight into space and exploded harmlessly above the earth. The Abrams M1A1 tanks started to turn around in circles like demented prehistoric dogs trying to bite their tails. The few planes that managed to take off from the carriers crashed into the South China Sea. Search-and-rescue helicopters were unable to even start their engines.

The Chinese were able to walk ashore and take Taiwan without firing a single shot.

Thankfully, the battle for Taiwan unfolded only in this author’s imagination. But the scenario is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. It is time to finish the war in Iraq and hand the Iraqis responsibility for their land and their own future. It is also time to look ahead. Our competitors are. 


Claude Salhani is International Editor and a political analyst with United Press International in Washington, D.C.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 06, 2007, 08:51:04 AM
Counterinsurgency Comeback
September 6, 2007; Page A17

Events have vindicated the claims of those who argued that President Bush's "surge" strategy in Iraq could work. Security, the sine qua non for ultimate success, has improved. This is especially true in Anbar and other Sunni-dominated provinces where the Sunni sheiks, who may have previously supported al Qaeda, have concluded that the Americans are now the "strongest tribe" in the region and have turned against their erstwhile allies.

Gen. Creighton Abrams watches during ceremonies transferring U.S. river patrol boats to the South Vietnamese Navy, Oct. 10, 1969.
This is an important development. Of course, success also depends on the actions of the U.S. Congress and the behavior of the Iraqi government. But the military element is important. Advocates of the surge argued that militarily, success would depend less on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq than on how they were used. Under Gen. David Petraeus, they have been used correctly to conduct effective counterinsurgency operations. What perhaps is not fully appreciated is the significant cultural change that his approach represents.

Some years ago, the late Carl Builder of Rand wrote a book called "The Masks of War," in which he demonstrated the importance of the organizational cultures of the various military services. His point was that each service possesses a preferred way of fighting that is not easily changed. Since the 1930s, the culture of the U.S. Army has emphasized "big wars." But this has not always been the case.

Throughout the 19th century, the U.S. Army was a constabulary force that, with the exception of the Mexican and Civil Wars, specialized in irregular warfare. Most of this constabulary work was domestic, the Indian Wars representing the most important case. But the U.S. Army also successfully executed constabulary operations in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, which involved both nation-building and counterinsurgency.

The seeds of a conceptual transformation of the Army were sown after the Civil War by Emory Upton, an innovative officer with an outstanding Civil War record. Graduating from West Point in 1861, he was a brevet brigadier general by the end of the war. He later became a protégé of William Tecumseh Sherman and when Sherman became general in chief of the Army, he sent Upton around the world as a military observer.

Upton believed the constabulary focus was outdated. He was especially impressed by Prussia's ability to conduct war against the armies of other military powers and its emphasis on professionalism. Certainly Prussia's overwhelming successes against Denmark, Austria and France in the Wars of German Unification (1864-71) made the Prussian army the new exemplar of military excellence in Europe.

Upon his return to the U.S., Upton proposed a number of radical reforms, including abandoning the citizen-soldier model and relying on professional soldiers, reducing civilian interference in military affairs, and abandoning the emphasis on the constabulary operations in favor of preparing for a conflict with a potential foreign enemy. Given the tenor of the time, all of his proposals were rejected. In ill health, Upton resigned from the Army and, in 1881, committed suicide.

But the triumph in the U.S. of progressivism, a political program that placed a great deal of reliance on scientific expertise and professionalism, the closing of the Western frontier, and the problems associated with mobilizing for and fighting the Spanish American War made Upton's proposed reforms more attractive, especially to the Army's officer corps. In 1904, Secretary of War Elihu Root published Upton's "Military Policy of the United States." While many of Upton's more radical proposals remained unacceptable to republican America, the idea of reorienting the Army away from constabulary duties to a mission focused on defeating the conventional forces of other states caught on.

While the Army returned to constabulary duties after World War I, Upton's spirit now permeated the professional Army culture. World War II vindicated Upton's vision, and his view continued to govern U.S. Army thinking throughout the Cold War. It is still dominant in the Army today, with the possible exception of its small and elite Special Forces. The American Army that entered Iraq in 2003 was still Emory Upton's Army. But Gen. Petraeus's strategic adjustment suggests that the Army might be undergoing a significant cultural change.

Focused as it has been on state-versus-state warfare, Upton's Army has not cared much for counterinsurgency. This is illustrated by Vietnam, especially during the tenure of Gen. William Westmoreland as commander of U.S. troops from 1965 to 1968.

Westmoreland's operational strategy emphasized the attrition of the forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces in a "war of the big battalions": multi-battalion, and sometimes even multi-division sweeps intended to find and destroy the enemy with superior firepower. In so doing, he emphasized the destruction of enemy forces instead of controlling key areas in order to protect the South Vietnamese population.

Unfortunately, such search-and-destroy operations were often unsuccessful, since the enemy could usually avoid battle unless it was advantageous for him to accept it. But they were costly both to the American soldiers who conducted them and the Vietnamese civilians who were in the area. In addition, Gen. Westmoreland ignored the insurgency and pushed the South Vietnamese aside.

The Marine approach in Vietnam was different. It was based on the Corps' experiences stabilizing governments and combating guerrilla forces in the Caribbean during the early 20th century. This experience was distilled in Marine Corps Schools lectures beginning in 1920 and was the basis of the "Small Wars Manual" published in 1940.

This approach comprised three elements: pacifying the coastal areas in which 80% of the people lived; degrading the ability of the North Vietnamese to fight by cutting off supplies before they left Northern ports of entry; and engaging PAVN and Viet Cong main force units on terms favorable to American forces. Gen. Westmoreland focused on the third element at the expense of the other two.

Westmoreland was critical of the Marine Corps approach, which unlike his own, took counterinsurgency seriously. He believed, as he wrote in his memoir, that the Marines "should have been trying to find the enemy's main forces and bring them to battle, thereby putting them on the run and reducing the threat they posed to the population."

When Gen. Creighton Abrams replaced Gen. Westmoreland as overall U.S. commander shortly after the Tet offensive, he adopted a new approach -- one similar to that of the Marines -- that came close to winning the war. He emphasized protection of the South Vietnamese population by controlling key areas rather than the destruction of enemy forces per se. He then concentrated on attacking the enemy's pre-positioned supplies, which disrupted PAVN offensive timetables and bought more time for Vietnamization. Finally, rather than ignoring the insurgency and pushing the South Vietnamese aside as Gen. Westmoreland had done, Gen. Abrams followed a policy of "one war," integrating all aspects of the struggle against the communists.

But despite an improved security situation from 1969 to 1974, Congress ended support for South Vietnam, Saigon fell, and the Army, badly hurt by the war, concluded that it should avoid such irregular conflicts in the future. In the 1970s, the Army discarded what doctrine for small wars and counterinsurgency it had developed in Vietnam, choosing to focus on big wars.

But Iraq proves that we don't always get to fight the wars we want. While the Army must continue to plan to fight conventional wars, given the likelihood that future adversaries will seek to avoid our conventional advantage, it must be able to fight irregular wars as well. Gen. Petraeus's success in Iraq so far indicates that the Army has begun the necessary transformation. Let us hope that the Army will internalize these lessons, something Emory Upton's Army has not done in the past.

Mr. Owens is professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He is writing a history of American civil-military relations.
Title: Don't Show the Enemy your Cards
Post by: buzwardo on September 12, 2007, 06:48:01 AM

September 12, 2007
Iraq as Qaeda Bait
By James Lewis

The Left thinks Iraq is a killing field for Americans. Actually, it is a killing field for our enemies, at a very great but vitally important sacrifice. That reflects a grand strategy, tailored to the peculiar nature of the global terror threat.

You don't shoot poisonous fire-ants with a BB gun; you just set an ant trap. Ant colonies are highly "distributed" biological societies, much like the world-wide web. They can't be killed with a BB or a pressure hose; even pouring flaming gasoline on an ant hill won't work.

Instead, you destroy ant colonies by attracting hungry ants to a chemical bait, and then kill them all in one small place. Ant traps work. 

That's the Bush strategy in Iraq. Al Qaeda isn't centralized, with big cities or steel industries like Nazi Germany. So you can't destroy the enemy by hunting them one by one.  Rather, you bait a trap -- provoke them to come to you, and make sure they don't get out alive.

Iraq is a trap for Al Qaeda. Our mere presence in the heart of the Osama's Caliphate-To-Be draws them like ants to sugar. General Petraeus just reported that
" the past 8 months, we have considerably reduced the areas in which Al Qaeda enjoyed sanctuary. We have also neutralized 5 media cells, detained the senior Iraqi leader of Al Qaeda-Iraq, and killed or captured nearly 100 other key leaders and some 2,500 rank-and-file fighters. Al Qaeda is certainly not defeated; however, it is off balance and we are pursuing its leaders and operators aggressively." 
Most of the Qaeda fighters come from Saudi Arabia and other breeding grounds. Now that the Sunni tribes are turning against them, they are more exposed and hunted than ever before. Wars are fluid and unpredictable, but no one can imagine that Al Qaeda is happy with its victories since 9/11.

In Afghanistan, they have been on the run since 2003, although the Pakistan border regions continue to supply new recruits. But in Afghanistan they are being destroyed before ever reaching the cities. Add that to a sizable numbers neutralized in Pakistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and more. Add to that the cells pinpointed in Europe and America, the Philippines and Indonesia. We are wiping out the fire ants wherever they can be found.

At that attrition rate, every single year we stay in Iraq, we could get rid of another couple of thousand AQ fighters. Yes, we pay a high price -- but nothing like the price that baddies running loose and attacking us at home would exact.

We are demonstrating who is the strong horse, and who is the weak horse. When the message is finally driven home, the enemy will come to his own conclusions.

In addition to Al Qaeda, other jihadi militants, like Iranian Quds officers and Shiite militants, are being caught in Iraq.  A top Hezb'allah operative was just captured there -- and Hezb'allah has been killing Americans ever since they blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon. As the President said when our perverse press pointed out that the terrorists might hit us in Iraq: Bring them on.  That was not an idle boast, but just a statement of the bait and kill strategy. The many critics of that statement simply do not understand or do not want to understand the strategy.

Now take a look at the map of Iran,  and notice where our military are today. To the west is Iraq, where American forces move and attack freely. To the east is Afghanistan, where the same is true. South and south-west are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and the Gulf itself; those Sunni countries now consider Iran to be their biggest threat.

We therefore have hundreds of thousands of military surrounding the next biggest problem, Tehran: to the east and west, and on naval vessels in the Gulf, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. We just had joint maneuvers with the Indian Navy, the Japanese and the Aussies. In Qatar we have major bases. We just sold another 20 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Saudi and Oman, including anti-missile defenses. Farther away, Egypt and Jordan are American clients -- within limits. So, of course, is Israel. In sum, Tehran can be struck from most points of the compass by our air and missile forces. The Israeli Air Force just struck Iranian weapons located in the eastern corner of Syria, right next to Iran.

Iran is a rising threat, and no one knows how that scenario will play out. But would you really want to be Ahmadi-Nejad today? Every time he makes another wild boast, more people become convinced that he cannot be allowed to get nukes. The German government has just been reported as giving up on the European negotiation effort to stop Iranian nukes. Instead, German officials
"gave the distinct impression that they would privately welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities."
It can't be comfortable to be a regime supporter in Tehran today.

Or would you want to be a Baathist general? A few years ago they were at the top of the heap.

The fact is that we are drastically weakening or destroying our terror-supporting enemies: Saddam is dead, Al Qaeda is being degraded, the Taliban are hemorrhaging, and the Mullahs are surrounded.

Yet all the know-nothings think there is no strategy for Iraq.

There's even a clever ironic twist in terms of domestic politics, because our liberals are constantly screaming Defeat! Defeat! Defeat!  That message of weakness and vulnerability inspires more and more of our enemies to come to Iraq and join in the bloody slaughter of Americans.

But when they get there, they discover they've been suckered. It's not the Americans who are taking a beating, but the jihadis who fell for the headlines and who listen to the American Left.  So even our malicious liberals end up encouraging the enemy to go to Iraq to die.

As President Harry Truman did, George W. Bush recognized the stakes, set in place the right strategy, and was vilified by critics as stupid. But good poker players like Harry S. Truman and George W. Bush know that you don't show your cards too soon, just to make people think you're smart.

James Lewis blogs at
Title: New Russian Bomb
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 12, 2007, 03:22:06 PM
Nice post Buz. Changing subjects abruptly, the following seems to me to be highly significant.  This much power without the consequences of radiation-- this seems to me to be huge.


Russia Tests Powerful 'Dad of All Bombs'


MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military has successfully tested what it described as the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb, Russia's state television reported Tuesday.

It was the latest show of Russia's military muscle amid chilly relations with the United States.

Channel One television said the new weapon, nicknamed the "dad of all bombs" is four times more powerful than the U.S. "mother of all bombs."

"The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability," said Col.-Gen. Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian military's General Staff, said in televised remarks.

Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn't hurt the environment, he added.

The statement reflected the Kremlin's efforts to restore Russia's global clout and rebuild the nation's military might while the ties with Washington have been strained over U.S. criticism of Russia's backsliding on democracy, Moscow's vociferous protests of U.S. missile defense plans, and rifts over global crises.

The U.S. Massive Ordnance Air Blast, nicknamed the Mother Of All Bombs, is a large-yield satellite-guided, air-delivered bomb described as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in history.

Channel One said that while the Russian bomb contains 7.8 tons of high explosives compared to more than 8 tons of explosives in the U.S. bomb, it's four times more powerful because it uses a new, highly efficient type of explosives that the report didn't identify.

While the U.S. bomb is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, the Russian one is equivalent to 44 tons of regular explosives. The Russian weapon's blast radius is 990 feet, twice as big as that of the U.S. design, the report said.

Like its U.S. predecessor, first tested in 2003, the Russian bomb is a "thermobaric" weapon that explodes in an intense fireball combined with a devastating blast. It explodes in a terrifying nuclear bomb-like mushroom cloud and wreaks destruction through a massive shock wave created by the air burst and high temperature.

Thermobaric weapons work on the same principle that causes blasts in grain elevators and other dusty places — clouds of fine particles are highly explosive. Such explosions produce shock waves that can be directed and amplified in enclosed spaces such as buildings, caves or tunnels.

Channel One said that the temperature in the epicenter of the Russian bomb's explosion is twice as high as that of the U.S. bomb.

The report showed the bomb dropped by parachute from a Tu-160 strategic bomber and exploding in a massive fireball. It featured the debris of apartment buildings and armored vehicles at a test range, as well as the scorched ground from a massive blast.

It didn't give the bomb's military name or say when it was tested.

Rukshin said the new bomb would allow the military to "protect the nation's security and confront international terrorism in any situation and any region."

"We have got a relatively cheap ordnance with a high strike power," Yuri Balyko, head of the Defense Ministry's institute in charge of weapons design, told Channel One.

Booming oil prices have allowed Russia to steadily increase military spending in recent years, and the Kremlin has taken a more assertive posture in global affairs.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin said he ordered the resumption of regular patrols of strategic bombers, which were suspended after the 1991 Soviet breakup.

 While we're on the subject of thermobaric armaments


Thermobaric Explosive

Volumetric weapons include thermobaric and fuel-air explosives (FAE). Both thermobaric and FAE operate on similar technical principles. In the case of FAE, when a shell or projectile containing a fuel in the form of gas, liquid or dustexplodes, the fuel or dust like material is introduced into the air to form acloud. This cloud is then detonated to create a shock wave of extended duration that produces overpressure and expands in all directions. In a thermobaric weapon, the fuel consists of a monopropellant and energetic particles. The monopropellant detonates in a manner simular to TNT while the particles burn rapidly in the surrounding air later in time, resulting an intense fireball and high blast overpressure. The term "thermobaric" is derived from the effects of temperature (the Greek word "therme" means "heat") and pressure (the Greek word "baros" means "pressure") on the target.

Thermobaric munitions have been used by many nations of the world and their proliferation is an indication of how effectively these weapons can be used in urban and complex terrain. The ability of thermobaric weapons to provide massed heat and pressure effects at a single point in time cannot be reproduced by conventional weapons without massive collateral destruction. Thermobaric weapon technologies provide the commander a new choice in protecting the force, and a new offensive weapon that can be used in a mounted or dismounted mode against complex environments.

The USAF and USN are actively pursuing conventional weapons technology to destroy Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) and support/storage facilities while retaining or destroying the agents within the structure and minimizing collateral damage including fatalities. Thermobaric weapons use high-temperature incendiaries against chemical and biological facilities. The USN is working on an Inter-Halogen Oxidizer weapon while the USAF is pursuing a solid fuel-air explosive using aluminum particles. Both of these weapons use an incineration technique to defeat and destroy the CB agents within the blast area.

The Thermobaric Weapon Demonstration is a proposed Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). Under this program, prototype weapons are to be tested under operational conditions for their performance, and leave-behinds are to be delivered to the customer. The program aims to develop a validated means of delivery to/into a tunnel adit [entrance]. Technical risks include the extent to which candidate thermobaric payloads do not perform substantially better than existing high explosives in tunnels.

The Thermobaric [TB] Weapon Demonstration will develop a weapon concept that is based on a new class of solid fuel-air explosive thermobarics.The weapon could be used against a certain type of tunnel targets for a maximum functional kill of the tunnels.

Most of the Hard and/or Deeply Buried Targets (HDBTs), namely tunnels in rock, are so deep that the developmental and current inventory weapons cannot penetrate to sufficient depths to directly destroy critical assets. One of the warfighter's options is to attack the tunnel portals with weapons that penetrate the thinner layer of rock above the portal, or though the exterior doors, resulting in a detonation within the tunnel system. Penetrations through the door systems have the potential to place the warheads deep within the facility. Detonations within a tunnel, even only in a few diameters, have a significant increase in airblast propagation into the facility compared to external detonations. Tunnel layouts range from long, straight tunnels to various types of intersections, expansions, constrictions, chambers, rooms, alcoves, and multiple levels. All of these configurations affect the propagation of airblast.

Air blast propagation within a tunnel system has the potential to cause significant damage to critical equipment and systems. If the critical equipment within a facility can be damaged or destroyed, then the function of the facility can be degraded or destroyed, resulting in a functional kill. Depending on the purpose of the facility and the level of damage, a functional kill can be as permanent as a "structural kill," in which the facility is destroyed in a more traditional manner.

Functional kill from air blast loads is predicated on the ability to accurately determine the blast environment from an internal detonation. The response of critical equipment cannot be calculated without accurate blast loads. Unlike free-field blast loads, a detonation within a tunnel system can have a significant dynamic pressure component. This dynamic pressure component, in conjunction with the overpressure component, makes up the entire pressure-loading history necessary to predict component response.

Thermobaric compositions are fuel rich high explosives that are enhanced through aerobic combustion in the third detonation event. Performance enhancement is primarily achieved by addition of excess metals to the explosive composition. Aluminum and Magnesium are the primary metals of choice. The detonation of Composite Explosives can be viewed as three discrete events merged together. All three explosive events can be tailored to meet system performance needs:

1. The initial anaerobic detonation reaction, microseconds in duration, is primarily a redox reaction of molecular species. The initial detonation reaction defines the system’s high pressure performance characteristics: armor penetrating ability.

2. The post detonation anaerobic combustion reaction, hundreds of microseconds in duration, is primarily a combustion of fuel particles too large for combustion in the initial detonation wave. The post detonation anaerobic reaction define the system’s intermediate pressure performance characteristics: Wall/Bunker Breaching Capability.

3. The post detonation aerobic combustion reaction, milliseconds in duration, is the combustion of fuel rich species as the shock wave mixes with surrounding air. The post detonation aerobic reaction characteristics define the system’s personnel / material defeat capability: Impulse and Thermal Delivery. Aerobic combustion requires mixing with sufficient air to combust excess fuels. The shock wave pressures are less than 10 atmospheres. The majority of aerobic combustion energy is available as heat. Some low pressure shock wave enhancement can also be expected for personnel defeat. Personnel / material defeat with minimum collateral structure damage requires maximum aerobic enhancement and the highest energy practical fuel additives: Boron, Aluminum, Silicon, Titanium, Magnesium, Zirconium, Carbon, or Hydrocarbons.

Thermobaric materials can provide significantly higher total energy output than conventional high explosives. The majority of the additional energy is available as low pressure impulse and heat.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 13, 2007, 08:17:37 PM
Russia: A New Development in Naval Propulsion

An "accidental" news story on a local Russian municipality's Web site that has now been removed offers some intriguing possibilities for the future of Russian submarines.


Details of a potential new "top-secret" Russian submarine were "accidentally" released by the municipal government of Sarov on Sept. 6. The story, published on the municipality's Web site, was removed Sept. 11, the day before Russian daily Kommersant (a paper friendly to the Kremlin) published the story. The Russian navy has denied any knowledge of the Project 20120 submarine. Politics and media faux pas aside, if true, the details of this new submarine could indicate an advance in Russian air-independent propulsion (AIP).

AIP is actually a series of technologies that seek to extend the submerged endurance of conventionally powered patrol submarines. From World War I to the present, conventional submarines have relied on a diesel-electric power plant. The diesel engine allows the boat to move efficiently on the surface or near the surface with a "snorkel" that cycles fresh air through the engine compartment. But to function quietly and without a snorkel running to the surface, the submarine switches to electrical power provided by a large bank of batteries. At slow speeds, a well-built and well-run patrol sub can be exceptionally quiet -- but its submerged endurance also is generally limited to less than a week.

Having seen two world wars and one Cold War, the diesel-electric system has been stretched more or less to its limits. Countries that have the technology and know-how have replaced it with nuclear propulsion. Some refinements continue to be made (for example, with Russia's latest -- and much more public -- conventional submarine, the St. Petersburg), but the limits of the method are apparent.

Both Germany and Sweden have already fielded combined diesel-electric and AIP systems. The German system uses hydrogen fuel cells while the Swedish Stirling design uses a closed-cycle diesel engine fed with liquid oxygen. These systems can be used to either run at a slow cruise of 5 to 6 knots or to charge the batteries. Both systems have more than doubled submerged endurance without the need for snorkeling; the German Bundeswehr U32 conducted a two-week transit using AIP in April 2006, and the Stirling system could have even longer endurance.

Russia has long been exploring AIP, and Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms export monopoly, has advertised "electrochemical" AIP as available for "follow-on installation" on its latest subs. But the mysterious Sarov news release could indicate that Russia has progressed further than many thought -- and in a different direction entirely -- with its own AIP system.

Sarov was once the secretive closed city Arzamas-16, also known as the Russian Los Alamos for its role in the Soviet nuclear weapons program. Though nuclear submarine construction is well-established at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk, Sarov could be a site for further research into the use of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs).

RTGs use the heat of radioactive decay from radioisotopes like plutonium-238 and strontium-90 to generate electricity. They are much simpler than full-fledged naval reactors and have been used to power remote lighthouses and weather stations as well as deep space probes unable to rely on solar energy.

However, there are technological hurdles that must be overcome. RTGs have been used predominantly in situations where wattage was not the limiting factor. Modern RTGs used on NASA probes produce hundreds of watts and are about the size and weight of a 120-pound person. But to use both German and Swedish systems as a benchmark, a magnitude of 200 to 300 kilowatts is necessary for AIP. Though much of this distance can be overcome by designing an RTG specifically for this purpose and then fitting multiple RTGs to the submarine, there is still a technological gap the Russians would have had to overcome.

The point is not how an RTG-based AIP would stack up against the German or Swedish methods; rather, the point is that an RTG is rather uniquely fitted to the Russian knowledge base -- and the Sarov locale.

Though not earth-shattering, a successful AIP uniquely suited to the Russian defense industry is a potentially significant development for the next generation of Russian patrol subs -- both for domestic coastal defense and export abroad.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 09, 2007, 09:31:14 PM
The Geopolitical Foundations of Blackwater
By George Friedman

For the past three weeks, Blackwater, a private security firm under contract to the U.S. State Department, has been under intense scrutiny over its operations in Iraq. The Blackwater controversy has highlighted the use of civilians for what appears to be combat or near-combat missions in Iraq. Moreover, it has raised two important questions: Who controls these private forces and to whom are they accountable?

The issue is neither unique to Blackwater nor to matters of combat. There have long been questions about the role of Halliburton and its former subsidiary, KBR, in providing support services to the military. The Iraq war has been fought with fewer active-duty troops than might have been expected, and a larger number of contractors relative to the number of troops. But how was the decision made in the first place to use U.S. nongovernmental personnel in a war zone? More important, how has that decision been implemented?

The United States has a long tradition of using private contractors in times of war. For example, it augmented its naval power in the early 19th century by contracting with privateers -- nongovernmental ships -- to carry out missions at sea. During the battle for Wake Island in 1941, U.S. contractors building an airstrip there were trapped by the Japanese fleet, and many fought alongside Marines and naval personnel. During the Civil War, civilians who accompanied the Union and Confederate armies carried out many of the supply functions. So, on one level, there is absolutely nothing new here. This has always been how the United States fights war.

Nevertheless, since before the fall of the Soviet Union, a systematic shift has been taking place in the way the U.S. force structure is designed. This shift, which is rooted both in military policy and in the geopolitical perception that future wars will be fought on a number of levels, made private security contractors such as KBR and Blackwater inevitable. The current situation is the result of three unique processes: the introduction of the professional volunteer military, the change in force structure after the Cold War, and finally the rethinking and redefinition of the term "noncombatant" following the decision to include women in the military, but bar them from direct combat roles.

The introduction of the professional volunteer military caused a rethinking of the role of the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine in the armed forces. Volunteers were part of the military because they chose to be. Unlike draftees, they had other options. During World War II and the first half of the Cold War, the military was built around draftees who were going to serve their required hitch and return to civilian life. Although many were not highly trained, they were quite suited for support roles, from KP to policing the grounds. After all, they already were on the payroll, and new hires were always possible.

In a volunteer army, the troops are expected to remain in the military much longer. Their training is more expensive -- thus their value is higher. Taking trained specialists who are serving at their own pleasure and forcing them to do menial labor over an extended period of time makes little sense either from a utilization or morale point of view. The concept emerged that the military's maintenance work should shift to civilians, and that in many cases the work should be outsourced to contractors. This tendency was reinforced during the Reagan administration, which, given its ideology, supported privatization as a way to make the volunteer army work. The result was a growth in the number of contractors taking over many of the duties that had been performed by soldiers during the years of conscription.

The second impetus was the end of the Cold War and a review carried out by then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin under then-President Bill Clinton. The core argument was that it was irrational to maintain a standing military as large as had existed during the Cold War. Aspin argued for a more intensely technological military, one that would be less dependent on ground troops. The Air Force was key to this, while the Navy was downsized. The main consideration, however, was the structure of the standing Army -- especially when large-scale, high-intensity, long-term warfare no longer seemed a likely scenario.

The U.S. Army's active-duty component, in particular, was reduced. It was assumed that in time of war, components of the Reserves and National Guard would be mobilized, not so much to augment the standing military, but to carry out a range of specialized roles. For example, Civil Affairs, which has proven to be a critical specialization in Iraq and Afghanistan, was made a primary responsibility of the Reserves and National Guard, as were many engineering, military-intelligence and other specializations.

This plan was built around certain geopolitical assumptions. The first was that the United States would not be fighting peer powers. The second was that it had learned from Vietnam not to get involved in open-ended counterinsurgency operations, but to focus, as it did in Kuwait, on missions that were clearly defined and executable with a main force. The last was that wars would be short, use relatively few troops and be carried out in conjunction with allies. From this it followed that regular forces, augmented by Reserve/National Guard specialists called up for short terms, could carry out national strategic requirements.

The third impetus was the struggle to define military combat and noncombat roles. Given the nature of the volunteer force, women were badly needed, yet they were included in the armed forces under the assumption that they could carry out any function apart from direct combat assignments. This caused a forced -- and strained -- redefinition of these two roles. Intelligence officers called to interrogate a prisoner on the battlefield were thought not to be in a combat position. The same bomb, mortar or rocket fire that killed a soldier might hit them too, but since they technically were not charged with shooting back, they were not combat arms. Ironically, in Iraq, one of the most dangerous tasks is traveling on the roads, though moving supplies is not considered a combat mission.

Under the privatization concept, civilians could be hired to carry out noncombat functions. Under the redefinition of noncombat, the area open to contractors covered a lot of territory. Moreover, under the redefinition of the military in the 1990s, the size and structure of the Army in particular was changed so dramatically that it could not carry out most of its functions without the Reserve/Guard component -- and even with that component, the Army was not large enough. Contractors were needed.

Let us now add a fourth push: the CIA. During Vietnam, and again in Afghanistan and Iraq, a good part of the war was prosecuted by CIA personnel not in uniform and not answerable to the military chain of command. There are arguments on both sides for this, but the fact is that U.S. wars -- particularly highly politicized wars such as counterinsurgencies -- are fought with parallel armies, some reporting to the Defense Department, others to the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The battlefield is, if not flooded, at least full of civilians operating outside of the chain of command, and these civilian government employees are encouraged to hire Iraqi or other nationals, as well as to augment their own capabilities with private U.S. contractors.

Blackwater works for the State Department in a capacity defined as noncombat, protecting diplomats and other high-value personnel from assassination. The Army, bogged down in its own operations, lacks the manpower to perform this obviously valuable work. That means that Blackwater and other contract workers are charged with carrying weapons and moving around the battlefield, which is everywhere. They are heavily armed private soldiers carrying out missions that are combat in all but name -- and they are completely outside of the chain of command.

Moreover, in order to be effective, they have to engage in protective intelligence, looking for surveillance by enemy combatants and trying to foresee potential threats. We suspect the CIA could be helpful in this regard, but it would want information in return. In order to perform its job, then, Blackwater entered the economy of intelligence -- information as a commodity to be exchanged. It had to gather some intelligence in order to trade some. As a result, the distinction between combat and support completely broke down.

The important point is that the U.S. military went to war with the Army the country gave it. We recall no great objections to the downsizing of the military in the 1990s, and no criticisms of the concepts that lay behind the new force structure. The volunteer force, downsized because long-term conflicts were not going to occur, supported by the Reserve/Guard and backfilled by civilian contractors, was not a controversial issue. Only tiresome cranks made waves, challenging the idea that wars would be sparse and short. They objected to the redefinition of noncombat roles and said the downsized force would be insufficient for the 21st century.

Blackwater, KBR and all the rest are the direct result of the faulty geopolitical assumptions and the force structure decisions that followed. The primary responsibility rests with the American public, which made best-case assumptions in a worst-case world. Even without Iraq, civilian contractors would have proliferated on the battlefield. With Iraq, they became an enormous force. Perhaps the single greatest strategic error of the Bush administration was not fundamentally re-examining the assumptions about the U.S. Army on Sept. 12, 2001. Clearly Donald Rumsfeld was of the view that the Army was the problem, not the solution. He was not going to push for a larger force and, therefore, as the war expanded, for fewer civilian contractors.

The central problem regarding private security contractors on the battlefield is that their place in the chain of command is not defined. They report to the State Department, not to the Army and Marines that own the battlefield. But who do they take orders from and who defines their mission? Do they operate under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under some other rule? They are warriors -- it is foolish to think otherwise -- but they do not wear the uniform. The problem with Blackwater stems from having multiple forces fighting for the same side on the same battlefield, with completely different chains of command. Indeed, it is not clear the extent to which the State Department has created a command structure for its contractors, whether it is capable of doing so, or whether the contractors have created their own chain of command.

Blackwater is the logical outcome of a set of erroneous geopolitical conclusions that predate these wars by more than a decade. The United States will be fighting multidivisional, open-ended wars in multiple theaters, and there will be counterinsurgencies. The force created in the 1990s is insufficient, and thus the definition of noncombat specialty has become meaningless. The Reserve/Guard component cannot fill the gap created by strategic errors. The hiring of contractors makes sense and has precedence. But the use of CIA personnel outside the military chain of command creates enough stress. To have private contractors reporting outside the chain of command to government entities not able to command them is the real problem.

A failure that is rooted in the national consensus of the 1990s was compounded by the Bush administration's failure to reshape the military for the realities of the wars it wished to fight. But the final failure was to follow the logic of the civilian contractors through to its end, but not include them in the unified chain of command. In war, the key question must be this: Who gives orders and who takes them? The battlefield is dangerous enough without that question left hanging.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 24, 2007, 08:45:54 AM
CHINA, ISRAEL, RUSSIA: China will sell Iran 24 J-10 fighters that are based on Israeli technology, RIA Novosti reported Oct. 23. The aircraft have Russian-made engines and are based on components and technology Israel gave China after the cancellation of the Lavi project in the mid-1980s. The total cost of the planes, which are expected to be delivered between 2008 and 2010, is an estimated $1 billion.

Geopolitical Diary: The Russo-Japanese NMD Dispute

For several months, the Russian government has focused its propaganda machine on combating U.S. efforts to develop an anti-ballistic missile network around the Russian periphery. Moscow views such systems at their core as an effort by Washington to nullify the Russian nuclear deterrent and therefore to sweep Russia to the very edge of strategic relevance.

In the past few days, however, Russia's attention has come to rest on Japan -- the state that is most consistent in its effort to participate in national missile defense (NMD) -- and on Tuesday, the Japanese government flatly, officially and firmly rebuffed Russian calls to abandon the system. The core Russian concern is that the system ultimately will be fine-tuned and expanded so that it can hedge in Moscow -- something that may well be lurking about in the depths of U.S. strategic planning. But Japan wants NMD for its own reasons.

While Japan's imperial past gives the country some influence throughout East Asia, it mostly has earned Japan enmity. Particularly vitriolic is the contempt in which Japan is held by the Koreans -- who resent Japanese cultural influence, economic domination and attempts to forcibly redefine Korean identity during the Japanese occupation. North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998 in a show of force, and in 2006, Pyongyang tested a nuclear device. Marry those two technologies and Japan clearly has a pressing need for NMD -- and this is even before the economic might of South Korea is combined with North Korean military technology in a reunification that is crawling ever closer.

China, of course, offers a more direct and immediate challenge. As big as Asia is, it probably does not have room for both a land-based and a sea-based regional superpower. Japan's technological edge combined with China's existing nuclear arsenal leaves Japan pushing for NMD, no matter what the Russians do.

But even without the more pressing concern of Asia pushing Japan toward NMD cooperation with the United States, Russia is on Tokyo's radar. The two hardly have a friendly history: Japan has served as Washington's proxy in East Asia, blocking Soviet access to the Pacific. Russia still has not reached a peace accord with Japan -- for World War II. And before that, Japan defeated Moscow in the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, becoming the only Asian state to defeat a European power and inflicting the geopolitical equivalent of a root canal.

The Kremlin is attempting to put pins in a number of potential conflicts in order to focus on its own immediate concerns. But so far as Japan is concerned, Russia remains firmly on the "future trouble" list.

Situation Reports
Title: Insurgent Sniping
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 02, 2007, 04:56:54 AM
Insurgent Sniping In Iraq
A look at how the insurgents are operating and their weapons
By David Fortier

It was only a matter of time before the insurgents in Iraq began to realize the potential of properly employed snipers.

Although U.S. troops have faced snipers in Iraq for years, as of late the danger posed by Jihadist snipers has been growing. Photo by Emily K. Fortier

In stark contrast to merely rattling away with a Kalashnikov in the direction of the infidels—in the belief that “If Allah wills it,” the bullets will fly true”—in recent months insurgent snipers have been more successful at dropping American troops with carefully aimed rifle fire.

In doing so, they have made the lives of our fighting men much more dangerous and stressful. While not classically trained in the Western sense, this new crop of insurgent snipers has nonetheless proven to be adept at firing one well-aimed shot and then displacing before they are located. News of the growing threat of insurgent snipers first spread on the Internet and eventually became a feature story on the front page of the New York Times. As the threat is indeed very real, I felt that it is an appropriate time to share some information I have collected over the past few years, along with my own thoughts on the matter.

As Americans, we have our own opinions on what constitutes both a sniper and sniping. Our Western view demands that a real sniper be school trained in the classical sense. Equipped with a heavy-barreled, bolt-action precision rifle topped with a high-magnification optic, he has the ability to reach 1,000 yards or more. He is trained to estimate distances, read wind/mirage and drills hitting targets far beyond the range of an ordinary rifleman. In addition, his stealth and fieldcraft skills are carefully honed to the point that, properly “ghillied up,” he can move virtually unseen. The end result is a warrior with the ability to spot and engage targets at astonishing distances while remaining undetected. In the Western mind, the longer the successful shot, the more impressive the sniper.

One sniper rifle very commonly employed by insurgent snipers is the Romanian PSL. A simple design, it is capable of acceptable accuracy. Photo by Emily K. Fortier

While there is nothing wrong with this now-traditional Western view, in reality it is just one take on sniping. Keep in mind, the nuts and bolts of sniping is to merely eliminate key targets and/or demoralize and drive fear into the enemy through the use of a rifle. While sniping equipment has changed drastically over the years, the art itself is the same as it was 100 years ago. Its crux is to locate a target without being seen, eliminate it with a single well-placed shot that seems to come from nowhere, then disappear, leaving a frustrated enemy behind who does not know where/when you will strike next. The insurgents in Iraq, despite their deficiencies in equipment and training, have learned to do just that.

How have they managed to accomplish this? Simply put, they have decided not to play by our rules, and in doing so they have turned their weakness into strength. Rather than trying to snipe at our troops at long range, they have instead elected to dramatically close the distance. Through stealth and subterfuge, the Jihadists are often closing with their targets to increase the probability of a successful shot. This allows them to ensure a hit on their chosen target, place their round to bypass our troops’ body-armor hardplates and film the shooting for propaganda purposes.

Spotted while attempting to collect information, an insurgent sniper team using this car was killed by Marine snipers. Note the video camera and captured M40A1 sniper rifle. Photo courtesy of the USMC

One method they have been employing successfully in urban areas is to use a vehicle as a mobile hide. This allows them to move undetected into position to take a shot, then immediately afterward disappear unnoticed into traffic. Typically, a car is modified to both hide the shooter and provide him with a firing/observation port. As an example, in one case a vehicle was disguised to look like it was simply transporting rolled-up blankets. Loaded with these, it could pass through a checkpoint after a quick once-over, as the soldiers/police wouldn’t make the driver unload his entire cargo.

However, beneath the blanket cargo was a hidden space containing a sniper with his weapon. A string allowed him to lower/raise one side of the rear bumper. With the bumper lowered, a hole cut in the car’s bodywork provided a port for the sniper to observe and fire from. In another instance a car was modified by having a hidden compartment added beneath the floor/trunk, between the frame rails.

Another sniper rifle fielded by the insurgents is the 7.62x39mm Tabuk. Built in Iraq with Serb assistance, it is a simple DMR based upon the RPK. Photo courtesy of LTC Kendrick McCormick

This was just large enough to allow a sniper to lie in it with his rifle. Sometimes a tail light will be removed or modified to provide an observation/firing port for a hidden sniper.

When using this method, the driver, who also acts as the spotter, plays an important role. As the sniper has a very limited field of view/fire, the driver must locate the target and then maneuver the car, without being noticed, to provide a clear shot for the sniper. In some instances, once the car is parked the driver will exit the vehicle and stand next to the trunk, where he can observe the area while speaking to the sniper hidden in the vehicle.

There have been occasions in which a third insurgent is used to bring a soldier into the kill zone. As an example, an insurgent posing as a good Samaritan may point out an IED to a patrol to funnel them into the kill zone. Shots of this type are usually taken at very close range with substantial traffic and civilians in the area. This makes it very difficult to locate where the shot came from or to return fire.

Marine Cpl. Daniel M. Greenwald survived being shot in the head thanks to his Kevlar helmet. Photo courtesy of the USMC

The insurgents then choose a specific target. These include, in order of importance to the enemy:

Our snipers. The main threat to a sniper is always another sniper.
Humvee gunners. They can lay down a lot of hate and discontent in a very short amount of time.
Medics. If they shoot the medic, there is no one to treat him or anyone else they shoot.
Chaplains. The insurgents offer a $10,000 bounty for killing a U.S. military religious leader.
Interpreters. This hinders the unit’s ability to interact and gain information from the locals.
Radiomen. This hinders the unit’s ability to communicate, pass on information and request medical assistance.
Leaders. This degrades the unit’s performance and ability to react by removing the men in charge.

All of these targets are easily identified. If a head shot is required, such as on a Humvee gunner sitting behind an armored gunshield, the insurgents will often attempt to get within 50 meters. This allows them to place the shot, even with a 7.62x39mm Tabuk, with surgical accuracy, ensuring a kill. If a body shot is chosen the sniper will aim to by-pass his target’s body armor SAPI hardplates, as these are capable of stopping his round.

Insurgents also improvise sniper rifles and sound suppressors. In this case a Mauser M98 has been fitted with a PSO-1 scope and a home-made suppressor. Photo courtesy of the USMC

To do this, he will shoot a man standing sideways to him in the upper arm. The round will perforate the arm before entering the torso in the region of the armpit. Such a shot will bypass body armor while hitting one or both lungs and possibly the heart. If making such a shot is not possible, the sniper will aim at the center of mass. If the target’s hardplate is not struck, his round will easily penetrate the surrounding Level IIIA soft body armor.

However, if the round is stopped by his target’s hardplate, the sniper hopes the shock of getting shot will at least cause his target to fall down. Insurgent snipers normally videotape their shots for propaganda purposes. So if an American soldier falls down after being shot in his SAPI plate, even if he gets back up it is still useful for propaganda purposes on the Internet.
As an example, Marine L/Cpl Edward Knuth was hit in his SAPI plate while his squad searched a market. Although the bullet was stopped, the impact knocked him to his knees. Another Marine dragged him to cover, then his unit rushed a line of cars, but the sniper had escaped.

Three common 7.62x54R sniper rifles seen in the hands of insurgent snipers in Iraq are, left to right, the Soviet SVD, Iraqi Al Kadesih and Romanian PSL. Photo by Emily K. Fortier

After the shot is taken the sniper team’s vehicle will casually pull out into traffic. In doing so, it will disappear before the target’s comrades even realize what just happened. A spotter, often riding on a Moped to enable him to move easily through traffic, then searches for a new target. When he locates one, he contacts the sniper team and the cycle begins again.

A Jihadist sniper operating in such a manner was recently killed in Baghdad. Luckily, he aroused the suspicion of an American sniper team he was preparing to engage. In the ensuing exchange, the Muslim got off the first shot but missed at a range of 225 yards. The American sniper put an end to the Jihadist’s career by punching a 175-grain Sierra MatchKing through the rear quarterpanel of the car, killing him.

Another Jihadist sniper operating in the Baghdad area plied his trade shooting from overpasses at oncoming military vehicles. An above-average rifleman, he was quite successful for a time in this fashion. His method was fairly simple. He would note what route a convoy or patrol would use in a particular area and pick his position accordingly.

Insurgent snipers try to carefully choose their targets for maximum effect. High on their list are medics, chaplains, interpreters, radiomen, leaders and heavy-weapon operators. Photo courtesy of the USMC

He would choose an overpass that the convoy/patrol would travel directly beneath. Then, as the convoy/patrol approached he would pick out a specific vehicle and fire a single shot at the driver at a range of approximately 150 meters. Considering the angle, speed of the target and deflection from the windshield, this particular sniper was fairly skilled with a rifle. I was told he killed 10 of our soldiers, including four headshots in a single-day, using this method. Equipped with a commercial Remington 700 hunting rifle in .308 Winchester, he was subsequently killed by U.S. forces.

On November 3, 2006, northwest of Baghdad in Karma, Iraq, a Jihadist sniper struck a patrol from the Second Battalion, Eighth Marines. After letting one fire team pass through his kill zone, he placed his scope’s aiming chevron on the right biceps of L/Cpl Juan Valdez-Castillo, the unit’s radio operator. At the shot, Valdez-Castillo fell heavily against a stone wall. The 7.62mm round passed through his right upper arm; entered his side, collapsing his lung; and exited his back.

Upon seeing one of his men down, the unit’s squad leader, Sgt. Jesse E. Leach, sprang forward. Disregarding his own safety, he entered the kill zone, grabbed Valdez-Castillo’s drag handle and hauled him through ankle-deep mud to safety.

With some concealment between them and the sniper, Sgt. Leach administered first aid, and Valdez-Castillo was safely evacuated. The insurgent fired from a distance of not less than 150 meters from an area with numerous civilians in it. He fired a single round, hit exactly at his point of aim and refused to compromise his position by firing more than one shot. After firing, he displaced to a different location and was not found.

A Marine sniper team hunts terrorists in Iraq. Although insurgent snipers are growing more effective, our boys continue to hunt them down and kill them. Photo courtesy of the USMC

The vast majority of shots taken by insurgent snipers in Iraq are at targets within 400 meters. While this may seem relatively short, it is actually in line with sniper actions during both world wars. The shorter ranges also favor the sniper rifles and optics commonly available to the insurgents.
Title: Part Two
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 02, 2007, 04:57:58 AM

They have fielded a wide array of rifles, including Russian SVDs, Romanian PSLs, domestic Al Kadesihs and Tabuks along with commercial sporting rifles and captured American sniper rifles. For the most part, the SVD, PSL, Al Kadesih and 7.62x39mm Tabuk are not noted for their sterling accuracy. However, inside 400 meters they can be quite deadly.

Items captured from a Jihadist sniper team’s vehicle included a Bushnell laser rangefinder, P35 pistol, grenade and video camera used for intelligence gathering and propaganda. Photo courtesy of the USMC

Optics usually consist of Romanian I.O.R., Yugoslavian Zrak and Chinese PSO-1s with a magnification of 4X. Offering the same magnification as our ACOG, these scopes work quite well at this distance. Indexing a man’s head with their chevron reticle is easily accomplished at 300 meters. So, considering the equipment they have, the urban terrain they are operating in and our troops’ body armor, it makes no sense for the insurgents not to close the distance if they are able.

The insurgents have used an array of 7.62x54R ammunition against our troops. Loads identified as currently being used by insurgent snipers against our troops in Iraq include:

7N1 sniper ammunition. This is a dedicated sniper load developed by the Soviets for their SVD sniper rifle. Loaded with a 152-grain bullet, it has a muzzle velocity of 2,723 fps. This ammunition can only be identified by its packaging, which is clearly marked “SNIPER.”

Jihadist snipers will often choose firing positions shielded by civilians/children to prevent our troops from returning fire. Photo courtesy of the 3/7th Cav.

7N13. This is a steel-core ball round capable of penetrating a 10mm-thick grade-2P steel plate 90 percent of the time at 250 meters and 25 percent of the time at 300 meters.

7B-Z-3 (B-32) API. This is a 165-grain Armor Piercing Incendiary round with a muzzle velocity of 2,673 fps. It is claimed to be cable of penetrating a 10mm-thick grade-2P armor plate 80 percent of the time at 200 meters. B-32 cartridges are identified by a color code consisting of a red band beneath a black bullet tip.

7T2M (T-46) Tracer. This is a 152-grain Tracer load with a muzzle velocity of 2,642 fps. It can be identified by a green color code on the bullet tip.

To provide a higher probability of defeating our troops’ body armor, insurgent snipers often use 7.62x54R Armor Piercing and Armor Piercing Incendiary ammunition. A Special Forces friend commented that every PSL magazine they had captured had been loaded with straight API. I noted that one such captured cartridge he gave me was loaded by Russia’s Factory 17 (Barnaul) in 1981. On November 2, 2006, an insurgent sniper used a 7.62x54R AP round to knock L/Cpl Colin Smith from behind his machine-gun turret.

Although everything appears peaceful here, an insurgent sniper could be lurking in one of the cars, behind a window or on a rooftop. Photo courtesy of Dillard Johnson

Smith’s unit was leaving a rural settlement on the edge of Karma, near Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar Province. They were climbing back into their vehicles after searching several houses when a single shot rang out. Smith, who was peering from behind a gun shield, was hit in the head. The 7.62mm AP round penetrated his Kevlar, passed through his skull and was recovered. Although Smith survived, he fell into a coma. The sniper took the shot from a minimum of 150 yards away using a canal as an obstacle. After firing the shot, he disappeared.

In addition to the 7.62x54R sniper rifles, the insurgents also field 7.62x39mm Tabuks. A domestically produced long-barreled Kalashnikov DMR, the Tabuk was manufactured with assistance from the Serb arms manufacturer Zastava. A friend, LTC Kendrick McCormick, while training Iraqi forces in Iraq, tested an example in unfired condition and shared his results with me.
Firing prone off sandbags at 100 meters using a Russian 6x42mm scope and Chinese-produced steel-core ball ammunition manufactured by Factory 9141 in 1979, he found the weapon capable of posting consistent two-inch groups. He felt that hitting a man-size target at 400 meters would be well within the capabilities of the weapon in the hands of an experienced shooter. This is quite acceptable accuracy for a weapon of this type. Ammunition in this caliber commonly used by insurgent snipers is standard M43-type steel-core ball. Exterior ballistics of this round are fairly poor, so it is best deployed at relatively short ranges.

Despite making a good shot, a sniper failed to kill Marine Pfc. Joshua Hanson when his 7.62mm bullet was stopped by Hanson’s SAPI plate. Photo courtesy of the USMC

In addition to the common Iraqi, there are also experienced foreign snipers operating with the insurgents, some of whom are quite good. The most talked about are the Chechens. Highly regarded due to their experience fighting the Federal Russian Army, they are a dangerous foe. Remember, a Jihad is being waged against the West by radical Muslims, so Jihadists may be of any nationality. As an example, SFC Dillard Johnson and SSG Jared Kennedy of C Troop 3/7 Cav engaged in a duel with an enemy sniper in Salman Pak on December 14, 2005.

At a range of 852 meters, the insurgent put a 7.62x54R round within six inches of SFC Johnson’s head. Smacking on the wall behind him, the round forced him to crawl to another position. Luckily, Johnson was able to locate the insurgent’s position and replied with an M14-based DMR. Adjusting his fire, Johnson hit him with his second shot, while SSG Kennedy killed the insurgent’s spotter with a bigbore Barrett rifle. The insurgent sniper SFC Johnson killed was not Iraqi but rather Syrian. Equipped with a Romanian PSL topped with a commercial German scope, he was suspected of killing more than 20 coalition soldiers.

One important aspect of the Jihadist sniping strategy that should not be overlooked is their value for propaganda purposes. It is the norm for Jihadist snipers in Iraq to videotape their operations for propaganda use on the Internet. Their desire is to arouse coverage by the international media. A friend currently working in Iraq made the comment, “They don’t care about killing soldiers as much as they want the publicity. They want their five minutes of fame to get their message out. Remember, propaganda is the terrorist’s friend.”

(Left) Insurgents often use API ammunition, identified with a black-and-red tip, to enhance their chance of defeating our troops’ body armor. (Right) The 7.62x54R round, in its various loadings, is the workhorse cartridge for insurgent snipers in Iraq. The cartridge shown is a 7N1 sniper load. Photos by Emily K. Fortier

That they are indeed starting to get their message out can be seen by the article “Sniper Attacks Adding Peril to U.S. Troops in Iraq” on the front page of the New York Times published just three days before the November 2006 election. Most of the world believes Americans have a very short attention span and no stomach for body bags. The Jihadists believe that if, having survived the initial U.S. military onslaught, they can successfully play the Vietnam card by keeping U.S. casualties in the news, the American public will cave and they will win. Snipers, especially with the recent Democrat victory, are becoming an important part of this strategy.

Gunners on armored vehicles are favorite targets of insurgent snipers, who attempt to get close enough to take a head shot. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

Although our enemy is using snipers to a larger and more effective extent then previously, the problem is not something our military cannot handle. In actuality, our troops have been doggedly hunting them down and killing them. Just today I spoke via telephone with one of our snipers in Iraq. He had recently engaged in a duel with three Islamic snipers and killed all of them. Although his story is not one you will see in the liberal media, you can be proud to know our troops are quietly going about their work, making the world a better place for all of us, 175 grains at a time.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 13, 2007, 02:21:16 AM
The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced

The forum where I found this had one poster say that this happend last year.  If so, I missed it at that time.

By MATTHEW HICKLEY - More by this author » Last updated at 00:13am on 10th November 2007

When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed.

At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.

That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.

One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.

The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.

The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines.

And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.

According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.

It also led to tense diplomatic exchanges, with shaken American diplomats demanding to know why the submarine was "shadowing" the U.S. fleet while Beijing pleaded ignorance and dismissed the affair as coincidence.

Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its "backyard".

The People's Liberation Army Navy's submarine fleet includes at least two nuclear-missile launching vessels.

Its 13 Song Class submarines are extremely quiet and difficult to detect when running on electric motors.

Commodore Stephen Saunders, editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and a former Royal Navy anti-submarine specialist, said the U.S. had paid relatively little attention to this form of warfare since the end of the Cold War.

He said: "It was certainly a wake-up call for the Americans.

"It would tie in with what we see the Chinese trying to do, which appears to be to deter the Americans from interfering or operating in their backyard, particularly in relation to Taiwan."

In January China carried a successful missile test, shooting down a satellite in orbit for the first time.
Title: Cyborgs
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 26, 2007, 07:26:54 PM
Title: Naval Power
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 18, 2007, 02:23:03 PM
Why TR Claimed the Seas
December 18, 2007; Page A20
On Dec. 16, 1907, the 16 battleships of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet sailed from Hampton Roads, Va., on a 43,000-mile journey around the world. The occasion was immediately understood as Teddy Roosevelt's way of declaring that the United States, already an economic superpower, was also a military one. Unnoticed by most Americans, this past Sunday marked its centennial.

There is an enduring, bipartisan strain in American politics (think Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich) that wishes to forgo the military role. As wonderfully recounted by Jim Rasenberger in "America 1908," the voyage of the Great White Fleet, as it was popularly known, was energetically opposed by members of Congress, who sought to cut off its funding when it was halfway around the world. Sound familiar? Mark Twain considered the venture as further evidence that TR was "clearly insane . . . and insanest upon war and its supreme glories."

Teddy Roosevelt addresses sailors of the Great White Fleet, February 1909.
In fact, Roosevelt had sound strategic reasons for putting the fleet to sea. A year earlier, the British had commissioned their revolutionary Dreadnought battleship, setting off an arms race with Germany that helped set Europe on a course to World War I. Labor riots against Japanese immigrants in California had strained relations with Japan, whose dramatic naval victory over Russia at the battle of Tsushima had made the rest of the world keenly aware of this rising Asian power.

"Nearly every day fresh bulletins of sinister Japanese maneuvers appeared in the European and American press," writes Mr. Rasenberger, including rumors of thousands of Japanese troops disguised as Mexican peasants, "preparing to attack America." Roosevelt himself later explained that he had "become uncomfortably conscious of a very, very slight undertone of veiled truculence" from the Japanese. "It was time for a show down."

The voyage itself was fraught with risk. By shifting the bulk of America's naval might to the Pacific, Roosevelt left the Eastern seaboard largely undefended. Slight miscalculations on the first leg of the journey nearly left the fleet without enough coal to reach South America. The transit through the Straits of Magellan (the Panama Canal would not open until 1914) could have crippled any one of the ships and sunk the entire enterprise. There were serious worries the Japanese would sink the fleet at anchor in Yokohama. The fear was compounded by the discovery that the armor belt of the battleships, fully laden with men and stores, dropped several inches below the waterline.

The fears turned out to be misplaced. Journalists embedded in the fleet used primitive wireless devices to report rapturous public receptions everywhere from Rio de Janeiro to Sydney to Marseilles. The fleet crowned itself in further glory when it provided disaster relief in Messina, Sicily, after a devastating earthquake. The tradition would live on in U.S. Navy relief operations, most recently in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Perhaps the greatest surprise were the supposedly hostile Japanese, who greeted the visiting fleet with an honor guard of 16 companion battleships and crowds of Japanese waving American flags. "The Japanese nation," the mayor of Tokyo told Rear Adm. Charles Sperry, "asks you to convey the message that the Japanese believe that war between Japan and America would be a crime against the past, present and future of the two countries."

From the perspective of a half-century, the mayor's assurances may have seemed bitterly hollow, but the arrival of the American fleet was followed four years later by Japan's first real experience of democracy and two years after that with Japan's entry into World War I on the Allied side. Plainly, no similar impression was made by the fleet on the Europeans, and one wonders what might have been if Germany, which so consistently underrated American power, had had a closer look at it. A prewar "entangling alliance" between the U.S., Britain and France might also have dissuaded Berlin from marching toward the Marne.

Yet if there was a lesson here, it was lost to the U.S. during the interwar period. Just 13 years after the Great White Fleet returned to the U.S., it was physically scrapped under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, which set strict limits on the number and size of battleships the major powers could build and deploy. Only after Pearl Harbor and World War II did Americans really seem to learn the lesson that their position as a maritime power could not be wished away, and that their maritime interests could only be defended by a powerful Navy.

That remains no less true today, even as the Navy goes through something of an identity crisis. America's wars have become up-country affairs, and the big ships of our blue-water Navy are not quite adapted to brown-green waters where today's conflicts are likely to take place. John McCain, whose grandfather sailed with the fleet (and was among the officers pictured here listening to Roosevelt), recently complained to The Wall Street Journal about the huge cost overruns in the development of a new generation of so-called Littoral Combat Ships.

Whatever the procurement problems or tactical issues, a supremely powerful Navy is not a luxury the U.S. can safely dispense with. In September, ships of the People's Liberation Army Navy made their first-ever port calls in Germany, France, Britain and Italy, and Chinese admirals are frequent guests on American warships. "The Chinese Great White Fleet is not too far off on the horizon," says a senior Navy official in a recent conversation.

China's current rise, like America's a century ago, is not something anyone can stop. It can be steered. Making sure our vision for the Navy stays true to Teddy Roosevelt's is one way of ensuring the Chinese don't make the mistake of steering it our way.

• Write to
Title: M-4 in dust test
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 22, 2007, 07:41:59 AM
Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 17, 2007 9:25:16 EST

The M4 carbine, the weapon soldiers depend on in combat, finished last in a recent “extreme dust test” to demonstrate the M4’s reliability compared to three newer carbines.

Weapons officials at the Army Test and Evaluation Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., exposed Colt Defense LLC’s M4, along with the Heckler & Koch XM8, FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle and the H&K 416 to sandstorm conditions from late September to late November, firing 6,000 rounds through each test weapon.

When the test was completed, ATEC officials found that the M4 performed “significantly worse” than the other three weapons, sources told Army Times.

Officials tested 10 each of the four carbine models, firing a total of 60,000 rounds per model. Here’s how they ranked, according to the total number of times each model stopped firing:

• XM8: 127 stoppages.

• MK16 SCAR Light: 226 stoppages.

• 416: 233 stoppages.

• M4: 882 stoppages.

the results of the test were “a wake-up call,” but Army officials continue to stand by the current carbine, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, the command that is responsible for equipping soldiers.

“We take the results of this test with a great deal of interest and seriousness,” Brown said, expressing his determination to outfit soldiers with the best equipment possible.

The test results did not sway the Army’s faith in the M4, he said.

“Everybody in the Army has high confidence in this weapon,” Brown said.

Lighter and more compact than the M16 rifle, the M4 is more effective for the close confines of urban combat. The Army began fielding the M4 in the mid-1990s.

Army weapons officials agreed to perform the test at the request of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in July. Coburn took up the issue following a Feb. 26 Army Times report on moves by elite Army combat forces to ditch the M4 in favor of carbines they consider more reliable. Coburn is questioning the Army’s plans to spend $375 million to purchase M4s through fiscal 2009.

Coburn raised concerns over the M4’s “long-standing reliability” problems in an April 12 letter and asked if the Army had considered newer, possibly better weapons available on the commercial market.

John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, who was traveling, said the senator was reviewing the test results and had yet to discuss it with the Army.

The M4, like its predecessor, the M16, uses a gas tube system, which relies on the gas created when a bullet is fired to cycle the weapon. Some weapons experts maintain the M4’s system of blowing gas directly into the firing mechanism of the weapon spews carbon residue that can lead to fouling and heat that dries up lubrication, causing excessive wear on parts.

The other contenders in the dust test — the XM8, SCAR and 416 — use a piston-style operating system, which relies on a gas-driven piston rod to cycle the weapon during firing. The gas is vented without funneling through the firing mechanism.

The Army’s Delta Force replaced its M4s with the H&K 416 in 2004 after tests revealed that the piston operating system significantly reduces malfunctions while increasing the life of parts. The elite unit collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine.

U.S. Special Operations Command has also revised its small-arms requirements. In November 2004, SOCom awarded a developmental contract to FN Herstal to develop its new SCAR to replace its weapons from the M16 family.

And from 2002 to 2005, the Army developed the XM8 as a replacement for the Army’s M16 family. The program led to infighting within the service’s weapons community and eventually died after failing to win approval at the Defense Department level.

How they were tested

The recent Aberdeen dust test used 10 sample models of each weapon. Before going into the dust chamber, testers applied a heavy coat of lubrication to each weapon. Each weapon’s muzzle was capped and ejection port cover closed.

Testers exposed the weapons to a heavy dust environment for 30 minutes before firing 120 rounds from each.

The weapons were then put back in the dust chamber for another 30 minutes and fired another 120 rounds. This sequence was repeated until each weapon had fired 600 rounds.

Testers then wiped down each weapon and applied another heavy application of lubrication.

The weapons were put back through the same sequence of 30 minutes in the dust chamber followed by firing 120 rounds from each weapon until another 600 rounds were fired.

Testers then thoroughly cleaned each weapon, re-lubricated each, and began the dusting and fire sequencing again.

This process was repeated until testers fired 6,000 rounds through each weapon.

The dust test exposed the weapons to the same extreme dust and sand conditions that Army weapons officials subjected the M4 and M16 to during a “systems assessment” at Aberdeen last year and again this summer. The results of the second round of ATEC tests showed that the performance of the M4s dramatically improved when testers increased the amount of lubrication used.

Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in the tests earlier in the summer, the 10 M4s tested had 307 stoppages, test results show, far fewer than the 882 in the most recent test.

in the recent tests, the M4 suffered 643 weapon-related stoppages, such as failure to eject or failure to extract fired casings, and 239 magazine-related stoppages.

Colt officials had not seen the test report and would not comment for this story, said James Battaglini, executive vice president for Colt Defense LLC, on Dec. 14.

Army officials are concerned about the gap between the two tests becaus the “test conditions for test two and three were ostensibly the same,” Brown said.

There were, however, minor differences in the two tests because they were conducted at different times of the year with different test officials, Brown said. Test community officials are analyzing the data to try to explain why the M4 performed worse during this test.

Weapons officials pointed out that these tests were conducted in extreme conditions that did not address “reliability in typical operational conditions,” the test report states.

Despite the last-place showing, Army officials say there is no movement toward replacing the M4.

The Army wants its next soldier weapon to be a true leap ahead, rather than a series of small improvements, Brown said.

“That is what the intent is,” he said, “to give our soldiers the very best and we are not going to rest until we do that.”

Col. Robert Radcliffe, head of the Directorate of Combat Developments for the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga., said the test results will be considered as the Army continues to search for ways to improve soldier weapons.

For now, he said the Army will stick with the M4, because soldier surveys from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to highlight the weapon’s popularity among troops in the combat zone.

“The M4 is performing for them in combat, and it does what they needed to do in combat,” Radcliffe said.
Title: Tech Sales to China
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 02, 2008, 07:00:01 AM
Marx wrote of the last capitalist selling the rope to the executioner who would hang him, or something to that effect.  :x

Eased Rules on Tech Sales to China Questioned
NY Times           
Published: January 2, 2008
WASHINGTON — Six months ago, the Bush administration quietly eased some restrictions on the export of politically delicate technologies to China. The new approach was intended to help American companies increase sales of high-tech equipment to China despite tight curbs on sharing technology that might have military applications.

But today the administration is facing questions from weapons experts about whether some equipment — newly authorized for export to Chinese companies deemed trustworthy by Washington — could instead end up helping China modernize its military. Equally worrisome, the weapons experts say, is the possibility that China could share the technology with Iran or Syria.

The technologies include advanced aircraft engine parts, navigation systems, telecommunications equipment and sophisticated composite materials.

The questions raised about the new policy are in a report to be released this week by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, an independent research foundation that opposes the spread of arms technologies.

The administration’s new approach is part of an overall drive to require licenses for the export of an expanded list of technologies in aircraft engines, lasers, telecommunications, aircraft materials and other fields of interest to China’s military.

But while imposing license requirements for the transfer of these technologies, the administration is also validating certain Chinese companies that may import these technologies without licenses.

Five such companies were designated in October, but as many as a dozen others are in the pipeline for possible future designation.

Mario Mancuso, under secretary of Commerce for industry and security, said the new system of broadening the list of technologies that require licenses, but exempting some trustworthy companies from the license requirement, results in more effective protections.

“We believe that the system we have set up ensures that we are protecting our national security consistent with our goal of promoting legitimate exports for civilian use,” he said in an interview. “We have adopted a consistent, broad-based approach to hedging against helping China’s military modernization.”

But the Wisconsin Project report, made available to The New York Times, asserts that two nonmilitary Chinese companies designated as trustworthy are in fact high risk because of links to the Chinese government, the People’s Liberation Army and other Chinese entities accused in the past of ties to Syria and Iran.

One of the Chinese companies, the BHA Aero Composites Company, is partly owned by two American companies — 40 percent by the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 40 percent by the aerospace materials maker Hexcel. The remaining 20 percent is owned by a Chinese government-owned company, AVIC I, or the China Aviation Industry Corporation I.

“In principle, you could find companies that would be above suspicion, but in this case they haven’t done it,” said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project. “If you just look at the relations these companies have, rather than be above suspicion, they are highly suspicious.”

The Wisconsin Project report also charges that both Boeing and Hexcel have been cited for past lapses in obtaining proper licenses for exports.

Spokesmen for Boeing and Hexcel said in interviews that they are fully confident that BHA has no ties to the Chinese military and that its use of aircraft parts and materials were strictly for commercial and civilian ends.

“Boeing is not involved in any defense activities in China,” said Douglas Kennett, a company spokesman. “All our activities in China are in compliance with U.S. export laws and regulations.”

Both companies also say that the past failure to get proper licenses has led to tighter controls and, in any case, was the result of improper paperwork affecting products that continue to be exported as licensed.

Mr. Milhollin said that research by his staff had uncovered several links with the Chinese military establishment involving both BHA and another of the five companies, the Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Company.

Page 2 of 2)

AVIC I, the Chinese government entity that owns a minority share of BHA, also produces fighters, nuclear-capable bombers and aviation weapons systems for the People’s Liberation Army, the report says. The State Department has cited another AVIC subsidiary, the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, for links to arms sales to Iran and Syria.

The report also says that Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics is majority owned “through a corporate chain” by the China Electronics Corporation, which the report says is a government conglomerate that produces military equipment along with consumer electronics. It has a unit, the report says, that procures arms for the military.

Mr. Milhollin said that the new policy granting companies the right to import some technologies without prior licenses was adopted quietly as “a stealth attack on export controls.”

But Mr. Mancuso, the Commerce Department official who oversees the program, noted that the department proposed it publicly in mid-2006 and adopted it a year later after lengthy public comment by interested parties and members of Congress.

In addition, he said, no Chinese company can receive certain technologies — as part of a category known as “validated end-users” — without a vetting of its record by the State, Energy and Defense Departments and by relevant intelligence agencies. The five companies designated in October, he said, were approved without dissent by these units of the government.

In general, the Commerce Department tries to make it easier for American companies to export to markets overseas, and there has been a particular emphasis on selling to China. The United States is expected to show a trade deficit with China of nearly $300 billion in 2007.

At the same time, at least since the 1990s, Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders have called on the Bush administration, and the administration of President Bill Clinton, to exercise more vigilance toward China as it seeks to modernize its aerospace defense network.

“China is a huge market for our commercial technology exports,” said Mr. Mancuso. “Yet there are real security risks we are mindful of. We take that concern very, very seriously.” Only those companies that have “a demonstrable record of using sensitive technologies responsibly” are approved, he said.

Beyond that, he said companies for which licensing rules have been lifted are subject to additional disclosure obligations, including on-site visits by American government personnel.

Groups that advocate greater technology-sharing with China in civilian aeronautics and other areas say the administration has been cautious in its policy, choosing Chinese companies with American partners or owners.

The three other Chinese companies named “validated end-users” in October are Applied Materials China, a subsidiary of Applied Materials, a maker of semiconductors based in California; Chinese facilities operated by the National Semiconductor Corporation, another American company; and the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, based in Shanghai.

William A. Reinsch, head of the National Foreign Trade Council, which promotes international trade, said the administration over all had tightened controls on China and called the lifting of license requirements on only five firms “a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.”

Mr. Reinsch administered export controls as an official in the Clinton administration.

A House Republican staff member had a similar view. “We were told by Commerce that they were going to make some very safe choices,” he said, speaking anonymously because of the delicacy of the subject.

The Commerce Department says that, out of $55 billion in American exports to China in 2006, only $308 million were items requiring licenses to make sure the Chinese military could not use them. The five companies named as “validated” accounted for $54 million of those goods.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 12, 2008, 10:01:53 AM
James T. Conway
First to the Fight
January 12, 2008; Page A9

The Pentagon

When James T. Conway went down to see the draft board at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969, he was told "we're not going to draft you. You've got a great number and you don't have to worry about military service." He responded, "You don't understand, I actually want to go."

Today, as Commandant of the Marine Corps, he's one of the nation's leading military commanders. He's led tens of thousands of Marines on two significant campaigns in Iraq. The first was the drive on Baghdad in 2003; the second was what turned out to be an aborted assault on Fallujah in April 2004. In 2006 he became the steward of a fighting force with a history that stretches all the way back to 1775, before there was a United States of America.

But it's the future of the Corps, not its past, that dominates Gen. Conway's thoughts and our conversation. We met at the Pentagon earlier this week -- just a few days before the one-year anniversary of President Bush's decision to "surge" more troops into Iraq. He was dressed in cammies, combat boots and an open collar. He's lean and tall and he seemed to envelop the table we were seated at. He's also a man who gives the appearance of someone who would much rather be with his Marines in Anbar province than in an office on the outskirts of Washington.

Two related concerns about the war occupy his mind: That in order to fight this war, his Corps could be transformed into just another "land army"; and, if that should happen, that it would lose the flexibility and expeditionary culture that has made it a powerful military force.

The Corps was built originally to live aboard ships and wade ashore to confront emerging threats far from home. It has long prided itself in being "first to the fight" relying on speed, agility and tenacity to win battles. It's a small, offensive outfit that has its own attack aircraft, but not its own medics, preferring to rely on Navy corpsmen to care for its wounded.

For more than a decade, the size of the active-duty Marine Corps has been 175,000. The Army, by comparison, has more than 500,000 soldiers on active duty.

Now, however, the Corps is being expanded to 202,000 over the next couple of years. And what's more, the Marines are being asked to conduct patrols and perform other non-offensive operations in Iraq that are forcing the Corps to become a more stationary force than it traditionally has been.

It's a "static environment where there is no forward movement," Gen. Conway says. And "that gets more to an occupational role, and that's what the Army historically does and the Marine Corps has previously seen very little of."

One way the Marines are clearly changing is in the vehicles troops use to patrol in Iraq. "If you look at the table of equipment that a Marine battalion is operating with right now in Iraq," Gen. Conway explains, "it is dramatically different than the table of equipment the battalion used when it went over the berm in Kuwait in '03, and it is remarkably heavier. Heavier, particularly in terms of vehicles.

"I mean the Humvees were canvas at that point for the most part. Today they are up-armored and we're looking at vehicles even heavier than that. We've got a whole new type of vehicle that we're patrolling in, conducting operations in, that's the MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected], a 48,000 pound vehicle. . . . these type of things, make us look more like a land army than it does a fast, hard-hitting expeditionary force."

Gen. Conway commends the MRAP's performance: "[W]e had over 300 attacks against the MRAP without losing a Marine or sailor." And, he says, "We always have to be concerned about protecting our Marines. We owe that to the parents of America."

"But," he adds, "first we have to be able to accomplish our mission. And I think there are a lot of instances where a lighter, faster, harder-hitting force that gets to a scene quickly is more effective than a heavier, more armored force that gets there weeks or months later."

It is clear that the MRAP can make it more difficult to maneuver in a battle zone. "We saw some problems with the vehicle once it went off of the roadways," Gen. Conway says. "Its cross-country mobility, particularly in western Iraq where you have wadis [dry riverbeds] and small bridges and that type of thing was not what we hoped it would be."

And it is something Gen. Conway has decided to have fewer of. He recently announced that the Marines are halting orders for these vehicles. The Corps will take delivery of a total of 2,300 new MRAPs by the end of the year, which it will use to conduct missions in Iraq. But Gen. Conway is canceling orders for 1,400 additional MRAPs that he and his advisors believe they will not need in the coming years. In the process, Gen. Conway is saving Uncle Sam $1.7 billion. "Yeah. I mean, that to me was a common sense kind of determination."

In short, wars have a tendency to change the culture of the militaries that fight them. For the Marines, the cultural change they fear most is losing their connection to the sea while fighting in the desert.

Today there are about 26,000 Marines in Iraq, many of them on their second or third tour, and tens of thousands of others who have either recently returned or who are preparing to go in the coming months and years. Keeping a force that size in Iraq has made it difficult for the Marines to give mid-level officers assignments that would hone the skills necessary to conduct what has always been a central component of Marine warfighting -- landing troops on a beach head.

"If you accept a generation of officers is four years," Gen. Conway says, "that's what an officer signs on for, we now have that generation of officers -- and arguably troops -- that have come and gone, that are combat hardened, but that will never have stepped foot aboard ship. . . . an amphibious operation is by its very nature the most complicated of military operations; and that we have junior officers and senior officers who understand the planning dimensions associated with something like that, that have sufficient number of exercises over time to really have sharpened their skills to work with other services to accomplish a common goal -- these are the things that concern me with the atrophying of those skills and the ability to go out and do those things."

Gen. Conway graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1969, got married, and volunteered for the Marines at a time when the Vietnam War was still raging. He had friends -- fraternity brothers -- who hadn't kept their grades up and who got drafted.

Not that he regrets signing up. "I thought about trying to contact [that recruiter] and thank him for the way he kind of reeled me in," he says.

As a young officer, Gen. Conway didn't end up in Vietnam. But he did get a front row seat in watching the Marine Corps rebuild itself after the war in Southeast Asia ended. And now, looking back through history, he has a clear perspective on the turning points in the development of the modern Marine Corps.

The first turning point came in World War I at the Battle of Belleau Wood, where a few thousand Marines helped stop a German advance that otherwise might have taken Paris and knocked France out of the war. Marines fought so ferociously in hand-to-hand combat in dense French forest in that battle, that the Germans nicknamed them "Devil Dogs." Afterward, Congress expanded the size of the Marines to more than 70,000, up from about 14,000 at the start of the war.

The second turning point brings Gen. Conway back to his concern for protecting the Marines' institutional culture. "Others will cite other battles," he said, but he sees the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II, a six-month campaign in the Pacific starting in August 1942, as a turning point.

It was there that Marines, later reinforced by Army units, dealt the Japanese their first significant land defeat. "It was only our expeditionary ability to get out there rapidly, as rapidly as we could . . . to put the force out there, smack in the path of the Japanese [that] was a major capability and one we're still very proud of."

So is the Marine Corps the right force to be fighting in Iraq now? It's a loaded question because in recent months Gen. Conway made headlines by airing a plan that would have had the Marines rotate out of Iraq and, with a somewhat smaller force, into Afghanistan. The plan was a nonstarter with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and has been shelved.

"Yeah, I think we are," Gen. Conway said. "For what the nation is now engaged in, it is a major insurgency. From our perspective a counterinsurgency. And when the nation is as hotly engaged as we are in Iraq, I think that's exactly where the Marine Corps needs to be.

"Now, it has necessitated that we undergo these changes to the way we are constituted. But that's OK. We made those adjustments. We'll adjust back when the threat is different. But that's adaptability . . . . You create a force that you have to have at the time. But you don't accept that as the new norm and you do the necessary draw-down at a time when you can."

As for now, he sees the expansion of the Corps to 202,000 "as good . . . We need a Marine Corps that's larger. We need an Army that's larger until we get through what probably is going to be, I think will be, a generational struggle. I think it is absolutely necessary. . . . our military today, all the services all uniforms, is still less than 1% of our great country."

Has the country already forgotten the lessons of 9/11?

Not all of us, Gen. Conway says. "I still hear that a lot, you know, we saw [a] surge [in enlistments] after 9/11, but if you talk to a young Marine out there, even people who were, I don't know, 12, 13, 14 at that point, [they] are still saying that, you know, that they are offended by that, are still incensed by that and they realize that those are still essentially the people out there that we're fighting, so it continues to reverberate. . . . When I visit Gen. Odierno in Baghdad, he's got a picture, a very large picture of one [World Trade Center] tower burning and the other plane about to hit. And I think that our country would do well to remember how we got to where we are today."

Mr. Miniter is an assistant features editor for The Wall Street Journal.
Title: Tough Calls, Good Calls
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 22, 2008, 03:21:27 PM
Tough Calls, Good Calls
January 22, 2008; Page A19

One of the most difficult and consequential decisions of the Bush presidency took place in January of last year: the decision to fundamentally change our strategy by "surging" more U.S. forces to Iraq.

This decision was taken against the backdrop of escalating violence in Iraq, calls for immediate or "phased" withdrawal, prognostications of imminent defeat, and an abundance of political blame directed at the White House. The president's move was met with skepticism and outright vilification, except for a few principled politicians like John McCain and Joe Lieberman. Today, people are getting in line to claim credit for the "surge."

Mr. Bush's decision was guided by a clear strategic principle. The president wanted the U.S. to win, and refashioning our strategy was the best opportunity to succeed in this goal, as well as to leave Iraq policy on a sounder basis for his successor. Whoever wins the presidency in 2008 will be pleased that he did. What a difference a year makes.

The surge may turn out to be Mr. Bush's most important decision. But he has made other such decisions since 9/11, including to commit ground forces to Afghanistan, to eradicate the regime of Saddam Hussein, to use the CIA to conduct strategic interrogation of high-level terrorists, and to conduct strategic surveillance of terrorists communications.

Mr. Bush has faced so many tough choices over the last seven years that his decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has been at least partially forgotten. Yet this decision, announced in December 2001, was no less consequential. It also defied the critics who argued that it would lead to a new arms race, increase nuclear proliferation and ruin cooperation with Russia on nuclear arms control and terrorism.

None of these things have happened as a result of the ABM Treaty withdrawal. But the decision will enable us to counter a still-growing 21st century threat.

In the summer of 2006, when Kim Jong Il was again seeking to intimidate America and its allies with medium and long-range missiles, the president had no real options short of pre-emptive attack or retaliation. And yet here, as with the surge, our next president will have tools at his or her disposal because Mr. Bush did not hesitate to do what was necessary for U.S. security.

Mr. Bush has assigned direction of our missile-defense capabilities and their integration into our overall defense strategy to the United States Strategic Command, part of whose mission is the responsibility for defending the nation from strategic missile attack. A global command and control system is being built, and is already functioning, to network our existing sensors and weapons. This can exercise real forces against current and emerging threats.

Meanwhile, a test bed has been built in the Pacific that includes operational assets -- sensors and shooters -- from California to Alaska, from the Aleutian Islands to Hawaii. Despite critics' claims to the contrary, test after test of kinetic kill interceptors has demonstrated the effectiveness of our defenses.

The first strategic missile interceptors since 1975 are deployed in Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. They stand guard against an attack on the entire country. Sea-based interceptors that have far greater capability than the Patriots of Iraq are being deployed, using the SM-3 missile and Aegis radars.

Cooperation with key allies on missile defense is at an all-time high, and we are finally able to cooperate in ways that protect both American and allied territory. In Japan, we have deployed a radar capable of providing data for protecting both Japanese and U.S. territory. We are also co-developing a new version of the SM-3 that will have greater capability against long-range threats.

None of this could have happened if President Bush had not decided to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. What are the next steps that the country should take to capitalize fully on this strategic choice?

First, the president's call for a third strategic missile defense site in Europe must be carried out. This site provides additional capability to protect the U.S., and to protect as well our European allies from a growing Iranian missile threat. The site would further cement the development of a global sensor-and-interceptor network necessary for effective missile defense. Failure to follow through would have implications for our alliances both inside and out of Europe.

Second, we can expect that rogue states such as North Korea and Iran are already looking at ways to counter our existing defenses. One way they might do this is to deploy decoys or other countermeasures on their existing offensive missiles that must be attacked, and could thus exhaust our limited supply of interceptors. Fortunately, we can now explore cost-effective solutions to this threat.

One solution is to develop interceptors with multiple kill vehicles -- something that was explicitly banned by the ABM Treaty. Another solution is to develop advanced discrimination techniques to tell the decoys from the real threats. These techniques include using radars, space-based sensors, or a new concept that uses dozens of miniature interceptors that can literally sweep away an entire threat cloud of decoys, allowing the missile interceptor to hone in on the real warhead.

None of these techniques is fully proven, but neither was the hit-to-kill technology begun by President Reagan and later successfully deployed by President Bush. We must focus investment in the discrimination problem and improve our existing systems with these new capabilities.

Third, we can do more to increase the capabilities of existing assets. We can, for example, improve our sea-based capabilities -- both our performance against long-range missiles and the number of assets deployed. Under the ABM Treaty, we had to "dumb down" our so-called theater systems to ensure that they could not be used to defend the U.S. from attack. Free from this restraint, as well as from the Treaty's prohibition on mobile-launch platforms, we can now do much more to integrate our defense with that of our allies and make the most of the assets we have deployed.

Finally, we must look again at space as a place to deploy interceptors.

There is no question that space provides the highest leverage against the missile threat: Targets are more visible, more accessible and more vulnerable when attacked from space. While there are concerns about "weaponizing space," these pale in comparison to the increasing vulnerability of U.S. space-based satellites by weapons from the ground traversing space. The recent Chinese anti-satellite test was a wake-up call.

Space-based interceptors, like those proposed by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991, have the potential to strengthen missile defense, and to provide protection for key intelligence and communications assets in space that are now vulnerable from ground-based attack.

The progress of the past six years stems from one tough decision. That very same decision will allow us to stay ahead of the 21st century ballistic-missile threat.

Messrs. Crouch and Joseph are senior scholars at the National Institute for Public Policy. Mr. Crouch was formerly deputy national security adviser and Mr. Joseph was formerly undersecretary of State in the George W. Bush administration.

Title: Stryker; Mil-supplier scum
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 09, 2008, 06:29:29 AM
New Stryker Faring Poorly in Field  |  By Christian Lowe  |  January 30, 2008
BAQUBAH, Iraq - The newest version of the Army’s popular Stryker combat vehicle is garnering poor reviews here from Soldiers assigned to man its tank-like hull.

The General Dynamics Corp.-built Mobile Gun System looks like a typical eight-wheeled Stryker, except for a massive 105mm gun mounted on its roof. The gun fires three different types of projectiles, including explosive rounds, tank-busters and a "canister round" that ejects hundreds of steel pellets similar to a shotgun shell.

But while the system looks good on paper and the Army’s all for it, Soldiers with the 4th Battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment -- one of the first units to receive the new vehicle for their deployment to Iraq -- don’t have a lot of good things to say about it.

More news from our man in Iraq .

"I wish [the enemy] would just blow mine up so I could be done with it," said Spec. Kyle Handrahan, 22, of Anaheim, Calif., a tanker assigned to Alpha Company, 4/9’s MGS platoon.

"It’s a piece," another MGS platoon member chimed in. "Nothing works on it."

The gripes stem from a litany of problems, including a computer system that constantly locks up, extremely high heat in the crew compartment and a shortage of spare parts. In one case, a key part was held up in customs on its way to Iraq, a problem one Soldier recognizes is a result of a new system being pushed into service before it’s ready.

"The concept is good, but they still have a lot of issues to work out on it," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Teimeier, Alpha, 4/9’s MGS platoon sergeant and a tanker by trade.

According to a Jan. 28 report by Bloomberg News, the 2008 Pentagon Authorization bill included language limiting funds for the MGS pending an Army report on fixes to the vehicle’s growing list of problems. The Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation said in his annual report the vehicle was "not operationally effective," Bloomberg reported.

Soldiers here say the searing heat in the vehicles -- especially during Iraq’s blazing summer -- forces them to wear a complicated cooling suit that circulates cold water through tubing under their armor. Ironically, Soldiers often complain the suit makes them cold, Teimeier said, adding to their vehicular woes.

Despite the poor review from DoD auditors, the Army is standing by its vehicle, Bloomberg reported.

"The Army has determined that the MGS is suitable and operationally effective," Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Martin Downie, told the financial news service.

Where there is no debate is in the lethality of the vehicle’s firepower.

But Soldiers in the middle of a tough counterinsurgency fight here in Diyala province say commanders are reluctant to use the vehicle’s lethal gun on enemy strongholds out of concern of killing or wounding civilians. As a result, many of the dozens of MGS vehicles go unused while precision air strikes have become increasingly prevalent -- along with the usual Soldier-driven raids.

That’s got MGS drivers here frustrated. Not only do they have to deal with a complex system that gives them fits, but when it is working, they’re not allowed to employ the vehicle in combat.

"You can kick down doors and risk losing our guys," Handrahan said. "Or I can just knock down the building from a [kilometer] away and call it a day."

DoD Cover-Up Alleged Over Helmet Fine
New York Post  |  February 04, 2008
Two whistleblowers claim that a $1.9 million fine leveled against their former bosses - who allegedly underweighted the bulletproof material in combat helmets to save money - is too measly and part of a Pentagon cover-up.

Jeff Kenner and Tamara Elshaug, who worked at the Sioux Manufacturing Corp. in North Dakota, had charged that their company was involved in the "underweaving" of the bulletproof fabric in more than 2 million "P.A.S.G.T." helmets handed out to National Guardsmen, Army Soldiers and Navy Sailors across the country.

With the help of Long Island lawyer Andrew Campanelli, the pair sued on behalf of the government, and each received $200,000.  The company - which has denied the allegations and said no U.S. Soldier was ever injured or killed as a result of the alleged underweaving - also was fined $1.9 million.

"The Department of Justice really did a good job, but I feel the Department of Defense is trying to cover up things," Kenner said, charging that the $1.9 million fine was less than the company had saved on shorting the Kevlar bulletproofing material in the helmets.

"Any time there's less Kevlar, there's less protection. The American people should know about this. It's just greedy people - it's all about money to them [the company]," Kenner said.

Despite the problems with shorting the lifesaving material, the Pentagon awarded a new $16 million to $72 million Kevlar helmet contract to the same firm, before the lawsuit was settled, said an incredulous Campanelli. Campanelli said that, before the settlement last month, someone fired three bullets into Elshaug's mobile home. One bullet pierced her stall shower but no one was injured. No arrest was made.

"It has the earmarks of a cover-up," the lawyer said of the shooting.

U.S. Attorney David Peterson said, "The matter was looked into, and a settlement was ultimately reached."

He declined to comment further.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 26, 2008, 09:17:00 PM
Geopolitical Diary: A Military Choice and Challenge for India?
February 27, 2008
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is visiting India. The most public issue between the two countries is the U.S. offer of civilian nuclear technology for India, despite the fact that New Delhi has declined to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. While this is not trivial, the most significant geopolitical dimension of the visit is the rumor that Gates plans to offer India the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, to be delivered when it is retired from the U.S. fleet in 2012. This rumor is persistent and widespread, though the Defense Department has strongly denied it. However, if the reports turn out to be true, such an offer would be an interesting and potentially effective U.S. move.

Related Link
India: Aircraft Carrier Dynamics
This would place the United States and Russia in competition with each other over India. In 2004, the Russians and Indians signed a deal under which New Delhi would acquire the Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov for $1.5 billion. But in 2007, the Russians surprised the Indians by raising their asking price. After intense negotiations, the Indians agreed to pay approximately $800 million extra. In return, the Russians agreed to improve the modernization package they had offered the Indians to include a new ski jump facility that would allow for the use of the Russian MiG-29. Given the potential aircraft sale, the Russians are ahead on the deal. However, as of Gates visit, the new agreement had not been signed.

If the rumors about a U.S. decision to offer the Kitty Hawk to India are true, the move clearly is designed to block the sale of the Gorshkov. An American and a Russian carrier in one fleet would create substantial problems for the Indians. Operating an aircraft carrier is one of the most complex military and engineering functions in the world. Having two different carriers made by two different countries housing two different sets of equipment separated not only by age but also by fundamentally different engineering cultures would create a hurdle that probably would be beyond anyone’s capability to manage — and certainly beyond India’s. If India wanted both carriers, it would have to sequence the acquisitions and have the second one rest on the lessons learned from the first.

So, Gates could be offering the Indians a choice and a challenge. The choice would be between U.S. carrier technology — which, even when obsolete by American standards, is the result of several generations of battle-tested systems — and a Soviet-era system that challenged the Soviet ship and aircraft designers. On that level, the choice would be easy.

But the potential U.S. offer also poses a challenge. India once was a historic ally of the Soviet Union and hostile toward the United States. After 9/11, U.S. and Indian interests converged. The United States offered India military technology, and the Indians bought a great deal of it. But as good as U.S. military technology is, each purchase increases Indian dependence on the United States for spare parts and support. It has not been easy shifting away from the Soviet weapons culture; years of training and a substantial Indian knowledge base rest on those weapons. If the Indians continue adopting American weapon systems, not only will they have to retrain and restructure their knowledge base, they also will get locked into American systems. And that locks them into dependence on the United States. If the United States were to cut the flow of weapons, parts and support, the Indians could be systematically weakened.

Buying the Gorshkov rather than the Kitty Hawk would give the Indians second-rank technology with fewer potential political strings. Since the Indians are not going to be challenging the American fleet, the Gorshkov might well suit their purposes and keep their non-American options open. This is where the Russian decision to renegotiate the Gorshkov’s price could hurt Moscow. The only reason to buy the Gorshkov instead of the Kitty Hawk is the perception of Russian reliability. But the Russians badly damaged this perception by renegotiating.

The Russians assumed that the Indians had no choice but to rework the deal. But the purpose of Gates’ visit could be to let India know that it does have a choice and that the Kitty Hawk is the safer option. If so, he will tell New Delhi that the Russians can’t be trusted. They have shown India how they will behave if they think it has no options. The United States isn’t going to be less trustworthy than that. And India doesn’t have to go with Russian carrier technology and aircraft; it can have U.S. carrier technology, an upgrade of the Kitty Hawk and F/A-18 battle-tested aircraft, trainers and advisers, rather than MiG-29s.

If Gates does make this case, the issue then will be whether the United States will permit some or all of the F/A-18s to be produced in India — something the Russians have permitted with other aircraft purchases. We suspect something could be worked out and U.S.-Indian relations will continue to develop if the Indian fear of being completely dependent on the United States can be overcome.

Title: From Gertz GPS/military
Post by: ccp on April 01, 2008, 05:13:55 PM
From Gertz,

Shut down GPS and the US military is stymied.


Return to
The Gertz File

March 28, 2008
Notes from the Pentagon

Denial and deception
China's military is using "denial" and "deception" to mislead the United States and other governments about its military strategy and buildup, according to Pentagon officials.

The topic is discussed in the latest Pentagon report on China's military power, which defines Chinese disinformation as "[luring] the other side into developing misperceptions ... and [establishing for oneself] a strategically advantageous position by producing various kinds of false phenomena in an organized and planned manner with the smallest cost in manpower and materials."

A Pentagon official, elaborating on the report, said "denial" by the Chinese is excessive secrecy "surrounding almost every part of the PLA," or People's Liberation Army, as the military is known.

Evidence of denial is difficult to pinpoint because, the official said, "we don't know what we don't know."

Deception often is discussed in Chinese military writings, including those based on ancient writings that discuss its use in helping weaker powers defeat stronger ones. The analogy is used by China to discuss how it would defeat the United States in a conflict.

Strategic deception is "producing or portraying something that is false as being true in an effort to confuse the adversary or set the conditions for surprise," the official said.

"Denial and secrecy is used to prevent outside observers from gaining real insights into investment priorities, capabilities and intentions which can serve to hide either weakness or strength," the official said.

China's tactical denial and deception include using electronic decoys, infrared decoys, false-target generators and angle reflectors during electronic warfare. They also include the use of traditional concealment, camouflage and deception by military forces.

Some senior U.S. intelligence officials dispute the Pentagon's assertion that China employs strategic and tactical denial and deception, arguing that Chinese communist-style disinformation is no different from what non-communist governments use. The issue is being debated internally.

GPS threat
U.S. military and intelligence officials say one reason China's anti-satellite missile test of January 2007 was so alarming is that it highlighted a major strategic vulnerability: the reliance of the U.S. military on Global Position System satellites.

If China used its ground-based mobile ASAT missiles to destroy GPS satellites, it would cripple the ability of the U.S. military to use some of its most important weapons, like satellite-guided precision missiles. Additionally, navigation of ground-, air- and sea-based forces would be almost completely halted.

"Shut down GPS and we're basically left with throwing rocks," said one U.S. military official.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, told reporters earlier this month that GPS also is vulnerable to electronic jamming.

"The Global Positioning System is literally ubiquitous," Gen. Hamel said. "I would argue that precise positioning and timing is the fundamental enabler of the information age. Being able to synchronize everything around the globe from timing and positioning is absolutely critical. Yet the only way that really functions is for user receivers to be able to collect the signal. Well, it is a very, very weak signal and it's very, it's relatively easy for commercial kind of devices and uses to be able to get disrupted."

Gen. Hamel said the military is considering how to protect GPS users. "We both want to improve the signals from the satellite, but you also have to improve the user equipment to be less susceptible and vulnerable," he said.

"Literally Radio Shack parts, together with a modicum of electrical engineering education, you can actually generate jamming and disruptive wave forms to particular types of GPS signals and user equipment," Gen. Hamel said.

Gen. Hamel said his command is building equipment for military users "that has greater protection and anti-jam capability to be able to deal with some of those kinds of threats," noting that it is not only satellites that need protection but user equipment as well.

A February 29 item entitled "Fight Over China" erroneously reported that Lonnie Henley, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, indirectly supported the unauthorized disclosure of intelligence to China by writing a letter to the sentencing judge in the criminal case of former DIA analyst Ron Montaperto. Mr. Henley sent a letter to the court attesting to Mr. Montaperto's character during the sentencing phase of the proceeding, a common procedure in criminal cases that does not suggest support for the underlying crime. Additionally, Mr. Montaperto pleaded guilty to a charge of mishandling classified documents -- not espionage.

# Bill Gertz covers national security affairs. He can be reached at 202-636-3274, or at
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on April 02, 2008, 06:52:34 AM
If you haven't yet read "Unrestricted Warfare", shame on you. Every American needs to grasp the concept. That doctrine is being used against us around the globe.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 02, 2008, 08:16:08 AM
CCP's posted piece is on a very important matter.  If, as has been known to happen before, the Pentagon is asleep at the switch on this, a lot of what we have is a giant Maginot Line for them.

GM:  Care to share the author, and give us a paragraph or two on what the book is about?
Title: Cyberspace
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 02, 2008, 09:22:36 AM
Continuing with this theme, , , ,

The new U.S. Air Force Cyber Command released its first statement of Strategic Vision on March 4. The document indicates the United States’ preparations for the challenges that lie ahead in cyberspace.

Now six months old, the provisional U.S. Air Force Cyber Command — which will stand up formally Oct. 1 — released its first Strategic Vision document March 4. It partially appears like something of a marketing document, but it offers important insights into the future structure of the new command.

Though the United States has been working under the radar to deal with cyber threats for more than a decade, and far longer in related fields such as signals intelligence and network warfare, the new Air Force command has been part of an increasingly public government and military acknowledgment of the challenges in this new arena. The Cyber Command is partially about consolidating the disparate specialties relevant to this field, which currently are spread across the Air Force.

Related Links
Cyber Command: The New Face of Warfare?

Hezbollah: The Deadly Cell Phone Ping?
Kosovo: The Potential for a Cyberwarfare Strike
Germany: Cracking Down on Cyber-Jihadists
Related Special Topic Page
U.S. Military Dominance
External Link
U.S. Air Force Cyber Command Strategic Vision Statement
Stratfor is not responsible for the content of other Web sites.
Highlighting the significance of this emerging issue, the U.S. intelligence community’s 2008 Annual Threat Assessment prominently featured cyber threats for the first time. The Pentagon’s 2008 Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of the People’s Republic of China also placed an increased emphasis on the threat posed by Beijing in this area in particular.

Fundamental to understanding this issue is grasping the cyber challenges ahead. The United States has a very impressive ability to function in and command cyberspace. But by no means does it enjoy the unquestioned military dominance it enjoys in so many other domains. The Pentagon’s systems come under attack on a daily basis. Furthermore, the United States is particularly reliant on the Internet (and thus vulnerable to cyber threats) for everything from personal banking to the functioning of the financial systems that manage the nation’s wealth.

The Cyber Command’s Strategic Vision statement shows the Air Force is making more than an overdue organizational shift. The statement is reflective of an intellectual and conceptual grasp of the challenges that lay ahead. Particularly relevant passages include:

“Controlling cyberspace is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains -– securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack.”
“Successfully controlling cyberspace creates the potential to achieve victory before a kinetic shot is fired. Our cyberspace capabilities will dissuade and deter potential aggressors, but if deterrence fails, our mastery of it will help to ensure that we prevail.”
“Cyberspace favors offensive operations.”
Despite the Air Force’s preparations, challenges lie ahead. Cyber warfare inherently entails operations on both sides of the traditional boundaries that have separated military functions from police functions. Though much has been done in the legal realm to accommodate this new reality since 9/11, cyberspace will continue to be a very difficult arena for the military to fight in legally, especially since some of the operations involved in cyber warfare must inherently be directed against civilian targets to be effective. Furthermore, establishing dominance in cyberspace is not a simple measure of troops, computers and the latest technology.

The most exceptionally skilled personnel — hackers — exist primarily outside traditional demographics for government and military service, and more likely than not have a strong distaste for authority and a distrust of government. There have been — and will continue to be — instances where the hacker community has been rallied in the interest of a nation, but they mostly do so out of their own inclination and interests. Harnessing these personnel and achieving the legal space to function without undue hindrance will be just two of the problems that still await Cyber Command.

Editor’s note: Stratfor is currently developing a featured series of analyses on cyberspace as battlespace. Look for it soon.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on April 02, 2008, 11:21:36 AM
China's stealth war on the U.S.

By Max Boot | Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu of the Chinese People's Liberation Army caused quite a stir last week when he threatened to nuke "hundreds" of American cities if the U.S. dared to interfere with a Chinese attempt to conquer Taiwan.

This saber-rattling comes while China is building a lot of sabers. Although its defense budget, estimated to be as much as $90 billion, remains a fraction of the United States', it is enough to make China the world's third-biggest weapons buyer (behind Russia) and the biggest in Asia. Moreover, China's spending has been increasing rapidly, and it is investing in the kind of systems — especially missiles and submarines — needed to challenge U.S. naval power in the Pacific.

The Pentagon on Tuesday released a study of Chinese military capabilities. In a preview, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Singapore audience last month that China's arms buildup was an "area of concern." It should be. But we shouldn't get overly fixated on such traditional indices of military power as ships and bombs — not even atomic bombs. Chinese strategists, in the best tradition of Sun Tzu, are working on craftier schemes to topple the American hegemon.

In 1998, an official People's Liberation Army publishing house brought out a treatise called "Unrestricted Warfare," written by two senior army colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This book, which is available in English translation, is well known to the U.S. national security establishment but remains practically unheard of among the general public.

"Unrestricted Warfare" recognizes that it is practically impossible to challenge the U.S. on its own terms. No one else can afford to build mega-expensive weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will cost more than $200 billion to develop. "The way to extricate oneself from this predicament," the authors write, "is to develop a different approach."

Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters).

Cols. Qiao and Wang write approvingly of Al Qaeda, Colombian drug lords and computer hackers who operate outside the "bandwidths understood by the American military." They envision a scenario in which a "network attack against the enemy" — clearly a red, white and blue enemy — would be carried out "so that the civilian electricity network, traffic dispatching network, financial transaction network, telephone communications network and mass media network are completely paralyzed," leading to "social panic, street riots and a political crisis." Only then would conventional military force be deployed "until the enemy is forced to sign a dishonorable peace treaty."

This isn't just loose talk. There are signs of this strategy being implemented. The anti-Japanese riots that swept China in April? That would be psychological warfare against a major Asian rival. The stage-managed protests in 1999, after the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, fall into the same category.

The bid by the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co., to acquire Unocal? Resource warfare. Attempts by China's spy apparatus to infiltrate U.S. high-tech firms and defense contractors? Technological warfare. China siding against the U.S. in the U.N. Security Council over the invasion of Iraq? International law warfare. Gen. Zhu's threat to nuke the U.S.? Media warfare.

And so on. Once you know what to look for, the pieces fall into place with disturbing ease. Of course, most of these events have alternative, more benign explanations: Maybe Gen. Zhu is an eccentric old coot who's seen "Dr. Strangelove" a few too many times.

The deliberate ambiguity makes it hard to craft a response to "unrestricted warfare." If Beijing sticks to building nuclear weapons, we know how to deal with that — use the deterrence doctrine that worked against the Soviets. But how do we respond to what may or may not be indirect aggression by a major trading partner? Battling terrorist groups like Al Qaeda seems like a cinch by comparison.

This is not a challenge the Pentagon is set up to address, but it's an urgent issue for the years ahead.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on April 02, 2008, 11:31:01 AM
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: ccp on April 04, 2008, 06:23:43 AM
Thanks GM

Interesting stuff.

My understanding from a career military person is the US military sees China as our number *one enemy*.  The remains of the former Soviet Union is no longer considered a serious threat.

My general undestanding is military electronic hardware is protected by three layers of defense.  If one layer is penetrated without authorization the other two automatically change configuration.  Assuming this is even remotely the case this still may not protect against a succesful intrusion by the patient, well placed spy who is on the "inside".

Who amongst us is our enemy pretending to be our friend?  Apparantly many more than we think. 

It is what my wife and I deal with on a daily basis with regards to her music lyrics that get stolen over and  over again.  There is simply no limit to who money can buy.  This is a fact I have learned the hard way.

How about celebrities who keep having their medical records stolen right out of the hospital only to show up in the National Enquirer?  As a doctor I could get fined or go to jail for such a breach.  Yet nothing happens to the Enquirer.  Why are not these people sent to jail for such an invasion to privacy.  So should the hospital employees for such unistakably deliberate acts IMO.  Not just lose their jobs.  Anyway I digress.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 21, 2008, 01:57:53 PM
The proliferation of a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles is on the rise, and questions remain about the U.S. Navy’s capability to confront the threat.

The supersonic anti-ship missile was a product of the Soviet Union’s need to challenge the U.S. Navy at sea. That speed was a brute-force way to punch through more technologically sophisticated U.S. shipboard defenses. In the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a few of these missiles and their platforms — essentially holdouts from the Soviet days — have begun to turn up in China. But a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles has begun appearing on the market, and their proliferation is on the rise.

The Threat
Anti-ship missiles have repeatedly proven their value. The HMS Sheffield (D80) was hit by a French-built Argentine Exocet in 1982 during the Falkland Islands War and later sank. The USS Stark (FFG-31) was crippled by a pair of Iraqi Exocets in 1987. And in 2006, the Israeli INS Hanit was struck by a Chinese-built C-802 (a design similar to the Exocet) during the Israeli conflict with Hezbollah. Both the Stark and the Hanit survived, but the missiles achieved what is known as a “mission kill.” In each case, though the crew was able to keep the ship afloat and limp back to port, the ship’s ability to effectively execute its missions was lost.

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Modern warships are no longer armored as they once were. In the cases above, the Exocet’s 360-pound warhead did not tear the ship apart. But it easily penetrated the steel hull and wreaked havoc on the ship’s internal spaces. Not all hits like this will be mission kills, but the odds of one are high — and increase if multiple missiles impact the hull.

This is where the new supersonics come in. Their capabilities vary, but they bring two things to this dynamic. First, by significantly reducing the reaction time for shipboard defenses, they increase the likelihood of a successful hit, especially in their sea-skimming variations. Second, their increased speed translates into increased kinetic destructiveness. Even if a missile is destroyed, its fragments can pepper the side of a ship.

The New Market
Three missiles in particular are poised to proliferate more widely:

The BrahMos: Taking its name from a combination of the names of India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moscow River, the BrahMos is the product of an Indian-Russian venture. Its design work can be traced to the Soviet Union’s fledgling SS-N-26. Begun in 1985, the design had already been through substantial testing by the time India joined the project. Probably neither the most technologically advanced nor the most maneuverable among the supersonic anti-ship missiles, the BrahMos is principally noteworthy for its availability. It is currently being inducted into service with the Indian military and could soon see a surge in proliferation, with Malaysia as the likely first export customer.
The AS-17 “Krypton”: A late-model air-launched missile with a number of air-to-air and air-to-surface roles, this ramjet-powered missile has already been copied by the Chinese, and the Kh-31A series is being used in an anti-ship role. Despite its significantly smaller warhead, the Krypton is noteworthy for its compact size. Su-30 “Flanker” fighter jets can carry four.
The SS-N-27 “Sizzler”: Another late Soviet design, the Sizzler family (known to the Russians as the “Club”) actually encompasses a series of anti-ship, ground attack and anti-submarine missiles. Occasionally known as the SS-N-27B, the anti-ship 3M54 version is of principal interest here, as it includes a sea-skimming supersonic terminal stage that travels at Mach 3 only some 20 feet above the ocean. It covers the last 10 miles of its flight in just over 20 seconds. The guidance systems of this particular missile may be more advanced, and it is thought to have considerable maneuverability in the terminal stage, making it harder to bring down. Its capability was highlighted by the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Timothy J. Keating, when he admitted in testimony before Congress on March 12 that this missile is “a very sophisticated piece of hardware and we are currently not as capable of defending against that missile as I would like.” Though it is not always clear that it is the supersonic variant being deployed, the Sizzler family of missiles has begun seeing significant levels of deployment aboard Russian-built Kilo-class submarines purchased by China and India and could be used on more of the Russian fleet as well. Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms-export monopoly, is increasingly marketing the missile as a package with these subs. Venezuela, Algeria and Libya could even find themselves in possession of this capability down the road.
The Defense
Armoring against this threat has not been a design choice for decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviets began to field supersonic anti-ship missiles with 2,050-pound warheads. This was not a problem to be solved with armor; in addition to the dramatic increase in shipbuilding costs, power plant capability requirements and fuel consumption involved, there was no way to harden a ship — including the superstructure — against such kinetic and explosive destructiveness.

Thus, the United States has long relied upon technology to prevent anti-ship missiles from impacting in the first place. The vaunted Aegis battle management system was designed to coordinate these defenses, which by all measures are quite good. But defenses must continually be cultivated, tested and refined.

For more than five years, voices in the Pentagon have been clamoring that this is not being done. The problem is targets. After the Soviet Union fell, a variation of the Krypton known as the MA-31 was sold to the United States as a supersonic target. However, the MA-31 never went into mass production, and the small inventory — which is almost depleted — is generally used in a high-altitude powered-dive role, rather than a sea-skimming role.

The GQM-163A “Coyote” supersonic sea-skimming target vehicle is currently in production, and the U.S. Navy plans to purchase nearly 40 of them by 2009. While the Coyote might be a near-term acquisition solution, it does not entirely approximate the Sizzler’s subsonic approach and supersonic terminal profile (the Defense Department calls this profile “Threat-D”), and the Pentagon has not had a good supersonic target for some time. Keating’s candor before Congress seems to reinforce the apparent fact that shipboard defenses are not being refined as highly as they could be.

The Problem
This is troubling on two fronts. First, the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan, which calls for a 313-ship fleet, remains in serious near-term question. Ship numbers are dropping, and the next-generation DDG-1000 guided-missile destroyer and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) are both over budget and behind schedule, while the number of attack submarines in the inventory continues to decline. This makes each individual hull more valuable.

But second, and more importantly, the U.S. Navy has long worked under the assumption that technologically advanced air defenses can provide sufficient protection from these threats. While it is clear that armor probably is not the solution for a navy already struggling to make ends meet in shipbuilding, the inability to prove upgraded shipboard defenses in representative live testing should be a matter of grave concern, especially since these threats may necessitate alterations to tracking software and engagement profiles.

The U.S. Navy retains its global maritime supremacy, and no other nation is in a position to even think about competing in the near term. But modern navies have repeatedly been stung by anti-ship missiles launched by lesser military powers. And this proliferation of a new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles promises that technologically advanced shipboard defenses have not been tested for the last time.

Title: Demise of the Green Berets?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 24, 2008, 05:35:14 AM,152...l?

Demise of the Green Berets?
Soldier of Fortune | Maj. Gen. James Guest, USA | April 16, 2008
For a glimpse into the future of Special Forces, read the Capstone Concept for Special Operations on the USSOCOM web site. Read through it carefully. Can you find the words "Special Forces" anywhere? Or "Special Forces group?" Can you find "ODA" (operational detachment - alpha)? Or "ODB" (operational detachment - bravo)? Or "Special Forces battalion?"

You can't find these words. We can read that as a strong signal that you won't be able to find Special Forces anywhere before very long. Many other signals suggest that the senior leadership in both United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Department of the Army (DA) are working to do away with the Green Berets. The generals at USSOCOM and in the Pentagon have been blurring the distinctions between Special Forces and special operations forces (SOF) units (Rangers, JSOC, SEALs, Delta, et al.) for some time. We now see references to "Air Force special forces," "Navy special forces," and "Marine special forces" but we rarely see the term "U. S. Army Special Forces." We do see "Army SOF," which only describes a grouping of forces, not a capability. We do see SF ODAs referred to as "special operations detachments," another sad precursor of the future.

The Capstone Concept for Special Operations being developed for USSOCOM includes the concept "global expeditionary forces," and all indications point to the intent to replace the SF groups with this new concept. The organizational charts are changing, too, and the plans are for these global expeditionary forces to work directly for USSOCOM worldwide in a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)-like configuration. Although the security assistance force (SAF) concept is a much more streamlined and effective mechanism for utilizing U. S. Army Special Forces-the SAF is regionally oriented and works directly for the combatant commander-it has been discarded. Is USA SF Being Eviscerated?

Is this a ploy to be able to take the ODAs and use them operationally without going through the group headquarters (HQ), including the group Special Forces operating bases (SFOB)? Since 1952, conventional force headquarters have attempted to neutralize Special Forces command and control by treating the group and battalion HQ as non-operational administrative units, the purpose of which is to maintain ODAs in order that conventional units, such as JSOC, can cherry-pick them to use as support for their own missions. Reportedly, SF troops are already under the operational control of JSOC. JSOC is using the Green Berets for JSOC's own ends, whether to gather intelligence for JSOC missions or to carry out "special missions" that, if successful, JSOC can take the credit for. You can imagine who will suck up the blame if such a "special mission" goes south.

How can Special Forces be neutralized in this way? If those who want to do away with the Green Berets are successful, they will need the full support of the senior leadership of the U. S. Army. Will they do away with the Special Forces officer branch? The Special Forces warrant officer branch? The Special Forces NCO career management fields (CMF)? To date, we merely have the unusual spectacle of a relatively small unit (USSOCOM)-however joint they may be-taking control of an entire United States Army branch.

The Army transferred control of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (SWC) and School from Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) in 1990. USASOC has since taken the combat developments capability out of SWC and made it a staff section of USASOC HQ. Bear in mind that this office is the heartbeat (perhaps also the brain) of the force developments and requirements process, and therefore has a major, if not controlling voice in all future concept development, acquisitions, organization, and support doctrine for Special Forces. This, in turn, impacts recruitment, promotions, training, and equipping the force; doctrinal studies and publications; and concept developments to support Special Forces. This also impacts U. S. Army psychological operations and civil affairs concepts and developments. Since this power node was moved from SWC to USASOC, SWC is now a pygmy in the lineup of U.S. Army schools. A harbinger of the future is the recent cut of 13 million dollars from the SWC budget.

Marine Specops Intrude
Another indication that SWC's leadership position in the unconventional warfare (UW) arena is disappearing is that on 27 June 2007, the USMC formally activated the Marine Special Operations School. The stated intent of the USMC senior leadership is that it will become "the premier FID [foreign internal defense] and Unconventional Warfare University in the entire SOF community."

Approval from USSOCOM was required for this duplication of effort, as well as for the above-quoted statement. There can be no true duplication for many years, if ever. The culture of the USMC will be even less amenable to the necessities of working with, through, and by indigenous people than the culture of the conventional Army. The Marines are a world-class service and a superb fighting force, but they are new to FID and new to unconventional warfare. Many a harsh lesson awaits them if they are going to try to replace the Green Berets. U. S. Army Special Forces has been increasing in proficiency and experience in counterinsurgency (COIN), FID, UW, and international security assistance missions for more than a half century.
Are the Marines willing to take the slots out of their own hide and form up more than 300 Special Forces-type operational detachments? Why would USSOCOM leaders be willing for the USMC to start this effort from scratch, when time is of the essence? Is USSOCOM willing to hand over U. S. Army Special Forces personnel authorizations to the USMC so they can become the premier FID and UW warriors of the future? Is somebody selling wolf tickets?

Specops Tactics Turned Upside Down
In the USSOCOM Capstone Concept, the TTP for conducting Special Forces operations are turned on their heads. This developing concept speaks in terms of pulling everything back to the continental United States (CONUS) and of deploying JSOC units in the same way as carrier battle groups (CBG) and Marine expeditionary units (MEU), instead of doing what has worked so well for so long for Special Forces. Look on pages 9 and 10 of the Capstone Concept, under "Global Expeditionary Force." While this concept would work for raids and other direct actions (such as JSOC, Rangers, SEALs, and USAF Special Tactics Teams are trained to conduct), if USSOCOM attempts to steal the mission of Special Forces by using this model, they will merely create a "roving gnome," who will soon be calling for backup. In short, the USSOCOM Capstone Concept totally ignores the demonstrated and historically successful Special Forces operational concept of working by, with, and through those we are helping.
As a result of more than fifty years of fine tuning, each Special Forces group now operates in its assigned region. Group HQ deploy joint combined exchange training (JCET) teams to enhance bilateral relations and interoperability with regional nations through military-to-military contact. These U. S. Special Forces JCET teams establish long-term relationships with indigenous personnel. They work to improve regional unit combat skills and observance of humanitarian requirements. They develop trust between host nations and the USA, with a program tailored to meet specific needs as identified by Green Berets on the ground. This capability will disappear with the Green Berets, and no SOF "shock-and awe" can replace it.

Armchair Specops
Compared to the lean organization of Special Forces, the USSOCOM model creates a bureaucracy with too many supervisors for too few workers, with the supervisors far away from the action. Money that would be better spent on the mission will be used for funding extra layers of chair-borne supervisors. Worse, an unwieldy organization will get in the way of accomplishing the mission. The men on the ground have a much better feel for what they need to do and how best to do it, while the top-down bureaucratic rigidity frustrates more than it facilitates.

Will these newly created bureaucratic slots be filled with Special Forces officers and NCOs? What do you think? The conventional officers who have risen to the highest ranks through their connections with JSOC, Delta, the Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the SEALs will be in charge. There is only one Special Forces officer (newly promoted) above the rank of major general, so, once again, Special Forces are being decapitated and will be under the ultimate command of those who have never gone through selection and assessment, never attended the SFOC, never served a tour on an ODA, and never served repeated assignments in a SFG(A).
The 2006 version of the USSOCOM Capstone Concept that we can access online does not show the new organizational charts that are presently proposed for the global expeditionary forces in the 2007 Capstone Concept. They are classified, but in the end there may be more than a dozen staff officers and NCOs for every soldier who will be assigned the mission on the ground. Reliable sources state that, even now, there are more than 130 (perhaps as many as 160) U. S. Army E-9s in Army special mission units assigned to JSOC. When that is compared with the 13 to15 E-9s in a Special Forces group, it does tend to raise eyebrows. What are they doing? According to the reports, thirteen of them are packing parachutes.
In April 2007, USSOCOM put out a 20-minute DVD celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Even though Special Forces personnel make up the greatest part of the USSOCOM forces, the U. S. Army Special Forces are never once mentioned in this DVD. Although Special Forces is the oldest force in USSOCOM and has been the USSOCOM workhorse since its inception, not one Green Beret is seen in the montage of photographs.

Colonel Banks is not mentioned in the historical overview, or General Yarborough, or General Healy. There is no reference to Colonel Bull Simons, to Colonel Charlie Beckwith, nor to General Joe Lutz. Yet without these men, the path to the present day in United States "special operations" would be difficult to imagine. Most amazingly, the DVD makes no reference to President John F. Kennedy, who supported the establishment of Special Forces in 1961.

Will Special Forces exist ten or twenty years down the road? What can we do to ensure the continuing existence and contribution of the Green Berets?
It is time to fight again, this time for the preservation of the force. If we do not protest the poor stewardship of the U. S. Army and USSOCOM leaders concerning U. S. Army Special Forces and its unique capability, we will certainly see this capability diminish.
Title: WSJ: Air Combat by Remote Control
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 12, 2008, 09:11:10 AM

Air Combat by Remote Control
May 12, 2008; Page A13

Indian Springs, Nev.

The sniper never knew what hit him. The Marines patrolling the street below were taking fire, but did not have a clear shot at the third-story window that the sniper was shooting from. They were pinned down and called for reinforcements.

Help came from a Predator drone circling the skies 20 miles away. As the unmanned plane closed in, the infrared camera underneath its nose picked up the muzzle flashes from the window. The sniper was still firing when the Predator's 100-pound Hellfire missile came through the window and eliminated the threat.

The airman who fired that missile was 8,000 miles away, here at Creech Air Force Base, home of the 432nd air wing. The 432nd officially "stood up," in the jargon of the Air Force, on May 1, 2007. One year later, two dozen of its drones patrol the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan every hour of every day. And almost all of them are flown by two-man crews sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of a "ground control station" (GCS) in the Nevada desert.

The Predator.
Col. Chris Chambliss, 49, was an F-16 pilot for 20 years before being tapped as the 432nd's first wing commander. He can tell you -- to the day -- the last time he flew an F-16 (March 29, 2007), but he insists he has no regrets about giving up his cockpit for the earthbound GCS of the Predator and its big sibling, the Reaper. "It's much more fun," Col. Chambliss admits, "to climb up a ladder and strap on an airplane than it is to walk into a GCS and sit down." But the payoff comes, he contends, in far greater effectiveness "in the fight."

"In that F-16 squadron that I was in," he says, "you'd come into that squadron for three years, and you might deploy once or twice for 120 days into the theater," but after 120 days, normal military rotations would require you to come back, rest and retrain. So in a three-year tour, an airman might be deployed for eight months or a year.

Col. Chambliss's Predator and Reaper squadrons don't have that problem. Out of 250 aviators, they might deploy eight of them to Iraq or Afghanistan at any given time to take off and land the planes -- a task that still has to be done locally. The rest of the pilots and crew men work shifts at Creech, flying for eight hours before handing the plane off to the next shift. This means that at any given moment a squadron of drones is using 80% of its assets in combat, compared to perhaps 30% for an F-16 squadron.

It's this effectiveness multiplier that led Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently to call on the Air Force to put every available Predator into the air in Iraq. But how we got here is itself a story of innovation and creative thinking going back more than a decade. It's a story that shows how even the military can do more with less, starting with the modestly priced $4.2 million airframe originally designed as a reconnaissance vehicle.

Predators were first deployed in Bosnia in 1996. At the time, they were limited to the line of sight of their base stations. But in 2003, two things happened to expand the range of possibilities by an order of magnitude. For one, the Air Force routed the signal from the satellite downlink via fiber-optics. This allowed them to put the ground control stations -- the cockpits -- anywhere in the world that a fiber connection was available. Also that year, as the Iraq invasion was gearing up, the Air Force decided to try strapping a Hellfire missile on the Predator, transforming it from a reconnaissance role into a multipurpose weapon.

Today, the Reaper, which went into service in Afghanistan last September (a year ahead of schedule), can carry nearly the same payload as an F-16 -- typically two 500-pound laser-guided bombs and four Hellfires.

These are early days for unmanned aerial warfare. The 432nd is only one year old, and its mission continues to evolve. The 42nd Attack Squadron -- the Reaper squadron -- is still young, and still small, with only enough men and equipment to keep two planes at a time in the skies over Afghanistan.

Col. Chambliss compares the situation to the early decades of manned flight. "You know how fast things went from the end of the First World War to the end of the Second World War, how aviation, the capabilities vastly increased. That's where we're sitting right now. . . . I have no doubt when I'm sitting in my rocking chair, a retired old guy, I will be sitting there going, 'You've got to be kidding me.'"

Mr. Carney is a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion
Title: WSJ: Larger Army
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 23, 2008, 07:27:39 AM
We Still Need a Larger Army
May 23, 2008

"That is the war we are in.
That is the war we must win."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is a plainspoken man, as befits his Texas roots. His words, quoted above, were about the war in Iraq. But as a remarkable series of recent speeches indicates, he intends to do what he can during the final months of his tenure to reorient the American military for the tasks of the "Long War."

This is long overdue. Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Gates' predecessor, famously lamented that you went to war with the force you had, not the one you'd like to have. Yet in the years since 9/11, the U.S. military still hasn't developed into the force that we need. To be sure, our soldiers have transformed themselves radically, painstakingly acquiring the arts of modern irregular warfare. But success in Baghdad and Kabul will be hard to sustain unless it is matched in Washington.

As Mr. Gates recognizes, the first order of business is to expand, restructure and modernize U.S. land forces. Unfortunately, the Bush administration's program – to grow the active Army and Marine Corps from the current 700,000 to about 750,000 in the next five years – is a Rumsfeld legacy and entirely inadequate. Regardless of the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will need a total active land force of something like one million soldiers and Marines.

The active duty portion of the U.S. Army needs to grow to about 800,000 soldiers. That's the size maintained during the 1980s and into the early 1990s, and it is a bare minimum for success in the many and varied missions that will be required in the future – missions that have ranged from "building partnership capacity" in West Africa to tracking down terrorists in Southeast Asia, as well as large-scale invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who believe that the need for such a force size will abate as troops are drawn down in Iraq should consider the larger pattern of American operations over the past generation. Since its creation in 1983, the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for operations in East Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, has demanded an ever-increasing American presence, a presence which has changed from being largely air and maritime to boots on the ground. That's the war we are in.

Repairing and reshaping the active Army is also key to restoring the Marine Corps to its traditional and still essential role as a sea-based contingency force. And it is critical in order to return the Army National Guard to a proper place as a national strategic reserve, and an operational force with state responsibilities. The Army is the keystone in the arch of America's land-force structure.

The Army brigade also needs to be reworked. Under a plan initiated in the late 1990s – and embraced by Mr. Rumsfeld as part of his program of defense transformation to "lighten" the Army by creating a larger number of smaller, "modularized" brigades – the personnel strength of an Army brigade was reduced to about 3,500. Yet in practice in Iraq and Afghanistan, as units scramble to secure additional mission-enabling capabilities, the total climbs to about 5,000 – roughly the strength of a premodularized unit. The current Bush expansion plan will not remedy the problem of having more but weaker units.

More important, the concept of the "tooth-to-tail ratio" needs to be revisited. For the past generation, military reformers looked at the support, headquarters and institutional base of the armed services, especially the Army, as overhead fat to be trimmed ruthlessly. But in an irregular warfare environment, the old tail – military police, engineers, civil affairs units, intelligence analysts, command-and-control nodes, military education and so on – is the new tooth.

Finally, the failure to modernize U.S. land-force equipment has stunted the ability of the Marines and Army to meet their new missions. The Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle provides a case in point. The Army also has not expanded its planned procurement of wheeled Stryker vehicles, nor accelerated the pace at which it is "networking" the force under the Future Combat Systems project.

There have been extraordinarily successful experiments suggesting that the effectiveness and survivability of dismounted infantry can be exponentially multiplied, even in a complex, urban environment. But the so-called Land Warrior program has been managed with peacetime lethargy rather than wartime urgency.

While there is a general bipartisan consensus that America's land forces are too small, there are big differences among the candidates about the size of the problem. Sen. John McCain, for example, has suggested that the active Army and Marine Corps should be increased to about 900,000. Sen. Barack Obama, by contrast, believes the Bush expansion plan is sufficient.

The limitations of America's land forces remain the most fundamental constraint on U.S. military strategy. Unless we begin now to restore and reshape the services to do what we have asked them to do, there will be tragic consequences: not that our Army and Marine Corps will be "broken," but that our nation will not win the war that it is in.

Messrs. Donnelly and Kagan are co-authors of "Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power," just published by AEI Press.
Title: USAF and the Next War
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 11, 2008, 03:53:38 PM

By George Friedman

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has fired the secretary of the Air Force and
the Air Force chief of staff. The official reason given for the firings was the
mishandling of nuclear weapons and equipment related to nuclear weapons, which
included allowing an aircraft to fly within the United States with six armed nuclear
weapons on board and accidentally shipping nuclear triggers to Taiwan. An
investigation conducted by a Navy admiral concluded that Air Force expertise in
handling nuclear weapons had declined.

Focusing on Present Conflicts
While Gates insisted that this was the immediate reason for the firings, he has
sharply criticized the Air Force for failing to reorient itself to the types of
conflict in which the United States is currently engaged. Where the Air Force
leadership wanted to focus on deploying a new generation of fighter aircraft, Gates
wanted them deploying additional unmanned aircraft able to provide reconnaissance
and carry out airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are not trivial issues, but they are the tip of the iceberg in a much more
fundamental strategic debate going on in the U.S. defense community. Gates put the
issue succinctly when he recently said that "I have noticed too much of a tendency
toward what might be called 'next-war-itis' -- the propensity of much of the defense
establishment to be in favor of what might be needed in a future conflict." This is
what the firings were about.

Naturally, as soon as the firings were announced, there were people who assumed they
occurred because these two were unwilling to go along with plans to bomb Iran. At
this point, the urban legend of an imminent war with Iran has permeated the culture.
But the Air Force is the one place where calls for an air attack would find little
resistance, particularly at the top, because it would give the Air Force the kind of
mission it really knows how to do and is good at. The whole issue in these firings
is whether what the Air Force is good at is what the United States needs.

There is a neat alignment of the issues involved in the firings. Nuclear arms were
the quintessential weapons of the Cold War, the last generation. Predators and
similar unmanned aircraft are part of this generation's warfare. The Air Force sees
F-22s and other conventional technology as the key weapons of the next generation.
The Air Force leadership, facing decades-long timelines in fielding new weapons
systems, feels it must focus on the next war now. Gates, responsible for fighting
this generation's war, sees the Air Force as neglecting current requirements. He
also views it as essentially having lost interest and expertise in the last
generation's weapons, which are still important -- not to mention extremely

Fighting the Last War
The classic charge against generals is that they always want to fight the last war
again. In charging the Air Force with wanting to fight the next war now, Gates is
saying the Air Force has replaced the old problem with a new one. The Air Force's
view of the situation is that if all resources are poured into fighting this war,
the United States will emerge from it unprepared to fight the next war. Underneath
this discussion of past and future wars is a more important and defining set of
questions. First, can the United States afford to fight this war while
simultaneously preparing for the next one? Second, what will the next war look like;
will it be different from this one?

There is a school of thought in the military that argues that we have now entered
the fourth generation of warfare. The first generation of war, according to this
theory, involved columns and lines of troops firing muzzle-loaded weapons in
volleys. The second generation consisted of warfare involving indirect fire
(artillery) and massed movement, as seen in World War I. Third-generation warfare
comprised mobile warfare, focused on outmaneuvering the enemy, penetrating enemy
lines and encircling them, as was done with armor during World War II. The first
three generations of warfare involved large numbers of troops, equipment and
logistics. Large territorial organizations -- namely, nation-states -- were required
to carry them out.

Fourth-generation warfare is warfare carried out by nonstate actors using small,
decentralized units and individuals to strike at enemy forces and, more important,
create political support among the population. The classic example of
fourth-generation warfare would be the intifadas carried out by Palestinians against
Israel. They involved everything from rioters throwing rocks to kidnappings to
suicide bombings. The Palestinians could not defeat the Israel Defense Forces (IDF),
a classic third-generation force, in any conventional sense -- but neither could the
IDF vanquish the intifadas, since the battlefield was the Palestinians themselves.
So long as the Palestinians were prepared to support their fourth-generation
warriors, they could extract an ongoing price against Israeli civilians and
soldiers. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict thus became one of morale rather than
materiel. This was the model, of course, the United States encountered in Iraq.

Fourth-generation warfare has always existed. Imperial Britain faced it in
Afghanistan. The United States faced it at the turn of the last century in the
Philippines. King David waged fourth-generation warfare in Galilee. It has been a
constant mode of warfare. The theorists of fourth-generational warfare are not
arguing that the United States will face this type of war along with others, but
that going forward, this type of warfare will dominate -- that the wars of the
future will be fourth-generation wars.

Nation-States and Fourth-Generation Warfare
Implicit in this argument is the view that the nation-state, which has dominated
warfare since the invention of firearms, is no longer the primary agent of wars.
Each of the previous three generations of warfare required manpower and resources on
a very large scale that only a nation-state could provide. Fidel Castro in the Cuban
mountains, for example, could not field an armored division, an infantry brigade or
a rifle regiment; it took a nation to fight the first three generations of warfare.

The argument now is that nations are not the agents of wars but its victims. Wars
will not be fought between nations, but between nations and subnational groups that
are decentralized, sparse, dispersed and primarily conducting war to attack their
target's morale. The very size of the forces dispersed by a nation-state makes them
vulnerable to subnational groups by providing a target-rich environment. Being
sparse and politically capable, the insurgent groups blend into the population and
are difficult to ferret out and defeat.

In such a war, the nation-state's primary mission is to identify the enemy, separate
him from the population and destroy him. It is critical to be surgical in attacking
the enemy, since the enemy wins whenever an attack by the nation-state hits the
noncombatant population, even if its own forces are destroyed -- this is political
warfare. Therefore, the key to success -- if success is possible -- is intelligence.
It is necessary to know the enemy's whereabouts, and strike him when he is not near
the noncombatant population.

The Air Force and UAVs
In fourth-generation warfare, therefore, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are one of
the keys to defeating the substate actor. They gather intelligence, wait until the
target is not surrounded by noncombatants and strike suddenly and without warning.
It is the quintessential warfare for a technologically advanced nation fighting a
subnational insurgent group embedded in the population. It is not surprising that
Gates, charged with prosecuting a fourth-generation war, is furious at the Air Force
for focusing on fighter planes when what it needs are more and better UAVs.

The Air Force, which was built around the concept of air superiority and strategic
bombing, has a visceral objection to unmanned aircraft. From its inception, the Air
Force (and the Army Air Corps before it) argued that modern warfare would be fought
between nation-states, and that the defining weapon in this kind of war would be the
manned bomber attacking targets with precision. When it became apparent that the
manned bomber was highly vulnerable to enemy fighters and anti-aircraft systems, the
doctrine was modified with the argument that the Air Force's task was to establish
air superiority using fighter aircraft to sweep the skies of the enemy and strike
aircraft to take out anti-aircraft systems -- clearing the way for bombers or,
later, the attack aircraft.

The response to the Air Force position is that the United States is no longer
fighting the first three types of war, and that the only wars the United States will
fight now will be fourth-generation wars where command of the air is both a given
and irrelevant. The Air Force's mission would thus be obsolete. Only nation-states
have the resources to resist U.S. airpower, and the United States isn't going to be
fighting one of them again.

This should be the key point of contention for the Air Force, which should argue
that there is no such thing as fourth-generation warfare. There have always been
guerrillas, assassins and other forms of politico-military operatives. With the
invention of explosives, they have been able to kill more people than before, but
there is nothing new in this. What is called fourth-generation warfare is simply a
type of war faced by everyone from Alexander to Hitler. It is just resistance. This
has not superseded third-generation warfare; it merely happens to be the type of
warfare the United States has faced recently.

Wars between nation-states, such as World War I and  World War II, are rare in the
sense that the United States fought many more wars like the Huk rising in the
Philippines or the Vietnam War in its guerrilla phase than it did world wars.
Nevertheless, it was the two world wars that determined the future of the world and
threatened fundamental U.S. interests. The United States can lose a dozen Vietnams
or Iraqs and not have its interests harmed. But losing a war with a nation-state
could be catastrophic.

The Next War vs. the War That Matters
The response to Gates, therefore, is that the Air Force is not preparing for the
next war. It is preparing for the war that really matters rather than focusing on an
insurgency that ultimately cannot threaten fundamental U.S. interests. Gates, of
course, would answer that the Air Force is cavalier with the lives of troops who are
fighting the current war as it prepares to fight some notional war. The Air Force
would counter that the notional war it is preparing to fight could decide the
survival of the United States, while the war being fought by Gates won't. At this
point, the argument would deadlock, and the president and Congress would decide
where to place their bets.

But the argument is not quite over at this point. The Air Force's point about
preparing for the decisive wars is, in our mind, well-taken. It is hard for us to
accept the idea that the nation-state is helpless in front of determined subnational
groups. More important, it is hard for us to accept the idea that international
warfare is at an end. There have been long periods in the past of relative
tranquility between nation-states -- such as, for example, the period between the
fall of Napoleon and World War I. Wars between nations were sparse, and the European
powers focused on fourth-generational resistance in their colonies. But when war
came in 1914, it came with a vengeance.

Our question regards the weapons the Air Force wants to procure. It wants to build
the F-22 fighter at enormous cost, which is designed to penetrate enemy airspace,
defeat enemy fighter aircraft and deliver ordnance with precision to a particular
point on the map. Why would one use a manned aircraft for that mission? The
evolution of cruise missiles with greater range and speed permits the delivery of
the same ordnance to the same target without having a pilot in the cockpit. Indeed,
cruise missiles can engage in evasive maneuvers at g-forces that would kill a pilot.
And cruise missiles exist that could serve as unmanned aircraft, flying to the
target, releasing submunitions and returning home. The combination of space-based
reconnaissance and the unmanned cruise missile -- in particular, next-generation
systems able to move at hypersonic speeds (in excess of five times the speed of
sound) -- would appear a much more efficient and effective solution to the problem
of the next generation of warfare.

We could argue that both Gates and the Air Force are missing the point. Gates is
right that the Air Force should focus on unmanned aircraft; technology has simply
moved beyond the piloted aircraft as a model. But this does not mean the Air Force
should not be preparing for the next war. Just as the military should have been
preparing for the U.S.-jihadist war while also waging the Cold War, so too, the
military should be preparing for the next conflict while fighting this war. For a
country that spends as much time in wars as the United States (about 17 percent of
the 20th century in major wars, almost all of the 21st century), Gates' wish to
focus so narrowly on this war seems reckless.

At the same time, building a new and fiendishly expensive version of the last
generation's weapons does not necessarily constitute preparing for the next war. The
Air Force was built around the piloted combat aircraft. The Navy was built around
sailing ships. Those who flew and those who sailed were necessary and courageous.
But sailing ships don't fit into the modern fleet, and it is not clear to us that
manned aircraft will fit into high-intensity peer conflict in the future.

We do not agree that preparing for the next war is pathological. We should always be
fighting this war and preparing for the next. But we don't believe the Air Force is
preparing for the next war. There will be wars between nations, fought with all the
chips on the table. Gates is right that the Air Force should focus on unmanned
aircraft. But not because of this war alone.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to
Title: US Aircraft Carriers
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 06, 2008, 07:21:37 AM
U.S.: To Kill a Carrier
Stratfor Today » July 2, 2008 | 1951 GMT

Patrick M. Bonafede/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)Summary
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is perhaps the greatest symbol of American military power. But this titan among ships possesses vulnerabilities.

Related Special Topic Pages
Tracking U.S. Naval Power
U.S. Military Dominance
Related Links
United States: The Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile Threat
The Limitations and Necessity of Naval Power
U.S.: Naval Dominance and the SSN
BAMS’ Role in Furthering U.S. Naval Dominance
Print Version
To download a PDF of this piece that was suggested by Stratfor Member Michael Kuzik, Click here.
If there is a single symbol of the military power of the United States and its global reach, it is the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Although capable of projecting immense striking power, these warships also possess inherent vulnerabilities.

The lead ship of the class, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), was laid down in 1968. The 10th and last of its class, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), will not be commissioned until 2009, more than four decades after the USS Nimitz. Built around a massive 4.5-acre flight deck and displacing more than 100,000 tons, the class represents the largest warships ever constructed.

This size allows the Nimitz-class to embark an air wing with more than 60 combat aircraft, comparable to the number of such aircraft in a small NATO member state’s entire air force. Even today, refinements in the composition of the carrier air wing and the maturation of precision-guided munitions now allow a single carrier air wing to hit the same target set that would have required more than six such wings at the end of the Cold War. In more than three decades of operational service, they have proven themselves again and again an invaluable tool of U.S. foreign policy and military operations.

Yet part and parcel of this immense size and impressive strike capacity is the inherent vulnerability of the modern U.S. aircraft carrier.

The Problem
The much-vaunted battleship was eclipsed by carrier-based airpower during World War II. The battleship’s vulnerability was inextricably tied to its design, which incorporated immense armor and massive guns. Such battleship designs were excellent for tasks like sinking the HMS Hood, but were poorly tailored to the era of torpedo bombers.

It is not that the battleship was obsolete — the final Iowa-class battleships were only finally stricken from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register in 2006 — but rather, the apex and decline of one era crossing the emergence and rise of the next era. The proof of this transition was provided by the massive naval battles of World War II.

No similar opportunity to observe carriers taking on the latest anti-ship technologies has emerged, though one loomed for most of the latter half of the 20th century in the prospect of a massive naval competition for the North Atlantic if war broke out in Europe between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Nevertheless, the rise of the latest generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles is unmistakably under way. Since the advent of the first anti-ship missiles, the United States has fought to defend its carriers. This was the proximate motivation for Aegis — the battle control system of Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. Designed to coordinate the defenses of a carrier battle group and defeat dozens and dozens of incoming Soviet anti-ship missiles (a mission for which it has never been tested in combat), Aegis is the embodiment of the fundamental vulnerability of the aircraft carrier.

One of the great technological achievements of the Cold War, Aegis symbolized the cutting edge of naval technology. To this day, it stands as perhaps the essential link in the U.S. Navy’s competitive technological advantage in battle. Nevertheless, it took this revolutionary development to attempt to defend against the already-extant threat of Soviet anti-ship missiles. Such technology has been around for decades now, and will only continue to proliferate and improve.

The Kill
More simply, the cost — both financial and technological — to defend the carrier from the threat is at least an order of magnitude more than the cost of threatening the carrier. This is particularly true in scenarios when numerous less-advanced anti-ship missiles are used in a bid to overwhelm qualitatively superior defenses.

The danger is not necessarily that enough missiles might get through to actually sink the carrier. Certainly, if just some of the 3,000 tons of aviation ordnance or the more than 2.5 million gallons of aviation fuel aboard a carrier were ignited, they might facilitate just that. Instead, the danger is that the missiles would achieve a “mission kill.” Sinking a warship and denying it the capacity to carry out its function — especially in wartime — is not the same thing. Good damage control may keep a crippled ship afloat, or even allow it to limp back to port. But this, by no means, suggests that the ship would be likely to stay in the fight. This is the mission kill.

In some ways, these considerations are especially critical in the case of an aircraft carrier. A carrier must be able to steer into the wind and maintain a steady course and speed to launch — and especially to recover — aircraft. A list to port or starboard that would be an annoyance to a surface combatant could quickly pose a much more significant problem for flight operations. The hangar deck and flight deck can be incredibly crowded with a full air wing embarked and flight operations under way. Taking any portion of the flight deck or even a single elevator out of commission could have a very real impact on the efficiency of those operations. Certain systems, such as the catapults and arresting gear, are absolute necessities. A strike that disables either of these systems makes the carrier a very expensive parking lot with a handful of helicopters able to enter the fight.

The Threat
A fully alert carrier strike group (CSG) with airborne early warning, combat air patrols and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) surveillance under way has the highest situational awareness one could hope to achieve on the high seas today, possessing an immense defensive capability at its highest state of readiness. It would be extremely difficult for a flight of aircraft armed with anti-ship missiles to penetrate that air cover, and even surface formations should be monitored from a great distance. (Indeed, in the open ocean, a CSG is not necessarily even easy to find in the first place, given the maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of most nations in the world.)

And yet this is not a posture that can be sustained efficiently or indefinitely. U.S. CSGs rarely are surrounded by open water in operations in the 21st century. Transiting the world’s narrow shipping lanes — from the straits of Malacca and Hormuz to the Suez Canal — and supporting missions from the comparatively cramped waters of the Persian Gulf or off the coast of Pakistan, the CSG necessarily opens itself to challenges for which it was not designed.

There is little room for these ships to maneuver in some of these choke points, and exercises have reportedly shown that swarming by large numbers of small craft might prove an effective means of overwhelming and penetrating shipboard defenses. Mining also is a potential concern. Meanwhile, the clutter of air and littoral traffic along the shore vastly complicates the security the open ocean affords, opening up opportunities for the use of shore-based anti-ship missiles or aircraft operating — until the last moment — inside foreign airspace. But even more important, these choke points and the complexities of anti-submarine warfare in the littoral environment open up opportunities for conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Such submarines do not have the endurance to hunt down a CSG in the open ocean, nor the ability to keep up if the CSG moves at speed. But they can be exceptionally quiet at a few knots while running on battery power and can loiter around sea lanes and choke points. Methods of attack available to them range from traditional mines and torpedoes to some of the most advanced anti-ship missiles in the world, all capable of being launched from below the surface. In October 2006, just such a submarine — in this case a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Song class (Type 039) — surfaced within 5 miles of the USS Kitty Hawk, well within range of both anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.

The utility of the carrier as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platform was once meaningful, although defending the carrier itself necessitated most of the ASW assets it carried. But the S-3 Viking, the last carrier-based fixed-wing ASW platform, was then “upgraded” to the S-3B — from which mission-specific ASW equipment was stripped at the turn of the century — and is being withdrawn from service. The MH-60R Seahawk is slated to become the only ship-based airborne ASW asset in the fleet, and it will count ASW among half a dozen other primary missions.

The U.S. Navy’s ASW capability has deteriorated in the face of more pressing missions relevant to the U.S.-jihadist war. Today, a P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft crew can deploy to the 5th Fleet and conduct few if any ASW exercises or patrols, focusing instead on supporting operations ashore in Iraq. Whether that was the right choice or not is irrelevant to this discussion. The fact of the matter is that ASW is a particularly delicate art that requires careful drilling — drilling that is not happening anywhere close to the scale of that during the Cold War years.

Meanwhile, China is reportedly refining an anti-ship ballistic missile especially tailored to target carriers off its coast. This change of aspect could present new challenges for shipboard defenses.

The claim that because a military asset is at risk, it is therefore obsolete is obviously false, and is certainly not the claim we are making here. One cannot argue that because the world’s surface warships can be shot at, they are obsolete. The immense power projection capability that the aircraft carrier brings to bear is undeniable. As a tool of global military dominance, it is invaluable. Like the battleship, its utility will extend far into the future beyond the apex of its era. However, its offensive value must be weighed against defensive requirements. What we are asking, instead, is this: In the age of proliferating supersonic anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and broad area maritime surveillance, has the long, slow decline of the age of the aircraft carrier already begun?
Title: Qatar and the C-17
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 22, 2008, 11:40:11 AM
Qatar, U.S.: A Strategic Aircraft Purchase
Stratfor Today » July 22, 2008 | 1824 GMT

Photo by USAF
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIISummary
Qatar inked a deal with Boeing Corp. for an unspecified number of C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters July 21 with deliveries expected to begin in 2009. This purchase of a tool of global reach is noteworthy, and likely reflects both Boeing’s intense effort to keep its C-17 production line open and Qatar’s strategic thinking.

Related Special Topic Page
U.S. Military Dominance
Boeing Corp. announced the sale of an unspecified number of C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters to Qatar on July 21. Deliveries are reportedly expected in 2009. Though few details were given, the acquisition of such a platform — a tool of global reach — warrants closer examination.

The C-17 first became operational with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in 1995, though its design heritage dates back to the 1980s and the Cold War. Though its development was troubled, delayed and over budget, the C-17 is now considered a very capable transport aircraft. (Its maximum payload weight is four times that of the venerable C-130 Hercules.) With only just over a decade in Air Force service, some airframes have already exceeded their initial service life, racking up in excess of 90,000 hours.

The increased strain of global operations since 9/11, including Iraq and especially Afghanistan, has thrown the metrics of the late 1990s in terms of expected military airlift requirements out the window (something further compounded by the expansion now under way of the U.S. Army and Marines by 90,000 members).

But though the Air Force has ordered some additional airframes, Boeing still faces the closure of its C-17 production line in Long Beach, Calif., in the next few years. Boeing thus has been pitching the C-17 not only to the U.S. Congress bypassing the Air Force), but to allies abroad.

Deliveries of a handful of C-17s already have taken place or are under way to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and NATO (all not coincidentally feeling the strain of sustaining forces in Afghanistan). But Qatar — a country with fewer citizens than the United States has active duty military personnel — obviously represents a sale to a U.S. ally of a different caliber.

Yet strangely, the move makes a bit of sense. The sprawling Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is no stranger to U.S. C-17s. According to Boeing, Qatar also will sign a contractor logistics support agreement with the Air Force — meaning the Pentagon can place a fairly high degree of confidence in the state of maintenance of Qatar’s C-17s.

This is no small point. Compared to the other U.S. allies that have invested in the C-17, Qatar’s global military footprint is minuscule. Qatar is not about to become a global player militarily; its might beyond the Middle East is economic in nature.

Though Qatar Airways is making massive investments in civilian airliners (both passenger and freight models), the C-17 deal was signed with Doha directly and explained in terms of the Qatar Armed Forces. The C-17 is optimized for military considerations like landing at austere, basic airfields and for carrying heavy armored vehicles. Freight variants of civilian designs like the Boeing 777 are generally better suited for commercial air freight, especially palletized freight. Even so, it would not necessarily be surprising to see Qatar occasionally contract its C-17s for outsized custom air transport needs, perhaps even orchestrated through Qatar Airways.

But the real underlying attraction is geopolitical. By choosing to invest in the C-17, Qatar will hold a military capability that can be incredibly valuable to the Pentagon in a crisis. This gives Doha an additional card to play, and maybe a modicum of influence (just as allowing major U.S. basing from its territory does) in potential U.S. operations in which Qatar feels it has a national interest.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 10, 2008, 12:26:13 AM

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday that he will withdraw up to 8,000
troops from Iraq before he leaves office.  At the same time, he intends to increase
the number of troops in Afghanistan. The reduction in forces will begin in November.
A Marine battalion will be withdrawn and its replacement will be sent to Afghanistan
instead. Then an Army brigade plus support troops will be withdrawn and not
replaced, bringing the total withdrawn to about 8,000 troops. That means that the
number of troops in Iraq when Bush leaves office will be slightly higher than when
the surge began.

There are two reasons for the withdrawal. First, there is clearly the need for
additional troops in Afghanistan. The situation there is deteriorating because the
Taliban have gained strength over recent years and because the number of troops
there is insufficient to defeat them or even to guarantee that at some point the
Taliban won't be able to inflict substantial regional defeats on U.S. and NATO
forces. Reinforcements have to be sent, and the primary pool of available forces is
either in Iraq or scheduled to go there.

Secondly -- and this is an objective and not partisan observation -- there is an
election going on in the United States, and the president wants John McCain to win.
That means that he must reinforce McCain's assertion that the surge has worked by
withdrawing at least some forces. The argument that the surge has succeeded is not
compatible with the argument that force levels can't be reduced. So between
Afghanistan and the election, some reduction was necessary.

What is interesting is that only an 8,000-troop reduction is being  proposed. Bush
is following the recommendation of Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded U.S. forces in
Iraq and who, as U.S. Central Command chief, is now responsible for both Iraq and
Afghanistan. Petraeus is clearly uncomfortable with the state of things in Iraq. He
has said as much. The tensions within the Iraqi government are substantial, and if
they are not resolved, some of the factions may choose to resume the civil war.
Relations with Iran remain unclear, and in spite of some assurances that the
Iranians no longer have the kind of clout they used to with Iraqi Shiite militias,
that is a hypothesis that might be true but no one wants to see tested. Iraq remains
a priority over Afghanistan; its status is improved but uncertain, and the bulk of
U.S. forces remain committed to Iraq.

The problem the next president will face is that the U.S. military will be dealing
with more than reinforcing Afghanistan while maintaining stability in Iraq. U.S.
forces are also facing the much larger question, as we have discussed, of how to
deal with Russia after Georgia. This administration continues to discuss including
Georgia and Ukraine in NATO. We do not think this will happen, as European members
will block it, but NATO has already included the Baltic countries at a time when
NATO couldn't imagine an assertive Russia. Now, the United States and others have
made military guarantees to defend the Baltics but have not allocated the forces
needed to deter hypothetical Russian moves. We do not know that the Russians will do
anything there, but the point of deploying forces is to deter such an action. Put
simply, the United States cannot put the forces on the ground in the Baltics to act
as that deterrent.

There is a broader issue, however. The Russians and the Venezuelans are talking
about naval maneuvers in the Caribbean while U.S. warships are in the Black Sea.
The Russo-Venezuelan exercises cannot be taken seriously militarily, and it is
unlikely that the United States will try to get aggressive in the closed waters of
the Black Sea. That said, it is unclear what Russian capabilities and intentions
will be in five to 10 years, and it takes at least that long to enhance naval power
for the United States. If there is to be a competition with the Russians at sea,
Washington will need to budget more money for anti-submarine warfare systems,
enhanced anti-missile systems on more vessels and so on. These are systems that the
United States has and is funding, but not with a sense of urgency.

It will be for the next administration to determine how serious the Russians are
going to be in a decade. But the U.S. Navy is certainly going to try to lay claim to
a greater budget share, while NATO and U.S. troops in Europe may no longer appear to
be an anachronism. Keeping substantial forces in Iraq, building up forces in
Afghanistan, reinforcing NATO and funding faster and deeper naval development are
not possible within the current Defense Department budget. Something has to give,
and that is either some of these commitments or the budget.  President Obama or
President McCain will have an interesting opening act.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 27, 2008, 03:03:38 PM

Army to Test Air Burst Weapon for Joes

September 26, 2008|by Christian Lowe

For once it seems the Army is actually turning fiction into science.
After nearly a decade in the shadows -- with billions spent on earlier versions long since abandoned -- the Army is moving quickly to field a revolutionary new weapon to Joes a lot sooner than anyone had ever imagined.

It's a weapon that can take out a bad guy behind a wall, beyond a hill or below a trench, and do it more accurately and with less collateral damage than anything on the battlefield today, officials say. It's called the XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon, and by next month the service will have three prototypes of the precision-guided 25mm rifle ready for testing.

A 'leap ahead' in lethality

"We've done a lot of testing with this, and what we're seeing is the estimated increase in effectiveness is six times what we'd be getting with a 5.56mm carbine or a grenade launcher," said Rich Audette, Army Deputy Project Manager for Soldier weapons.

"What we're talking about is a true 'leap ahead' in lethality, here. This is a huge step," Audette added during a phone interview with from his office at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

 Born of the much-maligned and highly-controversial Objective Individual Combat Weapon -- a 1990s program that sought a "leap ahead" battle rifle that combined a counter-defilade weapon with a carbine -- the XM25 only recently gained new momentum after the Army formalized a requirement and released a contract in June for a series of test weapons.

Infantry weapons to date have permitted fighters to shoot at or through an obstacle concealing enemy threats, but the Army for years has been trying to come up with a weapon to engage targets behind barriers without resorting to mortars, rockets or grenades -- all of which risk collateral damage. After fits and starts using a 20mm rifle housed in a bulky, overweight, complicated shell, technology finally caught up to shave the XM25 from 21 pounds to a little more than 12 pounds.

If the XM25 does what its developers hope, it will be able to fire an air-bursting round at a target from 16 meters away out to 600 meters with a highly accurate, 360-degree explosive radius.
"This should have the same impact as the incorporation of the machine gun" into infantry units, said Andy Cline, product director for the XM25.

The XM25 is about as long as a collapsed M4, weighs about as much as an M16 with an M203 grenade launcher attached and has about as much kick as a 12-gauge shotgun, said Barb Muldowney, Army deputy program manager for infantry combat weapons.
The semi-auto XM25 comes with a four-round magazine, though testers are looking at whether to increase the capacity to as much as 10 rounds.

A 'smart' weapon

Brains are what really makes this Buck Rogers gun work -- it has them. The weapon combines a thermal optic, day sight, laser range finder, compass and IR illuminator with a fire-control system that wirelessly transmits the exact range of the target into the 25mm round's fuse before firing.

A Soldier can aim the XM25 at a wall concealing a sniper, for example, but "dial in" or adjust the distance by an additional meter above the target. When fired, the Alliant Teksystems-built round will explode above the enemy's position, essentially going around the obstruction, Muldowney said.

"It's so accurate, that when I laze to that target I'm going to be able to explode that round close enough that I'm going to get it," Audette added.
The service hopes to field several other types of 25mm rounds for the XM25, including ones for breaching doors, piercing vehicle armor and non-lethal air-bursting and blunt-impact rounds.

Testers at Picatinny plan to put the XM25 through its paces over the next several months, certifying it as safe for a Soldier to operate and tinkering with the weapon's effectiveness and durability.

The weapon costs about $25,000 each, but experts were quick to point out that a fully-loaded M4 for optics and pointers costs pretty close to $30,000. Each ATK-made 25mm round costs about $25.

Testing next year

As Heckler and Koch, makers of the weapon itself, and L3 Communications -- which makes the fire control system -- crank out more weapons, the Army plans to push an initial batch of test weapons out to the field beginning in March 2009. That could include the first use of such a weapon in combat, Cline said.

If all goes according to plan, the first fully-equipped infantry units could have their first XM25s in hand by 2014, far sooner than the Army's small arms community had predicted even last year.

The program "came very close to ending," Audette explained. "But the Army took a look at all the work that was done -- and the testing that projected the kind of lethality increase that we could get -- and they said 'we've got to do this.' "
Title: Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 04, 2008, 06:54:48 PM
A top national-security adviser to Barack Obama said he expects military spending during a Democratic administration wouldn't drop, a key concern for a defense industry that is accustomed to growing Pentagon budgets and anxious about potential cutbacks.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama arrives at a rally at Michigan State University in East Lansing on Thursday.
Richard Danzig, a U.S. Navy secretary during the Clinton administration and a leading contender to be the secretary of Defense in an Obama administration, said he doesn't "see defense spending declining in the first years of an Obama administration. There are a set of demands there that are very severe, very important to our national well-being." U.S. defense spending has risen at a steady clip throughout the Bush administration.

Regardless of whether Sen. Obama or his Republican rival, John McCain, is elected, the winner will have little time to tweak details in the fiscal 2010 budget between assuming office in late January and submitting the budget in February. A new administration normally takes months to get new appointees in key jobs, and the Pentagon budget is among the most complex and politically contentious in the federal government.

Mr. Danzig, speaking at a Defense Writers Group breakfast Thursday in Washington, said that Sen. Obama would make sure that the Pentagon doesn't become overly focused on fighting guerrillas and terrorists at the expense of traditional air and sea power. "I think the temptation is to invest in the issue du jour or the cause du jour and to overlook a lot of basics," Mr. Danzig said. At the same time, there will be a focus on "cyber warfare" and unmanned aerial vehicles, he said.

With the election just over a month away, defense-industry executives are hungry for information from either camp. "There is less detail and specifics than there has been in some past elections," said one defense-industry official. While Sen. McCain has a long track record of being tough on defense contractors' waste as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- which he highlighted in the debate Sept. 26 -- Sen. Obama hasn't dealt with those issues.

Randy Scheunemann, a top foreign-policy adviser to Sen. McCain, said in an email that "Sen. Obama has no credibility on defense, while Sen. McCain has firsthand familiarity with national-security issues for decades."

Generally, Mr. Danzig was critical of the weapons-buying process during the past eight years. "The record of this administration in the acquisition area in terms of overruns and the like has been quite poor," said Mr. Danzig. "You need to come to grips with affordability issues and the requirements process."

He also singled out the Army's $160 billion-plus Future Combat Systems modernization plan led by Boeing Co. and SAIC Inc., as well as a program to develop a missile-defense system that includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., as efforts that are worthy but in need of a "serious scrub."

Mr. Danzig said that controlling costs is crucial. One way to do that may be to shift the Pentagon's focus to buying greater numbers of less-sophisticated weapons systems. "I think industry can live with this, even embrace it," he said.

One of the thorniest weapons-buying issues awaiting either presidential nominee is the award of a more than $40 billion contract to replace the nation's fleet of aging aerial-refueling tankers. Last month, the Defense Department abandoned plans to award the work to either Northrop or Boeing after a political and legal fight. Mr. Danzig said the companies need a level playing field when dealing with the Air Force, as well as on issues such as a dispute between the U.S. and Europe over commercial-aircraft-development subsidies. As a candidate, Sen. Obama doesn't have a view about which company should win, Mr. Danzig said.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 30, 2008, 05:10:35 AM

For years, the military has been roiled by a heated internal debate over what kind of wars it should prepare to fight.

One faction, led by a host of senior officers, favors buying state-of-the-art weapons systems that would be useful in a traditional conflict with a nation like Russia or China. The other side, which includes Defense Secretary Robert Gates, believes the military should prepare for grinding insurgencies that closely resemble the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Getty Images
SFC Thomas Wright scans the hills for signs of Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.
The dispute has long been largely academic, since the soaring defense budgets in the years since the September 2001 terror attacks left plenty of money for each side's main priorities.

That is beginning to change, a casualty of the widening global financial crisis. With the economy slowing and the tab for the government's bailout of the private sector spiraling higher, Democratic lawmakers are signaling that Pentagon officials will soon have to choose which programs to keep and which to cut. In the long and unresolved debate about the military's future, a clearer vision of how best to defend America will emerge -- but not without one side ceding hard-fought ground.

"The services are used to the old approach, with everyone getting everything. But there's not enough money," says Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the Hawaii Democrat who heads the Air and Land Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. "The due bill is finally coming in."

The two competing schools of thought each warn that making the wrong decisions now could imperil U.S. national security down the road. The military officials who favor buying advanced weapons believe that failing to invest in those systems today could leave U.S. forces ill-equipped to fight a modernized Russian or Chinese military in the future. Conversely, advocates of expanding the size of the ground forces argue that the military will be unable to meet the troop demands of the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to say nothing of conflicts elsewhere in the world, unless the Army and Marines recruit tens of thousands of additional troops.

The final decision will ultimately fall to the next administration, which will have to prioritize how to divvy up what may be a significantly smaller defense budget. Neither the Obama nor the McCain campaign has tipped its hand on whether to focus on asymmetric conflicts like Iraq or possible large-scale conventional wars.

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Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor during flight tests
In Congress, however, the wheels are already in motion. Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who controls the congressional purse strings for defense issues, startled Pentagon officials recently when he said that longstanding plans to recruit more soldiers and Marines would need to be scaled back or canceled.

Mr. Abercrombie, meanwhile, has fought to cut funding from the Army's flagship weapons program, the $160 billion Future Combat Systems initiative, and says he hopes to pare it back next year, even after the program recently received full funding.

"I think we should focus on the troops who are in the field today, not on some Star Wars technology that may never work," he says.

U.S. policy makers have generally preferred to buy advanced weapons, believing that the American technological edge contributed to the U.S. victory in the Cold War and to the speedy defeat of Saddam Hussein's military in the first and second Iraq wars. The approach continues to attract enthusiastic adherents, particularly within the ranks of the various armed services themselves.

Despite terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and insurgency warfare abroad, supporters argue that it is far too soon to conclude that U.S. forces will never fight a conventional war again. They note that China, which has been dramatically expanding its military, still could target Taiwan, a close U.S. ally, if the island declares independence. They also note that Russia's recent invasion of Georgia showed that the U.S. might one day have to fight Moscow on behalf of American allies like Poland and Ukraine.

"Should we simply wish away China's increasing muscle, or a resurgent Russia's plans for a fifth-generation fighter that would surpass our top-of-the-line jet, the F-22 stealth fighter?" Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap wrote in an op-ed piece this year.

The other side in the debate argues that the enthusiasm for advanced weapons systems is misplaced. This faction, which includes Mr. Gates and many lawmakers, argues that a battery of expensive weapons are useless in counterinsurgency conflicts like Iraq, which pit U.S. forces against lightly armed but dogged foes. They say history is replete with examples of powerful militaries that were ultimately defeated by guerrilla fighters.

"The Chinese, Vietnamese, Sandinistas, Hezbollah, Palestinians and Chechnyans all triumphed over forces with superior military power," retired Marine officer Thomas X. Hammes wrote in "The Sling and the Stone," a 2006 book widely read in military circles. "The superior technology of the losers did not prove to be a magic solution."

The two sides have traded muffled potshots at each other for months. In a speech in May, Mr. Gates accused some military officials of "next-war-itis," which shortchanges current needs in favor of advanced weapons that might never be needed. The comment prompted some in the defense community, especially in the Air Force, to quietly chide Mr. Gates for "this-war-itis," a short-sighted focus on the present that could leave the armed forces dangerously unprepared down the road.

For the most part, soaring defense budgets have long kept Pentagon officials from having to settle the debate. For 2009, the Pentagon's base budget is $512 billion, which is up almost 7% from 2008 and at a historic level. Last year, supplemental spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added more than $100 billion to the Pentagon's coffers.

With lawmakers talking openly of cutting back the defense budget, however, policy makers may soon have to make some difficult trade-offs.

"A lot of the key problems and questions that were already there had been kicked down the road, and they can't be kicked down the road any further," said Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

One of the thorniest issues is how many ground forces the U.S. military should have. Mr. Gates said last year that he wants to add 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 Marines by 2012. President George W. Bush has endorsed the idea and regularly champions it in public remarks about the military.

But the idea is running into growing resistance on Capitol Hill. Mr. Murtha says the Pentagon won't be able to afford more soldiers and Marines, and needs to take better care of the troops it has.

"This is not academic anymore," he says. "This is the direction the budget is going to have to go."

Mr. Murtha believes that the military needs to focus instead on getting U.S. ground forces back in fighting shape for possible future operations against strategic threats like China and Russia.

"If you want to deter a war, you've got to be prepared," he says.

Replacing the weapons and vehicles that have been worn down after years of service in Iraq and Afghanistan will be expensive. Mr. Murtha, a supporter of some of the military's most advanced weapons, estimates the "reset" cost for the armed forces at $100 billion or more.

Mr. Gates, for his part, believes that curtailing the growth of the ground forces would be a "mistake," according to Pentagon spokesman Greg Morrell.

"Secretary Gates firmly believes that growing the Army and Marine Corps is essential to our national security," Mr. Morrell says. He adds that defense officials acknowledge that the Pentagon has "probably hit our high-water mark" in terms of defense spending, and that some cutbacks are inevitable.

One X-factor is the fate of Mr. Gates himself, who is being actively courted by advisers to both presidential candidates. Mr. Gates, who has a stopwatch in his suitcase ticking down to the end of the Bush administration's tenure, has said he is unlikely to stay on. But the defense chief is always careful to leave himself some wriggle room.

"Well, let me just say that I'm getting a lot more career advice and counseling than I might have anticipated," he told reporters earlier this month, laughing. "I think I'll leave it at that."

If Mr. Gates remains in his job for at least a year, that would leave him in a position to help settle, once and for all, the military's internal debate about its priorities.

Write to August Cole at and Yochi J. Dreazen at

Title: The NY Times?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 16, 2008, 08:19:08 AM
Apart from kittying out on the missile defense in Poland and Czech, this is not what I would have expected from the NY Times , , ,

A Military for a Dangerous New World
Published: November 15, 2008
NY Times editorial
As president, Barack Obama will face the most daunting and complicated national security challenges in more than a generation — and he will inherit a military that is critically ill-equipped for the task.

Troops and equipment are so overtaxed by President Bush’s disastrous Iraq war that the Pentagon does not have enough of either for the fight in Afghanistan, the war on terror’s front line, let alone to confront the next threats.

This is intolerable, especially when the Pentagon’s budget, including spending on the two wars, reached $685 billion in 2008. That is an increase of 85 percent in real dollars since 2000 and nearly equal to all of the rest of the world’s defense budgets combined. It is also the highest level in real dollars since World War II.

To protect the nation, the Obama administration will have to rebuild and significantly reshape the military. We do not minimize the difficulty of this task. Even if money were limitless, planning is extraordinarily difficult in a world with no single enemy and many dangers.

The United States and its NATO allies must be able to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan — and keep pursuing Al Qaeda forces around the world. Pentagon planners must weigh the potential threats posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, an erratic North Korea, a rising China, an assertive Russia and a raft of unstable countries like Somalia and nuclear-armed Pakistan. And they must have sufficient troops, ships and planes to reassure allies in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The goal is a military that is large enough and mobile enough to deter enemies. There must be no more ill-founded wars of choice like the one in Iraq. The next president must be far more willing to solve problems with creative and sustained diplomacy.

But this country must also be prepared to fight if needed. To build an effective military the next president must make some fundamental changes.

More ground forces: We believe the military needs the 65,000 additional Army troops and the 27,000 additional marines that Congress finally pushed President Bush into seeking. That buildup is projected to take at least two years; by the end the United States will have 759,000 active-duty ground troops.

That sounds like a lot, especially with the prospect of significant withdrawals from Iraq. But it would still be about 200,000 fewer ground forces than the United States had 20 years ago, during the final stages of the cold war. Less than a third of that expanded ground force would be available for deployment at any given moment.

Military experts agree that for every year active-duty troops spend in the field, they need two years at home recovering, retraining and reconnecting with their families, especially in an all-volunteer force. (The older, part-time soldiers of the National Guard and the Reserves need even more).

The Army has been so badly stretched, mainly by the Iraq war, that it has been unable to honor this one-year-out-of-three rule. Brigades have been rotated back in for second and even third combat tours with barely one year’s rest in between. Even then, the Pentagon has still had to rely far too heavily on National Guard and Reserve units to supplement the force. The long-term cost in morale, recruit quality and readiness will persist for years. Nearly one-fifth of the troops — some 300,000 men and women — have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan reporting post-traumatic stress disorders.

The most responsible prescription for overcoming these problems is a significantly larger ground force. If the country is lucky enough to need fewer troops in the field over the next few years, improving rotation ratios will still help create a higher quality military force.

New skills: America still may have to fight traditional wars against hostile regimes, but future conflicts are at least as likely to involve guerrilla insurgencies wielding terror tactics or possibly weapons of mass destruction. The Pentagon easily defeated Saddam Hussein’s army. It was clearly unprepared to handle the insurgency and then the fierce sectarian civil war that followed.


Page 2 of 2)

The Army has made strides in training troops for “irregular warfare.” Gen. David Petraeus has rewritten American counterinsurgency doctrine to make protecting the civilian population and legitimizing the indigenous government central tasks for American soldiers.

The new doctrine gives as much priority to dealing with civilians in conflict zones (shaping attitudes, restoring security, minimizing casualties, restoring basic services and engaging in other “stability operations”) as to combat operations.

Every soldier and marine who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan has had real world experience. But the Army’s structure and institutional bias are still weighted toward conventional war-fighting. Some experts fear that, as happened after Vietnam, the Army will in time reject the recent lessons and innovations.

For the foreseeable future, troops must be schooled in counterinsurgency and stability operations as well as more traditional fighting. And they must be prepared to sustain long-term operations.

The military also must field more specialized units, including more trainers to help friendly countries develop their own armies to supplement or replace American troops in conflict zones. It means hiring more linguists, training more special forces, and building expertise in civil affairs and cultural awareness.

Maintain mobility: In an unpredictable world with no clear battle lines, the country must ensure its ability — so-called lift capacity — to move enormous quantities of men and matériel quickly around the world and to supply them when necessary by sea.

Except in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has reduced its number of permanent overseas bases as a way to lower America’s profile. Between 2004 and 2014, American bases abroad are expected to decline from 850 to 550. The number of troops permanently based overseas will drop to 180,000, down from 450,000 in the 1980s.

Much of the transport equipment is old and wearing out. The Pentagon will need to invest more in unglamorous but essential aircraft like long-haul cargo planes and refueling tankers. The KC-X aerial tanker got caught up in a messy contracting controversy. The new administration must move forward on plans to buy 179 new planes in a fair and open competition.

China is expanding its deep-water navy, much to the anxiety of many of its neighbors. The United States should not try to block China’s re-emergence as a great power. Neither can it cede the seas. Nor can it allow any country to interfere with vital maritime lanes.

America should maintain its investment in sealift, including Maritime Prepositioning Force ships that carry everything marines need for initial military operations (helicopter landing decks, food, water pumping equipment). It must also restock ships’ supplies that have been depleted for use in Iraq. One 2006 study predicted replenishment would cost $12 billion plus $5 billion for every additional year the marines stayed in Iraq.

The Pentagon needs to spend more on capable, smaller coastal warcraft — the littoral combat ship deserves support — and less on blue-water fighting ships.

More rational spending: What we are calling for will be expensive. Adding 92,000 ground troops will cost more than $100 billion over the next six years, and maintaining lift capacity will cost billions more. Much of the savings from withdrawing troops from Iraq will have to be devoted to repairing and rebuilding the force.

Money must be spent more wisely. If the Pentagon continues buying expensive weapons systems more suited for the cold war, it will be impossible to invest in the armaments and talents needed to prevail in the future.

There are savings to be found — by slowing or eliminating production of hugely expensive aerial combat fighters (like the F-22, which has not been used in the two current wars) and mid-ocean fighting ships with no likely near-term use. The Pentagon plans to spend $10 billion next year on an untested missile defense system in Alaska and Europe. Mr. Obama should halt deployment and devote a fraction of that budget to continued research until there is a guarantee that the system will work.

The Pentagon’s procurement system must be fixed. Dozens of the most costly weapons program are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

Killing a weapons program, starting a new one or carrying out new doctrine — all this takes time and political leadership. President Obama will need to quickly lay out his vision of the military this country needs to keep safe and to prevail over 21st-century threats.
Title: Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV-L): Concept & Hover Test
Post by: rachelg on December 15, 2008, 06:52:41 PM


"    The frightening, but fascinatingly cool hovering robot - MKV (Multiple Kill Vehicle), is designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles.

    A video released by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the MKV being tested at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, in California.

    Inside a large steel cage, Lockheed's MKV lifts off the ground, moves left and right, rapidly firing as flames shoot out of its bottom and sides. This description doesn't do it any justice really, you have to see the video yourself.

    During the test, the MKV is shown to lift off under its own propulsion, and remains stationary, using it’s on board retro-rockets. The potential of this drone is nothing short of science-fiction.

    When watching the video, you can’t help but be reminded of post-apocalyptic killing machines, seen in such films as The Terminator and The Matrix.

Okay, people. Now is the time to start discussing the rules of war for autonomous robots. Now, when it's still theoretical."
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on December 15, 2008, 07:59:35 PM
"Terminator vs. haji"

I love it!
Title: Patriot Post: Lost in Space
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 30, 2009, 10:12:56 AM
Department of Military Readiness: Barack Obama, space cadet
Ever since one man picked up a rock and hurled it in anger at another, the strategic value of controlling the high ground has been obvious. Well, obvious to those who think instead of feel. Yet we are less than two weeks into the Obama regime, and noises are already being made that U.S. access to and control of space, the ultimate high ground, are open to negotiation with our enemies. Just moments after Obama took the oath of office last week, the official White House Web site was updated with an "Ensure Freedom of Space" policy statement, which included a generic pledge to restore U.S. space leadership (when did we lose it?) while also seeking that leftist nirvana of a universal ban on space weapons. How, then, do we lead?

As U.S. military forces, and many civilians, are dependent upon U.S. space assets, the proposed ban on space weapons raises some critical questions. First and foremost, can we trust the word of our enemies without our critical space assets? History indicates that the answer is a resounding no. And what is a "space weapon," anyway? Is it only a satellite designed to attack another satellite? Or could weather satellites, used to plan military strikes, or GPS satellites, used to guide bombs to the target, be considered space weapons and, therefore, fall under a ban? Are we willing to leave that interpretation up to some anti-U.S. World Court? For the sake of national security, the Obama regime needs to get over its kumbaya view of the world and realize that, if it wants to "Ensure Freedom of Space," the only thing that has ever ensured freedom anywhere is superior weaponry in the right hands, at the right place, at the right time.

Title: AA Laser; Army suspends Bio weapons lab
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 10, 2009, 09:31:36 AM
US military develops anti-aircraft laser


US military develops anti-aircraft laser

The latest weapon developed by US engineers is a Humvee jeep mounted with a giant laser capable of shooting down aircraft.

By Murray Wardrop
Last Updated: 1:41AM GMT 09 Feb 2009

The Laser Avenger successfully shot down a series of unmanned aerial vehicles during recent tests and is being hailed as a revolutionary weapon for future warfare. 

The experiment was the first time that a ground vehicle has used a laser to destroy moving aircraft and marks a watershed moment in the development of lasers for battlefield use.

Invented by Boeing, the laser is fitted to a Humvee off-road vehicle, allowing it to be moved into the most remote locations to shoot down enemy planes.

It is hoped that the Laser Avenger will be used to help US forces tackle small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which often carry explosives or surveillance equipment. Such devices are difficult for conventional air defence systems to shoot down.

The complex testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, required the laser to track three UAVs against a backdrop of mountains and desert.  When the targets were sighted, the Laser Avenger successfully shot down three UAVs with its high-powered directed energy beam.

Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems, said: "Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors are a growing threat on the battlefield.  Laser Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position. As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while keeping our troops safe."

The test firing was observed by representatives of the US Army's Cruise Missile Defense Systems project office.

The experiment follows a previous test in 2007 of a prototype Laser Avenger which obliterated improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance on the ground. 

Lee Gutheinz, Boeing's program director for High-Energy Laser/Electro-Optical Systems, said: "We doubled the laser power; added sophisticated acquisition, tracking and pointing capability; and simplified the design.  Boeing developed and integrated these upgrades in less than a year, underscoring our ability to rapidly respond to war-fighters' needs."

The Laser Avenger is an infrared laser with power levels in the range of tens of kilowatts.  It is a modified version of an existing US Army air defence weapon that uses two Stinger missile launchers and a heavy machine gun, with one missile pod swapped for the laser and its target tracker.

Existing weapons struggle to shoot down small, light UAVs, which are often made of plastic rather than metal, because surface to air missiles designed to target normal-sized aircraft cannot lock onto them.


NYT so caveat lector:

WASHINGTON — Army officials have suspended most research involving dangerous germs at the biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., which the F.B.I. has linked to the anthrax attacks of 2001, after discovering that some pathogens stored there were not listed in a laboratory database.

The suspension, which began Friday and could last three months, is intended to allow a complete inventory of hazardous bacteria, viruses and toxins stored in refrigerators, freezers and cabinets in the facility, the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The inventory was ordered by the institute’s commander, Col. John P. Skvorak, after officials found that the database of specimens was incomplete. In a memorandum to employees last week, Colonel Skvorak said there was a high probability that some germs and toxins in storage were not in the database.

Rules for keeping track of pathogens were tightened after the 2001 anthrax letters, which killed five people. But pressure to improve recordkeeping and security at the Army institute intensified six months ago after the suicide of Bruce E. Ivins, a veteran anthrax researcher, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s announcement that prosecutors had been preparing to charge Dr. Ivins with making the deadly anthrax powder in his laboratory there.

A spokesman for the institute, Caree Vander Linden, said an earlier review had located all the germ samples listed in the database. But she said some “historical samples” in institute freezers were not in the database, and the new inventory was intended to identify them so they could be recorded and preserved, or destroyed if they no longer had scientific value.

One scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, said samples from completed projects were not always destroyed, and departing scientists sometimes left behind vials whose contents were unknown to colleagues. He said the Army’s recordkeeping and security were imperfect but better than procedures at most universities, where research on biological pathogens has expanded rapidly since 2001.

The suspension will interrupt dozens of research projects at the institute, whose task is to develop vaccines, drugs and other measures to protect American troops from germ attacks and disease outbreaks. Ms. Vander Linden said some critical experiments involving animals — often used to test vaccines and drugs — would not be halted.

News of the suspension, first reported Monday by the Science magazine blog ScienceInsider, comes as the Justice Department has been interviewing scientists at the Army institute to prepare the government’s legal defense against a lawsuit filed by the family of Robert Stevens, the Florida tabloid photography editor who was the first to die in the 2001 letter attacks.

That lawsuit, filed in 2003 and delayed by the government’s unsuccessful efforts to have it dismissed, accuses officials of failing to assure that anthrax bacteria at Fort Detrick and other government laboratories were securely stored. Dr. Ivins was not suspected in the attacks at that time, but the F.B.I.’s conclusion last year added new weight to the lawsuit’s claims.

The F.B.I. has released evidence of Dr. Ivins’s mental problems and of a genetic link between the mailed anthrax and a supply of the bacteria in his laboratory. But many of Dr. Ivins’s former colleagues at the Army institute have said they are not convinced that he mailed the letters.

The F.B.I. has asked the National Academy of Sciences to convene a panel of experts to review its scientific work on the case, and the bureau and academy are completing a contract for the review, said an academy spokesman, William Kearney.

The anthrax case has underscored the threat of biological attack by biodefense insiders like Dr. Ivins, who have access to pathogens and the expertise to work with them.

The number of such researchers has grown rapidly since 2001, when the anthrax letters set off a spending boom on biodefense that led to a rapid addition of laboratories working on potential bioweapons, notably anthrax.

Before 2001, only a few dozen such facilities worked with anthrax. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has registered 219 laboratories to do so, said an agency spokesman, Von Roebuck. He said 10,474 people had been cleared to work with dangerous pathogens and toxins nationwide after background checks by the Justice Department.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 08, 2009, 09:48:26 AM

Short '06 Lebanon War Stokes Pentagon Debate

-Leaders Divided on Whether to Focus On Conventional or Irregular Combat

By Greg Jaffe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 6, 2009; Page A01

A war that ended three years ago and involved not a single U.S. soldier has become the subject of an increasingly heated debate inside the Pentagon, one that could alter how the U.S. military fights in the future.

When Israel and Hezbollah battled for more than a month in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the result was widely seen as a disaster for the Israeli military. Soon after the fighting ended, some military officers began to warn that the short, bloody and relatively conventional battle foreshadowed how future enemies of the United States might fight.

Since then, the Defense Department has dispatched as many as a dozen teams to interview Israeli officers who fought against Hezbollah. The Army and Marine Corps have sponsored a series of multimillion-dollar war games to test how U.S. forces might fare against a similar foe. "I've organized five major games in the last two years, and all of them have focused on Hezbollah," said Frank Hoffman, a research fellow at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico.

A big reason that the 34-day war is drawing such fevered attention is that it highlights a rift among military leaders: Some want to change the U.S. military so that it is better prepared for wars like the ones it is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others worry that such a shift would leave the United States vulnerable to a more conventional foe.

"The Lebanon war has become a bellwether," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. "If you are opposed to transforming the military to fight low-intensity wars, it is your bloody sheet. It's discussed in almost coded communication to indicate which side of the argument you are on."

U.S. military experts were stunned by the destruction that Hezbollah forces, using sophisticated antitank guided missiles, were able to wreak on Israeli armor columns. Unlike the guerrilla forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who employed mostly hit-and-run tactics, the Hezbollah fighters held their ground against Israeli forces in battles that stretched as long as 12 hours. They were able to eavesdrop on Israeli communications and even struck an Israeli ship with a cruise missile.

"From 2000 to 2006 Hezbollah embraced a new doctrine, transforming itself from a predominantly guerrilla force into a quasi-conventional fighting force," a study by the Army's Combat Studies Institute concluded last year. Another Pentagon report warned that Hezbollah forces were "extremely well trained, especially in the uses of antitank weapons and rockets" and added: "They well understood the vulnerabilities of Israeli armor."

Many top Army officials refer to the short battle almost as a morality play that illustrates the price of focusing too much on counterinsurgency wars at the expense of conventional combat. These officers note that, before the Lebanon war, Israeli forces had been heavily involved in occupation duty in the Palestinian territories.

"The real takeaway is that you have to find the time to train for major combat operations, even if you are fighting counterinsurgency wars," said one senior military analyst who studied the Lebanon war for the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Currently, the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have prevented Army units from conducting such training.

Army generals have also latched on to the Lebanon war to build support for multibillion-dollar weapons programs that are largely irrelevant to low-intensity wars such as those fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 30-page internal Army briefing, prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior Pentagon civilians, recently sought to highlight how the $159 billion Future Combat Systems, a network of ground vehicles and sensors, could have been used to dispatch Hezbollah's forces quickly and with few American casualties.

"Hezbollah relies on low visibility and prepared defenses," one slide in the briefing reads. "FCS counters with sensors and robotics to maneuver out of contact."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to stake out a firm position in this debate as soon as today, when he announces the 2010 defense budget. That document is expected to cut or sharply curtail weapons systems designed for conventional wars, and to bolster intelligence and surveillance programs designed to help track down shadowy insurgents.

"This budget moves the needle closer to irregular warfare and counterinsurgency," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "It is not an abandonment of the need to prepare for conventional conflicts. But even moving that needle is a revolutionary thing in this building."

The changes reflect the growing prominence of the military's counterinsurgency camp -- the most prominent member of which is Petraeus -- in the Pentagon. President Obama, whose strategy in Afghanistan is focused on protecting the local population and denying the Islamist radicals a safe haven, has largely backed this group.

The question facing defense leaders is whether they can afford to build a force that can prevail in a counterinsurgency fight, where the focus is on protecting the civilian population and building indigenous army and police forces, as well as a more conventional battle.
Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army's top officer in the Pentagon, has said it is essential that the military be able to do both simultaneously. New Army doctrine, meanwhile, calls for a "full spectrum" service that is as good at rebuilding countries as it is at destroying opposing armies.

But other experts remain skeptical. "The idea that you can do it all is just wrong," said Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations. Soldiers, who are home for as little as 12 months between deployments, do not have enough time to prepare adequately for both types of wars, he said.

Biddle and other counterinsurgency advocates argue that the military should focus on winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and only then worry about what the next war will look like.  Some in this camp say that the threat posed by Hezbollah is being inflated by officers who are determined to return the Army to a more familiar past, built around preparing for conventional warfare.

Another question is whether the U.S. military is taking the proper lessons from the Israel-Hezbollah war. Its studies have focused almost exclusively on the battle in southern Lebanon and ignored Hezbollah's ongoing role in Lebanese society as a political party and humanitarian aid group. After the battle, Hezbollah forces moved in quickly with aid and reconstruction assistance.

"Even if the Israelis had done better operationally, I don't think they would have been victorious in the long run," said Andrew Exum, a former Army officer who has studied the battle from southern Lebanon. "For the Israelis, the war lasted for 34 days. We tend to forget that for Hezbollah, it is infinite."
Title: Stratfor on the defense budget
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 08, 2009, 10:00:07 AM
Second post of the morning.

Part 2: The 2010 U.S. Defense Budget and BMD
Stratfor Today » April 8, 2009 | 1213 GMT
When U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled his department’s proposed 2010 defense budget on April 6, one of the changes — not unexpected — was a realignment of funding for ballistic missile defense (BMD). Gates wants to focus on more mature BMD technologies that can deal with missile launches from “rogue” countries like Iran and North Korea.

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a four-part special report on the U.S. defense budget for 2010.

Among U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ proposed changes to the 2010 U.S. defense budget, announced on April 6, were a series of increases and cuts in ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs. Taken as a whole, these adjustments mark a significant shift in the nature of BMD deployment, including an overall cut of $1.4 billion from the Missile Defense Agency. These cuts are consistent with President Barack Obama’s platform of being committed to “proven, cost-effective” BMD, and are being touted as enabling the programs to focus on the threat of missile launches from “rogue” countries like Iran and North Korea.

BMD is essentially a defensive weapons system designed to intercept ballistic missiles. Ballistic missile interception can theoretically be done at three periods of the missile’s flight: in the terminal phase (as it descends towards the earth), in midcourse, and in the boost phase (right after launch). Current technology permits the interception at the midcourse and terminal phases, but boost-phase interception has proved to be much more difficult, mainly because of the extremely short period of time it allows to detect, acquire and track the missile and plot an intercept before it enters the later phases of flight (more about this below).

In laying out Gates’ funding priorities, the budget favors the more mature technologies of terminal-phase and midcourse interception, which are either already fielded or in the process of being fielded. But this comes at the cost of boost-phase and other more ambitious technological development programs — including space-based assets — which would require longer-term funding and support before tangible results could be achieved.

For Gates, these more long-range programs have been pushed forward too aggressively, before the technology could mature. They are more high-risk by nature and, for Gates, an inefficient and an inappropriate allocation of funds given the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there are technical reasons for these choices, Gates has more in mind than just a sheet of specifications and test results.

(click image to enlarge)
There are four mature BMD systems that are operational or in the process of being made operational: Aegis/Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD).

The Aegis/SM-3 system is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles during parts of the ascent and descent phases. This system has already been deployed on 18 American guided-missile cruisers and destroyers, and two Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces warships and is operationally proven (though as an anti-satellite weapon rather than a BMD interceptor). The Aegis/SM-3 has been one of the most successful BMD programs in the U.S. inventory, and Gates’ proposal would increase funding for the SM-3 program and upgrade an additional six warships with the system (double the three announced earlier this year for the Atlantic fleet).

The THAAD system is mobile (designed to be deployed anywhere in the world) and is capable of intercepting a ballistic missile in its final midcourse descent and in its terminal phase, both inside and outside the atmosphere. The first THAAD battery — Alpha Battery of the 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Fort Bliss in Texas — was activated last year and is in the process of being fully equipped. Meanwhile, testing continues at the Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii (a test there in March marked the system’s latest success). After poor test performance in the 1990s, the program restarted testing in 2005 and has shown marked improvement. It is now considered technologically mature.

Lockheed Martin
A THAAD launcherThe Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system is a terminal-phase intercept system that was operationally deployed and successfully used in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is also currently operational at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and is slated for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic, although deployment of the system is encumbered by the requirement for fixed facilities, including concrete silos.

Gates curtailed funding for additional GMD interceptors in Alaska but made no comment on the much more politically complicated issue of deploying them to Europe. With his 2010 budget, of course, Gates has entered into a domestic battle with Congress over the future shape and orientation of the entire Department of Defense, not just BMD. Although part of that reorientation, the European GMD effort will be decided in the context of larger negotiations with Russia and policy choices made by the Obama Cabinet as a whole.

But taken as a whole (and even without a GMD deployment in Europe), this combination of technologies offers a tiered BMD capability in the later phases of ballistic flight. It is this sort of layered, overlapping combination of capabilities that is considered necessary to provide a truly reliable BMD shield. In addition, for the most part, these are the programs on which other countries like Japan and Israel have been cooperating with the United States.

The impetus for pursuing boost-phase intercept capability is by no means gone, however. Midcourse and terminal phase interceptions are fraught with their own challenges, including the possibility of having to deal with decoys in the latter part of the midcourse phase and multiple independently targetable or maneuverable re-entry vehicles. Additionally, debris from a successful intercept in the terminal phase may still hit the area being targeted by those who launched the missile.

Thus, it remains desirable for the Pentagon to seek technology that will push the intercept point closer to the time and place of launch, if not on the actual territory of the country launching the missile. The boost phase is when the missile is both at its slowest in the trajectory and the most visible, given the unmistakable infrared signature of the engine plume. Also, if the missile is intercepted in this phase, the debris falls far from the intended target.

As alluded to earlier, however, intercepting a missile during its boost phase is extremely difficult. At most, the boost phase lasts only a few minutes, and terrestrial-based interceptors also need time to boost to altitude as well (acceleration is a key design consideration). Additionally, interceptors and sensors must be based relatively close to the area from which the missile is launched, so their positioning is highly dependent on the accessibility of territory or waters nearby.

U.S. Air Force
An artist’s rendering of two Airborne LasersThe problem of reaction speed in the boost phase is so challenging that it has been one of the principal drivers for directed energy weapons — lasers — dating all the way back to the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative. In its latest incarnation, the Airborne Laser (ABL) has only now — after a quarter century of experimentation — begun to show potential for operational utility. In Gates’ 2010 budget, however, funding for a second ABL airframe was cut and the program was reduced to more of a long-term research and development effort.

These technical challenges will still be explored, but if Gates has his way, operational fielding of a boost-phase interceptor will be delayed — perhaps significantly — and some programs previously under consideration may never see the light of day as a weapons system. After all, if the concern is the current “rogue” threat from North Korea and Iran, then the ballistic missiles targeted would be highly vulnerable to air strikes while still on the launch pad.

In a larger sense, Gates does not see the more advanced challenges of BMD as near-term problems. They are all desirable capabilities in the long run, but Gates has made his tenure about choices and priorities. His funding proposals for BMD reflect choices to field only mature programs while taking $1.4 billion from the Missile Defense Agency budget to put toward the current fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is a fight that Gates considers not only the current one but also the kind in which American forces will be engaged in the foreseeable future.

Next: The 2010 defense budget and the fighter mix
Title: WSJ: Donnelly and Schmitt
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 08, 2009, 03:01:25 PM
Third post of the day:

On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a significant reordering of U.S. defense programs. His recommendations should not go unchallenged.

In the 1990s, defense cuts helped pay for increased domestic spending, and that is true today. Though Mr. Gates said that his decisions were "almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books," the broad list of program reductions and terminations suggest otherwise. In fact, he tacitly acknowledged as much by saying the budget plan represented "one of those rare chances to match virtue to necessity" -- the "necessity" of course being the administration's decision to reorder the government's spending priorities.

However, warfare is not a human activity that directly awards virtue. Nor is it a perfectly calculable endeavor that permits a delicate "balancing" of risk. More often it rewards those who arrive on the battlefield "the fustest with the mostest," as Civil War Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest once put it. If Mr. Gates has his way, U.S. forces will find it increasingly hard to meet the Forrest standard. Consider a few of the details of the Gates proposals:

- The termination of the F-22 Raptor program at just 187 aircraft inevitably will call U.S. air supremacy -- the salient feature, since World War II, of the American way of war -- into question.

The need for these sophisticated, stealthy, radar-evading planes is already apparent. During Russia's invasion of Georgia, U.S. commanders wanted to fly unmanned surveillance aircraft over the region, and requested that F-22s sanitize the skies so that the slow-moving drones would be protected from Russian fighters or air defenses. When the F-22s were not made available, likely for fear of provoking Moscow, the reconnaissance flights were cancelled.

As the air-defense and air-combat capabilities of other nations, most notably China, increase, the demand for F-22s would likewise rise. And the Air Force will have to manage this small fleet of Raptors over 30 years. Compare that number with the 660 F-15s flying today, but which are literally falling apart at the seams from age and use. The F-22 is not merely a replacement for the F-15; it also performs the functions of electronic warfare and other support aircraft. Meanwhile, Mr. Gates is further postponing the already decades-long search for a replacement for the existing handful of B-2 bombers.

- The U.S. Navy will continue to shrink below the fleet size of 313 ships it set only a few years ago. Although Mr. Gates has rightly decided to end the massive and expensive DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program, there will be additional reductions to the surface fleet. The number of aircraft carriers will drop eventually to 10. The next generation of cruisers will be delayed, and support-ship projects stretched out. Older Arleigh Burke destroyers will be upgraded and modernized, but at less-than-needed rates.

The good news is that Mr. Gates will not to reduce the purchases of the Littoral Combat Ship, which can be configured for missions from antipiracy to antisubmarine warfare. But neither will he buy more than the 55 planned for by the previous Bush administration. And the size and structure of the submarine fleet was studiously not mentioned. The Navy's plan to begin at last to procure two attack submarines per year -- absolutely vital considering the pace at which China is deploying new, quieter subs -- is uncertain, at best.

- Mr. Gates has promised to "restructure" the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, arguing that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan have called into question the need for new ground combat vehicles. The secretary noted that the Army's modernization plan does not take into account the $25 billion investment in the giant Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. But it's hard to think of a more specialized and less versatile vehicle.

The MRAP was ideal for dealing with the proliferation of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq. But the FCS vehicle -- with a lightweight yet better-protected chassis, greater fuel efficiency and superior off-road capacity -- is far more flexible and useful for irregular warfare. Further, the ability to form battlefield "networks" will make FCS units more effective than the sum of their individual parts. Delaying modernization means that future generations of soldiers will conduct mounted operations in the M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles designed in the 1970s. Finally, Mr. Gates capped the size of the U.S. ground force, ignoring all evidence that it is too small to handle current and future major contingencies.

- The proposed cuts in space and missile defense programs reflect a retreat in emerging environments that are increasingly critical in modern warfare. The termination of the Airborne Laser and Transformational Satellite programs is especially discouraging.

The Airborne Laser is the most promising form of defense against ballistic missiles in the "boost phase," the moments immediately after launch when the missiles are most vulnerable. This project was also the military's first operational foray into directed energy, which will be as revolutionary in the future as "stealth" technology has been in recent decades. The Transformational Satellite program employs laser technology for communications purposes, providing not only enhanced bandwidth -- essential to fulfill the value of all kinds of information networks -- but increased security.

Mr. Gates justifies these cuts as a matter of "hard choices" and "budget discipline," saying that "[E]very defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk . . . is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in." But this calculus is true only because the Obama administration has chosen to cut defense, while increasing domestic entitlements and debt so dramatically.

The budget cuts Mr. Gates is recommending are not a temporary measure to get us over a fiscal bump in the road. Rather, they are the opening bid in what, if the Obama administration has its way, will be a future U.S. military that is smaller and packs less wallop. But what is true for the wars we're in -- that numbers matter -- is also true for the wars that we aren't yet in, or that we simply wish to deter.

Mr. Donnelly is a resident fellow and Mr. Schmitt is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. They are co-editors of "Of Men and Materiel: the Crisis in Military Resources" (AEI, 2007).
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on April 08, 2009, 04:28:13 PM
Who needs a military? Obama is gonna make sure everyone wuuuuuvs us!
Title: IBD: Israeli BMD
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 09, 2009, 07:27:58 AM
Israel Steps It Up
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Defense: On the same day a plot to supply Iran with nuclear materials is revealed, Israel conducts a missile defense test. Nothing concentrates the mind quite so wonderfully as the threat of imminent extinction.


Read More: Military & Defense


On Tuesday, word came that the Manhattan district attorney's office had smashed a plot to smuggle nuclear weapons materials to Iran through unwitting New York banks. A 118-count indictment accuses Chinese financier Lei Feng Wei of setting up fake companies to hide that he was selling millions of dollars in potential nuclear materials to Tehran.

As the New York Daily News reports, among the materials involved were 33,000 pounds of a specialized aluminum alloy used almost exclusively in long-range missile production, 66,000 pounds of tungsten copper plate used in missile guidance systems, and 53,900 pounds of maraging steel rods, a super-hard metal used in uranium enrichment and to make the casings for nuclear bombs.

We have commented on Iran's cooperation with North Korea on missile technology. The pledge by Iran's mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map remains in full force.

Unlike the U.S., Israel is moving full speed ahead on missile defense, and even if Iran's missile threat went away tomorrow, Israel's determination to defend itself would not.

The Israelis aren't waiting for missile defense to be proven "cost-effective." They know the cost of defending themselves against nuclear missile attack pales in comparison to the cost of losing a nation.

As Lei's indictment was announced, the Israeli air force conducted its 17th test, a successful one, of its newly upgraded Arrow 2 missile defense system. It hit a Blue Sparrow missile, modified to mimic an incoming Iranian Shahab-3 missile, fired from an F-15.

The test was conducted jointly by the IAF and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It was the first Arrow test in conjunction with a high-powered American X-band radar deployed in Israel's Negev desert. X-band was a parting gift to Israel from President Bush.

The Jerusalem Post reports that an Arrow interceptor was launched from the Palmahim air base after the target missile was detected. The target missile carried a multiple warhead with radar-evading capabilities that Iran does not possess.

Iran is working hard to improve its missile capabilities. In November, it successfully test-fired the Sajjil, a solid-fueled high-speed missile with a range of 1,250 miles. It recently showed its global reach with the launching of its Omid satellite.

In January 2007, Germany's Bild magazine reported that Iran had bought 18 BM-25 land-mobile missiles from North Korea. The BM-25 is a variation of the Russian SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile, with a range of 1,800 miles.

According to Uzi Rubin, former head of the Arrow anti-missile program, the BM-25 "is a nuclear missile. . . . There is no other warhead for this other than a nuclear warhead."

The Arrow project is being jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Chicago-based Boeing, which recently saw its airborne laser missile-defense system put on hold. Several operational Arrow missile batteries have already been deployed.

"This was the most advanced version of the Arrow weapons system in terms of the ability to perform the type of intercept that would be necessary to destroy a ballistic missile target," said Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Israel has now "deployed a layered defense," he added. This is something the U.S. needs but which recent budget cuts prevent.

Israel is also developing a defense against short-range Katyusha and Qassam rockets called Iron Dome, which uses an early-warning system known as Red Dawn.

While the U.S. dawdles on its own missile defense, Israel isn't waiting until its enemies' missiles are proven and cost-effective.

Title: US Navy budget
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 09, 2009, 01:49:10 PM
Part 4: The 2010 U.S. Defense Budget and The Future of the Fleet
Stratfor Today » April 9, 2009 | 1010 GMT

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled his department’s proposed 2010 defense budget on April 6. His additions and cuts from the budget included a series of decisions on the focus of shipbuilding in the years ahead. Gates has emphasized the U.S. Navy’s long-recognized need to improve its mission and functionality in the littoral regions of the world. As a result, Gates is pushing the acceleration of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program — ships that have a multi-mission functionality and are particularly attractive to the current Pentagon leadership. Overall, the shifts will help define the shape of the future U.S. surface combatant fleet.

Among the proposed changes to the Pentagon’s 2010 budget that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out April 6 was a series of significant decisions that will affect U.S. shipbuilding and the shape of the surface fleet in the years ahead.

If there was a theme to these changes, it was prioritizing the littoral, near-shore environment over the ‘blue water’ — the open ocean — and proven, affordable ship designs over ambitious, new and long-term designs. The shifts include:

Slowing the rate at which an aircraft carrier is built by one year, to five years. This build cycle will ultimately reduce the size of the U.S. carrier fleet from 11 to a still-impressive 10.
Delaying the next-generation guided missile cruiser, a long-range program to replace a mainstay of the blue-water fleet.
Pushing forward with the already-planned truncation of the enormously over budget and delayed DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer, which will be limited to three very expensive hulls or less — effectively making the ships technology demonstrators.
Restarting Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyer production. Widely considered one of the most capable and successful warship designs in the world today, the last units are still being completed.
Accelerating the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which consists of two designs (the Pentagon has yet to select one) intended to employ interchangeable “mission modules,” so that one hull can support a variety of missions — from anti-submarine warfare to hunting mines or supporting special forces. These smaller, faster, more agile ships, as their name implies, will often be used closer to shore, freeing larger, more expensive ships designed to operate in the blue water from the potentially treacherous near-shore environment.
The first three are consistent with Gates’ priorities for the Pentagon as a whole. Some of the high-end technology for the next-generation Ford-class aircraft carrier is already creating concerns about the program’s timeline, and though the aircraft carrier continues to be a critical element of U.S. power projection, it is difficult to overstate the extent to which America already has utter dominance in carrier-based aviation.

The DDG-1000 is, in part, now acting as a technology demonstrator for the next-generation cruiser. Both are high-end, expensive warships expanding American naval capability largely in areas where the U.S. already enjoys a considerable lead. Delaying or slowing the next-generation cruiser program does not kill research and development, but it shifts resources and attention to more immediate needs — ones that address the slowly emerging refocus of the U.S. Navy.

The United States remains the undisputed dominant power in the world’s oceans, and while potential regional competitors from China to India to Russia are enhancing their own naval capability and working on systems to counter or at least lessen the U.S. lead, the U.S. Navy still remains the dominant force in the blue-water realm. The department has long recognized the need to push into the littorals and better function there, though many of its initiatives — like LCS and what ultimately became the DDG-1000, faltered.

The proposed defense budget would put the department’s money back into LCS and the Arleigh Burke restart. Not only are the additional Arleigh Burke hulls attractive because they are upgradeable to ballistic missile defense capability capable of addressing the new anti-ship ballistic missile threat from China, but the fabrication process is now highly refined (with some 60 hulls) and the ships have a multi-mission functionality that is particularly attractive to the current Pentagon leadership.

Photo by U.S. Navy courtesy of Lockheed-Martin
The USS Freedom (LCS-1)But the more important shift in terms of the shape of the fleet is the LCS. By accelerating acquisition in 2010, Gates is clearly committing to the program. LCS promises to expand the Navy’s global presence — with more ships in more places — as LCS will be one tool in allowing more dispersed operations. (The LCS program is expected to eventually entail 55 hulls.) Indeed, such lower-tier efforts like expanding international cooperation on maritime security could see further improvements in the overall security of the environment.

The LCS is also one of the first ships designed from the start to integrate unmanned systems into its operations, from unmanned helicopters to unmanned surface and underwater vessels, designed to carry out reconnaissance and assist in operations at sea — providing new types of functionality for the Navy in much the same way that unmanned aerial vehicles have revolutionized intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(click image to enlarge)
Overall, the shifts in priorities will hardly endanger U.S. naval dominance in the near-term. But naval dominance is of absolutely fundamental importance for American geographic and geopolitical security. And as STRATFOR has noted in this series, such dominance does not maintain itself. Though they will not be a threat tomorrow, countries like China are seeking to expand their sphere of influence on the high seas, and the world’s oceans are too valuable for too many countries to think that the current American lead — even in blue water — cannot be eroded.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 10, 2009, 08:30:49 AM
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a man not known for having his head in the stars, announced his strategic Pentagon blueprint this week, saying his proposals "will profoundly reform how this department does business." We hope he informed Congress, home to 535 procurers in chief.

AFP/Getty Images
Robert Gates.
The Defense procurement system is a mess, and previous Pentagon reforms have faltered thanks mostly to the micromanagers on Capitol Hill who are often more interested in funneling money to their home states than in spending dollars most effectively. Democrats and Republicans both belly up to this bar, usually while castigating the executive branch for failing to make "tough choices."

So give the Defense Secretary an A for optimistic effort, even if we have our disagreements with some of his strategic choices. In announcing his spending priorities, Mr. Gates said he wants to focus on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than on the unknown wars of the future. Among his cuts are the Army's Future Combat Systems and a gold-plated new Presidential helicopter that is late and way over budget. Meanwhile, he added money for unmanned aerial vehicles, increased the number of special forces and announced plans to recruit more cyberwarfare experts.

These seem like reasonable judgment calls, and the focus on combating asymmetrical threats will help the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it's worth remembering that the reason our enemies have resorted to terrorism and insurgency is because U.S. conventional forces overwhelmingly dominate on the ground, in the sea and in the air.

That's not an advantage we can take for granted as the Clinton Administration did in the 1990s, when it slashed defense spending to 3% from nearly 5% of GDP. China and Russia are upgrading their conventional forces, and China in particular is aiming to build a navy that can neutralize U.S. forces in the Western Pacific.

Mr. Gates's strategy implies a shrinking Navy with fewer ships and perhaps one fewer carrier group. It's good that he wants to build more Littoral Combat Ships, which are handy for operations such as tracking pirates. Even so, the Navy is left with a fleet of fewer than 300 ships, which strikes us as perilously small. When a U.S.-flagged container ship was briefly taken by pirates off Somalia this week, the Navy's nearest vessel was hours away.

Mr. Gates's decision to kill the stealthy F-22 fighter jet, which outclasses everything in the sky, is also troubling. We already have 183 F-22s -- original plans called for 750 -- and Mr. Gates wants to order just four more before shutting down the production line. His proposal to double the number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters the Pentagon buys next year -- to 30 from 14 in 2009 -- is no quid pro quo. The F-35 is a cheaper, more multipurpose plane but it can't begin to compete with the F-22 as a fighter jet.

Pentagon spending is now about 4% of GDP and is expected to decline, which means too little investment against potential threats. In particular, Mr. Gates's budget priorities give no indication of how the Pentagon will ensure that U.S. military dominance extends to the battlefield of the future, outer space. President Obama has said he opposes the "militarization of space," but space is already a crucial area of operations and China is looking for advantages there.

The $1.4 billion in cuts to missile defense are especially worrisome, with losers including the Airborne Laser, designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in the boost phase, and additional interceptors planned for the ground-based system in Alaska. Instead, Mr. Gates favors theater defenses for soldiers on the battlefield with $700 million more in funding, arguing that this will address the near-term threat of short-range missiles. But as North Korea's weekend launch showed, rogue regimes aren't far away from securing long-range missiles that could reach the U.S.

Mr. Gates shrewdly made no budget recommendations on nuclear forces, except to say that he'll defer judgment until after the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review. Perhaps he's counting on being able to change President Obama's mind on the need for updating U.S. strategic weapons and going forward with the Reliable Replacement Warhead for America's aging nuclear arsenal.

Mr. Gates's budget proposals now go to Congress. Since the end of World War II there have been more than 130 studies on procurement reform. Good luck.

Title: Chinese anti-carrier missile
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 10, 2009, 06:33:26 PM
New Concerns Over Chinese 'Carrier-Killer'
April 01, 2009
U.S. Naval Institute

With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.

While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.

If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.

Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.

After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.

As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:

"The Navy's reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren't many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat."

In recent years, China has been expanding its navy to presumably better exert itself in disputed maritime regions. A recent show of strength in early March led to a confrontation with an unarmed U.S. ship in international waters.

© Copyright 2009 U.S. Naval Institute. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on April 10, 2009, 08:28:38 PM
I guarantee that the current pirate hostage scenario will hold the seeds of future wars within it, if Obama acts the way I expect him to.
Title: WSJ Star Wars
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 15, 2009, 06:36:46 AM
Never has Ronald Reagan's dream of layered missile defenses—Star Wars, for short—been as politically out of favor as in the Age of Obama. Nor as close, at least technologically, to becoming realized.

The latest encouraging news came Thursday courtesy of the Misssile Defense Agency. The Airborne Laser prototype aircraft this week found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an "instrumented" missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile, but this test confirms how far along this innovative effort has come.

Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the "boost phase," before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory. It's a pioneering use of directed energy in defense. The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.

Yet the Obama Administration isn't buying it. Funding for missile defense was cut in the 2010 budget by some 15%—$1.2 billion to $1.6 billion, depending on how you calculate it. The number of ground-based interceptors was reduced. The Missile Defense Agency's budget for the Airborne Laser is to be slashed in half, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pulled the plug on buying a second plane. The Pentagon says the program will have three tries to hit a live missile, or be killed altogether.

As the Administration keeps defense spending growth flat, while breaking the bank on its domestic priorities, Secretary Gates has to make hard choices. But he might try harder to convince his boss at the White House that Star Wars isn't a sci-fi fantasy. That's what critics used to say about stealth aircraft as well.

With time, and inevitable setbacks, the technology to make layered missile defenses a reality is being proven to work. The Airborne Laser could be—unless prematurely vaporized—an important part of a system to protect America and its allies from rogue states and their nuclear missiles.
Title: Re: Military Science : Ripsaw
Post by: Freki on August 15, 2009, 07:37:41 PM
I am excited about this vehicle.  It is now being developed as an unmanned remote controlled vehicle for the military.


Title: Defense Umbrella
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 25, 2009, 05:39:11 AM
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently in Thailand that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the U.S. will offer allies in the Middle East a "defense umbrella" to prevent Iranian intimidation. That's a fine sentiment, but it raises the question: Are we capable of doing so?

The answer is more complicated than most people think.

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated delivery systems since the collapse of the Soviet Union means that any "defense umbrella" will require the deployment of missile defense technologies capable of neutralizing a potential salvo of nuclear-tipped missiles—whether from Iran or another rogue such as North Korea.

Yet America's missile-defense efforts are being scaled back. Congress is contemplating a $1.4 billion reduction to the Pentagon's budget for antimissile capabilities.

Advocates of missile defense are seriously concerned that this is just the beginning, and that the Obama administration seeks to kill the system with a thousand cuts. During the presidential campaign last year, Barack Obama promised to strip $10 billion from the Pentagon's budget for missile defense. (Actually, the U.S. currently spends only $9 billion in this area.)

The Bush administration began work on a linked network of individual missile-defense systems capable of intercepting ballistic missiles in all stages of flight. But it built only the capabilities necessary to counter simple rogue-state threats, such as a single missile launched from North Korea and aimed at the West Coast. The administration's efforts stopped short of a comprehensive architecture that would include antimissile systems on land, on the seas, and in space.

The Obama administration wants to scale back from Bush's modest beginnings. In addition to slashing the overall budget for missile defense, it has terminated promising projects such as the multiple-kill vehicle (MKV) program—in which multiple interceptors on a carrier vehicle (essentially a satellite) would improve our chances of hitting enemy missiles. Another project terminated is the airborne laser (ABL), an aircraft-based high energy laser that could be flown near potential enemy ballistic-missile hotspots.

Mr. Obama has also targeted the Bush administration's premier missile-defense venture, the deployment of ground-based interceptors and radars in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran. Instead, because of the Kremlin's objections, the Obama team is preparing to sacrifice this planned deployment as part of a "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia.

Space-based missile defense likewise has been met with a cold shoulder from the Obama administration. Opponents of missile defense charge that a space layer would somehow "militarize" space. This is dead wrong. A space-based missile defense capability would instead block and destroy weapons that enter the Earth's orbit on their way to their targets.

The most promising idea would be to develop a program for the deployment of space-based kinetic interceptors capable of targeting intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost, midcourse and terminal phases of flight. In other words, let's revive the useful idea of building a system that gives us multiple chances to knock out every enemy missile.

Sadly, in the current political atmosphere, missile defense has become an ideological football. Republicans and Democrats alike ought to be united in the effort to develop a serious system capable of protecting the American people, our armed forces and our allies abroad from ballistic missile attack. A half-hearted missile defense effort only encourages investments in missile technologies on the part of our adversaries, making them believe that with additional resources they will be capable of overwhelming American defenses.

U.S. missile-defense policy should be designed to elicit the opposite response. Our enemies and competitors should be forced to conclude that energy and funds spent developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them will be wasted because Americans have the know-how and hardware to prevent them from reaching their intended targets.

During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, the U.S. government made major investments in the types of technologies (space-based sensors, interceptors and propulsion) necessary to field a robust defense against foreign ballistic missile arsenals, irrespective of origin. The capability to make Iranian, North Korean and other foreign missiles useless has already been developed and field-tested. Only America has it, and we should deploy it.

Mrs. Clinton has the right idea. The U.S. should offer a comprehensive and impenetrable "defense umbrella" to protect itself and its allies. But first we need to match rhetoric with concrete action and get the job done.

Mr. Berman is vice president for policy of the American Foreign Policy Council. Mr. May is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Title: Gorgon Stare
Post by: Body-by-Guinness on August 28, 2009, 10:17:23 AM
Some game changing abilities mentioned here. The ability to rewind an event and isolate its precursors will ruin a lot of days for our enemies.

Coming Soon: An Unblinking "Gorgon Stare" For Air Force Drones

The next-generation surveillance package for the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper drones, named for Medusa's stony glare, will provide an unprecedentedly broad view of the battlefield spanning time and space

By Eric HagermanPosted 08.26.2009 at 2:21 pm7 Comments

MQ-9 Reaper:  USAF

The military’s unblinking eye in the sky, which keeps watch over operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is about to get even beadier. A new multi-camera sensor the U.S. Air Force is adding to its killer spy drones will exponentially broaden the area troops can monitor, and the technology lets a dozen users simultaneously grab different slices of the image. Called the Gorgon Stare, it represents the next big step in unmanned combat aircraft.

Two MQ-9 Reapers retrofitted with the new $15 million wide-area aerial surveillance sensors, or WAAS, will fly test missions later this year, and the Air Force plans to have ten such planes in battle by next spring, in rotation on a 24/7 patrol. “It’s an incredible force enhancer,” said Colonel Eric Mathewson, Director of the service’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon. Sierra Nevada Corporation, makers of the WAAS, chose the name, a spooky reference to the cursed sisters from Greek mythology—Medusa being the Beyoncé of the trio—whose gaze turned men to stone.

The Gorgon Stare: Using multiple infrared and conventional cameras, the Gorgon Stare sensor package will provide a significantly larger area view of the battlefield than the single-camera view on of today's drones  USAF

The system uses an array of five electro-optical and four infrared cameras to capture day and night images from different angles, which are stitched together in a single mosaic scene much broader than what any single lens could deliver. At command central, tiled screens will display the composite picture, so that if an insurgent runs out of view on one, he’ll simply pop up on the next. Field commanders can pull a piece of the picture encompassing their surroundings, and pan, tilt or zoom if they see something suspicious.

Military, Aviation & Space, Feature, Eric Hagerman, air force, aviation, drones, gorgon stare, military, sensors, uav, unmanned aerial vehiclesThe cameras are fitted into a pod under one wing, with the communications gear on the other. The entire package weighs 1,100 pounds, which will still allow the Reaper to carry weapons. (It will work in addition to the Multispectral Targeting System, or MTS ball, which is mounted on the chin of the plane and provides more traditional real-time tracking. See the current sensor package in action in our annotated gun-camera attack video from a Predator strike in Afghanistan.)

“This would have been relatively easy on a manned platform,” said Mike Meermans, Sierra’s vice president of strategic planning. “But with the size and weight limitations, I would almost say we were trying to beat up on the laws of physics with this one.” Still, the package came together in less than 18 months.

To deliver the high data rates the Air Force wanted, the Gorgon’s cameras transmit images at just two frames per second, rather than the 30 fps of full motion video delivered by the MTS. According to Mathewson, that utility is enough to notice if anything changes in a given environment. He says the strategy is to park a Reaper over an area and monitor anything that moves within a four-kilometer square zone, versus the less-than-one-square-kilometer covered by the MTS ball.

The existing cameras obviously work, judging by stories such as the unsuspecting fate of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed by a UAV-launched Hellfire in Pakistan as his wife administered his final rubdown. Yet the MTS alone is taxing to use. Zooming in for positive identification creates a “soda straw” view, forcing sensor operators to visually sweep a town along the street grid. But that same operator can use the Gorgon Stare’s image to direct the MTS’ full motion video cameras to a particular spot. “I put a WAAS on, and I can see it all now” said Mathewson.“All of it.”

And because all the digital imagery is stored, the Gorgon Stare allows for what you might call forensic surveillance—looking back to reconstruct an event after the fact, à la the time-folding surveillance system seen in the film Déjà Vu. If an IED goes off in a certain quadrant within the Gorgon’s gaze, analysts could re-examine the rest of the footage to see if anyone had visited that site, and where he had gone. Perhaps for a backrub on the roof of his apartment? If a Gorgon-Stare-equipped drone is on the scene, there’s no happy ending in sight.

For more on the Air Force's frantic unmanned reinvention, see our September 2009 issue cover story here, also by Hagerman.
Title: Star Wars
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 31, 2009, 09:36:12 AM
"Now more than ever it is vital that the United States not back down from its efforts to develop and deploy strategic defenses. It is technologically feasible, strategically necessary and morally imperative. For if our nation and our precious freedoms are worth defending with the threat of annihilation, we are surely worth defending by defensive means that ensure our survival." --Ronald Reagan
Title: E-bombs
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2009, 08:59:55 AM,3566,513295,00.html

Portable 'E-Bombs' Could Take Down Jetliners
Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Weapons experts and techno-thriller fans are familiar with the concept of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — a supermassive blast of electricity, usually from a nuclear blast high above ground, that fries electronic circuits for miles around, crippling computers, cars and most other modern gadgets.
Now comes word that a much smaller EMP device, or "e-bomb," could be carried in a car, or even on someone's person — and be used to take down an airliner.
"Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it isn't too much of a leap to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption," Israeli counter-terrorism expert Yael Shahar tells New Scientist magazine. "And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies."
Shahar says she's especially worried about two devices — one called a Marx generator, which beams an EMP at a target, and the other with the "Back to the Future"-like name of flux-compression generator.
The latter was developed by the Soviets during the 1950s when Marx generators proved too expensive. Basically, an explosive charge is set off at one end of a cylinder of charged copper coils, and the resulting shock wave sends out a powerful electric pulse as it travels down the tube.
It might take a big flux-compression generator to darken a city neighborhood. But a smaller one could take out the steering, navigation and communication systems of a jetliner, especially if pointed at the cockpit.
As for Marx generators, which are used by power companies, medical researchers and labs, you can buy the plans to build one online for $10, or a fully assembled commercial unit for several hundred dollars.
Shahar adds that as aircraft manufacturers switch to lighter, stronger composite materials in place of aluminum, they're actually making the planes more vulnerable.
"What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," she tells New Scientist.
Title: Naval war games
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 30, 2009, 02:50:06 PM
Title: VictorHanson.Iran.Israel.Rachel
Post by: ccp on December 06, 2009, 10:47:45 AM
From Doug's favorite theorist/educator.  Mr. Hanson outlines quite well the problems with modern Western approach to war to a large extent.

He outlines the problems.

But I am not clear what he prescribes to do about them. Now what do we do about it?

My Rx:

I say this - I agree with the premise that war will always be with us - unless one subscribes to a single "world government" with total control over all of us around the world by one single entity (with of course the Chosen One in charge leading mankind to Eden) .  I don't beleive or want a single government controlling the world.

So instead, like the Roman general said, "you want peace we will give you peace, you want war we will give you war, it makes no difference to us", I say we do everything possible to destroy all of Irans nuclear sites even using nuclear weapons if needed to do the job right.  IF we don't do this it seems evident we will be sorry when we do have a nuclear armed Iran and the situation will be far worse.

Yes we will likely make generations of US hating Muslim radicals.  But these people are never going to love us anyway so I say we stop them now and the sooner the better.

The only other two alternatives though neither any good when one thinks them through:

1)  We somehow promote regime change in Iran. There is clearly some seeds of that already but I don't know how we can speed it up or if we can.  I suspect Nationalism will trump the desire for Western materialism.

2) Only other thing I can envision is that we go all out to become *energy self sufficient* so we don't keep funding Iran's regime with free dollars.  The two problems with this is it would take a decade and it is already too late for this.  Second thing is other countries like China, India, and the rest of the Stans would simply fill the void and send money to the Tollahs of Iran and are aleready doing this.

So really, we either accept a nuclear Iran - which to me is NOT acceptable - or we make their military/nuclear capabilities parking lots.

Yes it will cause financial turmoil.  Yes the horror of the carnage to those on the receiving end.  But sitting back and letting Iran have nucs would in my opinion (I am a world class genius here in arm chair) be far worse.  We either deal with it now or pay a higher price later.

As for Israel there really is NO choice.  Either deal with it militarily or expect to be annhilated.   The Iranian regime is quite explicit in their goals.  They are saying it up front.  AND their actions *prove* they mean what they say.

If anyone has any other solutions please chime in.  Rachel how about you for starters.  You are clearly, like me a supporter of Israel, and (not like me) Obama.  As O'Reilly would ask, "what say you?" 

****November 2009
Victor Davis Hanson

Distinguished Fellow in History
Hillsdale College

The Future of Western War
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University. He is a columnist for National Review Online and for Tribune Media Services, and has published in several journals and newspapers, including Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, The New Criterion, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hanson has written or edited numerous books, including The Soul of Battle, Carnage and Culture, and A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on October 1, 2009, during the author's four-week teaching residency.

I want to talk about the Western way of war and about the particular challenges that face the West today. But the first point I want to make is that war is a human enterprise that will always be with us. Unless we submit to genetic engineering, or unless video games have somehow reprogrammed our brains, or unless we are fundamentally changed by eating different nutrients—these are possibilities brought up by so-called peace and conflict resolution theorists—human nature will not change. And if human nature will not change—and I submit to you that human nature is a constant—then war will always be with us. Its methods or delivery systems—which can be traced through time from clubs to catapults and from flintlocks to nuclear weapons—will of course change. In this sense war is like water. You can pump water at 60 gallons per minute with a small gasoline engine or at 5000 gallons per minute with a gigantic turbine pump. But water is water—the same today as in 1880 or 500 B.C. Likewise war, because the essence of war is human nature.

Second, in talking about the Western way of war, what do we mean by the West? Roughly speaking, we refer to the culture that originated in Greece, spread to Rome, permeated Northern Europe, was incorporated by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, spread through British expansionism, and is associated today primarily with Europe, the United States, and the former commonwealth countries of Britain—as well as, to some extent, nations like Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, which have incorporated some Western ideas. And what are Western ideas? This question is disputed, but I think we know them when we see them. They include a commitment to constitutional or limited government, freedom of the individual, religious freedom in a sense that precludes religious tyranny, respect for property rights, faith in free markets, and an openness to rationalism or to the explanation of natural phenomena through reason. These ideas were combined in various ways through Western history, and eventually brought us to where we are today. The resultant system creates more prosperity and affluence than any other. And of course, I don't mean to suggest that there was Jeffersonian democracy in 13th century England or in the Swiss cantons. But the blueprint for free government always existed in the West, in a way that it didn't elsewhere.

Just as this system afforded more prosperity in times of peace, it led to a superior fighting and defense capability in times of war. This is what I call the Western way of war, and there are several factors at play.

First, constitutional government was conducive to civilian input when it came to war. We see this in ancient Athens, where civilians oversaw a board of generals, and we see it in civilian control of the military in the United States. And at crucial times in Western history, civilian overseers have enriched military planning.

Second, Western culture gave birth to a new definition of courage. In Hellenic culture, the prowess of a hero was not recognized by the number of heads on his belt. As Aristotle noted in the Politics, Greek warriors didn't wear trophies of individual killings. Likewise, Victoria Crosses and Medals of Honor are awarded today for deeds such as staying in rank, protecting the integrity of the line, advancing and retreating on orders, or rescuing a comrade. This reflects a quite different understanding of heroism.

A third factor underlies our association of Western war with advanced technology. When reason and capitalism are applied to the battlefield, powerful innovations come about. Flints, percussion caps, rifle barrels and mini balls, to cite just a few examples, were all Western inventions. Related to this, Western armies—going back to Alexander the Great's army at the Indus—have a better logistics capability. A recent example is that the Americans invading Iraq were better supplied with water than the native Iraqis. This results from the application of capitalism to military affairs—uniting private self-interest and patriotism to provide armies with food, supplies, and munitions in a way that is much more efficient than the state-run command-and-control alternatives.

Yet another factor is that Western armies are impatient. They tend to want to seek out and destroy the enemy quickly and then go home. Of course, this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, as we see today in Afghanistan, where the enemy is not so eager for decisive battle. And connected to this tradition is dissent. Today the U.S. military is a completely volunteer force, and its members' behavior on the battlefield largely reflects how they conduct themselves in civil society. One can trace this characteristic of Western armies back to Xenophon's ten thousand, who marched from Northern Iraq to the Black Sea and behaved essentially as a traveling city-state, voting and arguing in a constitutional manner. And their ability to do that is what saved them, not just their traditional discipline.
Now, I would not want to suggest that the West has always been victorious in war. It hasn't. But consider the fact that Europe had a very small population and territory, and yet by 1870 the British Empire controlled 75 percent of the world. What the Western way of war achieved, on any given day, was to give its practitioners—whether Cortez in the Americas, the British in Zululand, or the Greeks in Thrace—a greater advantage over their enemies. There are occasional defeats such as the battles of Cannae, Isandlwana, and Little Big Horn. Over a long period of time, however, the Western way of war will lead us to where we are today.

But where exactly are we today? There have been two developments over the last 20 years that have placed the West in a new cycle. They have not marked the end of the Western way of war, but they have brought about a significant change. The first is the rapid electronic dissemination of knowledge—such that someone in the Hindu Kush tonight can download a sophisticated article on how to make an IED. And the second is that non-Western nations now have leverage, given how global economies work today, through large quantities of strategic materials that Western societies need, such as natural gas, oil, uranium, and bauxite. Correspondingly, these materials produce tremendous amounts of unearned capital in non-Western countries—and by "unearned," I mean that the long process of civilization required to create, for example, a petroleum engineer has not occurred in these countries, yet they find themselves in possession of the monetary fruits of this process. So the West's enemies now have instant access to knowledge and tremendous capital.

In addition to these new developments, there are five traditional checks on the Western way of war that are intensified today. One of these checks is the Western tendency to limit the ferocity of war through rules and regulations. The Greeks tried to outlaw arrows and catapults. Romans had restrictions on the export of breast plates. In World War II, we had regulations against poison gas. Continuing this tradition today, we are trying to achieve nuclear non-proliferation. Unfortunately, the idea that Western countries can adjudicate how the rest of the world makes war isn't applicable anymore. As we see clearly in Iran, we are dealing with countries that have the wealth of Western nations (for the reasons just mentioned), but are anything but constitutional democracies. In fact, these nations find the idea of limiting their war-making capabilities laughable. Even more importantly, they know that many in the West sympathize with them—that many Westerners feel guilty about their wealth, prosperity, and leisure, and take psychological comfort in letting tyrants like Ahmadinejad provoke them.

The second check on the Western way of war is the fact that there is no monolithic West. For one thing, Western countries have frequently fought one another. Most people killed in war have been Europeans killing other Europeans, due to religious differences and political rivalries. And consider, in this light, how fractured the West is today. The U.S. and its allies can't even agree on sanctions against Iran. Everyone knows that once Iran obtains nuclear weapons—in addition to its intention to threaten Israel and to support terrorists—it will begin to aim its rockets at Frankfurt, Munich, and Paris, and to ask for further trade concessions and seek regional hegemony. And in this case, unlike when we deterred Soviet leaders during the Cold War, Westerners will be dealing with theocratic zealots who claim that they do not care about living, making them all the more dangerous. Yet despite all this, to repeat, the Western democracies can't agree on sanctions or even on a prohibition against selling technology and arms.

The third check is what I call "parasitism." It is very difficult to invent and fabricate weapons, but it is very easy to use them. Looking back in history, we have examples of Aztecs killing Conquistadors using steel breast plates and crossbows and of Native Americans using rifles against the U.S. Cavalry. Similarly today, nobody in Hezbollah can manufacture an AK-47—which is built by Russians and made possible by Western design principles—but its members can make deadly use of them. Nor is there anything in the tradition of Shiite Islam that would allow a Shiite nation to create centrifuges, which require Western physics. Yet centrifuges are hard at work in Iran. And this parasitism has real consequences. When the Israelis went into Lebanon in 2006, they were surprised that young Hezbollah fighters had laptop computers with sophisticated intelligence programs; that Hezbollah intelligence agents were sending out doctored photos, making it seem as if Israel was targeting civilians, to Reuters and the AP; and that Hezbollah had obtained sophisticated anti-tank weapons on the international market using Iranian funds. At that point it didn't matter that the Israelis had a sophisticated Western culture, and so it could not win the war.

A fourth check is the ever-present anti-war movement in the West, stemming from the fact that Westerners are free to dissent. And by "ever-present" I mean that long before Michael Moore appeared on the scene, we had Euripides' Trojan Women and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Of course, today's anti-war movement is much more virulent than in Euripides' and Aristophanes' time. This is in part because people like Michael Moore do not feel they are in any real danger from their countries' enemies. They know that if push comes to shove, the 101st Airborne will ultimately ensure their safety. That is why Moore can say right after 9/11 that Osama Bin Laden should have attacked a red state rather than a blue state. And since Western wars tend to be fought far from home, rather than as a defense against invasions, there is always the possibility that anti-war sentiment will win out and that armies will be called home. Our enemies know this, and often their words and actions are aimed at encouraging and aiding Western anti-war forces.

Finally and most seriously, I think, there is what I call, for want of a better term, "asymmetry." Western culture creates citizens who are affluent, leisured, free, and protected. Human nature being what it is, we citizens of the West often want to enjoy our bounty and retreat into private lives—to go home, eat pizza, and watch television. This is nothing new. I would refer you to Petronius's Satyricon, a banquet scene written around 60 A.D. about affluent Romans who make fun of the soldiers who are up on the Rhine protecting them. This is what Rome had become. And it's not easy to convince someone who has the good life to fight against someone who doesn't.

To put this in contemporary terms, what we are asking today is for a young man with a $250,000 education from West Point to climb into an Apache helicopter—after emailing back and forth with his wife and kids about what went on at a PTA meeting back in Bethesda, Maryland—and fly over Anbar province or up to the Hindu Kush and risk being shot down by a young man from a family of 15, none of whom will ever live nearly as well as the poorest citizens of the United States, using a weapon whose design he doesn't even understand. In a moral sense, the lives of these two young men are of equal value. But in reality, our society values the lives of our young men much more than Afghan societies value the lives of theirs. And it is very difficult to sustain a protracted war with asymmetrical losses under those conditions.

My point here is that all of the usual checks on the tradition of Western warfare are magnified in our time. And I will end with this disturbing thought: We who created the Western way of war are very reluctant to resort to it due to post-modern cynicism, while those who didn't create it are very eager to apply it due to pre-modern zealotry. And that's a very lethal combination.****

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: rachelg on December 07, 2009, 02:00:54 PM

I certainly voted for Obama though he is currently off the New Year's Card list.  I wouldn't get your hopes up about my redemption though I would still prefer  Clinton to McCain let alone Palin.

I don't have a good  solution  for the Iranian problem.  Regime change would be great. Iran  voluntary giving up nuclear capability  would be great.  However the best solution we are possible   going to get is is a military attack  on Iran.  Best solution as is amputation is the best solution when your other option is death by gangrene.  If the US or Israel attaches  Iran barring miracles  there will be a very high price to pay economically and in the lives of our troops,  Jewish populations around the world and Iranian civilians.

I don't always or even usually agree with him but I actually like VDH's  writing.    He is intelligent, eloquent , has a panoramic view, and makes  classical allusions.  What more could you want.  I mean other than the whole conservative problem.     From 2002-2004 I actually read a lot of   conservative sites because they were the only ones consistently  talking about Israel in a way that made sense to me. I use to regularly read LGF and NRO and I was on    Richard Baehr's  mailing list before he started American thinker. Richard use to lecture in Chicago pretty regularly and I have heard him speak a few times.   I either moved to the left or they moved to the right or both but  we are no longer on the same wave length. 
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: ccp on December 07, 2009, 03:07:25 PM
Hi Rachel,
thanks for the response.
I guess one could argue that war is NOT an inevitable outcome of mankind's flaws.
Fareed Zakharia admits that Obama is taking a "risk" with his policies.  I don't see how Israel, or we, can do the same with regards to Iran.  Obama seems to bet the farm in several ways.  What if he is wrong (as I believe) on all counts?  Or even one?

I don't know about Afgan-pakistan.  That situation seems less clear cut to me with regard to what we should do.

"I certainly voted for Obama though he is currently off the New Year's Card list"

Just curious.  Is this because of his domestic or / and foreign policy?

You certainly sound open minded and I gotta like the evidence that shows you study BOTH sides of the political spectrum.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: rachelg on December 09, 2009, 05:45:50 PM

Mostly Israel because that is core  for me.

There  is a long list of other things that I'm sorry that I'm not  really interested in discussing.   There are some issues  that I won't be discussing  and other issues  that I  don't feel that I have  thought or read enough on the topic  to feel comfortable discussing it. In general picking my topics carefully has worked best for me lately. 
Title: US Drones hacked for $26
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 17, 2009, 06:49:26 AM

DECEMBER 17, 2009
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
$26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected


WASHINGTON -- Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber -- available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet -- to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.

U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America's enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.

The drone intercepts mark the emergence of a shadow cyber war within the U.S.-led conflicts overseas. They also point to a potentially serious vulnerability in Washington's growing network of unmanned drones, which have become the American weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Obama administration has come to rely heavily on the unmanned drones because they allow the U.S. to safely monitor and stalk insurgent targets in areas where sending American troops would be either politically untenable or too risky.

The stolen video feeds also indicate that U.S. adversaries continue to find simple ways of counteracting sophisticated American military technologies.

U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered the problem late last year when they apprehended a Shiite militant whose laptop contained files of intercepted drone video feeds. In July, the U.S. military found pirated drone video feeds on other militant laptops, leading some officials to conclude that militant groups trained and funded by Iran were regularly intercepting feeds.

In the summer 2009 incident, the military found "days and days and hours and hours of proof" that the feeds were being intercepted and shared with multiple extremist groups, the person said. "It is part of their kit now."

A senior defense official said that James Clapper, the Pentagon's intelligence chief, assessed the Iraq intercepts at the direction of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and concluded they represented a shortcoming to the security of the drone network.

"There did appear to be a vulnerability," the defense official said. "There's been no harm done to troops or missions compromised as a result of it, but there's an issue that we can take care of and we're doing so."

Senior military and intelligence officials said the U.S. was working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but said it wasn't yet clear if the problem had been completely resolved.

Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.

The Pentagon is deploying record numbers of drones to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration's troop surge there. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who oversees the Air Force's unmanned aviation program, said some of the drones would employ a sophisticated new camera system called "Gorgon Stare," which allows a single aerial vehicle to transmit back at least 10 separate video feeds simultaneously.

Gen. Deptula, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said there were inherent risks to using drones since they are remotely controlled and need to send and receive video and other data over great distances. "Those kinds of things are subject to listening and exploitation," he said, adding the military was trying to solve the problems by better encrypting the drones' feeds.

The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said.

Last December, U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered copies of Predator drone feeds on a laptop belonging to a Shiite militant, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter. "There was evidence this was not a one-time deal," this person said. The U.S. accuses Iran of providing weapons, money and training to Shiite fighters in Iraq, a charge that Tehran has long denied.

The militants use programs such as SkyGrabber, from Russian company SkySoftware. Andrew Solonikov, one of the software's developers, said he was unaware that his software could be used to intercept drone feeds. "It was developed to intercept music, photos, video, programs and other content that other users download from the Internet -- no military data or other commercial data, only free legal content," he said by email from Russia.

Officials stepped up efforts to prevent insurgents from intercepting video feeds after the July incident. The difficulty, officials said, is that adding encryption to a network that is more than a decade old involves more than placing a new piece of equipment on individual drones. Instead, many components of the network linking the drones to their operators in the U.S., Afghanistan or Pakistan have to be upgraded to handle the changes. Additional concerns remain about the vulnerability of the communications signals to electronic jamming, though there's no evidence that has occurred, said people familiar with reports on the matter.

Predator drones are built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego. Some of its communications technology is proprietary, so widely used encryption systems aren't readily compatible, said people familiar with the matter.

In an email, a spokeswoman said that for security reasons, the company couldn't comment on "specific data link capabilities and limitations."

Fixing the security gap would have caused delays, according to current and former military officials. It would have added to the Predator's price. Some officials worried that adding encryption would make it harder to quickly share time-sensitive data within the U.S. military, and with allies.

"There's a balance between pragmatics and sophistication," said Mike Wynne, Air Force Secretary from 2005 to 2008.

The Air Force has staked its future on unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones account for 36% of the planes in the service's proposed 2010 budget.

Today, the Air Force is buying hundreds of Reaper drones, a newer model, whose video feeds could be intercepted in much the same way as with the Predators, according to people familiar with the matter. A Reaper costs between $10 million and $12 million each and is faster and better armed than the Predator. General Atomics expects the Air Force to buy as many as 375 Reapers.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at, Yochi J. Dreazen at and August Cole at

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 17, 2009, 04:11:23 PM
second post

NOTE the UAV capability upgrades:  "By next spring, a single pod on a UAV could track 13 separate people as they leave a meeting place. The capability will expand to 65 people by 2012 and eventually to perhaps as many as 150 image feeds from a single UAV combat air patrol."

Black UAV Performs In Afghanistan
Dec 11, 2009

David A. Fulghum and Bill Sweetman
The U.S. has been flying a classified, stealthy, remotely piloted aircraft in Afghanistan. That single fact reveals the continued development of low-observable UAVs, hidden aspects of the surveillance buildup in Afghanistan, the footprint of an active “black aircraft world” that stretches to Southwest Asia, and links into the Pentagon’s next-generation recce bomber.

The mystery aircraft—once referred to as the Beast of Kandahar and now identified by the U.S. Air Force as a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works RQ-170 Sentinel—flew from Kandahar’s airport, where it was photographed at least twice in 2007. It shared a hangar with Predator and Reaper UAVs being used in combat operations. On Dec. 4, three days after declassification was requested, Aviation Week revealed the program on its web site. Like Predator and Reaper, the Sentinel is remotely piloted by aircrews—in this case the 30th Reconnaissance Sqdn. (RS) at Tonopah Test Range Airport in the northwest corner of the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The confirmation came the same week as the Air Force’s top intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) officer called for a new, stealth, jet-powered strike-reconnaissance aircraft that can meet the requirements of both irregular and conventional conflicts and strategic, peacetime information-gathering.

The demands of fighting an irregular war do not change the critical operational need for a stealthier, strategic-range, higher-payload, strike-reconnaissance aircraft, says Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, deputy chief of staff for ISR.

The battle will be to balance the way the military wants to fight in Afghanistan now against how it wants to fight elsewhere in the future. Air Force officials want to keep those two needs from becoming widely divergent points in geography, technology and operational techniques. For the next 18 months, about 150,000 U.S. and allied troops will try to break the offensive capabilities of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghan istan, and new technologies will be brought into play.

“Don’t get enamored with current conditions,” Deptula cautions. “We don’t know what the future will bring.” While operations in Afghanistan will be “more complex than ever,” the future is “not only going to be about irregular warfare.”

Beyond 2011, the Air Force’s first priority and the destination of the next dollar to be spent “if I were king for a day,” Deptula says, “would be for long-range [reconnaissance and] precision strike. That’s the number-one need.

“We cannot move into a future without a platform that allows [us] to project power long distances and to meet advanced threats in a fashion that gives us an advantage that no other nation has,” he notes. “We can’t walk away from that capability.”

A next-generation design would be equally important as a stealthy ISR platform to greatly extend—through speed, endurance and stealth—the capability produced by putting electro-optical and infrared sensor packets on the B-1 and B-52 bombers for precise attacks on fleeting targets in Southwest Asia.

Surveillance aircraft can see a lot more (farther and better) with long-wave infrared if the platform can operate at 50,000 ft. or higher. The RC-135S Cobra Ball, RC-135W Rivet Joint and E-8C Joint Stars are all limited to flying lower than 30,000 ft. Moreover, the multispectral technology to examine the chemical content of rocket plumes has been miniaturized to fit easily on a much smaller aircraft. Other sensors of interest are electronically scanned array radars, low-probability-of-intercept synthetic aperture radars and signals intelligence.

In fact, combat in Afghanistan could have—if well planned—direct benefits for conventional wars. The target set for the new surge campaign includes “cohesive units without chains of command” that the U.S. and its allies need to “dominate and win [against] across the spectrum” of conflict, Deptula says.

That then brings the focus back to what has been going on at Tonopah.

The 30th RS falls under Air Combat Command’s 432nd Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., home of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 training and remote operations facilities. Tonopah is where classified projects—such as the F-117 fighter—are kept when they are still secret but have grown to a point where they cannot be easily accommodated at the Air Force’s “black” flight-test center at Groom Lake. Its operations are restricted by the need to prevent personnel cleared into any one program from observing other “sight-sensitive” test aircraft. The squadron was activated as part of the 57th Operations Group on Sept. 1, 2005, and a squadron patch was approved on July 17, 2007. The activation—although not the full meaning of the event—was noted among those who watch for signs of activity in the classified world.

The RQ-170 is a tailless flying wing design from Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs. It has a single engine and pronounced compound sweep on the leading and trailing edges. It is difficult to estimate the aircraft’s size, but one report suggests that the wingspan is similar to that of the Reaper at 66 ft. The high degree of blending and center-body depth would suggest a greater takeoff weight and thrust than the RQ-3 DarkStar, Lockheed Martin’s earlier stealth UAV, which was powered by a 1,900-lb.-thrust Williams FJ44 engine and weighed 8,500 lb.

A number of features suggest that the RQ-170 is a moderately stealthy design, without the DarkStar’s or Northrop Grumman X-47B’s extreme emphasis on low radar cross section (RCS). The leading edges do not appear to be sharp—normally considered essential for avoiding strong RCS glints—and it appears that the main landing gear door’s front and rear edges are squared off rather than being notched or aligned with the wing edges.

In addition, the exhaust is not shielded by the wing, and the wing is curved rather than angular. That suggests the Sentinel has been designed to avoid the use of highly sensitive technologies. As a single-engine UAV, vehicle losses are a statistical certainty. Ultra-stealthy UAVs—such as the never-completed Lockheed-Boeing Quartz for which DarkStar was originally a demonstrator—were criticized on the grounds they were “pearls too precious to wear”—because their use would be too restricted by the risk of compromising technology in the event of a loss.

The medium-gray color, similar to the Reaper’s, is a clue to performance. At extreme altitudes (above 60,000 ft.), very dark tones provide the best concealment even in daylight because there is little lighting behind the vehicle while it is illuminated by light scattered from moisture and particles in the air below it. The RQ-170 is therefore a mid-altitude platform, unlikely to operate much above 50,000 ft. This altitude also would have simplified the use of an off-the-shelf engine. General Electric has been working on a classified variant of its TF34 engine that appears to fit the thrust range of the RQ-170.

The overwing housings for sensors or antennas are also significant. One could accommodate a satcom antenna; but if both housed sensors, they would cover the entire hemisphere above the aircraft.

An Air Force official tells Aviation Week that the service has been “developing a stealthy, unmanned aircraft system [UAS] to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward-deployed combat forces.

“The fielding of the RQ-170 aligns with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s request for increased . . . ISR support to the Combatant Commanders and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s vision for an increased USAF reliance on unmanned aircraft,” says the memorandum prepared for Aviation Week by the Air Force.

The RQ-170 designation is a correct prefix but numerically out of sequence to avoid obvious guesses of the program’s existence. Technically, “RQ” denotes an unarmed aircraft rather than the MQ prefix applied to the armed Predator and Reaper. A phrase in the memorandum, “support to forward-deployed combat forces,” when combined with visible details that suggest a moderate degree of stealth (including a blunt leading edge, simple nozzle and overwing sensor pods), suggests that the Sentinel is a tactical, operations-oriented platform and not a strategic intelligence-gathering design.

With its moderately low-observable design, the aircraft would be useful for flying along the borders of Iran and peering into China, India and Pakistan to gather useful information about missile tests and telemetry, as well as garnering signals and multispectral intelligence.

The RQ-170 has links to earlier Skunk Works designs such as the experimental DarkStar and Polecat. “DarkStar didn’t die when Lockheed Martin [retired the airframe],” said a former company executive last week. “It just got classified.”

Following the landing of a damaged Navy EP-3E in China in early 2001, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called a classified, all-day session of those with responsibilities for “sensitive reconnaissance operations” (AW&ST June 4, 2001, p. 30). They discussed how to avoid embarrassing and damaging losses of classified equipment, documents or aircrews without losing the ability to monitor the military forces and capabilities of important nations such as China. Their leading option was to start a new stealthy, unmanned reconnaissance program that would field 12-24 aircraft. Air Combat Command, which was then led by Gen. John Jumper, wanted a very-low-observable, high-altitude UAV that could penetrate air defense, fly 1,000 nm. to a target, loiter for 8 hr. and return to base.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a UAV described as a derivative of DarkStar was being prepared and was said by several officials to have been used operationally in prototype form (AW&ST Mar. 15, 2004, p. 35; July 7, 2003, p. 20).

“It’s the same concept as DarkStar; it’s stealthy and it uses the same apertures and data links,” said an Air Force official at the time. “Only it’s bigger,” said a Navy official. “It’s still far from a production aircraft, but the Air Force wanted to go ahead and get it out there.” The classified UAV’s operation caused consternation among U-2 pilots who noticed high-flying aircraft operating within several miles of their routes over Iraq. Flights of the mysterious aircraft were not coordinated with those of other manned and unmanned surveillance units.

There is great interest in how the U.S. now leverages its black- and white-world UAVs and remotely piloted aircraft to maintain a watch over the vast and rugged areas of Afghanistan that NATO’s force of about 100,000 troops will be unable to patrol. The revitalized conflict in Afghanistan will be largely a ground war with airpower serving as flying artillery and as a wide-ranging reconnaissance force.

Emphasis will be attached to manned MC-12W and unmanned surveillance and light-attack aircraft. New technologies such as the Gorgon Stare ISR pod will address ground commanders’ insatiable desire for full-motion video. By next spring, a single pod on a UAV could track 13 separate people as they leave a meeting place. The capability will expand to 65 people by 2012 and eventually to perhaps as many as 150 image feeds from a single UAV combat air patrol.

Along with its new ISR products, the U.S. will be providing close air support and helicopter airlift to its allies.

“I don’t know exactly when the NATO forces or non-U.S. forces will be flowing,” says Gates. “We do have some private commitments. There will be some additional announcements, I expect, [after the] London conference in January on Afghanistan.”

The rough plan so far is to divide operational responsibilities between the allies in the north and west and the U.S. in the east and south. The allies are expected to total “a brigade or two” comprising about 3,500-4,000 troops each, says Gates. Training of the Afghan troops will focus on partnering in combat with international personnel, rather than on basic training.

With Guy Norris in Los Angeles.

Illustration by Gregory Lewis/AW&ST
Title: Gays in the military
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 29, 2010, 10:57:34 AM
Woof All:

I see that our CinC has proposed ending "Don't ask, don't tell" and allowing open gays in the military.

Although I am opinionated, as a lifelong civilian I must be humble here.  Thoughts from our military friends especially appreciated.

Lets kick things off with this:
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: prentice crawford on January 29, 2010, 07:03:38 PM
 I was in the Marines before don't ask don't tell came to be and during my service I knew of a few guys and gals that were openly gay at least to the folks they worked with and there were no problems that I was aware of. No one turned them in or harassed them and part of that was due to the fact that these obviously gay folks behaved with respect and dignity toward themselves and others. They were not flaming, in your face, radical gay activist, trying to shock and awe the masses, these Marines showed restraint. My problem with the services becoming openly gay is that without that level of restraint keeping people respectful of eachother, is that the in your face crowd and the don't rub it in my face crowd, are going to cause a disruption that our military doesn't need.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 30, 2010, 07:22:40 AM
Question:  Contrasting a base at home or a safe base abroad; does the balance change the closer one gets to combat zones/the front lines?  Would you want to have a NCO who thought you had a cute butt and wanted you to polish his rifle deciding whether you had to take extra risky missions?
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: prentice crawford on January 30, 2010, 05:30:50 PM
 That is where the restraint of not being openly gay without repercussions comes into play. If you know that your going to face charges for just being identified as gay then that prevents a lot of untoward behavior by people. If it's just a he said, he said, kind of deal then there would be plenty of that going on the same as with women in the military.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 30, 2010, 05:42:07 PM
So, the answer to my question is "Yes" or "No"? :-)
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: prentice crawford on January 30, 2010, 06:54:37 PM
Yes, but having said that, who could blame someone for admiring my cute butt? :lol: However, I would not want someone with authority over me doing things to get it shot off, just because I told them hands off.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 31, 2010, 07:46:25 AM
So, therefore , , , you disagree with BO's new policy?
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 02, 2010, 07:54:03 AM
Ummm , , , "polishing the rifle" was intended as a euphemism for fellatio.
Title: Israeli Army policy on gays
Post by: rachelg on February 02, 2010, 06:17:19 PM

Israeli experience may sway Army policy on gays

In U.S., "don't ask, don't tell" is losing ground.

Published January 8, 2007

In 1993, Congress banned known homosexuals from the military, convinced their presence could undermine morale and discipline. That year, Israel took exactly the opposite approach.

All restrictions on gay and lesbian soldiers were dropped. Homosexuals in the Israel Defense Forces could join close-knit combat units or serve in sensitive intelligence posts. They were eligible for promotion to the highest ranks.

Fourteen years later, Israelis are convinced they made the right decision.

"It's a non-issue," said David Saranga, a former IDF officer and now Israel's consul for media and public affairs in New York. "There is not a problem with your sexual tendency. You can be a very good officer, a creative one, a brave one and be gay at the same time."

Israel is among 24 countries that permit known gays to serve in the military, and its experience is giving fodder to opponents of the United States' controversial "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that admitting gays had not hurt the IDF or any of the 23 other foreign militaries. With troops stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should drop its ban on known gay service members after the new Congress has time to seriously consider the issue, Shalikashvili wrote.

The retired general's view has drawn wide attention because he supported "don't ask, don't tell" when President Clinton devised it in 1993 as a compromise to the tough law Congress passed that year. Acknowledging that the issue still stirs "passionate feelings" on both sides, Shalikashvili said the debate about gays in the military "must also consider the evidence that has emerged over the last 14 years" - including that in Israel.

As a country almost continuously at war, the Jewish state has always had mandatory conscription although known homosexuals were usually discharged before 1980. The IDF's first official statement on the matter, in 1983, allowed gays to serve but banned them from intelligence and top-secret positions.

Opposition to the policy came to a head 10 years later when the chairman of the Tel Aviv University's chemistry department revealed the IDF had stripped him of his officer rank and barred him from sensitive research solely because he was gay. His testimony before a parliamentary committee created a public storm and forced the IDF to drop all restrictions on homosexuals.

Since then, researchers have found, Israel's armed forces have seen no decline in morale, performance, readiness or cohesion.

"In this security-conscious country, where the military is considered to be essential to the continued existence of the nation, the decision to include sexual minorities has not harmed IDF effectiveness," wrote Aaron Belkin and Melissa Levitt of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A brigadier general quoted in the pair's study said Israelis show a "great tolerance" for homosexual soldiers. One lesbian soldier said she was amazed that "people either thought my sexual orientation was cool or were indifferent to it."

The California study also cited a survey of 17 heterosexual soldiers, two of whom said they would have a problem serving under a gay commander and three expressing concern about showering with a gay colleague. None, though, objected to gay soldiers in general, and as one officer put it, "They're citizens of Israel, like you and me. The sexual orientation of the workers around me doesn't bother me."

As in the United States, though, many Israeli gays, including those in the military, are reluctant to come out of the closet until they think it is safe to do so.

"All available evidence suggests that the IDF continues to be a place where many homosexual soldiers choose not to disclose their sexual orientation," the researchers found, noting that a psychiatrist said soldiers in her care still "suspect that if they come out they won't get a good position."

Publicly, the IDF says that gay soldiers - estimated to be about 2 percent of the force - are screened the same as heterosexuals for promotions and sensitive positions. One officer said she had no problems rising through the ranks as an open lesbian.

Despite obvious differences between the two countries, Israel's experience provides a relevant and encouraging lesson in what might happen if the United States lifted its ban on known gays in the services, the California researchers concluded. Not everyone agrees.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Michigan-based Center for Military Readiness, notes that American troops, unlike Israelis, are often deployed for long periods thousands of miles from home.

"People who live in conditions of forced intimacy should not have to expose themselves to persons who might be sexually attracted to them," Donnelly said. "We respect that desire for human modesty and we respect the power of human sexuality."

However, a recent poll of U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan found that 75 percent said they would feel comfortable serving with gays. Of those who knew they had a gay colleague, two-thirds said it had no impact on their unit or personal morale.

Americans in general are far more amenable to gays in the military since "don't ask, don't tell" was adopted in 1993. Polls in the last few years have shown at least 58 percent and as much as 70 percent favor repealing the ban on known homosexuals.

"Of the minority of the public that still support the policy, that support is not about anything other than simple moral discomfort," said Belkin, director of Santa Barbara's Michael D. Palm Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military.

"It's really about morality and religion and politics, and it's not about what's good for the military at this point."

Susan Martin can be contacted at

Policy worldwide
Countries that allow gays to serve in the military:

Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

Countries that ban gays from the military:

Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.

The list does not include those countries in which homosexuality is banned outright, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and several other nations in the Middle East. These countries generally have no stated policy on gays in the military because they do not allow or acknowledge the presence of gays at all.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Rarick on February 03, 2010, 01:56:25 AM
Ummm , , , "polishing the rifle" was intended as a euphemism for fellatio.

Exactly,  the price for polishing the rifle has dire consequences if it is a same sex issue tied to promotion......... some time different sex too.  While the incident I had contact with was during peace time, it did cost at least 3 carreers that I know of.   During wartime and availability of non-traceable enemy weapons I am sure the outcome would have been more extreme.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2010, 03:26:34 AM
I'm not sure yet if we are understanding each other.

The question I seek to raise is of a gay NCO or officer exerting sexual pressure (subtle or not) in an environment where he/she is in a position to put those who resist that pressure more in harm's way.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2010, 05:56:11 AM
Ah, now I get it, fragging.

So if I understand correctly (and given our conversation on this point that may well be a first  :lol: ) you argument is that not to worry about the issue because those endangered by rejected advances can always frag?!?
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2010, 09:36:45 AM
Any concerns over the creation of a new "protected class"?  IMHO the history of PC (see e.g. the Fort Hood affair where tons of people knew the jihadi killer was exactly that yet said nothing) gives me concerns.

Separate question:  How would you feel to share a foxhole with someone who got a woodie for you or was flashing a soaped up butt at you in the showers?

Separate question:  What if there are a coupled pair of gay soldiers in the same unit?  Do "coupled gays" get housing for married couples?

Separate question:  What happens if a unit becomes a predominantly gay unit?  What happens to military discipline if the barracks become a SF bath house or a branch of the YMCA?  How does the straight soldier handle that?
Title: Airborne laser
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 12, 2010, 12:22:48 PM
Hat tip to BBG-- pasting this here from the WMD thread.

U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

6:52am EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of a futuristic directed energy weapon, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday.

The agency said in a statement the test took place at 8:44 p.m. PST (11:44 p.m. EST) on Thursday /0444 GMT on Friday) at Point Mugu's Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off Ventura in central California.

"The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile" the agency said.

The high-powered Airborne Laser system is being developed by Boeing Co., the prime contractor, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Boeing produces the airframe, a modified 747 jumbo jet, while Northrop Grumman supplies the higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin is developing the beam and fire control systems.

"This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform," the agency added.

The airborne laser weapon successfully underwent its first in-flight test against a target missile back in August. During that test, Boeing said the modified 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California.
The plane's battle management system issued engagement and target location instructions to the laser's fire control system, which tracked the target and fired a test laser at the missile. Instruments on the missile verified the system had hit its mark, Boeing said.
The airborne laser weapon is aimed at deterring enemy missile attacks and providing the U.S. military with the ability to engage all classes of ballistic missiles at the speed of light while they are in the boost phase of flight.
"The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense, with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers (miles), and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies," the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf and David Alexander, Editing by Sandra Maler)
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 14, 2010, 07:21:36 AM
My understanding is that our military capabilities are heavily dependent upon our dominance in space , , , and that the Chinese are hard at work at satellite killer capabilities.  If our satellites are blinded/destroyed, things could go badly for us quite quickly.   There are also the closely related matters of lasers in/from space and solar panels in space (where they just might be economically logical)  For a full discussion of all this, see George Friedman's (he of Stratfor) new book "The Next 100 Years".

U.S. Surrenders New Frontier Without Fight
Posted 02/12/2010 05:52 PM ET

'We have an agreement until 2012 that Russia will be responsible for this," says Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency, about ferrying astronauts from other countries into low-Earth orbit.

"But after that? Excuse me, but the prices should be absolutely different then!"

The Russians may be new at capitalism, but they know how it works. When you have a monopoly, you charge monopoly prices. Within months, Russia will have a monopoly on rides into space.

By the end of this year, there will be no shuttle, no U.S. manned space program, no way for us to get into space.

We're not talking about Mars or the moon here. We're talking about low-Earth orbit, which the U.S. has dominated for nearly half a century and from which it is now retiring with nary a whimper.

Our absence from low-Earth orbit was meant to last a few years, the interval between the retirement of the fatally fragile space shuttle and its replacement with the Constellation program (Ares booster, Orion capsule, Altair lunar lander) to take astronauts more cheaply and safely back to space.

But the Obama 2011 budget kills Constellation. Instead, we shall have nothing. For the first time since John Glenn flew in 1962, the U.S. will have no access of its own for humans into space — and no prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future.

Of course, the administration presents the abdication as a great leap forward: Launching humans will now be turned over to the private sector, while NASA's efforts will be directed toward landing on Mars.

This is nonsense. It would be swell for private companies to take over launching astronauts. But they cannot do it. It's too expensive. It's too experimental. And the safety standards for actually getting people up and down reliably are just unreachably high.

Sure, decades from now there will be a robust private space-travel industry. But that is a long time. In the interim, space will be owned by Russia and then China. The president waxes seriously nationalist at the thought of China or India surpassing us in speculative "clean energy." Yet he is quite prepared to gratuitously give up our spectacular lead in human space exploration.

As for Mars, more nonsense. Mars is just too far away. And how do you get there without the stepping stones of Ares and Orion? If we can't afford an Ares rocket to get us into orbit and to the moon, how long will it take to develop a revolutionary new propulsion system that will take us not a quarter-million miles but 35 million miles?
BTW, where are the Republicans on all this?  Silent.
Title: New ammo for Afpakia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 16, 2010, 07:40:54 PM
Corps to use more lethal ammo in Afghanistan
Navy Times
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 16, 2010 9:29:10 EST
The Marine Corps is dropping its conventional 5.56mm ammunition in Afghanistan in favor of new deadlier, more accurate rifle rounds, and could field them at any time.

The open-tipped rounds until now have been available only to Special Operations Command troops. The first 200,000 5.56mm Special Operations Science and Technology rounds are already downrange with Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command. Commonly known as “SOST” rounds, they were legally cleared for Marine use by the Pentagon in late January, according to Navy Department documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.

SOCom developed the new rounds for use with the Special Operations Force Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, which needed a more accurate bullet because its short barrel, at 13.8 inches, is less than an inch shorter than the M4 carbine’s. Using an open-tip match round design common with some sniper ammunition, SOST rounds are designed to be “barrier blind,” meaning they stay on target better than existing M855 rounds after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects.

Compared to the M855, SOST rounds also stay on target longer in open air and have increased stopping power through “consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants,” according to Navy Department documents. At 62 grains, they weigh about the same as most NATO rounds, have a typical lead core with a solid copper shank and are considered a variation of Federal Cartridge Co.’s Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round, which was developed for big-game hunting and is touted in a company news release for its ability to crush bone.

The Corps purchased a “couple million” SOST rounds as part of a joint $6 million, 10.4-million-round buy in September — enough to last the service several months in Afghanistan, Brogan said. Navy Department documents say the Pentagon will launch a competition worth up to $400 million this spring for more SOST ammunition.

“This round was really intended to be used in a weapon with a shorter barrel, their SCAR carbines,” Brogan said. “But because of its blind-to-barrier performance, its accuracy improvements and its reduced muzzle flash, those are attractive things that make it also useful to general purpose forces like the Marine Corps and Army.”

M855 problems
The standard Marine round, the M855, was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of widespread criticism from troops, who question whether it has enough punch to stop oncoming enemies.

In 2002, shortcomings in the M855’s performance were detailed in a report by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., according to Navy Department documents. Additional testing in 2005 showed shortcomings. The Pentagon issued a request to industry for improved ammunition the following year. Federal Cartridge was the only company to respond.

Brogan said the Corps has no plans to remove the M855 from the service’s inventory at this time. However, the service has determined it “does not meet USMC performance requirements” in an operational environment in which insurgents often lack personal body armor, but engage troops through “intermediate barriers” such as windshields and car doors at security checkpoints, according to a Jan. 25 Navy Department document clearing Marines to use the SOST round.

The document, signed by J.R. Crisfield, director of the Navy Department International and Operational Law Division, is clear on the recommended course of action for the 5.56mm SOST round, formally known as MK318 MOD 0 enhanced 5.56mm ammunition.

“Based on the significantly improved performance of the MK318 MOD 0 over the M855 against virtually every anticipated target array in Afghanistan and similar combat environments where increased accuracy, better effects behind automobile glass and doors, consistent terminal performance and reduced muzzle flash are critical to mission accomplishment, USMC would treat the MK318 MOD 0 as its new 5.56mm standard issue cartridge,” Crisfield wrote.

The original plan called for the SOST round to be used specifically within the M4 carbine, which has a 14½-inch barrel and is used by tens of thousands of Marines in military occupational specialties such as motor vehicle operator where the M16A4’s longer barrel can be cumbersome. Given its benefits, however, Marine officials decided also to adopt SOST for the M16A4, which has a 20-inch barrel and is used by most of the infantry.

Incorporating SOST
In addition to operational benefits, SOST rounds have similar ballistics to the M855 round, meaning Marines will not have to adjust to using the new ammo, even though it is more accurate.

“It does not require us to change our training,” Brogan said. “We don’t have to change our aim points or modify our training curriculum. We can train just as we have always trained with the 855 round, so right now, there is no plan to completely remove the 855 from inventory.”

Marine officials in Afghanistan could not be reached for comment, but Brogan said commanders with MEB-A are authorized to issue SOST ammo to any subordinate command. Only one major Marine 5.56mm weapon system downrange will not use SOST: the M249 squad automatic weapon. Though the new rounds fit the SAW, they are not currently produced in the linked fashion commonly employed with the light machine gun, Brogan said.

SOCom first fielded the SOST round in April, said Air Force Maj. Wesley Ticer, a spokesman for the command. It also fielded a cousin — MK319 MOD 0 enhanced 7.62mm SOST ammo — designed for use with the SCAR-Heavy, a powerful 7.62mm battle rifle. SOCom uses both kinds of ammunition in all of its geographic combatant commands, Ticer said.

The Corps has no plans to buy 7.62mm SOST ammunition, but that could change if operational commanders or infantry requirements officers call for it in the future, Brogan said.

It is uncertain how long the Corps will field the SOST round. Marine officials said last summer that they took interest in it after the M855A1 lead-free slug in development by the Army experienced problems during testing, but Brogan said the service is still interested in the environmentally friendly round if it is effective. Marine officials also want to see if the price of the SOST round drops once in mass production. The price of an individual round was not available, but Brogan said SOST ammo is more expensive than current M855 rounds.

“We have to wait and see what happens with the Army’s 855LFS round,” he said. “We also have to get very good cost estimates of where these [SOST] rounds end up in full-rate, or serial production. Because if it truly is going to remain more expensive, then we would not want to buy that round for all of our training applications.”

Legal concerns
Before the SOST round could be fielded by the Corps, it had to clear a legal hurdle: approval that it met international law of war standards.

The process is standard for new weapons and weapons systems, but it took on added significance because of the bullet’s design. Open-tip bullets have been approved for use by U.S. forces for decades, but are sometimes confused with hollow-point rounds, which expand in human tissue after impact, causing unnecessary suffering, according to widely accepted international treaties signed following the Hague peace conventions held in the Netherlands in 1899 and 1907.

“We need to be very clear in drawing this distinction: This is not a hollow-point round, which is not permitted,” Brogan said. “It has been through law of land warfare review and has passed that review so that it meets the criteria of not causing unnecessary pain and suffering.”

The open-tip/hollow-point dilemma has been addressed several times by the military, including in 1990, when the chief of the Judge Advocate General International Law Branch, now-retired Marine Col. W. Hays Parks, advised that the open-tip M852 Sierra MatchKing round preferred by snipers met international law requirements. The round was kept in the field.

In a 3,000-word memorandum to Army Special Operations Command, Parks said “unnecessary suffering” and “superfluous injury” have not been formally defined, leaving the U.S. with a “balancing test” it must conduct to assess whether the usage of each kind of rifle round is justified.

“The test is not easily applied,” Parks said. “For this reason, the degree of ‘superfluous injury’ must … outweigh substantially the military necessity for the weapon system or projectile.”

John Cerone, an expert in the law of armed conflict and professor at the New England School of Law, said the military’s interpretation of international law is widely accepted. It is understood that weapons cause pain in war, and as long as there is a strategic military reason for their employment, they typically meet international guidelines, he said.

“In order to fall within the prohibition, a weapon has to be designed to cause unnecessary suffering,” he said.

Sixteen years after Parks issued his memo, an Army unit in Iraq temporarily banned the open-tip M118 long-range used by snipers after a JAG officer mistook it for hollow-tip ammunition, according to a 2006 Washington Times report. The decision was overturned when other Army officials were alerted.
Title: Cruise missiles in a box, from Russia with love
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 25, 2010, 10:10:33 PM
A cruise missile in a shipping box on sale to rogue bidders
Defence experts are warning of a new danger of ballistic weapons proliferation after a Russian company started marketing a cruise missile that can be launched from a shipping container.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Published: 6:30PM BST 25 Apr 2010

 Club - K container missile system. Stills from an animated film being used to market a missile system that allows cruise missles to be launched from a freight container. this can be loaded onto a lorry, ship, or train as desired tomove into position before launching missiles
It is feared that the covert Club-K missile attack system could prove "game-changing" in fighting wars with small countries, which would gain a remote capacity to mount multiple missiles on boats, trucks or railways.

Iran and Venezuela have already shown an interest in the Club-K Container Missile System which could allow them to carry out pre-emptive strikes from behind an enemy's missile defences.

Defence experts say the system is designed to be concealed as a standard 40ft shipping container that cannot be identified until it is activated. Priced at an estimated £10 million, each container is fitted with four cruise anti-ship or land attack missiles. The system represents an affordable "strategic level weapon".  Some experts believe that if Iraq had the Club-K system in 2003 it would have made it impossible for America to invade with any container ship in the Gulf a potential threat.
Club-K is being marketed at the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Malaysia this week.  Novator, the manufacturer, is an advanced missile specialist that would not have marketed the system without Moscow's approval. It has released an emotive marketing film complete with dramatic background music. It shows Club-K containers stowed on ships, trucks and trains as a neighbouring country prepares to invade with American style military equipment.  The enemy force is wiped out by the cruise missile counter attack. Russia has already prompted concern in Washington by selling Iran the sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft missile system that would make targeting of Iranian nuclear facilities very difficult.

"This Club-K is game changing with the ability to wipe out an aircraft carrier 200 miles away. The threat is immense in that no one can tell how far deployed your missiles could be," said Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, who first reported on the Club-K developments.

"What alerted me to this was that the Russians were advertising it at specific international defence event and they have marketed it very squarely at anyone under threat of action from the US."

Reuben Johnson, a Pentagon defence consultant, said the system would be a "real maritime fear for anyone with a waterfront".

"This is ballistic missile proliferation on a scale we have not seen before because now you cannot readily identify what's being used as a launcher because it's very carefully disguised.  Someone could sail off your shore looking innocuous then the next minute big explosions are going off at your military installations."
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 26, 2010, 08:46:50 AM

See entry number 169 from July 2008;topicseen#msg19722
Title: WSJ: Littoral Combat Ships
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 12, 2010, 07:43:14 AM
WASHINGTON—This summer, the Navy expects to choose between two competing designs for the Littoral Combat Ship, a fast, shore-hugging warship that will take on 21st century missions like chasing pirates and intercepting drug smugglers.

Associated Press
The Littoral Combat Ship, produced by General Dynamics, underway during builder's trials.
.At issue is more than a shipbuilding contract. The contest underscores a broad discussion taking place inside and outside the Navy about the future size and shape of the service's fleet.

U.S. naval power is built in large part around carrier strike groups, a costly armada of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and escort ships that project American power around the globe. Littoral Combat Ships are pint-size in comparison. They will be roughly the size of a frigate—smaller than a destroyer, larger than a patrol boat—but with more automation.

Fully loaded for combat, they will have about 75 people aboard, about a third a frigate's crew. In often outsize Pentagon terms, the craft will be relatively cheap: roughly half a billion dollars each. A new carrier is projected to cost around $10 billion.

The Navy is choosing between designs offered by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the U.S. unit of Australia's Austal Ltd., which has teamed with General Dynamics Corp. Both models have innovative features. The Lockheed variant, 378 feet long and built at Fincantieri Marine Group LLC's Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., has a high-speed steel hull that lets it travel at over 40 knots (about 50 miles an hour).

The Austal/General Dynamics ship is built around an aluminum trimaran design, a configuration never before used in a U.S. warship. Derived from a high-speed commercial ferry, the 419-foot ship features a 7,300-square-foot flight deck and a spacious mission bay for combat equipment.

One of each ship design is already in service, and the Navy expects to award a fixed-price contract to a single winner for 10 of the new warships. Another order of five ships is to be awarded to a competing shipyard sometime in 2012.

The Littoral Combat Ship award comes at a crucial time for the sea service. An austerity drive at the Pentagon, fueled in part by slowing growth in the Defense Department's budget, is placing new pressure on Navy spending and raising questions about whether the service will have to scale back an ambitious long-term shipbuilding plan.

In a recent speech, Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy's top admiral, pointed to the "potential for a procurement squeeze," saying that operations, maintenance and manpower costs had the potential to cut into money available for equipment purchases.

Further adding pressure, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has publicly asked whether the Navy needs to stick with plans to keep 11 aircraft carrier strike groups for the next three decades, saying the U.S. already enjoyed "massive overmatch" against any other navy.

And in a recent analysis of the Navy's current 30-year shipbuilding plan, the Congressional Budget Office warned that the Navy wouldn't be able to afford all the ships on its wish list, even if it continues to receive the same amount of funding for ship construction—an average of about $15 billion a year in 2010 dollars.

Maren Leed, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, says the Navy faces a much tighter budget in coming years, which may force it to make choices, trading purchases of expensive ships like carriers for more investment in ships like the Littoral Combat Ship.

The smaller and cheaper Littoral Combat Ship may help the Navy stick to a goal important to its top officials. For several years, they have argued publicly for a shipbuilding program that would allow them to build out to a 313-ship fleet, up from 288 ships today.

Lawmakers involved in the defense spending process are also keen to boost ship numbers. Rep. Ike Skelton (D., Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recently told reporters that "numbers make a difference" when it comes to maintaining a global naval presence, and the current fiscal year 2011 budget request includes nine new ships that count toward that 313-ship goal. But Rep. Gene Taylor (D., Miss.), chairman of the seapower subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Navy was retiring older ships more quickly than it was buying new ones.

"This is the third CNO [chief of naval operations] I've dealt with who's said the 313 ship is a floor, not a ceiling," he said in an interview. "And yet they send over a ship retention plan that goes the wrong way."

The service also canceled two earlier shipbuilding contracts for Littoral Combat Ships, because the prices had become too high. The Navy's decision to pare down the Littoral Combat Ship to a single design is supposed to yield a more affordable ship.
Title: Chinese anti-carrier missile
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 06, 2010, 04:04:54 AM
Hat tip to PC who posted this in the China thread:

By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer Eric Talmadge, Associated Press Writer – Thu Aug 5, 5:43 pm ET
ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON – Nothing projects U.S. global air and sea power more vividly than supercarriers. Bristling with fighter jets that can reach deep into even landlocked trouble zones, America's virtually invincible carrier fleet has long enforced its dominance of the high seas.

China may soon put an end to that.

U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China — an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).


EDITOR'S NOTE — The USS George Washington supercarrier recently deployed off North Korea in a high-profile show of U.S. sea power. AP Tokyo News Editor Eric Talmadge was aboard the carrier, and filed this report.


Analysts say final testing of the missile could come as soon as the end of this year, though questions remain about how fast China will be able to perfect its accuracy to the level needed to threaten a moving carrier at sea.

The weapon, a version of which was displayed last year in a Chinese military parade, could revolutionize China's role in the Pacific balance of power, seriously weakening Washington's ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea. It could also deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China's 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) -long coastline.

While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier, assuming its user was willing to raise the stakes to atomic levels, the conventionally-armed Dong Feng 21D's uniqueness is in its ability to hit a powerfully defended moving target with pin-point precision.

The Chinese Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to the AP's request for a comment.

Funded by annual double-digit increases in the defense budget for almost every year of the past two decades, the Chinese navy has become Asia's largest and has expanded beyond its traditional mission of retaking Taiwan to push its sphere of influence deeper into the Pacific and protect vital maritime trade routes.

"The Navy has long had to fear carrier-killing capabilities," said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for a New American Security. "The emerging Chinese antiship missile capability, and in particular the DF 21D, represents the first post-Cold War capability that is both potentially capable of stopping our naval power projection and deliberately designed for that purpose."

Setting the stage for a possible conflict, Beijing has grown increasingly vocal in its demands for the U.S. to stay away from the wide swaths of ocean — covering much of the Yellow, East and South China seas — where it claims exclusivity.

It strongly opposed plans to hold U.S.-South Korean war games in the Yellow Sea off the northeastern Chinese coast, saying the participation of the USS George Washington supercarrier, with its 1,092-foot (333-meter) flight deck and 6,250 personnel, would be a provocation because it put Beijing within striking range of U.S. F-18 warplanes.

The carrier instead took part in maneuvers held farther away in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. officials deny Chinese pressure kept it away, and say they will not be told by Beijing where they can operate.

"We reserve the right to exercise in international waters anywhere in the world," Rear Adm. Daniel Cloyd, who headed the U.S. side of the exercises, said aboard the carrier during the maneuvers, which ended last week.

But the new missile, if able to evade the defenses of a carrier and of the vessels sailing with it, could undermine that policy.

"China can reach out and hit the U.S. well before the U.S. can get close enough to the mainland to hit back," said Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He said U.S. ships have only twice been that vulnerable — against Japan in World War II and against Soviet bombers in the Cold War.

Carrier-killing missiles "could have an enduring psychological effect on U.S. policymakers," he e-mailed to The AP. "It underscores more broadly that the U.S. Navy no longer rules the waves as it has since the end of World War II. The stark reality is that sea control cannot be taken for granted anymore."

Yoshihara said the weapon is causing considerable consternation in Washington, though — with attention focused on land wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — its implications haven't been widely discussed in public.

Analysts note that while much has been made of China's efforts to ready a carrier fleet of its own, it would likely take decades to catch U.S. carrier crews' level of expertise, training and experience.

But Beijing does not need to match the U.S. carrier for carrier. The Dong Feng 21D, smarter, and vastly cheaper, could successfully attack a U.S. carrier, or at least deter it from getting too close.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned of the threat in a speech last September at the Air Force Association Convention.

"When considering the military-modernization programs of countries like China, we should be concerned less with their potential ability to challenge the U.S. symmetrically — fighter to fighter or ship to ship — and more with their ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options," he said.

Gates said China's investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare, anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, along with ballistic missiles, "could threaten America's primary way to project power" through its forward air bases and carrier strike groups.

The Pentagon has been worried for years about China getting an anti-ship ballistic missile. The Pentagon considers such a missile an "anti-access," weapon, meaning that it could deny others access to certain areas.

The Air Force's top surveillance and intelligence officer, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, told reporters this week that China's effort to increase anti-access capability is part of a worrisome trend.

He did not single out the DF 21D, but said: "While we might not fight the Chinese, we may end up in situations where we'll certainly be opposing the equipment that they build and sell around the world."

Questions remain over when — and if — China will perfect the technology; hitting a moving carrier is no mean feat, requiring state-of-the-art guidance systems, and some experts believe it will take China a decade or so to field a reliable threat. Others, however, say final tests of the missile could come in the next year or two.

Former Navy commander James Kraska, a professor of international law and sea power at the U.S. Naval War College, recently wrote a controversial article in the magazine Orbis outlining a hypothetical scenario set just five years from now in which a Deng Feng 21D missile with a penetrator warhead sinks the USS George Washington.

That would usher in a "new epoch of international order in which Beijing emerges to displace the United States."

While China's Defense Ministry never comments on new weapons before they become operational, the DF 21D — which would travel at 10 times the speed of sound and carry conventional payloads — has been much discussed by military buffs online.

A pseudonymous article posted on Xinhuanet, website of China's official news agency, imagines the U.S. dispatching the George Washington to aid Taiwan against a Chinese attack.

The Chinese would respond with three salvos of DF 21D, the first of which would pierce the hull, start fires and shut down flight operations, the article says. The second would knock out its engines and be accompanied by air attacks. The third wave, the article says, would "send the George Washington to the bottom of the ocean."

Comments on the article were mostly positive.
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Freki on August 06, 2010, 09:43:50 AM
Remember this story?

Clinton and Chinese Missiles
Charles R. Smith
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003
Chinese Army Gets U.S. Missile Technology for Money

A newly released document from the U.S. State Department reveals that the most successful Chinese espionage operation in recent history occurred during the Clinton administration.

The document accuses Hughes Space and Communications Company of violating U.S. national security 123 times by knowingly sending detailed missile and space technology directly to the Chinese army.

According to the State Department, the most serious violations occurred when Hughes gave the Chinese army information that supported its analyses of the investigation of the January 1995 failure of the launch of a China Long March 2E (LM-2E) rocket carrying the Hughes-manufactured ASTAR II commercial communications satellite.

On Jan. 26, 1995, approximately 52 seconds into flight, a Chinese LM-2E carrying the Hughes APSTAR II communications satellite failed. This was the LM-2E's second failure. The first failure of the LM-2E in December 1992 involved an attempted launch of the Hughes OPTUS B-2 commercial communications satellite.

"Respondents decided to form and direct a launch failure investigation beginning in January 1995 and continuing throughout much of that year. The investigation involved the formation of several groups of leading technical experts from China and the U.S., which throughout the investigation engaged in an extensive exchange of technical data and analysis, producing a wide range of unauthorized technology transfers," noted the State Department charge document.

"At no time did the Respondents seek or receive a license or other written approval concerning the conduct of their APSTAR II failure investigation with PRC authorities," states the charge document.

According to the State Department, "this strategy was further influenced by Respondents' business interests in securing future contracts with the PRC and with Asian satellite companies in which PRC influence figured prominently, and concern that U.S. Government policy constraints on technology transfer as administered by ODTC were an impediment to achieving these interests."

Chinese Rocket Failure Blamed on U.S.

According to a 1998 Defense Department investigation, the reason for Hughes passing the technical information to China was because the Chinese army blamed Hughes for the rocket failure.

"Following the APSTAR II failure, there was disagreement between Hughes and the Chinese about whether the principal cause of the failure was the launch vehicle or the satellite. The subsequent joint Hughes-Chinese failure investigation was apparently intended, at least in part, to resolve this dispute," states the 1998 Defense Department report.

"According to the Hughes/Apstar materials, the disagreement between Hughes and the Chinese focused on two views of the cause of the launch failure: (1) the Chinese claim that the satellite was defective as evidenced by satellite fuel igniting; and (2) Hughes' claim that the satellite was a contributing factor only after the launch vehicle fairing had failed which exposed the satellite to catastrophic conditions."

"DoD believes that the scope and content of the launch failure investigation conducted by Hughes with the Chinese following the January 1995 APSTAR II failure raises national security concerns both with regard to violating those standards and to potentially contributing to China's missile capabilities," states the Defense Department report.

PLA General Shen Rongjun

Chinese General Shen Rongjun led the penetration of U.S. missile and space technology during the Clinton administration. The 2002 State Department letter makes it clear that they believe Gen. Shen led the successful penetration of the Clinton administration and Hughes.

In 1994, Gen. Shen was second in command of a Chinese army unit known as COSTIND, or the Commission On Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Shen, and his COSTIND operatives in front companies, secured a wide range of advanced missile and space technology from Hughes after a 1994 meeting with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.

Commerce documents obtained using the Freedom of Information Act show that Brown met with Gen. Shen in 1994 during a trade trip to Beijing. President Clinton personally authorized the meeting between the Chinese general and Brown.

Before moving to Commerce, Brown headed the Democratic National Committee. The Federal Election Commission fined the DNC in 2002 for "knowingly and willingly" accepting donations from Chinese army sources.

Gen. Shen did obtain help from the White House by pressuring Hughes with satellite contracts. Hughes CEO Michael Armstrong wrote President Clinton in 1993 threatening to pull support for Clinton if he did not allow the space technology transfers to China. In 1994, Clinton approved a waiver for Hughes to transfer advanced satellite encryption systems to China.

According to a Sept. 20, 1995, memorandum, Hughes regarded Gen. Shen Rongjun as "the most important Chinese space official."

The Chinese army penetration of Hughes was so successful that Gen. Shen managed to get his son, Shen Jun, a job at Hughes as the lead software engineer for all Chinese satellites. According to Hughes, Shen Jun had access to "proprietary" satellite source code.

"On July 9, 1996, Respondents submitted a munitions export license application to ODTC seeking authorization for one of its employees, Shen Jun, described as a dual Canadian Chinese national, in order to provide Chinese-English language translation and interpretation support for the preliminary design phase of the APMT satellite project," states the 2002 charge letter.

"In no place in that submission nor otherwise did HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY inform ODTC that this individual was, in fact, the son of PLA General and COSTIND Deputy Director Shen Rongjun, which fact was material to the U.S. Government's consideration of whether the license application should be approved or denied."

"The record indicates that Shen Jun's role for Respondents went well beyond that of an interpreter/translator and more closely resembled that of an intermediary with his father, General Shen, and other PRC space authorities, in order to cultivate their support in various matters of interest to Hughes, including the handling of the APSTAR II launch failure investigation and the APMT contract," noted the State Department 2002 charge letter.

According to the State Department, Hughes contends that it followed the law with regard to hiring Gen. Shen's son.

"Respondents have maintained as of December 3, 2002, that this information was not material and that its omission was proper because there is no place in the munitions license application for them to disclose father-son relationships between General officers at the People's Liberation Army who are overseeing a project they are working on and their foreign national employees working in U.S. facilities on the same project."

Clinton Overrules Secretary of State

The alleged improper export by Hughes of satellite technology was cited as a key reason when Clinton's secretary of state, Warren Christopher, rejected a plan to give the Commerce Department full authority to control satellite exports.

According to a Sept. 22, 1995, memorandum, Christopher rejected plans to give Commerce the authority to approve satellite exports after an interagency study noted that "significant" military and intelligence capabilities could be lost.

The memorandum stated the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies strongly opposed the policy change because Hughes exported two satellites with sensitive cryptographic technology without first getting a State Department munitions license. Cryptographic technology is used to scramble communications sent to satellites to prevent unauthorized access.

President Clinton, who transferred the power to regulate sensitive satellites to Commerce, under Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, ultimately overruled Christopher.

Clinton's transfer allowed the Chinese army to acquire advanced U.S. technology for military purposes. Hughes satellites currently provide the Chinese army with secure communications that are invulnerable to earth combat and highly accurate all-weather navigation for strike bombers and missiles.

Hughes satellites purchased by Shen also provide direct TV and cable TV broadcasts to most of Asia. Thus, cable and pay-per-view services help pay for the Chinese army satellite communications. The brilliant planning and logistics mean that Chinese military communications pay for themselves.

Clinton Legacy – A New Arms Race

The satellite and missile technology obtained from Hughes by the Chinese army is critical for the design and manufacture of missile nose cones and electronic missile control systems. The technology clearly helped the Chinese army field a new generation of ICBMS, including the Dong Feng 31 missile, which can drop three nuclear warheads on any city in the U.S.

The success of Shen is a story of missiles, politics and greed. Gen. Shen succeeded in using Hughes and President Clinton as valuable tools to obtain weapons that are now pointed at the United States.

China won and the U.S. lost what may very well be the first round of World War III. Gen. Shen led that victory and he did it with a checkbook. The Clinton legacy for the 21st century is a new arms race.

Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Clinton Scandals
Missile Defense

Editor's note:
Chinese Military Manual Calls for "Unrestricted" War Against America
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 06, 2010, 09:59:39 AM

Outstanding recall on your part!  The article you post has many details that I did not know.

Please refresh my memory if you can:  wasn't this the same cluster that had Bernie Schwartz of Loral Satellites donating $345,000 to President Clinton (perhaps a personal meeting was involved?)
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Freki on August 06, 2010, 12:41:41 PM
Wish I knew more about it.  I was the only one in my circles to pick up on this when it happened. It was just a blip on the news for about one day.  It was washed away in the ebb and flow of meaningless news.   I thought then and still do think it smacks of treason, aid and comfort to our enemies.   When I read your posting about the accuracy of the Chinese missiles I flashed back to this story.  A little googling and came up with this old article.  If anyone else can flesh this out I for one would be appreciative.
Title: Clinton Gives Missile Tech. to China
Post by: prentice crawford on August 06, 2010, 09:29:15 PM
 Here's a timeline of articles:

 Does this help, Freki? :-)

 And then to the clueless out there; YOUR VOTE HAS CONSEQUENCES! AND CHARACTER MATTERS!
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Freki on August 07, 2010, 05:22:00 AM
Nice find P.C.  .....thanks
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 12, 2010, 11:23:26 PM
The site wanted to run something on my computer but I wouldn't let it do so. Coincidentally, the page is coming up blank for me.  May I ask for a summary of the material at p. 12 et seq?
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 13, 2010, 11:31:55 PM
Thank you very much for taking the time to put that post together.

I note that one of the legs of Stratfor's analysis of the US's geopolitical position in the world includes the ability to project serious force anywhere in the world with impunity via our aircraft carrier groups.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: prentice crawford on August 19, 2010, 12:51:21 AM
 China going for a big stick on the high seas.

Title: LA Times: Combat by Camera
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 12, 2010, 03:10:15 PM


The changing face of aerial reconnaissance
Aerial spying is 'now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism.' And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business even as the Pentagon looks at cutting back on big-ticket items.

A Global Hawk robotic plane, hovering more than 11 miles above Afghanistan, can snap images of Taliban hide-outs so crystal clear that U.S. intelligence officials can make out the pickup trucks parked nearby — and how long they've been there.

Halfway around the globe in a underground laboratory in El Segundo, Raytheon Co. engineers who helped develop the cameras and sensors for the pilotless spy plane are now working on even more powerful devices that are revolutionizing the way the military gathers intelligence.

The new sensors enable flying drones to "listen in" on cellphone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground. Some can even "smell" the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory.

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Reconnaissance is "now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism," said David L. Rockwell, an electronics analyst with aerospace research firm the Teal Group Corp. "The military wants to have an unblinking eye over the war zone."

And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business for the defense industry at a time when the Pentagon is looking at cutting back on big-ticket purchases such as fighter jets and Navy ships.

The drone electronics industry now generates about $3 billion in revenue, but that's expected to double to $6 billion in the next eight years, Teal Group estimates.

The industry's projected growth has fueled a surge in mergers and acquisitions of companies that develop and make the parts for the sensor systems, many of them in Southern California.

"There has been an explosion in the reconnaissance market," said Jon B. Kutler, founder of Admiralty Partners, a Century City private investment firm that buys and sells small defense firms."It's one of the few remaining growth areas."

Kutler's company recently acquired Torrance-based Trident Space & Defense, which manufactures hard drives that enable drones to store high-resolution images.

Trident, which has about 70 employees, has seen its sales more than double to about $40 million over the last five years.

The demand for sensors is growing as the Pentagon steps up use of drones for intelligence gathering.

More than 7,000 drones — ranging from the small, hand-launched Raven to the massive Global Hawk — are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though some have been outfitted with laser-guided bombs or missiles — grabbing most of the news headlines — all are equipped with sensors for reconnaissance and surveillance work.

The most advanced cameras and sensors are on the Global Hawk, a long-endurance, high-altitude drone that can fly for 30 hours at a time at more than 60,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles and undetectable to the human eye.

Peter W. Singer, author of "Wired for War," a book about robotic warfare, compares the technology to the popular "Where's Waldo" children's books, in which readers are challenged to find one person hidden in a mass of people.

The latest detectors not only can pick out Waldo from a crowd, but know when Waldo may have fired a rifle. Such sensors can detect the heat from the barrel of a gun and estimate when it was fired.

Many of the sensors have been developed by Raytheon engineers in El Segundo, where the company has had a long history of developing spy equipment, including those found on the famed U-2 spy plane.

Some of the more advanced cameras can cost more than $15 million and take 18 months to make. Raytheon develops the cameras in a humidity-controlled, dust-free laboratory to ensure that they are free of blemishes.

Each basketball-sized camera "must be perfect," said Oscar Fragoso, a Raytheon optical engineer. "If it isn't, we know we're putting lives at risk."

Raytheon has begun to face stiff competition as other aerospace contractors vie for its business.

Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp., which is known for its work on developing parts for spy satellites, has developed a sensor system, named the Gorgon Stare, that widens the area that drones can monitor from 1 mile to nearly 3 miles.

Named for the creature in Greek mythology whose gaze turns victims to stone, the sensor system features 12 small cameras — instead of one large one. It is to be affixed to Reaper drones before the end of the year.

With the multiple cameras, the operator can follow numerous vehicles instead of just one, said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Otto, the U.S. Air Force's director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. "By the end of the year, we're going to be fielding capabilities that are unlike anything we've used before."

But with an increase in the number of drone patrols and new sensor technology, the Air Force will be "drowning in data," Otto said. "That means we're going to need a lot more people looking at computer screens."

The Pentagon has said that drones last year took so much video footage that it would take someone 24 years to watch it all.

By this time next year, the Air Force expects to have almost 5,000 people trawling through the images for intelligence information. That's up from little more than 1,200 nine years ago.

"The reconnaissance work that's being done now takes seconds, where it used to take days," Otto said. "We're pushing the edge of technology."
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

Title: Cool building tech for front line
Post by: Freki on November 14, 2010, 08:21:29 AM
This is a great idea not just for front line but civilian use as well.  I would like to know the costs involved.
Title: Big Dog
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 18, 2010, 06:09:31 PM!
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Rarick on November 20, 2010, 06:34:44 AM
Title: Now, that's a big satellite , , ,
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 22, 2010, 06:06:24 AM

National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) released a press note saying that the Air Force has launched its spy satellite from Cape Canaveral station on Sunday at 5:58 p.m.

The satellite is being dubbed as the largest satellite in the world. More details were not given as it is a classified mission.

The unmanned 23-story rocket carried the classified spy satellite.

Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, commander 45th Space Wing of the Air Force, said that this mission will help them in strengthening the national defense.

“Experts believe that the secret payload is a satellite capable of listening to a variety of transmissions from around the world. Such a satellite would have giant antennas stretching up to the size of a football field.
”Rocket launch faced many delays
The satellite, called NROL-32, had to face a series of delays due to technical problems.

The latest was a fault in the pair of temperature sensors, which delayed the Nov. 19 launch.

The 235 feet Delta 4 rocket is actually made up of three boosters, providing 2 million pounds of thrust and making it the most powerful rocket in service.

The rocket is made by United Launch Alliance, which is a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed. It made its first flight in 2004.

The rocket is capable of carrying payloads up to 24 tons in to low Earth orbit and 11 tons in geosynchronous orbits, which is used by communication satellites.

Experts believe that the secret payload is a satellite capable of listening to a variety of transmissions from around the world. Such a satellite would have giant antennas stretching up to the size of a football field.

Cloudy skies denied the spectacular show to the observers that could have been made more splendid by the rising moon.

But Florida residents doesn't need to be disappointed as they may be able to see space shuttle Discovery blast off on its final flight on Dec. 3, this year.

Satellite termed crucial for national defense
NRO Director Bruce Carlson said in press release that this is the most aggressive launch NRO had in the last 20 years.

He added that the new satellites are necessary for the new missions of NRO and will replace the existing ones before they fail.

“Now when I buy something people complain about how expensive it is, but nobody ever complains when it’s time to die and keep right on ticking,” Carlson a former general of the Air Force added. “We bought most of our satellites for three, five or eight years and we keep them in orbit for ten, twelve and up to twenty years.”

Title: LATimes: new concept for helmet design
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 23, 2010, 08:35:57 AM
The much-maligned combat helmet worn by U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained another blow Monday as engineers from MIT reported that the headgear, as currently designed, did little to protect troops from blast-related brain injury.

But the research team identified a design change that could substantially improve the helmet's ability to reduce the risk of concussion: a face shield capable of deflecting the rippling force of an explosion away from the soft tissues of the face.

With a shield in place, "you actually do mitigate the effects of the blast quite significantly," said Raul Radovitzky, lead author of a study published Monday in the online version of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The report is not the first to identify the shortcomings of the military's so-called advanced combat helmet. A study published in August used computer simulations to determine that when blast waves roll over the helmet, the internal pads that are designed to cushion the wearer's head actually stiffen and transfer concussive energy to the skull and brain, increasing the likelihood of injury.

The new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study contradicted those findings, reporting instead that the helmet doesn't contribute to brain injury when it is hit by the concussive blast waves of an improvised explosive device.

Radovitzky and colleagues from the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies in Cambridge, Mass., and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., also relied on computer simulations to gauge the effect of a blast directly in front of a soldier on the "intracranial contents" of a helmet-encased head.

Radovitzky said that in fashioning a computer model of the brain, his team used assumptions about the brain's structure, density and position within the skull that were more refined and realistic than those used by the authors of the August study.

One of the authors of that report, physicist Eric G. Blackman of the University of Rochester, called the new finding "important."

"I think it will turn out to be a consideration in the future redesign of helmets," Blackman said.

Traumatic brain injury, often called TBI or concussion, has become one of the most distinctive and intractable wounds sustained by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The armed services have diagnosed more than 188,000 cases among troops who have served in the Middle East.

Many experts think the true toll is far higher, because the effects of brain injury can be easy to miss. The Rand Corp. has estimated that as many as 320,000 service members may have suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brain injuries from explosions during combat appear similar to those that occur in car accidents, falls and sporting events. In most cases, a soldier close to an explosion is thrown against a wall or to the floor, causing "brain whiplash," said neurosurgeon Jam Ghajar, president of the Brain Trauma Foundation.

But for many troops, brain trauma appears to occur without a direct blow to the head. That mystery has left most experts guessing how, exactly, the damage occurs.

Some speculate that concussive waves of energy pass through the skull and knock the brain around within its cavity. Others suggest an explosion hits the chest with a powerful jolt, setting off sudden changes of blood flow and pressure that harm the brain. An explosion's light, heat, chemical byproducts or even a sudden surge of electromagnetic energy could possibly disturb and damage the brain.

Running experiments on humans is impractical — hence the need for sophisticated computer simulations. Until medical experts understand how bombs hurt brains, though, the value of those simulations is limited.

"While the work of Radovitzky and others is compelling, these computational models are just that — models," said Dr. Kenneth C. Curley, director of neurotrauma research for the U.S. Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command at Ft. Detrick, Md. "Models are only as precise as the data available to drive them."
Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: Rarick on November 23, 2010, 08:42:15 AM
Title: Robots
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 28, 2010, 08:38:20 AM
Title: Russia prepares capability to go after US satellites
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 07, 2010, 08:49:28 AM
It appears that not only the Chinese are working on this:

Worth noting is that BO has virtually eliminated our space efforts, including military.  Although this has not gathered any attention, IMHO this is a huge error.  We are going to wake up one morning with our satellite capabilities neutered by the Chinese, just as Iran had its nuke program disrupted by Stuxnet, and our military very seriously exposed e.g. our navy in the western Pacific.
Title: Patriot Post
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 10, 2010, 08:51:20 AM
The looming real budget cuts about to hit the Defense Department would be unfortunate in any setting but are likely to present especially acute problems for U.S. forces five or 10 years down the road due to growth in both quantity and quality of Chinese military systems over that time. While U.S. forces are looking at cuts across the board, and already find it difficult to field meaningful numbers of best-in-the-world systems such as the F-22, China is beginning to hit its stride in the production of military systems that compete with U.S. quality.

Chinese fighter aircraft in particular are beginning to encroach on the dominance of American F-15s and F-16s in technical sophistication and flight performance -- not surprising, considering the F-15 entered active service with the U.S. Air Force in 1976 and the F-16 in 1980. China's new F-11B, an improved and entirely Chinese-made upgrade of the Russian SU-27, poses a particular threat to older U.S. aircraft. With the F-22 program capped at 187 aircraft, and with any fight to defend Taiwan requiring U.S. aircraft to fly from distant bases, it is becoming a real possibility that U.S. forces could lose air superiority.

Title: Re: Military Science
Post by: G M on December 10, 2010, 09:07:03 AM
Well, we better ask China for more money so we can buy more F-22 fighters.....
Title: Rail gun
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 11, 2010, 09:31:50 AM

Navy Sets World Record With Incredible, Sci-Fi Weapon


A theoretical dream for decades, the railgun is unlike any other weapon used in warfare. And it's quite real too, as the U.S. Navy has proven in a record-setting test today in Dahlgren, VA.

Rather than relying on a explosion to fire a projectile, the technology uses an electomagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound. The conductive projectile zips along a set of electrically charged parallel rails and out of the barrel at speeds up to Mach 7.

The result: a weapon that can hit a target 100 miles or more away within minutes.

"It's an over-used term, but it really changes several games," Rear Admiral Nevin P. Carr, Jr., the chief of Naval Research, told prior to the test.

For a generation raised on shoot-'em-up video games, the word "railgun" invokes sci-fi images of an impossibly destructive weapon annihilating monsters and aliens. But the railgun is nonetheless very real.

An electromagnetic railgun offers a velocity previously unattainable in a conventional weapon, speeds that are incredibly powerful on their own. In fact, since the projectile doesn't have any explosives itself, it relies upon that kinetic energy to do damage. And at 11 a.m. today, the Navy produced a 33-megajoule firing -- more than three times the previous record set by the Navy in 2008.

"It bursts radially, but it's hard to quantify," said Roger Ellis, electromagnetic railgun program manager with the Office of Naval Research. To convey a sense of just how much damage, Ellis told that the big guns on the deck of a warship are measured by their muzzle energy in megajoules. A single megajoule is roughly equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 mph. Multiple that by 33 and you get a picture of what would happen when such a weapon hits a target.

Ellis says the Navy has invested about $211 million in the program since 2005, since the railgun provides many significant advantages over convention weapons. For one thing, a railgun offers 2 to 3 times the velocity of a conventional big gun, so that it can hit its target within 6 minutes. By contrast, a guided cruise missile travels at subsonic speeds, meaning that the intended target could be gone by the time it reaches its destination.

Furthermore, current U.S. Navy guns can only reach targets about 13 miles away. The railgun being tested today could reach an enemy 100 miles away. And with current GPS guidance systems it could do so with pinpoint accuracy. The Navy hopes to eventually extend the range beyond 200 miles.

"We're also eliminating explosives from the ship, which brings significant safety benefits and logistical benefits," Ellis said. In other words, there is less danger of an unintended explosion onboard, particularly should such a vessel come under attack.

Indeed, a railgun could be used to inflict just such harm on another vessel.

Admiral Carr, who calls the railgun a "disruptive technology," said that not only would a railgun-equipped ship have to carry few if any large explosive warheads, but it could use its enemies own warheads against them. He envisions being able to aim a railgun directly at a magazine on an enemy ship and "let his explosives be your explosives."

There's also a cost and logistical benefit associated with railguns. For example, a single Tomahawk cruise missile costs roughly $600,000. A non-explosive guided railgun projectile could cost much less. And a ship could carry many more, reducing the logistical problems of delivering more weapons to a ship in battle. For these reasons, Admiral Carr sees the railgun as even changing the strategic and tactical assumptions of warfare in the future.

The Navy still has a distance to go, however, before the railgun test becomes a working onboard weapon. Technically, Ellis says they've already overcome several hurdles. The guns themselves generate a terrific amount of heat -- enough to melt the rails inside the barrel -- and power -- enough to force the rails apart, destroying the gun and the barrel in the process.

The projectile is no cannon ball, either. At speeds well above the sound barrier, aerodynamics and special materials must be considered so that it isn't destroyed coming out of the barrel or by heat as it travels at such terrific speeds.

Then there's question of electrical requirements. Up until recently, those requirements simply weren't practical. However, the naval researchers believe they can solve that issue using newer Navy ships and capacitors to build up the charge necessary to blast a railgun projectile out at supersonic speeds. Ellis says they hope to be able to shoot 6 to 12 rounds per minute, "but we're not there yet."

So when will the railgun become a working weapon? Both Ellis and Carr expect fully functional railguns on the decks of U.S. Navy ships in the 2025 time frame.
Title: Chinese developing stealth bomber
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 06, 2011, 06:16:32 AM
Doubling BigDog's post from the US-China thread here so as to faciliatate research:
Title: POTH on Gates's budget cuts
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 07, 2011, 03:13:52 AM
Pentagon Seeks Biggest Military Cuts Since Before 9/11
Published: January 6, 2011
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that the nation’s “extreme fiscal duress” now required him to call for cuts in the size of the Army and Marine Corps, reversing the significant growth in military spending that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The White House has told the Pentagon to squeeze that growth over the next five years, Mr. Gates said, reducing by $78 billion the amount available for the Pentagon, not counting the costs of its combat operations.
The decision to go after the Pentagon budget, even while troops remain locked in combat overseas, is the clearest indication yet that President Obama will be cutting spending broadly across the government as he seeks to reduce the deficit — and stave off attacks from Republicans in Congress who want to shrink the government even more.

Republicans have for the most part resisted including military spending as they search for quick reductions in federal spending.

To make ends meet, Mr. Gates also announced that he would seek to recoup billions of dollars by increasing fees paid by retired veterans under 65 for Defense Department health insurance, even though Congress has rejected such proposals in the past. And he outlined extensive cuts in new weapons.

Cutting up to 47,000 troops from the Army and Marine Corps forces — roughly 6 percent — would be made easier by the withdrawal under way from Iraq, and the reductions would not begin until 2015, just as Afghan forces are to take over the security mission there. But Mr. Gates said the cuts in Pentagon spending were hardly a peace dividend, and were forced by a global economic recession and domestic pressures to find ways to throttle back federal spending.

“This department simply cannot risk continuing down the same path where our investment priorities, bureaucratic habits and lax attitudes toward costs are increasingly divorced from the real threats of today, the growing perils of tomorrow and the nation’s grim financial outlook,” Mr. Gates said at an afternoon news conference.

The president’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which is due by mid-February, would freeze discretionary spending, but that would not apply to military, veterans and Homeland Security programs. Last fall, a majority of the members of Mr. Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, including three Republican senators, said military spending also should be reduced as part of a long-term debt-reduction plan.

The Pentagon’s proposed operating budget for 2012 is expected to be about $553 billion, which would still reflect real growth, even though it is $13 billion less than expected. The Pentagon budget will then begin a decline in its rate of growth for two years, and stay flat — growing only to match inflation — for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. (The Pentagon operating budget is separate from a fund that finances the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.)

“This plan represents, in my view, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the complex and unpredictable array of security challenges the United States faces around the globe: global terrorist networks, rising military powers, nuclear-armed rogue states and much, much more,” Mr. Gates said.

To be sure, the actual size and shape of future military budgets will continue to be reset by annual spending proposals from the president, and those in turn will be based on shifting economic factors — decline or growth — and threats around the world, as well as by Congressional action.

But for now, the Army is expected in 2015 to begin cutting its active-duty troop levels by 27,000, and the Marine Corps by up to 20,000. Together, those force reductions would save $6 billion in 2015 and 2016.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that all four service chiefs supported the proposals, and that the military would still be able to manage global risks. “We can’t hold ourselves exempt from the belt-tightening,” he said. “Neither can we allow ourselves to contribute to the very debt that puts our long-term security at risk.”

The Army’s ranks number 569,600, and the Marine Corps has just over 202,000 members; both would remain larger than when Mr. Gates became defense secretary four years ago.

Mr. Gates already had instructed the armed services and the Pentagon bureaucracy to find ways to operate more efficiently, with the savings plowed back into the budget to make up for anticipated shortfalls; otherwise the cuts in troops and weapons would have been even steeper.

The armed services have identified about $100 billion in savings over five years.

Separately, the Defense Department bureaucracy had identified about $54 billion more, from things like reducing contractor hiring, freezing personnel rolls, reducing the number of generals and admirals and closing or consolidating headquarters.

Many of those changes can be carried out unilaterally by the Pentagon or the armed services.

But some — especially increases in fees for the military’s health-care system, called Tricare — require Congressional approval, and have been rejected before.

Proposals to increase Tricare fees will pit Mr. Gates against those in Congress — and veterans’ groups — who say retired military personnel already have paid up front with service in uniform. Ten years ago, health care cost the Pentagon $19 billion; today, it tops $50 billion; five years from now it is projected to cost $65 billion.

But Tricare fees have not increased since 1995.

Mr. Gates was expected to press for increasing the cost of health insurance premiums and spot fees only for working-age retirees and their families, not for those on active duty or those 65 and older, to save $7 billion over five years.

Mr. Gates also announced cuts in several weapons systems, led by the cancellation of the Marines’ $14.4 billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a combined landing craft and tank for amphibious assaults.

Mr. Gates said the Pentagon would add $4.6 billion to the cost of developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, made by Lockheed Martin, and would cover much of that expense by delaying purchases of 124 of the planes.

He said that one of the three versions of the aircraft might need to be redesigned, and that he was placing that model, made for the Marines, “on the equivalent of a two-year probation.”

Federal officials said Mr. Gates had been seeking to increase the basic Pentagon budget, excluding war costs, to $566 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, but had to push the White House to approve $553 billion.

Gordon Adams, a Clinton administration budget official who served on Mr. Obama’s transition team, said he understood that White House budget officials initially wanted to shave the Pentagon’s original, larger request by at least $20 billion for 2012.

Mr. Adams said Mr. Gates met with Mr. Obama three times before Christmas to get at least $7 billion restored. Mr. Gates was also able to persuade the White House to reduce its demands for cuts over the next five years to $78 billion from $150 billion. Even so, Mr. Adams said, “I think the floor under defense spending has now gone soft.”
Title: And the WSJ on the same cuts
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 07, 2011, 03:45:31 AM
In an early salvo in Washington's battle over the deficit, the White House ordered the Pentagon to rein in its budget, a move that will force a sizable cut in overall troop numbers for the first time in two decades.

The surprise decision, which is designed to cut a total of $78 billion from the military budget in the next five years, shows how even the military isn't immune from the political heat brought on by worsening U.S. fiscal woes. It also represents a setback for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who had fought to stave off such an outcome.

"We are having to tighten our belts," Mr. Gates said Thursday.

The projected five-year budget outlined by Mr. Gates doesn't include an actual decrease in the military budget. But it will stop growing by 2015. With salaries, health-care and fuel costs climbing every year, the Pentagon needs a 2% to 3% annual budget increase to avoid making cuts in programs.

Under Mr. Gates's proposal, the Army and Marine Corps will shrink by up to 47,000 people, a reduction that comes on top of a 22,000 decrease already planned for the Army. Currently, the two services have about 772,000 members, with the last cuts to the Army and Marines coming after the 1991 Gulf War.

View Full Image

Associated Press
The Slamraam surface-to-air missile
.No new head-count cuts are planned for the Navy or Air Force, which recently underwent reductions.

By seeking long-term cuts in the Pentagon budget, the White House is taking on a Republican bastion and hoping to put the GOP on the defensive, especially tea-party-backed lawmakers who campaigned on slashing government spending.

Republicans reacted negatively to Mr. Gates's proposals. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was unhappy with the proposed $78 billion in cuts.

At the same time, the relatively modest nature of the White House proposal irked liberals, some of whom said Thursday the cuts didn't go far enough. The proposal could backfire more broadly if it feeds the notion that Democrats are weak on defense.

Pentagon officials outlined measures proposed for the next five years. The Pentagon had previously called for $100 billion in cuts over five years, hoping to fend off further trims. Instead, Mr. Gates was required to find the additional $78 billion.

The White House announced Thursday evening that President Barack Obama accepted Mr. Gates' recommendation to shut down Joint Forces Command, an organization charged with fostering closer cooperation between the various military services, based in Norfolk, Va. Mr. Gates made the recommendation last year as part of his cost-saving initiative.

Mr. Gates's proposed base defense budget for next year is $553 billion, a modest increase over the Pentagon's budget request for the current fiscal year of $549 billion. The new proposal is smaller than the Pentagon had planned for. In February, the administration projected it would be $566 billion.

Since taking office in 2006, the defense secretary has spoken many times about the problems caused by seeking a "peace dividend" after wars end. Substantial cuts during the 1990s saved money initially, but the Pentagon had to spend billions to rapidly build up the Army and Marine Corps when commanders realized they lacked enough forces to effectively fight the Iraq war.

Mr. Gates said the troop cuts proposed Thursday were modest, and that the overall size of the armed forces would still be bigger than when he had taken office. He emphasized the troop cuts wouldn't occur until 2015, when a withdrawal from Afghanistan is expected to be well under way.

Tightening the Belt
The Pentagon's five-year plan includes a new set of cuts to the Pentagon's forecasted budget totaling $78 billion, and about $100 billion in already announced 'efficiency savings,' most of which will be reinvested in the military.

View Full Image
..Nevertheless, Mr. Gates's proposals are likely to be attacked by some as too timid, and by others as irresponsible, an outcome the secretary himself predicted.

"No doubt these budget forecasts and related program decisions will provoke criticism on two fronts—that we are either gutting defenses or we have not cut nearly enough," Mr. Gates said.

The GOP's Mr. McKeon said, "These cuts are being made without any commitment to restore modest future growth, which is the only way to prevent deep reductions in force structure that will leave our military less capable and less ready to fight." He added: "This is a dramatic shift for a nation at war and a dangerous signal from the commander in chief."

The openness of some GOP lawmakers to military cuts in the campaign suggested the White House might have a chance to divide the party on an issue central to its identity, defense.

Moira Bagley, a spokeswoman for Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), said he would consider Mr. Gates's proposed cuts. "As Sen. Paul has said repeatedly, everything is on the table when it comes to spending cuts—including defense," she said. "It's good to see Secretary Gates take the initiative to suggest certain defense programs don't need funding."

Critics of defense spending said Thursday that Mr. Gates's cuts were illusory and didn't go far enough. "What Secretary Gates is really saying is that to exist in peacetime, the Pentagon requires ever-growing amounts of money—forever," said Winslow Wheeler, a former congressional budget aide and defense analyst at the left-leaning Center for Defense Information.

Some of the cuts proposed by Mr. Gates will face particular scrutiny on Capitol Hill and from veterans groups. He seeks to increase health-care fees for some working-age military retirees, a potential savings of nearly $7 billion over five years. Earlier proposals to raise such fees have been rejected by Congress.

Defense contractors will likely feel the pain from the procurement cuts unveiled by Mr. Gates. The Pentagon intends to cut some troubled programs like the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. Mr. Gates also said he intended to restructure the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, delaying production of one variant of the plane and saving $3.8 billion.

Nevertheless, stocks of defense companies rose in trading Thursday, after the news appeared to end uncertainty over future spending levels.

Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, said the procurement cuts were a step toward greater fiscal responsibility, but showed a reluctance to tackle hard issues like skyrocketing military pay and health care.

"Gates is trying to get ahead of what he thinks will be cuts by saying, 'I'm cutting,' but he's not," Mr. Korb said. "He wants to take it from one area and give it to another. And I think he feels it will provide some political cover."

It is unclear how long Mr. Gates will be around to fight for his proposed budget. He has indicated he intends to leave office this year. On Thursday, he said he hadn't altered his plans.

Title: POTH: Mullen calls for taking stock
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 09, 2011, 01:53:26 PM

January 8, 2011

After Decade of War, Top Officer Directs the Military to Take Stock of Itself

WASHINGTON — Adm. Mike Mullen, who will almost certainly be the final chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have served in the Vietnam War, still carries the scars of how that polarizing era damaged the military and its relationship with the American people.

As he enters his last year as the nation’s top-ranking officer and as the military enters its 10th year of war since the Sept. 11 attacks, Admiral Mullen is openly voicing concerns that professionalism and ethical standards across the armed forces are being severely challenged by the longest period of sustained combat in the nation’s history.

He is responsible for convening a National Defense University conference here on Monday that will open an intensive assessment by the military of its professional behavior.

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of it’s been pretty unpleasant stuff,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “I want us to understand what we’ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.”

The conference is the first such introspective session into “military ethos” organized specifically at the request of a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It will examine a subtle set of political and social challenges to military integrity, like a potential slide toward partisanship among the officer corps, especially retired generals and admirals acting as television commentators, and whether the behavior of up-and-coming leaders fits with the image the military as an institution wants to exhibit to the nation.

A particularly relevant topic on the agenda is how the next generation’s generals and admirals should express their best, unvarnished military advice to the nation’s civilian leadership, and what to do when they disagree with the eventual policy. Admiral Mullen has said there are just two choices: an officer obeys the policy and follows it with enthusiasm or resigns.

Hovering over that discussion will be memories of the bruising, closed-door debate about shaping a strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that many at the Pentagon and the White House said soured civilian-military relations.

But other issues are expected to include an assessment of the retired generals who openly called for Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, to resign, as well as of retired admirals and generals who endorse political candidates or appear at party conventions.

The discussion is also expected to touch on whether service members have the right to a different persona online, like on Facebook or in a blog, than they do in uniform.

Admiral Mullen, who is scheduled to retire on Oct. 1, acknowledged that his motivations for the conference dated to his service in a war that ended more than three decades ago. “These are Vietnam scars for me,” he said.

And just as the Vietnam War shaped his professional outlook, Admiral Mullen said, the intense combat experiences during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will shape the military for decades to come. “How they lead, how they retain, how they recruit, what they talk about — I want to examine as much of that as we can, in stride, to prepare for the future,” he said.

A conscious decision was made not to focus at this session on the most egregious acts of military misconduct that seized global attention and prompted worldwide outrage, like detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, because such actions are clearly prohibited by long-standing laws of armed conflict and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Admiral Mullen noted that the Army, in particular, was moving ahead with its own effort to evaluate military professionalism, and he cited the work done by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who leads the Army Training and Doctrine Command.

General Dempsey said his efforts had been inspired by two trends since the Sept. 11 attacks: how counterinsurgency warfare and efforts to create more deployable brigade combat teams had placed increasing responsibilities in the hands of junior leaders, and how the Army’s system for generating forces created a deliberate cycle in which combat units were built, trained, deployed — and then brought home to be rebuilt with fresh troops.

“This is very different from an Army that had been relatively stable, relatively hierarchical, relatively centralized,” General Dempsey said in a telephone interview.

General Dempsey, who is Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s candidate to be the next Army chief of staff, said the Army had not paused for an institutional, top-to-bottom review of its professional conduct in two decades.

“This is another one of those times in our history when we want to encourage ourselves to look at ourselves as professionals and ask whether we are living up to our standards — and where our policies for training, education and promotion enhance these standards or rub against them,” General Dempsey said.

To manage the conference, National Defense University turned to Albert C. Pierce, director of the Institute for National Security Ethics and Leadership, which examines and teaches professional behavior in the national security arena.

“Our distinctive concept of operations,” Mr. Pierce said, “comes from the chairman, introspection and reflection by the members of the profession on what its basic principles and touchstones are, and how to apply them to specific issues such as providing professional military advice and handling disagreements over policy.”

He added, “More broadly, we hope our deliberations that day will help define or describe where and how to draw the lines between appropriate and inappropriate behavior by military professionals, active-duty and retired.”

Admiral Mullen will give the keynote address, and all of the panelists are active-duty or retired military personnel, with one exception; John J. Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary who is president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan policy institute here, will offer perspectives on how senior civilian policy makers view the behavior of military professionals.

Title: Patriot Post: China's not so stealthy move
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 14, 2011, 08:43:11 AM
Department of Military Readiness: China's Not-So-Stealthy Move
This week China unveiled its version of the F-22 Raptor -- America's stealthy front-line air superiority fighter -- via "leaked" (i.e., well-staged) Internet releases. Designated the J-20, the aircraft completed its first test flight only hours before U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The purpose of the meeting was supposedly to mend frayed relations between the two nations, but the test flight didn't help further that end much.

The calculated disclosure of the J-20 also is not the big news. Nor is the news that the J-20 looks a lot like the F-22. Nor even that China has apparently been "mining" data from super-secret U.S. computers to be able to build a "J-20" in the first place. No, the news is that President Hu and the rest of China's civilian leadership apparently had no clue about the J-20 and its test program. This revelation comes from senior U.S. defense sources in the wake of the meeting, noting Hu's reactions to Gates' questions about the new weapon system.

Those reactions highlight the growing disconnect between China's military and its civilian leadership. In a nation comprising roughly one-fifth of the world's population, the issue has at least regional, if not global, implications. Although China's civilian leadership ostensibly has control over its military, this event and others like it -- including China's anti-satellite test -- call into question the practical application of China's claim that its civilian leadership controls its military arm.

It's also a wake-up call to America's Pollyanna doves, who believe the U.S. no longer needs a strong force-on-force defense and that all future wars will simply be door-to-door counterinsurgency operations. Among this group, sadly, is the SecDef himself, who advocated vehemently for limiting F-22s and against fighting "tomorrow's wars."

The U.S. has only 187 F-22s in total to replace roughly 650 aging F-15s. With the makings of "tomorrow's wars" now on America's doorstep courtesy of the J-20, Russia's T-50 and other as-yet-to-be-announced fifth-generation weapons systems, we invite Secretary Gates to reconsider his position -- especially in light of the looming numbers-fight over the F-35 Lightning II, the fifth-generation replacement for the venerable-but-aging F-16.

Finally, with respect to U.S. national defense concerns, we believe: Yes the Army is important. Yes the Navy is important. Yes the Marines are important. But give up air superiority, and in any war -- let alone "tomorrow's war" -- you've just given up the ballgame.

Title: Re: Military Science and Military Issues
Post by: G M on January 14, 2011, 08:45:59 AM
A PLA that has so little control over it is a scary thing indeed.
Title: Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving
Post by: bigdog on January 19, 2011, 06:32:42 AM
Title: Re: Military Science and Military Issues
Post by: DougMacG on January 19, 2011, 10:45:51 AM
Bigdog,  Excellent article with specific and realistic recommendations/solutions.  (Same type of thinking at a much simpler level could be applied to education.)
Title: A German internet friend reports
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 29, 2011, 09:58:38 AM
Last night I visited the UPS central hub for
Europe in Cologne. On the tour through the huge
distributen complex I spotted 3 packages with a
label saying:
On the paperboard container itself I read the
following imprint: 
Made in China
Title: Re: Military Science and Military Issues
Post by: DougMacG on January 29, 2011, 10:55:34 AM
[US military instructions, paperboard made in China]

Labeling on China's newest SuperComputer: Intel Inside  :-) 
Title: Re: Military Science and Military Issues
Post by: G M on January 29, 2011, 12:49:33 PM
Ugh.  :x
Title: WSJ: New army rifle?
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2011, 06:27:38 AM
For the first time in almost 50 years, the U.S. Army wants to replace the
standard rifle shouldered by hundreds of thousands of frontline troops
around the world.

The service this week advertised its interest in a new weapon that would
incorporate futuristic sights and other advances in rifle design and be able
to handle improved ammunition.

The gun would potentially supplant the M4 carbine, a shorter-barrel version
of the M16, the Army's main infantry weapon for decades.

View Full Image

US Army
A soldier with an XM25 weapon system, an advanced grenade launcher being
tested by the Army.

Operations in Afghanistan—where troops often engage the enemy over long
distances—have rekindled debate over the quality of the Army's
standard-issue rifles and their reliability in dusty, primitive conditions.
An Army report on a 2008 battle in Wanat, Afghanistan, cited soldier
complaints about jamming and overheating M4s, in particular. Nine servicemen
died in that fight.

Critics have also raised concerns about the range and lethality of the 5.56
mm cartridge of the M16/M4.

Col. Doug Tamilio, the service's project manager for soldier weapons, said
in a statement the Army sought to find "the most effective, accurate, and
reliable" weapon for its soldiers. "We're challenging industry to develop
the next-generation carbine and we're looking forward to the results."

An "industry day" for small-arms manufacturers is planned for March 30. The
Army said it would pick a winner after two years of rigorous evaluation.
Gerald Dinkel, the president and CEO of Colt Defense LLC, said the Army has
"held out the M4 as a high standard, and somebody is going have to come out
and really beat it."

The M16, made by both Colt and FN Manufacturing LLC, a unit of FN Herstal SA
of Belgium, along with the M4, have long enjoyed the loyalty of Army leaders
who say the weapons are "combat proven." The M4 has slightly less range than
the M16, but is easier to handle, particularly in urban combat.

View Full Image

The M1 Garand entered service in the 1930s. The .30-calibre rifle weighed
about 10 pounds and had a range of around 500 meters.

View Full Image

The M16 Rifle entered service in the 1960s. The 5.56-mm rifle weighed about
8.8 pounds and had a range of approximately 550-800 meters.

View Full Image

The M4 Carbine entered service in the 1990s. The 5.56-mm rifle weighs about
7.5 pounds and has a range of 500-600 meters.

But Army commanders have also long faced questions about the rifles' design:
Both are built around a gas-operated system that cuts down on moving parts,
but requires consistent cleaning.

Experts have often noted that the M16/M4 also fares poorly in terms of
ruggedness and reliability compared with Soviet-designed Kalashnikov assault
rifles, which are a favorite weapon of insurgents around the world.

In 2007, the M4 fared worse than three other weapons—the Heckler & Koch
HK416, the FN Herstal Mk16 Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle and the
Heckler & Koch XM8—in comparative reliability testing conducted by the Army.

The current M16 and M4 in many respects bear little resemblance to
Vietnam-era antecedents: They are usually have advanced optics, and can be
fitted with accessories such as flashlights. But critics on Capitol Hill,
including Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), have in the past questioned why the
service chose to stick with upgrades instead of seeking a replacement.

In Afghanistan, the Army has introduced the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle, an
upgraded version of the M14 rifle, which is chambered for a full-power rifle
round that has a longer effective range than the M4 or M16. The Army is also
experimenting with more futuristic infantry weapons in Afghanistan.

In parallel with the contest for a new rifles, the Army is considering
additional improvements to the M4, including ambidextrous controls. The Army
may also study alternatives to the rifle's gas operating system, according
to an official fact sheet.

Last year, the service began field trials of the XM25 Counter Defilade
Target Engagement System, an advanced grenade launcher equipped with a laser
range finder and onboard computer.

It fires a programmable 25mm round that is designed to go off just above—or
just behind — its target. The concept is to create a lethal weapon that can
hit enemies behind cover.

James Carafano, a retired Army officer who is a senior fellow at the
Heritage Foundation, predicted in a recent interview that more of these
weapons would soon be in the hands of the individual soldier.

"Precision weaponry is going to get really personal," Mr. Carafano said.
"You're eventually going to see an individual soldier dropping a round down
a chimney."

Write to Nathan Hodge at
Title: Carrier-capable killer drones
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 09, 2011, 04:59:03 AM

America’s fleet of 11 big-deck aircraft carriers just got a lot closer to becoming a lot more dangerous. On Friday afternoon, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, a prototype for the Navy’s first carrier-capable killer drone, flew for the first time from Edwards Air Force Base in California.
“Taking off under hazy skies, the X-47B climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 PM PST,” Northrop crowed in a press release. “The flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design.”

“Designing a tailless, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft from a clean sheet is no small feat,” Northrop veep Janis Pamiljans added. While omitting a plane’s tail makes it way more stealthy, it also makes it harder to control.

If Northrop and the Navy can prove the X-47 works over the planned, three-year demonstration program, combat-ready X-47s could begin flying off carrier decks before the end of the decade.

The benefits are clear. With far greater range than the Navy’s existing F/A-18 strike fighters, the X-47 would allow Navy carrier groups to sail farther from shore when launching air strikes, helping protect the priceless vessels from the increasingly dangerous anti-ship missiles being fielded by nations such as China. The X-47 would also be able to sneak through the defensive umbrella of today’s “Triple-Digit” anti-aircraft missiles.

For these reasons, the X-47 could prove “among the most fungible and useful platforms in America’s future defense portfolio,” Navy undersecretary Bob Work wrote in 2007, back when he was still a lowly analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C.

Despite its enormous potential, the X-47 almost didn’t make it this far. The triangular drone was originally designed back in the early 2000s for the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System competition, which pitted the Northrop bot versus Boeing’s similar X-45. The winner would have joined the Navy and the Air Force. But in 2005, the Air Force abandoned the contest, and the X-47 and X-45 both wound up orphaned.

Thanks in part to Work’s lobbying, the Navy agreed to continue work on the X-47. (The X-45 survived, too, as a Boeing-funded effort.) As confidence in the new killer drone increased, so did the scope of — and funding for — its test program. In January, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates singled out the X-47 and other Navy drones as beneficiaries of billions of dollars in budgetary shifts.

Which isn’t to say the whole Navy is on board. Last month, Navy Vice Adm. Mark Fox told reporters he was skeptical that drones would be ready for carrier operations anytime soon. “Anything that takes off and lands on an aircraft carrier has to be pretty robust,” he said. “You test something in the desert and it works great. But the maritime world is a harsh and unforgiving environment.”

Plus, Fox added, “there’s still an enormous amount of merit in having somebody in the cockpit making decisions about whether you employ ordnance or not.”

But Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, Fox’s boss, calls the shots — and he said last fall that he wanted the X-47 or a similar drone on carriers before 2018. That’s probably just do-able under the current schedule, which sees the X-47 fly off a carrier and refuel mid-air by 2013.

Even so, Roughead agrees with Fox on one key point: the Navy still needs old-school manned fighters, too — specifically, the F-35C variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. “As rapidly as we want to engage with the unmanned system on carriers,” Roughead said, “we’re also moving forward with JSF.”

Title: German company in disturbing deal with Russia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 16, 2011, 03:26:03 PM

The Russian Defense Ministry made a deal with German private defense company Rheinmetall for the construction of a combat training center for Russian troops. The deal does not necessarily indicate further military cooperation between Germany and Russia, though it does highlight the existing close ties between Berlin and Moscow. Although few concrete details of the deal are known, it is likely to draw close scrutiny from several of Germany’s NATO allies, particularly those that lie between Germany and Russia.

German private defense company Rheinmetall signed a deal Feb. 9 with the Russian Defense Ministry to build a combat training center for the Russian military. The center, which would be built at an existing Russian military installation at Mulino, near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, is designed for the comprehensive training of brigade-size units (thousands of soldiers) and would improve modeling and simulation of tactical combat situations. Russia’s Defense Ministry has also invited Rheinmetall to handle the “support, repair and modernization of military equipment,” and Rheinmetall’s mobile ammunition disposal systems would be available for Russia to buy.

It remains unclear what the exact financial and technical aspects of the deal will be, such as the specific costs of the project or the extent to which German expertise and personnel will be involved in the center’s training functions. However, the agreement reflects the value Russia sees in more closely understanding and potentially learning from Western military training methodologies. Also, the Russian military’s preferring to sign such a deal with a German defense company is another example of increasingly robust ties between Berlin and Moscow. Regardless of the specific details, this agreement will be cause for concern to Germany’s NATO allies, particularly the Central Europeans and the Baltic states.

It is important to note that Rheinmetall is not an arm of the German government; it is a private defense and automotive company. The defense arm of the company is, however, Europe’s top supplier of defense technology and security equipment for ground forces. It specializes in armor, gunnery, propellants and munitions manufacturing but has a fairly broad defense portfolio comprising training and simulation solutions as well as command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, target acquisition and reconnaissance (C4ISTAR) — all of which are of particular interest for Moscow. Rheinmetall training systems reportedly are used across the world, with countries like India and Norway employing naval and armored vehicle simulators. Rheinmetall is the first foreign firm to build such a training center in Russia.

From a technical standpoint, a training facility designed and built by Germany could, in and of itself, be an important improvement for Russian ground combat training, simulations and exercises. Also, any additional or more advanced and expanded partnerships with Rheinmetall could be a significant boost to Russia’s ongoing military reform and modernization efforts. While Russia swiftly defeated Georgian forces in the August 2008 war, it did so with notable tactical and operational shortcomings and deficiencies. Improving training regimes and technology, particularly with an emphasis on more modern Western simulators, information technology and updated approaches to training, could be significant in the long run. For the Germans, it is an opportunity to profit from Russia’s modernization drive and to potentially lay the groundwork for further military or political deals.

From a political standpoint, the deal does not necessarily indicate growing military ties between Berlin and Moscow. In order to infuse some fresh thinking, specifically a Western military perspective, into its own armed forces, Russia chose to go with a German company. The choice therefore indicates already close ties. Also, there are other areas in which Russian-German military cooperation is evident; according to STRATFOR sources, the Germans are going to help the Russians train border guards in Tajikistan on the Tajik-Uzbek border.

Furthermore, the Russian military could be using the training center, for which Rhienmetall’s training and simulation expertise will be potentially significant in their own right, both to test-drive broader doctrinal experimentation and integration of foreign concepts and to lay the foundation for future ties and exchanges with the German defense industry. The scope of and intent for the training center remain unclear, as precious few details of the agreement have been announced. It is possible that this is a generic training center through which troops from all over the country will pass, but it is also possible that the center and its training will be tailored for a more specific unit, operating environment or mission.

Either way, this deal is bound to make the states located between Russia and Germany — particularly Poland and the Baltic states — nervous. To these countries, Russian-German military cooperation of any kind will have the undertones of inter-war cooperation between the German Weimar Republic and the Soviet Union, which allowed Germany to secretly build up its military despite limitations imposed by the Versailles Treaty. These sort of deals are not forgotten in Central Europe, and any deal — no matter how profit-driven or innocuous it may be — will invite careful scrutiny from Germany’s eastern NATO allies and could further weaken the binds holding the alliance together.

Read more: The Significance of Russia's Deal with Germany's Rheinmetall | STRATFOR
Title: Aircraft Detection Before Radar
Post by: Spartan Dog on February 26, 2011, 03:38:01 AM
Posted on behalf of Crafty Dog...

How air attacks were detected before radar...Old time acoustic hearing aids






















Title: Stratfor: Land War in Asia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 01, 2011, 06:14:03 AM
Never Fight a Land War in Asia
March 1, 2011

By George Friedman

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at West Point, said last week that “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.” In saying this, Gates was repeating a dictum laid down by Douglas MacArthur after the Korean War, who urged the United States to avoid land wars in Asia. Given that the United States has fought four major land wars in Asia since World War II — Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq — none of which had ideal outcomes, it is useful to ask three questions: First, why is fighting a land war in Asia a bad idea? Second, why does the United States seem compelled to fight these wars? And third, what is the alternative that protects U.S. interests in Asia without large-scale military land wars?

The Hindrances of Overseas Wars

Let’s begin with the first question, the answer to which is rooted in demographics and space. The population of Iraq is currently about 32 million. Afghanistan has a population of less than 30 million. The U.S. military, all told, consists of about 1.5 million active-duty personnel (plus 980,000 in the reserves), of whom more than 550,000 belong to the Army and about 200,000 are part of the Marine Corps. Given this, it is important to note that the United States strains to deploy about 200,000 troops at any one time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that many of these troops are in support rather than combat roles. The same was true in Vietnam, where the United States was challenged to field a maximum of about 550,000 troops (in a country much more populous than Iraq or Afghanistan) despite conscription and a larger standing army. Indeed, the same problem existed in World War II.

When the United States fights in the Eastern Hemisphere, it fights at great distances, and the greater the distance, the greater the logistical cost. More ships are needed to deliver the same amount of materiel, for example. That absorbs many troops. The logistical cost of fighting at a distance is that it diverts numbers of troops (or requires numbers of civilian personnel) disproportionate to the size of the combat force.

Regardless of the number of troops deployed, the U.S. military is always vastly outnumbered by the populations of the countries to which it is deployed. If parts of these populations resist as light-infantry guerrilla forces or employ terrorist tactics, the enemy rapidly swells to a size that can outnumber U.S. forces, as in Vietnam and Korea. At the same time, the enemy adopts strategies to take advantage of the core weakness of the United States — tactical intelligence. The resistance is fighting at home. It understands the terrain and the culture. The United States is fighting in an alien environment. It is constantly at an intelligence disadvantage. That means that the effectiveness of the native forces is multiplied by excellent intelligence, while the effectiveness of U.S. forces is divided by lack of intelligence.

The United States compensates with technology, from space-based reconnaissance and air power to counter-battery systems and advanced communications. This can make up the deficit but only by massive diversions of manpower from ground-combat operations. Maintaining a helicopter requires dozens of ground-crew personnel. Where the enemy operates with minimal technology multiplied by intelligence, the United States compensates for lack of intelligence with massive technology that further reduces available combat personnel. Between logistics and technological force multipliers, the U.S. “point of the spear” shrinks. If you add the need to train, relieve, rest and recuperate the ground-combat forces, you are left with a small percentage available to fight.

The paradox of this is that American forces will win the engagements but may still lose the war. Having identified the enemy, the United States can overwhelm it with firepower. The problem the United States has is finding the enemy and distinguishing it from the general population. As a result, the United States is well-suited for the initial phases of combat, when the task is to defeat a conventional force. But after the conventional force has been defeated, the resistance can switch to methods difficult for American intelligence to deal with. The enemy can then control the tempo of operations by declining combat where it is at a disadvantage and initiating combat when it chooses.

The example of the capitulation of Germany and Japan in World War II is frequently cited as a model of U.S. forces defeating and pacifying an opposing nation. But the Germans were not defeated primarily by U.S. ground troops. The back of the Wehrmacht was broken by the Soviets on their own soil with the logistical advantages of short supply lines. And, of course, Britain and numerous other countries were involved. It is doubtful that the Germans would have capitulated to the Americans alone. The force the United States deployed was insufficient to defeat Germany. The Germans had no appetite for continuing a resistance against the Russians and saw surrendering to the Americans and British as sanctuary from the Russians. They weren’t going to resist them. As for Japan, it was not ground forces but air power, submarine warfare and atomic bombs that finished them — and the emperor’s willingness to order a surrender. It was not land power that prevented resistance but air and sea power, plus a political compromise by MacArthur in retaining and using the emperor. Had the Japanese emperor been removed, I suspect that the occupation of Japan would have been much more costly. Neither Germany nor Japan are examples in which U.S. land forces compelled capitulation and suppressed resistance.

The problem the United States has in the Eastern Hemisphere is that the size of the force needed to occupy a country initially is much smaller than the force needed to pacify the country. The force available for pacification is much smaller than needed because the force the United States can deploy demographically without committing to total war is simply too small to do the job — and the size needed to do the job is unknown.

U.S. Global Interests

The deeper problem is this: The United States has global interests. While the Soviet Union was the primary focus of the United States during the Cold War, no power threatens to dominate Eurasia now, and therefore no threat justifies the singular focus of the United States. In time of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States must still retain a strategic reserve for other unanticipated contingencies. This further reduces the available force for combat.

Some people argue that the United States is insufficiently ruthless in prosecuting war, as if it would be more successful without political restraints at home. The Soviets and the Nazis, neither noted for gentleness, were unable to destroy the partisans behind German lines or the Yugoslav resistance, in spite of brutal tactics. The guerrilla has built-in advantages in warfare for which brutality cannot compensate.

Given all this, the question is why the United States has gotten involved in wars in Eurasia four times since World War II. In each case it is obvious: for political reasons. In Korea and Vietnam, it was to demonstrate to doubting allies that the United States had the will to resist the Soviets. In Afghanistan, it was to uproot al Qaeda. In Iraq, the reasons are murkier, more complex and less convincing, but the United States ultimately went in, in my opinion, to convince the Islamic world of American will.

The United States has tried to shape events in the Eastern Hemisphere by the direct application of land power. In Korea and Vietnam, it was trying to demonstrate resolve against Soviet and Chinese power. In Afghanistan and Iraq, it was trying to shape the politics of the Muslim world. The goal was understandable but the amount of ground force available was not. In Korea, it resulted in stalemate; in Vietnam, defeat. We await the outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan, but given Gates’ statement, the situation for the United States is not necessarily hopeful.

In each case, the military was given an ambiguous mission. This was because a clear outcome — defeating the enemy — was unattainable. At the same time, there were political interests in each. Having engaged, simply leaving did not seem an option. Therefore, Korea turned into an extended presence in a near-combat posture, Vietnam ended in defeat for the American side, and Iraq and Afghanistan have turned, for the time being, into an uncertain muddle that no reasonable person expects to end with the declared goals of a freed and democratic pair of countries.

Problems of Strategy

There are two problems with American strategy. The first is using the appropriate force for the political mission. This is not a question so much of the force as it is of the mission. The use of military force requires clarity of purpose; otherwise, a coherent strategy cannot emerge. Moreover, it requires an offensive mission. Defensive missions (such as Vietnam and Korea) by definition have no terminal point or any criteria for victory. Given the limited availability of ground combat forces, defensive missions allow the enemy’s level of effort to determine the size of the force inserted, and if the force is insufficient to achieve the mission, the result is indefinite deployment of scarce forces.

Then there are missions with clear goals initially but without an understanding of how to deal with Act II. Iraq suffered from an offensive intention ill suited to the enemy’s response. Having destroyed the conventional forces of Iraq, the United States was unprepared for the Iraqi response, which was guerrilla resistance on a wide scale. The same was true in Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency is occupation warfare. It is the need to render a population — rather than an army — unwilling and incapable of resisting. It requires vast resources and large numbers of troops that outstrip the interest. Low-cost counter-insurgency with insufficient forces will always fail. Since the United States uses limited forces because it has to, counterinsurgency is the most dangerous kind of war for the United States. The idea has always been that the people prefer the U.S. occupation to the threats posed by their fellow countrymen and that the United States can protect those who genuinely do prefer the former. That may be the idea, but there is never enough U.S. force available.

Another model for dealing with the problem of shaping political realities can be seen in the Iran-Iraq war. In that war, the United States allowed the mutual distrust of the two countries to eliminate the threats posed by both. When the Iraqis responded by invading Kuwait, the United States responded with a massive counter with very limited ends — the reconquest of Kuwait and the withdrawal of forces. It was a land war in Asia designed to defeat a known and finite enemy army without any attempt at occupation.

The problem with all four wars is that they were not wars in a conventional sense and did not use the military as militaries are supposed to be used. The purpose of a military is to defeat enemy conventional forces. As an army of occupation against a hostile population, military forces are relatively weak. The problem for the United States is that such an army must occupy a country for a long time, and the U.S. military simply lacks the ground forces needed to occupy countries and still be available to deal with other threats.

By having an unclear mission, you have an uncertain terminal point. When does it end? You then wind up with a political problem internationally — having engaged in the war, you have allies inside and outside of the country that have fought with you and taken risks with you. Withdrawal leaves them exposed, and potential allies will be cautious in joining with you in another war. The political costs spiral and the decision to disengage is postponed. The United States winds up in the worst of all worlds. It terminates not on its own but when its position becomes untenable, as in Vietnam. This pyramids the political costs dramatically.

Wars need to be fought with ends that can be achieved by the forces available. Donald Rumsfeld once said, “You go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of war. You do not engage in war if the army you have is insufficient. When you understand the foundations of American military capability and its limits in Eurasia, Gates’ view on war in the Eastern Hemisphere is far more sound than Rumsfeld’s.

The Diplomatic Alternative

The alternative is diplomacy, not understood as an alternative to war but as another tool in statecraft alongside war. Diplomacy can find the common ground between nations. It can also be used to identify the hostility of nations and use that hostility to insulate the United States by diverting the attention of other nations from challenging the United States. That is what happened during the Iran-Iraq war. It wasn’t pretty, but neither was the alternative.

Diplomacy for the United States is about maintaining the balance of power and using and diverting conflict to manage the international system. Force is the last resort, and when it is used, it must be devastating. The argument I have made, and which I think Gates is asserting, is that at a distance, the United States cannot be devastating in wars dependent on land power. That is the weakest aspect of American international power and the one the United States has resorted to all too often since World War II, with unacceptable results. Using U.S. land power as part of a combined arms strategy is occasionally effective in defeating conventional forces, as it was with North Korea (and not China) but is inadequate to the demands of occupation warfare. It makes too few troops available for success, and it does not know how many troops might be needed.

This is not a policy failure of any particular U.S. president. George W. Bush and Barack Obama have encountered precisely the same problem, which is that the forces that have existed in Eurasia, from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Korea to the Taliban in Afghanistan, have either been too numerous or too agile (or both) for U.S. ground forces to deal with. In any war, the primary goal is not to be defeated. An elective war in which the criteria for success are unclear and for which the amount of land force is insufficient must be avoided. That is Gates’ message. It is the same one MacArthur delivered, and the one Dwight Eisenhower exercised when he refused to intervene in Vietnam on France’s behalf. As with the Monroe Doctrine, it should be elevated to a principle of U.S. foreign policy, not because it is a moral principle but because it is a very practical one.

Title: Israel's Iron Dome
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 12, 2011, 05:48:12 PM
Dispatch: Israel's Iron Dome
April 12, 2011 | 1923 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:

Military analyst Nathan Hughes examines Israel’s new defense against rockets fired from Gaza and its political significance for both the Israelis and Palestinians.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Iron Dome is a new evolving dynamic in the struggle between Hamas, other Palestinian militant factions and Israel in the Gaza Strip. Iron Dome is intended to intercept and shoot down Palestinian rockets — larger, longer-range rockets, from the Qassam to the larger Grad and Fajr threats. Though it is only a preliminary, essentially preoperational deployment, it is already taking on both current and future potential significance.

Currently, two Iron Dome batteries are deployed near larger population centers in southern Israel. But as currently conceived, it would take over 20 batteries to defend against rockets fired from the Gaza Strip alone. Offensive rockets tend to be inherently cheaper than more sophisticated defensive interceptors to protect against them. And this is certainly the case in Gaza, where on the lower end of the spectrum Qassam rockets that are essentially homemade in garages can cost as little as several hundred dollars to assemble, while the new interceptors used with Iron Dome are thought to cost as much as $50,000 apiece. This sort of dynamic allows for cheaper rockets fired in mass to overwhelm the limited magazines of defensive batteries, though this is not traditionally how Hamas or Hezbollah have deployed their artillery rockets, and there’s not a whole lot of sign yet that Hamas is adjusting its tactics accordingly.

The precise details of Iron Dome’s recent performance and its engagement parameters are unlikely to be discussed in the public domain in too much detail. But the bottom line is that any weapon system, when it’s first deployed on the battlefield, is confronted almost invariably with operational realities and unforeseen circumstances for which it wasn’t originally designed. So while you’re unlikely to see perfect or even near-perfect performance out of a weapon system, these are exactly the experiences that allow engineers to further refine and improve the weapon system as its deployed more fully. In the meantime, Israel certainly has an incentive to talk up the effectiveness and performance of the limited Iron Dome batteries that are currently deployed, while Hamas at the same time has the opposite incentive — to reject its performance, and as we’ve already seen out of Hamas, to sort of mock the price disparity between the rockets that Hamas fires and what Israel is spending to attempt to defend against them.

Ultimately, Hamas continues to fear ongoing isolation behind an Israeli blockade supported by an Egyptian regime in Cairo. The prospect of that continued isolation combined with an even moderately effective system to defend against Hamas’ larger, longer-range rockets, which remain its most effective way to continue to hit back at the Israelis, has got to be a matter of concern for Hamas, even if the prospect for more full fielding of the system is still years down the road.

Title: The Stealth Helicopter that crashed in Afpakia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 11, 2011, 08:14:42 AM
Hi, I’m Fred Burton with STRATFOR, and in this week’s Above the Tearline we are going to take a look at the stealth helicopter that crashed at the safe house hiding Osama bin Laden.

Numerous media sources have reported that the stealth helicopter was a modified Blackhawk. Having said that, we have no independent confirmation as to whether or not it was a Blackhawk. Our sources are indicating that the stealth helicopter has been operational for a good four years, predominantly flying special operations missions only at night.

In looking at the design of the helicopter wreckage from the bin Laden safe house, it carries many of the characteristics that you would typically see on the stealth bomber and aircraft that is flying today. The design of the helicopter is one that is masked to reduce its radar signature as well as dampen the noise from the rotors. And it’s our understanding that the aircraft was designed for that specific purpose, meaning special operations missions to be handled at night behind enemy lines for the sole purpose of masking its approach to an attack site. From a person I talked to who has flown in one of these stealth helicopters, the helicopter has been described as amazingly quiet in the air, and the noise is much like an outdoor air conditioner next to your house in the dead of the summer.

The helicopter was flown out of the 160th at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and certainly explains why President Obama made the visit to personally recognize the flight crews.

Our aviation sources close to the operation advise that the stealth helicopter crashed due to a brown out. In essence, as the helicopter approached, with the pilot utilizing night vision goggles, the dust and the dirt of the compound created an atmosphere which caused the pilot to set down the helicopter on the wall. After the helicopter crashed, a front portion, the cockpit area, was blown up by special operations SEALS while they were departing with bin Laden’s body.

Having done a lot of aircraft investigations in my past, one of the things you will notice is, the Pakistanis lost control of the crash site. At this point it’s unclear how much of the wreckage has already been lost that potentially could show up on the black market or in the hands of a nation-state that would be fascinated to learn the technology used in order to enter and exit Pakistani airspace without getting caught.

The “Above the Tearline” aspect of this video is the fact that we have been flying this stealth helicopter for four years is a remarkable achievement, and the fact that there had been no leaks until the pictures of the helicopter next to safe house surfaced.

Title: WSJ: Gates
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 30, 2011, 11:59:33 AM
Robert Gates, who steps down next month after four-plus years at the Pentagon, is making his retirement lap a tutorial on America's defense spending and security needs. His message is welcome, especially on Memorial Day, and even if he couldn't always heed it in his time as Secretary of Defense.

In a series of farewell speeches, Mr. Gates has warned against cuts to weapon programs and troop levels that would make America vulnerable in "a complex and unpredictable security environment," as he said Sunday at Notre Dame. On Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Gates noted that the U.S. went on "a procurement holiday" in the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration decided to cash in the Cold War peace dividend. The past decade showed that history (and war) didn't end in 1989.

"It is vitally important to protect the military modernization accounts," he said, and push ahead with new capabilities, from an air refueling tanker fleet to ballistic missile submarines.

America's role as a global leader depends on its ability to project power. In historical terms, the U.S. spends relatively little on defense today, even after the post-9/11 buildup. This year's $530 billion budget accounts for 3.5% of GDP, 4.5% when the costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars are included. The U.S. spent, on average, 7.5% of GDP on defense throughout the Cold War, and 6.2% at the height of the Reagan buildup in 1986.

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Associated Press
In a series of farewell speeches, Mr. Gates has warned against cuts to weapon programs and troop levels.
.But on coming into office, the Obama Administration put the Pentagon on a fiscal diet—even as it foisted new European-sized entitlements on America, starting with $2.6 trillion for ObamaCare. The White House proposed a $553 billion defense budget for 2012, $13 billion below what it projected last year. Through 2016, the Pentagon will see virtually zero growth in spending and will have to whittle down the Army and Marine Corps by 47,000 troops. The White House originally wanted deeper savings of up to $150 billion.

Mr. Gates deserves credit for fighting off the worst White House instincts, but his biggest defeat was not getting a share of the stimulus. Instead he has cut or killed some $350 billion worth of weapon programs. He told his four service chiefs last August to find $100 billion in savings. The White House pocketed that and asked for another $78 billion. Last year, Mr. Gates said that the Pentagon needs 2%-3% real budget growth merely to sustain what it's doing now, but it could make do with 1%. The White House gave him 0%.

In the Gates term, resources were focused on the demands of today's wars over hypothetical conflicts of tomorrow. This approach made sense at the start of his tenure in 2007, when the U.S. was in a hard fight in Iraq. Yet this has distracted from budgeting to address the rise of China and perhaps of regional powers like a nuclear Iran that will shape the security future. The decision to stop producing the F-22 fighter and to kill several promising missile defense programs may come back to haunt the U.S.

Mr. Gates knows well that America won't balance its budget by squeezing the Pentagon. "If you cut the defense budget by 10%, which would be catastrophic in terms of force structure, that's $55 billion out of a $1.4 trillion deficit," he told the Journal's CEO Council conference last November. "We are not the problem."

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...So what is? Mr. Gates acknowledged it only in passing this week, but the reality is that the entitlement state is crowding out national defense. Over two decades ago, liberal historian Paul Kennedy claimed that "imperial overstretch" had brought first the Romans, then the British and now Americans down to size. He was wrong then, but what's really happening now is "entitlement overstretch," to quote military analyst Andrew Krepinevich.

The American entitlement state was born with the New Deal, got fat with the Great Society of the 1960s and hit another growth spurt in the first two years of the Obama era. The big three entitlements—Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, plus other retirement and disability expenses—accounted for 4.9% of GDP by 1970, eclipsed defense spending in 1976 and stood at 9.8% as of last year. Under current projections, entitlements will eat up 10.8% of GDP by 2020, while defense spending goes down to 2.7%. On current trends, those entitlements will consume all tax revenues by 2052, estimates Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation.

Europe went down this yellow brick road decades ago and today spends just 1.7% of GDP on defense. The Europeans get a free security ride from America, but who will the U.S. turn to for protection—China?

As Reagan knew, America's global power begins at home, with a strong economy able to generate wealth. The push for defense cuts reflects the reality of a weak recovery and a national debt that has doubled in the last two years. But the Obama Administration made a conscious decision to squeeze defense while pouring money on everything else.

"More perhaps than any other Secretary of Defense, I have been a strong advocate of soft power—of the critical importance of diplomacy and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and national security," Mr. Gates said at Notre Dame. "But make no mistake, the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power—the size, strength and global reach of the United States military."

That's a crucial message for Republican deficit hawks, and especially for a Commander in Chief who inherited the capability to capture Osama bin Laden half way around the world but is on track to leave America militarily weaker than he found it.

Title: New firearms training methodology
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 01, 2011, 08:32:34 AM


Title: Mila Kunis and a U.S. Marine
Post by: bigdog on July 11, 2011, 04:59:51 PM
Another reason to see every movie Mila Kunis makes:
Title: Re: Mila Kunis and a U.S. Marine
Post by: G M on July 11, 2011, 05:09:34 PM
Another reason to see every movie Mila Kunis makes:

Very cool! I kind of knew who she was, now I'm a fan.
Title: Stealth Boat
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 01, 2011, 02:53:57 PM
Title: Friedberg: China's challenge at sea
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 05, 2011, 08:22:58 AM
AMERICA’S fiscal woes are placing the country on a path of growing strategic risk in Asia.

With Democrats eager to protect social spending and Republicans anxious to avoid tax hikes, and both saying the national debt must be brought under control, we can expect sustained efforts to slash the defense budget. Over the next 10 years, cuts in planned spending could total half a trillion dollars. Even as the Pentagon saves money by pulling back from Afghanistan and Iraq, there will be fewer dollars with which to buy weapons or develop new ones.

Unfortunately, those constraints are being imposed just as America faces a growing strategic challenge. Fueled by economic growth of nearly 10 percent a year, China has been engaged for nearly two decades in a rapid and wide-ranging military buildup. China is secretive about its intentions, and American strategists have had to focus on other concerns since 9/11. Still, the dimensions, direction and likely implications of China’s buildup have become increasingly clear.

When the cold war ended, the Pacific Ocean became, in effect, an American lake. With its air and naval forces operating through bases in friendly countries like Japan and South Korea, the United States could defend and reassure its allies, deter potential aggressors and insure safe passage for commercial shipping throughout the Western Pacific and into the Indian Ocean. Its forces could operate everywhere with impunity.

But that has begun to change. In the mid-1990s, China started to put into place the pieces of what Pentagon planners refer to as an “anti-access capability.” In other words, rather than trying to match American power plane for plane and ship for ship, Beijing has sought more cost-effective ways to neutralize it. It has been building large numbers of relatively inexpensive but highly accurate non-nuclear ballistic missiles, as well as sea- and air-launched cruise missiles. Those weapons could destroy or disable the handful of ports and airfields from which American air and naval forces operate in the Western Pacific and sink warships whose weapons could reach the area from hundreds of miles out to sea, including American aircraft carriers.

The Chinese military has also been testing techniques for disabling American satellites and cybernetworks, and it is adding to its small arsenal of long-range nuclear missiles that can reach the United States.

Although a direct confrontation seems unlikely, China appears to seek the option of dealing a knockout blow to America’s forward forces, leaving Washington with difficult choices about how to respond.

Those preparations do not mean that China wants war with the United States. To the contrary, they seem intended mostly to overawe its neighbors while dissuading Washington from coming to their aid if there is ever a clash. Uncertain of whether they can rely on American support, and unable to match China’s power on their own, other countries may decide they must accommodate China’s wishes.

In the words of the ancient military theorist Sun Tzu, China is acquiring the means to “win without fighting” — to establish itself as Asia’s dominant power by eroding the credibility of America’s security guarantees, hollowing out its alliances and eventually easing it out of the region.

If the United States and its Asian friends look to their own defenses and coordinate their efforts, there is no reason they cannot maintain a favorable balance of power, even as China’s strength grows. But if they fail to respond to China’s buildup, there is a danger that Beijing could miscalculate, throw its weight around and increase the risk of confrontation and even armed conflict. Indeed, China’s recent behavior in disputes over resources and maritime boundaries with Japan and the smaller states that ring the South China Sea suggest that this already may be starting to happen.

This is a problem that cannot simply be smoothed away by dialogue. China’s military policies are not the product of a misunderstanding; they are part of a deliberate strategy that other nations must now find ways to meet. Strength deters aggression; weakness tempts it. Beijing will denounce such moves as provocative, but it is China’s actions that currently threaten to upset the stability of Asia.

Many of China’s neighbors are more willing than they were in the past to ignore Beijing’s complaints, increase their own defense spending and work more closely with one another and the United States.

They are unlikely, however, to do those things unless they are convinced that America remains committed. Washington does not have to shoulder the entire burden of preserving the Asian power balance, but it must lead.

The Pentagon needs to put a top priority on finding ways to counter China’s burgeoning anti-access capabilities, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will ever be used. This will cost money. To justify the necessary spending in an era of austerity, our leaders will have to be clearer in explaining the nation’s interests and commitments in Asia and blunter in describing the challenge posed by China’s relentless military buildup.

Aaron L. Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton, is the author of “A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia.”

Title: WH pressuered general to change testimony to benefit Dem. donor
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 15, 2011, 03:47:20 PM
Pay-for-Play: WH pressured general to change testimony to benefit Democrat donor
Posted by The Right Scoop on Sep 15, 2011 in Politics | 14 Comments
With the Solyndra scandal just getting going, a new pay-for-play scandal is breaking today that involves the White House pressuring an Air Force general to change his testimony to the benefit of a Democrat donor about a wireless project (owned by Democrat donor) interfering with the military’s GPS system:

DAILY BEAST – The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.

The episode—confirmed by The Daily Beast in interviews with administration officials and the chairman of a congressional oversight committee—is the latest in a string of incidents that have given Republicans sudden fodder for questions about whether the Obama administration is politically interfering in routine government matters that affect donors or fundraisers. …

Now the Pentagon has been raising concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared, whose majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone. Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, the officials said.

“There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in an interview. “The only people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.”

Title: VDH on Drones
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 13, 2011, 10:43:32 AM

We are in a long war against radical Islamic terrorism. The struggle seems almost similar to the on-again/off-again ordeals of the past -- like the French-English Hundred Years War of the 14th and 15th centuries, or the Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants in the 17th century.

In these kinds of drawn-out conflicts, victory finally goes to the side that responds best to constant new challenges. And we've seen a lot of those since 9/11, when the United States was caught unaware and apparently ill-equipped to face the threat of radical Islamic terrorists hijacking our passenger jets.

But even when we adjusted well to the 9/11 tactics, there were new threats like suicide bombers and roadside improvised explosive devices that seemed to nullify American technology and material advantages.

But now America is once again getting the upper hand in this long war against Middle Eastern terrorists with the use of Predator drone targeted assassinations that the terrorists have not yet an answer to. In systematically deadly fashion, Predators are picking off the top echelon of al-Qaeda and its affiliates from the Hindu Kush to Yemen to the Horn of Africa.

New models of drones seem almost unstoppable. They are uncannily accurate in delivering missiles in a way even precision aircraft bombing cannot. Compared to the cost of a new jet or infantry division, Predators are incredibly cheap. And they do not endanger American lives -- at least as long as terrorists cannot get at hidden runaways abroad or video control consoles at home.

The pilotless aircraft are nearly invisible and without warning can deliver instant death from thousands of feet away in the airspace above. Foreign governments often give us permission to cross borders with Predators in a way they would not with loud, manned aircraft.

Moreover, drones are constantly evolving. They now stay in the air far longer and are far more accurate and far more deadly than when they first appeared in force shortly after 9/11. Suddenly it is a lot harder for a terrorist to bomb a train station in the West than it is for a Predator to target that same would-be terrorist's home in South Waziristan.

All those advantages explain why President Obama has exponentially expanded the program. After five years of use under George W. Bush, such drones had killed around 400 suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, under President Obama, Predators have taken out more than 2,200 in less than three years.

The program apparently is uniquely suited for the Obama "leading from behind" way of war: killing far out of sight, and therefore out of mind -- and the news. Indeed, so comfortable is Obama with this new way of war that at a White House correspondents dinner, the president joked about using Predators on would-be suitors of his daughters: "But boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: Predator drones. You will never see it coming."

For President Barack Obama, the Predator drone avoids former candidate Obama's past legal objections by simply blowing apart suspected terrorists without having to capture them -- and then ponder how and where they should be tried. With a dead, rather than a detained, terrorist, civil libertarians cannot demand that Obama honor his campaign pledge to treat suspects like American criminals, while conservatives cannot pounce on any perceived softness in extending Miranda rights to captured al-Qaeda killers.

Antiwar protestors demonstrate in response to American soldiers getting killed, but rarely about robotic aircraft quietly obliterating distant terrorists. American fatalities can make war unpopular; a crashed drone is a "who cares?" statistic.

Still, there are lots of questions that arise from this latest American advantage. Waterboarding, which once sparked liberal furor, is now a dead issue. How can anyone object to harshly interrogating a few known terrorists when routinely blowing apart more that 2,000 suspected ones -- and anyone in their vicinity?

Predators both depersonalize and personalize war in a fashion quite unknown in the past. In one sense, killing a terrorist is akin to playing an amoral video game thousands of miles away. But in another, we often know the name and even recognize the face of each victim, in a way unknown in the anonymous carnage of, for example, the battles of Verdun and Hue. Does that make war more or less humane?

Once the most prominent critic of the war on terror, Obama has now become its greatest adherent -- and in the process is turning the tide against al-Qaeda. And so far, the American people of all political stripes -- for vastly different reasons -- seem more relieved than worried over Obama's most unexpected incarnation as Predator in Chief.
Title: WSJ: Why defense
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 14, 2011, 04:12:17 AM
What principles should guide the congressional super committee as it prepares to cut over $1 trillion from the federal budget by Thanksgiving? Priority No. 1 should be: not a penny more out of defense. A staggering level of defense spending is already on the butcher's block.

Since then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates launched an "efficiency" campaign in 2009, we have cut over half a trillion dollars from our armed forces. Although defense spending accounts for less than 20% of our federal budget, it has absorbed approximately half of our deficit-reduction efforts since 2009.

Now the super committee is operating under a mandate that holds our military hostage. If the 12 members don't agree on $1 trillion in cuts from the vast federal budget, an automatic "trigger" will cut $500 million from defense along with $500 million from elsewhere.

Such a drastic cut would force the Navy to mothball over 60 ships, including two of our precious 11 carrier battle groups, according to analysis by the Republican staff of the House Armed Services Committee. It would also force us to shed one-third of our Army maneuver battalions and Air Force fighter jets.

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CloseAssociated Press
 .The Marine Corps, meanwhile, would have to rewrite its warfighting doctrine and re-evaluate its core mission. The Corps already has too few ships to keep Marines at sea. Cuts would likely cancel production of several Marine aircraft lines and prevent the long-overdue replacement of the Marine amphibious assault vehicle. In short, the Marines would no longer be the service that is "most ready when the nation is least ready."

These radical changes would significantly degrade, if not eliminate, our ability to fulfill our commitments to allies like Taiwan and Israel. When asked by a Senate committee if the super committee's trigger would be "shooting ourselves in the foot," newly minted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta quipped: "We'd be shooting ourselves in the head."

What's more, cutting our military—either by eliminating programs or laying off soldiers—brings grave economic costs. The U.S. military is the principal guardian of our globalized economy's avenues of commerce. We protect the realms where business occurs and prosperity is born, including space, the skies, cyberspace and the world's oceans.

We live in a world where violence on the Korean peninsula, or in the South China Sea, or around the Mediterranean can ripple across the world economy, damaging markets that have a historically low tolerance for uncertainty and doubt. The U.S. military is the benevolent power jealously guarding the stability that makes global, and domestic, fiscal health possible.

And on the economic front, if the super committee fails to reach an agreement, its automatic cuts would kill upwards of 800,000 active-duty, civilian and industrial American jobs. This would inflate our unemployment rate by a full percentage point, close shipyards and assembly lines, and damage the industrial base that our warfighters need to stay fully supplied and equipped.

Armchair budgeteers often point out that the U.S. spends more on defense than the next several nations combined. This clumsy argument lacks critical nuance. It costs exponentially more money to sustain a U.S. service member than to keep a Chinese, Iranian or North Korean soldier under arms. And it costs money to sustain an all-volunteer force, which must compete with the private sector to attract quality recruits.

We rightly insist that our armed forces have the best training, equipment and leadership in the world. This is why personnel costs account for over half of our overall defense budget.

Other nations that can simply press their citizens into service have no such fiscal or moral obligations to their force, nor do they share America's unique role in sustaining global stability.

This highlights the real danger inherent in the temptation to target the Pentagon for even more cuts: If we violate the sacred trust of our service members—some on their sixth and seventh war zone deployments—we risk breaking the back of our all-volunteer force. Who then, will have our backs?

American safety and economic security rest on the shoulders of the U.S. military. Lately it seems we have taken their sacrifices for granted. From here forward, Washington—the super committee, Congress generally, and the president—must focus on the real drivers of our debt, namely entitlements and social welfare, not on the protector of our prosperity.

Mr. McKeon, a California Republican, is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Title: BEATING DECLINE: Miltech and the Survival of the U.S.
Post by: G M on October 16, 2011, 05:53:12 PM

BEATING DECLINE: Miltech and the Survival of the U.S.

by J.R. Dunn

Part I

Dangerous times await the United States in the international arena. We are facing a period of relative decline in respect to other nations and the global community as a whole. Many are aggressive states with little reason to be friendly to us or to defer to our interests. Our status as leading nation will be challenged, imperiled, and disregarded. This circumstance is locked in and we cannot avoid it. Debt, inflation, overextension, and defense cuts, not to mention a strange national diffidence toward acting as world leader, guarantee this state of affairs.
On the occasion of his retirement in June, defense secretary Robert Gates warned against further defense cuts. “Frankly,” he was quoted as saying, ”I can’t imagine being part of a nation, part of a government … that’s being forced to dramatically scale back our engagement with the rest of the world.” Extraordinary words from a man who initiated more cuts than any previous secretary: over 30 programs, including the F-22 Raptor, the Army's Future Combat System, and the AF-1 airborne laser. In other words, some of the programs most crucial to maintaining American military capability in the 21st century.
Even as Gates made his departure, the Obama administration was ordering cuts of $400 billion over a period of twelve years. Leading liberal politicians such as Rep. Barney Frank have gone even further, calling for up to $1 trillion in cuts. And this is not to overlook the recent debt ceiling deal, in which automatic cuts to defense, amounting to $500 billion over and above the amounts already mentioned, will occur if a formal bipartisan budget agreement is not achieved.
At risk is the USAF’s B-3 bomber, the Navy's CG(X) cruiser and EPX intelligence plane, the Marine’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Navy’s new TAOX tanker and the next generation ballistic missile submarine. Talk has also been heard of cutting Army battalions, reducing the number of fleet aircraft carriers, basing fleet units in the continental U.S. rather than at forward bases, dismantling most of our nuclear arsenal, and axing that perennial target, abandoning U.S. Marine Corps aviation.
The reasons for this impasse, while interesting in themselves, do not really concern us as much as the simple reality of what we face. It’s in the cards and we will have to deal with it. How do we go about doing that?
Other dominant states have undergone the same ordeal. The United Kingdom and the Soviet Union can serve as examples. Following its magnificent WW II stand against fascism, the UK suffered a lengthy period of political decline in which its global empire, one of the best-ordered and in many ways admirable of all imperial systems, was stripped away in less than twenty years. The Soviet Union, a much less admirable state, suffered an explosive collapse in the early 1990s following its failure to implement socialism on a national scale while simultaneously challenging the West in the Cold War. Both nations benefited from the existence of an even more powerful national entity that ensured global stability while they adapted to their new status—the United States itself. Countries that might have contemplated taking advantage of the suddenly weakened superstates were held off by the American presence, allowing the UK and USSR to make their transition in relative security. (Only one nation attempted to throw the dice—Argentina in the 1983 Falklands conflict A shrunken Royal Navy succeeded in straightening out the Argentines with assistance from the U.S.)
No guarantor of international stability exists today. The United States will go through its period of readjustment very much on its own. As for challenges from lawless and predatory powers, the question is not if but when. What is in store for us is not conquest, not humiliation, not even necessarily defeat, but a slow erosion of influence and power that will limit our ability to meet crises and make our national will felt. We are already experiencing that erosion, and it will continue for some time to come.

Emerging Threats

Expansionist states on the cusp of becoming major regional powers will wish to exercise their newfound capabilities. Most see the U.S. as an obstacle. There can be little doubt that each of them views America’s current difficulties as a clear opportunity.
•China—Looks forward to taking back the rogue “province” of Taiwan while at the same time extending its control over the Western Pacific. An internal faction of unknown size and influence involving senior officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not at all mind giving the U.S. a black eye in the process.
•Iran—Wishes to gain control over the Persian Gulf and the surrounding states in hopes of establishing something on the order of a Shi’ite caliphate. Its current nuclear weapons program is troubled (it suffered a serious setback as the target of the first tailored cyberweapon), but continuing. Further concern arises over extensive governmental influence from a Shi’ite apocalyptic cult comprised of believers in the imminent return of an Islamic messiah, the Twelfth Imam.
•North Korea—After nearly seventy years, still the personal domain of the world’s sole communist dynasty. Unstable and run by a family of doubtful sanity, North Korea is a perpetual irritant. With its arsenal of crude atomic weapons, it is in the peculiar position of being too weak to fully assert itself yet too well-armed to be ignored. Eventually this conundrum will be resolved through some kind of action.
•Russia—Interested in reestablishing military dominance over Eurasia while also clawing back a few strayed remnants of the old USSR. Important sections of the military and security organs are subject to feelings of anti-American revanchism over the results of the Cold War.
•Venezuela—Has eagerly adapted the mantle of spearhead of Latin Marxism from Cuba, with some success among neighboring states. Has also established close military ties with China and Iran, which include agreements for basing rights and emplacement of advanced strategic weapons systems.
•Pakistan—About to explode thanks to an evil synergy involving a totally corrupt military, an effectively unrestrained Islamist element, and seething ethnic rivalries. The problem lies in its possession of up to 110 nuclear weapons. (Nearly as many as the UK.) 1
•There also exist wild cards—threats that while perhaps unlikely, are within the realm of possibility.
 •Europe—Union has not proven as easy or as popular as anticipated. It has long been pointed out that the EU has all the trappings of a neofascist state without the controlling ideology. That could change, and not necessarily for the better. Consider the UK or Ireland attempting to secede from the EU under such circumstances. The technical name for this is “civil war.” (Interestingly, one of the few novels to deal with the concept of European union, Angus Wilson’s satirical SF novel The Old Men at the Zoo, climaxes with exactly such a scenario.)
•Mexico—A potential government takeover by one of the cartels, or alternately a front politician under their control, would turn our southern border into even more of a war zone than it is already. We have been ignoring the Mexican drug war for several years now. We may not have this luxury for much longer.
•A Revived United Arab Republic—The “Arab Spring” has not turned out to be as happy an event as many of us hoped. The most powerful political group in the Arab states is the Muslim Brotherhood, a secret society with fascist antecedents considered to be the grandfather of all Islamic terrorist and Jihadi organizations. Any or all of the “liberated” Arab nations could fall prey to this outfit. (It appears that Egypt is doing so now.) The ramifications will be nothing but ugly.
•And let’s not forget the jihadis while we’re at it. That’s a fifty-year war and we are only one-fifth of the way through it.
Beyond these, we have the “unknown unknowns”—potential threats that we simply cannot foresee. An informed European of 1910 would never have guessed at fascism, Nazism, or communism, which dominated much of the 20th century and came close to destroying Europe. What awaits us in the next half-century is anybody’s guess. (How about a combination of the Singularity and neofascism?) Keeping in mind the words of a great statesman (Calvin Coolidge): “If you see ten troubles comin’ down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into a ditch before they get to you,” one or more of these will confront the U.S. while we are at the same time repairing the ravages of recent excesses, maintaining our standing in the international community, and fulfilling our obligations to our allies and treaty partners. There have been easier periods for this country.
We are no longer a hyperpower, and the status of superpower is slipping from our grasp. Within a decade, the U.S. will be merely one great power among a rising cohort of powers. We no longer possess the forces that defeated the Soviet Union, twice humiliated the armies of Saddam Hussein, and that for decades have guaranteed peaceful commerce across the oceans of the world. While much can be accomplished through diplomacy and alliances with other powers, situations will arise in which military force is the sole option. We must find alternatives to the vast resources that are no longer available to us.
We will not, for the foreseeable future, have access to the traditional American method of spending more money to buy more guns than anyone else on earth can afford. What does that leave us? With yet another traditional American method, one that used to be called “Yankee ingenuity”: using technology to solve problems that cannot be addressed in any other way.

The RMA and the American Dilemma

The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)2 is the formal name for changes in warfare brought about by technological innovation in the post-Vietnam period. Originally a Soviet concept, the RMA involves advances in such fields as computers, sensor technology, guidance systems, and communications which together hold the potential to increase the destructive capabilities of weaponry by an order of magnitude. Examples include precision-guided munitions (PGMs), stealth aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Considerable debate has occurred concerning the RMA’s effect on operations, strategy, tactics, and doctrine.
The RMA fell into disrepute after defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld utilized it as the basis of his “transformational” doctrine for the U.S. military. It was the source of the infamous “light footprint,” in which small, technologically advanced forces would destroy much larger conventional armies, requireing reduced outlay in time, resources, and finances. Rumsfeld was not completely mistaken—the forces that defeated Saddam Hussein in 2003 were much smaller than those dispatched to the Gulf in 1990. Technology made up the difference. What Rumsfeld overlooked was the fact that occupation and combat are two different things. Occupation requires large numbers of boots on the ground to assure security, control, and a smooth transition of power. The failure to meet those requirements in the wake of the Second Gulf War resulted in a lengthy guerilla conflict which sapped American resolve and nearly cost us the victory.
Over the past few years, military thinkers have begun to acknowledge that the RMA, far from being discredited, will continue to influence military affairs for the foreseeable future. Technology remains a major driver of military innovation and despite everything the United States remains the forerunner in technology. A 2008 RAND study, “U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology”3 found that the U.S. spends 40 percent of the world’s budget for research, produces 38 percent of new patents, and 63 percent of cited research papers. We also lead in application. The U.S. is the sole nation to have fielded a fleet of stealth fighters and bombers, the sole nation to have made the transition to combat drones, the first adaptor of battlefield robotics, and is very likely the first nation (along with its junior partner Israel) to have created and utilized a cyberwarhead. Technology will enable the United States to endure the challenges to come, and to put the fear of Uncle Sam anew into the world’s bandits, fanatics, and would-be Napoleons.

Maritime Power

Naval power is the most important aspect of American military strength. The seapower thesis of Alfred Thayer Mahan4— that the United States comprises a “continental island” closer in nature to maritime states such as Japan and the UK than to the continental powers of Eurasia—has proven far more durable than most 19th-century geopolitical theories.
Since the destruction of the Japanese Imperial Fleet in 1944, the U.S. Navy has had no serious rival for control of the seas. For a short period in the 1980s the development of a Soviet blue-water navy caused some worries, but those ended along with the USSR. It is no coincidence that international trade based on maritime shipping underwent a boom during the postwar period. Security provided by U.S. naval dominance of the world’s oceans was a major factor in economic globalization. The vast amounts spent on America’s fleets have repaid themselves many times over.
In the early 21st century, U.S. maritime power faces its first major challenge in nearly seventy years. The fleet is steadily shrinking. In August 2011 it stood at 284 ships, less than half the 575 in commission twenty years ago. At the same time, several foreign fleets are in the process of establishing themselves as serious competitors. The Indian Navy is friendly. The Chinese and Iranian navies, not so much. In addition, piracy has undergone a dramatic rebirth, in Somalia in particular but also in areas such as the Indonesian archipelago. The 21st century sailor will have his hands full.
The Navy’s plan to meet these challenges is embodied in a doctrine called “AirSea Battle.” While little is known about this new strategy, it can be assumed to be a maritime version of AirLand Battle, the U.S. Army’s extremely effective late 20th century ground-combat strategy. AirLand Battle was based on the theories of the eccentric but brilliant USAF officer Col. John Boyd5, who spent a lifetime attempting to create a universal theory of warfare. AirLand Battle is a complex strategy of maneuver utilizing Boyd’s “decision cycle” (also known as the “OODA Cycle”)6, in which actions carried out at an accelerated pace deny the enemy any opportunity to respond. Large-scale disruptive aerial attacks are followed with swift flank attacks by mechanized units, assaulting not fixed geographic targets such as cities or bases, or even distinct military formations, but any enemy force within reach. The goal is to confuse and disrupt the enemy until utter collapse ensues. AirLand Battle is a strategy by which small, outnumbered forces can defeat much larger opponents through speed, maneuver, and initiative.
AirLand Battle never saw action against the Warsaw Pact, its original target, but found its moment in the two campaigns against the Iraqi Army. These were virtual textbook operations, with the U.S.-led Coalition dominating the battlespace from the start and swiftly subduing the Iraqis with very few direct engagements.
AirSea Battle7 is a combined-services strategy in which the USAF and Navy will act as a single offensive force. Working from the AirLand Battle template, we can assume that USAF long-range air assets will strike first, disrupting and demoralizing enemy maritime forces. They will be followed by naval air, surface, and submarine elements, striking with PGMs, cruise missiles, and long-range torpedoes. If carried out with the same ferocity as AirLand Battle, this strategy would climax with surviving enemy units fleeing the battlespace, leaving it dominated by U.S. naval forces.
Two major questions arise: can such a strategy be carried out by a steadily shrinking Navy? And can a strategy so dependent on the ever more vulnerable aircraft carrier remain viable into the 21st century?
Fleet carriers are among the most impressive warships ever to take to sea. But all things move toward their end, and carriers of the Nimitz and Ford class may have seen their day. The Chinese, the most serious maritime challenge facing our Navy, are doing their best to make the carrier obsolete. China considers the South China Sea as its territory, going so far as to refer to it as “blue soil,” an inherent part of the Chinese heritage. It has laid claim to the Spratleys, the Paracels, and other small island chains in defiance of Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. It has never given up its claim to Taiwan. It has suggested that other states—specifically the U.S.—abandon all interest in the area, in clear disregard of current treaties and the traditional law of the sea. (The U.S. is responding by sending its first three operational Littoral Combat Ships8 into the South China Sea. This is a carefully calibrated riposte: while not strategic assets, these shallow-water vessels—which the media have taken to calling “stealth ships”—are capable of a variety of missions including shore assault, reconnaissance and surveillance, special warfare, and deep-water combat. The message is easily read: we’re ready for anything.)

Whatever Chinese plans may be, one element that can upset them is the aircraft carrier. Each possesses the combat power of a medium-sized nation, unmatched versatility, and the moral force of a weapon that has never been adequately countered. The Chinese have worried about them for a long time, and have put a lot of work into countermeasures. These include:
 •Cruise Missiles—Entire families of sea-launched cruise missiles are deployed on both surface ships—including fast patrol craft—and submarines.
•Song Class Diesel Submarines, —quite capable and very difficult to detect9. In 2006, a Song-class sub surfaced without warning only a short distance from the USS Kitty Hawk.
•The J-20 Stealth Fighter——from its size clearly not an air-superiority aircraft, but most likely intended as a strike aircraft10. It would be surprising if it wasn’t used against carriers.
•The DF-21D Ballistic Missile—over the past year, a new version of the DF-21 MRBM with anti-ship capabilities has been fielded11. The Chinese can deploy hundreds of these missiles in a short time frame.
•Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons (EMP)—China has apparently modified a number of nuclear warheads to trigger a high-altitude EMP pulse capable of damaging or destroying nearby electronic equipment12. While some are intended for use against Taiwan, others may target aircraft carriers. The code names of these weapons are “Assassin’s Mace” for older warheads and “Trump Card” for warheads using newer technology. (This is a good opportunity to kill the “EMP as national threat” myth. There’s been a lot of rhetoric expended claiming that the pulse from a single nuclear warhead set off 200 miles above the U.S. could fry all electronics gear across the country and plunge us into a new dark age. Well maybe, under perfect laboratory conditions, but even that’s doubtful. As a physicist pointed out to me, for this to work, you need to have more energy coming out than the original explosion put in. A little thing called the First Law of Thermodynamics forbids this.)

It would be a difficult trick to carry out a warfighting strategy with one of its central elements at the bottom of the briny deep. Potential defenses exist, chief among them directed-energy weapons. High-energy lasers would defeat most anti-ship threats, in particular missiles of all varieties. Unfortunately, the free-electron laser (FEL), the most well-adapted for naval use (FELs are tunable and can be fired at the best wavelengths to cut through sea haze, salt spray, fog, and other maritime commonplaces), was canceled by Congress last June13. (The Navy’s primary new offensive weapon, the electromagnetic railgun, was canceled at the same time.) Nothing less than such a universal defense will do. The Kamikaze campaign of 1945 clearly demonstrated how difficult it is to defend ships from determined attack. It won’t require the loss of very many $15 billion carriers along with their air wings to drive the U.S. out of the South China Sea or the Persian Gulf more or less permanently.
While the Chinese launched their first carrier—formerly the Ukrainian Varyag—this past summer, and are constructing at least two domestic carriers, they possess no support craft or escorts to sail with them. They’re unlikely to play a major role in the time-span we’re considering here.
But the fleet carrier is by no means the ultimate evolution of the aircraft carrier. The Navy has already studied the feasibility of smaller carriers14. In fact, future carriers may not resemble our current models, with their vast and crowded flight decks, in any fashion at all.
The key to this development is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—the combat drone. The Navy came late to the drone revolution, but in recent years has gone all out to catch up. Last February marked the debut of the Northrop Grumman X-47B, a drone designed to take off and land on a carrier15. The Navy wants drones operating with carrier forces by 2018. Subsequent development of drones is likely to transform the carrier itself. There is no reason why drones need to operate exactly like manned aircraft, requiring a flight deck, arrestor gear, and the entire panoply of traditional naval aviation. Properly designed drones could be launched from any type of surface ship, or, for that matter, from submarines running underwater. It’s possible to foresee a time when every naval vessel, including support ships, operates a unit of drones, from a dozen aboard a support vessel such as a tanker to fifty or more aboard a guided missile cruiser.
Such drones would be very different birds from today’s pioneer models—nearly autonomous, cheap, and far more capable. They could well be expendable, with no recovery necessary. (The USAF has already fielded such a design, the MALD. See below.) It’s possible that they wouldn’t even be armed, instead destroying their targets by kinetic kill. Consider a swarm of hundreds of small, fast, maneuverable drones suddenly appearing out of nowhere, with no obvious source (and target) like a conventional aircraft carrier in sight. Such a capability would complicate enemy strategy immeasurably. It would also go a long way toward lowering the cost of a fleet and increasing the number of available combat vessels.
The drone revolution is by no means limited to aerial platforms. Application of drone technology to both surface and submersible craft is in process. Former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead initiated development of a long-range UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle), a robot submarine capable of operating independently for long periods on missions covering thousands of miles16. Roughead envisioned a basic guidance system and power plant module that can be reconfigured with weapon and sensor suites tailored for each particular mission. Such UUVs would patrol independently, report in by satellite linkage, and return to port on their own. Smaller versions could act as drone torpedoes, maintaining station on a semi-permanent basis and launching themselves at enemy shipping when the war signal arrives.
Necessary technology such as advanced AI algorithms and compact power plants remains enticingly out of reach. But less complex versions of such UUVs could very likely be launched today. These drones could accompany a fleet, acting as a first line of defense against enemy subs, be monitored constantly and rendezvous with surface vessels for maintenance and refueling. Such drones would be relatively cheap and expendable where manned submarines would not be.

Preliminary work has also been done on surface drones by the Navy in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the DoD’s in-house research department, particularly involving an unmanned frigate, the Anti-submarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV)17. An ACTUV could patrol vast areas of ocean for months with no human input. On encountering a sub, it would notify its naval HQ, and perhaps also latch onto the sub’s signal and follow it wherever it went, rendering the crew’s life incredibly nerve-wracking. One interesting development involves the Navy’s creation of an online game, ACTUV Tactics, where outside players compete as ACTUV’s or sub skippers, in order to work out the best tactics to encode as operational algorithms18. (What’s that you say? Potential enemy sub skippers can log on too, and learn all the tricks? I guess nothing’s perfect.)
Another weapon overdue for technological enhancement is the sea mine, an often underrated asset. During the last months of WW II, mines dropped from USAAF B-29 Superfortresses into the Inland Sea and coastal areas brought Japanese maritime activity to a standstill, completely isolating the Home Islands.
The 21st century mine will be a far cry from the anchored “dumb” mines of WW II. They will have limited autonomous capability, be able to detect and target individual ships, avoid minesweepers, and maneuver into optimal attack positions. Several warheads could be fitted with programmable fuses to suit the targets. Networks of these mines would communicate and coordinate their attacks. Enemy fleets and merchant marine vessels might well be locked into their ports, unable to emerge for fear of hordes of “smart mines.” When hostilities end, the mines would be signaled to surface and wait for pickup.
A picture of the fleet to come begins to take form, surrounded by a cloud of undetectable drones, preceded by a shield of small unmanned submarines, with robot frigates patrolling the fringes, and the manned ships on the center. Small in numbers, and nowhere near as impressive as a Nimitz-class carrier and its escorts, but with a potential combat power orders of magnitude greater than any current fleet. Stealthed, laser and railgun armed (we can assume that these programs are on “zombie” status, with current work carefully preserved and waiting for funding), integrated into satellite weather, detection, and communication systems, capable of tracking targets at the other side of the ocean and engaging them at half that distance. Such a fleet would possess capabilities unknown up to this point in time, and perhaps unguessable even today.

Maintaining Air Superiority

For several decades, the U.S. Air Force has carried the banner of military technological innovation. Working with DARPA, the “Pentagon’s mad scientists,” the USAF has been responsible for the most spectacular and effective technological breakthroughs of recent years, including stealth aircraft and the combat drone. Can this partnership prevail into the 21st century?
Since WW II, the U.S. has possessed effective air superiority over other combatants. Except for short periods over Korea in 1950-51 and Vietnam in 1966-67, American superiority was so overwhelming that at times opponents didn’t even dare challenge it. During the First Gulf War (1991), Iraqi Air Force units defected en masse to Iran to avoid destruction by Coalition air assets. After the Hussein regime was overthrown in 2003, pathetic little monuments were found in the desert where Iraqi MiGs had been buried in sand to protect them.
Technology was the leading reason for American superiority in the air. Following the Korean War, John Boyd discovered that the USAF had gained ascendancy over Communist air forces when the F-86E Sabre was introduced to combat in 1952. Unlike earlier models, the E Sabre featured hydraulic controls, enabling it to shift from one maneuver to the next before enemy MiG-15s could react. This created an extraordinary situation in which the USAF was provided with the winning edge without even realizing it. (This insight formed the basis of Boyd’s “decision cycle” thesis.)
While the U.S. currently retains this edge, there’s no guarantee it will keep it. Aviation technology is a fast-changing field, sensitive to breakthroughs in many technical disciplines. Both Russia and China have tested stealth fighters, with the Russians claiming their Sukhoi PAK TA T-50 as fully equal to the USAF’s F-22 Raptor, the premier U.S. air superiority aircraft19. Production of the Raptor was capped at 187 planes by Secretary Gates over the protests of Air Force staff. While Gates claimed that the less-capable F-35 Lightning II would take up the slack, questions about program costs and delays have arisen over the past year. (Both the F-22 and F-35 have experienced serious systemic flaws over the past year that led to some aircraft being grounded. These should be viewed as shakedown problems not uncommon among new high-performance aircraft. The B-29, the bomber that defeated Japan, had numerous failings including uncontrollable engine fires and windows popping out at high altitude. The F-86 killed so many pilots that it was called the “lieutenant eater.” The B-47, the first strategic jet bomber, had a particularly stark drawback—in the early models, the wings tended to fall off during sharp turns.) The Marine Corps S/VTOL version is currently “on probation” and may well be cancelled. We could end up with far fewer than the 2,400 F-35s planned.
Another threat lies in advances in radar. It is possible to design a radar system that can detect, if not track, stealth aircraft. Australia’s JORN (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) system detects the turbulence created by an aircraft’s passage and is claimed to have a range of several thousand miles20. The Chinese are known to be working on an ultra-high frequency radar for the purpose of defeating stealth. It is easily possible that further advances could negate the stealth advantage, leaving the U.S. without air superiority for the first time since 1944.

The answer to this dilemma may well lie in the UAV. It’s remarkable to consider that the drone revolution that has transformed so many aspects of warfare was a matter of pure inadvertence. The original MQ-1 Predator drones were unarmed and were retrofitted with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles only after it was realized that the time lag between drones detecting a target and a fighter-bomber response was unnecessary. Since that time, drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper have been designed for weapons carriage from the first. We can assume that all drones from this point on will possess at least the capability of being armed.
It has been understood since 1972, when a Ryan Firebee operated by remote control easily outmaneuvered an F-4 Phantom in a series of dogfights, that drones could operate in the air-superiority role. It would be a simple matter to fit Predators or Reapers with AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM missile kits to enable them to operate as fighters. But both lack necessary speed and maneuverability, although the RQ-170 “Beast of Kandahar” drone, with its stealthy features and swept wings, appears to be approaching that level.
There’s little reason to doubt that DARPA, in its thorough way, is working on such aircraft and that prototypes may be flying at this moment at Groom Lake or a similar test base.
On the other hand, the future may already have arrived in the form of the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD), a small, expendable drone designed to confuse and overwhelm air defense radars21. MALDs can be programmed to maneuver precisely like manned aircraft, and can be launched by the hundreds from transports, hopelessly saturating any current air-defense system. Raytheon has begun developing versions of the MALD fitted with sensors and warheads, transforming them into armed fighter drones.
A MALD air-superiority system could be deployed in a number of ways. They could be launched from transports or AWACs (launch racks have been developed for this purpose), goading an opponent into sending up his aircraft, which would then be downed en masse by the drones. Range could be extended by shutting off the engine and gliding, or alternately by zooming up to high altitude, deploying a balloon or parachute, and drifting until a threat appears. (A USAF anti-radiation missile, the AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow, operates on this principle.)
Manned fighters carrying MALDs in lieu of bombs or external fuel tanks could launch them just before coming into enemy radar range. After the first wave of drones engaged the enemy, the F-15s and F-22s would fly in to mop up.
Whatever the technique (and experienced pilots and weapons officers will no doubt come up with far more intricate and effective tactics), it is clear that cheap drones can make up for shortfalls in manned air-superiority aircraft. With its current head start in UAV technology, the U.S. need not drop into second place (and in air combat, anything below number one is the loser) anytime soon. It’s also clear that drones will not “replace” so much as supplement manned fighter aircraft for the foreseeable future. There will always be a need for conscious mentalities, if only to figure out when the battle’s over.

A Bomber Revival?

The USAF has traditionally been a bomber service, its major mission that of strategic bombing, its legendary figures—Mitchell, Arnold, Spaatz, LeMay—bomber pilots and commanders. It was only in recent years that fighter pilots were granted the same lofty status as the bomber aristocracy.

But the manned bomber has had a rough time in recent decades, squeezed between improved air defenses and the titanic expense required to overcome them. Of the last three proposed strategic bombers, the B-70 Valkyrie was cancelled outright in the early 1960s, the B-1 Lancer was cancelled and then resurrected in the 1980s, and the B-2 Spirit, the storied “stealth bomber,” was limited by its cost of over $1 billion apiece to only 21 aircraft (20 of which are still flying, one having crashed at Guam in February 2008). The Air Force currently possesses under 200 strategic bombers, a derisory number compared the thousands deployed during the Cold War, much less the tens of thousands that fought WW II.
But drone technology may, paradoxically, rescue the manned bomber. Secretary Gates cancelled a bomber scheduled to be fielded by 2018. Apparently having second thoughts, Gates green-lighted a new bomber project just before his retirement. This Deep Strike Aircraft will be a stealth model that can fly either manned or unmanned, depending on mission requirements. While little is known about the B-3’s actual configuration, the bomber would possess both conventional and nuclear capability, carrying PGMs, bunker-busters, or air-to-ground rockets. Defense could be provided by high-energy lasers and also by versions of the MALD with the B-3 in effect carrying its own escort force, deployed upon entering hostile airspace and accompanying the bomber on its run against a target. (Aviation buffs will recognize this as the millennial version of the XF-85 Goblin, a late 1940s fighter designed for carriage by the B-36 as an escort plane. If you wait long enough, every technical gimmick comes around for a second run.) Over $4 billion has been budgeted for strike aircraft development. If all goes according to schedule, 80 to 100 B-3s will join the inventory sometime in the mid 2020s22.
Another revival is the Prompt Global Strike system, a weapon that could hit targets at intercontinental distances from CONUS (the Continental United States) within two hours. This weapon could strike high-value targets of temporary nature (say, a conference of terrorist leaders) without the diplomatic complications that might arise from launching an attack from a third-party state.
Several attempts have been made to develop such an asset, including a proposal to utilize surplus ICBMs or submarine-launched missiles in the role that was abandoned after it became apparent that there was no plausible way to assure bystander nations that they weren’t packed full of nuclear warheads. Attention shifted to hypersonic aircraft, with several projects initiated, including the Falcon (Force Application and Launch from CONUS), a reusable hypersonic cruise vehicle launched by rocket and capable of carrying a 12,000 lb. payload up to 9,000 miles, and the Blackswift, a Mach 6 multimission aircraft developed by DARPA for use as a spy plane, bomber, or satellite launcher23. Although funding of $1 billion was authorized, the Blackswift was cancelled in 2009.
But the hypersonic aircraft concept proved too tough to kill. The past year has seen some promising developments, including a successful test of the USAF’s X-51 hypersonic missile and flights by the Falcon HTV-2 which, though not flawless (the Falcons lost telemetry links with the ground and shut themselves down), produced valuable data. It was further revealed that yet another hypersonic bomber project, dubbed “Son of Blackswift” is under development. It appears that the U.S. will have an intercontinental fist to add to its conventional arsenal.
The United States need not relinquish its superiority as regards air power. The crucial question involves funding. Aerospace technology is expensive and often the first to be cut, as shown by the B-70, the B-1, and the Blackswift. But such cuts often represent false economies. Early in WW II, American pilots were forced to fight in sturdy but obsolescent aircraft such as the Bell P-39 and the Curtiss P-40 that simply could not stand up to the Luftwaffe’s Me-109s and Fw-190s, much less the superb Mitsubishi A6M Zero. It required two years for adequate American designs to appear. It would take far longer today, and wars in the millennial era simply don’t last that long. (The UK, on the other hand, spent large amounts during the mid-1930s developing fast, maneuverable eight-gun fighters, the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. These aircraft saved the country during the Battle of Britain.)

End Notes for Part One:
 1. Calling all Seals!
7. percent202010/0810battle.aspx
19. percent3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post percent3A021e786e-04be-426b-ad32-dcbb54b90d00
Title: Economist on electro-magnetic weapons
Post by: ccp on October 16, 2011, 06:06:54 PM
From the Economist - war without blood shed?

 *****Electromagnetic weapons
Frying tonight
Warfare is changing as weapons that destroy electronics, not people, are deployed on the field of battle
Oct 15th 2011 | from the print edition

BULLETS and bombs are so 20th-century. The wars of the 21st will be dominated by ray guns. That, at least, is the vision of a band of military technologists who are building weapons that work by zapping the enemy’s electronics, rather than blowing him to bits. The result could be conflict that is less bloody, yet more effective, than what is now seen as conventional battle.

Electromagnetic weapons, to give these ray guns their proper name, are inspired by the cold-war idea of using the radio-frequency energy released by an atom bomb exploded high in the atmosphere to burn out an enemy’s electrical grid, telephone network and possibly even the wiring of his motor vehicles, by inducing a sudden surge of electricity in the cables that run these things.

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That idea, fortunately, was never tried in earnest (though some tests were carried out). But, by thinking smaller, military planners have developed weapons that use a similar principle, without the need for a nuclear explosion. Instead, they create their electromagnetic pulses with magnetrons, the microwave generators at the hearts of radar sets (and also of microwave ovens). The result is kit that can take down enemy missiles and aircraft, stop tanks in their tracks and bring speedboats to a halt. It can also scare away soldiers without actually killing them.

Many electromagnetic weapons do, indeed, look like radars, at least to non-expert eyes. America’s air force is developing a range of them based on a type of radar called an active electronically scanned array (AESA). When acting as a normal radar, an AESA broadcasts its microwaves over a wide area. At the touch of a button, however, all of its energy can be focused onto a single point. If that point coincides with an incoming missile or aircraft, the target’s electronics will be zapped.

Small AESAs—those light enough to fit on a plane such as a joint strike fighter (F-35)—are probably restricted to zapping air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles (the air force is understandably reticent about supplying details of their capabilities). Ground- or ship-based kit can draw more power. This will be able to attack both ballistic missiles and aircraft, whose electronics tend to be better shielded.

In the case of the F-35, then, this sort of electromagnetic artillery is mainly defensive. But another plane, the Boeing Growler, uses electromagnetics as offensive weapons. The Growler, which first saw action in Iraq in 2010 and has been extensively (though discreetly) deployed during the NATO air war against Colonel Qaddafi’s forces in Libya, is a souped-up version of the Super Hornet. It is fitted with five pods: two under each wing and one under the fuselage. Some pods contain AESAs or similar electromagnetic weapons. Others have eavesdropping equipment inside them. In combination, the pods can be used either to spy on enemy communications or to destroy them; to suppress anti-aircraft fire; to disable the electronics of ground vehicles; and to make life so hazardous for enemy aircraft that they dare not fly (and probably to shoot them down electronically, too, though no one will confirm this). The Growler is able to keep its weapons charged up and humming by lowering special turbines into the airstream that rushes past the plane when it is flying. America has ordered 114 of the planes, and has taken delivery of 53.

By land, sea and air

Nor are aircraft the only vehicles from which destructive electromagnetic pulses can be launched. BAE Systems, a British defence firm, is building a ship-mounted electromagnetic gun. The High-Powered Microwave, as it is called, is reported by Aviation Week to be powerful enough to disable all of the motors in a swarm of up to 30 speedboats. Ships fitted with such devices would never be subject to the sort of attack that damaged USS Cole in 2000, when an al-Qaeda boat loaded with explosives rammed it. A gun like this would also be useful for stopping pirate attacks against commercial shipping.

Land vehicles, too, will soon be fitted with electromagnetic cannon. In 2013 America hopes to deploy the Radio-Frequency Vehicle Stopper. This device, developed at the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in Quantico, Virginia, is a microwave transmitter the size and shape of a small satellite dish that pivots on top of an armoured car. When aimed at another vehicle, it causes that vehicle’s engine to stall.

This gentle way of handling the enemy—stopping his speedboats, stalling his tanks—has surprising advantages. For example, it expands the range of targets that can be attacked. Some favourite tricks of modern warfare, such as building communications centres in hospitals, or protecting sites with civilian “human shields”, cease to be effective if it is simply the electronics of the equipment being attacked that are destroyed. Though disabling an aircraft’s avionics will obviously cause it to crash, in many other cases, no direct harm is done to people at all.

The logical conclusion of all this is a so-called “human-safe” missile, which carries an electromagnetic gun instead of an explosive warhead. Such a missile is being developed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, and will soon be tested at the White Sands Missile Range.

There is, however, at least one electromagnetic weapon that is designed to attack enemy soldiers directly—though with the intention of driving them off, rather than killing them. This weapon, which is called the Active Denial System, has been developed by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, in collaboration with Raytheon. It works by heating the moisture in a person’s skin to the point where it feels, according to Kelley Hughes, an official at the directorate who volunteered to act as a guinea pig, like opening a hot oven. People’s reaction, when hit by the beam, is usually to flee. The beam’s range is several hundred metres.

Such anti-personnel weapons are controversial. Tests on monkeys, including ones in which the animals’ eyes were held open to check that the beam does not blind, suggest it causes no permanent damage. But when a vehicle-mounted Active Denial System was sent to Afghanistan in May 2010, it was eventually shipped back home without being used. The defence department will not say exactly why. The suspicion, though, is that weapons like the Active Denial System really are reminiscent in many minds of the ray guns of science fiction, and that using them in combat would be a PR mistake. Disabling communications and destroying missiles is one thing. Using heat-rays on the enemy might look bad in the newspapers, and put civilians off their breakfast.

Cold showers are good for you

To every action there is, of course, an equal and opposite reaction, and researchers are just as busy designing ways of foiling electromagnetic weapons as they are developing them. Most such foils are types of Faraday cage—named after the 19th-century investigator who did much of the fundamental research on electromagnetism.

A Faraday cage is a shield of conductive material that stops electromagnetic radiation penetrating. Such shields need not be heavy. Nickel- and copper-coated polyester mesh is a good starting point. Metallised textiles—chemically treated for greater conductivity—are also used. But Faraday cages can be costly. EMP-tronic, a firm based in Morarp, Sweden, has developed such shielding, initially for the Gripen, a Swedish fighter jet. It will shield buildings too, though, for a suitable consideration. To cover one a mere 20 metres square with a copper-mesh Faraday cage the firm charges €300,000 ($400,000).

Shielding buildings may soon become less expensive than that. At least two groups of scientists—one at the National Research Council Canada and the other at Global Contour, a firm in Texas—are developing electrically conductive cement that will block electromagnetic pulses. Global Contour’s mixture, which includes fibres of steel and carbon, as well as a special ingredient that the firm will not disclose, would add only $20 to the $150 per cubic metre, or thereabouts, which ordinary concrete costs.

The arms race to protect small vehicles and buildings against electromagnetic warfare, then, has already begun. Protecting ships, however, requires lateral thinking. For obvious reasons, they cannot be encased in concrete. And building a conventional Faraday cage round a naval vessel would be horribly expensive.

Daniel Tam, of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, thinks he has a way to get round that. He proposes to use the electrical conductivity of the sodium and chloride ions in seawater to create a novel type of Faraday cage. A shroud of seawater around a ship, thrown up by special pumps and hoses if the vessel came under electromagnetic attack, would do the trick, he reckons.

It is an ambitious idea. Whether it works or not, it shows how much the nature of modern belligerency is changing. Bombs and bullets will always have their place, of course. But the thought that a cold shower could protect a ship from attack is almost surreal.

from the print edition | Science and technology
Title: Marcus Flavinius
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 27, 2011, 06:03:55 PM

"We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilization.
We were able to verify that all this was true, and, because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment and vilify our action.
I cannot believe that all this is true and yet recent wars have shown how pernicious such a state of mind could be and to where it could lead.
Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Republic.
If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones in these desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions."
Marcus Flavinius
Title: Not enough to worry about? That's just fg great
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 02, 2011, 03:55:42 PM
I'm not real wild about the WSJ putting this out there for millions of eyeballs , , ,

Nearly 60 years ago the classic television documentary series "Victory at Sea" first recounted the U.S. Navy's exploits during World War II. Several episodes highlighted the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarines that were waging guerrilla war at sea. Their objective: destroy allied cargo ships providing an economic lifeline from America to Britain.

The German submarines pursued a form of warfare known as commerce raiding, attacking the enemy's economic assets at sea. The U.S., British and Canadian navies won the Battle of the Atlantic, thanks to their use of convoys and exploitation of advances in antisubmarine warfare technology and tactics—but only after suffering horrendous losses in blood and treasure.

At war's end, the United States emerged as far and away the world's predominant naval power. Since then the U.S. commitment to providing unfettered access to the world's seas to all nations has enabled an era of economic globalization and growth.

Memories of a time when access to the seas was not guaranteed have faded. Yet much has changed in the past 60 years. Two developments in particular suggest a growing need for the United States and other peaceful nations to begin thinking anew about how to defend their maritime commerce, albeit under very different circumstances.

The first development is the emergence of an undersea economy. Two years after World War II, in 1947, the first offshore discovery of oil out of sight of land occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Today nearly 30% of U.S. oil production and 15% of gas production is produced from wells on the Outer Continental Shelf. Globally, some 30% of the world's oil output comes from offshore production.

An enormous amount of capital investment has gone into creating this undersea energy infrastructure. This includes the oil platforms that drill, extract and temporarily store oil and gas, as well as the oil and gas wellheads, pipelines and pumps required to transfer the product from its undersea location to shore.

This vast infrastructure was built with the assumption that while it would have to weather natural disasters, it would not be a target in war. In military parlance, much of the infrastructure comprises "soft" targets that would not require much in the way of explosives to cause significant, and perhaps catastrophic, damage. Fortunately many of these targets have not been easy to reach—until now.

This brings us to the second development: the diffusion of military technology and weaponry that can threaten the undersea economy with a new form of commerce raiding.

In recent years, Latin-American narco-cartels have begun moving their cargo by submarine. While not even remotely in a class with the U.S. Navy's submarines, these simple boats are nevertheless capable of operating undersea in littoral waters while moving tons of cocaine. They have a range of up to 2,000 miles and cost but a few million dollars to build. These submarines can submerge to depths of a few dozen feet, which is sufficient to make detection difficult, allowing them to approach offshore oil platforms with little or no warning.

Even more disturbing is the proliferation of unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs, which were once almost exclusively operated by Western militaries. With the growth of the undersea economy, civilian development and production took off in the 1980s. UUVs are now widely used for a variety of commercial and scientific purposes.

These UUVs are perhaps best known for their role in locating sunken ships. Unlike the small submarines operated by narco-cartels, UUVs can descend to the ocean floor. If adapted for military purposes, they could carry mines and other explosives, as well as cameras and electronic sensors. They are also becoming cheaper, with a wide variety of systems available for sale in the private sector.

Then there are naval mines, now manufactured in more than 30 countries. Some producers, like Russia, are developing mines with better sensors, target-recognition systems, stealthy coatings, and self-propulsion systems to enable them to move about. But mines don't need to be sophisticated to be effective, especially against the thousands of soft targets populating the continental shelf.

While narco-cartels are interested in making money, not war, this is not the case with radical nonstate entities or their state sponsors. Some groups, including al Qaeda, seek to achieve victory not by defeating their enemies on the battlefield but by inflicting unacceptable pain or damage, either against defenseless civilians or economic infrastructure. Toward this end, radical Islamists have undertaken attacks, employing far less sophisticated means and with minimal success, on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden in October 2002 and Saudi oil production facilities in February 2006. Should the U.S. find itself in a confrontation with Iran, it might employ proxies to achieve similar ends.

For a relatively small effort on their part, in short, America's enemies could potentially impose enormous costs on its undersea economy, including loss of energy resources, damaged infrastructure and environmental degradation.

This nascent threat to America's undersea energy assets demands attention before it arrives on the nation's doorstep. The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Defense Department, should explore the cost and feasibility of options for defending the undersea energy economy, so they can move quickly to build a defensive shield if the need arises. The intelligence community should monitor the threat by focusing on the proliferation of undersea means of attack, especially as it pertains to radical nonstate entities. On the diplomatic front, efforts should be made to engage in this effort friendly states that have significant undersea energy assets of their own, such as Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Given the stakes involved, just as the U.S. and its allies developed the forces, capabilities and methods needed to defend their economic assets at sea during the Battle of the Atlantic, a similar effort is needed now with respect to America's undersea economic interests. The alternative is to hope for the best—and hope is not a strategy.

Mr. Krepinevich is president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Title: Chinese TV Host Says Regime Nearly Bankrupt
Post by: G M on November 16, 2011, 02:28:19 PM
GM, the article I meant was the one about the stuff visible from outer space-Marc
Title: Re: Chinese TV Host Says Regime Nearly Bankrupt
Post by: G M on November 16, 2011, 03:58:16 PM
GM, the article I meant was the one about the stuff visible from outer space-Marc

I thought that was a strange place for the economic article.....
Title: China 'hiding up to 3,000 nuclear warheads in secret tunnels'
Post by: G M on December 01, 2011, 06:43:11 PM

China 'hiding up to 3,000 nuclear warheads in secret tunnels'

An unconventional project by US university students has concluded that China's nuclear arsenal could be many times larger than current estimates, drawing the attention of Pentagon analysts.

9:23AM GMT 01 Dec 2011

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Georgetown University students under the instruction of a former Pentagon official have assembled the largest body of public knowledge yet about a vast network of secret tunnels dug by China's secretive Second Artillery Corps, responsible for nuclear warheads.

The 363-page study has not yet been published, but has already sparked a congressional hearing and been circulated among top US defence officials, including the Air Force vice chief of staff, the Post reported.

"It's not quite a bombshell, but those thoughts and estimates are being checked against what people think they know based on classified information," it quoted an unnamed Defense Department strategist as saying.

The newspaper said critics of the report had questioned the students methods, which included using internet-based sources like Google Earth, blogs, military journals and even a fictionalised Chinese TV show.

But the Post also said the students were able to obtain a 400-page manual produced by the Second Artillery and usually only available to Chinese military personnel.

The students' professor, Phillip Karber, 65, spent the Cold War as a top strategist reporting directly to the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Post said.

Karber said that – based on the study of the tunnels – China could have up to 3,000 nuclear warheads, far higher than the current estimates, which range from 80 to 400, according to the Post.

US officials could not immediately be reached to comment on the report.
Title: Iran captures our drone
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 08, 2011, 09:33:37 AM
I'm sure we've all seen the reports about one of our very best drones being captured by Iran.   Apparently this is VERY bad, the reverse engineering possibilities (to be shared with the Chinese no doubt and perhaps the Russians too) are terrible.
Title: Chinese possible Port of Call in Seychelles
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 12, 2011, 06:26:04 PM
Dispatch: The Chinese Navy's Possible Port of Call in the Seychelles
December 12, 2011 | 2304 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:

Vice President of Strategic Analysis Rodger Baker discusses the Chinese dilemma over the use of a port in the Seychelles.
Related Links
•   China Prepares for the U.S. Re-Engagement in Asia
China’s Ministry of National Defense said Dec. 12 that the Chinese navy may use ports in the Seychelles, or other countries, as ports of call for ongoing counter-piracy missions and for future deployments. The comments follow an invitation from the Seychelles for China to use the island nation’s ports and to establish a military presence on the main island of Mahe, already a regular port of call for the United States and other nation’s warships and military aircraft such as U.S. UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and French maritime surveillance aircraft.
China’s response highlights a continuing debate inside the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] regarding overseas basing. The PLAN [People’s Liberation Army Navy] has been participating in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Africa since December 2008. Supplying and maintaining these ships at a distance has been a test of the Chinese navy’s capacity for extended deployment. As part of the resupply, China has used several ports in the region, primarily Salalah in Oman, but also Aden, Djibouti and Karachi. Resupplying from the Seychelles would mark a further expansion of the range of China’s PLAN deployments, and would be the furthest of the resupply ports from the current anti-piracy operations.
Beijing arranges what are essentially ad hoc agreements to use friendly ports and facilities, avoiding the diplomatic agreements necessary to allow more established and enduring access to the facilities for the Chinese navy. This is largely due to the Chinese government’s stated non-interference policies and its attempts to shape the international image of Chinese overseas military operations as purely defensive and cooperative and thus non-threatening.
But this can bring China’s public image in contention with military necessity. The ad hoc arrangements have been effective thus far, but it leaves Chinese long-distance maritime operations without the means to establish more robust and reliable access and facilities, particularly in terms of forward maintenance and rearmament. For now, this appears to be a risk China is willing to take, using its political and economic leverage to ensure basic access for refueling without the formal diplomatic agreements for extended port use by the PLAN and particularly the facilities that a sustained forward presence requires. But as China continues to expand the range and role of its naval forces, this question of overseas basing agreements will intensify.
Title: Drone, tricked into landing
Post by: prentice crawford on December 16, 2011, 05:16:03 PM

Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer
In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran.
By Scott Peterson, Payam Faramarzi* | Christian Science Monitor – 11 hrs agoEmail

Iran guided the CIA's "lost" stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone's systems inside Iran.

Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer, who works for one of many Iranian military and civilian teams currently trying to unravel the drone’s stealth and intelligence secrets, and who could not be named for his safety.

Using knowledge gleaned from previous downed American drones and a technique proudly claimed by Iranian commanders in September, the Iranian specialists then reconfigured the drone's GPS coordinates to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in Afghanistan.

"The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the Monitor, giving the most detailed description yet published of Iran's "electronic ambush" of the highly classified US drone. "By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain."

The “spoofing” technique that the Iranians used – which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data – made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the US control center, says the engineer.

The revelations about Iran's apparent electronic prowess come as the US, Israel, and some European nations appear to be engaged in an ever-widening covert war with Iran, which has seen assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, explosions at Iran's missile and industrial facilities, and the Stuxnet computer virus that set back Iran’s nuclear program.

Now this engineer’s account of how Iran took over one of America’s most sophisticated drones suggests Tehran has found a way to hit back. The techniques were developed from reverse-engineering several less sophisticated American drones captured or shot down in recent years, the engineer says, and by taking advantage of weak, easily manipulated GPS signals, which calculate location and speed from multiple satellites.

Western military experts and a number of published papers on GPS spoofing indicate that the scenario described by the Iranian engineer is plausible.

"Even modern combat-grade GPS [is] very susceptible” to manipulation, says former US Navy electronic warfare specialist Robert Densmore, adding that it is “certainly possible” to recalibrate the GPS on a drone so that it flies on a different course. “I wouldn't say it's easy, but the technology is there.”

In 2009, Iran-backed Shiite militants in Iraq were found to have downloaded live, unencrypted video streams from American Predator drones with inexpensive, off-the-shelf software. But Iran’s apparent ability now to actually take control of a drone is far more significant.

Iran asserted its ability to do this in September, as pressure mounted over its nuclear program.

Gen. Moharam Gholizadeh, the deputy for electronic warfare at the air defense headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), described to Fars News how Iran could alter the path of a GPS-guided missile – a tactic more easily applied to a slower-moving drone.

“We have a project on hand that is one step ahead of jamming, meaning ‘deception’ of the aggressive systems,” said Gholizadeh, such that “we can define our own desired information for it so the path of the missile would change to our desired destination.”

Gholizadeh said that “all the movements of these [enemy drones]” were being watched, and “obstructing” their work was “always on our agenda.”

That interview has since been pulled from Fars’ Persian-language website. And last month, the relatively young Gholizadeh died of a heart attack, which some Iranian news sites called suspicious – suggesting the electronic warfare expert may have been a casualty in the covert war against Iran.

Iran's growing electronic capabilities
Iranian lawmakers say the drone capture is a "great epic" and claim to be "in the final steps of breaking into the aircraft's secret code."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Fox News on Dec. 13 that the US will "absolutely" continue the drone campaign over Iran, looking for evidence of any nuclear weapons work. But the stakes are higher for such surveillance, now that Iran can apparently disrupt the work of US drones.

US officials skeptical of Iran’s capabilities blame a malfunction, but so far can't explain how Iran acquired the drone intact. One American analyst ridiculed Iran’s capability, telling Defense News that the loss was “like dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”

Yet Iran’s claims to the contrary resonate more in light of new details about how it brought down the drone – and other markers that signal growing electronic expertise.

A former senior Iranian official who asked not to be named said: "There are a lot of human resources in Iran.... Iran is not like Pakistan."

“Technologically, our distance from the Americans, the Zionists, and other advanced countries is not so far to make the downing of this plane seem like a dream for us … but it could be amazing for others,” deputy IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami said this week.

According to a European intelligence source, Iran shocked Western intelligence agencies in a previously unreported incident that took place sometime in the past two years, when it managed to “blind” a CIA spy satellite by “aiming a laser burst quite accurately.”

More recently, Iran was able to hack Google security certificates, says the engineer. In September, the Google accounts of 300,000 Iranians were made accessible by hackers. The targeted company said "circumstantial evidence" pointed to a "state-driven attack" coming from Iran, meant to snoop on users.

Cracking the protected GPS coordinates on the Sentinel drone was no more difficult, asserts the engineer.

US knew of GPS systems' vulnerability
Use of drones has become more risky as adversaries like Iran hone countermeasures. The US military has reportedly been aware of vulnerabilities with pirating unencrypted drone data streams since the Bosnia campaign in the mid-1990s.

Top US officials said in 2009 that they were working to encrypt all drone data streams in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – after finding militant laptops loaded with days' worth of data in Iraq – and acknowledged that they were "subject to listening and exploitation."

Perhaps as easily exploited are the GPS navigational systems upon which so much of the modern military depends.

"GPS signals are weak and can be easily outpunched [overridden] by poorly controlled signals from television towers, devices such as laptops and MP3 players, or even mobile satellite services," Andrew Dempster, a professor from the University of New South Wales School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems, told a March conference on GPS vulnerability in Australia.

"This is not only a significant hazard for military, industrial, and civilian transport and communication systems, but criminals have worked out how they can jam GPS," he says.

The US military has sought for years to fortify or find alternatives to the GPS system of satellites, which are used for both military and civilian purposes. In 2003, a “Vulnerability Assessment Team” at Los Alamos National Laboratory published research explaining how weak GPS signals were easily overwhelmed with a stronger local signal.

“A more pernicious attack involves feeding the GPS receiver fake GPS signals so that it believes it is located somewhere in space and time that it is not,” reads the Los Alamos report. “In a sophisticated spoofing attack, the adversary would send a false signal reporting the moving target’s true position and then gradually walk the target to a false position.”

The vulnerability remains unresolved, and a paper presented at a Chicago communications security conference in October laid out parameters for successful spoofing of both civilian and military GPS units to allow a "seamless takeover" of drones or other targets.

To “better cope with hostile electronic attacks,” the US Air Force in late September awarded two $47 million contracts to develop a "navigation warfare" system to replace GPS on aircraft and missiles, according to the Defense Update website.

Official US data on GPS describes "the ongoing GPS modernization program" for the Air Force, which "will enhance the jam resistance of the military GPS service, making it more robust."

Why the drone's underbelly was damaged
Iran's drone-watching project began in 2007, says the Iranian engineer, and then was stepped up and became public in 2009 – the same year that the RQ-170 was first deployed in Afghanistan with what were then state-of-the-art surveillance systems.

In January, Iran said it had shot down two conventional (nonstealth) drones, and in July, Iran showed Russian experts several US drones – including one that had been watching over the underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom.

In capturing the stealth drone this month at Kashmar, 140 miles inside northeast Iran, the Islamic Republic appears to have learned from two years of close observation.

Iran displayed the drone on state-run TV last week, with a dent in the left wing and the undercarriage and landing gear hidden by anti-American banners.

The Iranian engineer explains why: "If you look at the location where we made it land and the bird's home base, they both have [almost] the same altitude," says the Iranian engineer. "There was a problem [of a few meters] with the exact altitude so the bird's underbelly was damaged in landing; that's why it was covered in the broadcast footage."

Prior to the disappearance of the stealth drone earlier this month, Iran’s electronic warfare capabilities were largely unknown – and often dismissed.

"We all feel drunk [with happiness] now," says the Iranian engineer. "Have you ever had a new laptop? Imagine that excitement multiplied many-fold." When the Revolutionary Guard first recovered the drone, they were aware it might be rigged to self-destruct, but they "were so excited they could not stay away."

* Scott Peterson, the Monitor's Middle East correspondent, wrote this story with an Iranian journalist who publishes under the pen name Payam Faramarzi and cannot be further identified for security reasons.

Title: Re: Military Science and Military Issues
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 17, 2011, 09:45:35 AM
I repeat my accusation of vaginitis in the Commander in Chief's failure to destroy or retrieve the drone. :x :x :x
Title: The Square Axis
Post by: prentice crawford on December 18, 2011, 01:40:16 AM
By Manuel Cereijo

Dr. Miyar Barruecos, El Chomi. Dr. Luis Herrera. Cuba and Iran.
Since 1990, Cuba and Iran have cooperated in the development of weapons of massive destruction. Dr. Miyar Barruecos, physician, very close to Castro, has been the force behind the throne in this alliance. Dr. Luis Herrera, from the CIGB, and one of the main scientists in the development of the CIGB and the biological weapon programs in Cuba, has been the operator, the facilitator, in the massive and huge cooperation between Cuba and Iran.

Cuba just finished, May 2001, the construction of a Biotechnology Center in Teheran. Cuba served as the source of technology, selling of equipment, and project management for the Center.

Iran has bought the best fruits of the CIGB, recombinant protein production technologies in yeast and Escherichia coli, as well as the large scale purification protocols for both soluble and insoluble proteins synthesized in or excreted by them.Iran can use these technologies to create bioweapons of massive destruction.

Iran, with Cuba's assistance, is capable of producing the bacteria known as Pseudomonas. The pathogen is not usually lethal to humans, however, produces partial paralysis for a period of time, and therefore but is an excellent battlefield weapon.

Sprayed from a single airplane flying over enemy lines, it can immobilized an entire division or incapacitate special forces hiding in rugged terrain otherwise inaccessible to regular army troops-precisely the kind of terrain in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and similar terrorist regions.

Besides Cuban scientists, at least there are about ten scientists from the Biopreparat Russian Center working in Iran. The New York Times reported in December 1998 that the Iranian government dispatched a few scientific advisors attached to the office of the presidency in Moscow to recruit former scientists from the Russian program.

In May, 1997, more than one hundred scientists from Russian laboratories, including Vector and Obolensk, attended a Biotechnology Trade Fair in Teheran. Iranians visited Vector, In Russia, a number of times, and had been actively promoting exchanges. A vial of freeze-dried powder takes up