24 November 2019

To Deter China, Deepen the US-Indian Partnership


Here are some ideas for the upcoming 2+2 defense and foreign affairs ministerial conference.

The Indo-Pacific is shrinking, and there are few remaining uncontested waters. New powers are rising, and not all support the ideals of rule of law and transparency. Strengthening the U.S.- India maritime security partnership will be of increasing importance in coming decades.

Fortunately, our countries’ security relations are also on the rise. India and the United States have expanded the scope and depth of their discussions and exercises. Cooperative agreements that seemed near-impossible a few years ago have been signed, with others on the near horizon. New Delhi has access to a much higher level of U.S. defense technology. And India has taken other visible steps to become a core security partner anchoring the South Asia region. But the “easy wins” are fewer, and some hard choices lie ahead. Our shared interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific must shape our next phase of cooperation.

Propelling India’s aircraft-carrier ambitions

Nick Childs

Obstacles remain as the Indian Navy plans for a third aircraft carrier to enter service in the early 2030s, but increased naval collaboration between India and the United Kingdom could provide a new impetus behind the programme. 

The Indian Navy’s eventual aim to deploy three aircraft carriers faces considerable challenges. However, developing naval cooperation between India and the United Kingdom could provide the impetus behind the programme. A planned ship visit to Mumbai in November 2019 by a UK Royal Navy destroyer could help further that relationship.

Indian carrier aspirations have been somewhat overshadowed by China’s recent advances and presumed level of ambition. However, the Indian Navy is one of only three that has continuously maintained a carrier or carriers in service over the last half-century (the others being France and the United States, the UK having disqualified itself with the ‘carrier gap’ created by the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review).

Insurgent Bureaucracy: How the Taliban Makes Policy

Ashley Jackson; Rahmatullah Amiri

The system of shadow Taliban governance and the experiences of civilians subject to it are well documented. The policies that guide this governance and the factors that contribute to them, however, are not. This report examines how the Taliban make and implement policy. Based on more than a hundred interviews and previously unreleased Taliban documents, this report offers rare insight into Taliban decision-making processes and the factors that influence them.

Multiple actors—from the Taliban leadership to local commanders—have played a key role in creating and shaping the movement’s policy in Afghanistan. Taliban policymaking has been top-down as much as it has been bottom-up, with the leadership shaping the rules as much as fighters and commanders on the ground. The result is a patchwork of practices that leadership has increasingly sought to exert control over and make more consistent. This became possible as the Taliban put structures and mechanisms in place, particularly after 2014, to enforce compliance among its ranks. However, although the rules may be set at the top, local variance, negotiation, and adaptation is still considerable.

Déjà Vu: Preventing Another Collapse in South Sudan

What’s new? South Sudan could slide back into war. With a 12 November deadline for the formation of a unity government looming, President Salva Kiir is hinting at assembling one without his chief rival Riek Machar. Even if he includes Machar, contentious issues such as security arrangements and state boundaries remain unresolved.

Why does it matter? Since the September 2018 peace deal, the parties have largely stopped fighting and people can move more freely between towns and fields near front lines. External actors could imperil these gains if they push the parties into a unity government that then falls apart or permit Kiir to exclude Machar.

What should be done? Regional heads of state, the African Union and Western diplomats should urge President Kiir to avoid forming a new government without consensus. They should step in to help mediate a way forward, given political paralysis among South Sudan’s neighbours, initially envisioned as the deal’s key guarantors.

The Fate of Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Anthem

By Dishani Senaratne

What the past (and future) of the Tamil version of the national anthem tells us about minority rights in Sri Lanka.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former defense secretary and brother of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, emerged victorious in Sri Lanka’s presidential election last Sunday. Gotabaya was largely backed by the majority Sinhalese-Buddhists while ethnic Tamils and Muslims were in favor of Sajith Premadasa, the presidential candidate of the United National Party (UNP)-led New Democratic Front (NDF). Acknowledging the role played by the Sinhalese-Buddhist vote base in his rise to power, Gotabaya urged Tamils and Muslims to join his effort to build one Sri Lanka.

But against the backdrop of a surge in Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacy, media reports on the imminent abolition of the Tamil national anthem have surfaced.

The national anthem of Sri Lanka was composed by Ananda Samarakoon (1911-1962), a composer and music teacher. In post-independent Sri Lanka, the Tamil national anthem was mostly sung in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces. With the rise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the late 1980s, the Eelam song gained momentum in Tamil-speaking regions while the Tamil national anthem was rarely sung in Sinhalese-majority areas. The 1978 Sri Lankan Constitution provided exclusive sanction to the Sinhala national anthem but the Tamil translation was also given constitutional recognition by way of the third schedule to the seventh clause. Nonetheless, the 13th amendment to the constitution declared Sinhala and Tamil as both official and national languages, whereas English was declared the link language. Such ad hoc language policies exacerbated the ethnic divisions among the Sinhalese and Tamils amid escalating violence between the LTTE and the security forces.

Nepal: Oli’s Health And Internal Party Dynamics – Analysis

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

Some two month ago, it looked as if Prime Minister Oli had become all powerful as seen by his disdain for not only the opposition leaders but also towards the seniors within his own merged party- the Nepal communist Party. Most critical were some of his own erstwhile senior colleagues of UML like Madhav Nepal who complained about Oli’s style of working when vital decisions having long term impact were being taken without consulting other senior colleagues. 

Oli had not given in on Constitutional amendments either that he promised for the Madhesi groups leaving the once powerful Upendra Yadav getting more and more isolated. Despite being requested by most of the leaders of his party including Baburam Bhattarai, Upendra Yadav is said to be unwilling to give up his post hoping that Oli will abide by his earlier commitment. He may have to wait indefinitely!

Oli has also continued to keep Dahal- his co chairman of the Party guessing without ruling out the possibility of sharing the PM’s post.

All this appears to be changing. Oli now is seen to be consulting his senior colleagues and in fact had delayed the long pending cabinet reshuffle in trying to get a consensus on the new cabinet.

China's Growth Outlook Beyond 2020

Despite US tariff wars, Chinese economic prospects remain in line with 2019 expectations and are likely to prevail in 2020, due to deleveraging and structural reforms.

A year ago, I projected that in 2019 Chinese GDP growth could achieve 6.2% in full-year growth, if policymakers can sustain higher-quality growth while suppressing debt accumulation. This scenario has proven pretty valid so far.

Recent international headlines have projected "sub-6% growth" in 2020 China, assuming weakened consumption, cautious private investment and shrinking exports. Such projections have been reported as a negative turn. In reality, Chinese growth deceleration is in line with long-term expectations. Even half a decade ago, the International Monetary Fund expected China's annual growth to be 6.1-6.2 by 2020. The minor deviation can be attributed to US tariff wars.

Chinese Companies Are Worse at Business Than You Think

By Sagatom Saha

The biggest Chinese project in Malaysia has little to do with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing’s official strategy to economically reorder the world. But it’s nevertheless the symbol of a big problem, one that tends to go overlooked by watchers of the Chinese economy. Forest City, a luxury real estate development that aims to house 700,0000 residents in a futuristic green utopia across the border from Singapore, is a case study in how easily Chinese investment projects that are entirely private can become boondoggles due to the interference of Chinese politics and poor Chinese management.

Country Garden, the Chinese megafirm developing Forest City, has suffered from sweeping decisions made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and been taken for a ride by its Malaysian partners, all at the expense of the local community. U.S. policymakers are rightly concerned about BRI’s geopolitical aims, but they should look to Forest City to understand how citizens of middle-income countries suffer whenever local elites and Chinese firms cooperate, even without Beijing’s direct involvement.

Countering China’s Grip on Rare Earth Commodities

Key Points
As it possesses some of the most abundant deposits, China was, by the 1990s, already set to be the world’s largest producer of rare earth elements (REEs).

China is able to maintain a monopoly on both supply and demand, which could potentially be used as the determining factor in its trade war with the US.

The important lesson learned from the 2010 REE embargo, for both China and the rest of the world, is that it is possible to diversify the sources of REE supplies.

Possessing mine-side supplies is only half of the equation; innovation and the creation of more processing facilities are required to counter a monopoly of REEs.


In January 1992, during his tour of southern China, Deng Xiaoping stated that just as ‘there is oil in (the) Middle East, China has rare earth’. Today, the stark reality of that statement is evident as technology becomes increasingly reliant upon those resources. Consequently, that becomes a geopolitical issue; while China remains the world’s manufacturing hub, it also has the power to manipulate and ultimately weaponise, both economically and militarily, the supply of rare earths.

High Anxiety: The Trade War and China’s Oil and Gas Supply Security


In summer 2018, China’s president Xi Jinping, facing pressure from the US-China trade war, intervened in a long-running debate within China’s oil industry about the extent to which national security concerns or market forces should determine domestic oil and natural gas production. Xi effectively tipped the scales in favor of advocates of prioritizing self-sufficiency over cost as part of a broader push for self-reliance amidst trade tensions. As a result, China’s national oil companies (NOCs) are accelerating investment in domestic exploration and production. While this ramp-up in spending is likely to result in an increase in output, especially of natural gas, it is unlikely to alter China’s substantial and growing reliance on oil and natural gas imports. However, the trade war probably will continue to contribute to shifts in the composition of China’s import portfolio, with both traditional and new suppliers gaining shares as a result of the slowdown in the flows of US liquified natural gas (LNG) and crude oil to China and decreases in deliveries of Iranian and Venezuelan crudes due to US sanctions.

New Coalition In Gulf May Not Fare As Well As Old One – Analysis

By Gregory Clough and Morgan D. Bazilian

Operational Sentinel patrols the Strait of Hormuz, yet regional rivalries and the international coalition’s makeup could escalate tensions.

Renewed conflict in the Strait of Hormuz pushed the United States to establish an international coalition for maritime security to ensure safe passage of shipping traffic and guarding against further disruption in oil supplies. While such security coalitions have been successful in the past, applying the same approach in the Middle East may not improve conditions and may even exacerbate tensions.

The Strait of Hormuz is the primary shipping route for one-sixth of global oil production and one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas. On June 13, two international shipping vessels came under attack while transiting the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran. The United States was quick to accuse Iran of perpetrating the attacks and offered compelling evidence. The incident was followed by a number of other maritime incidents which escalated tensions between the United States and Iran.

Will There Be An Arab Spring 2.0?

by Paul R. Pillar

Middle Easterners do not think of themselves as squares on someone else’s chessboard, and the current disturbances show that they don’t.

Recent disturbances in Arab countries have not yet become as far-reaching as what ensued after a Tunisian fruit vendor immolated himself in protest nine years ago, but observers are already talking about an Arab Spring 2.0. Extensive unrest has materialized in the streets of Iraq and Lebanon, along with less salient protests in Algeria, Sudan, and elsewhere. Two striking aspects of the current protests stand out and are relevant to Western policies toward the region.

One is that the sources of discontent are primarily old, familiar ones that also underlay the first Arab Spring. They involve the basic human desire for a better life. Simply put, the target of the discontent is the inability of existing political systems to deliver services and economic opportunity in a fair, uncorrupt, and effective way.

America Hasn’t Always Supported Ukraine Like This


For a policy that’s purportedly a pillar of the decades-old international order, military aid to Ukraine is pretty new.

When Adam Schiff asked Bill Taylor, the first witness in the House’s public impeachment hearings, to explain to Americans why U.S. security assistance to Ukraine matters for their own security, America’s top diplomat in Kyiv went big. Really big.

“It affects the world that we live in, that our children will grow up in and our grandchildren,” Taylor declared. “Ukraine is on the front line” of a struggle to prevent Russia from trampling on the post–World War II order, which “actually kept the peace in Europe for nearly 70 years.”

We’ve heard this sentiment repeatedly during the inquiry, but is it true? The problem with the argument is that it is a simplistic portrayal of the support that the United States provides Ukraine, fueled in part by the logic of the impeachment inquiry: Democrats must prove that the president’s actions were so harmful to the republic that they warrant the extreme constitutional recourse of removing him from office. That encourages them to play up the connection between Donald Trump’s pressure tactics on Ukraine and the fallout for the nation’s security.

Israel carries out ‘wide-scale strikes’ on Iranian forces in Syria

Israel says it has hit dozens of targets in Syria belonging to the government and allied Iranian forces.

The Israeli military says the "wide-scale strikes" responded to rockets fired by an Iranian unit into Israel.

Syria says two civilians died and that Syrian air defences shot down most of the missiles over Damascus. Other reports say the death toll was higher.

Local reports said loud explosions were heard in the capital. Pictures on social media showed a number of fires.

How Cozy Is Russia and China’s Military Relationship?



The details of the arrangement are not publicly known, but it appears that there is no outright “purchase” of a complete system. From what is known, one may conclude that Russia will help China build new and upgrade existing system elements, such as land-based radars, space-based satellites, and data analysis centers. Presumably, China reached out to Russia about early warning systems because Beijing thinks that its existing early-warning capabilities are inadequate and that its rivalry with the United States is long-term, is fundamental, and will have a strategic military dimension.

The significance of Beijing upgrading its early warning system is that, once it is complete, no hypothetical missile attack against China would come as a surprise. Instead of waiting for enemy missiles to explode on its territory before ordering the launch of its surviving missiles, China could adopt a launch-on-warning posture (in which a retaliatory strike is launched as soon as a country learns of an incoming nuclear attack, while enemy missiles are still in the air). This would strengthen Beijing’s deterrence capabilities and complicate a potential adversary’s calculations.

Trump’s Bold East Asia Defense Financial Burden-Sharing Campaign

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Donald Trump’s focus on greater financial burden-sharing might become a catalyst for a badly needed reconsideration of America’s alliance obligations.

President Donald Trump’s repeated demands that the NATO allies pay more of the costs for collective defense have received abundant attention in Congress and the foreign policy community. Defenders of the status quo, alongside media personalities, have screeched that Trump has put in jeopardy Washington’s sacred transatlantic security architecture. But the president’s complaints about U.S. allies free-riding on America’s security efforts are not confined to Europe. As far back as the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump criticized Washington’s East Asian allies, especially South Korea and Japan, for similar laxity.

He has now launched a new phase in his effort to secure greater financial burden-sharing. The first salvo was his demand that Seoul agree to a five-fold increase in its annual payment to offset some of the costs of U.S. troops stationed in that country—a boost that would bring the total to $4.7 billion. Just days later, he called on Tokyo to quadruple its payment for U.S. forces deployed in Japan from $2 billion to $8 billion. There is now rampant speculation that he will adopt a similar stance toward the European allies, especially Germany, leading up to the NATO summit in early December.

Trump’s National Security Advisor and the Future of US-China Relations

By Michael Cerny

After the sudden and disputatious exit of John Bolton as White House national security advisor, questions quickly arose in Washington about who would serve as his replacement. Bolton’s departure was not unwelcome, with many foreign policy experts and members of the Trump administration expressing distaste for his hawkish and extreme perspectives on international affairs. However, President Trump’s appointment of Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s fourth national security advisor in a single term, raised questions about whether the world could expect a change in the administration’s approach to foreign policy. In short: it’s unlikely.

It is widely commented on in news media that Trump likes to fashion himself as a strongman. It is no secret that the president selected Bolton for the position as national security advisor after Bolton appeared on Fox News to express his hardline perspectives on America’s global rivals. Despite the numerous policy disagreements between Trump and Bolton, such as their widely differing approaches to relations on the Korean Peninsula, Bolton’s brazen hawkishness seemed to assist Trump in conveying a commanding international presence.

The Crisis in Bolivia Roils a Rapidly Changing Latin America

Frida Ghitis

When Bolivia’s Evo Morales resigned the presidency under pressure from the military and left the country amid widespread protests on Nov. 12, taking political asylum in Mexico, it sent shockwaves across Latin America. Morales’ fall comes at a time of ferment in the region—and what looks increasingly like a hinge moment in Latin American history.

Whether Morales was the victim of a coup or the perpetrator of an assault against democracy, rightfully deposed, remains the subject of heated debate. That continuing controversy is part of the push-and-pull of the tensions roiling Latin America, where the political tide appears to be changing, but no one is exactly sure in what direction. ...

Redefining the power industry

The demands of a changing climate are starting to affect how many businesses operate, from attempting to tamp down their carbon emissions and ramp up energy efficiency, to adjusting to new risks caused by violent weather. Electric utility companies in the United States are no exception.

Here, we offer four quick takes on the changes in store for the power industry. In the first two, we size up the rising peril to utility assets and show how one US state is aspiring to meet new, tough clean-power mandates. Then we look at the potential of residential batteries and how they might buttress the industry’s stressed-out grids.

Finally, we tap the ideas of one expert who warns that climate change may be shifting the economics of long-term infrastructure investment. Power suppliers and many other businesses will need to be much more resilient in this changing environment.

673 Million People Still Defecate Outdoors

Tomorrow marks World Toilet Day and late last year, the United Nations released a report focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene around the world. It has found that approximately 2.2 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, 4.2 billion have to go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities. The report also examined the state of open defecation and progress in eliminating it. As recently as 2015, close to a billion people were still defecating outdoors, resulting in widespread disease and millions of deaths. That drove the UN to call for an end to the practice and some parts of the world have proven hugely successful in eradicating it.

In 2000 for example, the rate of open defecation was even worse with 21 percent of the global population - 1.3 billion people - practicing it. The impact of the UN's call to action has been telling and by 2017, the global share of people practicing open defecation had fallen to just 9 percent - 673 million people. Ethiopia saw the largest fall during that period, -57 percent. Cambodia and India also experienced declines of -53 and -47 percent respectively. The latter has been particularly ambitious in installing proper toilets. Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, just under 40 percent of India's population had access to a household toilet. He promised to change that and billions of dollars were invested under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ("Clean India") campaign which kicked off in October 2014. India's Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation states that toilet coverage today stands at an impressive 99.22 percent.

The Production Gap

The Production Gap Report addresses the necessary winding down of the world’s production of fossil fuels in order to meet climate goals.

Though coal, oil, and gas are the central drivers of climate change, they are rarely the subject of international climate policy and negotiations. This report aims to expand that discourse and provide a metric for assessing how far the world is from production levels that are consistent with global climate goals.

The first Production Gap Report assesses the discrepancy between government plans for fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with 1.5°C and 2°C pathways. This production gap tells us the magnitude of the challenge.

The report reviews, across 10 fossil-fuel-producing countries, the policies and actions that expand fossil fuel production and, in turn, widen the gap. It also provides policy options that can help countries better align production with climate goals. This is especially relevant over the next year, as countries prepare new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which set out their new emission reduction plans and climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. Report

Huawei Has Been Cut off From American Technology

America is no fan of Huawei. Its officials have spent months warning that the Chinese giant’s smartphones and networking gear could be Trojan horses for Chinese spies (something Huawei has repeatedly denied). They have threatened to withhold intelligence from any ally that allows the firm in. On May 15th they raised the stakes. President Donald Trump barred American firms from using telecoms equipment made by firms posing a “risk to national security”. His order named no names. But its target was plain.

For all the drama, the import ban hardly matters. Huawei has long been barred from America, in practice if not on paper. More significant was the announcement by the Commerce Department, on the same day, that it was adding Huawei to a list of firms with which American companies cannot do business without official permission. That amounts to a prohibition on exports of American technology to Huawei.

It is a seismic decision, for no technology firm is an island. Supply chains are highly specialised and globally connected. Cutting them off — “weaponising interdependence”, in the jargon — can cause serious disruption. When ZTE, another Chinese technology company, received the same treatment in 2018 for violating American sanctions on Iran, it was brought to the brink of ruin. It survived only because Mr Trump intervened, claiming it was a favour to Xi Jinping, China’s president.

Defence information, knowledge, digital and data policy commitments

Information, knowledge, digital and data in Defence

The MOD has a duty to manage and use its information, knowledge and data resources as well as it can, to better deliver its outputs and fulfil its legal and Department of State obligations. To become more effective and efficient, it must:

continuously improve how it manages and exploits its information, knowledge and data resources;

create information, knowledge, digital and data capabilities that deliver significant and sustainable military and business advantage, and help improve its services and processes;

be a standard bearer for good government, actively contributing to pan-government initiatives which improve how departments function and collaborating with our colleagues in other departments to add value.

These inter-related components form a complex, nuanced and increasingly dynamic whole. The information, knowledge and data resources that flow around Defence are central to everything we do, so we need to be much better at managing and using them within an ever-changing environment.

FCC plans to free up C-Band for 5G

By: Nathan Strout 

The Federal Communications Commission announced Nov. 18 it plans to hold a public auction for C-band spectrum, freeing up much of the needed space for 5G usage.

Commercial satellite companies use the C-Band spectrum primarily for satellite communications — with the military serving as a major customer — or satellite television, but many telecommunications companies have eyed that same spectrum as the perfect space for 5G.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to sell off the spectrum via a public auction was seen as a negative for the four satellite operators that hold that spectrum — Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat. Those companies had hoped to auction off the spectrum themselves and make a return on their investment in the space. Intelsat, the biggest of the four, saw their stocks drop by 40 percent Monday following the announcement.

Pai justified the decision, stating that the FCC needs to free up significant spectrum for 5G quickly while generating revenue for the government and ensuring continued C-band services.

5G and Security: There is More to Worry about than Huawei

By Melissa Griffith

Given much of the recent coverage surrounding security and the fifth generation (5G) of cellular networks, you would be forgiven for assuming that security concerns are largely limited to China in general and Huawei in particular.

This is not the case.

Equally important are the concerns for United States’ security that extend beyond Huawei’s role in the development and deployment of 5G technology. Notably, while Huawei amplifies many pre-existing areas of concern, 5G would represent a significant challenge for American national security even if China was not a peer competitor in the market.

As a consequence, it would behoove policy makers, scholars, and industry leaders alike to recognize the breadth and character of national security concerns before advocating for specific policy solutions, especially those tailored largely to the threats posed by a single multinational technology company.

Here are the problems offensive cyber poses for NATO

By: Mark Pomerleau 

NATO has declared cyberspace a domain of warfare it must operate in and called on the integration of cyber alongside operations. However, as a defensive alliance, it has declared it won’t seek offensive cyber capabilities itself, instead relying on the capabilities of voluntary member states.

This approach, while not insurmountable, poses significant challenges to operations, experts claim.

“The idea of sovereign cyber effects provided voluntarily by allies is good. But … that will not fall under the command and control of the actual NATO commander,” David Bailey, senior national security law advisor for Army Cyber Command, said Nov. 19 at the 2019 International Conference on Cyber Conflict U.S. (CyCon U.S.) in Arlington. “It will still fall under the command and control of the country that contributes. In my mind, it’s going to be difficult to achieve that level of coordination that we’re used to in military operations, even in a NATO context.”

Former army general warns of ‘military accident’ as US-China relations deteriorate

As relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate, one immediate risk is a “military accident or operational miscalculation” between the armed forces of both countries, said former U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

There have been several near military confrontations between the two nations, Eikenberry told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah at the Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific Summit.

“Those were very serious diplomatic incidents. But now — with the deterioration between the sides — should we have an incident like that today, I think the consequences will be much greater,” said Eikeinberry.

As relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate, one immediate risk is a “military accident or operational miscalculation” between the armed forces of both countries, said former U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

“Do I worry about the risks that we have with the increasing geopolitical competition with China? ... the answer is very much yes,” Eikenberry, also a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said Thursday.

We Must Rebuild American Uranium, Rare Earths Infrastructure


Rare earths are 17 chemical elements used in military equipment as varied as missile guidance systems to lasers. China controls much of the world’s rare earth production, which has made them a concern of the Pentagon and the White House. Uranium is another critical military material largely controlled today by foreign sources. What should be done? Read on! The Editor.

One way China and Russia are successfully undermining American leadership is by flooding the global market with state-subsided rare earths, including the nuclear materials that power critical American aircraft carriers and submarines.

Immediate, direct federal purchases of uranium is one key way that we can counter the malign influence of China and Russia by securing the U.S. nuclear supply chain for national security. Utilizing his newly-created Nuclear Fuel Working Group, President Trump can strengthen America’s position in the world and restore a finite and diminishing American uranium supply with direct federal uranium purchases.

China has made production of rare earths a strategic priority. Roughly 80 percent of the rare earths imported by the U.S. come from China. Just 30 years ago, the U.S. was the world’s largest producer of rare earths. Today, only one rare earth mine remains in America and its ore is processed where? In China.

What Does the US Military Need For A War In Space? It’s Hard to Say


The plans for war above the atmosphere remain so tightly classified that industry can’t start building the things that will be needed.

It’s no secret that Pentagon leaders believe that future wars will be fought in space. But operating concepts and battle plans remain under such tight wraps that it’s hard for the defense industry to start making the satellites, spacecraft, and materiel that will be needed for the fight.

That’s a problem, acknowledged U.S. Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, who leads the 3-month-old U.S. Space Command.

“We have a concept of operations on how we’re going to operate [in space]. I invited industry to come in and say: ‘OK, we’re going to give it to you,’” Raymond said Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The problem was, it was so classified that very few could come in. We’re working very hard to reduce the classification on issues that allow more conversation back and forth.”

In recent years, Pentagon officials have said future satellites need to be able to defend themselves and be more maneuverable. Most military satellites orbiting the Earth — collectively worth many billions of dollars — are unable to do that, which has prompted military officials to warn that China and Russia could easily shoot them down, jam their signals, or blind their cameras.

Designing new combat aircraft: the need for speed?

Douglas Barrie

Trying to re-cast the combat aircraft development model by adopting a consumer approach, Will Roper, United States Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, has suggested a strategy of more rapid acquisition of smaller batches of shorter-lifespan combat aircraft.

The development of advanced combat aircraft has become a hugely time-consuming and costly undertaking. United States Air Force (USAF) Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper has raised the question of whether, when it comes to the arithmetic of manufacturing a new generation of combat aircraft, 35 into five will go.

Roper wants to see if the over-two-decade, multi-billion-dollar development model of the current Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter, to be followed by decades of production, can be re-cast more along the lines of the original Lockheed Skunk Works approach which led to the U-2, or of the rapid development of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. He told leading defence-aerospace industry journal Aviation Week & Space Technology it was ‘time to try something new…and see if we can create a new way to build airplanes for us’.