24 January 2020

The Missing Links in the Afghan Peace Process

By Mushtaq Rahim

William Zartman, the renowned scholar of conflict and peace studies, says that parties to a conflict agree to negotiate when they are faced with a mutually hurting stalemate. The Afghan conflict has apparently reached that stage of stalemate where none of the parties seem to be making advances in regard to deciding the situation in their favor. Therefore, the parties — namely the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban have been willing to engage in dialogue to explore a viable solution to the nearly two-decade long conflict. The search for peace and reconciliation gained impetus when Zalmay Khalilzad was appointed as the United States’ special representative for the Afghan peace process in September 2018.

While the Afghan conflict has reached, to use Zartman’s word, “ripeness” and is ready for political dialogue over a settlement, the process has been facing many consistent roadblocks. This has halted the desired progress, causing a lot of anxiety among the stakeholders. The roller-coaster peace process has serious flaws, and without correcting those issues it will be nearly impossible to conclude negotiations successfully.

Pakistan Has a Truly Deadly and Scary Nuclear Weapons Program

by Kyle Mizokami
Source Link

Key point: Pakistan and India have a dangerous rivalry that could one day lead to nuclear war. Islamabad has its own formidable nuclear arsenal and has threatened to use it.

Sandwiched between Iran, China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. One of the nine known states known to have nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and doctrine are continually evolving to match perceived threats. A nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now attempting to construct a nuclear triad of its own, making its nuclear arsenal resilient and capable of devastating retaliatory strikes.

Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization.

Taliban open to 10-day ceasefire with U.S., talks with Afghan govt -sources

Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Jibran Ahmad

If an agreement is sealed, it could revive hopes for a long-term solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Taliban and U.S. negotiators met on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the signing of a peace deal, according to a spokesman for the Taliban office in Qatar. The talks were “useful” and would continue for a few days, the spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter early on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump had called off the stop-start talks to end the 18-year war in September after an U.S. soldier was killed in an attack by the militant group.

They resumed but were interrupted again in December after the Taliban launched a suicide attack on a U.S. base outside Kabul killing two civilians.

Two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that the Taliban’s top leadership had now agreed to implement a 10-day ceasefire with U.S troops once a deal was signed in Doha, and to “reduce” attacks against the Afghan government.

The Phase One Trade Deal: What’s in It for China?

By Fatih Oktay
Source Link

The 80 pages of the main body of the “Phase One” agreement signed on Wednesday are packed with commitments by China but it is hard to find any from the United States. So why did China agree to this deal?

The bulk of China’s commitments are on “expanding trade” and take up more than a quarter of the agreement text. According to these, China is to buy goods and services from the United States worth at least $77 billion more in 2020, and $123 billion more in 2021, than it did in 2017, the peak year of U.S. exports to China. According to U.S. figures, the dollar value of U.S. exports of goods and services to China was about $190 billion in 2017 (and will likely be around $170 billion in 2019). So, according to the agreement, the dollar value of China’s imports from the United States should reach about $270 billion in 2020, and $310 billion in 2021. That means an increase of about 40 percent this year and an additional 15 percent the next year in Chinese imports of U.S. goods and services. China’s job is likely tougher than these percentages indicate because the increases are to come from specific goods and services listed in an annex.

In addition to what and how much, China has commitments related to how it buys. More than another quarter of the agreement text is dedicated to China’s commitments on regulatory changes to facilitate increased trade in agricultural products, including genetically modified ones. Accordingly, China commits to change its rules and regulations on topics such as the equivalence of U.S. food safety systems and certificates to the Chinese ones; streamlining of product registration, approval, and customs clearance procedures; specialization of auditing procedures for U.S. suppliers; adaptation of a U.S. automation system for accessing export certificates; maximum pesticide residue limits for agricultural products; and procedures for the establishment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. There are also product-specific commitments such as eliminating cattle age requirement on beef products imported from the United States

China's per capita GDP crosses $10,000-mark for the first time

For the first time, the per capita GDP of China, the world's most populous nation, has exceeded the $10,000-mark in 2019, a top official said on Friday. The per capita Gross Domestic Product in 2019 reached 10,276 US dollars at the average exchange rate, exceeding the 10,000-dollar mark, Director of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ning Jizhe said.

As a country with 1.4 billion people and a per capita GDP of more than 10,000 US dollars, China will contribute more to the development and progress of the world, he said.

"It showed that the quality of China's economic development is improving," Ning said, adding that "China's pace of progress is unstoppable".

According to the World Bank, the population of countries with per capita GDP above 10,000 US dollars was nearly 1.5 billion in 2018.

As China enters the ranks of such countries, their collective population will approach 3 billion, representing major progress in the economic and social development of the world, Ning was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

China's per capita disposable income stood at 30,733 yuan (4,461.95 US dollars) in 2019, up 5.8 per cent year on year in real terms, according to official data released by the NBS.

Separately, urban and rural per capita disposable income reached 42,359 yuan and 16,021 yuan in 2019, up 5 per cent and 6.2 per cent in real terms after deducting price factors, respectively, it said.

How China’s Rise Has Remade Global Politics

As much as any other single development, China’s rise over the past two decades has remade the landscape of global politics. Beginning with its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, China rapidly transformed its economy from a low-cost “factory to the world” to a global leader in advanced technologies. Along the way, it has transformed global supply chains, but also international diplomacy, leveraging its success to become the primary trading and development partner for emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But Beijing’s emergence as a global power has also created tensions. Early expectations that China’s integration into the global economy would lead to liberalization at home and moderation abroad have proven overly optimistic, especially since President Xi Jinping rose to power in 2012. Instead, Xi has overseen a domestic crackdown on dissent, in order to shore up and expand the Chinese Communist Party’s control over every aspect of Chinese society. Needed economic reforms have been put on the backburner, while unfair trade practices, such as forced technology transfers and other restrictions for foreign corporations operating in China, have resulted in a trade war with the U.S. and increasing criticism from Europe.

What to Make of Putin’s Shake-Up in Russia

Candace Rondeaux 

If one nice thing can be said about Vladimir Putin, it is that he is a master of political jujitsu. This week, Putin’s skills were on full display after he called for far-reaching constitutional changes that would transfer more power from the presidency to parliament—a move many suspect is really designed to extend his 20-year hold on power. Following Putin’s announcement, Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and his entire Cabinet abruptly resigned, and hours later Putin named a new prime minister.

Putin is technically barred by constitutional term limits that prohibit more than two consecutive presidential terms. The dramatic reshuffling of Russia’s power structure—which if carried out could weaken the presidency while empowering the Duma, the Russian parliament, as well as an advisory body called the State Council—may pave the way for Putin to retain outsized political influence in Moscow even after his term ends in 2024. ...

Longterm View On U.S. Trade With China

by Felix Richter

After months of negotiating between Washington D.C. and Beijing, the United States and China finally agreed on a phase one trade deal in December, which was signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

The agreement, while still under wraps, reportedly involves a Chinese pledge to buy an additional $200 billion (compared to 2017 levels) worth of American products over a two-year period in return for the U.S. cancelling plans to impose fresh tariffs on $156 billion worth of Chinese imports as well as the easing of existing tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese goods. The bulk of the tariffs currently imposed by the U.S. will remain in place, however, until both parties eventually agree on a phase two deal.

According to a factsheet published by the U.S. Trade Department in December, the current accord also involves Chinese concessions with respect to intellectual property issues (e.g. trade secrets, pirated and counterfeit goods) and an agreement on Beijing’s side to end the forced transfer of technology by U.S. companies in return for access to the Chinese market.

Trump Gets His Trade Deal, China Gets the Win

By Eswar Prasad

Peace rather than more conflict is finally in the cards, at least temporarily, for the United States-China economic relationship. After many twists and turns, the United States and China are expected to sign a trade deal on Wednesday and have agreed to resume a regular dialogue about their differences. The phase-one agreement leaves many issues unresolved, so tensions between the two countries may continue. But a cease-fire and dialogue are certainly preferable to the alternative — a further escalation of trade and economic hostilities between the world’s two largest economies.

What has the deal accomplished? It will bring some significant changes but comes with a big price tag for the American economy. The long-term effects might end up favoring China.

First, let’s give credit where it is due. President Trump’s tough line on China has shaken loose more apparent concessions from the Chinese than previous administrations managed. The previous, longstanding policy of constructive engagement, using persuasion couched in the language of mutual benefits, bore little fruit.

Is deterrence restored with Iran?

Daniel L. Byman

Just after the United States killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the attack by claiming: “The entire strategy has been one of deterrence.” Indeed, history may judge the killing based on whether it provokes a spiral that leads to more Iranian and U.S. attacks or helps convince Iran to become less aggressive. The United States seeks to deter Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon and from regional aggression, like its September 2019 attack on Saudi oil facilities and support for anti-Israel militant and terrorist groups.

Judging the success of deterrence is always easier in hindsight. The Cold War is correctly judged a deterrence success, but nuclear war always seemed around the corner while it raged. In 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with the Lebanese Hezbollah. In its aftermath, analysts warned of another round, but deterrence seems to have prevented a full-blown conflict in the years since.

On the positive side, both sides in public are moving away from the abyss. President Trump put aside his usual bellicose rhetoric and sounded conciliatory in a speech after the attack. While warning Iran of American strength, he also stressed: “We do not want to use it.” Iran’s supreme leader proclaimed its rocket attacks on the United States a “slap in the face” but focused on the need for the United States to leave the region, not further strikes. Actions seem to be following words. The United States has not carried out additional attacks on Iran, while according to a Pentagon official, Tehran “deliberately chose targets that would not result in loss of life” though luck and advanced warning from intelligence also played a critical role. On the positive side for Iran, the U.S. killing of Soleimani has angered many Iraqi leaders, and the possibility that U.S. forces will leave Iraq as a result of their wrath is a potential win.

Oman Strives for Neutrality in the Middle East

Austin Bodetti

RABAT: Like many of the lesser-known countries in the Global South, Oman rarely commands the attention of the international community. For the opaque politics of this Arab sultanate, though, the obscurity appears intentional. Omani officials have relied on their country’s relative anonymity to exercise considerable influence behind the scenes, maintaining contacts with competing regional powers such as Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia in addition to the world powers battling for control of the Middle East, among them China, Russia and the United States. As tensions between Iran and the United States rise over the American-orchestrated death of the Iranian spymaster Qasem Soleimani, Oman's longtime role as a regional mediator may become more important than ever.

Iran wages a cold war against the Western world while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates prosecute an all but endless war in Yemen. Oman shares land borders and maritime boundaries with Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and has managed to distinguish itself as an island of stability in the region. In fact, the sultanate’s oft-cited reputation as “the Switzerland of the Middle East” has allowed Omani officials to serve as mediators in these conflicts.

Why and How Russia Is Jamming American Fighter Jets Near Iran

by David Axe
Source Link

Key Point: All powers like to use proxy conflicts to test out new weapons and Russia is no different. Moscow is seeing how well its jamming equipment fares against America's planes.

Russian forces have been jamming GPS systems in the Middle East. The electronic-warfare campaign could affect U.S. forces gathering in the region in advance of potential strikes on Iran.

“Since last spring, pilots flying through the Middle East, specifically around Syria, have noted that their GPS systems have displayed the wrong location or stopped working entirely,” The Times of Israel reported in late June 2019.

The signal that has been disrupting satellite navigation for planes flying through Israeli airspace in recent weeks originates inside a Russian air base inside Syria, according to data collected by a U.S.-based researcher.

Averting a new Iranian nuclear crisis

Robert Einhorn
On January 5, 2020, Iran announced that it no longer considers itself bound by the nuclear restrictions of the JCPOA, the “nuclear deal” negotiated with the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany in 2015. This after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed strong sanctions on Iran. Robert Einhorn explains that Iran is unlikely to be in a hurry to expand its nuclear capacity but suggests temporary steps that the United States and other signatories to the original deal could take to freeze or even roll back the rebuilding of Iran’s nuclear program, both to avoid a new nuclear crisis and to preserve conditions that could permit the eventual negotiation of a more formal JCPOA 2.0.

The US-Iran crisis has calmed down — but things won’t ever go back to how they were before

Christopher Clary and Caitlin Talmadge
Despite the tragic shoot-down of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 572 near Tehran, the United States and Iran appear to have avoided an all-out war in the aftermath of the high-profile U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes into Iraq did not cause any casualties, and both sides are clearly trying to find an off-ramp.

However, the U.S.-Iran relationship is unlikely to go back to business as usual, and the crisis has important consequences for longer-term regional stability.


Before the recent missile attacks, many public assessments of Iran’s missiles assumed they were fairly inaccurate. Satellite imagery of Iran’s recent barrage indicates those assessments may have been wrong. Iran recorded a fairly high rate of likely “hits” to “misses.” The lack of casualties may have been the result of Iran targeting areas of the bases with fewer personnel and more equipment, and not merely dumb luck and early warning.

Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn’t

By John Hudson and Souad Mekhennet
Source Link

A week before Germany, France and Britain formally accused Iran of breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration issued a private threat to the Europeans that shocked officials in all three countries.

If they refused to call out Tehran and initiate an arcane dispute mechanism in the deal, the United States would impose a 25 percent tariff on European automobiles, the Trump officials warned, according to European officials familiar with the conversations.

Within days, the three countries would formally accuse Iran of violating the deal, triggering a recourse provision that could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran and unravel the last remaining vestiges of the Obama-era agreement.

The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to “extortion,” represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States’ oldest allies, underscoring the extraordinary tumult in the transatlantic relationship.

President Trump has previously used the threat of a 25 percent tariff on automobiles to win more-favorable terms in the country’s trade relationship with the Europeans, but not to dictate the continent’s foreign policy.

What Iranians Think Of The US And Their Own Government

by Monti Datta
Source Link

After the Trump administration killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani with a drone strike on Jan. 3, anti-American protests in Iran subsequently spiked, with thousands mourning Soleimani’s passing.

As someone who studies the U.S. image and world opinion, I am aware that this event is rapidly evolving, so it’s difficult to determine how things will settle. Polls aren’t yet available to reflect Iranians’ views on these recent incidents.

Good data are hard to come by, but IranPoll, a Canadian-based polling company, sheds some light. IranPoll has focused on Iran exclusively for years and provides unique survey data, especially from surveys conducted from May to October 2019 of 1,000 Iranians.

The Saudi Aramco IPO: Strategic Significance

In December 2019, Saudi Arabia went public with Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, and was thus forced to share a partial source of its wealth with others. The IPO is designed to raise funding for the Vision 2030 plan, whose goals include reducing the kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues by shifting investment capital to other sectors. Yet the scale of the IPO (1.75 percent of company shares) and the sum raised are far from meeting the country’s vast needs. Iran’s attack on the company’s facilities in September 2019 has not eluded the attention of Western investors, who apparently have a limited stake in the IPO. The more such security incidents continue, so will Saudi Arabia find it hard to attract investments critical for its future. At least from this standpoint, the Saudi interest is in reducing tensions with Iran and ending the war in Yemen.Saudi Aramco, or Aramco, is Saudi Arabia’s national oil company. The company specializes in oil and natural gas exploration, production, and refinement, as well as the petrochemical industry. Aramco, the Saudi crown jewel, is the world’s biggest oil company and owns some of the world’s biggest oil fields.

The company’s 2018 financial reports note $356 billion in sales revenues, $213 billion in pre-tax profits, and around $111 billion in net, post-tax profit. In the first nine months of 2019, Aramco reported net profits of $68 billion, such that its 2019 earnings are lower. The company’s debt-to-equity ratio is lower than that of other leading oil companies in the world, which is obviously in its favor. State revenue from the company is derived both through taxation and profit dividends. In 2018, Aramco paid the state $102 billion in tax, and in March 2019 the company paid the state dividends amounting to $33 billion.

What to Make of Putin’s Shake-Up in Russia

Candace Rondeau 

If one nice thing can be said about Vladimir Putin, it is that he is a master of political jujitsu. This week, Putin’s skills were on full display after he called for far-reaching constitutional changes that would transfer more power from the presidency to parliament—a move many suspect is really designed to extend his 20-year hold on power. Following Putin’s announcement, Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and his entire Cabinet abruptly resigned, and hours later Putin named a new prime minister.

Putin is technically barred by constitutional term limits that prohibit more than two consecutive presidential terms. The dramatic reshuffling of Russia’s power structure—which if carried out could weaken the presidency while empowering the Duma, the Russian parliament, as well as an advisory body called the State Council—may pave the way for Putin to retain outsized political influence in Moscow even after his term ends in 2024. ...

Brexit endgame: Brexit nears, Northern Ireland assembly reconvenes, and Megxit distracts

Amanda Sloat

What a difference a year — and an election — makes. After months of gridlock, the newly elected British Parliament easily approved the Brexit deal last week. Days later, political leaders in Northern Ireland agreed to resume power-sharing after a three-year hiatus. At the end of January, the U.K. will almost certainly leave the European Union and begin negotiations on the future relationship.


Yes. Boris Johnson was re-elected prime minister on December 12 with an 80-seat majority. Before the new members of parliament (MPs) left for the holidays, they gave initial approval to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. On January 11, the House of Commons voted 330 to 231 on the bill’s third and final reading. This legislation will implement the Brexit deal in British law; it covers divorce payments to the EU, citizens’ rights, customs arrangements for Northern Ireland, and the transition period.

The 99-vote majority (including all Conservative MPs) for the bill was a stark contrast to the repeated failure of Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, to get her deal ratified. He benefitted from a sizeable parliamentary majority, as well as his success last fall in replacing the unpopular Northern Ireland backstop with other arrangements.

The Dangerous Unraveling of the U.S.-Turkish Alliance

By Philip H. Gordon and Amanda Sloat 

The United States and Turkey are on a collision course. Although the two countries have been NATO allies for nearly 70 years, that partnership has gradually deteriorated over the past few years, as Washington wondered if it could rely on Turkey and Ankara feared that the United States didn't take its security concerns seriously. In the last six months, however, relations have taken a real nose-dive. 

In July, Turkey acquired advanced Russian air defense systems over U.S. objections, and in October, it targeted Syrian Kurdish militias allied with the United States as part of an incursion into northern Syria. The United States responded to both developments with indignation and a raft of punitive measures: the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump refused to deliver advanced F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, sanctioned senior Turkish officials, and raised tariffs on Turkish steel exports, while Congress advanced legislation that would impose powerful sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry, called for an investigation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s finances, and overwhelmingly passed a resolution—for the first time in both houses of Congress—recognizing the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. Some in Washington are now questioning Turkey’s continued membership in NATO, even though the alliance has no mechanism for expelling a member.

‘You’re a bunch of dopes and babies’: Inside Trump’s stunning tirade against generals

By Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker
Source Link

There is no more sacred room for military officers than 2E924 of the Pentagon, a windowless and secure vault where the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet regularly to wrestle with classified matters. Its more common name is “the Tank.” The Tank resembles a small corporate boardroom, with a gleaming golden oak table, leather swivel armchairs and other mid-century stylings. Inside its walls, flag officers observe a reverence and decorum for the wrenching decisions that have been made there.

Hanging prominently on one of the walls is The Peacemakers, a painting that depicts an 1865 Civil War strategy session with President Abraham Lincoln and his three service chiefs — Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter. One hundred fifty-​­two years after Lincoln hatched plans to preserve the Union, President Trump’s advisers staged an intervention inside the Tank to try to preserve the world order.

By that point, six months into his administration, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had grown alarmed by gaping holes in Trump’s knowledge of history, especially the key alliances forged following World War II. Trump had dismissed allies as worthless, cozied up to authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere, and advocated withdrawing troops from strategic outposts and active theaters alike.

5G is about to change the world in ways we can't even imagine yet

Don Rosenberg
Source Link

We live in a time when words meant to represent significant or unique ideas are so overused they have been trivialized. “Revolutionary” is such a word, a victim of hyperbolic marketing that has rendered meaningless a term meant to evoke profound change to our world. When everything is “revolutionary,” nothing is.

Yet here I am, unable to find an alternative as comprehensively descriptive of 5G and the infinite number of ways the newest generation of wireless technology will change our world. In fact, the revolution has already begun. The global deployment of 5G networks got a running start in 2019 and is set to rapidly expand beyond anything we expected a year ago. But the public understanding of 5G hasn’t caught up.

While 3G put the mobile Internet in your hand and 4G gave us mobile broadband – redefining how we interact with our world – 5G will connect everything and everyone. The technologies within 5G were and continue to be designed to vastly expand network capacity so cars, utility grids, appliances, medical devices, industrial machinery, homes, cities, farms and more can all be connected. And 5G will reduce delays and improve reliability, thereby enabling mission-critical tasks such as remote surgery, self-driving cars and enhanced public safety, to make possible secure connections so lightning-fast that an entire movie can be downloaded in seconds.

How Advanced Robotics Will Impact Job Markets

by Niall McCarthy
Source Link

Robots are set to have a major impact on workforces around the world over the coming years with jobs involving routine manual activity most at risk from automation. In order to gauge how the adoption of advanced robotics will affect the labor market, the Boston Consulting Group carried out a survey of executives and managers from 1,314 global companies in early 2019.

The research found that 67 percent of Chinese companies are expecting a reduction in the number of employees due to automation, along with 60 percent in Poland and 57 percent in Japan. Some companies are more at risk than others with only 34 percent of organizations in Italy expecting reductions by comparison.

The Army’s cyber school now teaches information operations

Mark Pomerleau
Source Link

The Army's Cyber School is working to develop curricula to incorporate information operations.

As Army Cyber Command looks to focus on the information warfare environment, the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence in Georgia has started training cyber and electronic warfare personnel on the specifics of information operations.

The Army is working to create a singular information warfare entity.

“We’ve been thinking about it for many months now, about how we’re going to integrate what is going on in information operations with what’s going on with both running, defending and doing cyberspace operations and electronic warfare,” Col. Paul Craft, commandant of the cyber school at Fort Gordon, told reporters during a phone call Jan 15.

Leaders at Army Cyber Command have repeatedly said they would like to change the name and focus of the organization to reflect a greater emphasis on information warfare. The school house has now become the focal point for this transformation.

New Pentagon Team Will Develop Ways to Fight Enemy Drones

By Oriana Pawlyk
Source Link

After announcing the Pentagon would ramp up its counter-drone efforts in the new year, the Defense Department recently established a new office to address the growing challenge of targeting pesky and sometimes lethal enemy drones, according to a top official.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told reporters Tuesday that the DoD has created a 60-person team, headed by a two-star Army general, that will draft policy and field systems to best take out unmanned systems that pose a threat to U.S. installations and facilities -- especially those abroad.

"Overall, the idea is to take all of the effort in terms of development and fielding and come up with three to five systems, which are the best for counter-UAS, and make sure we leverage those across the entire DoD," Lord said during a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Lord, who unveiled the Pentagon's ambitions for better counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) last month, said the team should have proposals ready by April. The DoD named the U.S. Army as executive agent for counter-UAS for all the services.

Additive Manufacturing

Source Link

In November 2016, when the Department of Defense (DOD) released its first Additive Manufacturing Roadmap, the document began with a sentence that has proven to be something of an understatement: “Additive manufacturing (AM), which includes the commonly used term ‘3D printing,’ is a rapidly growing and changing discipline.”

It’s been less than three years since then. While much of the world continues to think of AM technology as a convenient way to make sturdy plastic objects from 3D printers, military personnel at all levels have been pushing its limits far beyond what most imagined possible. Within that interval, these are just a few of the solutions produced by the military and its partners: 

At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Disruptive Technologies Laboratory of the Naval Surface Warfare Center produced the military’s first 3D-printed submarine hull, a 30-foot submersible hull inspired by the SEAL Delivery Vehicle. Compared to a traditional SEAL submarine hull, which costs up to $800,000 and takes three to five months to manufacture, the six carbon-fiber sections of the new prototype were built in four weeks and assembled at a cost of $60,000.

This Is How America's Military Must Compete To Win The 21st Century

by Mackenzie Eaglen
Source Link

The military needs a lot more quality energy to power next-generation platforms, sensors, robots, AI and directed energy weapons for long periods of time. Energy comes from bases and other infrastructure, which are increasingly at risk and vulnerable.

The Pentagon is very worried about a potential enemy limiting access to installations and ranges in a conflict where critical land-based capabilities live. Of concern is an adversary’s ability to strike large centralized concentrations of U.S. forces forward stationed throughout the world. The solutions are varied and expensive. A sampling includes:
New overseas facilities to support rapid force dispersal and protection.
Storage for new generations of high-yield munitions overseas.
More prepositioned forward fuel, stocks, bombs and agile logistics.
New bases that are smaller and resilient with active and passive defenses.

Additional ideas under consideration, according to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment include digital twinning to create utility and telecom replicas for the Pentagon; stationary micro-reactors for long-term energy resiliency; collaboration on the “national development of small cell technology and a 5G network;” and, good old-fashioned cyber hygiene among others. While ambitious, this is just for starters.

8 truths to remember before starting another military campaign

Eric Reid

The Founding Fathers had high hopes that military adventurism could be prevented through constitutional checks. As Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The legislature…will be obliged…every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter, by a formal vote in the face of their constituents…As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject” (emphasis added). Hamilton was mistaken.

As the U.S. has preserved and expanded its global military posture, post-Cold War presidents of both parties have consistently committed the military abroad in an expanding series of campaigns or other obligations. These endeavors frequently lack a compelling enough relationship to American vital security interests to justify their costs and consequences.

Nonetheless, presidents are politically rewarded by rallying the nation around the flag during military crises, both real and contrived. Likewise, members of Congress perpetually seeking reelection are rewarded for pandering to military forces, veterans, and an influential defense industry. Admiring a military which they increasingly neither know nor understand, citizens uncritically support overseas uses of American force without demanding meaningful public discourse before the commitment of lives, treasure, and national reputation.

The Backwash of War

By Johannes Allert

Following the Great War, several books and writings chronicling military medicine were published. Notable among them were Dr. Richard Derby’s Wade in Sanitary!: The Story of a Division Surgeon in France (published in 1919) and the classic by Army Nurse Julia Stimson, Finding Themselves: The Letters of an American Army Chief Nurse in a British Hospital in France (published in 1918). While each acknowledged the brutality of war and the challenges faced by medical personnel, the authors remained generally upbeat and confirmed the Allies’ just cause in prosecuting the war against Germany. In Wade in Sanitary!, Derby—the brother-in-law of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt—specifically warns readers of the failure of preparedness and encourages vigilance against future threats.[1]

Conversely, Cynthia Wachtell has wisely resurrected the provocative composition of Ellen La Motte’s The Backwash of War. This work conveys an entirely different perspective of the World War during the low ebb period of the Allied war effort against the Central Powers. Enamored by La Motte’s personal story, Wachtell combed through the author’s book and numerous articles written during and after her involvement in the conflict, and provides insight into her unconventional, nonconformist life story.