Monday, February 27, 2017
Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media.
Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the United States and Asia through the Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran.
Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran's southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.
The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Germany is to increase her army by 5,000 soldiers, the country's defence ministry has announced, bringing the total to 198,000 in 2024, at a time when US pressure is mounting on European NATO members to raise military spending.
“The German army faces demands like never before,” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that the army had to be able to respond in an appropriate way to developments abroad and security concerns.
Germany, reluctant for decades after the Second World War to get involved in military missions abroad, has in the last few years become more active in supporting international deployments such as in Afghanistan, Mali and against Islamic State militants.
In January, Germany sent a battlegroup of more than 1,000 to Lithuania as part of a NATO mission to protect its eastern border with Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
It will now dispatch a number of tanks and armoured vehicles to Lithuania to support its existing defence deployment in the country.
On top of the 5,000 extra soldiers, Germany will further add 1,000 civilians posts and about 500 reserves to its ranks at home.
The increase, long flagged by von der Leyen, comes at a time when 45 is pushing NATO members, especially from Europe, to raise their military spending
Thursday, February 23, 2017
That burden falls on Eastern Europe. But the minimal support needed to secure the region – a few first-rate divisions and air wings – is not available. The U.S. is recovering and perhaps preparing for another round of conflict in the Middle East, and the rest of Europe lacks the minimal capabilities needed for extended deployment a few hundred miles from home.
Therefore, NATO’s core strategy cannot be implemented.
Something that is well within the brief of NATO, and ought to be well within the ability of countries like German, is undoable. NATO solidarity on protecting Eastern Europe isn’t nearly as strong as it could be, and all the commitment in the world will not create anti-tank capabilities designed to make an unlikely Russian attack scenario impossible
From a strategic point of view and regardless of internal politics, Poland and Hungary, as examples, are indispensable for deterring the Russians. While NATO’s brief includes this deterrence, the EU retains the right to lecture and condemn both countries even in the face of the political disorder in the rest of Europe. In other words, Eastern European countries have one relationship with NATO and another relationship with the EU. So at a NATO meeting the Germans speak one way, and at an EU meeting they speak another way. And the coalition that would protect Germany from far-fetched events (in a time when the farfetched has become routine) can’t take form.
The United States is a key member of NATO, and the U.S. is trying to figure out NATO’s usefulness. The answer is far from clear. In the one area where NATO can be helpful and can act within its mission, European members’ behavior is both contradictory and primarily theoretical. They simply have not built a military for a mission even clearly within NATO’s purview. To the extent the Russians have the ability to increase their influence on their western frontier, their European adversaries are inadvertently providing the opening.
In the end, there is no NATO problem. There is a European problem. A European consensus on defense does not exist any more than a consensus on economics does. Being in an alliance so unstable that a region the alliance must protect is under attack by the EU is too complicated for the simple and unsophisticated Americans. The sophisticated Europeans in the end are proving too much for the United States.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has laid down the price members must pay for NATO protection. The Europeans will assume it is just talk and continue as they were. Having opted out of collective responsibility in the Middle East, the Europeans are also opting out of collective responsibility in Europe. U.S. action in Europe will take place as needed, but it will not be constrained by the votes of those not incurring some of the risk.
This is not opinion, simply a rational analysis by the U.S.
Why submit to an organization that cannot share the risk?
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
For almost two months, the United States Navy has operated without its required aircraft carrier in the Middle East and Europe. These continual carrier “presence gaps” should not surprise us; they represent a voluntary choice by a Navy asked to do too much with too little for too long. And while Pentagon leadership and combatant commanders have agreed for years that the Navy requires at least twelve carriers to keep three deployed at any one time, appropriators long ago failed to fund a carrier fleet of that size. Today, 45 and the Congress have signaled their intent to repair the U.S. military, but no easy or quick fixes exist for America’s aircraft carrier fleet.
Reconstituting a healthy carrier force requires an understanding of the real problem, followed by several short-term actions and a generational commitment to America’s premier power projection force.
Continual carrier gaps result from a fundamental mismatch between what is asked of the Navy and the means provided to it by senior decision-makers and appropriators. The Navy stretched to meet its mission needs during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and the situation has worsened as the natural maintenance delays that followed were exacerbated by inadequate funding after the 2011 Budget Control Act. To cope, the Navy pushed its sailors harder and harder, until its senior leadership could no longer endorse such a strategy. Absent new funding or a decrease in operational tempo, in 2014 the Navy delivered an ultimatum to senior decision-makers in the form of a second revised deployment schedule: suffer continual carrier gaps or break the force.
Late last year, the USS George H.W. Bush suffered significant maintenance delays, forcing the Pentagon to accept a carrier presence gap over the past two months rather than extend the deployment of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before that, the Eisenhower itself experienced unexpectedly long maintenance stemming from extended deployments, but the Pentagon extended the tour of the USS Harry S. Truman beyond the new deployment schedule’s seven-month limit to avoid a carrier presence gap. We should expect the next few carriers in the shipyard to suffer maintenance delays, too, given years of extended deployments and maintenance funding shortfalls. Worse yet, the planned commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) continues to be delayed, as often happens with first-of-class ships.
Policymakers could begin to mitigate the current problem by including margins of error in the carrier maintenance and deployment schedule, instead of setting impossible-to-meet expectations. While such a plan might change little on the ground, it would put an end to continued outrage and surprise when utterly foreseeable maintenance or construction delays occur. Combining political cover with an immediate infusion of funding would give the Navy a fighting chance to improve its maintenance planning process and complete long-deferred maintenance. Simultaneously, to ensure that the new USS Ford makes its first deployment as soon as possible, Secretary of Defense James Mattis could cancel the unwise full-ship shock trials. These options will relieve the immediate pressures facing the Navy in the next few years, but returning to a 12-carrier fleet will take more time.
New aircraft carrier construction can only accelerate so much; it is essentially too late to change the scheduled delivery of the Kennedy (CVN-79) in 2022 and Enterprise (CVN-80) in 2027. President Trump and Congress can compress future carrier construction from five to four years or slightly less — a worthy and cost-saving endeavor recommended by former seapower subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA). Even a four-year carrier construction pace would only provide minor relief, preventing the carrier fleet from dropping from 11 to 10 until a true 12-carrier Navy sails again in the early 2030s. Additionally, the Navy can mitigate the shortfall in naval strike capacity before then by accelerating procurement of a third aviation-focused America-class amphibious assault ship from 2024 to 2021.
Lastly, the Navy could change how it bases and uses carriers, both of which should be explored, despite their inherent difficulties. It could pursue a long-term expansion of basing carriers overseas, including in Japan or Australia. Such a plan mitigates carrier gaps, but requires extensive political and financial negotiations, plus placing a second carrier within range of long-range Chinese missiles (in the case of Japan). The Navy could also change the way it employs carriers by removing the current carrier presence requirement in favor of holding carriers back and deploying them in larger groups when their combat power is truly needed. Yet the presence mission has underpinned the nuclear aircraft carrier force since the Cold War, and changing that would require overcoming both service culture and the expectation among senior decision-makers that carriers will be immediately available to signal American resolve.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The biggest trend in politics for the last 150 years has been the break-up of multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic states into smaller and more homogenous units as people demand more control over their own lives. And Iran is one of the world’s most vulnerable states to this trend, with Azeris, Kurds, Balochs, and many other minority groups under the corrupt, heavy-handed and often not-very-effective rule of the mullahs.
If it is true that the era of Sykes-Picot is coming to an end in the Middle East and that states like Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq are going to have their boundaries redrawn, it is hard to see how this process can be stopped at the Iran-Iraq border. The Iranian Kurds want independence, and many of Iran’s Arabs would gladly join with their Shi’a Arab brethren (and fellow tribesmen in many cases) across the boundary.
Iran’s own meddling has played a major role in the breakdown of order across the region and the enflamed identity politics now plunging country after country into terrible wars.
Can the mullahs play with fire and not be burned?
Monday, February 20, 2017
There are several essential reads for professionals involved in military affairs:
Carl von Clausewitz, On War. The author uses a dialectical approach to understanding war without being prescriptive.
Michael Howard, War in European History. This book is excellent, as is anything by this author.
Elting Morison, Men, Machines, and Modern Times. The author discusses the limitations of emerging technologies-specifically, he argues that instead of taming our environment, technology has further complicated it.
Williamson Murray, The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War. This book helps connect military action to strategy.
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War. The Greek historian shows that the drivers of war-fear, honor, self-interest-haven’t changed over time.
Innovation and the world wars
Much has been written about World War I, World War II, and the interwar period-and about how these events changed the nature of war. The following are favorites:
Marc Bloch, Strange Defeat
Robert A. Doughty, The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940, and Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War
Timothy T. Lupfer, Dynamics of Doctrine: The Changes in German Tactical Doctrine During the First World War
Williamson Murray, Military Innovation in the Interwar Period
Memoirs and biographies
It is important to understand how leaders have adapted and thought about war and warfare across their careers. The Autobiography of General Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs of the Civil War is perhaps the best war memoir ever written.
The following are some other significant titles:
Carlo D’Este, Patton: A Genius for War
David Fraser, Knight’s Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War
Selected histories of military campaigns
For selected histories of wars and military campaigns, the following are some of my favorites; I’ve also included recommendations on contemporary threats:
Donald Kagan, The Peloponnesian War
Seven Years’ War
Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766
The American military profession and the American Revolution
David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing
Don Higginbotham, George Washington and the American Military Tradition and The War of American Independence
James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Michael Howard, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870-1871
World War II
Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943; The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944; and the forthcoming The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945
Gerhard Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
T. R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War
David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War
Eric Bergerud, Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning: The World of a Combat Division in Vietnam
Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young: Ia Drang-The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam
Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq and The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama
Peter Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers
Contemporary threats to international security
Peter Bergen, The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda
Victor Cha, The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future
David Crist, The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran
Bruce Riedel, Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad
Friday, February 17, 2017
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA), MITRE Corporation and the Navy completed the studies that were required by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 and would feed into the service’s future fleet design, Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson told USNI in August.
“There will be an operating and warfighting component to that new fleet design, new ways of getting at sea control and some of those other things that it describes. Some of that work is being done now, we’re using the fleet in different ways as we build that readiness and deploy that readiness forward,” Richardson said.
The three studies differ from the Navy’s Force Structure Assessment, which the service released in December. The FSA was crafted to create an outlook for the service using current platforms while the architectures are more open ended and could include new platforms and strategic ideas.
A vision of 160 large surface combatants, 72 attack submarines, 14 aircraft carriers and two guided-missile submarines.
In an attempt to reduce cost, the report recommends cutting LCS production to help pay for increased destroyer production, modifying the Ford-class carrier design or creating a conventional-powered carrier to reduce cost, scaling down the LX(R) amphibious dock landing ship replacement, and supplementing today’s nuclear-powered stealthy Virginia-class attack submarines with a less-expensive diesel sub to create a larger force for combatant commanders.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Economist once ran “A Chronology of the Middle East Conflict” that was all about Israel and Palestine. It began in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration and ended with the election — apparently for life — of Mahmoud Abbas to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.
During that time there were dozens of conflicts in the region — cross-border wars, civil wars, rebellions, revolutions, massacres, etc. — that had nothing to do with Israel. The Islamic State is still in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, is finishing off the rebellion against his regime with the help of the Russians and Iranians. Amnesty International released a report last week accusing the Assad regime of executing some 13,000 people in a single prison.
The Middle East has always had much bigger problems and, often, much bigger conflicts than those having to do with ‘the Zionist entity.’ The Middle East has always had much bigger problems and, often, much bigger conflicts than those having to do with “the Zionist entity.” Indeed, it is precisely because of those problems and conflicts that rulers in the region chose to magnify the Israel–Palestinian conflict into the Middle East conflict in the first place.
Demonizing Israel is always a useful distraction from domestic dysfunction and oppression.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Indeed, listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, would be unprecedented and would constitute the biggest escalatory step by Washington against Tehran in years.
Is it time to target the Revo Guards?
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
And if ya sow the wind - whale - look out bay bee!
May such chiz designed to scare grrls away from behaving unlike ladies in a world of hoochies, hotties and hoes be applied like "kini wax to history l'guerre?
Oui oui m'suer!!
Warsaw, Rotterdam, London. 3rd Reich's flying artillery - nom d'voyage"d Luftwaffe brought devastation, destruction and misery on a new scale into warfare.
"They sowed the wind and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."
Royal Air Force's Lord Bomber Harris made good on that blood chilling promise. Taking Lord Cherwell's fact finding thingy about carpet bombing centers of German industry to impose Allied will - not so much the factories - but to hit the workers in their homes to make them scream "God! Please! Stop!"
The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.
The destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.By February 1945 - 3rd Reich had less than a 100 days to live. Kicking and screaming, she was crashing down in an orgy of pulverized, burning cities and a river of blood — civilian and military, German and non-German. Massive Allied Armies were fixing to strike on the Fatherland's turf on multiple fronts and sides. Unconditional Surrender was the safe word. Military history knows no year quite like 1944 -45 and if lucky, will never see another.
On February 13th - Lord Bomber Harris dispatched a massive raid with one aim - destroy Dresden. The ancient postcard pretty city fully crunk with wooden houses, loaded to the gunwhales with refugees from Red Army's juggernauting nastiness and lucky enough to make the target profile
Dresden, the seventh largest city in the Reich and not much smaller than Manchester is also the largest unbombed builtup area the enemy has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westward and troops to be rested, roofs are at a premium, not only to give shelter to workers, refugees, and troops alike, but to house the administrative services displaced from other areas. At one time well known for its china, Dresden has developed into an industrial city of first-class importance....
The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most, behind an already partially collapsed front... and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can doOver a thousand American and British bombers hit Dresden on February 13th...
"The horror and terror on the ground was indescribable, destruction was extensive, and the loss of life was frightful. That beautiful little city, its population swollen by an influx of refugees from the east fleeing before the Russians bent upon revenge, pillage and rape, and its predominantly wooden buildings, ideal for incendiaries, all but vanished in a whirl wind of incineration"
Pic - "We saw terrible things. Fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm drew people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from."
Monday, February 13, 2017
With friends like Pakistan...
U.S. assistance levels to Pakistan reached their height in 2011, when the U.S. provided $3.6 billion in military and economic aid, and have decreased every year since.
One reason for the decline in aid levels is due to the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan and the decreased reliance on Pakistan for Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs).
Another reason is growing frustration, particularly among members of the U.S. Congress, with continued Pakistani support to the Taliban and Haqqani network that fight Afghan and coalition forces.
Pakistani safe havens for the Afghan Taliban remain the single most difficult challenge to the NATO effort to stabilize Afghanistan. Efforts to encourage the Pakistani army to curtail their assistance to the Haqqani network and the Taliban have failed, despite over $25 billion in U.S. assistance by two presidents over 15 years. The longest war in American history is a proxy war with Pakistan, and it has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.
A new approach is therefore critical. The report suggests a more vigorous effort to encourage Pakistan to break ties with the Taliban and other terrorist groups based in Pakistan like the Lashkar e Tayyiba group that attacked Mumbai in November 2008. These groups have enjoyed Pakistani backing for decades. The civilian government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has very little role in this patronage network—rather, it’s the so-called “deep state” of the intelligence service and the army high command that’s in charge.
So the report recommends curtailing assistance to the military as long as it assists groups that kill Americans, either GIs in Afghanistan or Americans in India. It recommends revoking Pakistan’s status as a Major Non-NATO ally in six months if the army does not change.
A review of whether Pakistan should be considered a state sponsor of terrorism—a draconian measure—should not be ruled out if conditions don’t improve.
The report also lays out a roadmap for change for Pakistan to take.
Our quarrel is not with the Pakistani people or their elected leadership, but with the generals who back terrorists.
It’s critical to get this right—for Pakistan, as both a victim and patron of terrorism, its region, the United States, and beyond.
Friday, February 10, 2017
In the last year alone, North Korea has conducted 20 missile tests and two nuclear tests. That’s a marked annual increase from the 42 missile tests and two nuclear tests of the previous seven years.
It is highly likely that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un will launch another intercontinental ballistic missile this year, in part to gauge the response from 45. While some of North Korea’s missile tests have ended in failure, the regime seems to be learning from each launch to improve its capability.
North Korea remains one of the world’s most closeted countries, and international inspectors haven’t had even partial access to its nuclear facilities since 2009.
To slow North Korea’s nuclear advances, the United Nations has imposed increasingly harsh sanctions. Those sanctions have deprived Pyongyang of hard cash but have received spotty enforcement, especially by China, which is wary of squeezing North Korea too hard. Within Congress, there is increasing recognition that North Korea has gotten short shrift amid the intense foreign policy attention on the Islamic State, Iran and the Middle East.
There is doubt that North Korea, as it advances its weapons systems, would launch a first strike on the United States or its allies. Kim is pursuing the weapons program, they say, as a deterrent to a U.S. attack and also to enhance his stature at home.
Yet U.S. officials feel compelled to remind Pyongyang what would happen if it were to strike first. “Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week during a visit to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article131808834.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article131808834.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article131808834.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article131808834.html#storylink=cpy
Thursday, February 9, 2017
"On July 29th 20 Iran successfully launches a Shahab rocket and orbiting satellite, proving it has a formidable functioning delivery vehicle, then announces it has produced sufficient fissionable material at its Natanz facility to build two nuclear bombs in 2017 and begins work on underground test facilities in the basalt formations beneath the great salt desert of Dacht-e-Kavir.
Supreme Leader Ali Khameini announces boldly that his nation has manufactured weapons-grade fissionable material enriched to nearly 100% (in lieu of 5% enrichment for peaceful nuclear reactors).
Two days later Great Satan launches the most audacious regional series of regime changes ever implemented in history, Officially dubbed 'Operation Boundless Freedom" Allies and enemies alike refer to it as 'Operation Great Satan"
3 Iranian submarines are destroyed - 1 in the Med, 1 in the Atlantic and 1 in the Indian Ocean. Another surrenders and defects near Barcelona.
Naval and air force assets at Bandar Abbas are hit with a combination of missiles and a French- Saudi Amphibious assault from Qatar and the UAE. Waves of Tomahawk cruise missiles streak through Persian aerospace from ships and subs - effectively targetting the Iranian air force - air fields, missile sites and air defense systems are struck down within hours.
Communications are totally co opted or overwhelmed cybernetically. B2 Stealth bombers sortee to to strike IRRGC command and control HQ's.
"American warplanes and missiles carefully avoid striking research reactors in Teheran and Ispahan as well as the nuclear reactor at Bousher--less than 100 kilometers from Kuwait--as well as the centrifuges themselves at Natanz in an effort to prevent the spread of radioactive material to nearby population centers.
However, other missiles producing electromagnetic pulses do knock out
virtually all of Iran's electric grid and computer systems"
Airborne troops from Great Britain and Great Satan sieze all passes through the Zagros mountains - effectively cutting Iran in half.
Special Forces strike and hold especial clerical compounds in Tehran and Qom right before Friday prayers. Nearly 20% of Iran's ruling praetorian guards and mullahs are captured, killed or missing by breakfast time.
Armed insurgencies break out across Iran as ex and au currant MEK groups strike, sieze and hold towns and cities.
Great Satan' s seaborne regime changing Marines hit the surf just north of the Litani river in Lebanon and methodically grind and leap frog straight through the heart of Hiz'B'AllahLand.
Known missile batteries and weapons caches (many in innocent civilian rich areas) are captured by chopper borne marines and French commandos or trashed.
HBA's command complex in Beirut is clamped shut by heavily armed Marines after precision cruise missile strikes.
Al Manar - HBA's 'suicide channel' seems to be co opted - running a marathon of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" in Arabic overdubs. All communications in the ME are totally wacked - from Bashar's Al Sana network to Al Jazeera - regular programming has been replaced with the most outrageous cable quality programming Great Satan can jam like "Playboys Girls Next Door" and choice selections from 'Girls Gone Wild'
Within 5 days, Iran is reduced to a state of near paralysis, unable in any sense to retaliate militarily, its entire economic infrastructure in shambles. By this time the largest armored division in history has left Iraq and "Old Ironsides" is within striking distance of a thunder run into downtown Tehran.
Riots wreck the regime and a caretaker gov is installed by the Iranians themselves. Syria is occupied and Hiz'B'Allah is history.
Lebanon starts to rebuild the ME's riviera. HAMAS is suddenly confronted by a host of alternate, well armed. tolerant, egalitarian political movements (funny too - the Strips pop magically increases by nearly 40K) and has a real fight - politically - on it's hands to maintain power in a bizarro land where death is precious, praised and preferred.
Sound crazy? Hold up - Check out the tease and inspiration for this all original scenerio in "Iran, Le Choix des Armes" by Francois Heisbourg.
Alas, unavailable in English yet, the PR looks interesting.
"For there are some extraordinary surprises in this consummate, if brief, but brilliantly conceived work by the man who is perhaps Europe's leading global thinker--chairman of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, adviser to French presidents and ministers of defense and foreign affairs going back to Valery Giscard d'Estaing and top adviser to French arms makers from Thompson to Matra."
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to Newsweek this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained that since 45 was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.
“I don’t know any of them [45’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond to us.”
Erekat’s statement reveals something that is generally obscured. Despite its deep support in Europe, the UN and the international Left, without US support, the PLO is irrelevant.
All the achievements the PLO racked up under 44 – topped off with the former president’s facilitation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israel – are suddenly irrelevant. Their impact dissipated the minute Trump took office.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
On January 29, Iran tested a new ballistic missile it dubbed the Khorramshahr, which reportedly flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometers. Little is known about the missile, though some have speculated that it relies on a liquid-fueled engine originally developed by the Isayev Design Bureau for the Soviet R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile. If so, this could make it a variant of the North Korean Musudan (KN-10), an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that uses the same engine and that Pyongyang began flight testing in 2016.
The ramifications of such a connection would be significant, not only because it would signify ongoing close Iranian-North Korean missile cooperation, but also because such an engine would be a foundation for Iran to develop a viable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). However, contrary to some assertions, the available evidence cannot verify speculation that the Iranian missile is similar to North Korea’s Musudan, or reports that Pyongyang exported R-27 engines to Iran.
Media reports citing US government officials claim the missile traveled about 1,000 kilometers, but its re-entry vehicle exploded before the flight was complete. It is unclear whether the explosion was the result of an accidental or a deliberate detonation. Officials did not provide details about the type of missile tested, though an anonymous Pentagon official informed Reuters that it was the same kind of missile tested in July 2016, and that the launch occurred near Semnan, a known missile-test site west of Tehran
However, it remains uncertain whether the missile utilized North Korean technology or was based on the Musudan IRBM. Fox News asserted that Iran tested a BM-25 missile, built with R-27 engine technology imported from North Korea in July 2016. However, that report was not independently confirmed by other media sources. Moreover, during a briefing to journalists on February 1, 2017, a National Security Council official described the missile tested as a Shahab, a missile based on older North Korean technology.
Given these uncertainties, there are four possibilities regarding Iran’s new ballistic missile, ordered from most likely to least likely.
The first possibility is that Iran tested a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) based on North Korea’s Nodong missile. Initially test fired by Tehran in 1998, this weapon has a range of 950 kilometers when carrying a 1,000-kg warhead. Iran has created variants of the Shahab-3 called the Ghadr, and most recently the Emad, which deliver a smaller 750-kg payload to roughly 1,600 kilometers. The Emad, the most recent design, is similar to the Ghadr, but in principle could become more accurate since fins on its base allow the warhead to alter its flight path as it re-enters the atmosphere. Perfecting the new re-entry vehicle design requires Iran to conduct a dozen or more flight tests, essentially creating a new missile.
The second possibility is that the missile tested was a variant of the Shahab-2, based on the North’s Scud-C missile that was imported by Iran from North Korea in the late-1980s and early-1990s, called the Qiam. It has a maximum range of about 700 kilometers, which would seemingly eliminate it as well as any other Scud variants as the possible subject of the recent test flight. However, North Korea unveiled and tested a one-meter diameter Scud in the summer of 2016 capable of reaching a distance of about 1,000 kilometers. There is no evidence to suggest Pyongyang has transferred one-meter Scuds to Tehran, but it is within Iran’s technical and industrial capacity to develop a clone of the North Korean missile.
Third, the recent Iranian test may have been a solid-fueled missile derived from Iran’s Sajjil program which has not been tested since 2011. A missile consisting of only the Sajjil’s first stage would have an approximate range of 1,000 kilometers and could be used to target Arab Gulf states and US forces in the region from less-vulnerable launch positions in Iran’s interior.
The final and least likely possibility is that Iran tested a missile that is essentially the same as the North Korean Musudan. This is unlikely for three reasons.
- First, if the Iranian missile were modeled on the 3,000 kilometer-range Musudan, it would be an intermediate-range ballistic missile, contrary to the US description of the Khorramshahr as a medium-range ballistic missile.
- Second, while the July 2016 and January 2017 test flights conducted by Iran were largely successful, North Korea’s tests of the Musudan failed soon after launch in six of eight attempts, a wide discrepancy that is difficult to explain even if, as some might assert, Iran is more capable at missile development.
- Finally, flying a Musudan to only 1,000 kilometers is unnecessary for Iran, since it has a much larger flight corridor within which test flights can be performed and has done so.
The countries monitoring Iranian air space would certainly be able to distinguish between a BM-25 missile test from one involving a Ghadr or Emad. A one-meter Scud missile test would differ from either a BM-25 or Ghadr/Emad test. If a single-stage missile based on Sajjil technology were tested, its flight path and acceleration profile during boost phase would be different from that of a one-meter Scud. Given these differences, it is difficult to imagine that the US government does not know the identity of the missiles tested last July and in January 2017.
Why It Is Important To Know What Was Tested
The strategic implications of Tehran’s recent missile test and the possibility of continued missile cooperation with Pyongyang vary depending on what was actually launched. If the Khorramshahr was a Shahab-3 variant based, in part, on old Nodong technology acquired from North Korea years ago, then Iran is keeping with a pattern it has pursued over the past half dozen years—prioritizing greater accuracy and enhanced military utility. However, it would not be evidence of ongoing missile cooperation with North Korea.
If the test involved either a one-meter Scud or a single-stage version of the Sajjil, then Iran has refocused its missile acquisition efforts in an attempt to diversify its stockpile and increase operational flexibility. In this case, only the development of a one-meter Scud would indicate ongoing cooperation with Pyongyang.
Finally, in the least likely scenario, if the Khorramshahr did employ an R-27 engine, which uses high-performance propellants, it would signify that not only does Iran continue to have close missile cooperation with North Korea, it could also develop a road-mobile, two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland. However, such a development would not occur overnight, and would require four or five years of observable flight tests.
Monday, February 6, 2017
The Russian military that the United States faces in 2017 is not the poorly equipped and uncoordinated force that invaded Georgia in August of 2008. This is why the magnitude and potential impact of the current crisis is far greater than that inherited by 44 in 2009.
Following reforms launched in October 2008, and a modernization program in 2011 valued at $670 billion, the armed forces have become one of Russia’s most reliable instruments of national power. Russia disbanded the useless mass-mobilization army of the Soviet Union, consolidated what was worthwhile, and reconstituted a much smaller, but more capable force.
The overall size of Russia’s armed forces continues to increase, numbering over nine hundred thousand today, while the state armament program continues to replace aging equipment throughout the force with new or modernized variants.
As a Eurasian land power, Russia concentrates most of its firepower in the ground force, intended to counter Western advantages in air power. The Russian army can fight alone. New families of weapon systems that were being developed by the USSR in the 1980s have been completed and are being distributed across the force, enabling long-range precision strikes, air defense and marked improvements down to the individual soldier level.
However, Russia’s ground force numbers 300,000–350,000 troops at most, and lacks an operational reserve. Since it can only field a fraction of this force, this means Russia’s military is not configured to occupy large amounts of land or replace combat losses in offensive operations. This lesson was driven home rather quickly through combat operations in Ukraine, creating strain on the Russian military rotating units through the Donbass. Practical constraints tell us that Russia’s military is not an existential threat to Europe, or even Ukraine for that matter, but that it can impose its will by force on neighboring countries and that Moscow is credible when it threatens to do so. Hence, Russia’s military is a powerful tool for coercion.
Russian doctrinal thinking, codified in a collection of concepts under the title of New Generation Warfare, shows a clear desire to advance interests through asymmetric means and subconventional approaches. Moscow is aware of its hard power limitations and prefers to avoid expensive conventional operations, instead making strategic gains through political warfare, special forces and other indirect means.
There is a strong shift towards a system of nonnuclear deterrence, based around long-range conventional weapons and domains where it can readily retaliate, such as through cyber or information warfare. These are indicative of an emergent strategy, favoring agility, speed and reserving options for escalation, in order to shape the battlefield with fairly little hard military power.
Lessons from fighting in Ukraine and Syria suggest that Russia’s “good enough” at current readiness levels is more than sufficient to take on any former Soviet Republic on its borders, and even engage a peer adversary like NATO in a short-term high-intensity fight. Russia would struggle occupying entire states, but it can crush their militaries and readily seize parcels of adjoining land.
Friday, February 3, 2017
The Navy and DoD are engineering high-tech, removable Unmanned Surface Vehicle “kits” designed to change amphibious warfare by delivering combat-relevant supplies, firing weapons, swarming enemies, refueling ships, searching for enemy mines and submarines and dispersing attacking forces to minimize risk from enemy fire.
The kits, called Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing, or CARACaS, are engineered to provide USVs with an ability to handle dynamic operational situations; this can include the execution of search patterns, harbor defenses, surveillance or even swarm boat attacks. Other possibilities among a wide range of uses include using autonomous USVs for supply and weapons transport, countermine operations, electronic warfare and amphibious operations.
The USVs are programmed with sensors linked to an established database of known threats such as enemy boats; they are also linked to one another with an ability to detect, track and trail “unknown” boats
ONR is working closely with the Pentagon’s once-secret Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO, in an effort to fast-track this technology into operational service.
The Strategic Capabilities Office is a special DoD-level effort to harness, leverage and integrate near-term emerging technology for faster delivery to combatant commanders at war. Much of this involves merging new platforms, weapons and technologies with existing systems in a manner that both improves capability while circumventing a lengthy and often bureaucratic formal acquisition process.
A key advantage of using remotely-controlled drone ships is that, quite naturally, they can save sailors and marines from being exposed to enemy fire during an attack operation. In fact, Roper maintained that USV autonomy brings the potential of substantially advancing amphibious warfare tactics.
Fast-moving USVs could indeed lower risk and increase efficiency for a large number of missions, to include Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), countermine operations, search and rescue, electronic warfare, supply and weapons transport and amphibious assaults.
Higher tech enemy sensors and longer range surface and land-fired weapons have drastically increased the vulnerability of approaching amphibious assault operations, making them more susceptible to enemy fire; as a result, the Navy and Marines have been evolving amphibious tactics to include more dis-aggregated approaches designed to spread out an approaching force – making it more difficult for enemy weapons to attack an advancing assault.
For example, the Iwo Jima attack in the Pacific during WWII, an historic amphibious assault, involved a group of Marines approaching enemy shores in close proximity to one another; weapons, Marines, equipment and attacking infantry all came ashore in rapid succession.
Modern threats, are changing amphibious tactics to succeed against higher tech more lethal enemy weapons.
When it comes to offensive surface operations, unmanned boats could form a swarming of small attack craft designed to overwhelm and destroy enemy ships with gunfire, explosives or even small missiles
The Navy’s current inventory includes ship-to-shore amphibious craft called Landing Craft Air Cushions, LCACs, and Landing Craft Utility Vehicles, LCUs; these platforms, now being upgraded by newer transport boats able to move faster and carry more payload (such as Abrams tanks), are manned and therefore involve the use of a crew.
LCACs require a crew of 13, and LCACs use a crew of 5. New high tech LCAC replacements, called Ship-to-Shore Connectors, are already being developed and delivered to the Navy by Textron.
The Navy and ONR are already immersed in the development of a variety of USVs, including a mine-detecting Unmanned Influence Sweep System, or UISS, for the Littoral Combat Ship. The UISS is carried by a Textron-developed Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle, or CUSV.
The CUSV, in development since before 2009, can travel for more than 20-hours carrying up to 4,000-pounds at speeds of up to 20-knots, Textron information states. Also, it is engineered to withstand waves up to 20-feet.
The UISS is engineered to find and detonate undersea mines in order to save sailors and manned vessels from a potentially deadly explosion.
The Navy’s UiSS will be towed behind the unmanned vehicle and will emit sounds and magnetic signatures that mimic a ship – setting off nearby mines that listen for passing ships
The Navy is also advancing its recently christened Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, or DARPA, inspired submarine-hunting unmanned ship called Sea Hunter; the ship is built to travel up to 10,000 miles while using sonar and other sensors to locate enemy submarines. A high-frequency sonar will send acoustic “pings” into the ocean before analyzing the return signal to determine the shape, size, speed and characteristics of any undersea enemy activity.
The 135-ton ship is engineered to withstand rough seas up to Sea State 5 – or waves up to 6.5 feet.
The effort began in 2010 as an anti-submarine ship called “ASW Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel,” or ACTUV. The Sea Hunter can be controlled by a human “tele-operator” able to maneuver the ship with a joystick. Also, it is possible the Sea Hunter could be armed with lethal weapons in the future, a scenario which current Pentagon doctrine says much hinge upon a human decision-maker in the role of command and control.
The Sea Hunter can be controlled by a human “tele-operator” able to maneuver the ship with a joystick. However, the progress of the platform’s technology, and the rapid advancements of algorithms enabling greater levels of autonomy, have inspired the Navy to begin thinking about additional missions for a drone that was initially conceived as a sub-hunting vessel.
The ship is built to travel up to 10,000 miles while using sonar and other sensors to locate mines and even the quietest enemy submarines.
The Sea Hunter’s high-frequency sonar can send acoustic “pings” into the ocean before analyzing the return signal to determine the shape, size, speed and characteristics of any undersea enemy activity.
The 135-ton ship is engineered to withstand rough seas up to Sea State 5 – or waves up to 13 feet.
The 132-foot drone uses advanced hydro-acoustics, pattern recognition and algorithms for unmanned navigation to locate and shadow diesel-electric enemy submarines.
The idea is to track them, if necessary, over a period of months so they are compelled to stay away from strategically vital areas.
As technology evolves, the Navy plan is to rapidly migrate the system from something that is tele-operated to something that can increasingly perform a wider range of functions without needing human intervention.
If the Sea Hunter is both more autonomous and armed with lethal weapons in the future, it will be engineered to align with current Pentagon doctrine which says any use of lethal force must hinge upon a human decision-maker in the role of command and control.
The Pentagon’s research arm is also extending testing of its sub-hunting drone able to travel autonomously for up to 90 days using sensors and sonar technology to search for enemy submarines and other airborne and undersea threats such as mines.
Meanwhile, the Navy is also developing refueling Unmanned Surface Vehicles that are launched and recovered from a host ship. A refueling and data transfer system that is remote from the host ship and proximate to the USV operating area will allow a substantially greater fraction of a Navy USVs’ endurance to be spent on performing the mission rather than on non-mission activities associated with refueling, including transiting to and from the host ship and being deployed and recovered on the host ship.
This effort, asking industry to design, build, test and demonstrate a prototype USV to be called Offboard Refueling and Data Transfer System, or ORADTS. It will be designed to be more rugged and survivable than existing USVs and travel at longer ranges to extend mission possibilities.
This initiative represents a portion of the execution or operational manifestation of a 2007 service roadmap called “The Navy Unmanned Surface Vehicle Master Plan,” which calls for the eventual combat deployment of a broad range of USVs to include ships for countermine missions, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, Special Operations support and electronic warfare, among other things.
Plans for USVs include a small “X-class” of boats, a 7-meter “Harbor Class,” a “Snorkeler-Class” and an 11-meter “Fleet-Class” boat, the master plan states.
The currently-sought after ORADTS refueling USV is slated to be a larger “Fleet-Class” USV.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
The moral question of torture is whether it is ever appropriate in order to get information. The answer is obvious. If my grandchild were kidnapped, and the kidnapper wouldn’t talk, I would tear his eyeballs out in a second. The reason is moral. The kidnapper’s moral value is nonexistent because of what he did, while my grandchild is guiltless. Protecting the rights of a monster while endangering the innocent is the height of immorality. I don’t believe anyone who claims to be morally offended by torture, until I see him protecting a kidnapper while risking his child’s life.
But as much fun as making the moral argument is, it is minimally connected to the practical question of torture. Torture is rarely useful because you seldom know the owner of the information you need and precisely what you need to know. And if time really is of the essence, you need to be focusing on what you know.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
This one, which recently won China's National Science and Technology Progress Award, is small enough to fit on a lab work bench, making it theoretically portable enough for land vehicles and aircraft.
Said another way: it's small enough to be convenient, but powerful enough to totally down enemy electronics. A microwave weapon like this could even be fitted to a missile (like the U.S. CHAMP electronic warfare missile) or drone.
Generally, microwave weapons shut down electronic systems (even those with traditional shielding against EMP) by bombarding the target with energy pulses between 300 and 300,000 megahertz. This amount of directed energy interferes with and overloads electronic circuits, causing them to shut down. The higher the energy produced by the system, the greater the disruption (and even physical damage for some very high-powered microwave weapons) of the targeted electronic systems like engines and communications systems.
But the real combat potential of the microwave weapon comes in offense. Carried in by a stealthy drone or cruise missile, it would be able to disable sophisticated enemy defenses like SAM and anti-ship missile batteries; fry enemy radars, communications, and control systems; paralyze tank battalions; and even neutralize other EW platforms.