Archive for the ‘US Defense Policy’ Category

Naval War College Professor Updates Congress on China’s Military Capabilities

March 1, 2017

An expert on the faculty of U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island, updated Congress on China’s current military capabilities, possible intentions, and what he sees as the future options in the region at a governmental committee meeting, Feb. 23.

Andrew S. Erickson, professor of strategy at NWC in the China Maritime Studies Institute testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington.

“My key points are, with its ambitious ASBM (anti-ship ballistic missile) development, China is challenging U.S. Asia-Pacific interests and military influence in new ways,” said Erickson. “This is part of a much larger Chinese counter-intervention effort that is advancing significantly regardless of precise ASBM capabilities or limitations. While China’s missiles pose potential challenges to U.S. forces, ensuring that they can be targeted effectively is expensive and creates growing space-based electromagnetic spectrum vulnerabilities that can be exploited.”

The hearing was co-chaired by Carolyn Bartholomew and Sen. James Talent of Missouri.

Erickson went on to say select regions are particularly active for the Chinese military right now.

“In what it (China) considers the near seas (the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and the South China Sea), Beijing enjoys powerful synergies and advantages vis-a-vis the disputed sovereignty claims it pursues there,” Erickson testified, “increasingly in defiance of regional stability and international laws and norms, and supported by precision-targeted systems designed to challenge American sea control and make American intervention risky.”

The panel was titled “China’s Hypersonic and Maneuverable Re-Entry Vehicle Programs” and also included James Acton, co-director of Nuclear Policy Program and senior fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Mark Stokes, executive director, Project 2049 Institute.

In closing, Erickson gave USCC some direction on where U.S. policy might go next.

“U.S. policy makers should enhance efforts at developing tailored countermeasures, particularly concerning electronic warfare,” Erickson said. “[The U.S. should also] attempt to ensure that China doesn’t develop Scarborough Shoal into a key targeting node in the South China Sea, and increase U.S. Navy ship numbers to avoid presenting China with an over-concentrated target set.”

Video of the event is available at

The USCC was created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.

Can the US Afford its Military? Some Say No

February 18, 2009


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With the combined cost of the economic stimulus package and the Wall Street bailout now projected by some estimates to top $2 trillion, and the federal deficit spiraling, U.S. officials are fretting that current levels of defense spending may be unsustainable. [ FULL STORY ]

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Obama Ready for Arms Control Talks With Russia

February 16, 2009

What is Barack Obama’s foreign and defense policy really about? Read the facts in Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly: Vol. IX, Nr. 1 (Winter 2009)

The Obama administration plans to negotiate an unprecedented strategic nuclear arms reduction initiative with Moscow. The drastic proposal, greeted by Russia, may result in cutting the American and Russian nuclear stockpiles by some 80 percent to 1,000 warheads each. [ FULL STORY ]

US Airspace Vulnerable, Warns GAO

February 12, 2009

Air Sovereignty Alert at Risk: Eleven of the 18 sites across the nation at which the Air Force maintains fighter aircraft on 24-hour alert to protect US airspace “could be without viable aircraft by 2020,” if their legacy F-15s and F-16s are not replaced within the next few years, the GAO warns in a new report.

Also disconcerting is GAO’s assessment that the Air National Guard and active duty units at 14 of these sites will have to suspend ASA operations for some time between 2010 and 2020 as their legacy aircraft reach the end of their service life or as they transition to new fighters, writes Air Force Magazine.

While it may not solve the issue, GAO says formally elevating ASA to a steady-state mission may help to alleviate some of the personnel and equipment issues facing the units that are consistently executing the mission today in addition to their expeditionary rotations. This is something the Air Force tells GAO it hasn’t done yet because it is focused on other priorities such as overseas military operations, writes Air Force Magazine.

GAO also calls on NORAD to conduct routine risk assessment to determine ASA operational requirements. The fate of some Air Guard fighter units is a major looming issue for the Air Force as the service mulls phasing out many of its legacy fighters more quickly and questions still surround the ultimate size of the F-22 fleet and the production rates of the F-35. (For more, read The Hill’s report.)

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Bottom Line: USAF Needs 250 F-22 Raptors, Minimum

February 12, 2009

Not Less Than 250: That’s how many F-22s the United States needs “for the good of the nation and the world” to shore up its conventional deterrence capabilities for the next 20 years, writes Rebecca Grant in a new study she authored for the Lexington Institute.

Air Force Magazine quotes Grant as saying that the F-22 is crucial for conventional deterrence because it gives the US the ability to conduct tailored, proportional air strikes in the face of evolving threats and also to gather valuable intelligence information over defended areas that otherwise “lock out” other airborne assets.

The US would be taking a risk by halting F-22 production now and could see its policy options cramped in coming decades by the limits of its own military power, Grant says. “If the F-22 fleet remains stuck at 183 aircraft, it will put future conventional deterrence abilities at risk,” quotes Air Force Magazine.

Commanders may not have enough of them to defeat threats with confidence and “the overall life of the fleet would be used up years before it should be, due to heavy tasking,” she states.

The Obama Administration has until March 1 by law to inform Congress whether it intends to keep Raptor production going beyond 183 aircraft.

Learn all about the F-22 Raptor via a breathtaking multimedia view: 21st Century U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, Next-Generation USAF Fighter Aircraft (CD-ROM)

Gen. Craddock Says: Leave Troops, Nukes in Europe

January 21, 2009

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NATO Supreme Allied Commander – Europe (SACEUR) General Bantz Craddock has endorsed recommendations by a special Pentagon commission which confirmed the need to retain US nuclear weapons in Europe.

General Craddock, who previously served as Commander, US Army Europe, also said the U.S. command needs to retain four Army brigades, instead of cutting to two as has been proposed, and needs to retain current Air Force and Navy force levels.

Read more on Gen. Craddock’s remarks at Government Executive

“Fifth Generation War”

January 18, 2009

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War has evolved rapidly in the last 100 years, prompting historians and strategists to come up with new terms for new ways of fighting. They call mechanized warfare, which originated in the early 20th century, the third “generation” of war, and ideological warfare waged by guerilla groups the fourth.

But what about guerilla-style warfare waged by non-ideological groups against traditional states — pirates, for instance, whose attacks can destabilize trade-dependent nations, but who don’t have strategic goals beyond just getting rich? Free-for-all violence, with indirect global effects, represents a fifth generation of war, according to some experts. And when it comes to defeating fifth-gen enemies, “the old rules of warfare do not apply,” declared Marine Lt. Col. Stanton Coerr, writing in Marine Corps Gazette, a professional journal.

So the U.S. military and its government partners are writing new rules, and putting them to the test on the first of the fifth-generation battlefields emerging in Africa.

Fifth-gen enemies do not have traditional “centers of gravity” — armies, governments, factories, charismatic leaders — that can be destroyed by military attacks. By their mere survival, these enemies undermine the notion that nation-states, their ideals and their economies are viable in the modern world.

Examples of emerging fifth-generation wars include: Read the entire article at World Politics Review

Navy Announces Decision on Mayport Homebasing

January 15, 2009

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Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations & Environment, B.J. Penn, signed a Record of Decision for the Mayport Homeporting Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Jan. 14.

The Navy’s decision is to implement the preferred alternative, which is to homeport a single nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport, and to complete associated infrastructure modifications. These include dredging, infrastructure and wharf improvements, and construction of CVN nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities.

“We have studied this issue very carefully and considered multiple factors,” said Donald C. Winter, Secretary of the Navy. “This allows the Navy to obtain the benefits of fleet dispersal without negatively impacting our carrier capability or operations. Homeporting a carrier in Mayport best supports the Navy’s mission and safeguards our nation’s security needs.”

Homeporting a CVN at NAVSTA Mayport reduces risks to fleet resources in the event of natural disaster, manmade calamity, or attack by foreign nations or terrorists. This includes risk to aircraft carriers, industrial support facilities, and the people that operate and maintain these crucial assets.

Mayport allows for advantages of fleet dispersal and survivability without impacting operational availability. On the West Coast, the fleet accepted some reduced operational availability associated with homeport dispersal. Ships lose operational availability during the additional transit time required to reach operational and training areas from the Pacific Northwest.

By establishing a second CVN homeport on the East Coast, the Navy gains the dispersal advantage without the increased transit time. The proximity to training areas and transit time to operating areas is about equal from Norfolk and Mayport.

West Coast CVN homeports and maintenance facilities are not viable options in planning for Atlantic Fleet CVN assets in the event a catastrophic event occurs in the Hampton Roads area. The nuclear powered aircraft carriers are too large to transit the Panama Canal, requiring a 12,700 nautical mile voyage around South America to reach the closest CVN homeport on the West Coast at NAVSTA San Diego.

The EIS examined potential environmental consequences of constructing and operating facilities and infrastructure associated with homeporting additional surface ships at NAVSTA Mayport. It assessed 13 alternatives, including a “no action” alternative. The EIS evaluated resources in the Mayport area that may be affected by the proposed action, such as air and water quality, biological resources (such as marine mammals and threatened and endangered species), land use, cultural resources, and socioeconomics. The EIS also accounted for cumulative impacts from other activities in the Mayport area.

For more information on the record of decision, go to


Is US Facing a Cyber-Disaster?

January 4, 2009

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One expert has compared the failure of the information infrastructure to the simultaneous arrival of 50 major hurricanes in terms of how disruptive it would be to the national economy.

Against this backdrop, the rapid proliferation of cyber threats and the apparent adoption by some countries of information warfare as a national strategy is very troubling. Most of the nation’s economic infrastructure, including the information grids, is privately owned, and there are legal barriers to determining precisely how vulnerable parts of it may be.

Experiments conducted by the Department of Homeland Security have demonstrated how Internet predators might penetrate utilities and shut them down Read the full upi report.

“Soft Ribs and Strategic Weaknesses”

December 18, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Chinese military strategists describe the US military dependence on space assets and information technology as a strategic weakness they mean to exploit, according to a new report (large file) from the Congressionally chartered US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report asserts that the investments China’s military is making in space and cyber operations “could provide it with an asymmetric capability enabling it to prevail in a conflict with US forces.”