Defense Briefing Friday

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged for the first time Thursday that the U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State are benefiting Syrian President Bashar Assad — highlighting a strategy that sources close to the White House say was hotly contested by some of President Obama’s national security advisers. – Washington Times

An American drone strike killed at least six militants early Thursday in the South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, a senior Pakistani security official said. – New York Times

American airstrikes have killed thousands of Islamic State terrorists and destroyed scores of vehicles and buildings, but the administration acknowledges it’s still losing the information war. – Politico

The U.S. military has begun classifying its summaries of the Afghan national security forces’ capabilities, an action which denies the public insight into their readiness as the U.S. withdraws most of its troops by year end, according to a government watchdog. – Bloomberg

Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates ripped Washington on Thursday over sequestration budget caps, saying Congress’ inability to reach a budget compromise was causing “grave damage” to the US military, homeland security and other essential government operations. – Defense News

The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer is meeting with a leading industry group and several top defense CEOs over the weekend to talk through his latest acquisition reform initiative. – Defense News

In the conference room where the F-35 program makes its biggest decisions two signs mark the wall. They count down the days to Initial Operational Capability of the F-35 for the Marines and for the Air Force: 244 days for the Marines and 641 for the Air Force. While the Marine date is still doable — though Bogdan concedes it will be tight — the Air Force date is the most threatened. – Breaking Defense

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s latest contract for 43 F-35 fighters has a value of about $4.55 billion, with prospects for a deal for as many as 153 more aircraft about a year from now, according to the Pentagon. – Bloomberg

The Pentagon has signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the eighth lot of F135 engines to power the F-35 joint strike fighter. – Defense News

Today’s U.S. power-projection forces, and those currently planned for the future, will not be able to operate effectively or efficiently against anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) weapons and doctrine being developed by China and other adversaries, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) that details a new approach to defense strategy known as Third Offset. – Aviation Week

Military facilities around the U.S. are on alert, urging troops and their families to take precautions amid continued threats of violence from the Islamic State group. – Military Times

The Navy is upgrading its suite of electronic warfare technology currently on surface ships across the fleet in order to keep pace with emerging threats, service officials said. – DOD Buzz

The Antares rocket destroyed in a fireball off a Virginia launchpad could speed efforts by the U.S. space industry to end its reliance on Russian-made engines, Boeing Co. (BA)’s defense chief said. – Bloomberg

[Video Interview]: The National Interest’s Managing Editor, Harry J. Kazianis, spoke with James Jay Carafano, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, on the size of the defense budget – The National Interest

Top military leaders in the Pentagon and in the field are growing increasingly frustrated by the tight constraints the White House has placed on the plans to fight ISIS and train a new Syrian rebel army. – The Daily Beast

Foreign Armies

British Defence Minister Michael Fallon said Thursday he raised a $12 billion fighter jet deal being negotiated by French company Dassault during talks with his Indian counterpart. – AFP

A Chinese intelligence unit carried out a massive cyber espionage program that stole vast quantities of data from governments, businesses and other organizations, security analysts who uncovered the operation said Thursday. – Washington Free Beacon

China’s submarine fleet made its first known trip into the Indian Ocean, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. A Chinese attack submarine passed through the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia with sightings near Sri Lanka and the Persian Gulf. – Defense Tech

Lebanese troops detained 50 people in raids on towns and Syrian refugee camps in the north of the country, the army said on Thursday, part of a security crackdown after battles with Islamist gunmen over the weekend. – Reuters

Norway’s prime minister says her country will send 120 soldiers this year to join the international campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and help train local troops there. Another 75 Norwegian soldiers will go to Afghanistan next year. – Associated Press

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey gave mixed reviews Thursday to the progress made by U.S. and Iraq forces in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). – Military.com

Bombing runs by the Syrian air force over the past 10 days have killed at least 221 civilians, a third of them children, a group monitoring Syria’s civil war said on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S. military leaders want to expand the advise-and-assist mission into Iraq’s Anbar province and put combat advisers on the ground to help support the fight against Islamic State militants. But that won’t happen until they get support from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. – Military Times

More than 1,000 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has so far been unchanged by airstrikes against the Islamic State and efforts by other countries to stem the flow of departures, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials. – Washington Post

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tuesday Defense Briefing

The cost of the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is crossing the $1 billion mark, according to a group that tracks federal spending. – The Hill

Lockheed Martin has reached an agreement with the Pentagon to procure the eighth lot of F-35 joint strike fighters, including the first stealthy jets for Israel and Japan. – Defense News

Swarms of highly intelligent militarized robots are predicted to hit the battlefield in the near future and could spark a modern day arms race, according to a report released Monday by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). – Washington Free Beacon

The US government helped facilitate the sale of $34.2 billion worth of defense equipment to allies during fiscal 2014, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on Monday, a slight uptick from the roughly $30 billion in sales in 2013. – Defense News

The Navy’s recent decision to swap two scheduled aircraft carrier deployments revealed a problem plaguing the service: After years of conflict in the Middle East, its aging fleet of warships has been overtasked and under-cared for, leading to a growing maintenance backlog that threatens its ability to respond to future threats. – Virginian Pilot

The Navy is outfitting a prototype Virginia-class attack submarine platform with a series of upgrades designed to improve sonar detection and make boats less detectable and more stealthy. – Defense Tech

Foreign Armies

Talks are gathering pace on the sale of Indian naval patrol vessels to Vietnam, an Indian official said, the first significant military transfer to Hanoi as it improves its defenses in the South China Sea where it is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China. – Reuters

Pakistan’s army says its jets have killed at least 18 militants as part of an ongoing offensive to eliminate militants’ hideouts and ammunition stockpiles in the Khyber tribal region. – Associated Press

Rafael Ltd. is developing ship-based versions of Iron Dome, the system credited with intercepting nearly 90 percent of the thousands of Gaza-launched rockets designated as direct threats to the Israeli home front in last summer’s 50-day war. – Defense News

Hezbollah has won grudging respect, even from some foes, for its tenacious guerrilla campaigns against Israel. But now Lebanon’s most powerful military organization is losing its aura of invincibility. – Washington Post

Poland is planning a major realignment of its military structure because of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, the country’s defense minister said Monday, a move that could shift thousands of troops to its eastern border. – Associated Press

French shipbuilder DCNS is awaiting the government’s decision on whether to deliver a Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia, but the company has not drawn up contingency plans for the warship, Chairman Hervé Guillou said Monday. – Defense News

The man steering a revived Royal Navy is Adm. Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord, who has made capability and readiness his mantra and increased cooperation with the US a top priority. – Defense News

The War

Islamist insurgency Boko Haram has kidnapped scores of mostly young people in Nigeria over the past week, part of a forced-recruitment campaign that is escalating even as the government says it is in peace talks with the group. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

France’s defense minister on Monday criticized the slow deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Mali’s volatile northern region, saying the delay had encouraged a fresh wave of Islamist militant attacks there. – Reuters

South Sudan government forces and rebel troops clashed in oil-rich Unity State on Monday, President Salva Kiir said, days before the two sides are to hold talks to end a 10-month conflict that has ravaged the world’s youngest nation. – Reuters

The killing last Thursday of eight Shia Muslims in the southwestern city of Quetta also prompted an uncomfortable question: Is Pakistan poised to become the next target for militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly known as Isis? – Financial Times

Four Taliban insurgents dressed in police uniforms stormed government offices in the northern provincial capital of Kunduz on Monday, killing eight people and wounding 10 others amid a sustained offensive that has put residents and the security forces under siege. – New York Times

The Lebanese army took the last position held by Islamist militants in the northern city of Tripoli on Monday, ending two days of battles that marked some of the worst fighting to spill over into Lebanon from the Syrian civil war next door. – Reuters

Jordanian security forces arrested influential al Qaeda spiritual guide Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi on Monday on suspicion of fomenting terrorism on the Internet, security sources said. – Reuters

A Saudi court in Riyadh on Monday sentenced three lawyers to up to eight years in jail after they criticized the Ministry of Justice on Twitter. The lawyers were also hit with travel bans of varying lengths and an indefinite ban on appearing in the media or using social networking websites. – WSJ’s Middle East Real Time

Fighting in central Yemen between Shiite Houthi rebels and an influential tribe in the town of Radda killed at least 250 people over three days of clashes, security officials said Monday. – Associated Press

The Islamic State has put in place a far-reaching and well-organized system for recruiting children, indoctrinating them with the group’s extremist beliefs, and then teaching them rudimentary fighting skills. The militants are preparing for a long war against the West, and hope the young warriors being trained today will still be fighting years from now. – Foreign Policy

Two car bombings in Iraq, including one where a suicide attacker drove a Humvee into a checkpoint manned by Iraqi troops and pro-government Shiite militiamen, killed at least 38 people Monday, authorities said. – Associated Press

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda entered Idlib in northern Syria on Monday and opened up a new front in a city that has been controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for more than a year, both sides said. – Reuters

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Monday Defense Briefing

Top U.S. military planners want to expand the limited advise-and-assist mission in Iraq and are talking to allied partner nations about potentially putting non-American troops on the ground to help support the fight against Islamic State group militants, according to several military officials. – Military Times

As the counteroffensive against the Islamic State enters a more aggressive phase in Iraq, allied airstrikes will also intensify. American officials say they fully expect that the push will bring out more proof of the jihadists’ antiaircraft abilities, with potentially serious consequences for how the Iraqis and their coalition partners wage their war. – New York Times

Elite Army Green Berets are knocking the performance of the Afghan National Army, telling war tales of its soldiers hiding and quitting the fight. – Washington Times

The odds of rolling back the sequester are improving with the fight against Islamic militants and the possibility that Republicans will control the Senate, budget experts and defense firm analysts say. – The Hill

If sequestration budget cuts remain in effect, the Army will take a $14 billion hit in 2016, jeopardizing modernization and its ability to respond to a major conflict, Army officials told reporters Friday. – Defense News

The US military must prepare for murky, undeclared wars in which foreign entities use proxy insurgencies against established governments, typified by Russia and Iran, US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) writes in a new white paper. – Defense News

The civilian team at the top of the Pentagon’s acquisition structure is charging in several directions at once, pushing initiatives aimed at revamping how the building thinks through technology development, shares those burdens with allies and finds the next leap-ahead capability. – Defense News

Before the Navy’s oldest active aircraft carrier docks for a 16-month maintenance period, it’s helping other ships get ready for deployment, and next month, will host the first landing of the F-35C on a carrier. – Stars and Stripes

The U.S. commander in South Korea on Friday praised the vital close air support role performed by the A-10 Thunderbolt in deterring North Korean aggression but backed the Air Force decision to retire the aircraft. – DOD Buzz

For the first time, one Navy ship shot down a simulated cruise missile — two of them in a row, actually — that its own radars couldn’t see, relying entirely on data relayed from another vessel – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Navy is starting early preparation work to design a new nuclear attack submarine to replace the Virginia-class boats (SSN-774) in the 2030s. The new attack boat would become operational in 2044 after the last Block VII Virginias are built. – USNI News

The Navy said it will deploy enlisted female sailors in 2016 aboard submarines with female officers already assigned to them. – Military.com

The Navy’s newest attack submarine was commissioned Saturday at Naval Submarine Base New London, where 2,400 guests gathered to welcome USS North Dakota to the fleet and salute its crew. – Associated Press

James Jay Carafano writes: Americans don’t want the world’s cheapest military. They want a military that can defend their interests and deliver a dollar of capability for a dollar invested. That’s the standard our government should aim to achieve. – The National Interest

The War

A dozen Nobel Peace Prize laureates are urging President Obama to make “full disclosure to the American people of the extent and use of torture” by the United States, including the release of a long-delayed Senate report about the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism suspects after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. – New York Times

At first glance, the attack outside a Queens department store seemed simply the act of a deranged man acting alone. But to a growing number of local and national law-enforcement officials, the attack represented terrorism inspired by extremist websites and social media that exhorts alienated people to take up the cause with acts of violence. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Sunday described the threat of lone wolf terrorists as “huge,” and getting worse. – The War

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein warned on Sunday that police and military personnel should be “on guard” for lone wolf attacks inspired by Islamic jihad. – The War

Aly Salem writes: Unfortunately, you can’t kill an idea with a bomb, and so Islamism will continue to propagate. Muslims must tolerate civilized public debate of the texts and scripture that inform Islamism. To demand any less of us is to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Foreign Armies

India has chosen to buy anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, rejecting a rival US offer, as the right-wing government clears projects worth $13.1 billion to modernize its aging military, official sources said Sunday. – AFP

China’s growing fleet of nuclear-missile submarines poses a delicate question: Can a highly centralized communist system entrust a submarine commander to carry nuclear weapons far from China’s shores? – Wall Street Journal

Japan’s response to Chinese anti-access/area-denial threats rest on three planks: increasingly large helicopter carriers, next-generation 3,300-ton Soryu-class submarines and new Aegis destroyers. – Defense News

Taiwan is moving ahead with plans to build its own submarines, with an initial design to be completed by the year-end, after lengthy delays in getting eight vessels under a 2001 U.S. defense deal and as China’s navy expands rapidly. – Reuters

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friday Defense Briefing

Air and missile strikes in Syria by the United States and its allies over the last month have killed more than 500 extremist fighters as well as at least 32 civilians, a Syrian monitoring group said on Thursday. – New York Times

The administration’s strategy to train Syrian rebels to defend, but not seize, territory from Islamic State militants is facing stiff resistance from America’s partners in the Syrian opposition. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable

Is the United States killing enough Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants? It may be a macabre question but it is also a necessary one, according to some defense experts. They wonder whether the military efforts by the U.S.-led coalition, especially those centered on the Syrian border town of Kobani, are inflicting enough damage to counter-balance an influx of ISIS fighters into the area. – The Hill

The American military campaign against the Islamic State has begun to cut into the Sunni militant group’s substantial oil revenues, the top counterterrorism official at the Treasury Department said on Thursday, but starving its cash flow will be a slow process. – New York Times

The return of Marines to Beirut as full-time embassy guards for the first time in more than 30 years is a notable milestone for those who fought to maintain stability in Lebanon, a country oft-wracked with religious and ethnic tensions. – Military Times

A prestigious defense review panel has warned that the U.S. government must “sound an alarm” to build public support among the American people for increased defense spending. – Medill News Service

Airborne intelligence has arguably given the U.S. military an advantage over adversaries on the ground during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Pentagon will continue to rely on high-tech sensors and cameras mounted on drones high above the battlefield for years to come, according to Andrew Hunter, the head of the Defense Department’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell. – Defense One

Last year, the Navy extended the deployment for Norfolk-based USS Kearsarge as hot spots in the Middle East and northeast Africa grabbed headlines. On Wednesday, the Navy’s top admiral congratulated the crew for a job well done while vowing to end those lengthy stays at sea. – Daily Press

“No one should be sleeping comfortably at night,” Rear Adm. Dave Johnson warned Navy submariners and contractors today. For the fleet’s top priority program, the replacement for the aging Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine, fiscal 2015 “is a crucial year,” the Program Executive Officer for all submarine programs said this morning. – Breaking Defense

With the first of its 631 later-model Lockheed Martin F-16s now being fitted with an automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS), the U.S. Air Force is studying an upgrade path to add the safety device to more than 300 earlier build, non-digital fighters operated by the Air National Guard. – Aviation Week

The latest milestone in the F-35A program belongs to airmen on the ground. The first operational weapons load crew with the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit qualified on the aircraft during a load Oct. 10 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the base announced this week. The airmen, crew chief Staff Sgt. Zachary Watts and Airmen 1st Class Robert Hughes and Reece Zoller, completed the training munitions load after technical training and load training at the base. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy is preparing its first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye squadron for a maiden deployment next year after declaring initial operational capability (IOC) Oct. 10 for the first five of the carrier-based airborne command-and-control aircraft. – Aviation Week

Sub designers are puzzling out how to fit enlisted women into the berthings on the Virginia-class attack submarines already in the force. – Military Times

General David Deptula, USAF (Ret.) writes: Given the national-security implications and taxpayer benefits, it’s hard to imagine why the Air Force would continue to keep U.S. engine manufacturers and rocket providers off the launchpad. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The United States is damaging stability in the Asia-Pacific region by positioning a missile defense radar in Japan, China said on Thursday. – Reuters

The War

From 44 on down, U.S. officials have long expressed worry about “lone wolf” attacks motivated by extremist ideology, a lower-level sequel to 9/11. That concern is heightened after what happened in Canada. – USA Today

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Thursday that the shooting at Canada’s parliament building was a “reminder” of the threat of homegrown terrorism. – The Hill’s Floor Action

The use of female troops inside the highest-security unit at Guantanamo Bay is sparking protests by prisoners. – Associated Press

Former Senator Joseph Lieberman and Christian Beckner write: Given the continuing threat that ISIS and al Qaeda pose to the homeland, and in light of the murderous ISIS-inspired attacks in Canada, the Obama administration should make this strategy a priority. That would help the U.S. combat the spread of a violent Islamist ideology, and reduce the threat of homegrown terrorist attacks in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.) and Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) write: The world has changed dramatically since the Cold War when we began our military service, and so have the threats confronting our nation. That’s why we must employ all the means of American influence and power, including strong and effective foreign aid. We’re confident the return on that investment is an essential contribution to our national security. – The Daily Caller

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday Defense Briefing

Air strikes by U.S.-led forces have killed 521 Islamist fighters and 32 civilians during a month-long campaign in Syria, a monitoring group which tracks the violence said on Thursday. – Reuters

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters took possession of a stray bundle of U.S.-airdropped weapons and other supplies in the Syrian border town of Kobani earlier this week. – The Hill

A Marine Corps quick-reaction force in the Middle East for missions such as embassy evacuations and humanitarian aid will be fully manned by Nov. 1, according to the general behind the unit’s expansion. - Bloomberg

A new generation of generals is rising in the Army. It’s a generation forced to get creative by more than a decade of ugly unconventional conflicts. It’s a generation disillusioned by the mistakes of superiors, military and civilian alike. It’s a generation willing to take on the Army’s bureaucratic culture of top-down management, which dates back to Elihu Root becoming Secretary of War in 1899. – Breaking Defense

As head of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Hilarides has come to the unpleasant realization that seemingly mundane data-collection for maintenance purposes has created vulnerabilities that could, in theory, be used to shut down key components on a sub. – Breaking Defense

As it rethinks its global posture for a possible shift to the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. Army wants to buy a new fleet of small boats and upgrade existing watercraft, an official said. – DOD Buzz

The Marine Corps is conducting ground, humidity and endurance testing on its new CH-53K Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter slated to fly next year. – Defense Tech

The US Army Stryker brigade set to begin exercises in Japan next week as part of its third stop in the Army’s Pacific Pathways rotation brought its own aviation assets to the venerable exercise for the first time. – Defense News

Interview:  Gen. Mike Hostage, the head of Air Combat Command,  has overseen the Air Force’s transition to fifth generation aircraft with the introduction of the F-22 and preparations for introduction of the F-35 fleet. – Breaking Defense

Col. Michael Rauhut, USA writes: Among the many conceptual arguments posited by the U.S. Army’s new Operating Concept (AOC), “Win in a Complex World,” one of its more practical directions is the explicit embrace of special and conventional force integration. A decade’s worth of joint, interorganizational, and multinational combat experience has validated the utility of combining special operations and conventional forces and its critical importance for success in future operational environments. – Defense One

The War

Sunni Al Qaeda militants and Shi’ite Muslim rebels have fought a bloody battle in central Yemen, tribal sources said on Wednesday, amid fears of worsening sectarian tension in the impoverished Arabian country. – Reuters

Lebanon’s army killed three men and arrested several others during a raid on an apartment containing weapons and ammunition where authorities suspected an attack was being planned, security sources said on Thursday. – Reuters

A federal appeals court Wednesday cast doubt on the government’s post-Sept. 11 effort to prosecute foreign terrorism suspects by military commissions for offenses that aren’t conventional war crimes. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The U.S. terrorism trial of suspected al Qaeda figure Abu Anas Al-Liby and accused Osama Bin Laden associate Khalid al-Fawwaz has been postponed for more than two months until Jan. 12, 2015. – Reuters

Foreign Armies

Syria’s air force has destroyed two of three warplanes reportedly seized by fighters of the Islamic State group in the north of the country, Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said. – AFP

China wants to have closer military ties with Iran, the Chinese defense minister told the visiting head of the Iranian navy on Thursday, state media reported, reaffirming diplomatic links despite controversy over Iran’s nuclear plans. – Reuters

Germany is sending a mission to northern Iraq to examine whether its military, and possibly other European nations, can expand the training of Kurdish forces battling jihadists there, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday. – New York Times

A Russian intelligence aircraft briefly crossed into NATO airspace earlier this week, the Alliance said Wednesday, a minor incident that nonetheless highlights the current tension between Russia and Western Europe. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Poland wants to buy cruise missiles from the U.S. Air Force “without delay” if the price comes down, according to a spokesman for the embassy in Washington. – Bloomberg

Large-scale NATO war games underway in Europe this week include the deployment of B-52 nuclear-capable bombers, as non-NATO member Sweden hunts for a Russian mini-submarine in its territorial waters. – Washington Times’ Inside the Ring

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wednesday Defense Briefing

Operation Inherent Resolve, the newly named war against Islamic State forces in the Middle East, has cost the U.S. government more than $424 million in 10 weeks. – WSJ’s Washington Wire

John Nagl writes: With luck, we have learned a few things from these decades of war in Iraq: that the enemy has a say about when wars end, that in the absence of American leadership such evil forces will rise to power that we get dragged back in to fix things again, that wars are messy and slow and last a long, long time. Unless we finally get it right, I expect a fourth war in Iraq. I’m not optimistic. – Foreign Policy

Fear that utility companies remain vulnerable to hackers, terrorists and natural disasters has the Pentagon pushing construction of independent power grids at military bases across the U.S., including one nearing completion here at the Marine Corps combat center. – Wall Street Journal

Boeing Co. is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force aerial tanker, adding to uncertainty about a plane that already has run up an estimated $1 billion in excess costs for the contractor. – Bloomberg

The U.S. Army’s top weapons buyer said temporary funding keeping the government open until December is actually a good thing for the service’s weapons acquisition programs. – DOD Buzz

The Navy is preparing to deploy its new carrier-launched E2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning radar aircraft designed to protect ships from enemy ships, aircraft, missiles and other threats over long distances. – Defense Tech

Foreign Armies

Senior Iraqi officials and commanders are calling for intensified U.S. airstrikes and more military aid, arguing that the 10-week-old American-led effort has been too modest to drive Islamic State fighters out of key towns and districts. – Los Angeles Times

The US State Department has cleared the sale of M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition to Iraq, according to an announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). – Defense News

The Indian Defense Ministry — faced with a shortage of ammunition for its Russian-made T-90 tanks, coupled with an inability to produce ammunition at home — has no choice but to give in to Russian terms and purchase marked-up ammo from Moscow, an MoD source said. – Defense News

The Syrian air force carried out more than 200 air strikes around the country in the past 36 hours, a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday, a rapid increase in government raids as U.S.-led forces bomb Islamist insurgents elsewhere. – Reuters

Japan’s Ministry of Defense claims incursions into its airspace by Russian jets have doubled in the past six months. – Washington Times

Taiwan serves as a “pivot point” from a geostrategic perspective and a cornerstone for Asia-Pacific regional stability, Taiwan’s Navy chief warned last week. – Defense News

Japan said on Tuesday it would hold a bilateral military exercise with the United States in November to ensure smooth joint operations between the two countries’ militaries and bolster island defense capabilities. – Reuters

South Korea and the U.S. will this week set out conditions for Seoul to take control of its military in the event of war on the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s vice defense minister said. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The War

The slow-footed federal response to Ebola shows that the United States would be overwhelmed by a biological attack, experts warn. – The Hill

At least one bundle of U.S. weapons airdropped in Syria appears to have fallen into the hands of ISIS, a dangerous misfire in the American mission to speed aid to Kurdish forces making their stand in Kobani. – The Daily Beast

Online hosts could refuse to take accounts with Islamic State, or ISIS, and other names popular among terrorists and their supporters. Until steps like that are taken, we can expect to see brave men and women in Libya and elsewhere pay with their lives for using social media. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tuesday Defense Briefing

US forces have conducted more than 135 airstrikes against IS in the area around Kobani over the past week, claiming to have killed hundreds of IS fighters in the process, but have not been able to break the stalemate between the attacking forces and the Kurdish fighters holding the town, which sits up against the Turkish border. There’s little chance that the operation will sit well with Turkish authorities, who have long battled with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party, whom the Turkish government claims is fighting in Kobani. – Defense News

The War

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) oil production is estimated to be worth $800 million per year, according to a new analysis. – The Hill

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday there is no evidence the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has acquired warplanes or pilots capable of flying them. – The Hill

The U.S. State Department has cleared a $600 million sale of 46,000 120-millimeter armor-piercing tank rounds for the Iraqi Army’s M1A1 Abrams tank fleet. – Defense One

Militants unleashed a flurry of deadly attacks against Shiite targets in Iraq on Monday, including a quadruple car bombing near two of the holiest shrines in Shiite Islam and a suicide attack inside a mosque, officials said. – New York Times

Islamic State fighters launched a series of attacks against Peshmerga positions across northern Iraq on Monday, the Iraqi Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Britain said on Tuesday it was authorizing armed and unarmed drones to fly surveillance missions over Syria “very shortly” in order to gather intelligence on Islamic State (IS) militants. – Reuters

A Saudi detainee who has been held for more than 12 years without trial at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, should be repatriated, a military parole-style board said in a statement on Monday. – New York Times

The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims. – New York Times

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday Defense Briefing

The commander of the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sought to manage expectations Friday in his first press briefing since military action began in August. – The Hill

An assessment of the damage done by airstrikes against an al Qaeda cell in Syria remains a “work in progress,” the head of U.S. Central Command said Friday. – The Hill

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked his military chiefs and service-branch secretaries to look into questions about the medical care and treatment of about 20 service members who were exposed to chemical weapons during the Iraq war, a senior defense official said Friday. – Associated Press

Gen. Joseph Dunford, who led coalition military forces in Afghanistan for most of the last two years, took over as the new top officer in the Marine Corps on Friday, replacing retiring Gen. James F. Amos in a ceremony on the lush green lawn at Marine Barracks Washington. – Washington Post’s Checkpoint

The head of US Air Force Global Strike Command wants the service to consider installing new engines on its aging B-52 fleet, but budget realities could intervene. – Defense News

Andrew Marshall — a Pentagon institution who influenced policy makers from the Cold War to today — has signaled his intention to step down in January, according to sources. – Defense News

The War

Attorneys for a hunger-striking detainee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said in court filings Friday that the manner in which military officials are force-feeding their client is akin to “torture” and a federal judge should order them to use what they view as more humane practices. – Washington Post

The Army Research Lab and the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) have just wrapped up a critical new test of small ground and air unmanned assets aimed at detecting improvised explosive devices in culverts in subterranean environments, and officials say the experiment represents a new way for the DoD to collaborate with industry on innovative new products. – Defense News

Foreign Armies

India’s homemade subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay, capable of carrying a nuclear payload and considered similar to the US Tomahawk cruise missile, was test-fired for the second time Friday from the missile testing center in the eastern state of Odisha. – Defense News

South and North Korean troops exchanged gunfire across their tense border on Sunday, even as the South reaffirmed its desire to hold high-level talks with the North. – New York Times

South Korea is threatening to break an agreement with BAE Systems to upgrade its fleet of KF-16s, opening a window of opportunity for competitor Lockheed Martin to reclaim its dominance in the lucrative F-16 upgrade market. – Defense News

Japan will send officials to North Korea for an update on the reclusive country’s investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens abducted decades ago to train spies, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday. – Reuters

Taiwan’s navy successfully test-fired two anti-ship missiles from a submarine, in the first such exercise since the weapons were acquired from the United States, local media reported Sunday. – AFP

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friday Defense Briefing

Something surprisingly unusual will take place at the Pentagon Friday. The general directing U.S. operations against the Islamic State will brief reporters for the first time since U.S. bombs started falling on Iraq and Syria — and for the first time in his entire tenure overseeing the military command in charge of the Middle East. – Foreign Policy’s The Complex

The top U.S. Army commander in Europe said Thursday he was concerned by an “acceleration” in the recruitment of Europeans by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). – The Hill

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group reported for duty on Wednesday in the Middle East, where it will take over from the George H.W. Bush, which has been heavily engaged in the bombing campaign against Islamic militants. – Stars and Stripes

The US Navy’s senior leadership briefed top Pentagon officials Oct. 6 on proposals for a new Small Surface Combatant (SSC), but no decisions have been made, said the US military’s top spokesman. – Defense News

The Pentagon’s long-awaited deal with Pratt & Whitney to build the seventh low-rate production lot of F135 engines for the multinational F-35 fighter has finally been signed, though officials have not yet outlined a clear path forward to address the design issue that led to an engine fire that grounded the fleet of single-engine aircraft this summer. – Aviation Week

Gen. Joe Dunford will become the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps on Friday during a formal ceremony held at Marine Barracks Washington. – Military Times

How the Army fits into the changing world of the U.S. military as it draws down in Afghanistan and shifts its focus to the Navy-heavy Asia-Pacific region has been a much-debated question. Here’s how the Army plans to move forward – National Journal

The Army has found enough friends on Capitol Hill to fund a fourth brigade of double V-hull (DVH) eight-wheeled Stryker vehicles, service officials said. Without that order, most work on the vehicle would come to a halt in 2017, according to Army officials. – Defense News

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has been declared to be operational, meaning that deployment training for the US Navy’s newest airborne warning and control aircraft can begin in earnest. – Defense News

“Electronic warfare is a weapon,” fumed Col. Joe Dupont. But as the Army’s project manager for EW programs — and its recently declassified offensive cyber division — Dupont faces an uphill battle against tight budgets and Army culture to make that case. – Breaking Defense

Raytheon is testing a new laser-guided 155mm artillery shell which adds laser-designation to GPS guidance in order to provide more targeting options and better pinpoint targets on-the-move, company officials said. – DOD Buzz

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) writes: China’s own Mahanian-drive for naval power to challenge U.S. and allied forces across its near-seas demands that we consider cross-domain opportunities to sustain access along the Asian archipelago. As Secretary Hagel has noted, the Army has a real opportunity to lead this mission. – The National Interest

The War

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of 43 or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. – McClatchy

The military now has female soldiers escorting former CIA captives around Guantánamo’s high-value prison, an apparent personnel change that defense lawyers say is causing an uproar over religious insensitivity. – Miami Herald

At least 10 people were killed in fighting between Houthi tribesmen and militants linked to al Qaeda in central Yemen on Thursday, witnesses said, part of a growing struggle over territory and influence between the two enemy sides. – Reuters

Foreign Armies

NATO militaries must share intelligence on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to prevent “lone wolf” attacks against U.S. troops in Europe, the No. 2 U.S. Army commander in Europe said Thursday. – Military.com

Peace talks between Myanmar’s military and ethnic minority insurgents may collapse if the army scales up operations in rebel-controlled areas, an organization representing rebel groups said on Friday. – Reuters

Britain is adding Reaper remotely piloted aircraft to its forces deployed to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq, the government announced Thursday. – Defense News

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time that the militant group had taken to the air. – Reuters

Uganda will start buying weapons and other military hardware for South Sudan’s government under an agreement signed this week, sparking fears of an escalation in the nearly yearlong fighting between government forces and rebels. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Wednesday Defense Briefing

US-led aircraft will continue bombing near the Syrian town of Kobane and in western Iraq, 44 said Tuesday after talks with military leaders from an international coalition fighting the Islamic State group. – AFP

At his final AUSA conference as Army chief of staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno called on the Army to be ready for an era when the “velocity of instability is ever increasing around the world,” and that time is now. – Defense News

The U.S. Army’s top officer spoke in his strongest terms yet about the harmful effects of automatic budget cuts on the military. – Military.com

Nearly a year after the US Army canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle, officials defended the program as on-budget and called the decision to scuttle it a pragmatic move to improve further-along armored vehicle programs with available money. On Tuesday, Maj. Gen David Bassett, commander PEO Ground Combat Systems, noted that the Future Fighting Vehicle (FFV) program, a follow-on to the GCV, is largely a science-and-technology development effort, meant to help the Army explore its options while it pursues various engineering-change proposals for its existing armored vehicles. – Defense News

The Honorable Shyu, as everyone in the military calls the head of Army acquisition, is often bright, humorous and insightful. [Yesterday], she got passionate in public, clearly frustrated at the painful limits that the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration have forced her to adopt. – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Army is outfitting another one of its Stryker Brigade Combat Team with Double V-Hull vehicles to better protect them from enemy bombs. – DOD Buzz

There is no funding in the Army budget for a Humvee upgrade, Northrop Grumman officials on Tuesday presented an upgrade to the military workhorse that would lighten the truck and extend its life in the fleet. – Military.com

Now the Army is looking to field a stronger, more efficient engine for its Sikorsky Blackhawks and Boeing Apache attack helicopters, which could create a massive, multi-billion dollar competition down the road for American engine makers. – Defense One

The SB-1 Defiant, being developed by Boeing and Sikorsky for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program, is on track for first flight in fiscal 2017, executives for the companies said Tuesday. – Defense News

Bell Helicopter has added the first international partner to its V-280 Valor program to build an advanced medium-utility rotorcraft for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstration. – Aviation Week

The U.S. Army had a record year for foreign military sales, with rising demand in the Middle East and elsewhere for such weapons systems as Apache attack helicopters, as well as Patriot and Javelin missiles, a top general said. – DOD Buzz

[A]s the Army digs in for the budget fight, defense companies have used the event to pitch their products to visiting international delegations, including many from Europe. – Defense One

As the Defense Department grapples with cutbacks across its broad budget, one of the military’s premiere war colleges is feeling the pinch, with a funding drop of 29 percent in the past few years. But some critics say that even at reduced levels, professional military education is still receiving more than enough funding. – Medill News Service

The US military’s mysterious robot space plane is expected to land this week after a 22-month orbit, officials said Tuesday, but the craft’s mission remains shrouded in secrecy. – AFP

For now, what the U.S. and the world most need is credible and sufficient American military power to deter and defeat our enemies. Issuing politically correct bows against a speculative threat from climate change when ISIS is at the gates of Baghdad will only convince those enemies that we lack the will to do so. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment