Thursday Defense Briefing

Defense

Driven by the dual threat of operating under a continuing resolution and a potential sequestration, the U.S. Air Force has issued guidance for immediate actions to cut its budget. – Defense News

Like the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force before it, the U.S. Army chief of staff and the secretary of the Army on Jan. 16 sent a memo to their subordinates outlining drastic cost-saving measures that significantly curtail any work not directly related to the war in Afghanistan — including the reset and refit of equipment at domestic Army depots. – Defense News

Caught between a straining operations pace and continued budget woes, the surface Navy’s top boss warned Tuesday that his force of 167 ships is drifting ever closer to a readiness drop-off. – Defense News

Navy readiness is already under strain, America’s top admirals say. And looming budget cuts will only make things worse. And they are very worried — “terrified” about some effects — about just how bad this may get. – AOL Defense

A senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee has given up hope that the House can agree on anything to prevent sequestration, provide defense appropriations for the remainder of the year, or raise the debt ceiling. – AOL Defense

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta backed the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program during a visit to Italy, a country that last year announced plans to scale back its orders of the stealthy warplane due to defense spending cuts. – Defense News

The nation’s top military leaders warned Congress in unusually stark terms that its failure to pass a 2013 defense budget — coupled with the threat of automatic budget cuts — has pushed the Pentagon to the brink of a crisis. – Associated Press

Lockheed Martin sees good prospects for selling new coastal warships and helicopters it is building for the U.S. Navy to other countries, especially given a planned U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, company executives said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Missile Defense

The United States’ principal homeland missile defense program against a feared long-range attack by North Korea or Iran made little demonstrable headway last year in moving beyond a restricted capacity to defeat a small-scale threat, according to a new Pentagon report. – Global Security Newswire

Cybersecurity

In what is being called a new hunt for Red October, a Russian cyber-security company says it has discovered a major international malware system that has attacked and compromised the computers of government agencies, diplomatic consulates, research centers and defense installations, among other sensitive institutions. – Los Angeles Times

Piracy

Pirate attacks fell in 2012 to the fewest in five years due to effective antipiracy efforts, a trend offset in part by a rise in piracy in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea that threatens an important trade route for crude oil and cocoa to the U.S. and Europe. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Foreign Armies East

The early signs from the Australian military’s new strategy make it clear that this demographically tiny nation that fights far above its weight is readying itself to refocus on China and Indonesia as it prepares to cope with the end of the war in Afghanistan. – AOL Defense

Britain and Australia are set for closer ties with the signing of a formal defence and security treaty and an agreement to share diplomatic premises around the world. – Financial Times

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Wednesday with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, stressing the need to avoid force in settling regional disputes with China, even as his new foreign minister blamed Beijing for escalating tensions and pledged to reinforce the defenses of strategic areas. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

United States is set to sell 30 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Taiwan this year, along with 60 Blackhawk helicopters next year and additional Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile systems in 2015, according to Sen. James M. Inhofe, who led a congressional delegation to Taiwan last week and met with key leaders including President Ma Ying-jeou and the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Wang Jin-pyng. – Washington Times’ Inside China

United States and Japan began on Thursday the revision of defense cooperation guidelines for the first time in 15 years as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces a territorial dispute with China and North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes. – Reuters

About Courtney Messerschmidt

Is a personae for the contact, co creator, poster girl and correspondent of GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD a collective of diplopolititary junkies. A real girl, she is an annoying, arrogant, audacious, bloodthirsty, conniving, cool, cruel, deceitfully sweet, discombobulated, flirtacious, jealous, hedonistic, lazy, machiavellian, manipulative, militaristic, self absorbed, self aggrandizing, self centered, semi charmed, semi retarded, shallow, spoiled, stuck up, high maintainance ne'er do well pixie with a penchant for immense libraries, depleting strategic cash reserves and wrecking cars every 10 months. Super saavy history and current events. My superior intellect and easy going smartassticness armed with a chaotic emotion meter gave me a formidable ability to be independently dependent. Currently exiled in Hillbillyland, I wield a vocabulary far above my tiny tiny weight class and have traveled widely including Europe, the Middle East and Alabama. I like Am Ex, Carte Blanche, Discover, Mastercard, Ray Bans, Visa and devouring American Dollars in alarming quantities.
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