Strategy & Policy

Lethal Presence

It seems like drones are everywhere in Washington. A drone landed on the White House lawn, the Federal Aviation Administration released regulations for small commercial drones in U.S. airspace, and, most recently, the State Department finally unveiled a long-awaited policy on the export of U.S.-origin military and commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), colloquially referred to as… Keep reading →

Chinese artificial island landing strip

WASHINGTON: What began with a tiny artificial island built by China to stake a concrete claim in the South China Sea is fast on its way to becoming 600 acres of at least seven islands spread across the South China Sea. One of the most impressive is so-called Fiery Cross Island, the permanent structure above complete with… Keep reading →

Amphibious operation  Exercise Cobra Gold 97

WASHINGTON: The conservative Heritage Foundation has published an ambitious Index of Military Strength, which — not surprisingly — finds that the United States military is not beefy enough to manage the many threats it faces around the world. The core finding of the well-written analysis is that the US military could handle two major theater wars… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: The Republican congressman who oversees the Navy actually likes Barack Obama’s 2016 defense budget — except for one small thing: It isn’t really a budget. “It would be almost a misnomer to call this a budget. It’s [just] numbers,” Rep. Randy Forbes told me this morning, in advance of tomorrow’s budget hearing. “If you… Keep reading →

Navy Tests Converted Guided Missile Sub

Nuclear modernization will receive at least $1.2 billion more this year than last year’s $23.5 billion if the president’s Defense Department budget request is approved. Modernization funding for nuclear weapons and their delivery systems comprise 4 percent of the defense budget and 0.6 percent of the Federal budget. These include : the Ohio-class submarine replacement program (ORP);… Keep reading →

Patriot missile launcher

WASHINGTON: It’s been a big week for arms exports. But sometimes the big story isn’t what you think. While headlines have focused on the US government’s decision to allow limited exports of armed drones, arguably the most important export policy change involved a material called gallium nitride (GaN). “The gallium nitride story is an under-reported… Keep reading →

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

WASHINGTON: After two decades of procurement disasters, the Army is finally overhauling how it buys new weapons. The service is starting with a difficult test indeed: the new light armored vehicle to provide mobile protected firepower to the 82nd Airborne and other light infantry forces — a role unfilled since the temperamental M551 Sheridan retired in… Keep reading →

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Bob Hale regularly demonstrated his better qualities during testimony before Congress, delivering highly complex facts and judgments about the Defense Department’s spending and budgets to the public with a knowing humor delivered with the sort of gravelly voice you’d expect from one of those old country lawyers.  Hale served as DoD comptroller from 2009 to 2014, and, before… Keep reading →

Missile Defense Agency photo

ARLINGTON: There’s no peace dividend in missile defense. While most types of Army units don’t deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan anymore, some scarce specialties are in increasing demand worldwide, such as special operators, division staffs, and missile defense forces like the famous Patriot. As long-range missile threats increase from Iran and North Korea, China and Russia,… Keep reading →

CENTCOM data analyzed by Breaking Defense

[UPDATED with McCain comment] The war is escalating. But what have six months of airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State actually achieved so far? Last week, Jordan launched its retaliation against the Islamic State for burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Yesterday, we learned ISIL had murdered hostage Kayla Mueller. This morning, President Obama formally proposed a… Keep reading →

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