Strategy & Policy

ULA CEO Tory Bruno Unveils Vulcan

WASHINGTON: The still-newish CEO of the United Launch Alliance, Tory Bruno, faces tough questions from his board of directors. He faces tough questions from the House and the Senate about his use of Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines. But his biggest short-term problem — being allowed to use enough RD-180 engines to get his company from here to… Keep reading →

101119-N-2232G

UPDATE: Exclusive McCain Comment; Senate Staffer Chides White House For Inaction WASHINGTON: In a dramatic example of the increasing friction in the Spratly Islands between China, the United States and most of China’s neighbors, the US Navy today released a video of a P-8 surveillance plane crew as the PLA Navy challenges it while the plane… Keep reading →

Frank Kendall

TYSON’S CORNER: Dear Senator McCain, we need to talk — sincerely, Frank Kendall. The Pentagon’s top buyer made clear today that he doesn’t know nearly enough about McCain’s ambitious acquisition reform plan, and some of what he does know makes him nervous. In particular, Undersecretary Kendall said, he doesn’t want the four service chiefs — the Army… Keep reading →

Chinese artificial island landing strip

UPDATE: CSIS’ Mira Rapp-Hooper Praises Move CAPITOL HILL: The Pentagon wants to help our friends in the Pacific. It’s a core mission given America’s pivot back to the Pacific. But it’s hard to do. You can help their forces train with Foreign Military Financing, but it takes two years or so to get something going, and who gets what is really decided by the State… Keep reading →

Lesser prairie chicken and House NDAA 2016

WASHINGTON: Since everyone is exhausted after the final passage of the House version of the annual defense policy bill, let us offer a note of whimsy, nay, even humor, to help lift everyone’s spirits after the unusually depressing saga of watching Democrats and Republicans largely just stand on the floor and bash each other. Let us… Keep reading →

John McCain

WASHINGTON: The Navy won and the Air Force lost in the markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sens. John McCain and Jack Reed presided over the SASC markup of the defense policy bill, cutting $860 million from three Air Force programs — including the two of the service’s top three priorities — and moving the money… Keep reading →

Gen. Mark Milley

WASHINGTON: Who is Army Gen. Mark Milley? A lot of the Washington sources we rely on didn’t know him. But the administration’s choice for a new Army Chief of Staff is a “soldier’s soldier” who’s spent more time in Afghanistan than inside the Beltway. Proven warriors don’t always do well in DC: Budget battles require… Keep reading →

Map of Djibouti and surrounding area

WASHINGTON: China is pushing hard for either special port access or basing rights in the former French colony of Djibouti, a key center where US and French special operations forces operate from against terrorism in both Africa and the Middle East. I confirmed with a senior allied official today that China is seriously pursuing a favored… Keep reading →

Experimental Navy laser

WASHINGTON: How do you stop 1,000 missiles? Current missile defenses can’t. They’re designed to stop a small attack from a rogue state. But even rogue states like North Korea — let alone power players like China’s Second Artillery — can now throw more missiles at us than we have interceptors to shoot them down. That’s why the military, industry,… Keep reading →

Missile Defense Agency photo

WASHINGTON: North Korea can’t nuke the US, not yet. But boy dictator Kim Jong-un already has about a thousand ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korea and, in some cases, Japan. Most are Scud-like weapons with conventional explosives but a few might be nuclear-tipped. Against a large-scale launch, former Pentagon strategist Van Jackson said this morning, the missile… Keep reading →

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