China

Missile Defense Agency photo

WASHINGTON: The US Army must play a larger role in the Pacific to deter China, one of DC’s leading defense experts is telling Congress today. That larger role requires politically and fiscally difficult decisions to build new kinds of units and base them in new places, Andrew Krepinevich told me in advance of his Capitol… Keep reading →

SD spoke at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON: None of us knows many details about what’s in the last of the Obama defense budgets, but House Republicans are criticizing the sketchy outlines of the 2017 budget offered by Defense Secretary Ash Carter today. In particular, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is raising concerns that the Pentagon is not asking Congress… Keep reading →

pentagonaerial

PENTAGON: After 25 years of war in the Middle East, the Pentagon’s 2017 budget is the first driven by Russia and China. “The program has been shifted to a more acute focus on the two high-end competitors, Russia and China,” a senior defense official told Sydney in an interview ahead of Secretary Ash Carter’s budget speech this… Keep reading →

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

[UPDATED with experts’ analysis; “innocent passage” confirmed] WASHINGTON: Just two days after the head of US Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, pledged to push harder on Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within the 12 nautical mile limit around Triton Island. Situated in the Paracels, which are claimed… Keep reading →

The USS Lassen, which sailed through Chinese-claimed waters in October 2015

UPDATE: USS Wilbur sails through Paracel Islands Friday WASHINGTON: The United States will keep challenging Chinese claims in the South China Sea, the head of Pacific Command said this afternoon. Such Freedom of Navigation operations will grow in frequency, complexity, and scope, said Adm. Harry Harris. And Harris defended the first such FON operation” since 2012, last October’s cruise of the… Keep reading →

The USS Ohio being converted from a nuclear missile submarine (SSBN) to a conventional missile one (SSGN). By 2028, all four SSGNs will have retired.

[UPDATED with total hiring figures] WASHINGTON: Navy demand for submarines is so strong that sub-builder Electric Boat is betting on growth, despite the bleak budget outlook for defense in general. Connecticut congressman Joe Courtney, the top Democrat on the House seapower subcommittee, exulted in a statement this morning that his home state yard expects to add… Keep reading →

Terminator army: Warner Bros.

WASHINGTON: The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called today for an international debate about the use of intelligent weapons and of boosted human beings. “Where do we want to cross that line, and who crosses that first?” asked Gen. Paul Selva — considered one of the brainier occupants of an office that… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

CRYSTAL CITY: Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley offered insight this morning into how the leader of the largest service is racking and stacking the Four Horseman of Pentagon analysis. Miller didn’t explicitly rank them, other than repeating that Russia is Threat No. 1, but the order of danger was pretty clear: Russia, China, North Korea, and… Keep reading →

USS Independence, LCS-2

WASHINGTON: Is the Littoral Combat Ship a real warship? That question has bedeviled the small, sleek, lightly armed ships for years. Now it’s taken on new urgency as the Defense Department and the Navy both refocus on high-intensity, high-tech warfighting against “great powers” — i.e. China and Russia. Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to cut… Keep reading →

CSIS image

WASHINGTON: If the United States is serious about “rebalancing” to Asia, it needs to invest some serious cash. Strategic small change won’t deter China or reassure our increasingly anxious allies, says a new report from the influential Center for Strategic & International Studies. And that means the CSIS study’s sponsor — Congress — must get its… Keep reading →

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