Anyone who has spent much time around either submarines or the Bahamas is likely to have heard of something called AUTEC. Not many people know much about it since it involves submarines and testing to ensure the subs and their weapons work well. AUTEC’s main base is on Andros Island, a short flight from Nassau. A key part of AUTEC is its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Naval Forces Sensor and Weapons Accuracy Check Sites (FORACS), known as NFA. AUTEC was picked for its access to the Tongue of the Ocean, a remarkable site protected from the open Atlantic so ambient noise is at a minimum. Here’s the surprisingly readable and detailed entry on it from Wikipedia:

“Chosen because of its ideal natural characteristics, and its climate which permits year-round operations, the TOTO is a U-shaped, relatively flat-bottomed trench approximately 20 miles (32 km) wide by 150 miles (240 km) long with a depth which varies gradually from 3,600 feet (1,100 m) in the south to 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in the north. Its only exposure to the open ocean is at the northern end, and except for this ocean opening, the TOTO is surrounded by numerous islands, reefs, and shoals which make a peripheral shelter isolating it from ocean disturbances, particularly high ambient noise which degrades undersea tests and evaluations.” Keep reading →

The Euro crisis is not simply a financial dynamic. It is the end of a period of history,
the confluence of several trend lines: the unification of Germany, the end of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the expansion of NATO, the expansion of the European Union, and the creation of the single currency together constitute a unique period in modern European history.

The trend line was also defined by moving the borders of Europe eastward with the expectation that an expanded Europe would manage its own internal dynamics well and provide stability in an historically unstable region of the world. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →