Syria Airstrike map Sept 24

WASHINGTON: In keeping with its increasingly aggressive behavior over the past two years, Russia is deploying lethal and long-ranged anti-aircraft defenses to keep Western forces out of three key regions: the Baltics, the Black Sea, and, now, the Levant. From where NATO’s top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove sits, the Russian forces flowing into Syria don’t look… Keep reading →

A B-1 bomber test-fires a LRASM missile, the anti-ship variant of Lockheed's JASSM

[Updated with Bryan Clark analysis] Lockheed Martin doesn’t like to say it, but their best salesman isn’t getting a bonus this year. That’s because his name is Vladimir Putin. An increasingly aggressive and well-armed Russia is clearly driving its neighbors to build up their own arsenals, and in highly specific ways. Thus the international success of… Keep reading →

A Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber being escorted away from US airspace by an F-22 in a 2007 incident.

AFA CONFERENCE: “The alarming thing,” said the commander of US Air Forces in Europe, is that the Russians are catching up. “They’ve closed the gap.” “The advantage that we had from the air I can honestly say is shrinking,” Gen. Frank Gorenc said, “not only with respect to the aircraft that they’re producing, but the… Keep reading →

A laser experiment at the Air Force Research Laboratory

TYSON’S CORNER: All branches of the military really want laser weapons. But they don’t all want them for the same missions. What struck me after a recent conference here was how differently the US Air Force is approaching lasers. The USAF is pursing a two-pronged approach: They want to mount lasers on both the large… Keep reading →


Russia casts a long shadow nowadays, especially if you’re a neighbor. Armed with heavy tanks, jet fighters, long-range missiles, and the world’s slickest state-sponsored cyber-criminals, Russia is a very different threat from the so-called Islamic State, the Taliban, or even China. So how must the US and its NATO allies change gears, mindset and tactics to cope?… Keep reading →

Russian "Beech" surface-to-air missile launcher.

[UPDATED 2:10 pm with comment from President Obama & Pentagon spokesman Kirby] Western media are hardly going easy on Russia. But in all the often-excellent coverage I’ve read so far of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster – which claimed 295 lives – no one* is pointing out two basic facts that point towards Russia and… Keep reading →

Call it Somalia on steroids. Call it Syria next week. Either way it’s a scenario the US military needs to prepare for: an intervention into a failing state where rival factions have looted a sophisticated arsenal, from tanks to shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to weapons of mass destruction.

There’s no political will in Washington to intervene (directly) in the Syrian conflict as it now stands. The military cost of breaking down Syria’s defenses outweighs the political benefit of stopping the killings. But if the Assad regime imploded — and it’s under greater pressure ever day — that equation would change: The Syrian defenses would become less coordinated and formidable, though still dangerous, while the pressure on the US to act, if only to secure the regime’s chemical weapons, would rise sharply. Keep reading →