Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

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 →

MDA Photo

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: Three years after the Missile Defense Agency mothballed its massive Airborne Laser, MDA is planning to reboot the concept for a new era. The old ABL was Boeing 747 with a human crew and tanks of toxic chemicals to generate power. The new idea a high-altitude, long-endurance drone armed with a more compact… 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 →


WASHINGTON: Nuclear weapons are expensive. So are the bombers, missiles, and submarines used to deliver them. But in the context of total defense spending, budget guru Todd Harrison argues, they’re a relatively affordable — and strategically critical — part of our armed forces. Even a package of radical cuts to nuclear forces — reducing submarines… Keep reading →

US Navy photo

TYSON’S CORNER: New laser technology looks promising as a way to shoot down Chinese-style massed missiles. But laser projects have overpromised and underdelivered for decades, from Reagan’s Star Wars in the eighties to the Airborne Laser, canceled in 2011. Now proponents must convince the skeptics — particularly in Congress — that this time is different. “Right… Keep reading →

Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces soldier.

WASHINGTON: How can we deter — or, in the last resort, defeat — a more assertive China? Air and naval forces may not be enough. While the US Army is ambivalent, the Japanese army may have some lessons for their ground force counterparts in America. “They’re not standing around waiting for us to do something,” Andrew… Keep reading →

Air Force artwork of a future dogfight with lasers.

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is painfully aware the world is changing. What the military’s clearly still struggling with is how we should change to cope. That’s the less-than-reassuring implication of the new National Military Strategy, released a week ago by the outgoing chairman of the joint chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey. (I discuss the strategy and its… Keep reading →

Navy cruiser Lake Erie launches SM-3 IB missile 575519537757ad8b1368733557

WASHINGTON: Sometimes success is its own punishment. Shooting down ballistic missiles is one of the Navy’s most high-tech, high-profile capabilities — and it’s one of the most popular with Congress as well. But as demand for missile defense increases at what the Chief of Naval Operations has called an “unsustainable” pace, it’s an ever-greater burden… Keep reading →

CSBA slide

Washington’s gotten used to war on easy mode. Policymakers may debate the strategic value of air campaigns in places like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, but they assume the smart bombs will hit their targets. One bomb, one target, one boom. That assumption is no longer safe, says a new study from the influential Center for… Keep reading →

Navy photo

The geostrategic sky isn’t falling because the US won’t have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf region for a period this fall. Land-based aircraft will do an excellent job of striking ISIL, analysts say, while smaller ships are better suited to combat Iran in the tight confines of the Gulf. “This is not an example of American… Keep reading →

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