Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

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 →

SINGAPORE (April 18, 3013) Sailors attached to Forward Liason Element, USS Freedom (LCS 1), observe Freedom as it arrives in Singapore during an eight-month deployment to Southeast Asia. Fast, agile, and mission focused, LCS platforms are designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this deployment to Southeast Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh/Released)

WASHINGTON: “I guess I’m going to have to attack your question on almost every aspect,” Adm. John Richardson told me. As an analyst, it’s unnerving to have the Navy’s top admiral tell you to your face, albeit politely, that you’re just plain wrong. (I’d politely disagree, though I did miss some important nuances in an earlier story). I had asked… Keep reading →

The Virginia-class attack submarine Minnesota (SSN 783) is under construction at at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, Nov. 1, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Newport News Shipbuilding/Released) Photo by Chris Oxley

Yesterday, the new Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, released his strategic vision for the Navy, “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority.” One of the experts we asked for insight was Bryan Clark, a retired Navy commander and former top aide to the previous CNO, Adm. Jonathan Greenert. (Clark, Greenert, and Richardson are all… Keep reading →

Sixth generationa fighter concept Northrop NGAD (1)

PALMDALE, CALIF: Northrop Grumman unveiled its vision of the so-called sixth-generation fighter, showing reporters a laser-firing aircraft that looks like a cross between the B-2 bomber and the X-47B drone. Chris Hernandez, Northrop’s vice president for research, technology and advanced design, laid out the basic parameters for the sixth-gen fighter (Northrop refers to it as NG Air… Keep reading →

The Navy's current shipboard electronic warfare system, the 1970s-vintage AN/SLQ-32 (aka SEWIP)

WASHINGTON: Our regular readers already know the bad news about electronic warfare. Russia and China are rapidly catching up to the US in jamming, spoofing, and electronic eavesdropping. Senior Pentagon officials say the technological gap between them and us is shrinking, especially on those technologies that have made the biggest difference: GPS, drones, smart weapons,… Keep reading →

The Navy's UCAS demonstrator made history as the first drone to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Its proposed successor is called UCLASS.

PENTAGON: The Navy’s new offices for unmanned systems — that’s drones or robots to you and me — are a long-overdue reform, two top experts tell us. But, as emphasized by both our outside sources and the new Navy officials themselves, it’s equally important to understand the initiative’s limits. This is not an overhaul of the… Keep reading →

Senate side of the capitol

WASHINGTON: If there’s one congressional topic that makes the senior leaders of the US military really nervous, it’s when lawmakers start talking about reapportioning power and authorities among those same top leaders. Both Armed Services committee chairmen, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Mac Thornberry, have voiced concerns about how well the last major reforms, known as… 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 →

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 →

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