Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

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 →

UUV with USS PONCE 130514-N-PX130-142

Think it’s hard to find a place to charge your smartphone at the airport? Try finding a power outlet in the ocean. Imagine you’re a robotic Navy mini-sub whose batteries are running low after a long mission monitoring, say, traffic around Chinese artificial islands in the South Pacific. Currently, you’d have to recharge at a land… Keep reading →

Air Force artwork of a future dogfight with lasers.

PENTAGON: Star Wars fans, calm down. The US Air Force wants to fire a 100-plus-kilowatt laser from a small plane. And not just any airplane, Air Force Research Laboratory officials. The last laser on an airplane — the megawatt Airborne Laser, which filled a converted 747 and cancelled in 2011 — the 2022 demonstration will be… Keep reading →

Experimental Navy laser

WASHINGTON: How do you stop 1,000 missiles? Current missile defenses can’t. They’re designed to stop a small attack from a rogue state. But even rogue states like North Korea — let alone power players like China’s Second Artillery — can now throw more missiles at us than we have interceptors to shoot them down. That’s why the military, industry,… Keep reading →

Navy rail gun test

WASHINGTON: Rail gun bullets move seven times the speed of sound. Laser beams fire at the speed of light. But Pentagon procurement? Not so fast. But with both Congress and the Navy Secretary expressing impatience, the Navy is accelerating its efforts to move both lasers and rail guns from the test phase into the fleet. “We’ve… Keep reading →

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