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WASHINGTON: Someone shoots a cruise missile at you. How far away would you like to stop it: over 200 miles out or less than 35? If you answered “over 200,” congratulations, you’re thinking like the US Navy, which has spent billions of dollars over decades to develop ever more sophisticated anti-missile defenses. According to Bryan… Keep reading →

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Imagine you’re a sniper. Imagine the bad guys are coming — but you can’t see them yet. Imagine your spotter can see them — but only because he’s miles away from where you are, with a better view. Now imagine that when you put your eye to your gunsights, you see the view through his.… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

WASHINGTON: “Unsustainable.” That’s the Navy’s own official assessment of the spending rates required to keep the fleet large and modern enough to do its missions. For the service to state this in writing ratchets up not just the rhetoric but the likelihood of future budget battles in the Pentagon and on the Hill — especially… Keep reading →

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) after Thursday evening's press conference on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015.

THE CAPITOL: “We do emphasize readiness,” Sen. Carl Levin told me. “I for one would rather have a smaller force that is ready than a bigger force that is less ready.” With those words — his parting shot as I hounded him through the Capitol’s marble halls after his official press conference yesterday on the… Keep reading →

Amendments pile up on desks at HASC #NDAA 2015 IMG_6956

CAPITOL HILL: “Given sequestration, given all the cuts…we can have a larger force or we can have a ready force,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “I’m going to choose the latter.” But the 2015 National Defense Authorization markup that the House Armed Services Committee will pass sometime tonight raids $1.4 billion from operations, maintenance, and training funds.… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes vows to preserve the USS George Washington, seen here at the center of its battlegroup

[UPDATED with details from the subcommittee mark] WASHINGTON: Just hours before the House Armed Services Committee rolls out its mark-up of the 2015 defense policy bill, the chairman of HASC’s seapower subcommittee is vowing to save the USS George Washington from early retirement and to preserve the nation’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers. [Updated: The seapower subcommittee’s… Keep reading →

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PENTAGON: “Sydney, I don’t know how to squeeze it much thinner than we have,” the Chief of Naval Operations said. Adm. Jonathan Greenert was talking about the aircraft carrier fleet, but he could have meant almost any aspect of the Navy’s 2015 budget . “It’s a confusing budget,” the admiral admitted within minutes of sitting… Keep reading →

The USS Zumwalt in the drydock at Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Even if Congress somehow rolls back sequestration, the Navy’s fiscal situation will be uncomfortably tight, like trying to steer a battleship through the Panama Canal. Under the president’s five-year budget plan — which assumes sequester away — the “real buying power” for the Navy and the Marine Corps declines after fiscal year 2016, the Navy… Keep reading →

A Standard Missile-3 Block IA is fired from the USS Lake Erie on its way to destroy a medium-range ballistic missile target using a remote cue from a satellite sensor system. [http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/sm-3/]

At 1:30 am this morning – 7:30 pm yesterday Hawaiian time — the Navy’s newest missile defense system marked its second successful shootdown in a month. Under what Lockheed Martin called an “operationally realistic scenario” – more on that in a moment – the USS Lake Erie picked up the target with its Aegis Ballistic Missile… Keep reading →

An artist's depiction of a Lockheed Martin LRASM (Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile) hurtling towards its target.

NATIONAL HARBOR: We all know that, since the end of the Cold War, the US military has vastly expanded its ability to precisely strike targets on the land. The dirty secret is that we’ve unilaterally disarmed our capability to strike ships at sea. The military calls this a “capability gap,” but it’s more like a… Keep reading →

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