Russia bombs Syrian targets

President Francois Hollande of France arrives Tuesday in Washington for talks with President Obama. Top of the list will be how much America is willing to commit to destroying Daesh, the terrorist group we used to call ISIL. Robbin Laird, Ed Timperlake and Harald Malmgren explore in detail what America’s options are, what France wants and… Keep reading →

Talks with Iran on its nuclear work have continued but little progress has been made. A diplomat close to the lower-level meeting of technical experts in Istanbul last Tuesday told me “a large gap” remains between the positions of Iran and the six nations negotiating with it – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: In the budget wars between the services, “hybrid threats” and “AirSea Battle” have become rallying buzzwords of two opposing camps.

On one side, Army leaders talk of hybrid threats, whose blend of guerrilla tactics and high-tech weapons pose the greatest plausible threat on land, now that Soviet-style tank armies are extinct and the nation has largely sworn off large-scale counterinsurgency. On the other, Air Force and Navy leaders speak of AirSea Battle as a way to coordinate their expensive hardware in a high-tech war with regional powers like China or Iran. Keep reading →

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: Coping with China and Iran at the same time is stretching the Navy thin, and it will soon have to choose which theater to prioritize, warned Peter Daly, the recently retired admiral who now heads the prestigious US Naval Institute. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Iran’s threat to strangle oil tanker traffic through the Straits of Hormuz has the Navy scrambling to redress its decades-old neglect of mine warfare. Admirals from the Chief of Naval Operations on down have publicly admitted the service is not where it needs to be.

“What I find amazing is the amount of interest that’s being afforded mine warfare by the senior navy leadership,” said Scott Truver, a naval analyst and author. “It’s all due to the Iranian threat to close — if indeed it is possible to close — the Hormuz Straits.” Keep reading →

Escalating cyber threats, a struggling economy, the rise of China, and the unpredictable impact of the Arab Spring will dominate the next decade. At least, that’s the best collective guess of a conclave of academic experts, government officials, and military officers from the U.S. and abroad, convened by the United States Army. Their objective: This March the service plans to revise its Capstone Concept, issued in 2009, to outline the Army’s missions for the post-Afghanistan, post-budget-cut era. The road to that rethinking is a series of conferences and wargames called Unified Quest 2012, which kicked off at the end of October with a symposium to predict the future.

Instead of seeking – or simply imposing – a consensus around a single, supposedly authoritative vision of the world to come, the Army deliberately solicited a range of plausible “alternative futures.” “We’re not going to get 2020 right,” said Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, deputy commander for “futures” at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), which convened the conference. But, Walker went on, “if we don’t consider all the possibilities of what we might have to do for the nation and try as hard as we can to get as many diverse views as we can, then we’re guaranteeing we’ll get it wrong.” Keep reading →