Chinese JH-7

WASHINGTON: Timing matters in war and diplomacy. A Chinese JH-7 pilot performed an “unsafe” maneuver in close proximity to an RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft on Sept. 15, the Pentagon confirmed today. With Chinese President Xi Jinping arriving in Seattle tomorrow, one wonders whether the pilot is being praised as a champion of Chinese sovereignty… Keep reading →

CSIS image

UPDATED: Adds House Letter To White House CAPITOL HILL: Defense officials acknowledged today that the US has not directly challenged the sovereignty of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea for at least three years. US aircraft have not flown over the artificial islets. Nor have US ships sailed within 12 nautical miles of one… Keep reading →

Ash Carter Defense Secretary

Updated with Pacific Air Forces comment AFA CONFERENCE: Just as the White House confirmed Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit at the end of this month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued a clear call for “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants” in the South China Sea. China, of course, has done the vast majority of the… Keep reading →

Chinese J-31 stealth fighter

AFA CONFERENCE: China’s increasing assertiveness and modernizing military are “concerning,” even “disconcerting,” the head of the US Air Force in the Pacific said today. But there are still strong prospects for military-to-military ties, Gen. Lori Robinson told the Air Force Association conference here this morning. Increased Russian patrols complicates US strategy more, Gen. Robinson told me… Keep reading →

Chinese artificial island landing strip

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech billed as all about a new personnel approach for the Pentagon, laid out a clear line in the sand of the temporary islands the Chinese have been building. He reiterated his “deep concern” about  “China’s pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea.” Then he let… Keep reading →

Ash Carter measuring!

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter — for now — is resisting congressional calls to uninvite China from the biggest naval exercise in the world, known as RIMPAC. In a July 16 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, Carter goes to some lengths to avoid offending China, on the one hand, and, on the… Keep reading →


From the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, the US military is getting more and more worried about the threat from various missiles. But all incoming missiles are not the same, which makes missile defense much harder. That’s the problem Raytheon’s SM-6 interceptor tackled in a recent test that has important tactical implications. If you… Keep reading →

US Navy photo

WASHINGTON: You’d expect the top admiral in the Japan Self-Defense Force to talk about defending Japan. But Adm. Tomohisa Takei surprised me on his latest visit to Washington — his third in 10 months — with a speech that clearly demonstrates how Japan is broadening its strategic perspective. The new view from Tokyo takes in the Indian… Keep reading →

Chinese artificial island landing strip

CAPITOL HILL: Adm. John Richardson sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing this morning. But two ominous issues breached the surface, hinting at growing conflict between the administration and Hill Republicans over how to handle China. Richardson, an experienced submariner nominated for Chief of Naval Operations, deftly dodged the difficult questions from Senate Armed Services Committee: Does US-China… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

WASHINGTON: Randy Forbes pretty much looks like a hawk. The House seapower subcommittee chairman has fought for a bigger battle fleet with long-range drone bombers, called for China to be kicked out of the international RIMPAC wargames and blasted the Obama administration for its lack of a tough Pacific strategy. But does that mean China… Keep reading →

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